One of the top lessons, if not THE top lesson of my secular career was the fact that people in high positions, be it in business, academia, the Church, or government in this day and age are almost universally assumed to be far, far, far, FAR more competent than they actually are. There is a presumption of merit and competence in our culture that simply does not comport to reality. This has two terrible effects. The first is the obvious: under-qualified people achieve ranks and positions of authority that they generally do not deserve, and thus cannot properly or sufficiently exercise. The second is more subtle, namely that many people who do have competence remain silent, inactive, because they are not “credentialed” in this anti-meritocracy that we all live in.
One of the starkest lessons in this I learned very early on in my career as a commodity broker. An executive in the company wanted me to make a chart for him in Microsoft Excel, a regression analysis, for a presentation he was supposed to give to a group of economists. He asked me to make a regression chart which had the same variable on both the x and y axis. I pointed out that this was completely ridiculous, and that the reason the R-squared value (the degree of statistical correlation) was 0.99 was because he was regressing the dataset literally against itself. I categorically refused to produce the chart and explained that if he presented the regression as he wanted it, he would literally destroy his own reputation and be a complete laughingstock. He insisted. I called him out and said, “Well, you’re going to have to fire me,” knowing full well that there was absolutely no way that he would. Now, here’s where it gets REALLY bad. I suggested that we call a mutual friend of ours, a Ph.D. agricultural economics professor, and ask him. So I called the professor and explained the situation, and the professor obviously agreed with me about the error of running an x-y scatter study of the same variable on both axes. Then, I put the professor on the speakerphone. As soon as the corporate executive spoke, the professor folded and started saying things like, “Well, I wouldn’t do it personally, but…” The submissive professor refused to tell the rich corporate executive, “No, you are wrong.” That was a HUGE lesson in two ways. First, the lesson that people in high positions are sometimes if not often lacking even basic competence, and second, that people will grovel and submit to people in high positions, even on matters of obvious error, simply in order to stay in the good graces of “power”.
This digression brings us to Cardinal Burke. A lot of people have picked up on this, but I will go ahead and chime in as well. Cardinal Burke is quoted by no less than the New York Times, satan’s cat box liner, saying this:
Burke: While the final document is less explicit in the embrace of pantheism, it does not repudiate the statements in the working document which constitute an apostasy from the Catholic faith.
The working document doesn’t have doctrinal value. But what if the pope were to put his stamp on that document? People say if you don’t accept that, you’ll be in schism — and I maintain that I would not be in schism because the document contains elements that defect from the apostolic tradition. So my point would be the document is schismatic. I’m not.
Douthat: But how can that be possible? You’re effectively implying that the pope would be leading a schism.
Douthat: Isn’t that a deep contradiction of how Catholics think about the office of the papacy?
Burke: Of course. Exactly. It’s a total contradiction. And I pray that this wouldn’t happen. And to be honest with you, I don’t know how to address such a situation. As far as I can see, there’s no mechanism in the universal law of the church to deal with such a situation.
This is a crystal clear example of the very serious mathematical/philosophical concept of “Reductio ad absurdum”, which is defined as: a form of argument that attempts either to disprove a statement by showing it inevitably leads to a ridiculous, absurd, or impractical conclusion, or to prove one by showing that if it were not true, the result would be absurd or impossible.
Simply put, if the conclusion from a given premise results in an absurdity, namely a violation of the Law of Non-contradiction, or a mathematical absurdity such as 2=1, then the BASE PREMISE IS FALSE. Q.E.D.
In this case, the absurdity, the obvious violation of the Law of Non-contradiction, is the notion that Jorge Bergoglio could simultaneously be both the Standard of Unity – that is, the Roman Pontiff, AND its ontological opposite, the Vector of Schism; that all men must BOTH be in union with and submission to Bergoglio in order to NOT be in schism from the One True Church, while simultaneously Bergoglio demands apostasy from the One True Church in order to be in union with him. A clear Catch-22 ontological impossibility. You’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t. Only satan plays such irrational games.
For Cardinal Burke to say what he said, fully acknowledging the LOGICAL CONTRADICTION of Jorge Bergoglio being the Pope, and for Cardinal Burke to not IMMEDIATELY acknowledge that there is a problem with that base premise, indicates one of two things. Either Cardinal Burke is simply not intelligent enough to understand the Law of Non-contradiction, or he IS intelligent enough to understand it, but chooses to continue to embrace IRRATIONALITY in service to some worldly agenda or desire on his part.
Sorry, folks, but it is one or the other. Period. There is absolutely no way around it.
And circling back to the notion of people in high positions being beneficiaries of an anti-meritocracy, I suspect that Cardinal Burke, like so very many others, have dealt and continue to deal with the Bergoglian Antipapacy in the most effeminate way possible – looking away. Refusing to engage the dataset. This is why Cardinal Burke and so many others continue to say things that betray their gross ignorance with regards to this situation. A recent example of this would be Cardinal Burke saying that a Pope MUST exercise the active governance of the Church. This is obviously false. St. Peter was unable to govern the Church while he was incarcerated in the Mamertine Prison. Did St. Peter lose the Office? Of course not. Pope John Paul II was unable to govern the Church while he was in a coma after being shot. Did he lose the Office? Of course not. Did Pope Pius VI lose his Office when held captive by Napoleon because he was unable to govern the Church? Nope. Did any Pope who was bedridden and ill for any period before dying lose his Office? Of course not. The notion is simply dumb. And obviously so.
Again, they simply refuse to engage the dataset. Avoid the problem by refusing to look at it. Console themselves with bleatings and mewlings of, “There’s nothing we can do. All we can do is wait for Bergoglio to die….” When in fact, this entire Antipapacy situation could be solved with ONE PRESS CONFERENCE.
It isn’t just high-ranking prelates doing this, folks. Laypeople and low-level clerics are doing this, too. I can’t tell you how often I ask people, “Have you read what I have written? Have you watched my videos?” Sometimes the answer comes back, “Yes,” to which I reply, “Well, what are your thoughts on the Miller Dissertation?” Blank stare. They have no clue what the Miller Dissertation even is. Or, “How do you reconcile your position with Canon 188, or 332.2, or 359?” Again, blank stare. No clue what those Canons are or say. But they swear up and down to my face that they “have read everything you have written, and find it unconvincing.” The other common response is, “I don’t have time to watch a video…” Of course not. Riiiiight. It’s only the most important issue in the universe. There’s no way that is worth a few hours. Of course not…. Even if you find my voice grating, you could turn on captions and read along with the sound muted, or just read the professional transcript of the Part One video.
I strongly, strongly suspect that Cardinal Burke simply hasn’t engaged the question of the validity of Pope Benedict’s attempted partial resignation because as the quote above proves, he is, for whatever reason, unwilling to deal with the problem. I suspect that none of the Cardinals did any due diligence whatsoever with regards to Pope Benedict’s putative resignation in February of ARSH 2013 because many of them wanted Pope Benedict gone, and the rest, to their great shame, simply shrugged, went along with the crowd, and booked their plane tickets, thinking it better to just not rock the boat.
And remember folks, to point out an objective truth is NOT to arrogate authority to yourself. If I say, “one plus one equals two”, I am in no way claiming to be the creator and arbiter of mathematical truth. If I say that every particle attracts every other particle in the universe with a force which is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between their centers, I am not claiming to be the creator of the universe and the author and sustainer of the laws of physics. I am simply acknowledging objective truth, which I have the capacity to do as a rational intellect.
Thus, pointing out the obvious canonical invalidity of Pope Benedict’s attempted partial abdication, and the glaringly obvious violation of the Law of Non-contradiction that the false premise of Bergoglio being the Pope demonstrates likewise does not mean that I am attempting to arrogate any authority to myself. And that goes for everyone. The authority here is Logic and Canon Law. The former IS Our Lord Himself (John 1: 1), and the latter is backstopped by Our Lord (Matthew 18: 18). I am merely a witness. We all are. So don’t fall for those weak-sauce straw man arguments.
I hope this helps.
Pray for Pope Benedict XVI, the one and only living Pope, whether he likes it or not, the Papacy, and Holy Mother Church.