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unsources: critiques of sources

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Petrus Romanus (book title) [FRO]
The book Petrus Romanus: The FINAL Pope Is Here , by Thomas Horn & Cris Putnam, published in 2012 (xv+528 pp.). Ostensibly about the prophecies of the popes attributed to the early-12th century Irish Archbishop St. Malachy, whose list famously concludes with one identified only as “Petrus Romanus”. But appearing a dozen years after The Last Pope: The decline and fall of the Church of Rome, by Nostradamus “rogue scholar” John Hogue, published in 2000 (xx+403 pp.) [*], it's not simply a new look at the prophecies of St. Malachy.

Cave !  The new book appears instead to be a deliberate effort to use timely interest in papal eschatology as a cover for Protestant  attacks on the Catholic Church & Faith.

Cave !  Cris D. Putnam: the coäuthor identified as the theologian of the duo, is not a Catholic. He's a Baptist theologian [#], one startlingly hostile to Catholicism to be writing a book about more than 4 centuries of the most recent popes.

Cave !  The authors praise a “Pastor John MacArthur for his excellent teaching series on Roman Catholicism” [p. v], but he's not a Catholic, either. As might be assumed from his using “Pastor” as an honorific, he's also a Protestant: An author, minister, and radio preacher. For whatever it's worth, Wikipedia categorizes MacArthur as a “Baptist, Calvinist, Fundamentalist [....] evangelical Christian”.

Cave !  Of those theologians cited by Horn & Putnam as representing “Catholic” theology or views, all whose names have been investigated by this admittedly nontheologian Webmaster, seem to be examples of those that traditional Catholics would be warned against, e.g.: the excommunicated Old Catholic Fr. Ignatz von Döllinger, and author Karl Keating (listed by the Traditio Network among “antitraditional authors of the Novus Ordo sect”, earlier known as the lawyer who founded “Catholic Answers”, q.v.)[†].

Cave !  Putnam presents “Rome's sanctioned N[ew] A[merican] B[ible]”, ostensibly to preclude charges of “Protestant bias”, but that's exactly the one singled out by the Traditio Network as the worst of the Bibles in print that're labelled “Catholic”: “the modernist Bible” of the Novus Ordo, “definitely not acceptable”, because as Scripture, it is “not Catholic”, being “in fact not translations at all, but paraphrases, which allow the translators to use personal conceptions of what the text means and to inject their own modernistic theological ideas [...] leading to perversion of faith [....]”[†].

It comes as no surprise that Horn & Putnam failed to distinguish the attitude of John XXIII, who summoned Vatican II as a pastoral council, from Paul VI, who reöpened and concluded it, with lasting modernistic consequences. Horn & Putnam set the bar absurdly high for proof of change in the Church [p. 50]:
Vatican II cannot in any way, shape, or form be represented as a genuine step away from the extreme hubris displayed at the Council of Trent. Catholic apologists who represent it as such are engaging in sophistry. They have never taken back a single anathema.
Of course, no “Catholic apologists” worth their missals would concern themselves with Protestant strawmen charging “sophistry” and claiming “extreme hubris displayed” at the ecumenical-&-general Council of Trent, which was convened with “[i]ts main object [being] the definitive determination of the doctrines of the Church in answer to the heresies of the Protestants” of the 16th-century.[††]

On the micro scale, the book suffers from ignorant proofreading of Latin, possibly involving foolish trust that 21st-century OCR technology produces perfect results. Its errors in chapter 1 will leap out at any reader having a rudimentary knowledge of the traditional language of the Catholic Church: (e.g.: printing the nonsensical “anlzguilale” instead of the much more plausible “antiquitate”) [p. 21--22].

On the macro scale [spoiler alert!], the book fails to identify a single conclusive choice for Petrus Romanus, instead presenting a slate comparable to those offered by Vatican-watchers elsewhere, practically none of whom--anywhere--even mentioned Cardinal Bergoglio.
[Note #: M.A. from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in 2011, according to his author-biography at amazon: <http://www.amazon.com/Cris-D.-Putnam/e/B007A708GC/>.  Judging from the book's cover, members of the prevailing Novus Ordo “Catholic” sect had seemed more plausible than Protestants.  I blame the unexplained removal of the vast majority of chairs a few years ago from brick-&-mortar Barnes-&-Noble stores in Central Florida, where being able to take a load off one's feet had once been highly beneficial for evaluating possible purchases.

Note *: Its author baptized a Catholic as an infant before 1960, according to the “Acknowledgments” of his book cited in passing [2000, p. vi], above. So some of his Catholic childhood preceded Vatican II. Now a Buddhist or perhaps a more vague variety of Aquarian-Ager, and an astrologer. Unlike the Protestant collaborators on the subject book [2012], he typically tempers his writing about the popes with residual respect from the Catholicism of his childhood. Unusually for an author of 23 books (as counted by his author-biography at amazon: <http://www.amazon.com/John-Hogue/e/B001HMUYC4/> ), he apparently has no page on Wikipedia (below).

Note †: “FAQ 5: What traditional Catholic resources do you recommend?”.  Traditio Network. <http://www.traditio.com/tradlib/faq05.txt>.

Note ††: Johann Peter Kirsch 1912: “Council of Trent”. Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 15.  Robert Appleton Co.: New York. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15030c.htm> (retrieved for CD Edn. 2.1: 26 Apr. 2010). ]


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“Southern Poverty” Law Center
An overreaching U.S. NGO that calls itself the “Southern Poverty” Law Center, purportedly a “civil-rights organization”: <http://www.splcenter.org/>. The “Southern Poverty Law” in its name is derived from its founding for the reported purpose of remedying injustices to impoverished imprisoned blacks in the South (U.S.A.). But at least as long ago as 2006, it began promoting disparaging radical claims about traditional Catholics:
“Radical traditionalist” Catholics, who may make up the largest single group of serious anti-Semites in America, subscribe to an ideology that is rejected by the Vatican and some 70 million mainstream Catholics. Many of their leaders have been condemned or even excommunicated by the official [sic]church.[‡]
“[E]xcommunicated” ?  A reader might infer that among the alleged “radicals”, SPLC is tarring SSPX, and all of that organization's priests and lay adherents, after John Paul II famously excommunicated all 4 of its bishops. In 2006, SPLC did indeed publish a tract about SSPX, titled “Radical powerhouse”.
If radical traditionalists belong to a specific sect--and many do not--it is typically the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), a sprawling international group that publishes reams of anti-Semitic writings on its Web site [....]
Sooner or later, readers of SPLC's tracts opposing “Radical traditionalist” Catholics will recognize that SPLC's highest-priority complaint isn't traditional Catholics withdrawing or refusing obedience to the (modernist) dictates of the Vatican and its hierarchy:
Adherents of radical traditional Catholicism, or “integrism”, routinely pillory Jews as “the perpetual enemy of Christ” and worse, reject the ecumenical efforts of the Vatican, and sometimes even assert that recent popes have all been illegitimate. They are incensed by the liberalizing reforms of the 1962--65 Second Vatican Council, which condemned hatred for the Jews and rejected the accusation that Jews are collectively responsible for deicide in the form of the crucifixion of Christ.
Really?  The accusation of deicide is widely documented in the New Testament, as a few hours of study will easily reveal. In particular, what are Catholics expected to conclude from the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew?  Notably his chapter 27 per the Challoner-R(h)eims Version (and Vulgate)[†]? 

SPLC then briefly feigns a retreat:
Radical traditionalists are not the same as Catholics who call themselves “traditionalists”--people who prefer the old Latin Mass to the [sic]mass now typically said in vernacular languages--although the radicals, as well, like their liturgy in Latin.
Ah, yes: Guilt by association with “liturgy in Latin”. SPLC is insinuating that to find “serious anti-Semite” Catholics, one need only look in the pews of a Mass celebrated in Latin. SPLC concludes its complaints:
Radical traditionalists [...] also embrace extremely conservative social ideals with respect to women.
“Extremely conservative” compared to whom? Maybe the misanthropes among radical feminists, or the radical feminists who openly advocate destruction of the traditional family? It can't be that SPLC has such an unusual interpretation of the U.S. 1st Amendment as to insist that secular U.S. law on “equal opportunity” overrides nearly 2 millennia of the religious tradition of the Catholic Church, requiring it to perform ordination of priestesses, or consecration of bishopesses, in the U.S.A., as already done by those oh-so-progressive Anglicans & Episcopalians. The traditional Catholic prohibition was upheld even for the Novus Ordo church, by 3 prominent examplars of the modernist Vatican hierarchy: Popes Paul VI (1975) & John Paul II (1994), and William Card. Levada (2007). None of them could be called a “radical traditionalist” by any sane stretch of imagination.

What do any of the above excerpts have to do with “Poverty” in the “South”, anyhow?  That's right: Nothing!  Nihil!  That's why SPLC is described from the outset herein as “overreaching”--and that might be overly charitable.[#]  Such an organization has no standing whatsoever to be pontificating to anyone about which beliefs & practices are Catholic, and which ones are not!

It's fascinating that arithmetic indicates a remarkable chronological coïncidence:
It might be prudent for traditional Catholics to keep an eye on religious intolerance from SPLC about the people it disparages as “radical  traditional Catholics”. To find the latest instances, the search-engine link (immediately below) provides an easy-to-use option. It performs a fresh search over the entire SPLC Web site that displays all instances of their phrase “radical traditional Catholic” (it's set up for the Ixquick search-engine; although readers might see the link as more than 1 line, all the indented characters really constitute only a single link):
[Note ‡: <http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/ideology/radical-traditional-catholicism>. Aha! Add the judgmental prefix “radical-” to “traditional-catholicism”, and then it becomes politically correct to treat a religion with almost 2 millennia of tradition as merely an “ideology”?

Note †: For the text of the crucial verses in Mt. 27, plus citations of other relevant New Testament verses, please see the “notions” entry on “deicide”.

Note #: Of 24 names presented as “Senior Program Staff”, on <http://www.splcenter.org/who-we-are/leadership> (most recently accessed in Feb. 2014), where only 12 of them display their faces, only 2 faces are black (16.7%). Rather odd for a “civil-rights organization” that was purportedly founded to remedy injustices to impoverished imprisoned blacks in the South. But one can't help but notice the abundance of names or faces suggestive of a particular nonblack ethnicity and its typically nonChristian religious culture: Morris Seligman Dees Jr. (cofounder); Richard Cohen (president); Mark Potok (senior fellow), who concedes that his father was Jewish, but deflectively claims to've been raised a Christian [....]  It's an organizationally top-heavy list, and disproportionately long, even setting aside surnames that are ethnically ambiguous, e.g.: Heidi Beirich (“Intelligence Project” director); and Lisa Sahulka (chief operating officer), a M.Publ.Admin. graduate of Columbia University.  And that's before visitors to the site learn that the page omits the other cofounder, Joseph J. (drum roll, please!) Levin Jr.  (Per SPLC Web site, as most recently accessed in Feb. 2014.)

Note ##: “ADL Statement on Mel Gibson's ‘The Passion’”. <http://archive.adl.org/presrele/mise_00/4275_00.html>.

Note *: Public theatrical release, initially in the U.S.A., on 25 February 2004. “The Passion of the Christ (2004)”. Internet Movie Database: <http://www.IMDb.com/title/tt0335345/>. Although reports later than July 2003 described the film as not yet a finished work, unfinished cuts were already being shown privately, e.g.:
Gibson shocked Hollywood after announcing The Passion [...] would be shot in Aramaic language without the aid of subtitles-- but now a Christian focus group invited to a screening of the film insists it has too many subtitles. [emphasis added]
“Gibson slips in subtitles”. WENN, 2 July 2003 (then World Entertainment News Network). <http://www.IMDb.com/news/ni0052968/>. ]

t | u | v

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An international multilingual “free encyclopedia” Web site, with its primary presentation, overall, almost certainly in English (‘en’): <http://en.wikipedia.org/> . It was founded by Jimmy “Jimbo” Wales, who considers himself its “spiritual leader of the project from day one”[*½], and remains in charge, and Larry Sanger, who departed some years ago.[*]  Its content is provided and edited on line by volunteers from around the world, in a remarkably voluminous implementation of an idealistic concept. However, the Wikipedia concept has repeatedly failed on articles that arouse strong emotions, especially if those are hostile emotions, leading to unapologetic fraud and violations of fundamental Wikipedia policies, most relevantly its “Neutral point of view”: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:NPOV>.

Cave !  Wikipedia's system for editing, being intended to accomodate creation and elaboration of a huge volume of content presented in numerous languages, is vulnerable to selfish human behavior. In practice, it allows what might be called content thrashing (which Wikipedia itself calls edit warring), whereby content can be changed back-and-forth between 2 or more points of view by people obsessed with imposing their points of view on an article. And if one of the contestants exhausts all her|his opponents, thus winning the editorial struggle, the result is editorial comment being dominated by an on-line stranger who either is the most obsessed with the subject, or the best equipped with time and money. The latter could be a stealthy public-relations employee of a corporation that's promoting controversial products, or of a corporation or government that's earned an unsavory reputation, or of a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that's become affluent via donations solicited to advance a particular agenda.

Cave !  Wikipedia is reportedly hostile to traditional Roman Catholicism. Its egregious article “Traditionalist Catholic”, in a section dubbed “Radical traditional Catholicism-critique”[†], identifies as a source only the overreaching U.S. NGO that calls itself the “Southern Poverty” Law Center, whose disparaging radical claims are uncritically propagated by Wikipedia:
“radical traditional Catholics [....] may make up the largest single group of serious anti-Semites in America, subscribe to an ideology that is rejected by the Vatican and some 70 million mainstream Catholics and many of their leaders have been condemned or even excommunicated by the official [sic]church.[ [It SPLC] claims that [a]dherents of radical traditional Catholicism [...] routinely pillory Jews as ‘the perpetual enemy of Christ’”, []reject the ecumenical efforts of the Vatican, and sometimes assert[] all recent [sic]Popes are illegitimate.[†]

[ Wikipedia editing and presentation of quotations from SPLC, as excerpted immediately above, is missing various opening or closing quote-marks; they have been supplied by the webmaster of this Web site, within brackets, after inspecting the text on the SPLC page from which it was copied (bold-face added, red signifying Wikipedia's erroneous placement, and green signifying corrections to Wikipedia's omissions). The 1 opening double-quote that's placed too late in the sentence quoted from SPLC is signified by a strike-thru at mid-line height beneath it (for display or economical printing in black-&-white, no better solution seems to be provided by standard Web-page mark-up). ]
So if it's fair to leverage the specifics above into broad criticism of Wikipedia, it would be best avoided by traditional Catholics on subjects interacting with religion. Although perhaps with limited exceptions: Its lists of references (esp. those bearing links) can be very useful in locating additional information; that's true even for the Web-page described above as “egregious”. But the visitor must understand that objectively valuable sources of information may have been deliberately omitted if they support a point of view that's contrary to the one dominating the article--or even if they merely detract from full support for that view.

Cave !  Some articles in Wikipedia about secular history seem to be afflicted by lack of objectivity caused by content thrashing, or are at high risk of that thrashing, e.g.:
For critiques of Wikipedia, see especially (in alphabetical order):
[Generally: Although readers might see the indented links below as more than 1 Web address when they're displayed as more than 1 line, the characters within the paired ‘ < ’ and ‘ > ’ of a single indentation really constitute only a single link.

Note *: A marvelous antidote to Wikipedian revisionism is provided by <http://web.archive.org/>; in this case, it's the “Wikipedia FAQ” from 2001:
“Wikipedia FAQ”.  <http://web.archive.org/web/20010406101346/www.wikipedia.com/wiki/Wikipedia_FAQ>.
Note *½: E.g.: wording quoted from a publicly accessible e-mail message from Wales himself: “As the founder of Wikipedia and spiritual leader of the project from day one [....]”.
“Foundation Discretion Regarding Personnel Matters” ("15 Dec. 2007, 06:58:30 UTC", last ¶). <https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2007-December/036069.html>.
This message has the advantage of accessibility for documenting Wales' perception of his own role at Wikipedia (but not necessarily any presumption of uniqueness). The link to it (above) does not constitute endorsement of other assertions or claims made by Wales in that same message.

Note †: “Radical traditional Catholicism-critique”.
Note ‡: To read the latest news or commentary in The Register about “Wikipedia”, their in-house-search link immediately below provides an easy-to-use option. It performs a fresh search over the entire Register Web site, as sorted by “relevance” (“&sort=rel”):
At the beginning of December 2014, e.g., the first Web page that would've been found by this search claims that despite Wikipedia's urgent appeals for donations at that time, displayed in bright-colored boxes at the top of its Web pages, it's actually “sitting on $60 [million]” in assets, including $23M in investments and $4M in equipment, with only $7M in liabilities. Their expenses for hosting, which, “for the 7th largest website in the world”, might easily be imagined to be crushing, were only $2.54 million ($212M) in 2014.

Note ‡‡: It was Wikipedia Review that first realized that some things just “didn't compute” about the rapid rise into the highest ranks of Wikipedia by the pseudonymous editor identified only as ‘Essjay’, whose on-line biography drew attention when all attempts to verify its details--any details--as presented by ‘Essjay’ came up completely empty. The nearly step-by-step chronological account of their investigation (26 July 2006--27 Sep. 2007, although declared “finished” on 2 Mar. 2007), is still accessible on line (232 postings, presented by default as 12 pp. of 20 each):
Having accessed the page early in 2015, it was quite a shock when at midyear, access to it again by this webmaster was blocked by google, despite quite deliberately using a browser that's not a product of that privacy-hostile corporation. But the following link via the Internet Archive does access the content of the desired page, as of midyear:
“Who is Essjay?,[sic] Probably he's Ryan Jordan”.  <https://web.archive.org/web/20150302074323/http:/wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=2778>.]

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Note ‡: This Web page bears no nihil obstat ; it bears no imprimatur.

The author of this Web page recognizes that he has no ecclesiastical authority to teach Catholic faith or morals; he has not received Holy Orders (at any level), and he is not a member of any religious order. Nevertheless, he received Baptism into Roman Catholicism during the reign of Pope Pius XII, and received Confirmation as a Roman Catholic before the successor Pope John XXIII opened the ecumenical council known as Vatican II. The author not only graduated from a Catholic parochial school, but he's also had formal training in Latin, and has independently learned to plod his way through some Greek. The author accepts, for the nonce, that except for his own words, readers have little else by which to judge him. Thus the attention he increasingly devotes to identifying the sources of the information he presents.

Mindful of the strong emotions that are sometimes evoked by the world-wide struggle to defend traditional Roman Catholicism during the present protracted crisis in the Church, the author endeavors to keep this Web page free of controversy that would be divisive among the traditional Catholic faithful.

In general, for authoritative information, commentary, or consultation on issues of faith or morals, the author refers readers to traditional Catholic clergy who have received traditional Holy Orders, or to fully traditional publications (most worthy of blind trust when bearing a copyright before 1950, plus a nihil obstat and an imprimatur).

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