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W, those are questions from and observations on the old Adamic man; as you are spiritually born again, that old nature passes and you are made alive with Christ and the Holy Spirit guiding you and making intercession for you. Rely on that for arbitrating truth.

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I have had many confess to me these things, and they dont even specifically believe they are real.

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Precisely. Ostrich with head in the ground. They want to love in a fantasy.

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I have had those dreams. Part of what is terrifying is how vivid they were and impressed themselves so much on my forgetful mind that i did not forget. I can never remember dreams. But these dreams i could remember the whole beginning and conclusion. One I had some years before i worked in the funeral industry. I was in a medieval stone labyrinth. Walking through hall, i came to a crosse room with a stone octagonal riser in the center, and in the center of that a oak lectern. On the lecturn was a large bible, open for reading. I began to read it and then suddenly satan entered and was briskly and aggressively walked toward me, full of hateful rage. His form was this terrifying, upright lizard entity with grey scales. The hatred emanating all around him was as absolutely terrifying as what came out of his mouth like fire. I griped the lectern and bible as he kept circling me, spewing hateful invective, terrifying me to my core. He could not step up on the riser and he could not lay a bony finger on me. The terror quickly became so intense that i jumped off the riser and dashed into a pitch black door opening behind me on the wall. I was falling down a shaft darker than dark with lightning bolts streaking around me. I then shrieked the name JESUS! And awoke, terrified. That dream haunted me forever like i forsook God. Ten+ years later i began to work in a massive old stone palace as a cemetery manager. The first 7 years were the embodiment of that dream. Looking back about a year ago God blessed me with a realization: “Yes, the dream foretold that this would happen and that you would flee into the darkness of fear, but my light was with you, and you called upon Jesus and awoke from the satanic nightmare and trial of your spirit.”

I have had many of those, but that was the most terrifying.

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I thought it was just me...I'll pray for you; please pray for me.

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May 13, 2023·edited May 13, 2023

I replied to you too yesterday, and I get what you’re saying, and I also rather hate being an American who engages in what looks like … attacking America. I hate it, yet Rod is right.

Here’s how I at least parse this difference. If America is good and to be defended and loved as our home country, we need to recognize the ugly truth that she has been hijacked. This shows at various levels. For one, her cultural production, nearly all of what we might call soft power, i.e. her cultural projection onto the world, is toxic. There’s no getting around this. To live outside the US, in any culture that has not yet been thoroughly Kool-Aided, is to face the painful fact: “My culture monthly pumps literally tons of ideological sewage into this people’s cities and homes and schools.” I’m talking mainly about US films, pop culture, music videos—each now explicit vehicles for the woke ideologies already wreaking havoc inside America itself. I think the US still does good on various fronts, yes, but in culture, we are now a virus.

Given this status quo, I too want to say “This is not the real America,” but c’mon, as time goes on, that gets harder and harder. Because it’s this virus aspect of America that is projected globally. And when it then goes beyond just Hollywood exports, and becomes official US policy, as Rod has documented with US political pressure on Hungary, what is one to say? Where then is “the real America”?

Living inside the US while “living not by lies” is getting harder and harder, but that too only underlines my point. She is hijacked.

I think Rod sees this same dynamic, which doesn’t at all mean he “loses faith” or thinks “the fight isn’t worthwhile”. Only that: Those fighting now as underdogs have to recognize what the current lead dogs have turned “America” into.

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Thanks, Eric, this is how I feel. I love America. It's my home. Even if I never move back there to live again, I will die an American. But I can't be like the man Chesterton mocked, the one who says, "My mother, drunk or sober." I believe that repentance is always possible, for societies and countries as much as individuals. But it is pretty clear that the US is going headlong into deep decadence, and, as Eric says, is pumping that decadence out around the world. I didn't really understand how that worked until I lived for some time overseas, and observed up close how angry and powerless others with more traditional cultures and beliefs feel in the face of it. I saw tonight a new video clip from Rahm Emanuel, the US Ambassador to Japan, calling once again on the Japanese government to legalize same-sex marriage. Who the hell is the US Ambassador to interfere with Japanese society like this?! It's the *arrogance* of these Americans. If I were the US President, I would never in a million years countenance my government's ambassadors lobbying liberal countries to repeal their laws permitting same-sex marriage. It's not America's business. But this is the way America rolls now. Maybe it always was. We are trashing our own country and its culture and society, and we are determined to make sure the rest of the world becomes as corrupt and as miserable as we are. So, yes, we have to fight, but we can't fight effectively without recognizing what has been done and is being done to our beloved country.

Forgive me if this offends, but here are some of the lyrics to "W.A.P.", which was the most popular song in the US a couple of summers back. The title means "Wet Ass Pussy." The singers are Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. All the verses are like this sample:

<<Tie me up like I'm surprised

Let's roleplay, I wear a disguise

I want you to park that big Mack truck right in this little garage

Make me dream, make a stream

Out in public, make a scene

I don't cook, I don't clean

But let me tell you, I got this ring (ayy, ayy)

Gobble me, swallow me, drip down the side of me (yeah)

Quick, jump out 'fore you let it get inside of me (yeah)

I tell him where to put it, never tell him where I'm 'bout to be

I run down on him 'fore I have a (ayy) runnin' me

Talk yo' sh-, bite your lip (yeah)

Ask for a car while you ride that (ah) (while you ride that)

You really ain't never gotta (mwah) him for a thing

He already made his mind up 'fore he came

Now get your boots and your coat for this wet and gushy

He bought a phone just for pictures of this wet and gushy

Pay my tuition just to kiss me on this wet and gushy (mwah, mwah, mwah)

Now make it rain if you wanna see some wet and gushy (yeah)

Look, I need a hard hitter, I need a deep (ah)

I need a Henny drink, I need a (woo) smoker

Not a garden snake, I need a king cobra

With a hook in it, hope it lean over>>

This is pornography. This is utterly artless filth, celebrating (among other things) prostitution. Yet it set streaming records in the summer of 2020. Yes, the cultural elites praised it, but the public loved it too. Here's an NPR "All Things Considered" interview with "cultural critic" Taylor Crumpton, explaining the cultural significance of "W.A.P.", which host Ari Shapiro described as "a vivid celebration of women's sexual pleasure" : https://www.npr.org/transcripts/902659822

Excerpt:

<<CRUMPTON: Meg Thee Stallion and Cardi B are so iconic in this sense because we're doing this gender-flip where, in lieu of rappers talking about how they're being pleasured by all of these various women, we're hearing these women rappers saying, we are women rappers, and if you need to come, you know, step to me, you have to be able to fill my sexual needs, and these are what they are.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WAP")

CARDI B: (Singing) I want you to park that big Mack truck right in this little garage. Make me dream...

SHAPIRO: The reaction to this and then the counterreaction that I've seen is, like, oh, it's kind of reassuring to know that hip-hop can still make the grown-ups uncomfortable. I think that puritanical strain was perhaps best captured by the conservative commentator Ben Shapiro - no relation - who read some of the song lyrics in a clip that went viral.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BEN SHAPIRO: Beat it up, N-word. Catch a charge. Extra large and extra hard. Put this P-word right in your face. Swipe your nose like a credit card.

SHAPIRO: Taylor, is this one of those situations where there's no such thing as bad publicity, like the outrage has actually given the artists a boost?

CRUMPTON: With Cardi B and Megan, there's this element of misogynoir because they are Black women, and we're seeing yet again this kind of historical cycle where this cis-gender heterosexual white man is getting clicks, which will accumulate to revenue to his site, for making a mockery of Black women's sexuality. It's not even press; it's that it's, in fact, a mockery and a violence because he's dehumanizing Megan and Cardi, who have already been subjugated to this for the remainder of their career.>>

It's Ben Shapiro, the "cisgender heterosexual white man," who has dehumanized Megan and Cardi -- not Megan and Cardi, for depicting themselves as animalistic prostitutes. This is what passes for cultural criticism on National Public Radio. More importantly, this song was a massive, massive popular hit.

This is what our country has turned into. It's not the only story of America today, but it is impossible to deny that in a general sense, America has become decadent and corrupt. I wish it weren't the case. I pray that she will turn away from this evil. But we have to see with clear eyes. I used to joke that my sentimental mother loves her grandchildren so uncritically that if one of them were caught and charged with human trafficking, Mama would say, "My darling grandchild was just trying to help those girls find a better life and make a living in America." It's a joke in our family. We can't be that way about our country, though (or, for that matter, our kids).

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May 15, 2023·edited May 15, 2023

What our elites refuse to look at is that this 24/7 blasting of our Sexual Transgression Olympics, added to State Department messaging to the effect that “Join us or there will be consequences,” is pushing many nations to look for options. Dedollarization is speeding up, political alliances are shifting—in many regions shifting *away* from us. Most right-thinking liberals will lament how Trump’s crassness undermines America’s stature, while meanwhile cheering on Sam Brinton to represent us officially. Obviously, Trump’s crassness hardly registers for much of the globe, while Brinton and Cardi and “top surgery” for teen girls scream loud and clear.

That our elites, even in the State Department, are now explicit allies of hip hop and Brintonite sexual ideology is something new, and it’s both wrong and, diplomatically speaking, unwise. We have zero business lecturing foreign cultures on something as culturally encoded as sex, and those foreign cultures know this.

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I used to donate monthly to my local NPR station in Philly. I (half) joke that it was a story about WAP that began to wake me up to the hell that is the left. The dorky NPR host voice talking about WAP like it was Bach just made me want to scream and then throw up. Around that time, there was also a story on an NPR show at 11 am (!) about the BDSM "community." A story in which a black woman said she enjoyed enacting slave scenes with white men. This revelation was met with soothing acceptance, as if this was perfectly acceptable and interesting behavior. I have 2 older teenage sons and a sweet 13 year old daughter. Sometimes, it seems impossible to navigate this culture and keep kids even relatively safe.

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As an Italian, let me tell you that "blaming the US" makes little sense. The American spiritual decay was prepared about a century ago in Europe. Sartre, Gide, Proust, the Frankfurt School, Nietzsche, Freud...

Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, Belloc, Orwell and many others saw a glimpse of what was happening.

Then Europe killed herself in two huge bloodbaths and the US got infected with the European decay. But it couldn't be avoided. America is the late stage of Western civilization as Rome was the late stage of Classical civilization.

So, to blame "America" is not entirely right.

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Although the madness hasn't fully reached Hungary where the opposition speaks of the gender issue dismissively, I am noting a plainly anti-religious tone in their discourse, the chief culprit being the DK led by Gyurcsány, an absurd figure who would be comic if he wasn't actively harmful to Hungarian political life.

It all starts with disdain, contempt and hostility toward religion, the ultimate bearer of tradition and law. That's the first step. Calling the phenomenon demonic isn't an overreaction.

Oddly, on the surface Communism was not about radical individualism but its opposite: the collective, the community, the group, all of which is based on the family unit. But communists tried to recreate a brand new all-encompassing global family composed of a transformed mankind, and in order to do that, the original family had to be melted away. Call it a preformative contradiction, although irrelevant to logic. The point is to create wedges and weak points in a structure meant to be demolished in its entirety, whether now or later.

It all starts with religion, the best indicator of one's predisposition toward traditions.

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Have you ever read Witness? Chambers nails the true God hatred at the heart of communist ideology.

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Rod,

Great writing. Did you have an event, moment in the past when you regognized the grave seriousness of this evil?

For me little things but when my elderly parents defended the lifesyle choice of a sibling. Jaw drop from me. My wakeup that.

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One of the great untold contemporary stories is that of the collapse of seemingly "good" families under the pressure of sexual wokeness. Which of course prompts a backward look at what held the families together in the first place. It's not like this stuff came out of nowhere.

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Tucker put it well in the same speech that Rod quoted from:

-----

There’s a counterbalance to the badness. It’s called goodness. And you see it in people.

So, for every 10 people who are putting "he/him" in their electronic JP Morgan email signatures, there’s one person who’s like, “No, I’m not doing that. Sorry. I don’t want to fight, but I’m not doing that. It’s a betrayal of what I think is true." And you see that in people, and it’s a completely unexpected assortment of people.

I’m really interested in cause and effect. I try and think a lot about what connects certain outcomes that I should have seen before they occurred. And in this case, there is no thread that I can find that connects all of the people who’ve popped up in my life to be that lone, brave person in the crowd who says, “No, thank you.”

You could not have known who these people are. They don’t fit a common profile. Some are people like me. Some of them are people I despised on political grounds just a few years ago. And I look on at those people with the deepest possible admiration.

...

If you’re a senior vice president at Citibank? You’re making $4 million a year. There is no incentive whatsoever for you to tell the truth about anything. You just go into the little reeducation meetings and you’re like, “Yeah, diversity is our strength. That’s exactly right. We need equity in the capital markets.” OK. All right.

So, if you’re the one guy who refuses to say that, you are a hero, in my opinion. Every man is trained from birth to fantasize about what he would do when the building catches fire, and you hear a baby crying. You run inside. No one is trained to stand up in the middle of a DEI meeting at Citibank and say, “This is nonsense.” And the people who do that, oh, they have my deepest admiration.

-----

Your lament that so many "good" families have collapsed in the face of this is parallel's Tucker's comments about people he respected collapsing, and the key point is his realization that he sees no common thread among the few people who refuse to play along, the few who are willing to be "raw barbarians" and live not by lies.

None of us know how we will fair until we are put to the test. And the reality is that many of us (even here) would likely fail it if it came for us. The Benedict Option is about improving those odds, and I think your question about what held families together before is in the same vein. And those parents who refuse to cave, like Tucker's example of the vice-president at Citibank, have my deepest admiration.

There is a free substack called PITT in which parents of trans kids talk through the problems they're having. It's not political; it's not partisan. But the stories you read there are about parents that refuse to live by lies, and they are uniformly encouraging.

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Rod once asked that question at AmCon, and I responded. I said that I was seeing this bilge in the 1990s. I went to a very elite private prep school, and (aside from the trans madness) saw all of this coming our way even then - Rod published this in the piece. Quoting myself:

For me the turning points were actually in the late 80s and early 90s. Almost everything (from gay marriage to legalized euthanasia - only the trans nonsense was missing) was already well baked into the elites by that point - they had already decided on their course, even if they didn’t have popular sway just yet. You see, I went to an elite college prep school (The Columbus Academy, who has garnered notoriety in the last few years for out woking the woke). When I started there as a first grader, we were still an all boys school. But when the later Boomers started landing seats on the schools board of directors, they pushed hard to make the school more “modern”, and bit by bit it all changed (if you’ve ever read That Hideous Strength, it felt like that, but in slow motion). If you ever want to know what’s coming in 10-20 years, look of course at the Ivies, but also look at the schools that feed them. My school was one such.

By the time I was in 8th grade, the school had announced its plans to go co-ed in 2 years (very much in keeping with the then trendy movement to remove any exclusively male spaces anywhere), and to “prepare” us for that change the school brought on what today we would call a “Diversity Director” (at the time she was titled “Multi-Cultural Director” I believe). This director began scheduling a series of lectures and activities to prepare us “barbarians” for the introduction of females into the school. Of course any such shift in the school culture would require preparation, but it was with what materials they chose to prepare us. We got all the Sexual Harassment seminar stuff that the corporate world was then beginning to endure, along with such other lovely lectures as an hour long session on why penetrative sex is definitionally rape (nothing quite like being an awkward 9th grader being told “all men are rapists by nature”), and hearing other lectures on how whites are naturally racist, but blacks definitionally cannot be racist, all of Western Culture was built on theft and oppression, etc. Then there were the gay rights lectures, the introduction of modern feminist literature into English courses, abortion-rights screeds, and the gradual pushing out of older teachers who wouldn’t sign on for the new protocols (many teachers vociferously objected to this stuff, and kept it out of their own classrooms). So basically everything but the trans-whacko stuff was shoved at us. Nothing that came later with Obama surprised me - even the commencement address included a long harangue on gay marriage (remember this was the early 90s!).

As I said, by the time I graduated practically everything but the tran-crap had already been pushed at us.

Now mind you, the school going coed was not in itself any sure sign of what was to come, it was popular with most of the parents, and was something my parents were actually glad to see as the all-girls school in town had gone openly hard left much sooner than my school - one of my sisters graduated from the all-girls school, and was glad to get out. My youngest sister instead went to my school, but she was a good 10 years behind me. By the time she graduated, the school had open and faculty-sponsored racial and gay affinity groups. Looking back now, my parents have said they would have chosen a different school for my youngest sister, had they known how it would be by the time she graduated. The motto of the school used to be “In Quest of the Best”, but this was shed as being too “elitist” and “non-inclusive” (nevermind that the tuition there now exceeds that of many colleges).

In the nearly 20 years since she graduated, the school has of course continued to trail-blaze for the rest of the Left, with CRT and all the rest. It made national news 2 years ago on this matter: https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/education/2021/07/09/ohio-columbus-academys-critical-race-theory-issue-what-know/7913212002/

That Dispatch article substantially downplays the matter.

None of the woke nonsense ever surprised me - I’d heard it all 20+ years before it went big, and saw how most parents chose to ignore it, or else promote it as the latest fad. And it saw attempts to drill it into my own class, and endured being called a racist, homophobe, sexist, etc. because I objected to it. I have long held to the notion that this woke nonsense is both a product of guilt-ridden late-boomers who missed out on the real radicalism of the late 60s, and thus thought they needed to make their own, coupled to the elite desire to deal in Luxury Beliefs, both as a class marker, and to assuage their own guilt at being rich and powerful. Both groups feel guilty, and peddle this crap as a new sin-offering for their secular religion. They don’t care what they destroy in the process because they don’t understand their own foundations, even as they attempt to smash them. And if you want to be in the elites, you’d better parrot their spoiled brattish behavior. Many of my old classmates peddle it still, now as full-fledged members of the elite themselves. Many are college profs, doctors, lawyers, and other careers of high status, where they are well protected and safe. Ironically, some of the most hard-left of yore now really do see the consequences of what they peddled, but now have admitted to me that it’s all out of their control now. The Trans crap, and the gauche hedonism of the tech-elite especially has shaken some of them, but really they should have seen it coming. It’s nothing new.

But then again, turning points are usually only ever seen clearly in the rear view mirror.

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i have a similar tale, tho i'm a bit older, i went to a private liberal arts college in the 80s and still never forget when i was told (im paraphrasing their babble-jargon) "we must interrogate hegemonic structures" and things like "literature is just a series of signs that convey nothing except the social position of the author" etc...(in fact i remember it akin to how Ahab remembers what that whale did to his leg.)

but to speak to your comment: i think one of the reasons no one thought to mount a serious opposition to these people (besides the fact that they shriek "Bigot!" at any and all opponents) is that they just seemed so ridiculous: always the most dour people speaking the same stale jargon, often a rich kid waxing poetic about Communist brotherhood, or some obviously sad and demented person saying preposterous things like "the sex binary is an oppressive construct".

no sane person in a sane society could do anything but either laugh or steer clear of these freaks and let them play in their postmodern playpen.

but of course the joke's on us! i'm still in shock that these dreary joyless fundamentalists have seized our culture and society, but never underestimate what a committed band of fanatics can achieve over decades.

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May 13, 2023·edited May 13, 2023

Hell is at our side every day, misleading, deceiving, tempting us. That is the war we have to fight.

Rod, your story about the chair impresses me as nothing more than plain old metal fatigue on a bolt that may have been been poorly installed. I've had that happen a time or two.

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Jon gonna Jon. Look, Jon, you might be right, but the chair was visibly new, and I had been sitting in the chair a few minutes earlier, and it was strong. It collapsed with a loud bang. No weight was on it. And then, of course, there was the chair that flipped over while I was discussing this, with nobody sitting in it. It freaked us all out.

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Just getting back here after a busy and distracting day (it's garden season here in DE).

Rod, the Catholic and Orthodox churches have been studying and pronouncing on supernatural events for centuries. They have rigorous criteria for determining whether something is miraculous or at least unnatural. The most basic is that if an event can be explained by natural causes it very unlikely to be supernatural in nature

You chair bolt snapping sounds exactly like metal fatigue - which can happen at any time. It does not depend on the age of components. Most of us have run across those situations - a few years I had a bike frame develop a crack though the bike was no abused and was not very old. In the past before engineers knew the signs to look for airplanes sometimes crashed because of component failure of this sort. I don't want to belabor this, but you should talk to someone who is trained in metallurgy. Such a person could explain this is better detail than I can.

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I am grateful the Orthodox Church isn't actually as complacent about the supernatural as you seem to have had the luxury of believing it is.

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Where did I say the Orthodox (or Catholic) Church is complacent? You are reading something in my words that is not there. What I said was, in effect, that the Church does not rush right in and pronounce something miraculous, or demonic, without careful investigation-- and if a natural source presents itself (as in this case) the supernatural is ruled out.

I will admit to being puzzled that so many people seem never to have had something like this happen and are amazed by. Good grief, given the low standards for a lot of mass produced goods "Item breaking when it shouldn't" is pretty common! Demons? How about shoddy, mass produced dreck?

"Faith" is not a synonym for "superstition".

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"What I said was, in effect, that the Church does not rush right in and pronounce something miraculous, or demonic, without careful investigation-- and if a natural source presents itself (as in this case) the supernatural is ruled out."

Which if applied to an individual who wasn't asking for an official statement (and remember Rod wasn't) but for the intervention of church on their personal behalf would be too late. That's not how it works in reality, thankfully.

There's no reason that demons can't manipulate natural phenomenon anyway.

Heck most of the miracles in the gospel could be explained away as remarkably coincidental natural phenomenon (walking on water is the only exception I can think of)

Look, I really have no interest in arguing with you, ever. I have a life and you seem to have bottomless reserves of time I don't and fluid ethics when it comes to debate. What I don't want is you misrepresenting the Orthodox Church as being skeptical to the point of impotency in the face of the Devil. It isn't, and I thank God.

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Sigh. You really are misinterpreting (or overinterpreting) what I said.

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I am grateful the Orthodox Church isn't actually as complacent about the supernatural as you seem to have had the luxury of believing it is.

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All well and good, but how to explain an unoccupied chair ubruptly flipping over?

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are you kidding me? Shear strength >3,000 lbs; max impact load <500 lbs. No way fatigue failure.

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You have no idea what you are talking about. Please educate yourself as to what "metal fatigue" is.

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Jon, I did, thanks to you! Found excellent resource at https://hardlock-nut.com The article stated that “Decreasing the load applied to the bolt so that the stress amplitude does not exceed the endurance limit will directly prevent fatigue failure.”

So, I don’t believe ordinary chair loads could impose stress amplitudes that exceed the endurance limit of a 3/8” diameter steel bolt, that’s all.

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One possibility: the bolt and i's bolt hole were slightly misaligned so that the bolt was originally forced into the hole at a slightly off angle (not unusual in these days of shoddy manufacture). This would place a degree of stress on the bolt at an oblique angle. Also the metal of the bolt itself may have been flawed (and again, not unusual given today's low standards).

Elsewhere I mentioned a bike I had had for not that long (~ two years) developing a frame crack. That shouldn't happen either, but I don't blame demons-- other than the demon Greed on the part of the maker (who refused to warranty it claiming I *must* have misused it because their bike frame do not crack like under normal use)

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Possibly, but what about the chair that flipped over at lunch?

This weird crap happens to me pretty often, not the inanimate objects being moved (thank God) but just weird unexplainable (and usually hugely inconvenient and aggravating) coincidences. Is it the enemy trying to make me blow my top (and succeeding sometimes) or God punishing or rebuking me? Don't know, but been going on for years, I've overthought it to the nth power, and it's not random coincidence.

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Why do the demons always do things that communicate no clear message, and could happen for other reasons? Why not pick up a pen and just tell you?

I'm being slightly snarky, but as someone with one foot in belief and two in critical rationalism, I'm genuinely curious how a believer answers that question.

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I think it depends on what your idea of a "clear message" is. I think that with things like what Rod described the point is mostly a reminder that they are around. Sure, one thing could be chalked up to "accident", but with how Rod described things with the second chair incident, I don't think it was coincidence; how often do you see chairs randomly overturn?

I think, in general, most of us don't get "clear" messages from the demons because we don't invite them in. When people start playing around with the darker spiritual world, there's an invitation there...

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deletedMay 13, 2023·edited May 13, 2023
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It was Peter Popovic

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That’s him. What a full-blown freak and embarrassment. But also quite funny in a freakish way.

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Boy are they gonna freak out when giving account!

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If we did get a "clear message" it most likely would be a lie.

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True that

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As I said above, a chair just overturning like that doesn't sound demonic. Sounds more like a poltergeist.

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Discernment. On the flip side, how does good sometimes help us in small way, like praying hard and the car starts? Long ago I was a nonbeliever and shared your skepticism. But I understand now: God does not display Himself so that we can then believe. We must first believe, and then we see.

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Nicely put. One should seek the positive.

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That is true. The forces of Good are also at work. And they do not always wave a flag, either. Though sometimes...God wants us to pursue him and help us strengthen our faith and draw closer to Him.

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I would say that it's for the same reason God doesn't appear before us in His Glory and Splendor and give us step by step instructions on how to go about our day. If it happened we'd blame it on a stomach ailment caused by a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese or a fragment of an underdone potato...basically it would be rationalized away. The other alternative, and far more likely is that the experience would kill us deader than a door nail. I once had someone tell me that if we could see the spiritual battle constantly going on around us, we'd immediately go insane or die from the horror of the scene.

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I'm hoping he will touch on a bit of that with his Passion sequel he's doing.

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Except that isn't the case. I don't rationalize away phone calls I receive, or notes left on my car. I don't rationalize it away when someone refers to something they aren't supposed to know about. Not do any of those things kill me. Is God incapable of doing those things? Are demons?

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So if Rod had seen a handwritten note on the desk in his hotel room that read "I'm here watching you! Sincerely, Screwtape" This would have been more believable than a busted chair?

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I don't know what you're getting at with "believable," but I can tell you with certainty that no one would be telling him it happened by coincidence.

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No, but they just wouldn't believe him at all. Jesus went through this with the rich man and Lazarus, .

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Jesus Christ repeatedly performed obvious miracles and repeatedly announced 'Hey, I'm the Son of God, which is the same as God, and I am right here with you.' Even then, He only persuaded a fraction of people to believe in Him, and a larger fraction of people were persuaded to murder Him.

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May 15, 2023·edited May 15, 2023

And maybe demons aren't all that organized and coolly intentional, just full of random destructive energy. Granted, those who study such phenomena assert there is a hierarchy of demons and some must be both intelligent and strategic, but possibly some are not.

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If God communicated directly like that it would constitute coercion. You would have no choice but to believe, and faith would go out the window. Even the miracles of Christ never compelled belief. This is one of the messages of the temptation in the wilderness.

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Yes, and for love to be real it cannot be compelled or done out of fear. I think God tries to develop us into beings who choose to operate in love. If I do the correct action out of fear of God's consequences or a sense of grudging duty it still is done (and that's good), but I think God's desire is for us to choose freely and act out of love. Granted that choosing the good must be a habit as well and is not always done from the emotion of 'love' whatever that is.

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founding

It is important to remember that demons are non-corporeal beings. They simply work differently. Physical manifestations (or at least apparitions) do happen from time to time, but their purpose is usually to do with activities of temptations, flattery, prelest (tempting you to think you're spiritually enlightened), or playing on your fears and anxieties. Physical attacks do happen too, but not exactly openly.

A couple of years ago I went to a talk given by Fr. Vincent Lampert, who is an exorcist, and he spoke of how manifestations, possessions, attacks, and so forth work, and why they happen.

And it's also important to remember that most of this is ultimately anecdotal - we don't have any notion of what happens in the non-corporeal realm save what we can observe (and we have thousands of years of human accounts). It's not like physics where we can perform experiments (though some occultists do try), so we have to try to piece things together through what we see and experience. Beyond that it's all speculation and mystery.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mX7L68p9exk&pp=ygUTZnIuIHZpbmNlbnQgbGFtcGVydA%3D%3D

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Wouldn't you regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade?

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Hey, stealth quoting Dickens is MY game!

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The Clear Message was sent by the Author of Life, “the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light...”

Until that Message is accepted, this doubt and confusion will remain within each heart to which that invitation (every human heart) is made. It really is that simple. There really is only one gate through which the fullness of human relationship with God can be experienced.

C. S. Lewis stated it eloquently in Mere Christianity, “Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

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This is cult speak. I can't see because I don't believe. The reality is that people can be blinded by what they *do* believe, not by what they don't.

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The cult says (Hebrews 11:1) "Faith is the realization of things hoped for." People have "no faith," do not believe, because the gift of faith is offered to all, but given only to those whose hearts hear the story of Jesus and in their hearts WISH that something so beautiful COULD be true. Their wish, the interior prayer of those who know not whom to direct it, will be, if sincere, accepted by He who bestows the gift of faith. Then the slow process of filling that soul with the light of truth begins. God can only feed the infant that which they are capable of digesting. An entire lifetime is too short to consume, indeed, an entire eternity is too short to experience "the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! (Romans 11:33)"

I agree with you. You are blinded by what you do believe.

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Actually it's not. There are certainly elements of it that you won't "get" until you're inside, but that's not what Lewis is saying. Everyone acts out of belief, not just the religious person. Faith one way or the other is necessary because these things can't be proven in a strictly rationalistic manner.

Truth be told, that CSL quote is best read in context.

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To 'write' a clear message would lessen the mysterious, lessen the fear...also a tactic of the enemy

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You're more afraid of a demon if you think he might actually be a faulty bolt?

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It's not that difficult to understand the explanations people are giving, but you're doing your level best to pretend that you don't.

Just proudly proclaim that you don't believe in demons or disembodied evil, and leave it at that.

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Because I regard myself as fallible and take seriously the possibility that I might be wrong. I understand the explanations, but I don't see how they explain what's being explained. I can certainly leave the subject alone if I'm bothering people.

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I had a friend in high school whom I sincerely hoped would "find" Christianity in some meaningful sense. However, the situation reminded me a bit of the story of Lazarus and the rich man, that what is given plainly is often not regarded because it's too "easy". To further that, I think getting to a deeper level of understanding of these things requires a lot of work. It's not that we can't perceive them sometimes, but reading a book about the life of Elder Porphyrios really helped me understand that there are different levels to perception, and that somebody like him, who spent his life in prayer and service to God can see more of reality than most of us do.

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May 13, 2023·edited May 13, 2023

I find your comments perfectly normal. The fact that you are asking the questions on Rod's very religious substack shows natural skepticism and curiosity. I don't know anything about how you were raised or your beliefs but I can imagine being a bit shocked (and scandalized) by a bunch of commenters who probably equate to Alien abduction buffs in your eyes.

If you have a few hours to kill check out any YouTube videos by searching: "Fr Chad Ripperger-spiritual combat" on YouTube . He will give you everything you ever wanted to know about exorcism. His discussion of the fallen angels answers a lot of typical questions. He is one of the most experienced exorcists in the country.

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I like Father Vincent Lampert a great deal, too.

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In the case of Rod, he clearly wants to view himself as a hero, the kind of guy the demons are out to get. And maybe they are. Far be it from me to pronounce definitive judgment. But we are talking about no more than a collapsing chair here. The responses to Mr. Rosenbaum seem to be begging the question (in the correct sense of the term).

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Oh, come on. I'm no hero. I very much doubt demons are "out to get" me. I think they manifest in the lives of a number of people. These things only happened to me in Rome, on the day of Benedict's funeral. They weren't attacks, but manifestations. Maybe they weren't demonic. I'm confident they were, but I could be wrong. We're talking about a collapsing chair, a bolt of which had been sheared in two with no weight on it, and then, improbably, an unoccupied chair in a restaurant flipping over while I was telling the story about the chair in the hotel room. Quite a coincidence, if coincidence it was.

Incidentally, my friend who is being particularly targeted was attacked in his bed, choked and left with bloody scratches, including in places where he couldn't possibly reach. Still has scars from it, though the attack was over a year ago. His family did not see the attack, but saw the bloody aftermath. He has not dabbled in the occult at all, and is trying to figure out why all this happened.

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You're ignoring the chair that flipped over the next day.

And yes, Rod would w/o question be somebody demons chose to attack. Would happen more but God's sovereignty no doubt limits it. I remember spiritual writer Oswald Chambers ("My Utmost for His Highest") saying something like demons would use us like toys but God in his provenance doesn't permit it. Unless we push down the barriers from our side.

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No -- a "clear" message would serve to name the perpetrator, and part of fighting the demon is to name him. Hence the reluctance in demonological literature of devils to name themselves.

Or in purely human terms, knowing who the enemy is can be less fearful than not knowing.

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May 13, 2023·edited May 13, 2023

Suppose you had broken off a relationship with a narcissist who abused you emotionally. Which would be more unsettling? Getting a letter remonstrating with you for breaking up, or spotting her in the parking lot as you left work?

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I didn't want to mention that the demon could simply appear, but since you ask - that would be both unambiguous and scarier.

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author

I've received some interesting letters in response to this post. One came from a friend from years back, with whom I had lost touch. He told me some harrowing tales, including coming face to face with a demon in his house. It all started when he moved to a rural area after a divorce, around the time Covid started. He's a Catholic, but had gotten out of the habit of going to church. The stuff that's been going on in his house is scary as hell. He told me he finally learned that the rural area to where he moved is home to a lot of witches and occultists. I urged him to go to confession, get back to mass, and have a priest come bless his house. He indicated that he would do so.

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My best friend at the Antiochian church I have been attending has a similar story. He tells me he believes in evil spirits because he has seen them, and he follows Jesus because He has power over them. I take that seriously, but don't yet know what to make if it. I hope your friend is OK.

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Prayers for your friend, Rob. Bind these servants of evil, in Jesus' name.

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I'll give you a link if you're interested:

https://thatstrangestofwars.com/resident-evil-how-i-made-friends-with-the-devil-part-1-of-a-3-part-series/

Here's the explanation: Dan Lord was the lead singer in a punk rock band called "Pain". He was raised Catholic but in his teens and early 20's he got into a hardcore punk lifestyle.. His band was on the verge of succeeding. He felt a darkness and oppression and began to see demonic figures at night in bed. At the same time he recognized that God was calling him out of the lifestyle he was living. He eventually went to an exorcist and was given the rite. During the exorcism he started to recall occult practices he had participated in, including a blood oath with a high school girl. The details and his personal recollections, do more justice to it than I can.

You will have to set up a password to read his personal story on the website linked but it may be worth your time. Before he had kids, his story was accessible online but sort of buried on his site. He has a large family now and he didn't want his kids harmed by rumors and such. He's a normal, middle class guy. He isn't preaching his story for money around the country.

If demons picked up pens, or manifested openly, they would be much easier to resist, I would guess.......subtle advertising.

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May 13, 2023·edited May 13, 2023

I don't think the demons would want to send a clear message that would convince the unconvinced, just do enough to creep out the believers. Their actually ability to act physically also may not be precise enough to pick up a pen and write. A lot of the comments from the slightly snarky seem rooted in a belief that demons would be omnipotent. I see no evidence that they are.

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How would it benefit the forces of evil to push a skeptic into belief? It's far better strategy to keep skeptics leaning into their skepticism so they don't jump into the fight. They are trying to limit the enemy numbers, not add to them.

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founding

Would you believe it if they did come out in the open like that? And if you are already skeptical then, for them, appearing to you isn't worth the effort - there's simply no payoff. Many are the stories of people to whom such beings did openly manifest, only to so scare the person that they've run to the nearest church.

For instance, there's a story told by a Russian monk-priest named Tikhon, in his book "Everyday Saints", who was brought up a good atheist by a reasonably party-connected family in Leningrad. He was often puzzled, though, as a child by the great effort the Party put into denouncing, as opposed to ignoring, anything spiritual. So he got curious, and when he went off to university he and his friends actively pursued occultish practices. And they did get a response and a manifestation to their entire group. Over the course of several months this thing toyed with them, answering questions and giving them knowledge they wouldn't otherwise have (from mundane campus gossip up to revelations about Gorbechev becoming the new premier - none of them had ever even heard of Gorby). And in so doing it flattered their egos while using them to spread rumors and such. Once it had them fully hooked and baited, it then tried to get them to do darker things, including group suicide. Tikhon was so scared by this that he sought help. Tikhon sought out a church, was baptized and received the Eucharist, and never looked back.

Other people, perhaps those with a greater potential to do harm, get far more involved. It all depends.

https://www.amazon.com/Everyday-Saints-Stories-Archimandrite-Tikhon/dp/0984284834/ref=sr_1_1?crid=AI94O48LZDMA&keywords=everyday+saints&qid=1683997345&sprefix=everyday+saints%2Caps%2C137&sr=8-1

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You have to consider the aims of demons.

They feed off human fear and negative emotion. Terrifying people and driving them to destruction is the point of their existence.

See Jerry Marzinsky for further details.

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Since you did ask, my take on it is...the Bible states evil is the author of confusion. Chaos through misleading and misdirecting is a key strategy of Hell. To make it blatant (though there are times they do indeed do this) would take away plausible deniability. If everything the spiritual forces of evil did could easily be blamed on them, that is ammunition for the forces of Good. If Evil can keep things ambiguous, it makes it harder for their activities to be tracked and identified. Also, Evil is under divine restraint. As we get closer to the End Times, God is continually going to be loosening the restraints upon their actions. But God sets limits on what they can do, both in general and in specific cases. See Job.

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Yes, as I noted above, prominent exorcists and others do say God sets limits.

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As I thought about this some more, I'm wondering why, if assigning supernatural causes, Rod would immediately invoke "demons". This sounds much more like something one would expect of a poltergeist, or some other manner of mischievous sprite of the sort that populate most if the world's traditional mythologies. (And no, I am not using "mythological" in a perjorative sense)

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You mean a metaphysical entity with malintent? Demon works for me...

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There's a difference between "mischievous" and "malignant". My cats occasionally will knock stuff off counters but I don't think they are evil.

The Bible speaks of Angels and Demons, but that does not mean there aren't other immaterial beings. I'm not the first person to consider that; I recall some things Lewis wrote along those lines.

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Jon - why wouldn't one invoke demons? Per the New Testament, demons are a reality and Jesus spent a fair amount of time casting them out.

For information about the topic, I recommend videos of Father Vincent Lampert and Chad Ripperger. Guys who perform exorcisms for a living can offer some good information about this, interesting as well.

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Demons might have limitations to the power. I have spent some time watching videos featuring prominent exorcist priests (Fathers Vincent Lampert, Chad Ripperger, Dan Rehil) and one of them, don't remember which, said that each element of what the devil/demon was permitted to do during the exorcism was circumscribed by God. True or not true I don't know, but maybe a factor in these situations as well.

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A bold and brave commentary! I am reminded of CS Lewis' observation (in "The Problem of Pain") that evil does not exist independently of good, but is defined as the corruption of the good. Thus evil preys on marriages, and especially children. And yes it enters in where God has been cast out. I have seen evil firsthand as a criminal defense attorney. It possesses a malice that naive secularists will find unpalatable, in due course. This evil has taken over our government, in violation of the Establishment clause: https://johnklar.substack.com/p/woke-theocracy-dominates-america

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founding

Like the blasphemy room in That Hideous Strength… Lewis saw what was coming with a prophetic eye

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Usually I feel so powerless after reading about all this stuff, but today I feel encouraged to do as your article says and spread what is true, good, and beautiful in my circle of influence no matter how small it may be. Thanks Rod for the important work you do. I will be praying for your protection.

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That's right. Those who recognize Baptismal regeneration -- and -have- been baptized in the Trinitarian Name -- should claim again and again that they are children of God, however dismaying circumstances around them may be. That's the rock-bottom truth we need -- and that we have, and so we can recall Our Lord's words: "In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world."

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You dont have to be baptized. You simple place your confidence in Jesus and use His name.

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There’s a lot to be said for valuing your ‘circle’ and making it as strong as possible - it will be worth it.

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Yes, and Yes again. One of the most painful and frustrating things for me in recent years has been noticing just how many people I’ve known since youth really don’t see it: the influx into American reality of evil powers—tangible, glaringly obvious, and virtually announcing themselves as such. Yet they don’t see it. They keep living as if what is happening is just a matter of trends, more or less similar to the shifts in musical styles or fashions from the ‘70s to the ‘80s. But it is obviously not just trends. I know these are people smart enough to see that the things being cheered (hormone blockers for kids, abortion as a celebratory act) are in practical terms *destructive*, willfully, even gleefully so, yet they refuse to move on to the obvious question: What’s driving this?

I’ve no doubt myself. The vomiting on and desecration of the sacred that began decades ago and that now, as Trueman underlines, is merely a matter of repeated *gesture*, has ended by creating a vacuum, and it’s clear what is rushing in to occupy that vacuum. Demons. Grinning, indefatiguable demons.

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"They thought Elvis was shocking too back then, you know." That's what they always say. Always.

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I think Jon actually said that in your comment box once.

In fact, every comment he makes is simply a reiteration of that basic theme.

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Every comment? Hyperbolize much?

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When I watched the Cardi B / Megan Thee Stallion performance at the Grammys from a couple years ago, I knew how bad things were. When I mentioned how appalled I was to a close friend (who happens to be Quaker), she said "that's what they said about Madonna in the 90s". No, it's not the same!! It is completely flagrant and of another level. What borders on porn renamed "art" and performed on mainstream TV during prime time, where kids might see it. Just watch it on YouTube, the Google the lyrics to her song. This is not Elvis, folks.

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Madonna and Elvis *were* evil. Especially Madonna. I doubt her name is a reference to the medieval Italian expression for "my Lady"

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"Evil"? Sure, they were sinners too just like all of us. But beyond that I would not label them "evil" unless you'd have me also label you, me, Rod and everyone this side of the Blessed Virgin as evil.

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You are right Jon, one needs to make a difference between judging people and their deeds. After all, I don't know them as actual people. Generally speaking though, I think that their art did more harm than good.

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I have trouble seeing that in the case of Elvis. Of course as a man he fell into the temptations that many of the rich and famous do. But in what sense was his music inherently harmful?

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It is her real baptismal name. Although it is unusual, I know of a few other instances in which it has been used as a given name. Which is not to say she has adhered to this baptism in any way.

As for Elvis, he clearly wanted to be a good Christian. He recorded enormous amounts of Christian material. The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak, and (on Earth - not judging his eternal fate in any way) the flesh won out and his excesses killed him. But I would rank him well short of evil.

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Are you sure? I thought her name was Louise Veronica. But maybe that wasn't registered...

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Not an expert on her, but all sources say Madonna Louise Ciccone. No mention of Veronica. Maybe that was a confirmation name? It seems her mother was named Madonna before her. During one of her more Catholic-friendly phases, she was quoted as saying "Why would I ever want to change my name? I already have the holiest name there is."

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It's her real name, though: Madonna Louise Ciccone.

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Yep didn't know that.

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Perhaps a better retort...slippery meet slope! And look at Madonna nowadays

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Indeed. When Roseanne Barr is now objectively better looking (Madonna has had so much work done, is so terrified of aging, she no longer looks human), that is the strange world we live in now.

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Agreed. Not just physical decay but the things she’s said indicates mental too.

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The thing is...part of what is so corrosive is what is so compelling: gorgeous bronze and caramel sex, spectacular feminine beauty, offering approval to men with degradation and servile pleasure, and tell other women: you gotta act like a penis to control men wit your lovely vajajay. You iz in controle.

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True of the schlocky performance from Sam Smith this year as well. It's funny how these artists are choosing demonic-seeming themes. Doubly odd that the Grammy organizers didn't suggest Smith try something more family-friendly.

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Always. That’s one of their favorite “gotcha” excuses. Mindless and dismissive.

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It is very similar to what people say about the coming of the lord and all that “the end is near” preaching. “People have been saying that all along. Get with it, man”. I then tell them, “Yes. Yes they have always been crying that. Its true. Why is that invalid to you? What you don’t understand that it is a wave, an amplitude coursing through generations as it intensifies towards its culmination.

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deletedMay 14, 2023·edited May 14, 2023
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Yeah that’s why “Rapture” preaching is so popular. Its their “get out of jail” card.

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Ditto.

Cheers, Brother.

🥃🇺🇸🔥

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Daniel, my dear Irish brother. Elegant shorthand. 🔥

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From one Ukraine, Dutch, North african, British, Irish, scottish, basque, Dakota and Shawnee BASTARD. I dedicate this shot of Bushmill’s to ye.🥃

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"Devils in America"? Maybe Tony Kushner, Spielberg's dramaturge, will have a crack at it. Nah.

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“Yet they don’t see it. They keep living as if what is happening is just a matter of trends, more or less similar to the shifts in musical styles or fashions from the ‘70s to the ‘80s.”

Well said. I see and hear this all around me.

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It is arrogant of me to say, Mr. Mader, but most people that have ever lived have no ability or desire to analyze the world in which they live. Most people just muddle through life.

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"...this is not really a vacuum at all, but the replacement of truth, beauty, and goodness — of holiness and of meaning — with lies, ugliness, evil, sacrilege, and nihilism"

Some years ago I had the privilege of being on the organizing committee of an event featuring the late Sir Roger Scruton as keynote speaker. Driving him to the airport afterward, I asked him what accounted for the coarsening and abstraction of the visual arts, particularly painting, in the 20th century.

I expected the learned professor and author of many works on beauty and aesthetics would have a involved answer. It was just the two of us and we had time. Perhaps he'd note the psychic trauma of WWI giving rise to German Expressionism or how advances in photography rendered representational art redundant or some such. No.

Instead he offered a two word reply. The manner and conviction with which he thrust the words through his teeth stuck with me as much as its brevity: "Deliberate desecration".

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Well, let's see...

"Just this past January, when I was in Rome..."

"An exorcist friend told me later that the enemy simply wanted to let me know that he was present, and that I was on his territory..."

"Last year, an exorcist in Rome told me, about our time, that we should not be surprised by the demonic manifesting so strongly. The spirit world cannot tolerate a vacuum."

"To befoul the innocence of children is one of the most “sacred” things those who worship evil can do. This is why the clerical child sex abuse scandal was so diabolical — literally so. It turned God, symbolically, into a monster, and defiled the souls and bodies of innocent children. It is diabolical whenever it happens, and whoever does it, but for ordained priests of God to do these things is the ultimate evil."

But then Rod can't (yet) bring himself to close the circle...

"Understand me clearly: the point here is NOT that “the Catholic Church is evil”

followed immediately with:

"the point is that for some reason, the spiritual warfare is intensifying in that place."

I would submit that the "some reason" you're looking for is that the Catholic Church, particularly the leadership, and specifically Pope Francis himself, are in fact intentionally and purposefully capital "E" Evil. They have intentionally created the spiritual vacuum that your exorcist friend mentions knowing that the demonic will surge to fill it.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, you don't keep calling it an eagle. Especially when they don't even bother to hide it that well*:

https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/vatican-snake-room

The Pope addresses his audience from the mouth of a snake. In front of a sculpture claimed to be of Jesus in front of a nuclear blast but which looks a helluva (heh) lot more like Lucifer rising out of Hell with an army of minions behind him. I mean, are you kidding me?

If people tell you who they are, you should believe them. The Catholic Church as an institution has been thoroughly and totally corrupted by Satan with the direct assistance of it's leadership.

The corruption started with the split in 1054. It was pretty good play by the Evil One. The Roman Catholic Church was allowed to flourish and to become this great pillar of the West that Rod and others don't want to let go of for nearly a thousand years. All the better to create maximum chaos and destruction when Satan's emissaries in the person of Pope Francis and the rest of the Lavender Mafia complete the spiritual rug pull on the faithful that's happening now.

Yes, billions of souls were saved for Christ through the Roman Catholic Church over the last centuries. I'm not going to deny their salvation or the salvation of any current Catholic who is able to maintain their faith in spite of what the Catholic Church is being revealed to be. Satan doesn't mind those losses. He's engaged in an eternal war with God. He can play the long game. The coming total collapse of Roman Catholicism and the accompanying damnation of billions who completely lose their faith in the wake of the collapse will be a great victory for him.

Those of you who've been around Rod's various comment sections for awhile thought my belief and advocacy for the National Divorce was my most extreme... eccentricity. That was just an appetizer.

* It appears that somebody is trying to hide the obvious when it comes to the Snake Room, at least from casual investigators. If you just go to the Wikipedia link for the Paul VI Audience Hall, there's no mention of the controversies over its design. More importantly, there are no pictures in the gallery showing how it's obviously a snake's head or close-ups of the 3-D Heavy Metal album cover that adorns the altar.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_VI_Audience_Hall

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Well, don't get me wrong: I believe that there are plenty of evil clerics in the Catholic Church, even in leadership positions. As in all churches. Just now I found out that the Russian Orthodox Church is defrocking a priest for praying for peace instead of victory in the war. That's not the same as abusing kids, heaven knows, but I think it still shows political corruption. I am absolutely confident that intense spiritual warfare is going on in and around the Vatican now. But that does NOT mean that the Catholic Church is evil, any more than evil carried out by Orthodox and Protestant church leaders means those churches are evil.

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May 13, 2023·edited May 13, 2023

At what point would the institution as a whole of the Roman Catholic Church be considered lost, not capable of recovery, and best abandoned by the faithful in order to save their own souls and to provide an alternative refuge for the lost so that they don't end up damned?

The Christian Faith is bigger than and not dependent upon the Roman Catholic Church. Every single one of us who follow Christ under the banner of Orthodoxy or Protestantism believe that to be true. I would dare say that the majority of Catholics do as well, if for no other reason than the majority of them believe a whole lot of things that are not traditional Catholic dogma.

You can say that it's just some of the priests. Or just some of the bishops. Or the majority of the Cardinals but not this one guy over here. Or, okay, we've got an apostate for the Pope right now, but the organization is still good. That can only work as a coping mechanism for so long.

At what point must truly faithful Catholics (and I know that there are many of you and many of you reading this blog) admit that the institution that the Roman Catholic Church has evolved into since 1054 is not only corrupt by the standards of the physical world, but quite probably in league with Satan in the spiritual realm? If you come to believe that, then your only option is to leave for Orthodoxy or Protestantism or make a genuine effort to split off and abandon the hierarchy and institution as it exists in Rome. In other words, you have to have a Second Great Schism. Or Third Great Schism if you consider the birth of Protestantism a Great Schism.

It's one thing to form little outposts of resistance within the organization, like the conservative Catholics trying to hold onto the Latin Mass. That's great and all but 1.) They'll squash you like a bug when they finally get tired of toying with you and 2.) You're still accepting the structure of the organization which may be thoroughly corrupted, not just on here on earth but in the spiritual realm as well.

Pretty deep stuff and I'll be the first to admit, probably over the head of a recovering Evangelical who's turning to Orthodoxy with only an Associate's degree in Police Studies from a second- tier state university. A learned Catholic apologist will certainly be able to point out many, many ways in which I'm talking out of my ass.

But, to go back to my favorite eccentricity, sticking with the Roman Catholic Church in the face of (what seems to me) obvious spiritual corruption is like Normies and Grillers who are unable to contemplate the National Divorce. Working from the bottom of the RCC hierarchy as a parishioner thinking that you're going to be able to reform the organization at this point is the equivalent of "Voting harder" in the hopes that you're going to fix the United States. Except you don't actually have a vote as a common parishioner in church matters. And the people you're fighting are actually in communion with the Devil.

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You actually do speak for me here, Bernie. Come on, Duke, you can make your critiques without saying the entire Catholic Church is apostate. Even if you believe it, that kind of claim makes dialogue difficult to impossible. I don't want Catholics (for example) saying that Protestants are all heretics who are going to hell, even if they believe it. Reading this long thread for the first time since I posted it, I'm grateful that we have a comments section where we can dispute each other politely, and have interesting conversations. Let's work to keep it that way.

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The RC church may nearly collapse. There will be a faithful remnant as has been the case throughout salvation history. If you believe, as I do, that it is the church founded by Christ, you can't leave. In fact, Jesus, Paul, and John, all warn that there will be "false teachers among you" and they will "lead many astray". 2 Peter ch 2: "that day will not come (the 2nd coming) unless the rebellion comes first".....among many other biblical quotes....Olivet discourse, 1 and 2 Peter, Jude, Revelation. "wolves in sheep's clothing", "false prophets among you"........etc.

The RC church isn't the only one experiencing this.

I don't like it one bit, but it's a prerequisite.

.

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May 13, 2023·edited May 14, 2023

I'm afraid that anyone who asserts that 1054 is The Date of The Schism between Catholicism and Orthodoxy manifestly is not sufficiently informed of the facts of the matter to speak convincingly about the subject. That is not to deny that one might find some nuggets of perception in such lucubrations, but I can hardly take them seriously in general.

I should add, perhaps, that "The Schism" can be dated as early as 1009, or 1024, or 1054, or as late as 1204, or 1484, or even 1755. I find the first three of these possible dates utterly unconvincing. If I had to pick a date arbitrarily it might be 1484, the date when the Patriarchs of C'ple, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem repudiated the Council of Florence and enacted that "Latins" wishing to receive Orthodox sacraments had first to renounce the filioque and then be chrismated. Or even 1755, when in that same year Pope Benedict XIV issued the encyclical Allatae Sunt forbidding Catholic clergy from offering the sacraments routinely to Orthodox believers who requested them, and Patriarch Cyril V of C'ple issued a decree (Oros), confirmed by a synod of his patriarchate the following year, requiring Catholica (and also Armenian Miaphysites) wishing to become Orthodox to be rebaptized.

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May 13, 2023·edited May 14, 2023

If you believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true Church of Christ you could never abandon it as you counsel.

And this is hardly the first time in history there has been flagrant sinners, many of whom gave evidence of being unbelievers, in the clergy. The Renaissance church, from the Papacy down to many local monasteries, was full of debauchery. The tenth century "pornocracy" makes Pope Francis look like St. Francis.

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I take no pleasure piling onto criticism of the catholic church. Unless it involves rapists and demons. But i observed a telling symbol about something so nakedly blind which offered a rebuke towards the institution of the Catholic leadership. I visited a relatively new-ish cathedral of gorgeous design. Throughly modern pieces of Geary , Corbusier, Caesar Pele’, etc. Alameda County Archdiocese project on Lake Merritt in Oakland: “The Cathedral of Christ the Light”. And cannot speak enough words to describe the absolute beauty and brilliance of this structure. It even had the most trippy, space age mausoleum below ground. Just amazing (except the stink of chemicals and decay -design flaw- and the unattended horse flies unsettling my mind). - deepite that, it was a joyful, elevated cultural experience. Then i went to the bookstore and bought a $5 tchotchke to add to my trinkets. It was a wonderful little viewfinder. You look through a lense and see a magnified, back-lit image of the cathedral like a view master toy. Anyway, this is the part which spoke volumes of misplaced priorities. Below the backlit image of the cathedral was the name of the cathedral: “The Cathedral of Christ the Light”. Perfect name.. its so organic and lots of glass to bring in the light. Lively Gill Sans lettering against a black horizontal foundation. But the design was to de-emphasize the name of Christ. So the first half “The Cathedral of” was a gorgeous Gill Sans Medium in crisp, bright white against the black background. The second, and most-important part, was “CHRIST THE LIGHT”. Geit it? Building is constructed to elevate CHRIST THE LIGHT. Except, the words “CHRIST THE LIGHT” are a quiet, muted teal-gray. Their concern was the architecture, not Christ.

F**k them.

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Well, you certainly state the case with your usual clarity.

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And it's a rather convincing case at that.

As a lapsed catholic, it pains me to say I can't argue with it.

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If the Catholic Church were true, spiritual warfare would be fiercest in Rome. As it is.

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There is truth in that, theoretically. But, with all due respect to all faithful christians known unto God, the Roman INSTITUTION is full of the devil and has been for quite some time. I am not a catholic hater. I was as a young, ignorant man. But I absolutely love Hard my catholic brothers and sisters. They mean business. They dont fuck around.

The firm is rotten to the core.

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May 13, 2023·edited May 13, 2023

To me it looks like a thornbush. I might think it was meant to be the burning bush if there was not an official word to the contrary. But maybe it is still meant to evoke it? (Edit: It turns out that some sources say is in fact meant to be the Garden of Gethsemane, so I was right that it was a plant, even if I picked the wrong one.)

An interesting thing is that the trans issue is maybe the one sexual matter on which Francis has never been the slightest bit squishy. He seems to be thoroughly baffled by the very concept.

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Looked at your snake room link.

Interesting website but I think it's highly debatable that the room was supposed to resemble a snake. And sculpture of Jesus is, I think, cool.

Not an evaluation of whether the church upper leadership is good or evil, might be, I don't know.

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May 15, 2023·edited May 15, 2023

If you don't see a snake's head in the design of the building, you're choosing not to see it. Perhaps the Vatican official who signed off on it's design chose not to see it either or didn't want to argue with the architect, figuring the architect knew best.

The idea that it was all a giant coincidence or a mistake is laughable.

As for the sculpture of "Jesus," see above. Yes, there's no accounting for taste, I suppose, but it comes off as conventionally evil, an expression of chaos and disorder, rather than divine inspiration.

FWIW, I make no claims or endorsements about that website. I linked it because it had the best pictures. As stated earlier, the pictures from the Wikipedia page are cropped so that you can't get a feeling of the whole.

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Speaking of evil, when Tucker Carlson said "But when the Treasury secretary stands up and says, “You know what you can do to help the economy? Get an abortion.”" he was lying. That's not what she said. What she said was that "eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades." There is a significant difference between the two. A few seconds' research would have shown the truth, but Mr. Carlson (among others) has long had a knack for misquoting deliberately in order to gin up the base. And that is evil, too.

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I would ask Secretary Yellen to clarify what she meant by her euphemism about "making decisions about when and whether to have children", and if she meant just birth control, or if she believed women have the right to dismember living children inside of them or not.

And I think we all know what she believes. And if people can't see that that's a hideous evil--to actively kill children because of economics--then how is Tucker wrong?

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"I think we all know what she believes" - really? Should we always assume that people believe the most extreme interpretation of what they actually say (which is what Carlson did)? And what if we're wrong?

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deletedMay 13, 2023·edited May 13, 2023
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Exactly. And yet there are millions like Eve who will argue strenuously that we aren't actually seeing what is right in front of us.

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It's hardly a stretch to ascribe to Janet Yellen a "Pro-coice" position. And yes, "Pro-choice"--i.e., pro-child-dismemberment for economic reasons***is*** an "extreme" view.

What possible interpretation of Yellen's remarks can lead to an understanding that she's not for abortion? And what possible interpretation would allow you to think she's not making an economic argument for it?

And, with a straight face, tell me how likely you think that that interpretation is accurate?

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1 - Stating facts about the effect of certain behaviors & practices on the economy-or any other aspect of society - is not necessarily approval.

2 - if one's job is to increase economic stability, / prosperity in a capitalistic society, is one mandated to include moral / religious viewpoints? And whose religious beliefs must be included and practiced?

I'm just asking questions

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It is not self-evident that killing off the next generation has a positive economic impact. Indeed, it is quite the opposite. Economists tend to pay attention only to monetized economic activity. If mothers are raising their children and taking care of their home, to many economists, all they see is the fact that this mother is not a worker bee, and that there are no jobs created for daycare workers, housekeepers, and others whose activity is economically measured as part of GDP--but the activity of the stay-at-home mother isn't counted, so they think that there's a reduction in useful work. But that's a faulty way to look at it, and ignores very important activity--both economically and socially. So I don't think Yellen stated a "fact", but rather a policy position.

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Ah, but you're assuming that stay-at-home mothers have always been respected and honored as worker bees. Instead, back in the old days when most women were stay-at-home mothers, and were expected to be, they were listed as "unemployed", and they have NEVER been included in GDP or economic growth or anything else. I agree it's a faulty way to look at it, but it's been that way since the industrial revolution.

Now it was different in preindustrial, agricultural societies, where women's contributions to the economy were clear: wives and daughters were in charge of important economic production, from dairy products to poultry to cloth to beer. (The historical records are very good on this) And they not only did that, but they also helped with harvest, etc. Interestingly, the men in agricultural societies helped far more with hands-on child-rearing than they did AFTER the industrial revolution. Men would come home from working the land, and take over (and saw it as a treat, BTW!) caring for / playing with the children. And were expected to. (William Cobbett, 1763-1835, pamphleteer, politician, and farmer, is very informative on how rural people actually lived. His "Advice to Young Men", "Cottage Economy, and "Rural Rides" are all contemporary portraits of his rural agricultural English world.)

Anyway, once things became industrial, then whoever wasn't working in factories, offices, etc., were seen as unimportant. Technological / industrial capitalist cultures, which we certainly live in today, always go by monetized economic activity. And their reasonings are very interesting: for example, the idea that if a factory / mine doesn't run 24/7, the owners are losing money. So suddenly half of the (mostly) male workers must unnatural shifts in order to make more money. Women are staying home, taking care of the family - but they're not producing dairy products or cloth or beer, or anything outside of the home, and so they're not - and were not - counted in the equations.

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The Right also bought in the myth that at-home parents are unproductive drones. Hence the welfare queen myth, and the drive to force such women into the work force so they could "earn their keep"

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As to religious opinions being in policy, it's not a choice between "secularism" and "religion"--secularism is hardly religiously neutral.

And I'd like to hear what specific religiously-motivated policies are supported or suppressed before judging it. The secular ideology makes some dogmatic statements of value that are not religiously neutral, and I do not care for that. In many ways I have much more in common with Christian social values than secular ones, even though I'm a Muslim.

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One can work on a car engine or fix plumbing without religious involvement needed. Ditto for every sort of governmental action. (To be clear, while theology is not needed, ethics is, for any endeavor of course.)

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Yes, I think we do. The remark was completely gratuitous, therein lies the offense. I really don't care what Biden's Secretary of the Treasury thinks about abortion. I'm pretty sure I could have guessed, given her C.V. and her boss, but it ought to have. nothing to do with her job. It's not her remit.

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Exactly. She might as well complain why the Yankees bat Aaron Judge second in the batting order instead of fourth where he belongs. But I've opened up another argument.

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Of course. Pro-lifers are not allowed to say that abortion is a form of birth control, but the pro-aborts imply it all the time with impunity.

Abortion today is child sacrifice redivivus.

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founding

Um, respectfully, you should go back and read what she said more closely. Here are more direct quotes from her:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/janet-yellen-on-abortion-and-the-economy-tim-scott-senate-roe-v-wade-labor-force-participation-11652300307

A few more seconds worth of research for you.. ; )

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founding

I mean come on, saying things like this: “Roe v. Wade and access to reproductive health care including abortion helped lead to increased labor force participation”?

So creepy! When even the very pro-business and anti-social conservative WSJ has to chide her, writing, “ Abortion is a fraught moral issue, which is why it ought to be settled democratically, rather than by judicial fiat. But its consequences can’t be measured by lifetime earnings or the labor participation rate.”

One of the things CS Lewis gets at in That Hideous Strength, and what Rod is getting at too, is that it doesn’t start with our in the open demonic child sacrifice. It starts with creepily anti human language like this. But if you can’t recognize it and are swayed by it, you get yourself more and more entangled in the demonic until by the time you realize where you are, it may be too late…

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Increased labor force participation = mom dropping the kids at daycare = a decrease in real wages = 2 parents must work for house/food/rent/ education, when it used to be one parent.

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author

Yes, and now in Canada, they are praising euthanasia as a solution to poverty. Seriously, they are: https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/bioethicists-euthanasia-okay-for-unjust-social-conditions/

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founding

Yep! In Canada, they “suicided” over 10,000 of their citizens last year (!!), and yet the same kind of people who support that also claim to support “gender affirmation” and “increased abortion access” supposedly *in order* to “combat suicide.”

As I wrote elsewhere:

“ They don’t hate suicide, not in the least - but they know that you do. They are using your compassion to create a culture of death. For, precisely as O’Connor and Percy put it, compassion, without God, inevitably leads to the gas chamber.”

More here:

https://gaty.substack.com/p/this-is-science

Demonic ain’t the half of it!

Ps Wesley smith rocks!

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That Janet Yellen would even think such a thing, never mind articulate it, is bad enough. It was gratuitous, evilly smarmy, and faux scientific. Carlson was using a technique, pioneered by G.K. Chesterton and since used by George Orwell, et al., of translating bureaucratese into ordinary language in order to show what the opponent is getting at. Are you denying she ultimately believes that abortion is a good thing?

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Well, I see from everyone's responses that the worst interpretation is always right.

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You’ve never heard poison from a politician presented as a Tootsie Pop? You’re lucky.

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Of course I have. And I've heard a lot of preachers saying, "The teaching of the Bible is..." and then lie like a rug.

Meanwhile, how did everyone feel when TX Lieutenant Governor said, back in 2020, "please. Don't shut things down" because of Covid because all grandparents were happy to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the economy?

No problems, right?

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I’m, you’re changing the subject. And, no, it was a stupid thing to say.

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Okay, look down at my response to Leah Rose as to what I was trying to say, and obviously said poorly.

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Whataboutism 101.

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I'll just go ahead and say that with the benefit of hindsight and the toll of the damage that was done to our kids economically, socially, and educationally, I think the TX Lt. Gov was right. Truth be told, I was a more onboard with the Covid response early on than I like to admit, and would have not approved of his statement at the time, I endorse it 110% now.

We have inverted our social contract so that the young now suffer so that the old might not have to accept any risk.

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I had to Google the comment by the Texas lieutenant governor because I don't think I heard it at the time, and I didn't remember it when I saw it.

What I do remember from that time was Democrat politicians shutting everything down—except for themselves. I remember officials telling us to cancel Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then going to hang out with their own families. I remember the governor of California eating at a five-star restaurant with his family when all other restaurants were closed to the plebes. I remember Nancy Pelosi getting her hair done at a time when no one else could go get a haircut. So when it comes to Yellen, I'm no longer capable of giving Democratic politicians the benefit of the doubt.

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Early on we did not know how bad Covid would be, and the measures taken were defensible on the basis of Better safe than sorry. For similar reasons we might evacuate a big city if a hurricane is approaching and not regret doing so if the storm weakens or turns aside.

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Eve, I'm curious what point you think Janet Yellen was making that was mischaracterized by Carlson. How do you construe her words such that she was making a reasonable point? I hope that doesn't come across as hostile—I'm not trying to put you on the spot. But you got a lot of pushback here and I'm interested to know your thoughts as they pertain to the "fairness" of her point as opposed to the "unfairness" of Tucker's critique.

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May 13, 2023·edited May 13, 2023

Here is my problem with it.

First: "You want to help the economy? Go get an abortion" was not verbatim what she said, even though Carlson phrased it as if it was. That's a problem, to me, to begin with. I am tired of being told by op-ed pundits (of any stripe) what SOMEONE SAID! when it turns out it wasn't. It is a falsification, and we have enough of that in our age.

Secondly: What she did say was among what I consider among the unspeakable truths of this country:

"Eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades. Roe v. Wade and access to reproductive health care, including abortion, helped lead to increased labor force participation, it enabled many women to finish school, that increased their earning potential, it allowed women to plan and balance their families and careers, and research also shows that it had a favorable impact on the well-being and earnings of children. There are many research studies that have been done over the years looking at the economic impacts of access or lack thereof to abortion, and it makes clear that denying women access to abortion increases their odds of living in poverty or need for public assistance."

This is all true. The economy of the United States, the economic engine of the world, is based on a number of unspeakable (in certain circles) truths, and this is one of them. Access to birth control in the 1970s launched a great economic boom as women entered the wider work place and, in the process, increased consumerism (i.e., spent more money).

And then there's the effect on crime:

"Freakonomics" (authored by economist Steve Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner, published in 2005) had a chapter that caused great scandal, in which economist Steve Levitt said another unspeakable truth, that males (of all races) aged 18 to 24 are most likely to commit crimes. (MANY studies have proved this.) And they went on to hypothesize that the decline in US crime, beginning in 1992, was caused in part by legalized abortion 18 years earlier.

Now, accepting the truth does not mean approving of it. It means recognizing the truth of what has happened and is happening, instead of living in denial, i.e., living by lies. As to what should be done next is an entirely different question. But pillorying people because they're telling you an unpalatable truth - is wrong. And decisions made on that basis will be inherently damaged.

Now whether Yellen should have said it at the venue she said it is beyond my paygrade. I have no idea.

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Thank you for this lengthy response, navigating the angles on this admittedly thorny topic. I appreciate getting the bigger picture you see that prompted your objection.

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Given the state of our economy, maybe she should have stuck to the business of the U.S. Treasury and spared us her thoughts on abortion.

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Agree. Yellen veered well out of her lane. Of course as a citizen she has every right to express her opinion, but she ought be careful not to do so in a manner that puts the full faith and credit of the US government behind her words.

That said, Tucker Carlson is notorious for smearing people with lies of this sort. He is no better than the folks who doctored the video of Nick Sandmann. Falsehoods must be rejected even if you want ti believe them. or agree with the sentiment behind them. Ethical behavior is never merely optional.

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He didn't lie, though. He interpreted and paraphrased. The gist of what he said was accurate: Yellen thinks it's more important for women to be economic widgets maximized for economic efficiency than it is for them to be parents of children.

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I disagree with this. He pretended to be quoting her, and did not state something along the lines of "This is what she may have meant", and she did not say what he reported. That is lying, full stop. It the dishonorable behavior of a demagogue. And yes, I would condemn it no less if, say, Rachel Maddow, had done that in a matter involving, let's say, Donald Trump.

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Your reply was interesting and I agree with much of it. I would add that when some government bureaucrats codger up some sort of GDP compilation whether it is truly accurate or whether an economy can even be truly measured. When my wife retired from the EPA to raise a family- and she was begged by upper EPA bureaucrats to stay- she no longer made money in our capitalist system for which she will pay the penalty when it is her time to collect social security. But my wife was no longer part of the GDP. It would seem that Treasury Secretary Yellin regards women like my wife as worthless as economic integers. But my wife did work and work hard.

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Carlson reframed what Treasury Secretary Yellin said in a dishonest way. Sure. It reminds me of how conservatives fifty years ago reframed what George McGovern said about Ho Ci Minh- "he was the George Washington of Vietnam" as if McGovern supported Ho Chi Minh. But what is a Treasury Secretary getting into an argument over social issues? Sure, it is her right as a citizen. But as a Cabinet officer, it isn't her purview. Should Janet Yellin now comment on sugar subsidies, water policy at the EPA, the re-naming of military posts, the minimum wage or the cleanliness standards at the meat-processing plants?

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Supporting their right to have an abortion will avert damaging effects on the economy. I’m sorry i don’t see much difference in the essential message.

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May 13, 2023·edited May 13, 2023

Dear Rod, when confronted with the presence of the devil, always remember the sound words of Sir Thomas More: “The devil, that proud spirit, cannot endure to be mocked.” And Luther: “The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.” And it's true. Evil grows the more frightened you are of its power. But if you can mock it, make fun of it, laugh at it, it shrinks remarkably. I know. I've done it.

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Absolutely. Just like the age we are living in where people are incapable of withstanding ridicule. Nobody likes to be ridiculed or mocked, especially those who practice it as a function of their personality. Thin-skinned. But now people will smash your face in over it. People are very fragile anymore.

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Yes, this. They also don’t like it when you yawn at them or dismiss them. People like those idiots who put on the BDSM Jesus display want the rest of us to clutch our pearls or applaud their “courage.” When they get neither reaction, it really pisses them off.

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Yep, the worst reaction, in their eyes is a yawn, rolleyes, and comments about being "pedestrian" and "try hard." Edgelord with no "lord". Or "edge."

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They are enraged with the curse of idiocy.

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Very true. And you see that in the reaction of the modern Left, both in their humor vastly reduced in quality as well as just absolutely losing it when put in the crosshairs of the comedically talented, be it Rush Limbaugh, Dave Chapell or Tucker Carleson.

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Yep

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Funny you should publish this article today. I along with approximately 130 other Catholic and Anglican clergy completed the training course for exorcists this week at the Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum in Rome. I am one of two Episcopalians present amongst the Catholic clergy from around the world. What you write about the reach of the diabolical in Western culture was confirmed by the Catholic church's senior exorcists. You should consider attending the course next year as it will round out your views hearing about the theology, and practice and experiences of exorcists. I can send you the agenda should you like.

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author

Please do, Father Conger. roddreher -- at -- substack.com

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