Author Archives: Augustinus Augustinus

Ending the effeminate in the Church

By Augustinus

One of the possible good outcomes of the current sex abuse crisis in the world church is that large sectors of the church will awaken to the danger of distorted homosexual cliques in the church. There is nothing wrong with cliques in general and nothing wrong with homosexual cliques in particular. The danger for the church arises when these cliques pressure the church to change its doctrine in a way that betrays the deposit of truth given to us by Christ himself and his apostles. Only fools will claim that the current sex abuse crisis had nothing to do with homosexuals. The data speaks for itself. The vast majority of cases of abuse (of children or of adults) in every data-based investigation of the issue and spanning many decades into the past was man on boy or man on man. This data does not imply that homosexuality is intrinsically dis-ordered (it may be as the catechism claims but the abuse data is not conclusive in that regard). The data simply says that the current crisis was driven mostly by homosexuals in the catholic priesthood. Even if we adjust for the large percentages of homosexuals within the priesthood relative to the smaller percentages of straight men, the number of perpertrators who were homosexual is still disproportionately large. In short, the abuse crisis forces us to confront homosexuality in the priesthood AND the influence of homosexual cliques in the cover-up of the abuse.

If we can confront these cliques and dissolve their influence on doctrine and practice in the church we can end the effeminate in the Church.

Where-ever the forensic evidence ultimately leads (i.e. toward the cliques or not), an important question for the future of the church is a study of whether and how these homosexual cliques influenced theological and doctrinal pronouncement by the papacy and the magisterium. if historians find that some homosexual cliques resisted innovations in doctrine that would be interesting. Traditonalists may then be less inclined to sanction all homosexual priests or wannabe priests. After all there were and are homosexual priests who were not abusers and not enemies of the church. If on the other hand most or all of the identified cliques consistently advocated heretical innovations in doctrine and practice then wholesale anathemas and expulsions would be justified, particularly if members of the cliques did not adhere to the vow of celibacy at a rate exceeding that of non-homosexual priests.

My own hunch is that homosexual priests are largely orthodox and the race toward innovation in the church comes mostly from academic theologians who want to spout the latest fashions in academic thought. men, homosexual or not, who enter the priesthood tend not to push for changes in doctrine.

My impression is that priests with homosexual orientations were and are on the whole good men who did not and would not break the vow of celibacy –never mind abuse others. The actions of the cliques and the many homosexual priests who did abuse and who did trample their vows in the mud, have surely made the lives of their holy counterparts, who carry the affliction of homosexual orientation bravely, a living crucifixion these days. There has to be a priest somewhere who is homosexual in orientation -yet who does not act out this orientation due to the vows he has sworn and who loves and serves mother church faithfully day in and day out. The actions of the unfaithful priests has made the lives of faithful priests (both homosexual and straight) difficult to say the least.

The latest sex abuse scandal in the church

by Augustinus

We weary faithful are getting it from all sides: unmistakable signs of corruption at the heart of  Catholic Church–its priests, bishops and cardinals. Although instances of criminal sexual abuse by priests have dropped since the first major sex abuse scandal around 2002; its still too high. An revelations that someone like McCarrick, a cardinal! could have risen so high in the Church hierarchy despite repeated molestations down through the years is mind-boggling. The disgust, contempt and outrage you hear from all sides is warranted. Mere words is not enough. Empty platitudes of “sorrow” and “shame” are not enough.

Calls however for things like getting rid of celibacy or allowing woman priests are silly. Calls for mass resignations of the bishops are also silly. We need to resist the mob mentality when it comes to these moral panics. Yes there was criminal cover up and yes those found guilty of crimes or of cover-up of those crimes should go to jail. But what is really going to solve this problem?

The laity or the public or Attorneys Generals or politicians or psychological experts cannot fix this problem. Only the Vatican can or the Church in council.  The first step is to recognize that it was and is largely a problem of homosexuality infesting the priesthood all over the world. The reasons why homosexuals flock to the priesthood is not merely because it gives them cover or an explanation for unmarried status; it is also because homosexuals have down through history tended toward greater levels of religiosity. In any case, like any other group homosexuals tended to form cliques within the church and acting as a group tried to further their own perceived interests. Obviously the interests of the Church and those of homosexuals usually do not coincide and therefore there must be huge cognitive dissonance among homosexual clergy. I believe however that some homosexual priests can and do live upright celibate lives. They do not choose their sexual orientation but I think it is getting harder for them to believe it is an orientation that is intrinsically disordered–thus the greater license to pursue their “interests”. For a subgroup pf these individuals those interests are criminal. they need to be defrocked and sent to jail. But even for the non-criminal among them those interests can and do extend to changing church doctrine in heretical directions. Thus the homosexual issue in the church needs to be confronted head-on by the Vatican and by theologians and everyone in the church. It can no longer be ignored.

What should you dedicate your life to?

By Augustinus

First of all, must we dedicate our lives to anything at all? The answer is yes in my view. Though I agree that there is no requirement that you dedicate your life to something, and I absolutely agree that it is true that fundamentally you owe nothing to no-one, I find it is just boring and pleasure-less to be dedicated to nothing at all.

But then what should you dedicate your life to?

1)      Family?

God put some human beings into my care….my spouse and my children and to some extent other relatives. Therefore, my first moral obligation in life is to ensure their well-being. Add to this moral obligation the bonds of love and it is clear that for any real man, family must hold a, or the primary place in that man’s life and efforts. BUT, is it what your life should be dedicated to? In my view the answer must be no. Surely if you make your family your life’s purpose you do them a dis-service because you are not yet fully a man. To be a fully realized man you need to realize your life’s purpose; whatever it is that you dedicate your life to.

 

2)      Race and ethnicity?

Your race and ethnicity is part of who you are. If you dis-own these things you dis-own your Self and therefore you dishonor God who created you. I recently had my DNA analyzed and discovered I am 99.8 or 9% northern European. Basically all of my genes come from Ireland. My Irish genes were also apparently derived in large part from the hunter-gatherers who peopled the island long before the arrival of the Indo-European farmers and Celts. I also have one of the highest percentages of Neanderthal genes reported on the 23andme genetics site. Again Neanderthals were primarily a Northern European people centered in the Iberian peninsula, France and of course the British isles. That’s means that my ancestry going back over 50,000 years centers on Europe—especially the Iberian, French and Irish landmass. Within Ireland my people apparently lived within central/coastal Ireland for over 2000 years in regions that are now known as County Clare and Galway. There are reliable genealogies concerning the Clan my grandparents came from going back over a thousand years—all centered on the coastlines of Clare and Galway. I have ancestors who fought with the great Irish king Brian Boru and there are castles, Abbys and churches within Clare and Galway that my ancestors built and that bear tombs with the names of some of my ancestors dating back over 600 years.

It is clear that one should reverence one’s ancestors. “Honor thy Father and thy Mother.”  Politically everyone favors their own kind and that is as it should be. But should you dedicate your life to your clan, ethnic group or race? I reckon not. While you owe your clan your political blood, sweat and tears, you do not owe your clan your life…and you would be no real good to the clan if you did not realize your life’s purpose as you would be no real man.

 

3)      Sex and love?

Most people dedicate their lives to sex, romance and love. It works for a while but if you have a feel for real manhood you soon realize it cannot be what you dedicate your life to. Sex is more fun when you need it less and love only works with two independent, NOT dependent people. you become a fully mature, INDEPENDENT man when you realize your life purpose.

 

4)      Money and Power?

Money and power are goals worthy of a real man but if you are going to be able to use them wisely they cannot be your masters. Therefore they are not candidates for your life’s purpose. Your life’s purpose is the thing that drives you and in that sense is your master. It comes first before everything else. A real man makes money and power serve his life purpose-not the other way round.

 

5)       God?

To the religious person we owe God everything, therefore we should and must dedicate our lives to God. But in my view, that cannot be the case for a Christian. Christianity is not a religion and teaches that God intended and succeeded in creating ontologically independent entities; i.e. Persons, beings who could stand apart from God and therefore be really free. “Persons”, although creatures, are nonetheless ontologically real entities and are therefore free. We are free to choose or to reject friendship with God. We have the capacity to choose God out of love-not dependency and necessity. Therefore, God does not want us to be indebted to him. Jesus said “I call you friends, not servants.” And yet most so-called Christians continue to insist on being servile, dependent servants to God. In the end they do God a dis-service and wind up being merely religious persons—not Christians.

 

6)      Church?

Because the Church is Christ’s real presence on Earth it demands and deserves service from us. Nevertheless, although the Catholic Church is indeed the mystical body of Christ we should not dedicate our lives to it. It needs friends not servants. We should put our energies into it only after our primary life’s purpose is satisfied.

 

7)      Charities and political ideals?

Many people lead very admirable lives making the world a better place to live in. I think of scientists in this regard…the scientist who devises an effective treatment that relieves the suffering of millions is a most admirable individual. But should you dedicate your life to alleviating the suffering or improving the lives of millions? No. You can and should put significant effort into making the world a better place for others but the best thing you can do for a suffering humanity is to realize your particular life purpose.

8) Art?

To the extent that your art expresses the idea your life is meant to manifest it is good but most people never attain to that kind of art. Most expressive forms of art are embarrassing revelations of the artists deranged fantasies. Once again you need to make art serve you-not the other way round.

 

We have now ruled out all of the usual suspects for one’s life purpose’s. We cannot and should not dedicate our lives to family, clan, charities, science, politics, church, art, money, power or even God. All of these surely have claims on our love, loyalty and efforts but none of them have an absolute claim on your life…while your life purpose DOES have an absolute claim on your life. This is the central message of Christianity as I understand it. What then is your life purpose?

Your life purpose is that idea or principle that your life and your life alone can manifest. Only YOU can realize it and it is your primary duty to do so. by doing so you will save your family, clan, church, art and become intimate friends with the infinite God.

 

 

The Pontifical Solemn Mass at the National Shrine in Washington DC April 28

By Augustinus

I attended this past Saturday (April 28) the Pontifical Solemn Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington DC. It was a very moving and glorious event. It began with intense and very loud organ music that was a cross between horror- movie type organ music and traditional church music. It was simultaneously frightening and solemn-an apt beginning to the sacrifice of the mass. Very hard to describe but it was very beautiful. Its intensity made the opening procession of all who would serve at the altar all the more solemn and reverent. It was a long procession. It was lead by a Knight in full costume (looked like Knight of Columbus) followed by monks in full monkish outfits and robes, followed by priests of various kinds, then the choral group in robes who would sing the Gregorian chants during the mass, then the altar servers including altar boys and then came the priests who would serve Archbishop Sample who came last and would actually say the mass (in Latin of course).

Before the mass people in the pews (and the pews were filled) were treated to some very beautiful choral music. The acoustics in this magnificent basilica were amazing! Try to imagine feasting your eyes on the great art (statues, niches, stained glass, marble altars, etc etc) that populates the sanctuary and the soaring dome overhead all while listening to beautiful medieval/renaissance chants, motets, and other choral pieces sung by superb vocalists and choral groups. There was even a live brass ensemble that played quietly and reverently along with some of the pieces.

Then the mass started. Two choral groups of monks and others sat at opposite ends of the altar chanting back and forth to one another-almost like a call and response pattern…all the while the priests chanted the mass up at the altar…

Archbishop Sample (of Portland OR) gave a very fine sermon and talk on the need for the church to allow both forms of the mass….each does not make full sense without the other, he claimed.

The entire mass was a total aesthetic experience-a religious experience in the best sense of the term. The surrounding art, the music, the solemn passionate chanting of the Latin mass, the perfectly choreographed ritual gestures by the priests up at the altar; the incense, the beautiful robes they were all wearing, the intensity of the religious fervor of the people in the pwes….it was an unforgettable experience! I thank God (and Pope Benedict) that we have not yet lost this great treasure of the Latin West. We should also thank the Paulus Institute for organizing the whole event!

Communing with history

By Augustinus

This past week I took my ten year old daughter (who has an insatiable love of all things historical) to the national Archives in DC, Mount Vernon, Monticello, the Civil War Museum and Confederate White House in Richmond VA and the Valentine House down the street from the confederate White House. At the national archives we studied the actual original Declaration of Independence, the emancipation proclamation, the Bill of Rights and the magna carta. My daughter would ask questions like “Did King john actually touch that seal of office attached to the document?  Did Thomas Jefferson actually write every line on this document? Who was John Carroll?….” She LOVES history just like her Dad! At Mount Vernon we actually ran into Vice President Mike Pence who happened to be having a meeting there that day! We have pics of him just 3 feet away from us! I told her that I admire Pence but she had heard negative things about him from liberal feminist fanatics (her teachers) who object to his rule of never meeting with a unfamiliar women alone. Most of the sane world actually admires Pence for his very wise rule–especially given the moral panic let loose on the world after the Weinstein scandal. When my daughter and I toured Monticello and entered a room with a small bed in an alcove the guide told us that that is the actual bed that Jefferson died in. My daughter’s eyes filled with excitement and tears. Jefferson died just hours apart from his friend John Adams both of whom were original signers of the declaration. They were also (2nd and third) presidents of the country they gave birth to. They each died 50 years to the day after they composed and signed that declaration of independence. My daughter said that I was just like Jefferson in that I “could not live without books”! In Richmond the civil war museum contained the still blood stained flags of the rebel regiments that fought in all those famous battles. We say the tent and cot and  that Robert E Lee slept in for most of the war as well as his simple military and travel kit. My favorite was examining the military kit and the sword and the saddle of J.E.B Stuart one of my heroes! My daughter was amazed at the Jefferson Davis office in the White House. She asked excitedly “Is this where he would meet with Robert E lee and Stonewall Jackson and JEB Stuart and all the rest? They sat right there around that table right??” and I and the tour guide answered yes and we could all almost see the great men sitting around the table …each with a pipe and a whiskey, somber faces looking for a way to defeat the relentless 100,000 strong mechanized armies from the north bent on destruction….I told my daughter afterwards that both the civil war museum and the confederate white house will soon be shut down by the fanatical social justice warriors who are unable to entertain views and world views different from their own. That is why THEY will never appreciate history like my daughter does.

The bankruptcy of the Christian intellectual II

By Augustinus

I just read Ralph Wood’s 2011 study of G.K. Chesterton’s life and work called “Chesterton: The nightmare goodness of God”. Ralph Wood is University Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor University. His book on Chesterton was endorsed by several people whom I have read and respect including David Bentley Hart, Dale Ahlquist, Joseph Pearce and Fergus Kerr.  In the book Wood praises Chesterton for his great work on behalf of the church but then also seeks to criticize the great man on several points. One such was Chesterton’s great poem on Lepanto: the great naval battle of a European coalition against the Ottoman Turks. Wood criticizes Chesterton because the great man celebrated the bloody victory of the west over the barbaric Islamist fanatics too enthusiastically for Wood’s tastes. For Wood apparently, Christianity is mainly about peace and love and not denigrating other religions like Chesterton does in his magnificent, celebratory, epic poem Lepanto. Wood spends a lot of pages in his book trying to argue that Chesterton really wasn’t the kind of guy who celebrated bloody victories over heretic foes but Chesterton WAS that kind of guy. Believe or not the Church has always produced militant foes of heresy and that is precisely the kind of man the church needs today; unapologetic defenders of the Truth.

Finally a bishop with balls

By Augustinus

Bishop Paprocki of Springfield Illinois has instructed his priests to not give holy communion to Senator Dick Durbin because of his vigorous and open advocacy of abortion.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/02/23/illinois-bishop-bans-sen-dick-durbin-from-receiving-holy-communion-over-his-pro-abortion-stance/

Hallejuah! Someone still believes in sin! And this Bishop apparently takes his teaching obligation seriously.

from the article over at Breitbart:
“Senator Durbin has earned an impressive 100 percent rating from the abortion lobby group NARAL.

Durbin famously harassed 7th Circuit Court nominee Amy Barrett for her conservative Catholic faith during confirmation hearings last September, in what the LA Times described as a “cringeworthy interrogation.”

“I’m a product of 19 years of Catholic education and every once in a while holy mother the Church has not agreed with a vote of mine and has let me know,” Durbin said.”

19 years of catholic education tends to produce social justice warriors these days instead of good catholics. Social justice is a worthy cause but the ideology leads to heresy. The right way to do social justice is the old classical liberal way. Classical liberalism is now deemed to be extreme right wing but it is neither right nor left but traditional catholic social teaching.

The bankruptcy of the Catholic Intellectual

By Augustinus

Over at Crux there is a short interview with Richard Gaillardetz who is the Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology at Boston College. I believe he is also, or at least once was, the President of the professional society for American Catholic Theologians. He is the author of By What Authority? Foundations for Understanding Authority in the Church; and An Unfinished Council: Vatican II, Pope Francis, and the Renewal of Catholicism. He has been appointed to numerous official positions in Catholic circles, both nationally and internationally and has represented the Catholic position in numerous theologic forums the world over. In short, he is considered by both his colleagues in the theologic profession and by the Vatican hierarchy to be one of the best of American catholic theologians. He represents the cream of the crop of catholic theologians in America.

Yet here is what he said in the interview in Crux:

https://cruxnow.com/interviews/2018/02/14/theologian-church-doctrine-must-life-giving-not-oppressive/

“Finally, I want to add that being a fan of Pope Francis, as we both are, doesn’t mean being a booster. For all of his many accomplishments, I remain deeply saddened by his two great blind spots: 1) his failure to see that compassion for clerical sexual abuse victims is necessary but not sufficient; there must also be a clear commitment to bring episcopal enablers to justice. 2) his criticism of “gender theory” and Christian feminism which strikes me as lacking in both understanding and nuance.”

Its number 2 that I find to be such a striking statement, particularly for a duly canonically licenced catholic theologian.

I have never read of Gaillardetz’s books so it is not really fair of me to criticize him for a brief statement in a short interview. So dear reader take what I say here with a large grain of salt as I may be completely mischaracterizing this man’s views BUT….

It seems from the quote that he is saying that Pope Francis’s very mild criticisms of “gender theory” and Christian feminism were too much for him. I am inferring that Gaillardetz finds something of value in “gender theory” and Christian feminism.  I hope that that is not the case but I would not at all be surprised if it were the case as the American academy—at least the departments of humanities and social science, has been utterly corrupted by these ideologies. That is all they are. There is no intellectual substance to “gender theory” whatsoever. Most biologists treat it as a kind of American Lysenkoism– A state enforced Stalinist-like ideology mascarading as a bona fide science or intellectual discipline. The evolutionary biology and neuroscience of sexuality is so utterly complex that it far surpasses anything that gender theory can throw at it. If one feels some compassion for same-sex oriented people or transgendered people I recommend reading and studying evolutionary biology of sex—not “gender theory”!

It is a shame that this Gaillardetz can take gender theory seriously at all and then chide the Pope for his very mild criticisms of it. The problems with feminist theory are of an entirely different order than gender theory so I will not even attempt to discuss feminist theory here. My point is that here we have a major catholic intellectual and Church-licenced theologian who apparently is entirely taken in by a pathetic academic fad.

If you live in the Boston area you can take in some of the wisdom dispensed by Gaillardetz concerning the joys of the Francis papacy at an upcoming talk:

 

The Welcoming Church of Pope Francis February 25, 2018 at 11:15 am – 12:15 pm Sacred Heart Church, 1995 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington, MA

or visit the man’s website at:

https://gaillardetz.com/

The church and modernity

By Augustinus

There is a fierce and healthy debate going on in the world church concerning the church’s relationship to “modernity”. Modernity in its current incarnation is known as liberaism. Over at the liberal Catholic Herald, Adrian Vermeule, a highly respected Harvard Law Professor who holds a Chair in constitutional law, argues that liberalism in any form is toxic for the church. See http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2018/01/05/as-secular-liberalism-attacks-the-church-catholics-cant-afford-to-be-nostalgic/

Vermuele also very nicely summarizes some of the positions in the American portion fo the debate. Rusty Reno over at First Things journal argues that liberalism per se is not the problem. It is “creedal liberalism”–i.e. that form of liberalism that arrogantly assumes its own inherent goodness and progressivity etc Similarly the Catholic columnist and blogger over at the New York Times Ross Douthat argues that liberalism per se is not the problem. In fact Douthat looks back to the first half of the 20th century up to the 1950s as an example of how the Church can flourish in a liberal democracy and positively influence the moral tenor of the culture.  Like Douthat and Reno before him the Iranian Catholic blogger over at Commentary Sohrab Ahmari, points to he Reagan, Thatcher, Pope John Paul II years as proof that liberalism and catholicism can co-exist and even work together to defeat totalitarianisms.

Vermuele will have none of this. He points to clear historical trends that liberalism and modernity slowly but inexorably eats away at the Faith by undermining those parts of the Church most eager to appear “modern”, “liberal” and “progressive”.  The greatest intellects, the most forward thinking sectors of the church; those churchmen who are using the latest sientific methods etc…all of these individuals begin to advocate an “updating” of doctrine” and practice. They sincerely believe that the updating will attract all those lost souls who hate and despise the church for its ‘antiquated” and “backward”, and “superstitious” doctrines and practices. All of the apparently enlightened and right thinking churchmen want the ‘updating” and that is why, Vermuele  argues, all of the protestant denominations are closing down and apostatizing. They follow their enlightened leaders down a trajectory that their forebears began in the 19th century…they discard antiquated social doctrines, then creedal doctrines that appear to conflict with non-progressive social doctrines and then the Trinity is discarded and finally unitarianism and atheism is the  end result.

But Vermuele does not see much hope in “traditionalist” catholics either as they too are bitten by the very ideology they denounce the most: Modernism. They see the solution to the modernist crisis in the church as a going back to some mythical time when the Church was not in crisis. But Vermuele rightly points out that there is no going back and the church was never not in crisis.

I do not know what Vermuele’s preferred solution is but his firm rejection of all existing proposed solutions seems unassailable.

 

Do not be conformed to this world

By Augustinus

One of the greatest temptations for the church and indeed for any Christian is to adopt the morals of the surrounding world instead of adhering to the divine law. When the whole world is saying you must burn incense to the emperor as that is what all right-minded people do; then there is strong temptation to do just that. When you look around and all of the best people, the decent, humane, citizens are burning the incense, then you ask yourself why can’t I and my church do the right thing and do the same? When upright, compassionate, right-thinking, civilized, forward-thinking, progressive, decent, smiling people are burning incense to the emperor, then there is a strong temptation for you to do so as well. When all of the leaders, all of the cultural leaders of the country say you must burn incense to the emperor or be seen as an anti-social, hate-monger, then there is a strong temptation to “burn the incense”..

After all, who wants to be seen as judgmental, backward-looking, retrogressive, hate-filled, condemnatory, indecent, uncivilized resisters to the simple act of burning the incense? How can one resist these decent humane people when they argue that morals have progressed beyond old testament superstitions? They point out that scriptures did not condemn slavery and yet the whole world now sees slavery as a gross immorality! Clearly, humanity can progress morally over the centuries and sometimes it must do so without the support of the divine law as evidenced by scripture.

Scripture, tradition, church fathers, church councils, doctors of the church, popes and saints alike have all condemned active homosexuality (the orientation is a different matter as that is not chosen by the afflicted individual) and none of these authorities have unequivocally condemned slavery (St Patrick was an exception). Yet the modern world celebrates homosexuality and condemns slavery. Members of the church from the Pope down to the laity in the pews wish that things were different. But the record is clear. What the church has historically condemned is now practiced as a liberatory virtue by the modern world. Something has to give. Should divine law bend to the sensibilities of modern bourgeoisie in their celebration of the sexual revolution? Or should the Church LEAD the modern world in observance of divine law?

The church is going through a phase where it wants to be liked by the modern world. The current Pope and much of the hierarchy and certainly most of the laity in the pews basically agrees with the modern world regarding the moral status of the sexual revolution. Masturbation is not really a vice, Homosexuality is not an intrinsic evil. Divorce is OK under many circumstances. Sex outside marriage is not always bad, in fact it is natural and OK.  Virginity and chastity are weird and anti-life. Married and homosexual priests are OK (especially when they are both homosexual and married!). Abortion is both virtuous and life enhancing. In fact it is a human right!

The church is in crisis partly because it wants to be loved by the right-thinking cultural leaders of our time all of whom have bought into the values of the sexual revolution. Unfortunately for the current Pope and the coterie of bourgeois bishops he has surrounded himself with, the church has to deal with the long record of scripture, councils, popes, doctors, theologians etc all condemning what the modern world praises.

I myself find some good in some aspects of the sexual revolution and much good in modernity itself (see my articles on Vatican II in this blog) but I despise the leaders of the church who would have the church kowtow, virtue-signal, apologize,  bow and scrape to the bourgeois cultured-despisers of religion in the modern world who are demanding and indeed shrieking that ALL must “burn the incense” or be considered retrogressive hate-mongers..