Saturday, June 25, 2022

Monastic Joy


There is an unfortunate stereotype that traditional Catholic spirituality is a dour, mournful thing; that the medieval monks and ascetics were long-faced sourpusses whose minds were bogged down by the oppressive contemplation of their own sins, and who mistakenly thought that God's pleasure in them was proportional to the amount of physical, even masochistic suffering they imposed upon themselves—essentially, the stereotype that traditional Catholic spirituality is all cross but no resurrection. 

Of course, you may occasionally find Catholics who are too pessimistic and dark about their spirituality. But traditional Catholic spirituality, whether of the monastic or lay sort, was always characterized by the paradox of profound joy in the midst of ascesis. Yes, our Lord tells us we must take up our cross daily. But He also promises that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (cf. Matt. 11:30). But the thing is you have to actually take up the yoke and carry the burden before you realize its lightness. And in what does this lightness consist? Not that following the Lord is "easy" in the sense of not requiring effort, but the sense that supernatural grace working alongside a docile will renders the burdens bearable, even sweet and delightful over time. For the novice, spending an hour in prayer can be tiring, dull and require extraordinary strength - in other words, it is a burden; for the saint, spending an hour in prayer is a delight, a consolation, a source of great blessing - in other words, the burden has been rendered light.

In the medieval world, the strictest observance of the Rule of St. Benedict was found among the Cistercians, those followers of St. Robert of Molesme who in 1098 broke away from the Cluniac usage to follow an unmitigated and primitive observance of the Benedictine rule. If anyone in the Middle Ages were dour, long-faced, sourpuss Christians, we would expect it to be the Cistercians, as the discipline of their early years was particularly severe.

There is no way to discern how joyful or mournful were particular monks who lived nine centuries ago, but we can tell something about how they viewed their monastic vocation by looking at the names they gave their monasteries. A striking feature of early Cistercian abbeys is their nomenclature, which demonstrates that the monks of the early 12th century viewed their monastic enclosures as havens of peace and joy. Let us look at the names of some of these early foundations from the first few decades of the Cistercian expansion. Notice all the references to happiness or goodness (variations of bonus) and light (variation of clara):

In France: Bona-Requies, Bonus-Locus (Bonlieu), Bonus-Portus (Bonport), Bona-Vallis, Carus-Locus (Cherlieu), Caritas (la Charité), Clarus-Mons (Clermont), Claritas-Dei (Clairté Dieu), Clara-Vallis (Clairvaux), Clarus-Locus (Clairlieu), Sacra-Cella (Cercanceaux), Sacer-Portus, Vallis-Lucida, Vallis-Paradisius (Valparayso).

In Germany: Caeli-Porta (Himmelspforte), Cella-Dei (Gotteszell), Schola-Dei, Vallis-Speciosa (Schoenthal).

In Belgium and Holland: Aurea-Vallis (Orval), Portus Beatae Mariae

In Poland: Paradisus (Paradiz)

In Ireland and Scotland: Beatitudo Benedictio Dei, Mellifons (Mellifont), Melrosa (Melrose).

In Italy: Fons-Vivus

Finally, a very popular phrase, Vallis-Dei, which was the name of several Cistercian houses in England, Ireland, Austria, Spain, Holland and even Norway.

And what do these names mean when we translate them? In vernacular English, the above names read:

Sweet Repose. Happy Place. Good Harbor. Lovely Valley. Beloved Abode. Brotherly Love. Bright Mountain. Brightness of God. Lightsome Valley. Serene Place. Holy Cell. Sacred Harbor. Vale of Splendor. Vale of Paradise. Gate of Heaven. God's Sanctum. School of God. Beautiful Valley. Golden Valley. Beatitude. Port of St. Mary. Blessing of God. Fount of Honey. Rose of Honey. Living Fountain. Valley of God.

The rule of the Cistercians, especially at their foundation, was by no means simple. To this day, the strictest observance of the Rule of St. Benedict is found among the Cistercian order, those of the Strict Observance (Trappists). To the world, the fastings, the vigils, the manual labor, the austerity could not possibly be sources of the joy and peace exemplified by the nomenclature of the Cistercian abbeys. And yet the monastic experience proves otherwise; it proves that our Lord was telling the truth when He said "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." Yes, to follow our Lord entails suffering, self-denial, and the carrying of the cross. But our Lord does not leave us orphaned; if we are willing to pick up that cross - willing to follow the Lamb wherever He leads—we find a sweet consolation, more tender and dear than anything offered by the world. We see that our Lord is a pearl of great price, and in our joy, we are willing to forego everything else to obtain that pearl, to drink from the living water.

And he who drinks from that living water will never thirst again (John 4:14).

This was what the early Cistercians knew, when despite the trials of setting up a new monastery, the difficulty in observing the Rule of St. Benedict, and the general conditions of medieval life, they found in their monastic profession a profound joy, as evidenced by the nomenclature of their abbeys.

"For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor. 12:9-10)

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Another Bold Stroke from the Pope of the Peripheries

On June 15 Pope Francis issued rescript changing Canon Law. The rescript, which takes immediate effect, prohibits any diocesan bishop from erecting a Public Association of the Faithful wishing eventually to become an institute of consecrated life or a society of apostolic life without explicit written permission of the Vatican Dicastery in charge of such institutes/societies. Essentially, the Vatican has assumed control over the establishment of all religious communities and priestly orders. 

Though it is not specified, it is assumed that this is primarily aimed to halt the formation of new traditional associations. It is clear from numerous statements by Francis—including his screed against traditionalist "restorers" made only one day before the issuance of the rescript—that Francis considers traditionalists the greatest threat to the modern Church. I have seen some banter online of people saying, "Don't assume this is about traditionalists" and "traddiedom is not the center of the Church." But to Francis it is. To Francis, traditionalism is the great enemy of his time. And he has not attacked any other segment of the Church as he has traditionalists. Therefore it is more than reasonable to assume this rescript is issued with traditional Catholics in mind.

The Dicastery in reference is run by de Aviz and Carballo, whom Dr. Kwasniewski referred to as "progressivist thugs", a sentiment I completely agree with. The chances of any traditional association receiving the requisite institutional approval from these gatekeepers is nonexistent.

I offer a few reflections on this development:

1) The Total Overthrow of Institutional Credibility

The Catholic Church has spent the last several decades destroying its institutional credibility, at least understood from a human perspective. The Church once possessed great institutional credibility; I am continually amazed, when I read histories of ecclesiastical events of the pontificates of Pius IX or Pius X, how the mere hint that the pope or some Congregation wanted something was enough to compel complete obedience, even beyond what the authorities asked for. But those days are long, long gone. The Church itself has continually debased its own institutional credibility since Vatican II by torrents of abuses gone too long unchecked, by the stream of garbled nonsense that is ceaselessly vomited out of the Vatican, and by unjust persecutions of Catholics whose only crime was to hold their tradition too dearly. The Church has spent a generation cultivating the mindset that the letter of the law doesn't ultimately matter; the "spirit" and the "signs of the times" are much more important. 

Thus, having worked so hard to enthrone the spirit, it is laughable that the Vatican now thinks it can rule by the letter; having spent a generation undermining the value of the letter, it now wishes to subvert the authority of every bishop by pen stroke. It is almost comedic. Liberals have long ignored the letter of the law; and Traditionalists have realized the implementation of the law is hopelessly stacked against them. The only ones still trying to square the circle are the naïve neo-Catholics, who have their heads so deep in the sand they can see Beijing. Traditionalism arose despite the letter of the law and it will not be crushed by the letter of the law—especially a law whose import has been eviscerated by decades of the Vatican's selective interpretation.

2) Necessity of New Models of Organization

But if no more traditional institutes are allowed to be erected by bishops on their own initiative, how shall we escape the letter of the law? The answer is simply that we will have recourse to organizational models not envisioned by the current canonical strictures. I refer you to an article called "Into the Woods" I wrote in 2018 in the aftermath of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life document Cor Orans, which essentially revolutionized the way women's religious communities governed themselves. The gist of the essay is that as the institutional Church becomes more untrustworthy under the current zeitgeist, traditional movements will be more about living a certain lifestyle than obtaining any specific ecclesiastical status. The Vatican might regulate the episcopal erection of new religious institutes, but it can do nothing against a group of individuals living together and making their own private vows. It may prohibit the creation of a new priestly society dedicated to the Traditional Latin Mass, but it cannot prohibit priests who love the Traditional Latin Mass from organizing on their own outside of official channels. It may prohibit the Latin Mass being said in diocesan parishes, but it cannot prevent it being said in private venues. The Church can shove the NAB and the Liturgy of the Hours at me as much as they please, but they can't prevent me gathering with likeminded men to pray the traditional Divine Office in Latin. Whatever we want done, we are going to have to do it ourselves—not by going "against" ecclesiastical authority in any schismatic sense, but by merely operating in spheres where ecclesiastical authority has no say. This is how Christendom was built; St. Benedict had no episcopal letter when he clambered up the slopes of Mount Subiaco and wandered into a cave.

3) Machiavellian Delegation and the Farce of Synodality

In case anyone had any shred of doubt left, this should make it perfectly clear that Pope Francis's ideas about "decentralization" and "synodality" are farcical. The same pope who allegedly wants to allow local bishops' conferences to make true doctrinal judgments also wants to tell bishops what organizations they can and cannot erect in their own dioceses. This is the same pontificate that, in the explanatory letter after Traditionis Custodes, purported to tell individual parishes what they could and could not advertise on the parish website or in the parish bulletin. The same pontificate who has systematically dismantled the independence of various religious orders and trampled on their charisms. Decentralization and synodality indeed!

Francis does not, and has never wanted, decentralization. Rather, he believes in what I would call Machiavellian delegation. Actual decentralization is too risky. After all, bishops like Cordileone and Mutsaerts exist, and we can't risk allowing more space for their ideas. He lacks the testicular fortitude to throw the cards to the wind and see where they land. Actual administrative control must be centralized as much as possible. But, since Francis is the pope of the peripheries, he needs his more revolutionary bold-stroke changes to appear to come "from the people"; after all, if everything were imposed from top down, it would merely reinforce the caricature of Francis as a dictator pope. So certain things are strategically delegated to local churches where and when Francis knows they will return a result favorable to his overall agenda.  In this way the most radical changes can appear to have come "from the peripheries," their adoption being presented not as a bureaucratic fiat but as yielding to the vox populi that the God of surprises foists on us. It is a machination worthy of Pontius Pilate. To put it bluntly, power is centralized, but revolutionary change is outsourced. If I were to illustrate the movement of Machiavellian delegation, it would look like this, where Rome is the yellow dot and "the peripheries" are the blue:

Taking control of religious orders and priestly societies? That power can be assumed by Rome. Married viri probati clerics? That change must come from the Amazon. Regulating the Latin Mass and forbidding parishes to advertise it? That power can be assumed by Rome. Allowing Holy Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried? That change must come from Germany. Of course which specific "peripheries" this radical change is outsourced to are matters of calculated deliberation; you'll never see the Vatican allowing the African bishops to take the path of synodality when it comes to handling same sex marriage. It's all carefully crafted theater rigged to return pre-determined results.

4) We Follow the Way

For us, though, this is ultimately about a way of life, not who has institutional control. I don't mean to downplay the importance of institutional control; and God willing, one day, the institution will be better, the ship's course will be righted, and mother will not be drunk anymore. Until that happens, however, what we are seeking is a way of life. In the New Testament and the earliest Christian writings, the Catholic faith was referred to as "the Way," and Christians were called "followers of the Way." This sort of thinking has greatly benefitted my own spiritual life during these difficult times. I am seeking a city whose builder and maker is God (cf. Heb. 11:10). The regime the Church finds itself under can annoy me, make me drive a little farther, make me jump through a few more hoops, make me roll my eyes, but it can't ultimately stop me from following the path our Lord Jesus has laid out. It cannot stop me from living the Faith of our ancestors and loving our traditions. 

But if things get so bad that I am deprived of certain spiritual benefits through no fault of my own, will God hold me to account? Certainly not. "For," the Scriptures say, "if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he has not" (2 Cor. 8:12). This means that if I earnestly will to follow God with my whole heart, I cannot be judged for what I lack, only what I have. It's not about how many talents I have, but what I do with whatever amount has been entrusted to me. God chose you to live in these times. He wants you here. And if we believe at all in God's Providence, that should be a very encouraging thought. The pope can make certain aspects of my external observance difficult, but he cannot touch the pearl of great price. "My Father is greater than all...and no one is able to snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:28). The corrupt regime in Rome is only able to knock me off the path to the degree that I let them. 

Stand Fast

So stand fast, brethren. Follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Purify your hearts, so you can hear His voice. And remember, "Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:38-39).

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

What a Dark Night Is and Is Not

There is a rich tradition in the West of describing the progress of the soul along the path to God in terms of stages of development, with certain characteristics proper to each stage. St. Teresa of Avila famously spoke of seven "mansions" corresponding to different levels of spiritual attainment; others divide the spiritual life into three phases: purgative, illuminative and contemplative. Medieval mystics such as Robert Grosseteste, Julian of Norwich and the author of the Cloud of Unknowing, following the tradition of Pseudo-Dionysius, take an apophatic approach to their theology, viewing the ascent toward God as a stripping away of assumptions and images about God in an attempt to contemplate the divine essence itself.

All these approaches have merit, and we should probably not insist on adhering to one too closely; they are all ultimately subjective expressions of what particular souls have experienced. Even if these experiences have been quite common in Church history, God ultimately works with each soul in a unique manner. No two souls take the same journey, even though all souls who seek God seek the same end. These descriptions are meant to be pedagogical, teaching the devotee what to expect on the way to holiness. They are not doctrines that we must insist on to the exclusion of other conceptual frameworks.

That being said, that does not mean there is not some commonality in mystical experiences. Most of the progressions described in the mystical writings of the Church, East and West, center on a particular shift in experience from the intellect to the affections—from the head to the heart. For example, in the West, meditation is commonly recommended as a sort of prayer for beginners in the spiritual life. Meditation consists in taking a certain episode of sacred history or truth of the faith and holding it before the mind's eye, drawing out different levels of meaning, making pious resolutions, and dwelling on the implications of the truths of what we are meditating on. It is primarily an intellectual activity utilizing the imagination.

Similarly, the Eastern tradition places great emphasis on the Jesus Prayer, intentionally choosing a particular expression and repeating it while meditating on a specific element of the Faith. This is again an active, intellectual work that depends on human activity.

But in both traditions, there is a transition that occurs. In meditation, one eventually moves to contemplation, while in the Eastern tradition, the repetition of the Jesus Prayer as an active prayer is supposed to yield to a more passive spirit of contemplative prayer. In both cases, the movement is from an active to a passive sort of prayer, from a field in which human activity predominates to one in which the soul is more responsive to the graces God wishes to bestow upon it. This transition cannot be forced; it does not yield to human effort. It may come on a soul suddenly, or gradually over many years, or perhaps never at all. No matter what schema we use to describe the transition, we get to a place where God is the dominant agent and the soul must be docile before Him.

This transition can be painful and disorienting. In some mystical traditions (most notably the Carmelite tradition exemplified by St. John of the Cross), the movement into these higher degrees of spirituality is accompanied by a painful episode that is known as a "dark night." The dark night is typically described as a period of deprivation, where the sensations, pious aspirations, consolations, and happy feelings that accompanied the individual in the lower stages of the spiritual life are withdrawn. This process of the dark night is part of the larger transition from the "head to the heart" that God affects in the spiritual life of docile souls.

It is commonly known that the dark night exists for the purpose of drawing souls closer to God, but why, specifically, is this the case? Why must a soul experience this deprivation of consolation in order to progress?

In this life, faith infused with charity is the only way a person can truly gain access to God in prayer. But when we begin, our faith and charity are weak and need to be propped up with other things: mental images, pious thoughts, spiritually pleasant feelings, imagination, etc. These are all objectively good; no matter how far we advance in the spiritual life, these will always have a certain place. But these things can never attain to God without a corresponding increase in faith, which is the key to prayer and union with the divine. That strengthening of faith we require to truly commune with God can only come about in a state of detachment, just as a person on crutches does not return to full use of their leg until the crutches are discarded and the muscles can be worked without the aid of the crutch. Similarly, growth in faith necessary to put a person into closer union with God requires that pious feelings, divine consolations, and the ability to approach Him through reason be set aside. This setting aside of all the active, human-based elements of the spiritual life is why persons in the dark night feel so incredibly helpless. Yet the dark night is extremely enriching, because by it faith is strengthened and prayer is transformed into a mutual exchange of love.

None of this is new to anyone who has even read a little bit of Catholic mystical theology, but it is something that is sadly misunderstood. There are plenty of counterfeit dark nights out there: experiences that people believe to be a dark night but are actually something other. For example, the dark night must be distinguished from a "period of dryness." All believers experience periods of dryness occasionally, during which prayer is difficult and spiritual consolations seem to be removed. This is what St. Ignatius refers to as the period of "desolation." These periods are usually briefer and are universal to all believers. These periods of desolation can be used by God, or they can be inflicted by evil oneGod will typically use a period of desolation to turn someone towards him, while the devil's desolation is characterized by confusion and wavering in resolutions. A spiritually mature believer needs to be able to discern these cyclic periods of dryness from the greater "dark night" that the saints speak about. In other words, you are not "going through a dark night" just because you are spiritually dry or having a hard time.

Furthermoreand probably more commonwe cannot mistake true dark nights with periods of confusion or disorientation that arise due to our own sinful activities. For example, about fifteen years ago, I experienced a profound period of dryness and dissatisfaction that lasted for about two years. Prayer was very difficult. I seemed to be making no progress in my spiritual life and had a very challenging time focusing on God. In my own limited understanding of things at the time, I imagined I was experiencing the dark night of the saints. What I did not consider was that I never prayed the Rosary, seldom went to Adoration, read the Bible only infrequently, attended Mass only on Sundays, and nurtured several bad habits and personal sins that I was unwilling to make the effort to overcome. In this case, was my dryness and difficulties really due to some dark night? Were they not rather due to my lukewarmness? Thank God I was roused from that slumber!

A true dark night comes not to souls who are tepid, but to those who are fervent and burning with charity. This is why it is so distressing for them; precisely because they are typically so inflamed with zeal for our Lord that the deprivation of His consolations is devastating to them.

It has become, in a certain sense, fashionable to speak of dark nights. People discuss their spiritual lives far too openly, and everyone who experiences some momentary setback in prayer or some cyclic lack of initiative wistfully speculates to their friends that they are suffering a dark night. Dark nights are not fashionable. They are not something casually discussed, and they are not something that come to those whose pursuit of God is not relentless; even among those who do pursue Him relentlessly may never pass through it. They are extremely distressing to the souls who undergo them, and even souls of exemplary holiness and clarity of mind may not understand what is happening to them.

If we feel ourselves in a period of dryness or desolation, rather than speculating about if we have been sufficiently holy to merit undergoing the trial of the dark night, let us turn to the much more practical advice of St. Ignatius Loyola: Consider that the dryness you experience is due to your own apathetic practice of the Faith. If you have noticed the dryness, however, God may make use of it to prod you on to a more fervent practice of the Faith. That fact that you recognize that you are dry is itself a grace. Ask God to bring you where He wants you to be and assent to whatever means He chooses to do this.

If you are already fervently practicing your faith, moving from good to better in the service of God, as St. Ignatius says, the dry spell may come from the evil one, who tries to place obstacles in the way of perfection. St. Ignatius calls this state "desolation." What can be done when this happens?

If you are in a state of desolation, do not make any changes to your spiritual routine. It is best to stay firm in our disciplines and resolves, focusing instead upon overcoming the desolation through prayer and meditation. Patience and fidelity to God are necessary here. Maintain faithfulness to the resolutions you made in the light. Changing your plan in the dark is never helpful because the desolation clouds your judgment. It will pass.

Besides our own slothfulness and tepidity, St. Ignatius says we sometimes go through periods of desolation because God wants to test us and try our faith, or because God wants to reveal to us our true state without the aid of His grace.

These periods of desolation are natural to all believers and are distinct from the dark night that is spoken of by the mystics and vouchsafed only to souls who have made exceptional progress in holiness. It is good to understand this and fortify oneself during a period of fruitful prayer and consolation by thinking how one will handle the desolation which will inevitably come.

If we made ourselves more familiar with these basic principles of spiritual life, we would do very well indeed. Through the successful navigation of these cycles of consolation-desolation, we in fact slowly come to master our spiritual life by God's grace and understand the movement of the Spirit. Thus, growing stronger, we eventually do come to the stage where our spiritual focus must shift from the head to the heart and we may in fact undergo the dark night. But if we have not mastered handling our periodic desolations, what will we do when God's consolations are utterly removed during that time of darkness?

Mysticism may be mysterious, but there is an inner logic to it, and without proper discipline and ascesis, we can't even get past our own periodic desolations, let alone the true dark night.

Thursday, June 02, 2022

Stop Trying to Make Deacon's Wives a Thing

The image for this post is taken from my diocesan magazine. The article interviews five women who are married to permanent deacons and discusses how that affects their marriages and their work in their parishes. 

The celebration of the "role" of deacon's wife as a quasi-ministry within the Church is something I long ago predicted, as permanent deacons are increasingly looked to as a solution to the priest shortage. Since pushing a married priesthood on the Latin rite is still facing too many obstacles, I suspect the idea of deacons and their wives working jointly within the parish is a more surreptitious way to introduce "couples ministry" into Holy Orders.

There's nothing wrong with a husband and wife volunteering together for the parish; I'm sure many of my readers and their spouses are involved in such laudable activities. Even so, the emphasis on a deacon's wife filling an actual "role" within parish life is another subtle movement away from the traditional view of the diaconate in particular and Holy Orders in general. 

The article (which is broken into a Part 1 and Part 2) asks five women to comment upon their experiences being married to deacons, how this affects their marriage, and how they participate in the ministry of their husbands. Reading the article, I am left with the impression that these women consider deacon's wife itself to be a vocation, and that their status gives them a unique shared ministry with their husbands. We see a discussion of "how married couples might begin discerning a call to the diaconate life"; we are told that "the role of deacon's wife is as unique as the women who fill that role"; that being a deacon's wife allows "opportunity to participate in a more active role in ministry"—one says "we are involved in ministry together." Another speaks of fulfilling her "commitment to my vocations as wife, mother, nurse practitioner, and deacon's wife." One says that "one way I participate with my husband in his diaconal ministry is when I serve as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist or lector at our parish," suggesting that she views these things as sharing in the diaconal ministry itself.

A few out of context quotes do not give the big picture, so I encourage you to read the articles linked above.

Two points:

First, I understand that none of these statements imply there is any sort of institutional "deacon's wife ministry." And some of them can be taken innocuously enough; obviously before a married man enters the permanent diaconate, he and his wife together should discern what that vocation would mean for their marriage. So I don't mean to make a mountain out of a molehill, or infer nefarious meanings to these statements that the women clearly do not mean. Even so, one cannot deny there is a substantial blurring of the lines between clergy and laity demonstrated here. While a husband and wife must discern together what a diaconal ordination will mean for their marriage, it is the husband alone who has the vocation to Holy Orders. While a deacon's wife may be laudably engaged in parish volunteer work, none of this constitutes "participating" in the husband's diaconal ministry. While being married to a deacon may give a woman more visibility in the parish community, she is not thereby admitted to a "unique role" that necessitates active ministry. While a permanent deacon's wife should support her husband in his ministry, but that does not translate into his ministry becoming a "couples ministry." 

Second, this critique should not be construed to devalue the very good things these women do in their parishes. They are certainly not lukewarm Catholics. Most of them have decades of volunteer work serving the poor and sick and clearly take their obligations to God and the Church very seriously (even if some of it, like serving as an EMHC, is misguided). They should be commended for this, so I would hope nobody considers this article disparaging these women or tearing them down. I pray that when I am their age I might even have half as much time spent volunteering for my parish as they.

The issue is not with the women, but with an ecclesiastical philosophy that urgently wants to replace the traditional, celibate male only priesthood with something—anything—else. That philosophy did not begin in the humble parishes where these women serve, but in the high echelons of the Church bureaucracy years ago when old men, stricken with the sickness of the age, theorized that the Church's traditional model of the priesthood needed to be drastically reformed. Until the Church recovers a clear and compelling vision of who a priest is, what he does, and why we need them, the effects of these deviant philosophies will continue  to ripple outward.