Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – We’ve been having a very robust discussion. Of course, I have fielded calls from the usual suspects who demand to know why there is a Catholic Church. You guys are just after power. You’re a bunch of power-hungry people. The pope is a king. It’s the Roman Empire, not the Roman Catholic Church. Tell the folks a little bit about Sacred Then and Sacred Now and how that would apply to what we saw yesterday and what we may see in the future from Pope Francis I. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: The great Thomas E. Woods at TomWoods.com is with us. Tom, one of the things you allowed me to pilfer from one of your great speeches that I saw was the following. I’m going to give it to you with the sound effect. “Citizen, you will obey your federal overlords, citizen.”
Tom Woods: I got a few standby lines that I use over and over, but that’s one of my favorites.
Mike: When you first came on this morning, you said, “Citizen, there’s nothing to see here. You need to move along here, citizen. We’ll tell you when you need to be alarmed.” Really, the term citizen is fancifully used by us in the [r], Austrian School of economics, [r]epublican / libertarian school of politics to describe an educated and active member of a political society. Would you say that’s correct?
Woods: That is what it’s supposed to be. I use the term in a playful sense. I use it in the sense that they use it in the French Revolution. They used it the same way the communists used the word comrade. We have cases of officials of the French government saying to people, like during the Reign of Terror, people they were about to go execute because they were caught praying the rosary or something. They would say: Citizen, we do not mean you any harm, but you must abandon your superstitious practices immediately, citizen. Of course, the word citizen indicates that after all, I don’t have a lot of rights and privileges being a citizen. I guess I’m just supposed to shut up and obey. I’m more of a subject than a citizen.
Mike: Moving onto another subject, I was bragging on you earlier and saying that Tom Woods at TomWoods.com, you wrote a wonderful book back in 2002 or 2003, Sacred Then And Sacred Now.
Woods: That was 2008 because that was right after the pope made the liturgy change.
Mike: We’ve been having a very robust discussion. Of course, I have fielded calls from the usual suspects who demand to know why there is a Catholic Church. You guys are just after power. You’re a bunch of power-hungry people. The pope is a king. It’s the Roman Empire, not the Roman Catholic Church. Why is there celibacy? You Catholics let all this child abuse go on, blah, blah, blah, the RSTLN and E from Wheel of Fortune that you get whenever you bring up Catholicism. I said to the last called: You don’t really know what you’re talking about. There are many Catholics that call themselves traditionalists that are not inactive and are not apathetic and do care about these things and are vocal about them, and I have one of them coming up next hour and his name is Tom Woods. Tell the folks a little bit about Sacred Then and Sacred Now and how that would apply to what we saw yesterday and what we may see in the future from Pope Francis I.
Woods: That book might be of limited interest to those particular people because it’s kind of an internal Catholic thing. I am a convert. I was not super-duper impressed by the Church’s new liturgy that came out in 1969, 1970, which I think has been a pastoral disaster. By every possible statistic and metric you can find, things have deteriorated in the Church in terms of vocations, baptisms, conversions, everything you can imagine. There are many causes of that, but I do think the collapse of the liturgy was one such cause. The previous pope said as much numerous times. He did make an attempt to restore the old liturgy, which was the mass we had in the early 1960s and then going back from there. The early liturgy, he said anybody can have this mass if he wants to.
This is a mass that even non-Catholics, like Agatha Christie and a great many other non-Catholics actually signed a petition in 1971 saying to the pope: if you were to pull down all the great cathedrals of Europe, technically you’d have the power to do that, but any civilized person would tell you to stop doing that. We’re saying the same thing because we have an even greater treasure. It’s inspired many of the great musical and artistic works of Western civilization, namely, the old Latin Mass. We can’t let you get away with this, so for heaven’s sake, don’t do it. In other words, even civilized non-Catholics said this is obviously a beautiful thing. We’re not vandals. We’ve got to get the Church not to do this. It hung on by a thread. Then John Paul slightly expanded it. Then Benedict totally liberated it, and that’s a great thing.
I know there are a lot of shots people take at the Church. Almost all of these are things where people don’t understand the Church or they dislike what they think the Church is but not what she actually is. Almost any of these objections can be answered with a Google search. In terms of the abuse scandals, this is something that we traditionalists were screaming about for years. It’s not like when you become a Catholic you have to get a lobotomy and pretend everything is fine and not criticize. That is absolutely untrue. Some of the greatest saints denounced the hierarchy of their day. I think right now the hierarchy, by and large, is a sewer. I’d like to see them all deposed and replaced. I highly doubt that’s going to happen under the new occupant of the office, but I say this as a Catholic in good standing who believes in everything the Church teaches. I think especially since the Council, it has been a complete free for all for, I think, frankly sinister forces.
Mike: There’s an awful lot of chatter out there today. If you browse around the internet, you can find this. I was reading Michael Brendan Dougherty today, his opinion that Francis I or Cardinal Bergoglio is quite possibly the worst choice they could have made. Maybe they made this as a stopgap. He is elderly. He’s almost as old as Benedict. It’s not as though they think he is going to rule for another 50 years.
Woods: Right. I didn’t think they were going to elect an African, as some people thought they would, but I thought if they did elect an African, they would elect an elderly one so that he wouldn’t have any time to do anything. They would get all the benefits of saying: We elected an African, and then in two years he’d be gone and they’d say: Phew, that’s over; now let’s get back to electing the Italian we wanted in the first place. First I was sympathetic. It’s exciting to watch the announcement and he comes out and everything. I posted a neutral to positive thing on TomWoods.com. Then I was reading what some of my friends who are more knowledgeable about him were saying and now I’ll have to wait and see.
It’s not so much the economic stuff. He’s no worse than Benedict was, and he’s no worse than most economists are, frankly. Even though I wrote a book called The Church and the Market defending the free market from a Catholic perspective, the fact is any pope is going to say the boilerplate things he said about the economy. When economists themselves are bad at economics, it seems a little unfair to pile on and pick on a cardinal, when even the economists can’t get economics right. To me, it’s the stories we hear that he was unkind to orthodox priests, or totally unsympathetic on the old Latin mass issue completely unsympathetic to one of the most important legacies of the previous pope. That’s a concern for us.
Mike: Tom, we’re going to have to leave it there. He is Thomas E. Woods. You can visit his site any day of the week at TomWoods.com. Tom, thanks for being a good friend all these years and Godspeed to you, my friend. We’ll talk soon.
End Mike Church Show Transcript