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Mark Shea's Blog
Catholic and Enjoying It! ^ | November 4, 2004 | Mark Shea

Posted on 11/04/2004 9:21:48 AM PST by Mershon

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Catholic Alternative History Thread

A reader writes:

You should proclaim a contest for a Catholic Science Fiction short story, scenario or story outline..

The theme: Vatican II never happens.

The exercise: start in 1959 and extrapolate forward from "actual" current events and trends in Church spirituality, governance and culture at that point in time and weave an altentate history of the Catholic Church, al la Henry Turtledove or Paoul Anderson.

Examples of Catholic alternate history "counterfactuals":

a. The Tridentine Latin Mass is preserved, but as a "dialogue Mass" ((congregational responses to the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, etc) and the process of liturgical/cultural levelling up continues;, )

b. The biblical revival already underway in the 50's continues but, instead of being hijacked for liberation theology soundbites, it comes to serve to butress a Hebraic, neo-patriarchal, father-metaphor mindset which assures that every Seminary is a "gay-free" zone. Paul Shanley leaves the "hostile environment" of his seminary and opens a boutique.

c. The opposition to Communism under Pius X!! continues unabated into the reign of his successor (not Roncalli), without any detours into dialogue, and Solidarity gets off the ground in Poland 10 years earlier.

I am somewhat uncomfortable with this exercise because it essentially encourages to think we are smarter than the Holy Spirit. The fact is, the Spirit called the Council, so it was the best thing that could have happened and attempts by cranky conservatives to pretend otherwise, even in fun, strike me as toying with dissent. Personally, I think any "what if V2 never happened" scenario that doesn't end in catastrophe for the Church is bound to be false. I think that, had it not been for the Council, the cultural winds which hit the Church over the past 40 years would have made the Church *everywhere* into the crumpled Potemkin Village that, say, Quebec Catholicism turned out to be. The considerable vigor that the Church still retains is, despite the anti-V2 fulminations of Faithful Conservative Catholics[TM], largely due to the Council, I think.

Okay, let the screaming begin! posted by Mark Shea at 9:17 PM


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: latinmass; shea; traditional; traditionalists; tridentine; vaticanii
Mark Shea says "the Holy Spirit CALLED the Council." How is that for an inverted, twisted view of things? Is this Catholic teaching? The editor of Catolic Exchange thinks Catholics must believe the Holy Spirit calls Councils? Say it ain't so...
1 posted on 11/04/2004 9:21:48 AM PST by Mershon
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To: Mershon; Land of the Irish

Can you please ping all the traddies? Mark Shea is revealing his true colors. Of course, he knows by posting such stuff, it drives up his web traffic!!!


2 posted on 11/04/2004 9:22:47 AM PST by Mershon
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To: Mershon; NYer

Would you please ping the traddies with this? I still can't figure out this posting thing and how to save people's names to "ping" them.


3 posted on 11/04/2004 9:24:00 AM PST by Mershon
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To: Mershon

Why on earth would we preserve the Classical Catholic Mass in its "dialogue form"? That positively drives me insane.

Seriously, people, if you want to sing the parts that the choir is supposed to sing, join the choir. Otherwise, stop disturbing the contemplative nature of the traditional liturgy. I think that "I need to be heard" mindset is what started the ball rolling to a new understanding of "active participation".


4 posted on 11/04/2004 10:33:48 AM PST by bonaventura
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To: Mershon

I must add that the last paragraph is so laughable that I wouldn't even know where to start. "considerable vigor that the Church still retains . . ."? The Church has all the vigor of Martin Luther's decomposing corpse right now.

You have to love the positivism of the neo-cons. Perhaps if we all say the church has retained its vigor enough times, it will actually be true. . .


5 posted on 11/04/2004 10:42:43 AM PST by bonaventura
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To: B Knotts; Polycarp IV; Pyro7480; Canticle_of_Deborah; Maximilian; NYer; Aquinasfan; dangus; ...
The editor of Catolic Exchange thinks Catholics must believe the Holy Spirit calls Councils?

Quite a stretch to be sure.

At times, I'm tempted to think that not much separates conservative and traditional Catholics, then I read stuff like this and realize there are some very fundamental differences on pretty basic beliefs. The nature of Divine Assistance, for instance.

6 posted on 11/04/2004 10:58:44 AM PST by CatherineSiena
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To: Mershon; CatherineSiena

One major hole in his argument: Vatican II DID NOT mandate the change of the Mass to the Novus Ordo.


7 posted on 11/04/2004 11:02:44 AM PST by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: Mershon

What a piece of work this character is. Take a look at the comments under "One more on the Alternative History business" and "I thought this could be a bad idea" in which he basically says that the Catholic Faith is whatever he claims it to be, and when called upon to support his outrageous claims, says that the burden of proof lies with anyone who disagrees.


8 posted on 11/04/2004 11:05:35 AM PST by CatherineSiena
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To: CatherineSiena
"Conservative Catholics" is actually a pretty broad term.

There are conservatives...and then there are conservatives.

Compare Deal Hudson and Michael Rose. Both are "conservative Catholics."

9 posted on 11/04/2004 11:17:43 AM PST by B Knotts ("John Kerry, who says he doesn't like outsourcing, wants to outsource our national security.")
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To: bonaventura

This is completely and totally a matter of preference and I am in no mood today to discuss personal preferences. I'm glad you think it is so important.

Suffice to say that even SSPX Masses in the U.S. and in France--so-called "low" Masses--are not done the same way in every church. In France, they play the organ in the background throughout the entire low Mass. That would probably drive you crazy too.

The point is that Pius XII authorized the dialogue Mass. If you don't like it, wear earplugs and sit in the loft and follow along with your missal. Nobody makes you participate if you don't want.

The point here was to go to Mark Shea's weblog and show him his explanation of the protection of the Holy Spirit is wrong. That was the point of the thread.


10 posted on 11/04/2004 11:29:58 AM PST by Mershon
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To: CatherineSiena

How about going to his site and join in the "fraternal correction" that is taking place?


11 posted on 11/04/2004 11:30:56 AM PST by Mershon
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To: Pyro7480
Vatican II DID NOT mandate the change of the Mass to the Novus Ordo.

But it did mandate a massive change. The New Mass is the direct result of the process set in motion by Sacrosanctum Concilium. A preliminary version of the New Mass was already introduced in 1964 while Vatican II was only halfway over, and it certainly represents both "the spirit of Vatican II" and "the spirit of the New Mass." So the council fathers had plenty of time to complain if they thought that their program was being taken off track. A very few did complain, like Cardinal Heenan, the primate of England. The rest were only too eager to go along with the revolution, including such luminaries as Bishop Fulton Sheen in Rochester.

12 posted on 11/04/2004 12:10:17 PM PST by Maximilian
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To: Mershon
The point is that Pius XII authorized the dialogue Mass.

The "dialog Mass" predates Pius XII. Which only makes your point stronger, but I just wished to clarify. At least in concept it goes back to the major liturgical reforms of Pius X, and it certainly was already beginning to be implemented during the pontificate of Pius XI. It's true though, that it became much more ubiquitous during the reign of Pius XII.

13 posted on 11/04/2004 12:13:00 PM PST by Maximilian
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To: Maximilian; All

This guy is a real piece of work. Really...

Thursday, November 04, 2004

One More, Then I'm Done for the Day

To everybody who is trying to figure out an orthodox way to say "Vatican 2 was a mistake and should never have happened":

Rather than me having to hop to it and step and fetch it to meet the insatiable demands of reactionary dissenters with more and ever more "proof from magisterial documents" for the faith of the Church that an Ecumenical Council is fundamentally the work of the Holy Spirit, how about you give me "magisterial proof" that the Church has ever denied that an ecumenical council is fundamentally the work of the Holy Spirit?

I already cited my documents. They were not, of course, good enough for the reactionary dissenters who seek loopholes and can always find them. However, the burden of proof is not on me. The burden of proof is on those who wish to argue that councils or papal elections they don't like are not the work of the Holy Spirit. Good luck showing that from the teaching of the Church.

Okay. Now I've got work to do.
posted by Mark Shea at 11:36 AM

Comment (0)



One more on the Alternative History business

A reader more or less sums up several complaints when he writes:

Mr. Shea takes a true idea (the Holy Spirit protects the Church from requiring the laos to believe what is not true) and by filtering it through his ultramontism arrives at something that is not true (the situation of the Church after an infallible council is necessarily better than the previous situation).

I never said this. I said that, since an Ecumenical Council is first and foremost the work of the Holy Spirit (who is, after all, God and who knows what's best) we can safely say that the Council is the best thing that could have happened. This is not Panglossian. This is common sense. It does *not* follow from this that "the situation of the Church after an infallible council is necessarily better than the previous situation". One may, for instance, reasonably say that the situation after Nicaea was not "better" than before Nicaea. The Church slid into Arianism for the most part and finally the Empire was ruled by Julian, who said, "Forget the whole thing" and tried to reinstitute paganism. Was the situation of the Church "better" or worse?

Well, because of the teaching of the Council, the Church was equipped to deal better with a worsening situation--and weathered the storm. I more or less think this is going to be the long term effect of V2, once Catholics stop jabbering about the "Spirit of Vatican 2" and start paying attention to the teaching of Vatican 2. I am most emphatically not a Pangloss. It's just that I'm also not somebody who says an Ecumenical Council is not fundamentally the work of the Spirit when things don't go the way I think they should go.
posted by Mark Shea at 10:29 AM


14 posted on 11/04/2004 12:16:50 PM PST by Mershon
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To: Mershon

Authentic ecumenical councils ratified by the Pope are guided by the Holy Spirit. That is why they are part of the magisterium. I suppose the Holy Spirit was not present at Nicaea, Chalcedon or Ephesus?


15 posted on 11/04/2004 12:23:48 PM PST by Unam Sanctam
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To: Unam Sanctam
Authentic ecumenical councils ratified by the Pope are guided by the Holy Spirit. That is why they are part of the magisterium.

Authentic ecumenical councils ratified by the Pope are protected from doctrinal error by the Holy Spirit. That is why their dogmatic teachings are part of the magisterium.

Or was the Fourth Lateran's prudential decision that Jews must wear "distinctive dress" infallible for all ages?

16 posted on 11/04/2004 12:33:03 PM PST by Dajjal ("I wish they had a delete button on LexisNexis." -- John F'n Kerry 6/1/03)
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To: Unam Sanctam

See post No. 16. The Church does not teach the "inspiration" of the Holy Ghost covers every jot and tittle of every Conciliar document. It simply does not, and no Catholic is obligated as a Catholic to believe that.

It is a negative protection, not a positive one. "One will know a tree by its fruits."

The "fruits" of Vatican II are the growing traditional Latin Mass orders and communities. These had NOTHING to do (except for emboldening them) with the Holy Ghost. Nothing whatsoever...


17 posted on 11/04/2004 12:45:38 PM PST by Mershon
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To: Mershon; Unam Sanctam

These had NOTHING to do (except for emboldening them) with the Holy Ghost. Nothing whatsoever...

My bad.

Should have read "NOTHING to do with Vatican II" NOT the Holy Ghost as I miswrote.



18 posted on 11/04/2004 12:46:54 PM PST by Mershon
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To: CatherineSiena

My understanding was that the traditionalists would simply argue that the Pope falsely discerned the calling of the Holy Spirit. Don't trads believe that the Holy Spirit leads the Church to convene *legitimate* ecumenical councils? Or does the church simply hold councils and approve whatever the Holy Spirit happens to be allowing at that moment? Or is the Holy Spirit only acting in the Pope when he decides to approve such councils?


19 posted on 11/04/2004 1:36:34 PM PST by dangus
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To: dangus

I guess post 16 answers that the correct selection is the last. Makes sense.


20 posted on 11/04/2004 1:39:29 PM PST by dangus
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To: Maximilian

>>The New Mass is the direct result of the process set in motion by Sacrosanctum Concilium. A preliminary version of the New Mass was already introduced in 1964 while Vatican II was only halfway over, and it certainly represents both "the spirit of Vatican II" and "the spirit of the New Mass." So the council fathers had plenty of time to complain if they thought that their program was being taken off track. A very few did complain, like Cardinal Heenan, the primate of England. The rest were only too eager to go along with the revolution, including such luminaries as Bishop Fulton Sheen in Rochester.<<

And let's no forget Archbishop Lefebvre!

Sriously, no, the N.O. mass is not a necessary conclusion of Vatican II. It may be considered a fruit of the council, but was not a part of the council. The distinction is very necessary.


21 posted on 11/04/2004 1:42:36 PM PST by dangus
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To: dangus
It may be considered a fruit of the council, but was not a part of the council. The distinction is very necessary.

To me this sounds a lot like the old phrase about "a distinction without a difference." Why do you say the distinction is necessary, and what is significant about it?

I would agree with your phrase "the fruit of the council." As we all know, "A good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit."

22 posted on 11/04/2004 1:55:52 PM PST by Maximilian
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To: dangus

Oh, I am quite certain that the Bugnini Committee and Pope Paul VI thought they were approving a liturgy in conformity with Sacrosactum Concilium. Perhaps they had forgotten to read the document. Or perhaps disobedient bishops using communion in the hand, under both species, altar girls, facing the people, lay lectors, women lay lectors, etc. etc. were not foreseen by either Pope Paul VI or Sacrosactum Concilium, as these things happened after the missal (which is defective compared to the 1962 missal) was issued.


23 posted on 11/04/2004 1:56:19 PM PST by Mershon
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To: Mershon
Or perhaps disobedient bishops using communion in the hand, under both species, altar girls, facing the people, lay lectors, women lay lectors, etc. etc. were not foreseen by either Pope Paul VI or Sacrosactum Concilium,

Yeah. Communion under both kinds, or in the hand, certainly didn't work in the early Church, I guess.

And allowing lay people to read at Mass are certainly an abomination, as is having a woman anywhere near the sanctuary, unless she's scrubbing the floors.

24 posted on 11/04/2004 2:12:06 PM PST by sinkspur ("It is a great day to be alive. I appreciate your gratitude." God Himself.)
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To: sinkspur

"Yeah. Communion under both kinds, or in the hand, certainly didn't work in the early Church, I guess.

"And allowing lay people to read at Mass are certainly an abomination, as is having a woman anywhere near the sanctuary, unless she's scrubbing the floors."

The comment in context meant that these things were going on in the U.S. and elsewhere against the express will of the Holy Father for several years. Their intransigent disobedience to liturgical norms became the norm thereafter. My point had to do with the fact that the Missal of 1970, as aberrant as it was, was in no way as weird as all of the novelties that followed it, which may not have been envisioned by Pope Paul VI or John Paul II. That is the point, "Deacon." So much for agreeing with you today, "Deacon."

Hey, did you go to Wake Forest? They are the Demon Deacons.


25 posted on 11/04/2004 2:19:18 PM PST by Mershon
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To: sinkspur
And allowing lay people to read at Mass are certainly an abomination, as is having a woman anywhere near the sanctuary, unless she's scrubbing the floors.

On this point, it isn't just a matter of greater lay participation and/or a "democratization" in the Church. It's a matter of separating the sacred from the profane. The sanctuary is where the Blessed Sacrament is consecrated and kept. Only the priest and those assisting the priest should be allowed in there during its use. Those assisting the priest should reflect the traditional nature of the priesthood, which is male.

26 posted on 11/04/2004 2:19:39 PM PST by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: Maximilian

>>To me this sounds a lot like the old phrase about "a distinction without a difference."<<

Then you're obviously not worth me wasting my time on.


27 posted on 11/04/2004 2:26:56 PM PST by dangus
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To: Pyro7480
The sanctuary is where the Blessed Sacrament is consecrated and kept. Only the priest and those assisting the priest should be allowed in there during its use. Those assisting the priest should reflect the traditional nature of the priesthood, which is male.

Your last sentence is illogical. Unless every person who assists the priest is an ordained acolyte or ordained lector, he should not be in the sanctuary.

If the Church allows unordained assistants in the sanctuary, then whether those assistants are male or female is irrelevant.

28 posted on 11/04/2004 2:41:03 PM PST by sinkspur ("It is a great day to be alive. I appreciate your gratitude." God Himself.)
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To: Mershon

I do not wish to redirect the thread to a discussion of dialogue masses, but I think I have to clarify something.

I have no problem with an organ playing at low Mass, so long as it is in tune and not playing something which detracts from the Mass. I have no problem with a choir singing, when they are singing in a way that enhances the Mass and doesn't draw attention away from the the beauty of what is taking place.

The dialogue Mass, though, often ends up being more distracting. It is like going to a concert where the highly trained and talented orchestra is playing beautiful music, and the person in the seat behind you decides to play along on his kazoo, or decided to bring his trumpet from home to enhance the concert somehow. Even if he was playing beautifully, it would be very distracting unless he was out of the crowd and sitting with the rest of the orchestra where his playing blends in to the harmony. If a person is talented enough to contribute positively to the beautification of the Mass, they should do so by going up to the choir loft. If not, they are just the man sitting in the crowd with a kazoo.

That said, I realize Pius XII allowed it. For one thing, there is a difference between allowing and mandating. For another thing, that doesn't necessarily mean it was a good idea. As I said before, I think this was one of the steps to a misunderstanding of participation in the Mass. I don't know too many people who are ardently for a return to the Traditional Mass who appreciate a dialogue Mass.


29 posted on 11/04/2004 3:08:19 PM PST by bonaventura
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To: sinkspur

"If the Church allows unordained assistants in the sanctuary, then whether those assistants are male or female is irrelevant."

One of these days, it has to happen...one of these days, you're gonna have to get sick and tired of being wrong about everything.

Either that, or you're going to find yourself standing on a floor paved with the skulls of bad bishops, and a red-hot trident up the kazoo.


30 posted on 11/04/2004 6:58:11 PM PST by dsc (LIBERALS: If we weren't so darned civilized, there'd be a bounty on them.)
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To: dsc

dsc, you are a very strange human being.


31 posted on 11/04/2004 8:37:42 PM PST by sinkspur ("It is a great day to be alive. I appreciate your gratitude." God Himself.)
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To: sinkspur

Proud to be thought so by you.


32 posted on 11/04/2004 8:44:25 PM PST by dsc (LIBERALS: If we weren't so darned civilized, there'd be a bounty on them.)
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To: Mershon

"Or perhaps disobedient bishops using communion in the hand, under both species, altar girls, facing the people, lay lectors, women lay lectors, etc. etc. were not foreseen by either Pope Paul VI"

What ever happened to those stories about Pope Paul VI speaking out against VatII and the NO on his deathbed?


33 posted on 11/04/2004 8:46:14 PM PST by dsc (LIBERALS: If we weren't so darned civilized, there'd be a bounty on them.)
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To: dsc

I have heard of Pope John XXIII allegedly on his deathbed saying "Stop the Council! Stop the Council!" But I don't know if this has ever been confirmed.

Never heard any of this on Pope Paul VI.


34 posted on 11/05/2004 5:50:50 AM PST by Mershon
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To: Mershon

Information overload.

I've got so much stuff copied to hard disk that I can't find anything.


35 posted on 11/05/2004 6:38:31 AM PST by dsc (LIBERALS: If we weren't so darned civilized, there'd be a bounty on them.)
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To: Mershon; dsc
I have heard of Pope John XXIII allegedly on his deathbed saying "Stop the Council! Stop the Council!" But I don't know if this has ever been confirmed.

Never heard any of this on Pope Paul VI.

Those "stories" are apocryphal.

"Death bed" proclamations are largely ego-driven embellishments.

36 posted on 11/05/2004 6:43:54 AM PST by sinkspur ("It is a great day to be alive. I appreciate your gratitude." God Himself.)
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To: sinkspur

Whoops, there's our seagull poster.

Flies in, squawks, poops all over everything, then flies out again.


37 posted on 11/05/2004 6:46:34 AM PST by dsc (LIBERALS: If we weren't so darned civilized, there'd be a bounty on them.)
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To: dsc

Weird.


38 posted on 11/05/2004 6:47:36 AM PST by sinkspur ("It is a great day to be alive. I appreciate your gratitude." God Himself.)
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To: sinkspur

Plop...plop...plop.


39 posted on 11/05/2004 6:48:36 AM PST by dsc (LIBERALS: If we weren't so darned civilized, there'd be a bounty on them.)
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To: sinkspur

Those "stories" are apocryphal.

"Death bed" proclamations are largely ego-driven embellishments."

And I am sure you have first-hand information that verifies this.

Brian


40 posted on 11/05/2004 7:54:13 AM PST by Mershon
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To: Mershon
And I am sure you have first-hand information that verifies this.

The dying words of Thompson:

Slice the ham thinner.

41 posted on 11/05/2004 8:19:00 AM PST by sinkspur ("It is a great day to be alive. I appreciate your gratitude." God Himself.)
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To: Mershon
I started reading this thread because I am Catholic and I enjoy Harry Turtledove's alternate history series. I hoped there might be some discussion of how events in society at large might have been different if there wasn't a VII, or how the Church might be different if VII hadn't been called.

What I got was another lesson in why the worth of reading Catholic threads where children participate * asymptotically approaches zero.

* The percentage of these asymptotically approaches 100.
42 posted on 11/05/2004 7:56:56 PM PST by Mike Fieschko (My God ... it's full of trolls ...)
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To: dsc

Squak! Squak! Squak! ....PLOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Squak! Squak! Squak!


43 posted on 11/30/2004 8:30:51 PM PST by CouncilofTrent (Quo Primum...)
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