Thursday, 30 June 2016

Follow up to Jean Vanier: Radicals Misrepresenting Traditionalism and the CBC media screw things up again ...

[Important Update! 30/06/2013. After composing my posts, I have now found an official statement from L'Arche, as Mr. Vanier and L'Arche community have become aware of the confusion surrounding the CBC interview. See the official statement here:]

Follow up to Jean Vanier: Radicals Misrepresenting Traditionalism and the CBC media screw things up again ... 

They are Highly Wrong at this Point ... Interpreting with the Mind of the Church.

Personally, I shudder at having to criticize or question John Paul Meenan, (herein, JPM) as a faculty member of what is possibly, the only (or first?) established, post secondary institution in Ontario, for orthodox, Catholic studies NOT poisoned by academia or liberalist/secular society, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom in Barry's Bay, Ontario. Might I add that the school is Latin Mass friendly and even has nearby St. Hedwig's Catholic Church that holds the Latin Mass, not to mention the school has a schola for Gregorian Chant and other fine works.

However, an educator and leader in the Church, in a prominent position such as OLSWA, has access to the young minds of our future Church, at their highest peak of philosophical formation. Their formation is CRUCIAL to becoming part of the leadership of the Church, and how they are formed will influence whether that leadership is TRUE evangelization and witness in the world, or just another recycling of lukewarm "c"atholicism, up to and including even becoming the next generation of heretics in the Church who will poison the next generation of minds when they reach power. That poisoning, is usually at the hands of the "liberals," but with their influence being sterile and self-suicidal, the new wave of such poisoning will be at the hands of the "conservatives" or "Traditionalists." This includes the content of the "Information Superhighway" that is the Internet, which my generation and younger are consulting, because they are being spiritually deprived of the TRUTH of their faith by their formators, which should not include, but sadly does: their mis-catechized and ignorant parents, alongside numerous clergy, and certain teachers in the "Catholic" system. 

The youth are not stupid and they know they are being left without truth and answer. I'll share some personal examples to illustrate this. In the ministry I've been involved in recently, some of these youth are telling me they wish that their teachers would explain the Scripture that they read in class, which really means, "What is the TRUTH behind this, not the teacher's version of it, or the answer as they don't have it?" I also recently had a young lady ask me for help to prepare for her Gr. 11 World Religions exam, where her teacher did NOT educate the class on reasons for a Christian (incl. Catholics), or anyone for that matter, to follow the teachings of Christ and the Catholic Church. Regardless, that content was part of a review and would likely be on the final exam. All this in a catholic school classroom nonetheless.

When people like JPM contribute work that becomes part of the Radical Misrepresenting Traditionalist (RMT) media network, which innocent young minds like his students and other youth such as I, are highly likely to access publicly and in environments counter to 'modern practices' in the Church, I must fraternally correct and criticize the work, for the sake of the souls of those searching the web on Mr. Vanier's interview and Catholic Orthodoxy/the Latin Mass. I may not be a post-secondary Catholic studies student, or one who has graduated with a P.hD in some advanced field of philosophy/theology, but I will use what arguments and Church documents I must to prevent other young minds and souls from starting, or going deeper down the path of Hell via Radical Traditionalism, and thinking NOT with the Mind of the Church on such matters.

The Original Source Article: The CBC Interview
First, in order to assess the arguments of Meehan, and whether the RMTs have ANY validity to their claims, I read the interview done by CBC, here. The CBC does admit that "part of their conversation" is posted on the web, so one must either transcribe the aired interview in full from the audio recording, or watch the program for the full scoop.

As for the published internet interview parts on CBC, one can tell that the author Carol Off, is asking numerous leading questions to try and steer Mr. Vanier into supporting Euthanasia bill C-14. One example is after Mr. Vanier talks briefly about lonely people and safeguards, she follows up with this: " But at the same time, do not lawmakers have to keep in mind those people who are in intense pain, who are facing a lifetime of suffering — whatever's left to their lives — to what degree do their rights have to be balanced out in this?" the next question, straightly said is, "CO: Do you think that people should have the legal right to choose the timing of their death and to have assistance in doing that?" The next question, once again, talks about "rights" of the euthanasia patient.

Right to start with our breakdown, the actual source of the interview MUST be analyzed. Now, the CBC always has, and is, a left-wing, mainstream media organization. They usually would NOT have reporters, report with the conservative/right-wing slant in the majority of their coverage. One can also reason that based on the emphasis of "rights," this reporter is adhering to that slant, and continually wants Mr. Vanier to give the "correct, liberal" response. Rights in the liberal sense, is NOT the same as human rights. The Catholic Church's view of a human right is the right to live with dignity and respect, to have basic human needs as shelter, food, water, love, etc. Rights are what every human needs to survive and deserve, on account of their inherent dignity.

 A liberal interprets a ``right`` not as such, but beyond what a human absolutely needs in functioning and living fully in this world. "Extras" as it were, extras that are even more important that those absolute human needs! More-so, that a "right" is a "demand" for whatever the minority or individual wants, regardless of the majority`s contrary rights and freedoms. Said liberals will demand it to the highest of heights, even if that person will NOT benefit from the right being demanded to be accepted by the majority ... at all costs. On that note of liberalism, or more appropriately its origin in libertarian-ism, anything that impedes humanity's evolution and self-fulfillment must be challenged and all barriers broken to such fulfillment, including any opposing philosophies and/or understanding of the human person. Keeping this in mind, we cannot trust the CBC and the reporter. this is a biased interview that will attempt to coerce the interviewee to say what the CBC wants them to say in their favour, or according to their liberal beliefs.

Now, even in the partial excepts of the full interview, despite what CO tried to do, Mr. Vanier did NOT in any way, shape or form, directly endorse euthanasia. If anything, he denied Mrs. Off's desire of him acknowledging the "human right" she wants do desperately, here, when she has the direct question of a patient having said legal right: " People could go through periods of just fatigue, depression, loneliness. So we mustn't go too quick to just say "there's a legal right". They also have a legal right to be walked with, accompanied, and helped."

Off then also tries to go for the jugular with the "personal" approach in her last question, whereby CBC reports (surprisingly in text ... as you'd think they'd want the full translation,) "CO: If you don't mind, one final personal question: I'm wondering, can you imagine circumstances in which you might choose to end your life, and to seek assistance to do so? JV: It's certainly a very personal question. And I would say no, I can't see. But, you see, I have never lived intense pain." She tried, but failed.

If anything can be said, during the interview, Jean Vanier continues to re-iterate the most powerful teachings of the prior Vatican II popes, Paul II, Benedict XVI Emeritus, and current pope Francis, about how at the root of much of the problem, is that these people, the handicapped, etc. are NOT loved. By love, it is meant that the person is loved for existing, pain, problems and all. That is what the L'Arche community does with its members and those who work within them.

Am I "taking crazy pills" to quote pop culture villain in the movie Zoolander, Mugatu? Nope, I am not. It turns out I am not the only one to see that Carol Off was an aggressive, biased, pro-euthanasia zealot who wanted to coax Mr. Vanier into supporting her cause. Those of you who are aware of the Pro-Life Movement, and in general the "culture wars," might remember media journalist and political activist, Ezra Levant. He used to be a lead journalist with Sun Media, until it collapsed, and during his time there, had become the subject of some libel suits. Currently, he is the head of The Rebel Media. From the Wikipedia article, "The Rebel Media (or The Rebel) is a conservative Canadian online political and social commentary media platform founded in February 2015 by former Sun News Network host Ezra Levant. The Rebel Media broadcasts its content on the Rebel Media YouTube channel and the website."

While not the author, his "The Rebel Media" staff, Brett Fawcett, issued an editorial article on the website, analyzing the CBC interview (
euthanasia_culture_of_death.) I would strongly recommend you read the article in full, but relevant to this blog posting, the summary is that the editorial of Fawcett, agrees entirely with what I've siad, and without a doubt, is in stark contrast to the LifeSiteNews team, JPM, and the Radical Traditionalists who ate up their propaganda:

".... This whole [-life] philosophy is a warm contrast to the cold, contemporary idea that if someone seems too broken to enjoy life sufficiently, then the best option is to help that person kill him or herself. If you want to see how ingrained that latter mentality is, listen to Carol Off’s interview with Vanier for CBC.  Her questions, over and over, circle back to the same basic script: Should Canada legally allow doctor-assisted suicide? And, over and over, Vanier refuses to let himself be locked into this merciless mentality of the secular world. Off is asking the wrong questions: When someone is ill and wants to die, the question isn’t: Should we craft legislation to ensure that they can? The proper question is: How do we prevent people from feeling that way? Vanier consistently counters Off’s queries with this (revolutionary!) attitude: If someone wants to die, they are probably depressed, or lonely, or feel useless or pressured. The remedy for this is to take every effort to ensure that every sick and ailing person feels loved and cared for so that this suicidal idea isn’t there in the first place. This is a beautiful, life-affirming approach, which Off never engages ...." (Fawcett)

This above snip-it of The Rebel Media's posting clearly summarizes that interview. It was biased, and pushy, to force Mr. Vanier to reject his Catholic beliefs and affirm euthanasia. It did NOT work and Mr. Vanier was clever enough to engage in a word fight with Ms. Off, who was clearly off her journalistic game.

Now for the Other Biased Elephant in the Room ... The Mind of the Church Must be Discussed before we can Analyze the Attack by LifeSiteNews (herein, LSN) by Meenan ... 

So at least on the pro-life side (Meenan/LSN), the printed portions from the CBC interview are decently 'kosher.' However Meenan's attack on Mr. Vanier, comes from the FULL interview from the actual recording of the program, and translations of the original French, with portions NOT put in the written text online. In addition, the interpretation of Mr. Meehan towards Vanier's statements, is not thought out wholly according to the mind of the Church, as well as disregards possible factors that can mitigate what Mr. Vanier truly wants to say, or does not express his wishes fully in his words. 

Before I can analyze the direct arguments of Meenan, and the full text, one must discuss what is this "Mind of the Church" that a Catholic must have as their lens for interpreting documents, as well as that of any member of the faithful in regards to their faith.

The Mind of the Church,  can best be read about and defined in the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia (

To think with the Mind of the Church, we obviously need a "benchmark" as to the major/central teachings of the Church, and what we can measure other things in this world against. With regards to the Church's teaching authority on faith and morals, in what is the Magisterium, and the deposit of faith:

"There is a formula current in Christian teaching (and the formula is borrowed from St. Paul himself) that traditional truth was confided to the Church as a deposit which it would guard and faithfully transmit as it had received it without adding to it or taking anything away ....  this idea of a deposit should not make us lose sight of the true manner in which traditional truth lives and is transmitted in the Church. This deposit in fact is not an inanimate thing passed from hand to hand; it is not, properly speaking, an assemblage of doctrines and institutions consigned to books or other monuments of every kind are a means, an organ of transmission, they are not, properly speaking, the tradition itself.  "

This does not exactly mean that documents from the Vatican, catechisms written at X time periods and NOT rescinded, compilations of doctrine/dogma (etc.) are to be dismissed. Then you get heresy garbage like in Longergan Theology where people think if the majority of the Church rejects something on paper, it can be thrown out. That`s how other non-Catholic churches function and look what it has resulted in: Numerous little churches that split off from the main to cater to individual feelings and ideas, until it is so far removed from the original mainline church, or THE CHURCH to begin with.

Rather, the concept of the Mind of the Church with regards to the individual and common doctrine is more along these lines: People can all have a common sentiment or idea about something that is absolute, or part of the Natural Moral Law and Divine Truths that God has established in existence. Individuals can have this common sentiment despite

"...the ideas and opinions of each man, but which take on a peculiar aspect in each man inasmuch as they are the ideas and opinions of all. The existence of tradition in the Church must be regarded as living in the spirit and the heart, thence translating itself into acts, and expressing itself in words or writings; but here we must not have in mind individual sentiment, but the common sentiment of the Church, the sense or sentiment of the faithful, that is, of all who live by its life and are in communion of thought among themselves and with her."

Obviously, the Church itself is to exist for all time, until its existence, tied with all existence, is ended by God at that point in finite time He knows, and has chosen, to end the finite world. Of course, we do not know, but considering the Bible covers 5000+ years of history, and our last century has had the most moral, technological, etc. change in our world, including globalization, that won`t come anytime soon. Over time, many different societies, cities, ways of life, etc. have become minimized or have become parts of history.

Now, through all that history, were the Church to remain static, and no new development in the Faith occurred, in the doctrinal, theological, AND the practical realms of application of said doctrine, the Faith might become a "dead" religion! God, in her wisdom, made sure that the essential "core" of the Faith, its deposit, remains intact (also with the guarantee against all evil in cf. Matthew 16:18,) while expanding and being able to tackle the challenges of each time period, even when crises have hit the Church (e.g. Arianism in the 400-500AD period.) This Magisterium, purposely is a living entity that "... searches in the past ... The thought of the Church is essentially a traditional thought and the living magisterium by taking cognizance of ancient formulas of this thought thereby recruits its strength and prepares to give to immutable truth a new expression which shall be in harmony with the circumstances of the day and within reach of contemporary minds."

However, when people, both lay and clergy, try to put into concrete action the above in the boldfaced paragraph, trying to express the idea of these truths, to changing times, " ... human groups [are prone] to error and thoughtless or culpable tendencies. The Spirit of God always living in His Church upholds the sense of revealed truth ever living therein."

Henceforth, because of this error, we must always keep in mind that, "The Church is also (as regards religious and moral doctrines) the best interpreter of truly traditional documents; she recognizes as by instinct what belongs to the current of her living thought and distinguishes it from the foreign elements which may have become mixed with it in the course of centuries."

The underlined is often where (Radical) Traditionalists err in their ability to engage in analyzing actions and theological arguments , and if necessary, engage in charitable, fraternal correction,with regard to events, actions, and both those of their fellow brothers and sisters of Christ. Like the Liberals that they decry against for being heretics/schismatics and breaking Church doctrines, based on their "interpretation" of the Truth, they commit similar error.

Where the RMTs, and now their I.W.S. allies, go against the underlined portions, is in interpretation, and application of the Church's teachings to situations and people. Firstly, they do NOT think with the mind of the Church, in that they do not allow for organic/expanded interpretation of the said common mind/spirit/sentiment of the core "T"radition of the Church. They take the stance that anything even remotely different in verbage or expression, is blasphemy against Her holy "T"radition, and it can be often confused with "t"radition or pastoral practice. While there are genuine cases where things "go to far" (e.g. "Clown" Masses of the initial peak of post Vatican II,) the majority of occasions are NOT so.

This also applies to people speaking on issues or on theology. One who, contrary to the RMTs, thinks with the Mind of the Church, adheres to that common truth or thought, even if their word or expression is not the most eloquent or blunt. In other words, it is when someone directly contravenes teachings that they go against the Tradition of the Church. "Lukewarm" language, incorrect terminology, or weak language, is not a disqualifying condition from them veering from Her Mind. An analogy would be in a legal courtroom, despite how much we desire and how badly the defendant LOOKS like he is guilty (and possibly is,) the defendant is declared ``not guilty`` as the Crown has not sufficiently proven the defendant is, without reasonable doubt, guilty.

RMTs and other extremist right wingers, also go against the underlined portions, particularly in adherence to such strict doctrine, combined with their interpretation. The doctrines and/or, documents of the past, are often used to browbeat into submission, the person to adhere to the Lord's will. This is unacceptable, and the Church would NEVER forcibly make her members obey her commandments, against their free will. This includes wielding her doctrine against people as a weapon. Further, Her ultimate teaching authority is NOT solely restricted to the written word on paper. As much as humanity likes order and routine that does not change, this is NOT how the Church operates in a practical sense, akin to human systems like economics, law, politics, scientific research, etc. While yes, there is order to the Church, and an institution and hierarchy from within, the Church is MORE than just her physical constitution and word. Such a divinely instituted entity is beyond physical limitations of humanity, in thought and word.

Hopefully, you now understand, between my descriptions and especially the underlined portions of text, just WHAT the Mind of the Church is. We can now apply this to JPM's LSN article, in how he veers from the Mind of the Church and how Mr. Vanier does not, despite some of his possible, weaker words in defense of the principle/doctrine of Life from conception till death in the Church.

The LifeSite News Article. "Truth?" or Another Biased Article of the Ultra-Right wing Media, and an Author Veering from Her Holy Church's Mind?

We now turn to the matter at hand: The LifeSiteNews article by JPM that judges Mr. Vanier guilty of being Pro-Euthanasia. Each part will include what Meenan says, and then I will deconstruct these parts in my own analysis/criticism.

The beginning of the article starts of with brief, but positive acknowledgment of the good things of Mr. Vanier's education, his L'Arche community. ANALYSIS - This is a technique whereby you say good things about your target/opponent so that you are not said to be ignorant of the good a person has done, and putting it at the beginning allows people to forget those positive traits, as you go into your criticism of the person. Standard fare for debating, point-counterpoint.

After the praise and adulation ceases, JPM begins his assault. He goes immediately to the first instance whereby biased reporter, Carol Off, asks Mr. Vanier if he is in favour of the proposed Euthanasia law. According to Meenan, in the actual recording of the interview, Mr. Vanier "... confesses on his own recognizance that he is in favour of a law" at the 36 minute of the program. Vanier's starting words are "Shouldn't we have some legislation to permit this?  I say yes, but let's put in safeguards..."

ANALYSISHere, simply because Mr. Vanier accepts the need for a legislation as a blunt yes, he is immediately kicked out of the "Pro-Life" camp's list of heroes, having violated their sacred cow of rigid adherence to pro-life "doctrine." Such doctrine of the camp, if one existed on paper, united or separate from the Church, would state that 'in no way is one to even support anything against life' (e.g. abortion, euthanasia.)

CRITICISM - Surely, Mr Vanier would NOT be so ignorant or stupid, to ignore Canada's current laws with regard to pro-life issues, especially the legal situation of abortion in Canada ... of which there is NO legal situation, because there is NO LAW since 1988 surrounding abortions. You could murder a babe in the womb at any point up to where a baby is born and breathes at least a minute out of the birth canal, completely. Having the L'Arche ministry, he would be acutely aware that due to advances in genetic screening, many babies with abnormalities (e.g. Down's Syndrome,) are aborted before full term in pregnancy. So we can give the benefit of the doubt, that Mr. Vanier likely thought that the current euthanasia situation might end up being a repeat of 1988, and if not, that this juggernaut would likely [as of 15/6/2016, now has passed the 3rd and final reading in the House of Commons and will become law,] become passed as law in Canada. Therefore, as Catholics, we can at least, with the greatest vigor and protest upon Parliament Hill, and whenever publicly, as in this interview, push for safeguards so that we would not be killing people with wanton abandonment, or applying "merciful" euthanasia to patients who have decent to excellent prospects of recovery, yet are given the syringe because of a zealous doctor's (ill?) advised decision. Hence, we can give good
credit to Mr. Vanier, that he spoke in the best manner possible in context of the reality that Canada now faces with regard to this situation.

Furthermore, I would like to start using a strategy out of the Radical Traditionalists' playbook, to expand on this point and prove that Mr. Vanier is more in line with Church teaching in this statement than JPM is not implying: The quoting of sections from Church documents. Specifically, I will quote from one of the very documents JPM uses in his article to attack Mr. Vanier: Evangelium Vitae, by John Paul II in 1993, a document that addresses morality, and moral life issues such as abortion and euthanasia directly. Let's even go further and use portions of one of the VERY SAME paragraphs that Meenan uses: Number 65.

The Church in E.V. outlines a more effective strategy in tackling this issue of how to regulate Euthanasia, or convey what it is to others in the Church and the world. Paragraph 65 states at its beginning: "For a correct moral judgment on euthanasia, in the first place a clear definition is required. Euthanasia in the strict sense is understood to be an action or omission which of itself and by intention causes death, with the purpose of eliminating all suffering. "Euthanasia's terms of reference, therefore, are to be found in the intention of the will and in the methods used .... " (EV, 65)

Obviously, a law that outright bans euthanasia is an ideal, Catholic desire. However, with a Liberal anti-life, majority government led by heretic and "c"atholic traitor, Justin Trudeau, a law such as this would NEVER come to pass in current reality. Therefore, having a law would be better than the 1988 scenario with abortion in Canada, with no law at all, and in passing a the euthanasia law, [though now that law has been passed,] the best option would be as stated in EV 65, so that it would, convey as best as possible in the given circumstances, that clear definition: an action or omission which of itself and by intention causes death with the purpose of elimination all suffering. This would achieve the Church's means of allowing people to see that the will, and methods, as well as morality in the Natural Law are part of this, in an absolute way, NOT for the good of humanity [though sadly, even that was struck down by our Senate for being "unconstitutional", and the law went through, without achieving the desire of EV 65.] So, for Mr. Vanier to make that statement, even if he did NOT read Evangelium Vitae, or read it so long ago, or best, has read it in full, he IS making a statement that squares more closely with Church teaching today on the issue of euthanasia, unlike the implications of JPM at that statement.


Next, JPM goes for Mrs. Off's second direct question, the "personal opinion" route, to try to get a direct yes from Mr. Vanier for euthanasia. Mr. Vanier's reply is: "... That is certainly a very personal question, and I would say no...But I have never lived intense pain...".

ANALYSIS: JPM uses EV 65 in order to speak about palliative care in the context of Mr. Vanier's statement, and then uses paragraph 72-73 in order to rigidly state that ANY law that legitimizes killing the unborn or old people, oppose human dignity and the true "right to life." JPM`s usage of the Church`s major class of document, the encyclical, is being used to humiliate and enforce his target into submission, or prove Mr. Vanier is sinfully wrong. It is done NOT out of a true intention to enact the Spiritual work of Mercy of admonishing the sinner. Further, this is selective quoting from Church documents, with the rest of such documents abandoned usually by Radical Traditionalists, in order to thrust their arguments against others, and advance their raison d'etre.

Criticism: Ironically, it is the very reliance on specific pieces of Church doctrine, used as a "billy club" of a police officer to beat down Mr. Vanier, that also can discredit JPM`s arguments. While Radical Traditionalists use selective quoting of Church documents, thankfully, the Church, in her wisdom, thinks as a whole on matters. She realizes the limitations the Faithful can have on the larger world and their society, and by what means they can achieve change in their society to that of the Social Kingship of Christ. Evangelium Vitae, was ahead of its time (in Canada) with regard to forced euthanasia, and even realizes that radical enforcement of change in society is not likely a feasible means for Catholics to pursue, in paragraph 46:

"46. With regard to the last moments of life too, it would be anachronistic to expect biblical revelation to make express reference to present-day issues concerning respect for elderly and sick persons, or to condemn explicitly attempts to hasten their end BY FORCE. The cultural and religious context of the Bible is in no way touched by such temptations; indeed, in that context the wisdom and experience of the elderly are recognized as a unique source of enrichment for the family and for society ...." (EV, 46)

Clearly, John Paul II, in this encyclical, is conveying that the Church realizes, a) that flinging Bible verses as well as Church documents with them, straight out, isn't going to change the minds and hearts of humanity so engrossed in the world, flesh, and the Devil's desires, and b) that Catholics will NOT win the "culture war" as it is deemed by pro-lifers and Theo-political conservatives, through major enforcement of any kind, of the moral TRUTH contained in the Natural Law.

To add, a valid assumption, would be that a professor at an orthodox teaching institution, such as OLSWA, would NOT be so careless as to NOT read a whole encyclical. Likely, this was ignored by JPM for the purpose of concentrating and strengthening his arguments. Together, we can say that Meenan's usage of paragraph 34 from Evangelium Vitae, while being a nice reminder of the Church's position on the value of life from start to end, contradicts EV 46 in Two ways. The first is that the Church (JPII) realizes that such adamant force of the teaching of life on others is not proper for Catholics yet this is what JPM wishes of Mr. Vanier in how EV is used in the editorial/essay. The second is that the Church realizes that few people will be swayed by Biblical/Scriptural including documentation with Revelation regarding end-of-life morality, yet here is JPM doing exactly that with E.V., against another Catholic who WOULD listen to such arguments and who isn't the average 'Joe poorly-catechized "c"atholic.

As a final blow to show that Vanier is 'pro-Euthanasia, JPM had LSN issue a clarification of Mr. Vanier about his words in the interview.

ANALYSIS: Mr Vanier clarifies his words in the interview as stating he stands "... by everything that I have said. The main thing is in any case to support life and to avoid all situations of suicide that originate in a situation of depression and solitude." However, the full transcript of his clarification at the bottom of the article adds insight from a relative who is a pallative care nurse, with two additional lines for attacking Mr. Vanier: "....  If the correct sedative or medication has not been found one cannot oblige someone to live through an unrelenting agony ...." and ".... Pope Francis continues to tell us that everything cannot be regulated by a law and there are always exceptions." With this clarification, JPM goes after the suffering angle, using Pro-Life Hero JPII's Veritas Splendor and Salvifici Doris to say that you can't violate the moral law whatsoever and that " God always provides the helps and graces necessary to bear such suffering as He sends, whether through natural, medical means, or through supernatural, grace-inspired means." Since Mr. Vanier's words are not exactly this, Meenan then says that Mr. Vanier's words are "scandal."

CRITICISM: Once again, JPM has overlooked issues practically, as well as Church document wise, in using Veritas Splendor, but especially Salvifici Doris, in an attempt to make Mr. Vanier deem euthanasia permissible in circumstances, by concentrating on his remarks with regards to patients, pallative care, and suffering. JPM states above about patients suffering that "God always provides ..." in an absolute manner, so Mr. Vanier's statements about drugs and pallative care seem offensive to God and patients in end-stage of life.

Practically, not all patients have the will and mindset to go through to their death, and DO need the medication to sedate them to that point. While yes, there is grace at work in our lives, do you think that a patient can honestly be recipient of that grace, or more importantly, will actively CARE about that, and/or JPII's statements? NO! They will be in excruciating pain or a mental state not fully cognoscente at that point due to the severity, or the shock, of having the terminal illness. Yet here, JPM applies the statement from Salvifici Doris, as if it does not matter what is happening with said patient, and they will carry on to that point. Such an expectation, and application of S.D. is highly unfeasable. Thankfully, the Church has spoken on this matter, not just through Vatican II pope and Pro-Life hero JPII, but also through a Pre-Vatican II pope, Pius XII in a 1957 letter to physicians, Iura et Bona. Once again, Evangelium Vitae, paragraph 65, leads the way in what the Church has to say on the matter, courtesy of JPII, a matter which contradicts JPM's rigorist interpretation and application of Salvifici Doris:

".... In modern medicine, increased attention is being given to what are called "methods of palliative care", which seek to make suffering more bearable in the final stages of illness and to ensure that the patient is supported and accompanied in his or her ordeal. Among the questions which arise in this context is that of the licitness of using various types of painkillers and sedatives for relieving the patient's pain when this involves the risk of shortening life. While praise may be due to the person who voluntarily accepts suffering by forgoing treatment with pain-killers in order to remain fully lucid and, if a believer, to share consciously in the Lord's Passion, such "heroic" behaviour cannot be considered the duty of everyone. Pius XII affirmed that it is licit to relieve pain by narcotics, even when the result is decreased consciousness and a shortening of life, "if no other means exist, and if, in the given circumstances, this does not prevent the carrying out of other religious and moral duties".79 In such a case, death is not willed or sought, even though for reasonable motives one runs the risk of it: there is simply a desire to ease pain effectively by using the analgesics which medicine provides ..." (EV, 65)

So as much as JPM uses S.D. to say there is grace to go ahead to the end of death, the Church realizes not everyone will have the capacity and means to become that "hero" of death, such as JPII was towards the end of his life. Yes, while palliative care is addressed by both JPM and Vanier in the article, it is clear that the rigorist application of  S.D to attack Mr. Vanier, also betrays those patients who cannot actively accept that grace, and the Church in E.V. 65 is more congruent with the sentiments of those dying patients and Mr. Vanier's clarification. Finally nowhere in the portion of the transcript dealing with pallative care, does Mr. Vanier outright advocate euthanasia for that minority of patients who cannot die fully conscious without suffering.

Since JPM is using S.D. in a way that applies to ALL humans, we should speak about them then. He also adds attacking the Holy Father, because Mr. Vanier uses a quote, likely from Pope Francis' recent Amoris Laetitia about legislating law. Meenan uses the following alongside the S.D. reference:

".... let it be said for now that although there may be exceptions to human law, there are never exceptions to the natural moral law, amongst which are suicide and murder, violations of which must be resisted even to the point of martyrdom, as Pope John Paul II declares so forcefully in his 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor (cf., par. 76; 90-94). "

Meenan, myself, a small minority of good, practicing Catholics, and maybe (or maybe not,) Mr. Vanier, would be aware of the natural moral law. As to failing to educate people on that, in the Church and without, there are many fingers to point for blame, but that is not the topic of discussion in this rebuttal. Rather, such knowledge would NOT be known, even by the majority of Catholics in the Church.

While the Church, via the doctrine of infallibility, does have supreme jurisdiction over Faith and Morals, most people in this world do NOT live by those morals/the natural law, nor do other lukewarm Catholics "care" about things in those realms. When a patient whose faith is near dead, or those who are NOT of the Catholic faith know little to nothing about the moral law, or are not of the Catholic faith, violation of the moral law would be the LAST thing on their minds. When the person is approaching that near-death experience, not knowing it will not be their last time on earth, or their family members, intending to end their loved one's current suffering with no foresight of the future, they then will opt for euthanasia when the doctor pushes it on them. We can only hope the doctor is not more inclined to it of an "angel of mercy" serial murderer, and has truthfully considered all medical options. Without the safeguards in the [now passed] euthanasia law, even those whose faith is lapsed, are non-Catholics, or secular, will consider it as the permanent solution to likely temporary problems, including mental illness complications, serious illness that can be treated, etc. Having the "grace" to go through till the end, would be the farthest thing from the mind of those patients, relatives, and medical staff. Also, people will blatantly abuse or ignore the Natural Law and/or Church law anyways, Catholic or not.

So, at the very least in thinking about all those other people that exist outside academia, dealing with the blatant realities of living, Mr. Vanier and Pope Francis, are thinking as realists who realize that not everything can be codified to force people to obey the Church and the moral law, and that civil/human law would at the very least prevent anarchy or wanton abuse of freedoms that would make our situation more tragic and volatile, as in other European countries whose Euthanasia laws are loose and not restrictive. While passing a euthanasia law is not true adherence to the moral law, at least what Mr. Vanier and Francis say, acknowledges the facts I've said and gives some minimal guideline for people to not descent into carnal depravity in this area.

Finally, there is also contained in the last attack, sentiments of antipathy against Pope Francis. Between those in the extremist parts of the Pro-Life, Conservative, Radical Traditionalist, etc. movements of Christians/Catholics, anything uttered by 'Pope Francis the Destroyer' as he is now known on the Internet, and anyone uttering anything from, or defending, Pope Francis, is vilified and given spiteful names like ``papologist`` and ``ultra-monist.`` Any defenders are hated by these champions of their social/liturgical cause, even when said champions literally say they do not hate the Holy Father, or couch their "concerns" in nice words that betray their true intentions. Unless Pope Francis says something that is usable to forward the cause you support, it is uncouth to have any association with the current Holy Father if you are a true Latin Mass devotee, pro-life warrior, culture warrior, social justice warrior, etc.

Don't Forget The Human Factors: Age and Bias
Finally, as an overall criticism of the article, we CANNOT simply take JPM`s article on LifeSite News simply at face value. We cannot truly evaluate this scenario without examining the views of LSN and human factors such as age.

First is LifeSiteNews. One can see their public about page, here. In much blunter terms, LSN is a strictly, anti-culture, pro-life website that operates independently of any government body, or the Church for that matter. While it has people on staff who are Catholic, it is NOT run by a body of Catholics only, nor of Catholics of all shades and stripes. LifeSiteNews as an organization, does not have any Impriatur, Nihil Obstat in their content, bishop's blessing to operate, etc. by any authority or ordinary officer of the Magisterium (a.k.a. a bishop,) in any archdiocese including that which contains their base of operations. They speak not for the Church in anyway whatsoever.

LSN was set up purposely against the cultural narrative of anti-family, anti-pro-life, etc. operating independently of any government or Church oversight, they are free to attack anything that they stand for, without re-probation, or being governed by any laws of the Church and those in authority to implement that law, whether it be properly, loosely, or abusively. They likely did so, in their own words from the about page, to operate in the following manner: "Accuracy in content is given high priority. News and information tips from readers are encouraged and validated. Valid corrections are always welcome. Writing and research is of a professional calibre .... attempts to dispel confusion and ignorance, enable constructive dialogue and help informed decisions to be made and appropriate actions to be taken for the good of all."

Understandably so, governance such as the civil government and the Institutional Body of the Church, would hamper them from their goals. The only laws possibly governing them would be civil law, though the only sort of action against them was a frivolous and false lawsuit by dead ex-priest, Fr. Gravel, which ended up being thrown out.

However, a cursory view of the articles, especially ones of the Church/Pope Francis, reveals that at times, LSN has skirted, if not borderline came close to not thinking with the Mind of the Church, and has reacted harshly, especially to Pope Francis. Basically any grave offense to their sacred cow of "pro-life" or not in conjunction with their right views, gets harsh criticism. They would not do this with prior popes. Just one example of their "spin" is here after Pope Francis' latest homily against rigid fundamentalism/Radical Catholicism, where they pit him against pro-life hero, John Paul II, as well as current "Trad hero" Cardinal Robert Sarah, because Pope Francis dared to criticize those who do not think with the Mind of the Church. This is only the first of numerous lashings against the Holy Father,

In addition, while LSN has cleaned up their act a little with regards to their editorial staffing, they did skirt the line with Radical Traditionalism in the past, in the form of former LSN editorialist and journalist, Hilary White. Hilary is the main author and owner of the website What's Wrong with the Synod (started during the time of the extraordinary 2014 synod), who has consistently expressed anti-Church/anti-novus ordo sentiments in her writings, to the point, one could describe her like professional Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong does, as "quasi-schismatic," in her rejection of the Novus Ordo Mass and Church in the form of what Hilary calls, "Novusordoism." Hilary, has always been championing the rights of human life and dignity in her writings as a Catholic, and likely that's what got her on their editorial staff as of June 2014. She was writing articles for LSN, up until May 2015, with her last article being about two episcopal prelates and covering up crimes against youth in the Church. Judging by what she writes now on the blogosphere, the publications she contributes to (e.g. known Radical Traditionalist sites as the Remnant and OnePeterFive, unlike LSN and other mainstream Catholic online publications,) and Dave Armstrong's evaluation/conversations (see here and here) where Hilary has revealed her ever-sliding position downward the Radical Traditionalist (and separation from Holy Mother Church with her "novusordoism" statement,) it is clear that her extremism was the likely factor for her sudden 'disappearance' from the LSN blog page of the main site.

While there may be good souls with good intention contributing to the work for the sake of the pro-life movement (e.g. Ryan Bomberger) who are not Radical Traditionalists, in terms of LSN as a whole, one must realize that they are "right-wing" or staunchly "pro-life" in their media bias, even to the point that anything that contradicts their bias intentionally/unintentionally, will be met with criticism and have an implicit accusation of being anti-life, or taken personally against the pro-life movement and its champions. Further, due to their recent articles involving Pope Francis, and their recent flirtation with Radical Traditionalism in the addition (and recent dismissal of) Hilary White in the Blog page section, it is clear that LSN editorial analysis will not be as accurate as they tout their organization to be. This bias was on full display in their release of Meenan's article, as it fit squarely with their cause, all the while lambasting another Catholic who has done more ministry and the Lord's work than most cradle `Catholics in their lifetimes in being `whole life,` not just pro-life.

Second, to Mr. Vanier's credit, we should give him more benefit of the doubt due to his age. He is currently an octogenarian of 87 years old. It is excellent that at his age he can communicate effectively with our cutthroat, mainstream media in an interview, and continue to play a vital role in the organization he founded for the mentally challenged, L'Arche, with a supportive community structure. However, being that old, it cannot be denied that there likely would be some, generalized cognitive decline, and perhaps certain thought processes, do not come to light as quick, or are momentarily forgotten. Are there seniors that are "sharp" as a tack in their fields of work or in reasoning? Yes, absolutely. Benedict Emeritus XVI is a perfect example (although some Radical Traditionalists are rejecting their one-time Latin Mass hero, blaming him for abandoning the Church and resulting in Bergoglio becoming Pope Francis.) when he has from time to time given speeches of importance, even in his "papal retirement." However, to expect an octogenarian outside of Benedict XVI, to perfectly adhere to the Church's doctrines and teachings, and to apply and communicate such in regard to many moral issues and a perfect manner, is unreasonable. Not to mention try doing that, while under pressure from a journalist with her own, anti-life, pro-choice bias as part of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. However, to JPM and LSN, these factors are negated in the light of presenting their "accurate" news, news that is so accurate it can properly assess one`s mind with regards to orthodoxy with Holy Mother Church and the state of a person's soul.

When you think of it in a way, in an odd sort of irony and/or hypocrisy, in this matter, those RMTs, and new allies the ``Ortho-Catholics`` or ``I`m with Stupid`` crowd, who were quick to judge Mr. Vanier for his comments in this clearly biased interview, share a similar type of agenda to that of the pro-euthanasia crowd and our current Canadian government. What they share is this addictive desire to idol worship their side of the moral issue, but both have an underlying "false idol" that they worship, disregarding the common human, born and/or unborn.

Pro-euthanasia politicians and people, push their agendas through in society and in our civil laws. They tout that what they are doing is for the benefit of their citizens, or for those who deserve "mercy:" the suffering, the weak, etc. They tout that every citizen deserves what they are peddling. The truth underlying that crowd, is that they want CONVENIENCE, and the freedom to do away with whatever burdens them from their own selfish whims and progress. It is that convenience and narcissistic pleasure, that is truthfully at the core of their actions, their "golden calf." They do so at the expense of the constitutional rights, true human rights and freedoms, of every person, regardless of country or system of government.

And the Radicals Misrepresenting Traditionalists and I.W.S. crowd, including the article written by Prof. Meenan in LifeSiteNews? They might not be willing to break the moral law that God commanded, and might be on the side of "Pro-life" as it were against the pro-euthanasia above, but like those liberals/pro-euthanasia devotees, they also share the exact same, agenda driven madness of their enemies, but using, abusing, and misinterpreting the "T"radition of the Church. They take the opposite approach in that the moral law is vital, so vital with a Pharisaic rigidity that what is said by the Church is "set" in stone, and any violation of it is an offense greater than the deepest of crimes.

In using and relating established Church Law/Tradition in the Magisterium of the Church, they cast out the Mind of the Church, for the sake of the upholding the law, as codified in catechisms, encyclicals, etc. They do so, stifling the Mind of Holy Mother Church and the organic development of the Magisterium, in addition to usurping her as the authentic interpreter of  such Traditional documents. They disregard the ideas and applications of the individual, simply because it is not steadfastly adhering in a specific manner to every single printed word of the document. In their rush to be the Church's supreme officers, judge, and jury, of a Magisterium they feel is being hardly applied by the Church's true officers (the bishops,) they trample and violate those rights and dignity of other lay faithful and even the Church's own clerics. They too, have their own "golden calf" in the law, documents, doctrines, etc. of the Church, and go so deep as to usurp Her Magisterium in such pursuit of Her laws, thinking NOT with Her Mind. In doing so, they express the opposite in action of the Church's Divine Mercy and Love, exemplified in our Lord, Jesus Christ.

The RMTs'/I.W.Ss' pursuit of their "golden calf," results in what you see in the LifeSiteNews article and on other blogger's websites: calumnies, detraction, and public shaming abound, disguised as "admonishing the sinner". It doesn't matter the person's age, past accomplishments, etc. The pursuit of the upholding of Church "T"radition, at all costs, disregards all other factors including Her Mind, and Her as interpreter of documents and doctrine, including documents on doctrine.

Like John Paul Meenan's sadness at writing such an article, I too, express a sadness at having to challenge a full time faculty member of one of Canada's few, "orthodox" Catholic institutions, where one can send a child after high school and not expect the university/college culture, or the institutions' department of Catholicism/Christianity, to destroy my child's faith. Sadly, Meenan's example of this contribution to LifeSiteNews, is another mark of the ever rising wave of Radical Traditionalism that is claiming the best and brightest, and most devout, honest, and faithful of Catholics, who do not realize that the Devil's works swing both ways: in extremes.

I hope this is honestly a one off event, or that Meenan is just one professor of OLSWA, with the rest not espousing to this Radical Traditionalist frame of mind that deviates from the Mind of the Church. If however, this is NOT just a one off, or that more people at OWSLA share this professor's thoughts, then at the very least, the "mark of orthodoxy" of an academic institution, CANNOT protect the individuals within from falling to 'intellectual sins,' such as Radical Traditionalism. At the absolute worse, this example from Prof. Meehan has now contributed to more internal strife and division, proving that not even our "orthodox" institutions can form students in their mental prime, in the Mind of the Church and in obedience to Her, and protect their Catholic Faith from spiritual decay.

As mentioned earlier, were the Spiritual works of Mercy. Two are ``Counseling the Ignorant``,  and Admonishing the Sinner. I had to enact these two spiritual works of mercy, in order to make you, the readers, especially those of you young people valiantly searching for the REAL truth of the faith, realize that just because a Catholic sticks to the writings of the Church, and/or submits works with such writings, to sites that supposedly give the "read deal," on the Faith, that does NOT mean the work, the author, nor the blog/website is TRULY acting in line with Catholic teaching. What young people like myself, especially those hungering for the Lord, possibly including the Latin Mass, or orthodox TRUE Catholic teaching, don't realize is that their teachers or role models, are resorting to intellectual and theological sins and viewpoints, like the Pharisees of the Temple of old that were chastised numerous times by Christ.

It is bad enough that our rights and freedoms to live our our Christian Faith in developed countries are being eroded and attacked daily. Instead of becoming unified against these threats, it's other Catholics who fight among one another, in person, and especially, those of the more orthodox camps, launching attacks on other Catholics, in the hope of converting them to the lie of the "true orthodoxy of the Faith." To those in the Ortho-Cath camp, I can only say, please stop being like the Radicals Misrepresenting Traditionalists, and aiding them in their internal destruction of the Faith from within. You are not like them, don't become them.

And to all of you, lest you become bogged down with the next odd web report of some Catholic doing something, or the next speech of Pope Francis that has you questioning yourself in confusion,
remember, and seek out, the Love and Divine Mercy of our Lord in this, the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Ask for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to inflame within you once more to discern things properly with the Mind of the Church.

Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin. 


  1. Hey Julian, just trying to get a discussion going here. I don't think JPM was wrong for criticizing the ambiguity in Vanier's interview nor in Vanier's response to Lifesite. I have issues with the heavy handedness of lifesite and the RTM but to ask for clarification from Vanier before writing the article and to really not get any I think justifies the response. Yes there were lines crossed but it was mostly respectful and I hope the motive was trying to protect others from dangerous ideas.

    For some people the faith has to be simplified and ambiguity for them equals confusion. For such people their faith needs a specific type of teacher, at least at the beginning. I really believe that Meenan is doing a service to the church by pointing out dangerous ways Vanier's thought could be taken. At the end of the day Vanier will still be respected and loved but hopefully not "idolized" which is certainly a danger.

    Just food for thought. Why does Vanier not want to say with the documents of VII that Euthanasia is wrong? Will he be well received by public media? No. Of course not but by not saying it I think the media is interpreting him as agreeing with their agenda. That's not good either. I believe both JPM and Vanier are trying to promote goodness and truth and because they are human they are going to do it imperfectly. I don't believe making either of them a "saint" or "bad guy" is going to solve the cultural pickle we are in.

    In Christ,

    1. Hello Bradley!

      Thanks for stopping by here! Wow it's been ages! Hope everything is doing well in your current ministry! Sure I am glad to engage in good, fraternally charitable discussion here on S.U.D., and thanks for being the first with my biggest work here to do so!

      Looking at your first paragraph, I fin it interesting, that you side with JPM in doing that. While I am fair and fine with analysis of commentary, I would have to disagree in how far the commentary went. I would have agreed with you, had the commentary stayed to saying that the statement is ambiguous, and centering around that, clarification or not. However, as you have stated yourself, lines were crossed. JPM, along with LSN, did cross those lines in their quest for righteousness. The key words as examples of that sentiment are the title of the LSN article, "Jean Vanier supports legalizing assisted suicide" and JPM's word of "scandal." This clearly came out, as you had stated, in the "heavy handedness of LifeSite" and RMTs, who used that article.

      I focus on the word, scandal. Scandal implies an action that directly shocks, insults, and violates the values, beliefs, etc. of those whom you direct the scandal to. We could use the example of our current Prime Minister, Trudeau II. His denial of pro-life philosophy and/or values in the Liberal party, that is purposeful scandal to the Catholic Faithful, as he has betrayed us and his Faith in his position of power. Had Mr. Vanier's words been directly in supporting euthanasia, yes that would have been scandalous, but ambiguity at best, doesn't imply scandal. With JPM using that word for Mr. Vanier's clearly biased interview, alongside using Church documents and Doctrine in a strict disciplinary manner, I would NOT agree that JPM's motives were "mostly respectful."

      What I am glad to see, is that you do acknowledge that lines were crossed, and that these individuals, both the CBC and LSN, went too far in terms of promoting their agendas, with JPM's article for LSN.

      As to your second paragraph, sure, I can agree on your point about certain types of learners in the faith. One could say the average "joe catholic" or those who do not have a theological "intelligence" as it were, might definitely struggle with statements not made in blunt language. Now, the Theological intelligence bit, I am NOT saying those people are stupid. What I am saying is that, certain members of the faithful, if you gave them, say one of Benedict Emeritus XVI's books or the writings of St. Thomas More's Summa Theologica for example, they get it, and it is huge insight! However, say you gave that to another individual, they would not be able to learn the faith from it. That's where I agree certain people, or people new to Traditional Catholicism, or even learning about their faith to begin with, need "bread and butter" books or teaching that explains it.

    2. Where I differ from you is here: ".. Meenan is doing a service to the church by pointing out dangerous ways Vanier's thought could be taken...." While JPM can certainly analyze and critically evaluate what Mr. Vanier has said, the manner and language in which he did so speaks contrary to what you say. If he truly wanted to so what you say he would, then why would he choose a media outlet, becoming ever more notorious for bashing Pope Francis and the Church, for the sake of their idolization of the pro-life movement and the unborn? Further, as I stated in my criticism, the manner in which he used Church doctrine was in a non-charitable way, as to punish Mr. Vanier, rather than to point out the further potential harm that could be caused. As for Idolization, that happens in all aspects and stripes of our Church. Many of the Radical Traditionalists have made Cardinal Burke their "idol" because he challenges Francis (though until recently, when he supported Amoris Laetitia, which make hardcore Trads really angry).

      As for your final paragraph, don't ask me why Vanier doesn't want to say with the documents post Vatican II that Euthanasia is wrong? If you want to know why he said what he said to OFF and LSN, ask him directly and ask him if he purposely said it in a certain way, and was he aware of the stances of both "reporters."

      Bravo on seeing that the media sees him as agreeing with their agenda! That's exactly what CBC's spin is, although in irony, they didn't get exactly what they wanted, through they are running with it anyway. And LSN/Meenan fell into that trap of believing it. I'm also glad you see that both Meenan and Vanier won't be capable of perfect communication of human goodness because of human imperfection, though I would side with Vanier on having been more effective in his interview in doing that, than JPM did in his critique of Vanier. We're I one of those "simple" Catholics who was living in the Pope Francis era of today, I'd be more apt to side with Vanier's mercy and love approach vs. Meenan's screed, which would come off as bashing and prideful "I know more than you and enforce it."

      As for making either a saint, or a bad guy, neither is. However, Bradley, it's like you said: "For some people the faith has to be simplified and ambiguity for them equals confusion. For such people their faith needs a specific type of teacher, at least at the beginning." I say that this is at EVERY step of the way in a Catholic's growth in faith. When Catholics dip into Traditionalism or "the next level," they should have someone guide them properly and show them how to truly be Traditional without being Radical and committing sin along the way, or having their souls be tempted to vice/sin on the opposite side of the "Narrow Road." Hence why I made my critique in the first place, as I discussed in my two Spiritual Works of Mercy paragraph.

      As a final note, Bradley, had JPM constructed a critique of Vanier just like yours, one that was not detracting and slanderous, but focused on valid points such as yours that do not harm the character and dignity of Vanier, while acknolwedging the biases of both LSN and CBC, it would have been well done, and most appropriate in a valid critique of Jean Vanier's interview. I think Mr. Meenan could take a couple of lessons from you!

      Pax Tibi Christi!

  2. Great Job Julian. God bless you.