By Charlie Johnston
The title to this piece is a shout-out to our French readers. It means the same thing as the English idiom, “The die is cast,” though I think the literal translation of the French provides a more vivid and clear picture than the English idiom. Literally, the French idiom says “The bets are made” and means, “Betting is now closed.” (It is said after gamblers have had their chance to choose an option – and closes out betting before beginning action). It is not entirely analogous to where we are right now, but I think it is very close. All that needs to be revealed has been revealed. Oh, sure, we have indictments yet to come in this country, more clericalese obfuscations to come justifying the top Church hierarchy’s abandonment of Scripture and the Magisterium, more pained explanations from European ‘sophisticates’ about why freedom is slavery and slavery is freedom. Yet for anyone who examines the evidence already available and does it as an honest inquirer rather than as a partisan hack, reality is already to be found.
Once all has been revealed, then comes the time of choosing. We can now see clearly where we are and what we have become. We have to choose before, well, les jeux sont fait. As in Joshua 24:15, we must openly choose and publicly declare whom we will serve. If we think by keeping silent we can avoid the choice, the Lord will judge our silence – that at the critical moment, we would not publicly stand with Him. “There is no gloom or deep darkness where evildoers may hide themselves.” (Job 34:22). When the time of division closes, then comes the time of judgment. As it is written, the great day of the Lord is near, and it hastens with incredible swiftness (see Zephaniah 1:14).
Decide well and decide quickly whom you will serve, for if the wagers are not yet closed, they soon will be. Woe to those who squander the remaining time of mercy!
Regular readers know I am dismissive of conspiracy theories. They are usually false, torture facts to support a skewed narrative, and undermine social stability by undergirding it with reflexive cynicism. Reflexive cynics think they are smarter than everyone else. The truth is, reflexive cynicism is every bit as ignorant as reflexive credulity: both are excuses not to seriously examine facts and evidence. While reflexive credulity, the belief that everything is on the level, is the province of fools, reflexive cynicism is the devil’s own outlook – the belief that there is no good and nothing is as it seems. We are called neither to be fools nor to adopt the satan’s way of looking at the world. We are called to follow Christ and judge righteous judgment (John 7:24). That is, we are to examine the evidence, vet the facts, and judge according to how things are rather than how they appear to be or what our personal prejudices want them to be.
Unfortunately, the left, in both the media and among activists, has mutilated several more perfectly useful phrases for partisan benefit. When I was a kid, “gay” meant happy and light-hearted. No more. Just a few years ago, “conspiracy theory” meant an improbable, overheated theory that was only loosely (if at all) tied to carefully vetted facts and evidence to match up with a tendentious ideological preference. Now, it means any narrative, however carefully vetted and closely reasoned, that the left does not like. Thus, to the media, despite the publication of the full transcript of Donald Trump’s innocuous call to Ukranian President Zelensky in July, it is a “credible” accusation that Trump used the call to bully Ukraine for personal gain. To the same media, despite having video evidence of Joe Biden bragging about strong-arming Ukraine to fire the prosecutor who was investigating his son’s company and, despite email evidence that a month earlier that that company had asked the state department to intervene against calling the company corrupt, allegations of this sort are “conspiracy theories.”
“De-bunked” used to mean carefully investigated and found to be false. For the media, it now means facts, however compelling and obvious, that contradict a preferred leftist narrative or are critical of a Democrat. Thus, for the media and the rest of the left, having no evidence at all (or even hard evidence refuting its narrative) is sufficient for a “credible” allegation against a Republican. Catching a Democrat with a literal smoking gun in his hand and video of him committing a crime is a “conspiracy theory” and “unfounded.”
As a former journalist, it pains me enormously to see the modern variety so prostitute themselves and make a mockery of what I once considered an honorable and rewarding profession. But the media sold their collective soul to the devil 11 years ago, going all in for the Democrats, facts and evidence be damned. The gulf between reality and the media narrative has become so vast it can no longer be bridged, so their only hope is to try to make the gaslighting of America work – even as they look more and more like Baghdad Bob, who once announced to the press that there were NO Americans in Baghdad even as American tanks were approaching in the background of the TV camera shot. Once the gaslighting fails catastrophically, a lot of media companies will go bankrupt and those that survive will have cleaned house entirely. For better or worse, the current establishment media has tied its fortunes entirely to the Democrat Party.
A couple of reality checks…
Times of great turmoil and instability are times when the most conspiracy theories abound. Paradoxically, they are also the times when the most conspiracies happen, as well. Here are a couple of what the media calls conspiracy theories that are no such thing:
- A massive governmental conspiracy involving high officials from the intelligence and justice communities and the state department (and others) to overthrow an elected president through false and manufactured allegations. As even John Brennan, James Clapper and James Comey now freely admit, there IS a “deep state” that is determined to impose its will on honestly elected officials who do not submit to it. The three conspirators, rather than denying it exists at all, now maintain it is a good thing.
- Jeffrey Epstein very likely did NOT kill himself. He was one of the most prominent prisoners in the country. All observation cameras failed in the area he was held at the critical moment, both guards fell asleep, and he had not been checked on for hours. Given those facts and more, it is possible he killed himself, but extremely unlikely and certainly no conspiracy theory.
There are a host more such examples. The point is that we will continue to endeavor to judge righteous judgment here. If credible evidence and hard facts lead to a reasonable conclusion, we will talk about it openly, regardless of whether the caterwauling media dismiss it as a conspiracy theory. We will not, however, engage in extravagant flights of fancy that have little factual or logical basis. Given the times we are in, I will tend to be more permissive on the subject than I would in more stable times.
The more I have thought about Pope Francis apology for the original theft of the idolatrous Pachamama statues, the angrier I have gotten. In his apology, the Pope both confirms that the statue is of a pagan goddess and that there was no “idolatrous intent” in their veneration at opening ceremonies and presence in the Church where ceremonies were held.
People prostrated themselves before that statue at the opening ceremonies. That is a universal sign of worship, worship that we Catholics give only to God. Yes, we venerate saints and ask them to pray for us, but we do not prostrate ourselves even before Mary. That is reserved for God. Some people think that when a Priest or seminarian prostrates himself on the altar, he is worshipping a fellow Priest or Bishop. That is just a misunderstanding of the Real Presence. We believe that Christ is truly present in the Eucharistic Host. Such prostration is to Christ in the Host. This episode supports those who smear Catholics as idolators. We aren’t – but some of our highest officials have become such.
The Pope seems to think his statement about the lack of “idolatrous intent” is important. It is repulsively disgusting to me that he did not stop the ceremony as soon as he saw what was happening – and then had the idolatrous statues installed in the Sacred Church space where the Amazon Synod played out.
If your spouse catches you with a hooker, telling her you had no “adulterous intent” is irrelevant – and a lie to boot.
A mafia hit man arguing that he had no “murderous intent” when he shot his target would be laughed out of court.
A bank robber caught in the act would not be released by police by claiming he had no “larcenous intent.”
There are some things that you either did, or did not, do – and your intent can, at best, mitigate your culpability. It cannot absolve you. What we know is that the Pope stood by approvingly as a pagan idol worship ceremony was used to open a Catholic Christian Synod. If he had argued he was caught off guard and did not know what was coming, that could have mitigated his culpability. Instead, he defended the pagan idol, the pagan ceremony and actually integrated the pagan idol into Christian ceremonies after he had certain knowledge of what it was. This was clearly a desolating abomination.
The Pope now argues that St. Paul announced Christ to pagans without attacking them. So he did. But what he did not do was actually participate in their idol worship. Some are excited that the Pope has asked Cdl. Robert Sarah to comment on the Amazonian rite, as if that will make it all good. If you were telling me Cdl Sarah would make the decision, my heart would be calmed – but I suspect this is just another orthodox voice the Pope often likes to include in his little basket before ignoring it and making an offensive and scandalous decision.
All the Pope’s rancor was reserved for those who tried to remove the idol – not for those (including himself) who participated in the idolatrous worship. If I sound furiously inflamed, it is because I am. I will brook no cutesy Vatican excuses or Jesuitical mutilations of plain facts on this. On this matter, the Pope does not need to explain; he needs to repent and convert. If he does not, the implicit schism we have been in for a while will soon be explicit – and no amount of happy, chirpy talk will change that.
Who will defend Our Lord’s house as He defended His Father’s temple?
There will be more said here about Pachamama and the upper hierarchy’s descent into idol worship, but I am intolerant of glibness, sophistry, or mental gymnastics on the subject. Christ is asking us right now, “Do you love Me more than these?” (John 21:15) My answer is yes with no qualifications or explanations. If yours is not the same, this may not be the place for you going forward.
I have a bit of an enthusiasm for finding the literal translation of various idioms from other languages, sometimes turning up a gem of clarity like that in the title of this article. Another I like a lot is Russian. Josef Stalin is often reported to have said that, in order to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs. That, of course, is the Anglicized version of the idiom he actually used. The Russian phrase Stalin literally said is, “If you want to clear a forest, you have to make the chips fly.”
We have a lot of wood to chop.