Saturday, May 09, 2020

Kevin Symonds' Review of Infiltration

Last year I published a guest post by Kevin Tierney on the factual and methodological problems with Dr. Taylor Marshall's book, Infiltration

This week I came across another great review of the book by Mr. Kevin Symonds. The review is quite extensive and highlights some of the same issues as our original post. It is broken up into two segments, which you can view below on Kevin Symonds' website:

The real gem in these reviews, however, is the 12 page PDF linked at the end of the second review that catalogs a list of the factual and scholarly problems with the book. If you want to skip right to this, I have linked it here. I highly recommend it.

I want to stress that my posting of these reviews is not indicative of any personal animus against Dr. Marshall. He's done some excellent work on behalf of Traditionalism. But we Traditionalists ought to be critically-minded about our own arguments. Not everything that comes from our own "side" needs to be defended and propped up. "Iron sharpens iron", as the Scriptures say (Prov. 27:17), and we should not shy from critical examination of the works produced by other traditionalists. In the 13 years I have been blogging here, my readers have been very astute and persistent at critiquing my own blathering mind-dumps, for which I am immensely grateful.

Please check out the work of Mr. Symonds. It brings up some excellent points for consideration.


Anonymous said...

more "yeah but actually" side-swiping...
the criticisms are valid, but some are nitpicking to the extreme. "J23 opened the envelope 4.5 months before 1960, not a whole year"... well it was still 4.5 months too early!
fair enough, Marshall is a marketer, sedes are flawed apostates.
but is sitting on our hands the solution?

Geoffrey K. Mondello said...

Page 34: “Pope Leo XIII mystically observed an apparition...etc.”•Awkward Phrasing: Extra word, “mystically,” makes for awkward phrasing. ALL apparitions are “mystical.”It is more correct to say “Pope Leo XIII had a vision...etc.”

Your assessment of Dr. Marshall's philosophical/theological solecism regarding the vision of Pope Leo XII is itself deeply mistaken in both terminology and a promotes a fundamental misunderstanding of the theological term "mystical". It is a common problem, but noteworthy for lack of precision in Contemplative Theology (as awkwardly observed by William James as early as 1902 in "Varieties of Religious Experience" in which he aptly states that “The words “mysticism” and “mystical” are often used as terms of mere reproach, to throw at any opinion which we regard as vague and vast and sentimental, and without a base in either facts or logic. For some writers a “mystic” is any person who believes in thought-transference, or spirit return. Employed in this way the word has little value.” (Lecture 16)

Pope Leo XIII quite the OPPOSITE of a "Mystical experience", and your stating that "ALL apparitions are “mystical" reveals a deeply regrettable misunderstanding of Mystical Theology altogether. Saint John of the Cross (Doctor of Mystical Theology) is quite clear about this. Please ... for the sake of your Catholic readers at least acquaint yourself with the fundamentals to Mystical Theology. I suggest:

God keep you

In the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

Geoffrey K.Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal

Anonymous said...

Dear Geoffrey,

I do not check regularly the USC web site and would not have seen your remark otherwise if I hadn't come by here on a whim. Please send your criticism to me directly through my web site (

BTW, are you the same Geoffrey up in the Greater Boston area and who is/was in the dental profession? If so, I know who you are through reputation. I'm from the same area.

-Kevin Symonds

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. And he left them, and went away.

There are not a few Trad Catholics who claim that when lightening struck St. Peter's Basilica after Pope Benedict XVI abdicated, it was a clear signal of God's disapproval.

But as Kip said to Napoleon Dynamite; You have no way of knowing that...

St. Peter's is frequently struck by lightning and so how does one explain the following lightening strikes?

Well, by prolly saying that the lightening strikes signaled approval from God..but that is just another way of saying that any spiritual meaning to be assigned to lightening striking St. Peter's is purely subjective and associated with the emotional and spiritual state of the witness at the time.

If the witness is in a good state and feeling positive about what is happening in The Vatican at the time of the lightening strike, then the strike will be interpreted as a sign of approval by God for those actions whereas if what is happening in The Vatican at the time of the lightening strike is negative, the strike will be interpreted by the witness as a sign of God's disapproval of that action but it really is a case of the emotional/psychological projection of the witness in both instances.

But striking is what lightning does to really big and tall structures and so there is nothing definitive or of spiritual consequence to be derived from the strike.

Anonymous said...

So,is Nostra Aetate dogma?