Charlie's Blog: 2018

12.31.2018

2018 Year in Review


If you're feeling good, don't worry. You'll get over it.
YOGI BERRA

The only good thing I can say about 2018 is that I survived it. The year began well for me as I was still very optimistic about Trump being in office. I had been riding that high since 2016 when he got elected. But all good things must end. The looming midterm elections were the dark clouds on the horizon.

From the beginning, 2018 began to develop into the third worst year of my life. At the end, it is absolutely the worst year I have ever endured in my life. Here are the things that made this year so awful for me.

1. The Democrats took back the House of Representatives.

This event marks the end of the winning streak for Trump. They will impeach him in the House and Republicans will betray him in the Senate. Trump is done. People can call me a gloom and doom guy over this, but I know it is coming.


2. The Summer of Shame.

It was finally revealed to the world what I have already known for years. The filth and corruption and sodomy and sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church reaches all the way to the top. Part of me feels vindication, but I still feel disgusted and ashamed over it all. Bearing the stigma of being Catholic is a real cross for believers.


3. The sell off of my company.

I have worked at the same place for over a decade for a family business that has now been sold to a competitor. I am not at a place where I can give greater comment on the matter as I have never discussed my day job here at the C-Blog. What I can say is that the sale represents a significant life change for me that I was prepared for but did not want to make.



4. The crash.

C-Blog readers already know that I was involved in a crash on my day job. This last disaster is what carried 2018 from third worst to absolute worst in my life. I am still recovering from this. Life has not been good to me.


2019 does not look good either as I will continue to endure what began in 2018. But it's OK. Life has taught me the value of diminished expectations. I gave up on ever being happy in my life, and I just hope to die in a state of grace and make it to Purgatory where I will burn for a thousand years at a minimum for all of the temporal punishment I owe for all of my sins. True happiness exists only in Heaven. 2018 was just a reminder of this.

12.30.2018

Father Jerk


And Nadab and Abiu, the sons of Aaron, taking their censers, put fire therein, and incense on it, offering before the Lord strange fire: which was not commanded them. And fire coming out from the Lord destroyed them, and they died before the Lord. And Moses said to Aaron: This is what the Lord hath spoken: I will be sanctified in them that approach to me, and I will be glorified in the sight of all the people. And when Aaron heard this, he held his peace. And Moses called Misael and Elisaphan, the sons of Oziel, the uncle of Aaron, and said to them: Go and take away your brethren from before the sanctuary, and carry them without the camp. And they went forthwith and took them as they lay, vested with linen tunicks, and cast them forth, as had been commanded them.
LEVITICUS 10:1-5 DOUAY-RHEIMS

I have a little saying I tell myself. People don't listen to you until you stop talking to them. This saying comes from the numerous times when I have tried to talk to people about things. It may be something benign like a change in diet to something more serious like mortal sin. Part of me wants to say nothing and save myself the hassle. But this is not charitable. The other part of me wants to keep hammering on the people until the message penetrates their thick skulls. But this is not charitable either. So, I take a middle path where I tell someone what they need to hear. If they refuse to listen, I shake the dust from my clothes and move on. This is the prescription the Lord gave to His apostles, and you see it demonstrated in St. Paul who evangelized the Jews in an area first and moved on to the Gentiles. To this day, the Jews have the Law and the Prophets, but they reject the one who rose from the dead as foretold in Luke 16:31.

Some Jews do get the message and respond to that light. One of my favorites is St. Teresa Benedicta known more famously as Edith Stein who converted to Roman Catholicism, became a nun, and died in the Holocaust because even a Catholic Jew was still a Jew to the Nazis. But it's OK. She is a saint, and I ask for her prayers daily. But for the vast majority of Jews, Jesus is to be ignored. Christians are forbidden to mistreat Jews because of this. Charity is always the rule.

I find myself in that place where I must shake the dust from my clothes. The irony is that it concerns a priest. To be more exact, it is the priest in my parish. I have repeatedly tried to make headway with this guy in trying to get him to correct his ways. I am not alone in this. Parishioners in writing and in person have called him out repeatedly. In addition, letters have gone to the bishop about him. All of this is to no avail. Considering the fact that the Church is reluctant to even remove sexual abusers from priestly ministry, I know that nothing will happen to this priest who is merely bad at his job.


To protect his identity, I will refer to this priest by the name we use for him--Father Jerk. Trust me, he has earned this nickname. When Father Jerk was called out for being a jerk, his defense was to the point. We should be grateful that we don't have one of those child molesting priests. I am not making this up. Believe me, I am glad that we don't have one of those monster priests. But Father Jerk is cursed with the same arrogance as those pedophiles. He knows he is a bad priest, and he simply doesn't care.

Why would a man like this enter priestly ministry? Some men are called to the priesthood, and they answer the call. Others are called to the priesthood, and they do not answer the call. Then, there are those who answer the call they did not receive. This would be Father Jerk.

It is easy to figure out why Father Jerk became a priest. When he came to our parish, we knew something was up when he parked his presider's chair directly in front of the altar. I have been in many parishes, and I have never seen this done before. Apparently, it is canonically permissible as even the bishop has sat in that chair where it is parked in front of the altar. The reason no other priest does it anywhere else is because they are humble. Father Jerk is not humble. His reason for parking the chair in front of the altar is because he wants to be worshiped. He wants to be seen and adored. And this is the reason why he became a priest. His previous profession was in the hotel industry where he was not seen and adored.

A bad picture but still worth a thousand words.

Father Jerk claims that he was motivated to enter the priesthood after spending time with a cousin who was a devout Catholic. Today, that cousin shuns Father Jerk and has nothing to do with him. I know this because Father Jerk openly whines about it in his homilies which are 25% faith and doctrine and 75% autobiography. I know the reason for the estrangement. That cousin knows that Father Jerk was not called to the priesthood. For virtually every other Catholic family on earth, having a son in the priesthood is considered an awesome thing. But for the Jerk family, it is an embarrassment. This is because Father Jerk is an embarrassment.

All priests have their virtues and their flaws. Some priests have boring homilies. Others are old and frail and can barely say Mass. Others are heterodox in some of their beliefs. Still others are not the best managers of a parish. Even the great Padre Pio was not a good homilist. But these flaws are usually ameliorated by gifts in other areas. Father Jerk has no gifts. The one good thing I can say about him is that he is orthodox but barely.


We don't call it Mass anymore. We call it the Father Jerk Show. A typical Mass from Father Jerk may include a whiny homily about his own life, passive aggressive stabs at parishioners, a game show quiz, and show tunes. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. You don't know if you are in Catholic Church or just stumbled into a very bad Las Vegas lounge act. The whole spectacle is done for the sake of his own ego, and he takes the Novus Ordo to the absolute brink of irreverence. My wife and I have taken to attending the Spanish Mass because his Spanish is so poor that he actually has to humble himself a bit to get through it. We don't understand hardly a word of Spanish which spares us from cringing during his awful homilies.

In the confessional, Father Jerk is just as bad. You will go to confess your sins, and this jerk will talk you out of it. He doesn't offer absolution and spiritual direction. He just gives you excuses for doing wrong. This is because this is what he does in his own life. The result is the Ten Commandments become the Ten Suggestions in the world of Father Jerk. When I confess to him, it ends up in an argument as I explain to him what the Catholic Church teaches concerning faith and morals.

As for the management of the parish, Father Jerk is very bad. He increased the budget as giving has declined as people exit the parish to get the hell away from him. For those who remain, he harangues endlessly about the need to increase their giving. But if the giving increases, he blows it with increased spending. The former hotel manager can't manage the parish.

As for his work ethic, Father Jerk is incredibly lazy. Daily Mass is cancelled for an entire week on a regular basis. Parishioners would complain except they don't want to go to his Masses anyway. When a visiting priest comes, it is welcome relief from the Father Jerk Show. And Father Jerk is absent from the parish often because he hates our parish and our parishioners. Everyone cringes around him and his jokey demeanor. We encountered some parishioners from his old parish who raved about their new priest but were stone silent about Father Jerk as they gave us a look of pity.

Father Jerk has no friends. No one likes him. It is hard to love someone who is already in love with himself. So, Father Jerk whines about his loneliness in his homilies. Then, there are the dogs. Father Jerk came to our parish with three very smelly dogs. The rectory now reeks of the smell which would be OK except that he lets his dogs urinate and defecate all around the church as well. I have personally had to step around dog turds on my way into church. Father Jerk also allows the dogs to come into the sanctuary and even the sacristy. Finally, one day, one of those smelly mutts finally dies. Father Jerk loses his mind over this and still cries about it over a year later. He had the dog cremated and had the ashes of the deceased animal under his presider's chair at Mass. People have lost family members during this time and have shed less tears than Father Jerk has for his beloved dog. It would not surprise me if I learned that Father Jerk baptized those dogs and fed them consecrated hosts. The man has shed more tears over his dead dog than for any of his sheep.



This is not a man of God. This is just some egomaniac in a collar. As for his sexuality, I think he is a sodomite. I can't prove this because I would have to spy on him and his private life. I am simply not going to do this. But he displays the same level of narcissism I see among homosexuals. It would not surprise me if all his time away from the parish was for the sake of immoral activities. But like I said, I can't prove this, so I will not calumniate the man. I pray that he is chaste. God help him if he isn't. And if he is a homosexual, he should have never entered the priesthood. That estranged cousin may know this secret.

It is a sin to engage in detraction. Of course, Father Jerk has told me in the confessional that detraction isn't a sin. Hell, he didn't even know what detraction was until I told him. This is a man who graduated from seminary, yet I can't tell if he has even read the catechism. But I think it is also a sin to withhold information that people have a right to know. When it comes to priests and bishops, parishioners have a right to know if their shepherds are not holy and righteous. It is because of this reluctance to call them out that wolves and monsters have entered and taken over the priesthood leading to the present sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

The natural question people ask is this. Why not take this to the bishop? People already have. The bishop is not ignorant concerning Father Jerk. He has received letters from the parishioners concerning Father Jerk. When the bishop tried to move Father Jerk to another position away from us, Father Jerk told him he wasn't leaving. And there you have it. When the priest can tell his bishop what to do, that's all you need to know about the vocations crisis in the Catholic Church. In our diocese, many parishes are lucky to have a full time priest. In the case of Father Jerk, he was moved to our parish as an act of mercy for his former parish.

I am sparing Father Jerk's reputation by not putting his name on this while reserving the option to add it in an update in the future. Any of his current or former parishioners that read this will immediately recognize his true identity. Father Jerk knows he is a jerk, and he is unrepentant. He doesn't care. As for me, I am done wasting my breath and time on this clown. I pray for his repentance and conversion as I have done for the last three years. But I also pray that God takes this awful priest from us and gives us a true shepherd authentically called to the priesthood and cares for his flock. I also ask for your prayers as well. I don't need St. John Vianney. I just want a priest who isn't a jerk.

12.15.2018

SOC 51


Comfort is the enemy of progress.
P.T. BARNUM

Bigger is not better. Someone should tell this to the crew at Church Militant. If they reflect, they will see that the early days of EWTN were far better than the current EWTN. I'm not sure why people always feel the urge to upgrade, expand, and all the rest. I think the better path is to be LEAN AND MEAN.

Alex Jones is paying the price for going bigger and badder. When Trump got elected, Infowars rode the wave of that popularity with a big expansion. Now, without YouTube and social media, Alex Jones is paying the price for his hubris. Church Militant is riding the wave of the sex abuse crisis. I see a similar crash coming for them.
Zero Hedge had a similar story about Stroh's. They overreached and ended up destroying themselves. Then, there was Sparatacus who defeated the Romans and won his freedom from slavery but returned to fight them again and ended up on a crucifix on the Appian Way. He couldn't let it go.

I believe in staying small. Going big is stupid. This begs the question. When are you going too far?

This is a vexing issue. When is big too big? And when is small too small? One clue has to do with money. You should never go into debt to build or expand. Your plans should be built on your surplus and not your ambitions. Another clue is time. Do you have the time to accomplish the plan? Speaking from personal experience, I find the lack of time to be the biggest curb to my ambitions.


The best model I can give for the Lean and Mean philosophy is the United States Marine Corps. I work with a lot of Army and Marine guys, and I have come to appreciate the different strategies of those two branches. The US Army along with the Navy and the Air Force is definitely the model of Bigger and Badder. Those branches have big budgets and big equipment. They focus on fighting wars of attrition where materiel is the deciding factor. The Marines are different. Being subject to the US Navy, their budget is considerably smaller. Marines get the hand me down equipment. Within these limitations, the Marines rely upon strategy and grit to get the job done. And they do.

They say that the Marines win battles while the Army wins wars. The Marines occupy the space between guerrilla force and full army. They aren't fighting with a rifle and a bowl of rice. But they are not a juggernaut. Instead, the Marines operate by the principles and tactics of maneuver warfare. Because of this fighting philosophy, the Marine Corps is able to defeat enemies with less materiel.

Krav Maga has a similar strategy as a fighting system. The goal of Krav is to neutralize your opponent as quickly and efficiently as possible. This involves striking soft targets on the body that are the same for everyone with one variation between men and women. It doesn't matter how big your opponent may be. Krav Maga assumes this. No frills and no fluff. Just simplicity and brutality.

I began this SOC before my accident at work. I never write about my day job. But this accident has forced me to mention that I work for a living, and this work could kill me and almost did. I am able to write a bit now as I recover from my injuries. I won't discuss the accident or my physical state of being except to say that I was not at fault. I don't know why God allows these things to happen to me. I just accept them and offer them up.

When I talk about suffering on this blog, it is not academic. It is real. The upside of all of this is that no one envies me. No one ever looks at me and thinks, "Man, that cat has got it made." 2018 has definitely been a bad year for me.

I accept suffering as the new normal for my life. People might ask me if I have learned anything from this ordeal. I have learned that I work with some awesome people. Beyond that, I haven't gained any major life lessons from this calamity because I already know them all. In my younger days, this sort of thing would have lead to some kind of existential crisis like when I found my housemate dead from suicide in my twenties. That event now would just be another thing to throw on the pile. Life is suffering. This is not going to change.

I can tell the difference in my mindset when I refused the painkillers in the hospital. Some people think this is some badassery on my part until I tell them I wanted to cry when they took some body hair when they ripped the leads from my chest. The simple fact is that I did not care to leave the hospital with an opioid addiction. They wanted to give me fentanyl. I told them that was the stuff that killed Prince and refused it. Nobody ever died from pain, but plenty of people have died from painkillers.


Pain is not a big deal. The thoughts that ride on top of the pain are the big deal. Because I am Catholic, I know that suffering is normal and to be expected. I don't wonder if I did something to deserve it. If Jesus suffered, then I must suffer. No servant is above his master. There is happiness in suffering. Once you know that, you don't need fentanyl.

The hardest thing I have had to endure for the past two weeks is seeing my wife suffer over this accident. She has been with me through all of this trial. I wish I could have spared her all of this. I tend to want to suffer alone because I hate being a burden or concern for others. I imagine that it must have broken Jesus's heart to see His mother at the foot of the cross. I would rather endure a hundred beatings than see a tear in my wife's eye.

I have to recover from my injuries now. Then, there is all of the extracurricular stuff I must now go through which feels like a second crucifixion. For some odd reason, this is harder for me to endure than the actual accident. Dying is easy. Living is hard. This is why I could take a bullet for my Lord, but I find it hard to not cuss.

I love God, and I will take whatever He gives me both good and bad. Please pray for me. Prayers are derided by atheists as a way to help without any heavy lifting. But trust me, I need those prayers. They do me more good than money, and I am grateful for those prayers. They sustain me. And for those who pray for me, thank you so much. Your kindness is much appreciated, and the Lord will bless you for this.

12.07.2018

C-BLOG CRASH HIATUS


I was involved in a nasty truck accident at my day job and have been in the hospital for a couple of days. I am really banged up and sore. I need to take a break from the blog for awhile because my neck hurts too much to look at the screen of my computer for very long. Please pray for my full recovery because I need this body to do things and get work done. I will return to regular blogging when I recover. Thank you so much.--C.

12.02.2018

48


There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why.
WILLIAM BARCLAY

Today is my 48th birthday. I was born on this day in 1970. My father fornicated with my mother and knocked her up, so he married her to make an honest woman of her and spare me from being born a bastard. Their ensuing misery would somehow be my fault, and I would be made to pay for it for the rest of my life. My mother told me I should be grateful that she had not aborted me. And that is how I came into the world.

The celebration of birthdays is a relatively recent thing. It was a pagan practice that Christians did not care to continue, but the Germans revived it in the 1700s with the birthday cake and the candles. That is the true genesis of our modern day celebration of birthdays. Its pagan links do not bother me as I don't think pagans were all bad. They just didn't know better. It did not keep them from having good ideas once in awhile.

Birthdays are mostly for children as marking their years actually means something. They change grades in school. They hit puberty and try to procreate. They learn to drive cars, so they can drive somewhere and procreate in the backseat. They turn 18 and become eligible to getting blown up in foreign wars. Birthdays are awesome for kids.


For adults, birthdays are not so awesome. This is because of old age and death. Gravity and mortality take a toll on the body. Nobody believes I am looking at 50 because I don't look it. I have wondered why I look so young. I would like to credit my vegan diet, but I have a coworker who is the same age and has the same appearance. Our secret is that we do not smoke or drink on a regular basis. Alcohol and tobacco are the primary reasons your parents looked so old when they hit middle age. Lay off the sauce and smokes if you want to look younger.

I am not big on birthdays because I am not egocentric. I know people who take a day off of work to celebrate their birthdays. I have always thought this was tacky and dumb. But this is the self-esteem generation where people are encouraged to fall in love with themselves. I can't get down with this. Every time I look in the mirror, I see a sinner looking back.

For me, a birthday is a memento mori. I am going to die one day and meet the Almighty. I did not always have this expectation, and I am glad that I did not die then. God spared me. He cut me a break I didn't deserve. I am grateful for this. I am also grateful to be 48. I could have been an abortion after all.

I am better at celebrating other people's birthdays. Seeing other people happy makes me happy. As for me, I try not to make a big deal out of it. I am not a snowflake. I am not a special flower. I'm just a blue collar guy who grinds away the days until he is dead. I offer it up to God and will do so until my last breath. After that, I entrust my soul to God. He gave it to me, and I will give it back to Him.

12.01.2018

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 78

I have always been a huge admirer of my own work. I'm one of the funniest and most entertaining writers I know.
MEL BROOKS

1. GEORGE H.W. BUSH, RIP

Bush the Elder has passed and met his Maker. He will be remembered as the man who gave us the moniker "New World Order." I know so much dirt on this man that I cannot give him a decent eulogy without lying. I would say he was a good husband at least but even that is a lie considering the credible claims that he had adulterous affairs.

The presidency of George H.W. Bush existed in the shadow of the great Ronald Reagan who remains as the greatest president of my life. Bush was no fan of Reagan, and the two agreed on little. Bush was made Reagan's VP as a way to make peace in the GOP, and there was considerable pressure on Bush to continue Reagan's legacy. As it stands, Bush was no conservative, and he certainly wasn't Ronald Reagan. The electorate would punish him for this making Bush a one-termer.

Bush deserves credit for Operation Desert Storm. That brief war showed that America still had military might but also restraint in using it. Bush ignored the neocons who wanted a full scale occupation of Iraq. This would happen under Bush the Younger.

There is one good thing I can say for George H.W. Bush. He was a better president than his son. May God have mercy on his soul.

2. THE THEORY OF DEVOLUTION

Recent news was published that confirms my ideas about what I call the "theory of devolution." I will explain it briefly.

Charles Darwin gave us the theory of evolution which states that all life came from nothing. Over eons, simple life became more complex as the genetic codes of various species gained information with each successive generation. The mutations gave survival advantages, and this natural selection preserved the beneficial mutations while eliminating the bad mutations.

The theory of devolution is different. It states that life began from original perfection as created by God and has lost information in its genetic code with each successive generation as flaws have collected. Think of a Xerox machine making copies of copies of copies. Sexual reproduction helps to add in lost genetic information and shows the need for reproductive variety. This is why mutts are healthier than purebred dogs.

Devolution fits with Genesis and is a consequence of the Fall. It also does not defy physics. The long run destiny of humanity and life would be to cease existence as the collection of these flaws eliminates life from the universe. This is why so many mass extinctions have occurred but no new species have emerged to replace them. Darwin is wrong.

Scientists have strong evidence that human life as well as most other life has descended from two pairs. These scientists are reluctant to admit it. Here is a telling quotation from that linked article:
"This conclusion is very surprising and I fought against it as hard as I could, " Thaler admitted.
God exists. All of science confirms this existence except for the biologists who cling to Darwin. The one thing Darwin seems to have gotten right is that species have changed over the eons. This is undeniably true when you consider a chihuahua is descended from wolves.


When the atheists provide evidence for Adam and Eve, you can take it to the bank that Adam and Eve existed along with the Fall, Original Sin, and the need for a Savior. If you would like to know more about this topic, I recommend a visit to the Kolbe Center.

3. MUELLER

If it seems like Bob Mueller's sham Russia investigation has picked up steam, you would be correct in the observation. It has. What changed? That's simple. The Democrats won back the House. There will be an impeachment of Donald Trump. And Republicans in the Senate like Jeff Flake will betray Trump. This will be a Democrat/RINO coup d'etat.

People that know me tell me that I am being an alarmist. No impeachment will happen. Once again, this impeachment is going to happen. Its success will depend ultimately on how many Republicans will Benedict Arnold our president. When it happens, it will be a nullification of the election of a president since the charges against Trump will be without merit. How will this sit with the American people who put that man in the White House?

Evil never stops. Evil has no restraint. Evil never rests. This impeachment is coming.

4. THE POPE AND CAESAR

Pope Francis is not going to clean out the filth and corruption in the Roman Catholic Church. He is going to aid and abet it. That's OK. Caesar will do the job that the Pope will not do. Raids on chanceries in Texas and New Mexico show that judgment day has come for the bishops in the USA. The good bishops need to clean their own houses. If they do, their dioceses will survive and prosper.

This needs to be done. I pray daily for severe chastisement on these evildoers. I want to see God vindicated. These wolves have feasted on the flock and destroyed the faith of many. They deserve what is coming to them.

5. Q & A

Q: Is Facebook the AOL of the 2010s?

A: YES!

This question comes from Cal Newport in an article you can find in the LOI section. I remember AOL, and you have to admit that it was the first social media platform even though it wasn't called that. I used to be on AOL back in those days, and I hated AOL for the heavy handedness you see displayed by Facebook now. Essentially, Facebook is free AOL. The hope is that Facebook will head to the internet graveyard with AOL.

6. QUOTABLE QUOTES

I’ve never liked Twitter even though I’ve used it. I was a late adopter, and with good reason. It’s the crystal meth of social media — addictive and destructive, yet simultaneously unsatisfying. When I’m off it I’m happier than when I’m on it.
GLENN REYNOLDS

And my opponent won’t rule out raising taxes. But I will. And the Congress will push me to raise taxes, and I’ll say no, and they’ll push, and I’ll say no, and they’ll push again. And I’ll say to them: Read my lips. No new taxes.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH who broke this pledge and raised taxes

Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.
LAVRENTIY BERIA, head of Stalin's secret police

7. ODDS AND ENDS

--Corporal punishment at a young age could have saved Miley Cyrus. I wonder if Billy Ray is proud of his daughter.

--All people but especially conservatives need to delete their social media accounts. They need to do a ban of these platforms. By being on leftist social media, you are helping to support leftist social media.

--I am still Twitter-free and loving it.

--As bad as the earthquakes in Alaska may be, it is about as bad as winter in Alaska which is a yearly thing for those folks. Their normal would be a natural disaster for anyone in the lower 48. These folks will shrug this off.

--The Great Wall of Mexico must be built. Use the Army but build it.

--I see Beto/Ocasio-Cortez 2020. Nevermind that Ocasio-Cortez would not be old enough for the job. Democrats don't let lack of qualifications stand in their way.

--Trump's steel tariffs have finally put the hurt on GM. The only upside is that he will end their government subsidy which should never have happened. MEMO TO TRUMP: Unilateral free trade.

--Google would like to do some Twitterlike shenanigans. Evil never ceases.

8. LINKS OF INTEREST

INTERNET APOSTOLATE

NOBLE PEASANTS

Is Facebook the AOL of the 2010s? A Skeptical Examination of Social Media Network Effects

How Twitter really works

Brutal Truths for ‘Beto’ Believers

How to Solve Illegal Immigration: Build the Wall

Meet the Father of One Thousand Kids

SHAKESPEARE: THE EVIDENCE

The Political Thought of Edgar Allan Poe

The Great Equalizer: Women and Guns

Fireside Chat Ep. 60 - National Identity Unites People

Compassion

Winning the Long Defeat

A Case for Dropping out of College

The Wasting of Time and Human Happiness

Just Tariff Theory

The F-Bomb and the Age of Public Crudity

When Laws Are Not Enforced, Anarchy Follows

Imagining Healthy Work: Why We all Have to Become Monks

When Work and Meaning Part Ways

A Pact with a Thief, a Deal with the Devil: The Vatican’s Pending Agreement with China

Natural Rights, Self-Defense, and the Right to Own Firearms

Living With Morals: A Review of The Fall of Gondolin

11.30.2018

VIDEO--Jodorowsky's Dune


My ambition with Dune was tremendous. So, what I wanted was to create a prophet. I want to create a prophet... to change the young minds of all the world. For me, Dune will be the coming of a god. Artistical, cinematographical god. For me, it was not to make a picture. It was something deeper. I wanted to make something sacred, free, with new perspective. Open the mind! Because I feel, in that time, myself, inside a prison. My ego, my intellect, I want to open! And I start the fight to make Dune.
ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY

If you are a creative type such as an artist or a writer, you will enjoy Jodorowsky's Dune. This documentary tells the tale of an ambitious director given the chance to direct a magnum opus type film who subsequently loses that chance. All that remains of the project is a thick book of drawings that give you an idea of the marvelous film that Jodorowsky aspired to make.

For those who do not know, Dune is a science fiction novel written by Frank Herbert. It was later adapted to film by David Lynch, and that movie is considered to be a bomb. Alejandro Jodorowsky's vision for Dune was massive and before Star Wars. Had Alejandro succeeded in making his film, it would have been perhaps the greatest science fiction movie ever made.


Why did it not get made? The answer is obvious. Jodorowsky blew two million bucks just getting ready to film the thing. This was in the era before Jaws and other blockbusters that would bring in hundreds of millions of dollars. The simple fact is that Hollywood wasn't ready for the sort of big time financial risk that is routine in movies today. Basically, Jodorowsky was a man ahead of his time.

Alejandro's efforts were not entirely wasted. The man assembled a dream team of talent that would collaborate on other projects like Alien and many of the visual ideas would find themselves into other movies. But the documentary ends with the desire for what could have been.

The documentary touches upon a fundamental problem with cinema as an art form. Unlike novels or paintings, movies take a lot of money and a lot of people who have a stake in the creation and ideas about what that creation should be. And as Quentin Tarantino has shown, you can make any movie you want as long as you make it cheap. John Carpenter made an entire movie--Halloween--for less than the cost of Jodorowsky's comic book.

Fundamentally, Jodorowsky's Dune is the tale of the production of a really expensive comic book. They should publish that comic book or something because the documentary just makes you want to get your hands on it. And it makes you sad that you will never get to see a potentially great movie. But at the end of the day, you can still pick up a copy of Frank Herbert's Dune and watch the movie in your head. Writing is and will always remain the superior form of narrative. This is because it is cheap and lasts virtually forever.

11.27.2018

SOC 50


A superior pilot uses his superior judgment to avoid situations which require the use of his superior skill.
FRANK BORMAN

I have just a finished a bad day at work. I am tired and grouchy. This is not an optimal time to be writing a post. I am in the sub-optimal state of operation. I have been in worse shape than this. But I find that magical things happen when you are really tired and still keep going.

I don't know what to write about. My mind is not fresh at all like it usually is on a Saturday or Sunday morning. It is a Monday night. I just can't make myself do this. I have no inspiration at this moment. My wife asked me what I was writing. I am writing nothing. Just one whole lot of nothing.

I yelled at my boss today. I told him once that if I were his boss I would fire him. I meant it, and I still feel that way. I have endured this guy for over a decade, and it is coming to an end. I don't know if I am going somewhere better. But it will be good to not deal with him ever again.

People in management are usually amoral and lazy. Some are sociopaths while others are complete imbeciles. I have only had one good boss my entire working life. All the rest have been bad. I made the decision a long time ago that I wasn't ever going to put up with their crap, and I don't.

I intend to write more about my work life which has been a silent subject for me on this blog. But that is fixing to change. My ambition is to do something different for my day job. I'm not ambitious or money hungry. But I do want to feel like I am doing some kind of meaningful work. I envy people who work on cars and trucks or build houses. As for me, all I've ever done is work jobs. They paid the bills, and I am grateful for that. But that's all my jobs have ever done.


I live the level of lifestyle that I want which is very modest. I have never cared for big houses or fancy cars or exotic vacations. I have encountered those things over the years as a consequence of work and friendships, but they have held no appeal for me. I could be a high priced neurosurgeon, but my reserved parking spot would have an old pickup truck. On one of my jobs where I was promoted, people expected that I would get rid of my old car and get a new car. I didn't. Over the course of my adult life, my lifestyle inflation has been absolutely zero. If anything, I have downgraded as a consequence of minimalism and voluntary poverty. I ask myself the same question all the time. How can I live smaller?

There is freedom in voluntary poverty. I think people who live beyond their means are anxious over a lot of things. My only anxiety is becoming a bum. I don't worry about paying my bills. I don't worry about being deprived of luxuries because I have so few of them. But I dread the thought of not having work. The most dismal times of my life have been when I was jobless. I could be a lottery winner, but I would feel awful if I quit my job to live on that money.

Am I a workaholic? I took 7 signs of workaholism from a website, and I will go through them.

1. You think of how you can free up more time to work.

I can't say this is true for me. What I actually do is think of how I can do some sort of work in my free time. This takes the form of writing.

2. You spend much more time working than initially intended.

This is a daily thing for me.

3. You work in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and/or depression.

This is totally me. Work has gotten me through break ups, deaths, and general misery for decades. When I feel bad, I never think about calling out.

4. You have been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them.

Those people need to shut up.

5. You become stressed if you are prohibited from working.

I become miserable if I have a day off. I feel like a day of my life got wasted.

6. You deprioritize hobbies, leisure activities, and/or exercise because of your work.

This is definitely true. Whenever I think of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, I let the thought drop as I consider that I would have to take an extended sabbatical from work to do this. When you're blue collar, they laugh at the concept of sabbaticals. I admit that I laugh, too.

7. You work so much that it has negatively influenced your health.

I fractured my wrist and kept working. I cracked my kneecap and kept working. I have had nasty flare ups from gout, and I have never missed a day. I don't see vomiting as a valid excuse for missing work.

I don't think I am a workaholic, but I kinda wish I was. As miserable as work can be sometimes, it is not nearly as miserable as not working.

Most of my failures come on the leisure side of things. I write which is a form of work. My "hobbies" are really more work. I have a hard time with the definition of hobbies. Writing is my only hobby, but that is only because I don't get paid to do it. Otherwise, it bears a strong resemblance to work.

I will stop here. I am tired after all, and I have to go to work tomorrow.

11.26.2018

Reflections on the Serenity Prayer


God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
SERENITY PRAYER

When I go to confession, my priest almost always gives me the Serenity Prayer as a penance. This probably has something to do with my confessions about anger. I first encountered the prayer through Alcoholics Anonymous. I do not belong to AA, but I am familiar with them from an article I wrote for the school newspaper back in high school. One of the things you learn about sobriety is that it isn't about managing drinking. It is about managing life. When an alcoholic can't handle life, he or she turns to drinking. When they get sober, their life skills aren't much better, and they become a "dry drunk." The road to recovery requires new life skills. This is where the Serenity Prayer comes into play.

The prayer reminds me of the words of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus who expressed something similar. Epictetus wrote,
 Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens. Some things are up to us and some things are not up to us. Our opinions are up to us, and our impulses, desires, aversions—in short, whatever is our own doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor are our possessions, our reputations, or our public offices, or, that is, whatever is not our own doing.
Epictetus provides the wisdom part of the Serenity Prayer. This quotation from him lets you know the difference between what you can change and what you cannot change. Sad to say, most things in life are beyond our power to change. And the things we can change such as our thinking, character, and behavior we do not endeavor to change.

I struggle with anger and laziness. As I reflect on the Serenity Prayer, I see that it holds the answer to those dilemmas. My anger comes from enduring things I am powerless to change. My laziness comes from not doing something about the things I can change. For instance, I can't change my job, but I can change jobs. The reason I don't change jobs is because they usually turn out to be the same with the same frustrations.

One of my famous sayings is this one. I can't make it better, but I can make it different. The gist of this is that some problems are just fundamental to existence. For instance, people might want to leave the snowbound north, so they move to Florida where they must endure hurricanes. It's not better, but it is different. You can't escape the weather. You just have to decide which misery you find more tolerable.

Another variation of this problem is when people want to move and relocate thinking that life is somehow better somewhere else. Then, when they get there, they find they are still miserable. This is because their misery is not outside of them but inside. As they say, wherever you go, there you are. I know people who have moved multiple times and changed jobs many times. But they don't change themselves.

Another aspect of the Serenity Prayer is a quotation from St. Augustine on prayer which says, "Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you." Obviously, not everything depends on us. But by the same token, we should not surrender to fatalism either. We should strive to make things work. If we pray and work, we should leave the rest up to God. Ultimately, God is the one who brings it to completion.

The extremes here would be anxiety and indifference. Some people become anxious over things they can't change. Others become indifferent over the things they can change. Wisdom is the midpoint between those extremes.

In conclusion, I think it helps to read the entire prayer that Reinhold Niehbuhr composed.

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

11.25.2018

Gomorrah


For God’s sake, why do you damnable sodomites pursue the heights of ecclesiastical dignity with such fiery ambition?
SAINT PETER DAMIAN

THE BOOK OF GOMORRAH. Written by St. Peter Damian and published in 1051 A.D.

I

THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK OF GOMORRAH, BY THE HUMBLE MONK PETER DAMIAN

Peter, the least servant of monks, to the most blessed Pope Leo, the submission of due honor.


As the Apostolic See is known from the very mouth of the Truth— to be the mother of all of the churches,— it is proper to have recourse to it as a teacher and in a certain sense as the fount of heavenly wisdom, if some matter of doubt arises anywhere that seems related to the care of souls. Thus, from that one head of ecclesiastical discipline the light might show forth by which, the darkness of ambiguity having been expelled, the whole body of the Church will shine with the clear splendor of the truth. Moreover, a certain most abominable and exceedingly disgraceful vice has grown in our region, and unless it is quickly met with the hand of strict chastisement, it is certain that the sword of divine fury is looming to attack,— to the destruction of many. Alas, it is shameful to speak of it! It is shameful to relate such a disgusting scandal to sacred ears! But if the doctor fears the virus of the plague, who will apply the cauterization? If he is nauseated by those whom he is to cure, who will lead sick souls back to the state of health?

The cancer of sodomitic impurity is thus creeping through the clerical order, and indeed is raging like a cruel beast within the sheepfold of Christ with the audacity of such liberty, that for many it would have been much more salutary to be oppressed by the yoke of worldly duties than to be surrendered so freely to the iron rule of diabolical tyranny under the pretense of religion. It would have been better to perish alone in secular dress than, having changed one’s clothes but not one’s heart, to
also drag others to destruction, as the Truth testifies, saying, “He that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it is expedient for him that a millstone be hanged about his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.”— And unless the force of the Apostolic See— opposes it as quickly as possible, there is no doubt that when it finally wishes for the unbridled evil to be restrained, it may not be able to halt the fury of its advance.

II 

ON THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SODOMITES 

So that the whole matter might be presented to you in an orderly way, I distinguish four types— of this nefarious sin. Some pollute themselves,— others are soiled by fondling each other’s male parts, others fornicate between the thighs or in the rear, and these ascend by grades, such that each one is worse than the previous. Accordingly, the penance that is imposed on those who fall into sin with others is greater than those who dirty themselves alone by the discharged contagion of semen, and those who contaminate others in the rear are more strictly judged than those who copulate between the thighs. The skilled machination of the devil thus contrives these grades of corruption, so that the more it ascends them, the more deeply the unhappy soul may be plunged into the depths of hell.

III

THAT EXCESSIVE MERCY LEADS SUPERIORS NOT TO PROHIBIT THE FALLEN FROM HOLY ORDERS 

It is true that those who are guilty of this perdition often recover by the gift of divine mercy, arrive at satisfaction, and undertake the burden of penance—however heavy it might be—with devotion. However, they recoil in horror from the loss of ecclesiastical order. For certain prelates of churches—who are perhaps more merciful regarding this vice than is expedient— decree absolutely that no one may be deposed as a result of those three grades of sin which were enumerated above; they only 
allow those to be removed who are known to have copulated in the rear. That is, if one ejaculates semen by his own genital pressure, if he pollutes another by rubbing with his own hands, if he even lies between the thighs in the manner of those of the opposite sex, but he merely hasn’t entered in the rear, he must receive a penance commensurate to the offense, but must not be removed from his order. So it is that he who is known to have fallen into this evil with eight or even ten others who are equally filthy, nonetheless should be considered to remain in his order.


Such impious piety, without a doubt, does not reduce the wound, but administers a stimulus for its enlargement. It does not supply the bitterness of the illicit audacity that is perpetrated but rather grants the liberty of perpetrating it. Obviously, the carnal man of any order fears more to be despised in the sight of men than to be condemned according to the determination of the supreme Judge, and for this reason he would prefer any penance, however severe and extended it might be, to being subject to the endangerment of his grade. Moreover, while he does not fear losing his honorable state by his indiscreet discretion, he is also inclined to take up new vices and to remain longer in those he has taken up with impunity, so that, so to speak, as long as he is not struck where it hurts more severely, he lies serenely in that pigsty of filthy obscenity in which he first fell. 

IV 

THAT THOSE WHO ARE HABITUATED TO FILTHY ENJOYMENTS SHOULD NOT BE PROMOTED TO HOLY ORDERS, NOR SHOULD THEY SO REMAIN IF THEY HAVE ALREADY BEEN PROMOTED 

It seems to us exceedingly absurd that those who are habitually corrupted by this festering contagion should dare to be promoted to a grade of order or to continue in the grade to which they were already promoted. It is proven to be both contrary to reason and adverse to the canonical sanctions of the Fathers. However, I do not assert this in order to offer a definitive sentence in the presence of your majesty, but rather that I might explain the choice of a particular opinion. 

Certainly, this disgrace is not unworthily believed to be the worst of all offenses, since tradition holds that the omnipotent God has always regarded it as hateful, and when he had not yet placed a legal precept prohibiting it along with the other vices, he was already condemning it with the censure of strict retribution—not to mention that he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah,— which were two distinguished cities, and all the neighboring regions, with sulfur and fire sent from heaven. He struck Onan, the son of Jude, with an untimely death because of this nefarious offense, according to the Scripture, which says: “Onan ... knowing that the children should not be his, when he went in to his brother’s wife, he spilled his seed upon the ground, lest children should be born in his brother’s name. And therefore the Lord slew him, because he did a detestable thing.” Moreover, in the law it is said, “He that lieth with a man as if he should company with woman, both have committed abomination, dying let them die, their blood be upon them.”


That those who have fallen into that crime must not be promoted to ecclesiastical order because the old law decrees that it is to be punished with death, is attested by the blessed pope Gregory, who in his letters writes to the bishop Passivus, stating: 

Your Fraternity well knows how long Aprutium has been destitute of pastoral care; we have long sought after the one who should be ordained there and could not at all find him. However, because Importunus is exceedingly praised to me in his morals, his zeal of psalmody, and his love of prayer, and he is said to live the religious life, we desire that your Fraternity bring him to yourself and that you admonish his soul so that it might grow in zeal for the good, and if no sins are found in 
him, which by the rule of sacred law are penalized by death, then he is to be ordained, so that he be made either a monk or a subdeacon for you, and after some length of time, if it pleases God, he should be promoted to pastoral care.

Behold, here it is clearly implied that any man who engages with another man in feminine copulation; that is, between the thighs indeed which sin, as we taught above, is by the sentence of the ancient law penalized with death even if he abounds in upright morals, is fervent with the zeal of psalmody, is outstanding in the love of prayer, and leads an entirely religious life according to the testimony of proven reputation, can indeed fully receive the pardon of his guilt, but to ecclesiastical order he 
cannot at all be permitted to aspire. For regarding that venerable man Importunus, who at first is exalted with such fervor of praise, is redeemed by so many ornaments of a religious and upright life, and is decorated with so much virtue of preaching, it is nevertheless added: “If they find no sins in him, which by the rule of sacred law are penalized by death, then he is to be ordained.” 

It is certainly obvious that no subsequent religious life can restore a man for the reception of an ecclesiastical grade of order if he has been debased by a crime worthy of death. Nor does it enable him who is not doubted to have fallen into the pit of mortal sin, to rise to attain the height of honor. Therefore it is clearer than light that it is altogether against the norm of sacred law, altogether against the standard of divine authority, to promote anyone to ecclesiastical order who has been convicted of having lain between masculine thighs in fornication, which is undoubtedly a mortal sin. 


WHETHER IT IS LEGITIMATE FOR SUCH PEOPLE TO ACT AS PRIESTS IF THE CHURCH HAS NEED OF IT 

However, it might be said that the need is pressing, that no one is available to carry out sacred duties in the Church, and appropriately the sentence which previously was pronounced by the dictate of stern justice is softened out of present necessity. To this I briefly respond: was there not also a necessity when the Pontifical See was lacking a pastor? Will judgment be suspended because of the usefulness of one man, while the same judgment is firmly maintained to the abandonment of an entire people, and will that which is not relaxed for the advancement of an innumerable multitude be violated for the convenience of a single person? 

But now let the outstanding preacher step forward, and let what he believes about this vice be more clearly known. For he states in the Letter to the Ephesians: “For understanding know you this, that no fornicator, or unclean, or covetous person (which is the service of idols) hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” If, therefore, those who are unclean do not have any sort of inheritance in heaven, by what presumption, by what reckless contempt might they, even more, obtain authority in the Church, which is nothing less than the kingdom of God? Will not he who has disregarded the divine law by falling into wickedness also be unafraid of contemptuously ascending to an office of ecclesiastical dignity? He will spare himself nothing, because he is unafraid of disregarding God in every way. 

But surely this law was especially created for those who violate it, according to Paul, who, writing to Timothy, says: 

The Law is not made to the just man, but to the unjust... to the impious and sinners, to the wicked and contaminate, to killers of fathers and killers of mothers, to murderers, to fornicators, to liars with mankind, to manstealers, to liars, to perjured persons, and what other thing soever is contrary to sound doctrine.

Therefore, given that the law, as has been demonstrated, should be imposed on those who lie with males so that they will not dare to violate the sacred orders, by whom, I ask, will this law be upheld, if it is despised principally by those for whom it was created? And if perchance a person is said to be useful, it is right that the more skillfully he excels in intellectual endeavors, the more he should cautiously uphold the rule of authentic law. For whoever has better understanding is guilty of worse sin, because he who in his wisdom was able to avoid sin if he had so wished will inevitably merit punishment. For as James says, “To one ... knowing ... good, and not doing it: to him it is sin.” And the Truth says, “To whom more is entrusted, more from him should be required.” For if the order of ecclesiastical discipline is confused by educated men, it will be a wonder if it is upheld by the ignorant. For if one who is knowledgeable is inordinately led to holy orders, he is seen in a sense to pave the way of error, which he has undertaken to walk with the swollen foot of arrogance, for those who follow and, so to speak, are simpler. And he is not only to be judged for having sinned but also because by the example of his own presumption he has invited others to imitate his sin. 

VI 

THAT THOSE WHO DESIRE ORDINATION AFTER HAVING BEEN INVOLVED IN THIS VICE ARE OF A REPROBATE SENSE 

For who would pass by with a deaf ear, indeed, who would not shudder to the bone at the fact that the same Paul, like a trumpet, cries out vehemently with regard to such men, stating, “God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonor their own bodies among themselves”? And a little later [he writes]: 

For this cause, God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts, one towards another: men with men, working that which is filthy and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error. And as they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient.

For how is it that after such a grave lapse they seek so earnestly after the sublimity of ecclesiastical order? What should one suppose, what should one believe, if not that God has turned them over to a reprobate sense? Nor does he allow them to see, while under the influence of their sins, the things that are necessary for them For because the sun has set for them (He, that is, who ascends upon the west) they have lost their inner eyes, and they do not even manage to consider how serious the evils are that they have perpetrated by their impurity, nor still how much worse it is that they desire inordinately to possess a grade of order against the will of God. In accordance with divine justice, those who soil themselves with this ruinous filth, having been struck with a fitting chastisement, always incur the darkness of blindness. Thus we read of those ancient originators of this foulness when they had “pressed very violently upon the just Lot, and were even at the point of breaking open the doors.”  “And behold,” says Scripture, “the men put out their hand, and drew in Lot unto them, and shut the door. And them, that were without, they struck with blindness from the least to the greatest, so that they could not find the door.”


It is certain, however, that the persons of the Father and of the Son are not inappropriately represented by those two angels who, we read, have come to the blessed Lot. This is made evident by what Lot himself says to them: “I beseech thee, my Lord, because thy servant hath found grace before thee, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewn to me in saving my life.” For when one addresses two singularly as if they were one, it is certain that he is venerating one substance in two persons. The sodomites, therefore, seek to violently burst in upon the angels, when impure men seek to approach God through holy orders. However, they are certainly struck by blindness because they fall into interior darkness by the just judgment of God, and thus they cannot even find the door; being separated from God by sin, they do not know the way back to it. For it is surely obvious that those who seek to approach God by the path not of humility, but of arrogance and vanity, do not discern where the way of entrance lies open, or that the door is Christ, as he himself said, “I am the door.” Those who lose Christ under the influence of sin fail to find the door through which they might enter the habitation of the heavenly citizens. 

Therefore, they have been turned over to a reprobate sense, because as long as they do not measure the weight of their guilt in their own mind with careful consideration, they regard that most heavy load of lead as the lightness of empty punishment. The statement, “He struck those who were outside with blindness,” the apostle manifestly declares when he says, “God delivered them up to a reprobate sense,” and what is added, “so they would not be able to find the door,” he also clearly explains when he says, “to do those things which are not convenient,” as if he were to say, “so that they would try to enter where they should not.” 

For he who is unworthy of holy orders is attempting to force his way into the service of the holy altar what is he doing if  not striving to enter through the immovable obstacle of a wall, having abandoned the threshold of the door? Because free entrance is not accessible by foot, such people, while they assure themselves that they may attain to the sanctuary, are frustrated in their presumption and are forced to remain in the exterior vestibule. They may strike their foreheads against the stones of Sacred Scripture, but they by no means are permitted to enter by the entranceway of divine authority, and when they try to enter where they are not permitted, they do nothing more than vainly grope the reinforced wall. To them the statement of the prophet is appropriately applied: “They shall ... grope at noonday as in the night.” And those who are unable to cross the threshold of the proper entrance wander madly, whirling in a circle, of whom it is said by the psalmist: “O my God, make them like a wheel,” and likewise: “The impious walk round about.” Regarding the same, Paul also, when he is speaking of the matters recounted above, a little later adds, “They who do such things are worthy of death: and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them.”

It is clear that if the thunder of apostolic invective does not awaken one to something so terrible, he should certainly be judged not as sleeping, but as dead. And given that the apostle so zealously augments a sentence of strict chastisement, not for Jews no matter how faithful, but for Gentiles and those who do not know God, what, I ask, would he have said, if he were to have seen this lethal wound festering in the very body of the holy Church? In particular, what grief, what fire of compassion would have inflamed that pious heart, if he were to have learned of this destructive plague festering even in sacred orders? 

May idle prelates of clerics and priests hear! May they hear, and although they might be secure from personal guilt, may they fear themselves to be participants in the guilt of others! Undoubtedly, those who turn a blind eye to the sins of their subjects that they are obligated to correct, also grant to their subjects a license to sin through their ill-considered silence. May they hear, I say, and wisely understand, that all are uniformly worthy of death, indeed, “not only they that do them, but they also who consent to them that do them.”

VII 

ON RECTORS OF THE CHURCH WHO ARE SOILED WITH THEIR SPIRITUAL CHILDREN 

O unheard of crime! O offense to be mourned with a whole fountain of tears! If they who consent to those who do these things are to be struck with death, what can be conceived of as a worthy punishment for those who commit these evils, which are punishable by eternal damnation,— with their spiritual children? What fruit can be found in the flocks, when the pastor is so profoundly submerged in the belly of the devil? Who might now remain under his rule who is not ignorant of his so hostile estrangement from God? Who makes a male prostitute out of penitent, a woman out of a man? Who subjugates as a slave him whom he spiritually generated as a son by God, through the iron rule of diabolical tyranny by the impurity of his flesh? 

If a man violates a woman whom he lifted from the sacred fountain, is he not, without any obstacle of delay, judged to be deprived of communion and ordered by the censure of the sacred canons to suffer public penance? For it is written that spiritual parenthood is greater than carnal parenthood. But he who receives one corning from the world into clerical orders has generated a spiritual child from God in almost the same way as he who might have baptized or received one raised from the baptismal font. Indeed, the institution of canonical orders is a renunciation, and is, in a certain sense, a second baptism. 

It follows, therefore, both he who has ruined his carnal daughter, and he who has corrupted his spiritual daughter with sacrilegious intercourse, should suffer the same sentence, as well as he who pollutes, with abominable wantonness, a cleric whom he ordained unless perhaps in this is the nature of the two crimes distinguished, that the first has sinned, although incestuously, yet naturally, because it was with a woman, while he who defiles a cleric has committed a sacrilege with his son, incurring the guilt of incest and dissolving the laws of nature. And, as it seems to me, it is more tolerable to have fallen into the disgrace of lust with an animal than with a man. Indeed, how much more lightly is he judged who perishes alone, than he who drags another to the ruin of destruction! How miserable is the condition in which the ruin of one depends on another, and when one is destroyed, another follows necessarily to his death!

VIII 

OF THOSE WHO CONFESS THEIR OFFENSES TO THOSE WITH WHOM THEY HAVE FALLEN

So that the deceits of diabolical machination may not lie hidden, but rather that I might expose to the light those things that the devil secretly constructs with his secretaries in the workshop of ancient evil, I will not suffer it to be concealed that certain individuals, satiated by the poison of this crime, when, as it were, they return to the heart, confess the sin to one another so that the crime may not be exposed to the notice of others. Although as authors of the crime they cause the faces of men to blush, they themselves become judges, and each one rejoices to extend to the other an indiscreet pardon, which he seeks to apply to himself by vicarious exchange. So it is that they might be penitents of great sins, and yet their mouths are not pallid by reason of fasting, nor their bodies wasted by leanness; and while their stomach is in no way restrained from the immoderate reception of food, the soul is shamefully inflamed in the fire of habitual lust, so that he who has not yet wept for his crimes, commits even more lamentable acts.


It is a precept of law that when anyone is covered with leprosy he must be shown to the priests. However, when one filthy man confesses to another the common evil that has been committed, the leper is not shown to the priests but rather to another leper. As a confession certainly should be a revelation, what, I ask, does he reveal, who narrates what is already known to his listener? Indeed, how is that confession to be made whereby nothing is revealed by the one who confesses except what is already known by the listener? Moreover, by what law, by what right can the one who is restrained by the social bond of an evil committed, bind and loose that of others? For in vain does he who is also bound by chains attempt to free another, and for him who wishes to lead a blind man on a journey it is necessary that he should see, that he may not cause the one who follows him to fall, as is said by the voice of the Truth, when he says, “If the blind leads the blind, both fall into the pit,”— and again, “Seest thou the mote in thy brother’s eye: but the beam that is in thy own eye thou considerest not... hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thy own eye: and then shalt thou see clearly to take out the mote from thy brother’s eye.” 

It is most openly declared by these evangelical testimonies, that he who is oppressed by the darkness of the same guilt, in vain seeks to restore another to the light of contrition, and if he does not fear to lead another by straying beyond his powers, he does not evade the gaping pit of ruin, together with him who follows.

IX 

JUST AS IS THE CASE WITH THOSE WHO VIOLATE NUNS, A PROSTITUTOR OF MONKS MUST BE DEPOSED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW 

I now address you face to face, whoever you are, O sodomite. Do you refuse to confess your sins to spiritual men, because you also fear to lose your ecclesiastical rank? But how much more salutary would it be to endure temporal shame in the sight of men, than to suffer eternal punishment before the tribunal of the heavenly Judge? 

Perhaps you might reply to me that if a man lies with a man only between the thighs, he is certainly in need of penance, but in accordance with merciful kindness, he should not be permanently prohibited from his grade of order. I ask you, if a monk makes an attempt upon a nun, is he to remain in holy orders according to your judgment? But there is no doubt that you would judge that such a man should be deposed! It therefore follows that what you reasonably assert regarding a nun you should inevitably admit of the monk, and what you would assert regarding monks it is necessary for you to apply to clerics, but, as was stated previously, with this difference: that the latter is to be considered worse, insofar as by the identity of the sexes it is judged to be contrary to nature. 

Moreover, it is right to always consider the will of the offender when judging excesses, and he who pollutes masculine thighs, if nature were to permit, would carry out completely with men whatever is done with women in the insanity of unrestrained lust. He has done what he could, up to the point where nature has denied him, and he has there unwillingly fixed the boundary of his offense where the necessity of nature has placed the impassable limit of ability. Therefore, because the same law is applicable to monks of either sex, it is necessary to conclude that just as the violator of a nun is deposed by law,  so also he who prostitutes a monk should be removed in all ways from his office.


THAT BOTH HE WHO FALLS WITH HIS CARNAL OR SPIRITUAL DAUGHTER, AND HE WHO IS SOILED WITH HIS PENITENTIAL SON, SHOULD BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE SAME OFFENSE 

So to respond again to the disputations of the “sacred” (that is, detestable) confessors: if any canonical priest falls with a woman to whom he has declared the verdict of penance even once, no one denies that he should be degraded by the censure of the synodal council. If, however, he falls with a priest or a cleric of almost equal rank for whom he is either a judge in giving penance or has been judged in receiving it, will he not lose the honor of his order in accordance with the dictates of justice? For it is customary to call him a “penitential son,” just as we say “baptismal son.” Thus it is read of blessed Mark the evangelist that “he is the son of Peter in baptism,” and it is the eminent preacher who says, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to evangelize,” and also says, “For what is my glory before the Lord? Is it not you?” “For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you.” And to the Galatians he says, “My little children, of whom I am in labor again, until Christ 
be formed in you.” If then he bore, if he gave birth he who was not sent to baptize, but to evangelize and so to urge repentance it is rightly said that he who receives penance is a son, and that he who imposes it is a father.


Now if the above-mentioned facts are carefully considered, it will be clearer than light that he who fornicates with either a carnal or a baptismal daughter is guilty of the same crime, and he also who acts indecently with a penitential son. And just as for him who has sinned with a female whom he generated carnally, or whom he birthed in baptism, or upon whom he imposed the judgment of penance, so also for him who sins with a penitential son through lust, it is just that he be removed in every way from the order of which he is a minister.

XI 

REGARDING APOCRYPHAL LAWS, IN WHICH WHOEVER TRUSTS IS ALTOGETHER DECEIVED 

But because certain lullabies are found mixed with the sacred canons, in which corrupt men place their confidence with vain presumption, we examine some here so that we may clearly demonstrate that not only they, but all other writings similar to them, wherever they might be found, are altogether apocryphal. For it is said, among other things: “A priest who has not taken the vow of a monk, who sins with a girl or a harlot, must do penance for two years, and for three Lents, on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, always with dry food; if it is with a female servant of God  or with a man a fast is added of five years, if it is habitual.” Similarly deacons, if they are not monks, as well as monks that are not in holy orders, [must do penance for] two years. A little later the following is inserted: “If a cleric who has not taken monastic vows commits an act of fornication, he must do penance for half a year; if he has done so frequently he must do a whole year of penance; if he is a canon, likewise; if frequently, two years.” 

Likewise, if one sins in the manner of the sodomites, some dictate ten years of penance. He who does so habitually must be punished more. If he holds a grade of order, he must be degraded and do penance as a layman. A man who fornicates between the thighs must do one year of penance. If he repeats the offense, he must do penance for two years. If he fornicates in the rear, he must do three years of penance. If he is a child, he must do two years of penance. If he fornicates with a sheep or a mule, he must do ten years of penance. Likewise, a bishop who sins with quadrupeds must do ten years of penance and lose his grade of order; a priest, five years; a deacon, three; a cleric, two; and many other erroneous and sacrilegious machinations of the devil are found inserted into the sacred canons, which to us would be more pleasing to obliterate than to read better to spit, than to write such vain foolishness on paper. 

Behold, sodomites trust in these inanities; they give faith to them as to a portent from dreams and delude themselves with the assurance of a vain hope. But let us see if these agree with canonical authority, so that, whether they should be affirmed or rejected, they should be made known not so much by the testimony of words as by the testimony of facts.

XII 

THE JUSTIFIABLE REJECTION OF THE ABOVE LAWS 

Therefore, to return to the beginning of this deceptive law code, it is said that a priest who has not taken monastic vows, and who sins with a girl or with a harlot, must do two years of penance. And who is so stupid, who is so insane, to believe that a penance of two years for a priest caught in fornication is appropriate? For whether one has only a minimal acquaintance with canonical authority or the greatest knowledge, he would freely acknowledge that if a priest falls into fornication, a penance of at least ten years should be decreed, not to mention stricter punishments. However, this penance of two years for fornication is not only not considered to be applicable to priests, but not even to the laity who, fleeing from this ruin to satisfaction, are given a sentence of three years. Then the following is added: “If one sins with a female servant of God, or with a male (with the understanding that a priest is meant), a fast is added; that is, of five years, if it is habitual.” likewise deacons, if they are not monks, must do penance for two years, as also must monks who do not hold a grade of order.


I eagerly gaze upon one thing in the section of this nonsensical decree upon which I am expounding, gladly turning my attention to it, because it is clearly stated, “If... with a female servant of God, or with a male.” Behold, O good man sodomite, in your own texts, which you so especially love, which you eagerly embrace, which you put forth as a shield of defense for yourself, you openly acknowledge that there is no difference if one sins with a female servant of God or with a male. However, for an equal sin there is the determination of an equal sentence. Now there is no basis for your disagreement with me, no way for you to rightly dissent from my arguments. Who is so out of his mind, who so profoundly incurs the darkness of blindness, that he would impose a penance of five years on a priest for sinning with a female servant of God (that is, a nun), or a penance of two years on a deacon or a monk? Is this not an insidious trap for the lost? Is this not a snare for straying souls? But who would be able to overrule what is stated that a cleric who fornicates with a girl, if he hasn’t taken monastic vows, must do half a year of penance? Who is so knowledgeable in Sacred Scripture, who stands out with such an abundance of expertise in dialectical subtlety, that he might presume to condemn such a law by the law itself, a blameworthy precedent whose authority is laudably detested? Whereas three years are given to the layman, for the cleric a half year of penance is prescribed? Blessed are the clerics who fornicate, if they are to be judged by the standards of sodomites; indeed, the same measure which they mete out to others, they wish to grant to themselves! This author of error, who extends the dogma of his perversity to the clerical order while he strives to ruin monks, is quite desirous of gaining souls for the devil, and because the death of monks alone cannot satisfy the gluttonous stomach of his malice, he desires to satisfy himself with the homicide of another class of souls. 

Let us then see what follows: If one sins like the sodomites, certain authorities dictate ten years of penance. He who does so habitually must be punished more. If he holds a grade of order, he is to be degraded and do penance as a layman. If a man fornicates between the thighs, he must do penance for one year. If he does so again, he must do penance for two years. If, however, he fornicates in the rear, he must do three years of penance. And given that sinning like a sodomite, as you yourselves adduce, must be nothing other than to fornicate in the rear, why is it that your canons in just one sentence are so various and multifarious that they burden those who sin as sodomites with ten years of penance, but then for those who fornicate in the rear which is the same thing they confine the laments of penance within the space of three years? Are these things not rightly compared to monsters, not produced by nature, but composed by human industry, certain ones of which begin with equine heads and end with the hooves of goats? 

So, to which canons, to which decrees of the Fathers do these laughable things correspond, which clash with each other with such dissonant faces, as if they had horns on their heads? If they overthrow themselves, on what authorities can they rely? “Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation; and house upon house shall fall. And if Satan be divided against himself, how shall his doctrine stand?”  For first they seem to apply a strict punishment, then to exhibit a cruel mercy, and like a chimerical monster here a menacing species of lion roars, and there a vile she-goat humbly blesses, and by this diversity of various appearances they provoke laughter rather than inspiring penitential lamentation. 

Those that follow are similarly erroneous: He who fornicates with sheep or a mule must do ten years of penance, and likewise a bishop who sins with quadrupeds must do ten years of penance and lose his grade of order; a priest, five; a deacon,three; a cleric, two. As the previous sentence absolutely states that whoever fornicates with a sheep or a mule will be sentenced to ten years of satisfaction, how is it consistent to add that to a priest five years, a deacon three years, and a cleric two years of penance should be applied for sexual relations with livestock? So anyone that is, any person, even if he is a layman is punished with suffering for a period of ten years, and then five years is imposed on a priest; that is, half of the penance is eliminated! 

I ask, to what pages of sacred eloquence coincide these tireless frivolities, which so evidently conflict with themselves? Who does not consider, who does not clearly see, that these and similar ones that are fraudulently mixed with these sacred canons are diabolical inventions and have been created for deceiving the minds of the simple by clever machination? For like honey or any tastier food, the poison is fraudulently admitted, so that while the sweetness of the food provokes one to eat, the poison, which lies hidden, enters more easily into the entrails. Thus, these deceitful and erroneous inventions are inserted into the sacred texts so as to escape the suspicion of fraud, and they are smeared, as it were, with a certain kind of honey, appearing flavored with the sweetness of a false piety. Avoid these things, whoever you might be, lest the song of the Sirens charm you with fatal sweetness, lest it plunge the ship of your soul in the chasm of the Scylla. The ocean of the holy councils should not perchance terrify you with its manifest austerity, and the shallow sandbanks of the apocryphal canons should not attract you with the promised gentleness of their turbulence. For often a ship that is fleeing the violent waves suffers a shipwreck as it approaches the sandy shore, and often when it cleaves to the high sea, it escapes unscathed without the loss of a burden. 

XIII 

THAT SUCH MOCKERIES ARE RIGHTLY EXCLUDED FROM THE LIST OF CANONS, BECAUSE THEIR AUTHORSHIP IS UNCERTAIN 

Who fabricated these canons? Who has presumed to plant such spiny, such prickly thorn bushes in the purple grove of the Church? It is exceedingly clear that all authentic canons are either formulated in venerable synodal councils or are promulgated by the holy fathers who are pontiffs of the Apostolic See, and it is not licit for just anyone to eliminate canons, but rather this privilege is enjoyed only by those who are chosen to preside in the see of the blessed Peter. However, these spurious shoots of canons of which we speak are both known to be excluded from the sacred councils and proven to be altogether alien to the decrees of the Fathers.

It therefore follows that those that appear not to have been issued by decrees of the Fathers nor by sacred councils are by no means to be accepted among the canons. For whatever is not numbered among the species, is, without a doubt, determined to be alien to the genus. If the name of the author is sought, it cannot be identified with certainty, because it is not uniformly indicated in various books. For in one it is attributed to Theodore, in another, to the Roman Penitential, in another, to the Canons of the Apostles. They are titled one way here, another way there, and when they do not have the merit of a single author, they undoubtedly lose all authority. For those which waver between so many uncertain authorities confirm nothing with certain authority, and it is necessary that those things that produce the darkness of uncertainty for readers may recede far from all doubt by the light of the Sacred Scriptures. 

Now, with these theatrical absurdities, in which the sodomites have trusted, eliminated from the list of the canons and convicted by the clear reasoning of arguments, let us set out those canons of whose trustworthiness and authority we have no doubt. Indeed, they are found in the Council of Ancyra.

XIV 

OF THOSE WHO FORNICATE IRRATIONALLY; THAT IS, WHO MIX WITH ANIMALS OR ARE POLLUTED WITH MALES 

Regarding these who have lived irrationally or continue to do so: Those who have committed such a crime before age twenty may be admitted to the communion of prayer after having done fifteen years of penance. Then, after five years in this communion, they may finally receive the sacraments of offering. However, their lives during the period of penance should be investigated before they obtain mercy, for if they insatiably adhere to these offenses, they should spend more time doing penance. Those who have reached twenty years of age and are married and fall into this sin must do twenty-five years of penance and are then received in the communion of prayer. After remaining in this state for five years, they may finally receive the sacraments of offering. But those who thus sin who have wives and have passed fifty years of age should receive the grace of communion at the end of their lives.

Behold, in the same inscription of this venerable authority we clearly see that not only those who fornicate in the rear, but also those who in any way are polluted with men, are compared in every respect with those who lie with animals. If we consider the interspersed words, we perceive that they have been placed there carefully and with very judicious discernment, as it is stated, “Those who mix with animals or are polluted with males.” For if with this phrase, “those who are polluted with males,” it had intended to indicate those who fornicate in the rear, it would not have been at all necessary for it to add two words, when only with “mix” it could have expressed its intention. 

It would have sufficed indeed for brevity of style if the whole sentence had been composed with one verb, saying, “those who mix with animals, or males.” For those who adulterate themselves in one sense are those who violate animals, and in another sense are those who violate males in the rear. But, as it says that some mix with animals, others not “mix” but “are polluted” with males, it is surely clear that at the end of the phrase it passes judgment not on corrupters of males, but on “polluters.” However, it should be noted that this regulation was principally instituted with regard to the laity, which is easily deduced from the words that follow: “Those who have committed such a crime before the age of twenty may be admitted to the communion of prayer after having done fifteen years of penance, then, after five years in this communion, they may finally receive the sacraments of offering.” 

If, therefore, any layman guilty of this crime is admitted to the communion of prayer after doing twenty-five years of penance but is not yet permitted to receive the sacraments of offering, how is it considered appropriate for a priest not only to receive but also to offer and to consecrate the sacred mysteries? If he is barely permitted to enter the church to pray with others, how is it that he can approach the altar of the Lord to intercede for others? If he does not have the right to hear the holy solemnities of masses before completing such a long period of penance, how is he worthy to solemnly celebrate them? If the former, who sinned less inasmuch as he walks the broad road of the world, is unworthy of receiving in his mouth the heavenly offering of the Eucharist, how will the latter be worthy to handle such a terrible mystery with polluted hands? Let us consult again the same Council of Ancyra and what it ordained for the same crime:

XV 

OF THOSE WHO WERE ONCE POLLUTED EITHER WITH ANIMALS OR WITH MALES, OR WHO CONTINUE TO LANGUISH IN THIS VICE

“Those who have lived irrationally and have polluted others with the leprosy of this grave offense are ordered by the holy synod to worship with those who are vexed by an impure spirit.”  As it plainly does not say those who “corrupt” others with the leprosy of this grave offense, but rather “pollute,” (which also agrees with the preceding title itself, which begins not with those who have been “corrupted” but those who have been “polluted”), it is certainly clear that if a man in any way has been polluted with another man through the ardor of lust, he is ordered to pray not among Catholic Christians, but among the demonically possessed. For if sodomites are unable on their own to understand what they are, they might in any case be taught by those with whom they are consigned to the common penitentiary of prayer. And it certainly is proper enough that those who trade their flesh to demons through such foul commerce against the law of nature, against the order of human reason, should receive a common place of prayer with the demonically possessed. For as human nature itself deeply resists these evils, and the lack of sexual difference is abhorrent, it is clearer than light that they never would have dared to engage in such perversities unless evil spirits had fully possessed them as “vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction.” But when they begin to possess them, they pour in the infernal poison of their malignity throughout the invaded heart that they fill, so that they might now eagerly desire not those things that a natural movement of the body demands, but that which only diabolic haste supplies. For when a man thrusts himself upon another man to commit impure acts, it is not from a natural carnal drive, but only the stimulus of diabolical impulse. 

Thus the holy Fathers, in their vigilance, sentenced sodomites to pray together with those who are demonically possessed, those whom they did not doubt of having been invaded by the same diabolic spirit. Therefore, how can a mediator stand between God and the people in the dignity of the priestly office, who, separated from the congregation of the whole people, is ordered to only pray among demoniacs? But now that we have undertaken to apply two testimonies from one sacred council, let us also introduce what the great Basil thinks about that vice which is currently being addressed, so that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand,” for he says:


XVI 

OF CLERICS OR MONKS WHO PERSECUTE MATES 

A cleric or monk who persecutes adolescents or children, or who is caught in a kiss or other occasion of indecency, should be publicly beaten and lose his tonsure, and having been disgracefully shaved, his face is to be smeared with spittle, and he is to be bound in iron chains, worn down with six months of imprisonment, and three days every week to fast on barley bread until sundown. After this, spending his time separated in his room for another six months in the custody of a spiritual senior, he should be intent upon the work of his hands and on prayer, subject to vigils and prayers, and he should always walk under the guard of two spiritual brothers, never again soliciting sexual intercourse from youth by perverse speech or counsel.

Here the sodomite should zealously consider whether he whom sacred authority judges to be dishonored with such ignominious, such reproachful indignity, is safely able to carry out ecclesiastical duties. Nor should he flatter himself for not having corrupted anyone in the rear, or for not having copulated between the thighs, when it is clearly written that he who is caught only in a kiss or other shameful occasion will be rightly subjected to all of those humiliations of shameful discipline.


For if a kiss is struck with a punishment of such severe retribution, what does fornication between the thighs merit? For punishing what crime, for what monstrous offense would it not suffice to be publicly beaten, to lose the tonsure, to be disgracefully shaven, to be smeared with the filth of saliva, to be confined for a great length of time, and furthermore to be bound in iron chains? And finally it is prescribed that he is to be fed on barley bread, because he who has become like a horse and a mule is not properly refreshed with the food of men, but is fed with the grain of mules. 

Moreover, if we fail to consider the weight of this sin, it is nonetheless clearly declared in the very judgment of penance which is imposed. For whoever is forced by canonical censure to submit to public penance is surely judged to be unworthy of ecclesiastical duties by the clear sentence of the Fathers. Thus the blessed Pope Siricius among other things wrote: “It was also appropriate for us to provide, that as it is not permitted to any of the clerics to do penance, thus also after penance and reconciliation it must not be permitted to any layman whomsoever to attain to the honor of the clerical office. For although they may be cleansed of all sin, those who were previously vessels of vices must not take up any of the instruments for conducting the sacraments.” Given, therefore, that Basil would instruct him who is guilty of this sin to undertake not only rigorous but also public penance, while Siricius prohibits the clerical orders from penance, it is obvious that he who has been polluted with the filthy baseness of lustful impurity with a male does not deserve to carry out ecclesiastical duties, nor is it fitting for those to handle the divine mystery, who, so to speak, were previously vessels of vices.

XVII 

THE PROPER CONDEMNATION OF SODOMITIC INDECENCY 

Certainly, this vice, which surpasses the savagery of all other vices, is to be compared to no other. For this vice is the death of  bodies, the destruction of souls, pollutes the flesh, extinguishes the light of the intellect, expels the Holy Spirit from the temple of the human heart, introduces the diabolical inciter of lust, throws into confusion, and removes the truth completely from the deceived mind. It prepares snares for the one who walks, and for him who falls into the pit, it obstructs the escape. It opens up hell and closes the door of paradise. It makes the citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem into an heir of the Babylonian underworld. From the star of heaven, it produces the kindling of eternal fire. It cuts off a member of the Church and casts him into the voracious conflagration of raging Gehenna. This vice seeks to topple the walls of the heavenly homeland and busies itself with repairing the old walls of scorched Sodom. For it is this which violates sobriety, kills modesty, slays chastity. It butchers virginity with the sword of a most filthy contagion. It befouls everything, it stains everything, it pollutes everything, and for itself it permits nothing pure, nothing foreign to filth, nothing clean. For “all things,” as the apostle states, “are clean to the clean: but to them that are defiled and to unbelievers, nothing is clean.” 

This vice eliminates men from the choir of ecclesiastical assembly and compels them to pray with those who are possessed and oppressed by the devil. It separates the soul from God, to unite it with demons. This most pestilent queen of the sodomites renders him who is submissive to the laws of her tyranny indecent to men and hateful to God. In order to sow impious wars against God, she requires a militancy of the most wretched spirit. She separates the unhappy soul from the fellowship of the angels, removing it from its nobility to place it under the yoke of her own domination. She strips her soldiers of the armaments of the virtues, and to strike them down, exposes them to the darts of every vice. In the Church she humiliates, and in the forum she condemns. She defiles in secrecy and dishonors in public. She gnaws the conscience like worms, burns the flesh like a fire, and pants with desire for pleasure. But in contrast she fears to be exposed, to come out in public, to be known by others. For whom should he not fear, who also dreads the participant in common ruin with fearful suspicion, lest the same man who sins with him become judge of the crime by confession, when he might not hesitate not only to confess his sin but also to name the one with whom he sinned? Just as one could not die by sin without the other dying, so each one offers the other the occasion of rising again, when he rises. 

His flesh burns with the fury of lust, his frigid mind trembles with the rancor of suspicion, and chaos now rages hellishly in the heart of the unhappy man while he is vexed by as many worries as he is tortured, as it were, by the torments of punishment. Indeed, once this most poisonous snake has sunk its teeth into an unhappy soul, sense is immediately taken away, memory is removed, the sharpness of mind is obscured; it becomes forgetful of God, it forgets even itself. This plague removes the foundation of faith, enervates the strength of hope, breaks the tie of charity, destroys justice, undermines fortitude, banishes temperance, and blunts the sharpness of prudence. And what more shall I say? Since indeed it expels every cornerstone of the virtues from the court of the human heart, it also, as if the bolts of the doors have been removed, introduces every barbarity of the vices. To this, indeed, is appropriately applied the declaration of Jeremiah regarding the earthly Jerusalem: “The enemy,” he says, “hath put out his hand to all her desirable things: for she hath seen the Gentiles enter into her sanctuary, of whom thou gavest commandment that they should not enter into thy church.”

Undoubtedly, whomever this most atrocious beast devours once with its cruel jaws, it binds from all good works and unleashes in every chasm of the most evil depravity. Whenever anyone falls into this abyss of most extreme perdition, he is exiled from the heavenly homeland, separated from the body of Christ, confounded by the authority of the whole Church, condemned by the judgment of all of the holy Fathers, despised among men on earth, and rejected from the fellowship of heavenly citizenry. Heaven is made for him like iron and earth like brass. Neither there can he arise, weighted down by the gravity of his fault, nor here can he hide his evils any longer under the concealment of ignorance. He cannot here rejoice while he lives, nor there hope when he dies, because he is forced now to bear the scorn of human derision, and then the torment of eternal damnation. 

Indeed, that expression of prophetic lamentation is quite fitting for such a soul, which states, “Behold, O Lord, for I am in distress, my bowels are troubled: my heart is turned within me, for I am full of bitterness: abroad the sword destroyeth, and at home there is death alike.”

XVIII 

A WEEPING LAMENTATION OVER SOULS SURRENDERED TO THE DREGS OF IMPURITY 

I myself, O unhappy soul, weep over you, and from the depths of my heart I sigh over your lot of perdition. I weep over you, I say, O miserable soul given over to the dregs of impurity, you who are to be lamented with a whole fountain of tears. For grief! “Who will give water to my head, and a fountain of tears to my eyes?” And this doleful expression, now elicited from me in sobs, is no less suitable than when it was borne from the mouth of the prophet. For it is not the stony bulwark of a turreted city, not the overturned buildings of a temple made by hands that I bewail, nor do I lament the columns of common men led captive to the empire of the Babylonian king; I mourn the noble soul, made in the image and likeness of God and united with the most precious blood of Christ, more glorious than many buildings, certainly to be preferred to all the pinnacles of earthly workmanship. 

Therefore I lament the fall of the eminent soul and the destruction of the temple in which Christ had dwelt. May my eyes fail from weeping, may they pour out abundant streams of tears, and may they water sad and mournful expressions with continuous crying. May my eyes spring forth tears with the prophet day and night, and may they not cease “because the virgin daughter of my people is afflicted with a great affliction, with a very sore plague, exceedingly.” Clearly the daughter of my people has been crushed with the worst of blows, because the soul, which had been the daughter of the holy Church, has been cruelly injured with the dart of impurity by the enemy of the human race, and she who was once tenderly and gently nurtured by the milk of sacred eloquence in the palace of the eternal king, is now seen lying rigid and swollen in the sulfturous embers of Gomorrah, pestilently corrupted by the poison of lust. For “they that were fed delicately have died in the streets; they that were brought up in scarlet have embraced the dung.”

Why? The prophet continues and says that it is because “the iniquity of the daughter of my people is made greater than the sin of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment.” Indeed, the evil of the Christian soul surpasses the sin of the Sodomites, because its sin is so much worse insofar as it despises the mandates of evangelical grace, and, so that it might not obtain the remedy of self-justifying subterfuge, it is vehemently reprimanded by its own knowledge of the divine law. Alas, alas, unhappy soul! Why do you not consider from what great height of dignity you must be cast, of what grace of splendor and glory you must be stripped? “How hath the Lord covered with obscurity the daughter of Sion in his wrath!” He has cast from heaven the glorious one of Israel,  all splendor has gone out from the daughter of Sion I, having compassion for your calamity, and most bitterly lamenting your disgrace, say, “Mine eyes have failed for tears, my bowels are troubled: my liver is poured out on the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people.” And you, failing to consider your evils and taking courage from your crime, say, “I sit a queen, and I am no 
widow!” I proclaim your captivity with pity: “Why is Jacob commanded like a homeborn slave, and why has Israel become a prey?”And you say, “I am rich and made wealthy and have need of nothing” and know not that “thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”

Consider, O wretched one, how much the darkness oppresses your soul. Take note how densely the fog of blindness envelops you. Has the fury of lust driven you towards the masculine sex? Has the madness of excess incited you to your own type; that is, man to man? Does a he-goat ever leap upon a he-goat, driven by lust? Does a ram jump upon a ram crazed by the ardor of sexual intercourse? A stallion gently and peacefully grazes in a single manger with another stallion, but having seen a mare, he is suddenly wild with the madness of desire. Never does a bull insolently approach another bull in sexual love, never does a male ass roar with a male ass in copulation. Therefore, degenerate men do not fear to perpetrate an act that even brute animals abhor. That which is done by the temerity of human depravity is condemned by the judgment of irrational cattle. 

Speak, O emasculated man! Respond, O effeminate man! What do you seek in a man, that you are unable to find in yourself what difference of sexes, what diverse features of members, what softness, what tenderness of carnal allurement, what pleasantness of a smooth face? The vigor of masculine appearance should frighten you, I entreat you, and your mind should abhor virile limbs. The purpose of the natural appetite is that each one seek externally what he is not able to find within the enclosure of his own means. If, therefore, the handling of masculine flesh delights you, turn your hands to yourself, and know that whatever you do not find in yourself, you seek in vain in another body. 

Woe to you, unhappy soul, the destruction of which saddens the angels, and which enemies insult by applause! You have become the prey of demons, the plunder of the cruel, the booty of the impious: “All thy enemies have opened their mouth against thee: they have hissed, and gnashed with the teeth, and have said: We will swallow her up: lo, this is the day which we looked for: we have found it, we have seen it.”

XIX 

THAT THE SOUL SHOULD BE MOURNED, BECAUSE IT DOES NOT MOURN 

Therefore I weep over you, O miserable soul, with so many lamentations, because I do not see you weeping. Therefore I lie prostrate on the ground on your behalf because I see you wickedly upright following such a grave fall, even wantonly striving towards the pinnacle of ecclesiastical order. Otherwise, if you had lowered yourself in humility, I, sure of your restoration, would have exulted in the Lord with all that is in me; if the worthy compunction of a contrite heart had shaken the hidden recesses of your soul, I would have rightly taken delight with a dance of ineffable joy. 

You are most greatly to be wept over, because you do not weep. You are in need of the sufferings of others because you do not feel the danger of your ruin, and you are to be wept over all the more by bitter tears of fraternal compassion because you are not troubled by your own sorrowful lamentation. Why do you neglect to consider the weight of your condemnation? Why do you not cease to store up wrath for yourself on the day of judgment by first submerging yourself in the depths of sin and then raising yourself up in arrogance? That curse is coming, is coming upon you, which was cast by the mouth of David against Joab and his house following the spilling of the blood of Abner. That pestilence of Gomorrah, which doomed the house of Joab in retribution of cruel homicide, now lives in the habitation of your body.

After Abner is struck down, David says: “I, and my kingdom are innocent ... forever of the blood of Abner the son of Ner: and may it come upon the head of Joab, and upon all his father’s house: and let there not fail from the house of Joab one that bears Gomorrah.” For which a second translation reads: “... that hath an issue of seed, and that is a leper holding the distaff, and that falleth by the sword, and that wanteth bread.” For he who is befouled by the stain of grave sin is sprinkled with leprosy. To hold a distaff, in fact, is to abandon the manly activity of a masculine life and to exhibit the alluring softness of feminine manners. He who falls by the sword is one who incurs the fury of divine indignation. He who is lacking in bread is restricted from the reception of the body of Christ by the penalty of his particular offense, for “this is the living bread that came down from heaven.” 

So if, O unworthy priest, you will be compelled by precept of law to remain outside the encampments after the leprous flow of semen is completed, why do you still strive to obtain even the preeminence of honor in those same encampments? Is it not true that Ozias the king, when he had haughtily wished to burn incense over the altar of incense, afterwards recognized that he had been struck by heaven with the disease of leprosy, and not only patiently accepted his expulsion from the temple by the priests, but rather himself made haste to quickly leave? Indeed it is written: “And when Azarias the priest looked upon him, and all of the remaining priests, they saw the leprosy on his forehead, and they quickly expelled him,” and then the following is added: “Yea himself also being frightened, hasted to go out, because he had quickly felt the stroke of the Lord.”

If the king, having been struck with corporeal leprosy, did not despise to be ejected from the temple by the priests, why do you, who are leprous in your soul, not suffer yourselves to be removed from the sacred altars in accordance with the judgment of so many of the holy Fathers? If he, having lost the authority of royal dignity, did not blush to live in an ordinary house until his death, why are you troubled about descending from the height of the sacerdotal office so that, enclosed in the tomb of penance as if dead, you might strive to join the ranks of the living? And, so that we might return to that mystical story of Joab, if you yourself fell by the sword, how will you raise another by priestly grace? If you are deservedly lacking bread that is, you are separated from Christ in your body how will you be able to satisfy another with the banquet of the celestial table? If you are struck on your forehead with the leprosy of Ozias that is, if you are disgraced by the sign of dishonor on your face—how will you be able to wash another clean of a perpetrated offense? 

May bloated pride blush, therefore, and not vainly seek to be raised above itself, as it weighs well below itself by the burden of its own guilt. May it learn to ponder its evils with subtle consideration, may it learn to contain itself humbly within its own limits, lest it arrogantly usurp that which it cannot obtain in any way and entirely lose even that for which true humility might have been able to hope. 

XX 

THAT THE SERVICE OF AN UNWORTHY PRIEST IS THE RUIN OF THE PEOPLE 

Why, I ask, O damnable sodomites, do you seek after the height of ecclesiastical dignity with such burning ambition? Why do you seek with such longing to snare the people of God in the web of your perdition? Does it not suffice for you that you cast your very selves off the high precipice of villainy, unless you also involve others in the danger of your fall?


If perchance someone comes to urge us to intercede on his behalf with some powerful man who is angry with him, but who is unknown to us, we should immediately respond that we cannot come to intercede, because we do not know him personally. If, therefore, one blushes to intercede with a man of whom he can presume nothing, by what reasoning does a man who does not know himself to be an intimate of the grace of God through a meritorious life, take up the duty of intercession with God on behalf of the people? How does he plead for pardon from God on behalf of others, if he doesn’t know if God is well disposed to him? Regarding which there is something else to be feared more anxiously: that he who is believed to be able to placate wrath might deserve this same wrath due to his own guilt. For all of us clearly know that when one who is displeasing is sent to intercede, he further provokes the one who is already annoyed. 

He, therefore, who is still held bound by terrestrial desires, should beware, lest, stoking ever more the ire of the strict Judge while he delights in his glorious position, he might become the cause of ruin to his subjects. Each one, therefore, should take wise measure of himself, lest he dare to act as a priest while vice continues to reign damnably within him, lest he, depraved by his own offense, seek to become an intercessor for the sins of others. Forbear therefore, forbear, and beware of inextinguishably inflaming the fury of God against you, lest by your prayers you more sharply provoke Him whom you patently offend by your evil acts, and while your ruin is certain, beware of being made guilty of the ruin of another. For the less you fall by sinning, the more easily you may rise again by the outstretched hand of penance, through the mercy of God. 

XXI 

THAT GOD DOES NOT WISH TO RECEIVE SACRIFICE FROM THE HANDS OF THE IMPURE

If the omnipotent God himself disdains to accept sacrifice from your hands, who are you, who presume to importunately thrust it upon Him who does not wish it? For the sacrifices of the impious are abominable to God. But to those among you who are angry with me and refuse to listen to the writer, at least listen to the one who speaks to you from the prophetic mouth. Listen to him, I say, declaring, thundering, rejecting your sacrifices, publicly denouncing your services. For Isaiah, select among the prophets indeed, the Holy Spirit by the mouth of Isaiah says: 

Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom, give ear to the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose do you offer me the multitude of your victims, saith the Lord? I am full, I have not desired holocausts of rams, and fat of fatlings, and blood of calves, and lambs, and buck goats. When you came to appear before me, who required these things at your hands, that you should walk in my courts? Offer sacrifice no more in vain: incense is an abomination to me. The new moons, and the Sabbaths, and other festivals I will not abide, your assemblies are wicked. My soul hateth your new moons, and your solemnities: they are become troublesome to me, I am weary of bearing them. And when you stretch forth your hands, I will turn away my eyes from you: and when you multiply prayer, 

I will not hear ... your hands are full of blood. 

Observe, therefore, that although the sentence of divine punishment must strike all of the evils of the vices in common, it is hurled chiefly upon the princes of the Sodomites and the people of Gomorrah, so that even if the temerity of the contentious refuses to believe human testimony regarding the nature of this mortal vice, it might at least acquiesce to divine testimony. However, if someone objects that the following is added to the prophetic statement: “your hands are full of blood” so that in this declaration of divine invective he wishes homicide, rather than carnal impurity, to be understood he will discover in the divine utterances that all sins are called “blood.” To this David attests, saying, “Deliver me from bloods, O God.” Yet if we also seek to carefully examine the nature of this vice and to recall to mind the maxims of the natural philosophers, we find that the flow of semen is generated from blood. For as by the agitation of the winds the water of the sea is converted into foam, so by the touching of the genitals, blood is made into semen by excitation. 

Therefore, one is not far from a proper understanding if one interprets “your hands are full of blood” as meaning the pestilence of impurity. And perhaps this was because the vengeance against Joab proceeded from none other than the guilt of spilled blood, so that he who had willfully spilled the blood of another would be struck with a worthy punishment if he suffered unwillingly the outflowing of his own blood. But as we have arrived, through a long disputation, at the point of clearly showing the Lord himself reprobating and resoundingly prohibiting the sacrifices of those who are unclean, why are we sinners surprised if we are scorned by such people for our admonitions? If we note that the authority of divine utterance is little heeded by the hardened heart of the reprobate, is it any wonder if we, who are on earth, are not believed?

XXII 

THAT NO HOLY OFFERING IS RECEIVED BY GOD IF IT IS STAINED BY THE FILTH OF IMPURITY 

So now, he who disdains the venerable councils of the holy Fathers, who despises the precepts of the apostles and of apostolic men, who has not feared to disregard the edicts of canonical punishment, and who thinks little of the rule of divine authority itself, is at least to be admonished to place the day of his summons before his eyes, and should not doubt that the more he sins, the more harshly he will he be judged. As is said by the angel using the metaphor of Babylon, “As much as she hath glorified herself and lived in delicacies, so much torment and sorrow give ye to her.”

He should be admonished to consider that, however long he does not cease to suffer from the malady of this vice, even if he is acknowledged as having done some good, he does not deserve to receive a reward. No religiosity, no self-mortification, no perfection of life which is soiled by such filthy impurity will be deemed worthy in the eyes of the celestial Judge. However, to prove that these things are true, let the testimony of the venerable Bede be presented: 

He who thus gives alms while not discharging his guilt, does not redeem his soul which he does not restrain from vices. This is demonstrated by the actions of that hermit who, having many virtues, had entered into the eremitic life with a certain associate of his. The thought was injected into him by the devil that whenever his sexual passions were excited he should discharge his semen by the rubbing of his genital member, just as he might expel mucus from the nostrils. For this reason, as he died he was turned over to demons while his companion watched. Then the same companion, who was ignorant of his guilt, and recalling his virtuous exercises, almost despaired, saying, “Who can be saved if this man has perished?” Then an angel standing by said to him, “Do not be troubled, for this man, although he might have accomplished much, has nonetheless soiled everything by that vice which the apostle calls ‘impurity.' 

XXIII 

THAT ALL OF THE ABOVE NAMED FORMS CONSTITUTE SODOMY 

Therefore, no one should flatter himself that he has not fallen with someone else if he slips into these defilements of sensual enticement by himself, as that unhappy hermit who is turned over to demons at the moment of death should be understood not to have polluted another, but to have ruined himself by defilement. Just as from one planting of a vine various shoots spring forth, so from one sodomitic impurity, as a most poisonous root, those four growths enumerated above rise up, so that whoever might pick the pestilential grapes from any one of them likewise perishes, immediately infected with the poison. 

For their vine is from the vineyard of the Sodomites, and their offshoots are from Gomorrah. “Their grapes are grapes of  gall, and their clusters most bitter.” For this serpent, which we labor to crush with the stake of our argument, has four heads, and he injects all of the poison of his wickedness with the tooth of whichever head has bitten. Therefore, whether one pollutes only himself, or another by fondling him with his hands, or copulating between the thighs, or even violating him in the rear, regardless of such distinctions he is without a doubt guilty of having committed a sodomitic offense. For we do not read that those residents of Sodom only fell into the rear ends of others, but rather it is to be believed that, following the impulse of unrestrained lust, they carried out their indecencies in various ways on themselves or on others. 

Clearly if some place of indulgence were to be provided in the ruin of this vice, to whom would forgiveness be more applicable than to that hermit, who sinned without knowing, who fell in the ignorance of his simplicity, who concluded that it was permitted to him as a duty of natural obligation? May such wretched people learn, may they learn to restrain themselves from the pestilence of such a detestable vice, to manfully overcome the alluring lasciviousness of sexual desire, to repress the wanton incitement of the flesh, to fear deeply the terrible sentence of divine punishment, ever calling to mind that maxim of apostolic admonition, which states, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” They should also recall that which the prophet menacingly cries out, saying that in the fire of the zeal of the Lord all the earth will be devoured, and all flesh in his sword.

For if carnal men are to be devoured by the divine sword, why do they now damnably love the same flesh? Why do they weakly cede to the pleasures of the flesh? It is undoubtedly that sword, which the Lord through Moses points at sinners, saying, “I shall whet my sword as the lightning,” and again, “My sword shall devour flesh” that is, my fury will swallow those who live in the delight of the flesh. For just as those who fight against the abominations of the vices are supported by the help of heavenly virtue, so those who, to the contrary, are given to the impurity of the flesh, are reserved for the sole sentence of  divine vengeance. Thus Peter also says, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly from temptation, but to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be tormented: and especially them who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness.” And scolding them elsewhere, he says, “... counting for a pleasure the delights of a day: stains and spots, sporting themselves to excess, rioting in their feasts with you: having eyes full of adultery and of sin that ceaseth not.” 

Those who have been placed in holy orders should not glory if they live detestably, because the higher they stand, the further they fall, and because they should now excel others in a life of holy conversation, they will later be required to endure more severe punishments. As Peter states, “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but delivered them, drawn down by infernal ropes to the lower hell, unto torments, to be reserved unto judgment.... And reducing the cities of the Sodomites and of the Gomorrhites into ashes, condemned them to be overthrown, making them an example to those that should after act wickedly.”
Why does the holy apostle turn to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah after relating the fall of diabolical damnation, unless it is to clearly show that those who are now given to the vice of impurity will be damned to eternal punishment along with the unclean spirits, and that those who are now vexed by the ardor of sodomitic lust must later burn in the flame of perpetual combustion with the very author of all iniquity? 

The apostle Jude most appropriately agrees with this view as well, saying, “The angels who kept not their principality but forsook their own habitation, he hath reserved under darkness in everlasting chains, unto the judgment of the great day. As Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbouring cities, in like manner, having given themselves to fornication and going after other flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.” It is therefore clear, that just as the angels who do not recognize their superior position deserve to suffer in the darkness of the underworld, so also those who fall from the dignity of holy orders into the chasm of sodomy, are rightly plunged into the abyss of perpetual damnation. 

To briefly conclude, whoever has soiled himself with the contamination of sodomitic disgrace, in whatever way distinguished above, unless he is cleansed by the fulfillment of fruitful penance, can never have the grace of God, will never be worthy of the body and blood of Christ, and will never cross the threshold of the celestial homeland, as is manifestly declared in the Book of Revelation by the apostle John, who, while speaking of the glory of the heavenly kingdom, adds: “There shall not enter into it anyone defiled and that worketh abomination.”

XXIV 

AN EXHORTATION TO THE MAN WHO HAS FALLEN INTO SIN, THAT HE MIGHT RISE AGAIN 

Arise, arise, I implore you! Wake up O man who sinks in the sleep of wretched pleasure! Revive at last, you who have fallen by the lethal sword before the face of your enemies! The apostle Paul is here! Hear him, hear him proclaiming, urging, rousing, crying out to you with clear maxims: “Rise, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead: and Christ shall awaken thee.”

You who hear Christ the reviver, why do you despair of your own resuscitation? Hear it from his own mouth: “He that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live.” If Life the vivifier wishes to raise you up, why do you bear to continue lying in your death? Beware then, beware, lest the abyss of despair swallow you up. May your soul faithfully trust in divine kindness, lest it become hardened in impenitence by the magnitude of the crime. For it is not sinners who despair, but the impious, nor is it the magnitude of offenses that leads the soul into despair, but rather impiety. For if only the devil was able to submerge you in the depths of this vice, how much more is the strength of Christ able to return you to that pinnacle from which you fell? Shall he that fell rise again no more?

The ass of your flesh, under the weight of a burden, has fallen into the mud; it is the spur to penance which pricks, it is the hand of the Spirit, which vigorously extracts it. That most strong Samson, because he wrongly disclosed the secret of his heart to a coaxing woman, not only lost seven strands of hair by which his strength was maintained, but also, after being captured by the Philistines, lost his eyes. However, after his hairs had regrown, he humbly requested the help of the Lord God, leveled the temple of Dagon, and annihilated a much greater number of the enemy than he had before.

Therefore, if your unchaste flesh has deceived you by enticing you to pleasures, if it has taken away the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, if it has extinguished the light not of the countenance, but of the heart, do not falter in your courage, do not despair utterly; continue to gather your strength, strive manfully, dare to attempt the courageous, and you will be able to triumph, by the mercy of God, over your enemies. The Philistines certainly were able to shave the hair of Samson, but not to uproot it, and so although evil spirits have excluded the charisms of the Holy Spirit from you for a while, by no means are they able to irrecoverably deny the remedy of divine reconciliation. 

How, I ask, are you able to despair of the abundant mercy of the Lord, who even rebuked Pharaoh for not fleeing to the remedy of penance after sinning? Hearken to what he says: “I have crushed the arms of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he has not asked to be given health, and for strength to be returned to him for grasping the sword.” What ought I say of Achab, the king of Israel? After he constructed idols, after he impiously slaughtered Naboth the Jezrahelite, he was finally partially humiliated and also partially found mercy. For, according to the Scripture, after receiving the terror of divine warning, “he rent his garments, and put haircloth upon his flesh, and fasted and slept in sackcloth, and walked with his head cast down.”  

What followed? “The word of the Lord came to Elias, the Thesbite, saying: Hast thou not seen Achab humbled before me? Therefore, because he hath humbled himself for my sake, I will not bring the evil in his days.” Therefore, if the penance of that man who is known to have persevered is not despised, why do you despair of the abundance of the divine mercy, if you indefatigably strive to persevere? Enter into a constant struggle with the flesh, and always stand armed against the importunate fury of lust. If the flame of wantonness burns in your bones, the recollection of perpetual fire should immediately extinguish it. If the clever deceiver presents you with the sleek beauty of the flesh, your mind should immediately turn its eye to the graves of the dead and carefully note what there is agreeable to touch or delightful to see. It should thus consider that the slime that now stinks intolerably, that the pus that gives birth to worms and feeds them, that whatever dust, whatever dry ashes are seen there to lie, were once joyful flesh that was subject to passions of this kind during its youth. Finally, it should imagine the rigid tendons, the bare teeth, the separated structure of bones and joints, and the whole composition of members chaotically dispersed. A monster of such terrible deformity and jumbled likeness expels illusion from the human heart. 

Consider, therefore, how perilous is the exchange: for a momentary pleasure, in which semen is ejected in an instant, the punishment that follows does not end for thousands of years! Consider how wretched it is that, for the sake of one member whose enjoyment is now fulfilled, the whole body together with the soul is perpetually tormented by the most dreadful conflagration of flames! Repulse such imminent evils with the impenetrable shields of this thought and others of the same kind, and eliminate those of the past through penance. Let fasting break the arrogance of the flesh, and let the soul be enlarged, fattened by feasts of prayer. In this way, the presiding spirit may restrain the subjected flesh by the bridle of discipline and strive daily to hasten to the heavenly Jerusalem by steps of fervent desire.

XXV 

THAT FOR THE TAMING OF SEXUAL DESIRE, IT SHOULD BE SUFFICIENT TO CONTEMPLATE THE REWARDS OF CHASTITY 

In work there is also recompense, so you should incessantly consider the promised rewards of chastity, and roused by their sweetness, pass over any opposing scheme of the clever entrapper with the unimpeded foot of faith. For if one meditates on the happiness that is not obtained without toil, the labor is easily carried out, and the hired laborer lightens the tedium of work while eagerly anticipating the earnings that are owed to him. 

Consider, therefore, what is said of the soldiers of chastity by the prophet: “Thus saith our Lord to the eunuchs: They that shall keep my sabbaths, and shall choose the things that I would, and shall hold my covenant, I will give unto them in my house and within my walls a place, and a name better than sons and daughters.” Indeed, eunuchs are those who repress the insolent impulses of the flesh and cut away from themselves the performance of perverse acts. However, most of those who are devoted to the pleasure of carnal attraction long to leave behind themselves a memory of their name through the posterity of descendants. This they desire with all their heart, because by no means do they regard themselves as dying completely to this world if they perpetuate the glory of their name through the surviving bud of descendants who remain. But much more gloriously and much more happily do the celibate accept the same office for which the common man is inflamed by such passions of fervent ambition, because their memory always lives with Him who is eternal, and not subject to temporal law. Therefore, by divine declaration, a name better than that of sons and daughters is promised to the eunuchs, because they deserve to possess in perpetuity, without any hindrance of oblivion, the memory of a name that the posterity of children would have been able to extend through a brief space of time. For “the just shall be in everlasting remembrance.” 

In the Book of Revelation it is also said through John, “And they shall walk with me in white, because they are worthy ... and I will not blot out their name out of the book of life,”— and there again it is said, “These are they which are not defiled with women. For they are virgins. These follow the Lamb whithersoever he shall go,” and what song they sing, no one can say, except that 144,000. Indeed, the virgins sing that special song to the Lamb because they perpetually exult with him over the incorruption of the flesh before all the faithful. Clearly, others among the just cannot sing the same song, although those having the same beatitude might deserve to hear it, because in charity they indeed look joyfully upon their high position, yet do not rise to the level of their reward. For this reason it is to be considered and reconsidered in our mind with all zeal, how dignified and how excellent it is to be elevated to the summit of that place where it is perfect happiness to be among even the lowest; there the exalted in privilege ascend, where it is most blessed to preserve the equal rights of equity. Doubtlessly, as the Truth testifies, not everyone takes this proverb in this generation, and thus not all ultimately arrive at that glory of exceptional reward. 

These things, and many others of this kind, beloved brother, whoever you are, consider in the hidden places of your soul, and with all strength make haste to keep your flesh pure from all pestilence of lust, so that, in accordance with the decree of apostolic doctrine, you might know how to possess your vessel “in sanctification and honor, not in the passion of lust, like the Gentiles that know not God.” If you still stand, beware the precipices, but if you have slipped, faithfully extend your hand to the hook of penance which is available everywhere, so that you who were not able to live far from Sodom with Abraham, may be able to emigrate with Lot, even as the fiery destruction is already urging. For you who had not been able to enter the port, may it at least suffice to have avoided shipwreck from the wave you endured, and may it be pleasing to you who have not merited to arrive in the bay without loss, having disembarked upon the sands following the danger, to sing the song of the blessed Jonah in a cheerful voice: “All thy billows, and thy waves passed over me. And I said: I am cast away out of the sight of thy eyes: but yet I shall see thy holy temple again.”

XXVI 

WHERE THE WRITER DEFENDS HIMSELF HONORABLY 

If, however, this little book might have reached the hands of anyone whose conscience cannot at all bear what is written above, and is by chance displeased by it, and accuses me of being a traitor and an informer of the crimes of my brothers, he should know that I have sought with all zeal the favor of the interior Judge, but do not fear the hatred of the depraved or the tongues of detractors. Indeed, I prefer to be thrown innocent into a well with Joseph, who accused his brothers of the worst of crimes to their father, than to be punished by the retribution of divine fury with Eli, who saw the evil of his children and was silent.

For, knowing that the divine voice threatens frighteningly by the mouth of the prophet saying, “If you see your brother doing evil, and you do not correct him, I will require his blood from your hand,” who am I to watch such a noxious crime spreading among those in holy orders and keeping silent, to dare to await the accounting of divine punishment as the murderer of another’s soul, and to begin to be made a debtor of that guilt of which I had been by no means the author? Moreover, while the Scripture says, “Cursed be he that withholdeth his sword from blood,” you urge me to place the sword of my tongue in a sheath of silence, so that it itself might perish while it rusts in disfavor, and be of no use to others while it does not pierce the faults of those who live depraved lives! 

Indeed, to prohibit the sword from blood is to restrain the word of correction from striking carnal ways of life. Of which sword again it is said, “From his mouth came out a sharp two-edged sword.” For how am I loving my neighbor as myself, if I negligently allow the wound, by which I do not doubt him to be dying a cruel death, to fester in his soul? Seeing therefore the spiritual wounds, should I neglect to cure them by the surgery of words? The eminent preacher who believes himself to be clean of the blood of others insofar as he does not refrain from punishing their vices, does not teach me thus. For he says, “Wherefore I take you to witness this day that I am clear from the blood of all men. For I have not spared to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” I am not so instructed by John, who is instructed by the angelic admonition, “He that heareth, let him say: Come” indeed, so that he who receives the interior call might bring others with him by also crying out, lest even he who is called find the doors closed if he approaches alone the one who calls him. 

If you think that it is right to rebuke me who rebukes, and, so to speak, to accuse me of presumptuous accusation, why do you not reproach Jerome, who disputes so caustically against various sects of heretics? Why do you not censure Ambrose, who preaches publicly against the Arians, and why not Augustine, the severe disputant who inveighs against the Manicheans and the Donatists? You say to me, “They acted rightly, because they reviled heretics and blasphemers, but you do not fear to do the same to Christians.” To which I briefly respond: just as they struggled to return to the flock those who had left and were lost, so it is also our intention to prevent the exit of those who in some way remain inside. They once said, “They went out from us, but they were not of us. For if they had been of us, they would no doubt have remained with us.”— And we say, “They indeed are with us, but in a bad way. Therefore let us strive, if it be possible, that hereafter they might be with us in a good way.” 

This also we add, that if the worst sin is blasphemy, I do not know in what sense sodomy is better. For the former causes men to stray, the latter, to perish. The former separates the soul from God; the latter joins it to the devil. The former expels it from paradise; the latter plunges it into Tartarus. The former blinds the eyes of discernment; the latter casts into an abyss of ruin. And if we take care to investigate with precision which of the two crimes weighs more heavily on the scale of divine 
judgment, the Sacred Scripture, having been consulted, more clearly teaches us. There the children of Israel, who blaspheme God by worshiping idols, are lead into captivity, but the Sodomites are found to have been devoured in the flames of heavenly fire and sulfur. 

I have not presented the holy doctors so that I might presume to compare the smoking firebrand to the bright stars I indeed who am hardly able to commemorate such excellent men with my unworthy mouth without committing an offense! However, I say that what they have done by reproaching and confounding vices, they have also taught their inferiors to do, and if in their time this plague had arisen with such liberty of impudence, we believe without a doubt that copious volumes of books written against it would be seen today. Therefore, no one should judge me for arguing against a mortal vice, given that I do not seek opprobrium, but rather the advancement of fraternal well-being otherwise, while persecuting the one who rebukes, one might seem to favor the offender. 

To use the words of Moses, “If any man be on the Lord’s side, let him join with me.” That is to say that anyone who considers himself to be a soldier of God should fervently gird himself to confound this vice, should not cease to fight it with all of his strength, and should endeavor to run it through and destroy it with the sharpest darts of words, wherever it might be found. So when the captor is engulfed by a thick array of troops, the captive might be freed from those fetters with which he had been enslaved, and when all unanimously cry out in one consonant voice against the tyrant, he who was being carried away is immediately ashamed of being made the prize of the raging monster. He who does not doubt, by the testimony of many bearing witness, that he is being carried away to death, should not be slow to return to life as soon as possible after coming to his senses. 

XXVII 

WHERE A STATEMENT IS ADDRESSED TO THE LORD POPE 



Now to you, most blessed pope, we return at the end of this little work. To you we recall the point of our pen, so that the ending of the work that has been carried out might be rightly completed for him to whom the beginning is directed. We therefore request and humbly implore that your clemency, if it is right to say so, carefully examine the decrees of the sacred canons, which are already well known to you, and that you designate spiritual and prudent men for this necessary investigation, so you might respond to us regarding these chapters in order to remove every scruple of doubt from our heart. 

Nor do we thus presume to say this as if we do not know how to apply to this matter the expertise of your profundity alone, which has God as its author, but so that when the testimony of sacred authority is applied, when the matter is resolved by the consensus and judgment of many, the accusations of perverse men, which perhaps they would not have blushed to mutter in opposition, might be laid to rest. For what is established by the judgment of many is not easy to dispute. However, it is often the case that a decision which is rendered by one individual in consideration of the impartiality of the law, is regarded as prejudiced by others. 

Therefore, after having diligently inspected the four types of this vice which we enumerated above, may your Beatitude deign to mercifully instruct me with a decree determining who among the guilty must be irrevocably cast from ecclesiastical order, and who, in preference of discretion, may be mercifully permitted to remain in this office. Regarding which form of the above-mentioned vices and number of accomplices may an offender be allowed to continue in ecclesiastical dignity, and for which form and number of accomplices with whom he was soiled is he to be compelled to cease from those duties? Thus many who are laboring under the same ignorance may be instructed by that which is directed to one, as the light of your authority dispels the darkness of our uncertainty, and, so to speak, the plow of the Apostolic See radically uproots the sprout of all error from the field of wavering conscience. 

May almighty God grant, O most reverend father, that in the time of your apostolate the monster of this vice may utterly perish, and the condition of the prostrate Church might everywhere be restored in accordance with the laws of its youth.