Good & Bad Bishops: The Lesson Of Dagger John — Guest Post by Ianto Watt

Nobody understands anything anymore. That’s not surprising. After all, we are sheep. And sheep are easily led. Even into the mouths of wolves. Who leads us there? Our shepherds, of course. No, not true shepherds, the kind who will lay down their life for their sheep. The kind who will give battle rather than flee when the pack begins circling. Men who would rather die than be known as cowards. Are there any left like that? It seems not. It seems all we have are hirelings who will flee at a moment’s notice. Cowards. Scripture makes this clear:

But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth: and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep

What’s worse than a coward? A traitor, of course. One who collaborates with their supposed ‘enemy’ of the lupine kind. One who will not flee in the face of their presence, but who will help lead the sheep to their grisly end.

The position of being the true shepherd in the Church is Bishop. The fishers of men. Where are they to be found on the most important positions of the day? Like abortion, and homosexuality and the environmental worship of Gaia? Well, they’ve gone fishing. Don’t bother calling. Their message box is full.

They are the true traitors. We have been given into their hands. Now the question, to me, is how is it that the remaining sheep have not been scattered, but have instead been delivered up to be devoured, not one at a time, in the frenzy of the attack, but rather as a group, unsuspecting of their fate?

You may think that I am referring to today. But I’m not. Not at all. No, it’s not like the flock was well led until some immediate current moment in time when the wolves suddenly appeared and the hirelings fled. That’s not the lesson of history.

Instead, history tells us that, over time, since the time of Charlemagne’s victorious accession on Christmas Day in 800 AD, there has been a steady increase in the number of ‘shepherds’ who have made their pact with the hounds of Hell. By men who are loyal, not to their master who owns the sheep, but rather to themselves. Most importantly, their loyalty is to their own visible positions of pomp, power and wealth. To their visible status as hierarchs. Men who would rather not die for anyone other than themselves. This is who we have been led by, in the Anglish world, for the last 750 years.

Before I tip my hand, let me ask you, without referring to Google or any such demon, how many Anglish Bishops (a.k.a., shepherds) died for the faith when Henry (VIII) decided to make his move? Quickly now, tell me! No, St. Thomas More doesn’t count. He wasn’t a bishop. He was the King’s man. Here, let me help you, since you seem to be at a loss. The correct answer is one. One lousy Bishop. Out of thousands of slain Brits.

Here’s a list of almost 400 martyred priests and monks. There were far more laymen who died for their faith as well at the hands of the Anglish. All of them were sheep because the Church correctly says that the Bishop, as the successor to the Apostles, is the actual shepherd. The Bishops must lead. The rest of us must follow. Priests included. Remember that fact. Priest are required to be obedient.

Who was that one martyred Bishop? St. John Fisher. That’s the only Bishop who laid down his life for his Anglish flock. Does that tell you anything? You can say all you want about Henry, and indeed I have. Traitorous Welsh bastard. Him and Junius P. Morgan. Welsh bastards, both. The point is this: the Bishops of that day had already succumbed to the desire for comfort. It wasn’t Henry that made this inevitable. It was the hierarchy, and their luxurious comfort.

What’s different about today? Nothing. Nothing at all. Here, take a look at the manse that was occupied by Bishop Farrell of Dallas. Looks pretty ‘austere’, right? Right out of the ‘hood, eh? His reward for such sufferings? He’s now a Cardinal. He now ‘suffers’ in Rome.

Regardless of whether the question is about the King’s prerogatives or today’s politically correct perverts, what’s the difference? Resistance to either will get you the same result. Martyrdom, in some fashion or degree. No one in the chancery is going to lift a finger to help you when the wolves of the modern state come to visit you for dinner. After all, they belong to the same pack. Or lodge. Whatever.

When did this insanity start in the homeland? With Fr. John Wycliffe. The man who translated the Bible from Latin to Anglish. Without permission or oversight. With plenty of errors, deliberate and otherwise, and well before King Henry’s appearance. And Fr. Martin Luther, and Fr. Jan Hus too. You’ve heard the old saying? Wycliffe cut the wood, and Hus poured the oil. All Luther did was light the match. Henry? Well, he just warmed himself by the fire. He and his ‘loyal’ Bishops.

You’ve all been told is that men should be free to think whatever they want. How’s that working out? Total idiots running amok, doing exactly as they feel. Notice, I didn’t say think, because that word has been banned from the Western mind. Because it would presume we knew anything. Which, for the most part, we don’t.

Let’s do some remedial reading here, and go back to the beginnings. To the time before the open rebellion. To the time when the Church, due to the generous gifts of the people and a subservient Crown, had become fabulously wealthy in the Isles. Poverty was almost non-existent, due to the laws of the Monastic Commons.

The were on the inheritable right of the people to work the lands of the Church, which owned anywhere from one third to one half of all of Angland. The right to work it, free of taxation by the King. All was good in the realm. Except the Bishops had become sated. Satisfied with wealth, instead of the faith. The Druids were conquered, the Celts were sober, the Anglo-Saxons were tamed. The realm was at peace. Then came Fr. Wycliffe. In the late 1300’s.

Fr. Wycliffe, who would be mimicked by Fr. Hus and Fr. Luther in the two succeeding centuries, cried out that the local Emperors (a.k.a. Bishops) were naked. They were living high on the hog. He said they had lost sight of the message of the Gospel. He was right. At least, as far as that issue went.

Fr. Wycliffe began the Anglish revolution. To free the people, right? No, silly. To free the King! To free him from the Church’s restraint, trying to curb his appetite. Kings always love lamb chops. Isn’t that what sheep are for, Komrade? As Wycliffe did in Angland, Fr. Hus would do in Bohemia and Fr. Luther would later do in Germany. Revolution is always done in the name of the people, but it always benefits the King.

After Wycliffe made his valid and rightful criticisms of certain hierarchs, he then did exactly as they did. Which is to say, he substituted his own judgment for the ancient and unchanging mind of the Church. While the Bishops decided to abuse their rightful authority (by squandering the wealth put in their laps), Fr. Wycliffe decided to supplant their rightful authority. How did he do that? He decided to become the sole arbiter of the Word of God by translating the Bible into the vernacular. With his own interpretations. A few little interpretations here and there that gave rise to what we now know as predestination, iconoclasm and caesaropapism.

In other words, everything Henry’s little revolution would need to be successful. Or any prince needed. They all loved Wycliffe.

For over a century before Henry appeared, the people of the Church in (and not yet of) Angland had already been steeped in the marinade of dissent and unrest. They were more than ready for the arrival of Henry. The people (and more importantly, their priests) were already primed to rebel against authority because authority had become proud. Ungrateful celestial pride. Flash back to the first day of creation. Fiat Lux. Let there be light (intellect). And the angels were made. A third of them rebelled. Now ask yourself, has anything changed? No. Why would it?

As an aside then, who is the St. John Fisher of our day? Besides Archbishop Vigano, that is. I’ll tell you who: it was Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, of the diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. He was the lone voice in 2002 who, in the previous iteration of the ongoing predatory homosexuality scandal, refused to sign the weasel document named the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

This was the document that would supposedly stop the problem of ‘clerical paedophilia’. There were only two problems with this document. One, it didn’t apply to bishops (surprise!), and two, it semantically dodged the real root of the problem, predatory homosexuality. Paedophilia was nothing but camouflage.

Bruskewitz could see this clearly, and was the only holdout of the 196 American bishops. He made a motion to the assembled Bishops, to study the cause of the conflagration. That is, again, predatory homosexuality. He got not a single voice to second his motion. Not a single vote. He stood alone. God bless his guts. Note this well: Lincoln is one of the few dioceses that never fell to the wolves in his day.

All the rest have fallen to the cesspool of this day. Fallen to the idea that we can dialogue with our enemies. That we can act as if our opponents are motivated by genuine but simply mis-guided good will. That we can all get along. In other words, that we can talk our way out of Hell. Good luck, idiots.

We are now at the same point as when Henry VIII appeared. A man enamored of his own power, dealing with ‘men’ (Bishops) who are enamored with their own pomp. Men who are more than willing to continue the dialogue with those who would eat their flock. Tell me, what wolf would spurn this generous offer? Could it become any easier than this, Komrades? Let’s eat! Please pass the salt.

What led to this problem in the Church? Did it affect only Angland? Let’s answer that last one first. No. It happens anywhere great wealth is accumulated and then misused. It happened earlier in France, beginning around 1000 AD, under the name of the Cathari. The purified ones. Perhaps you know them by their other names, the Albigensians. Their real name goes back farther in time; Manicheans. Dualists who despise the body and worship the soul. While this same type of revolution in France would take longer to boil over, it would be so much the worse than in Angland. Small comfort though, for a true Brit. Screw the Anglish.

You may think it odd that a sensual clergy (like we have today throughout the northern hemisphere) would produce this odd effect. But think about it. If you despise someone, you tend to react in the opposite way. And to the same extreme degree, producing a mirror-like error that finishes the job. The job of destroying the Church.

Here’s a quick blurb from the Catholic Encyclopedia that captures the essence of what happened then, and would happen again and again throughout Europe, leading up to the major breach of the walls of Holy Rome in the time of Henry and Luther. Here’s what spurred the people in

their contempt for the Catholic clergy, caused by the ignorance and the worldly, too frequently scandalous, lives of the latter; the protection of an overwhelming majority of the nobility, and the intimate local blending of national aspirations and religious sentiment.

Is this not exactly what happened, in Angland and elsewhere? Where did this scandal begin amongst the clergy? Was it the priests, or was it the Bishops? Who leads who? If the Bishops won’t lead you to safety (through hardship), then where else can they lead us but to destruction (through comfort)?

When the pleasurable part of this conundrum becomes clear to their immediate subordinates (the clergy), one of two things will happen. A few will be moved to spiritual remorse and reparation for the sins of their ‘shepherd’. They will appear to have few followers. They will be martyred. Quickly, I’ll add.

The other reaction, naturally, is the one of pride. ‘Tis always thus. The lesser clerics will become outwardly enraged (but inwardly envious) of their shepherd’s cushy life. They will then begin the rebellion against lawful authority by hijacking their flocks away from their Bishop. They will use their outward indignation against the excesses of the carnal Bishops to convince their flock to break away from their carnal rule.

Guess what happens? The priest becomes the new ‘bishop’ (or whatever they call themselves) of the breakaway sect. Before you know it, he will serve his local King. Look again, closely, at that definition of the reaction of the Cathars quoted above. Scandalous bishops produce a reaction strongly protected by the overwhelming majority of the nobles resulting in a nationalist sect. Is this not exactly what happened in Angland (and everywhere else)?

Guess who effectively ends up running that new Sect/Church? The King, of course. Who are his loyal handmaids? Yes, the new ‘bishops’. Who are then rewarded by the King with a portion of the property and wealth seized from the Original Church. A portion large enough to ‘live like a king’. Or at least, a scandalous bishop. The recipe is the same wherever this cake is baked.

Each generation hence will see further repetitions of this same process, producing, as it has unto this day, a multitude of fragmentary ‘churches’. And what do you know, not a one of them alone can resist the King. They’re not about to band together because they’ve already doctrinally broken apart! How convenient, eh? At least for the King. Not so much for the Branch Davidians, I suppose. But hey, a few small examples are necessary every once in a while, to keep public order, right?

How many of these schismatic ‘shepherds’ really want to oppose the King? You get to visit to the White House if you support the King’s policies, right? It’s hard to lead a flock against the King when your actually in bed with him. Or someone else. Ultimately, this devolution of ecclesial authority results in a thing called Trusteeism. Which is to say, Democracy. Wherein the sheep lead the dissenting ‘bishop’. And the world turns upside down.

Bishop Bruskewitz never had to deal with this problem because his flock of German-stock Catholics had never succumbed to the siren song of individual autonomy. Their ancestors fled to America to escape the ravages of Otto von Bismark and his Protestant Kulturkampf in the late 1800’s. Bismark was a master in bringing the Church to heel under the boot of the Kaiser. Those who could, fled and remained faithful sheep, following their true shepherds, on the American Plains. Bruskewitz kept his end of this bargain.

Once the Trustee Genie is out of the bottle, how do you get him back in? How do you get the flock to follow you once they’ve tasted the ‘freedom’ of ecclesial autonomy. More to the point, how will we recognize a real Bishop when he appears? By the by, have you ever seen a skinny one? ‘Once past the lips, forever on your hips’, as me tiny mother (of fifteen) always said. Spiritually speaking, have you ever seen a modern American Bishop who didn’t have a fat head? Why? They’ll swallow anything, and everything, as long as it’s modern.

Back to the genie of Trusteeism. Or democracy, or whatever you like to call it. Can it be stopped, and unity restored under the rightful rule of a true shepherd? What would that take to accomplish? Simple, Simon. The cure for the disobedience of the flock is the obedience of the shepherd. He has a boss too, you know. His name is Peter. If the shepherd listens to him, he’s listening to Peter’s boss. I have that on good authority. I read it somewhere. In a great book.

Do I have any proof of the effectiveness of this course of action? Yes, I do. His name was Dagger John. That wasn’t his real name, but that was the name his enemies knew him by. With good reason. For he was willing to go the wall to protect his flock. His Christian name was John Hughes. An Irishman who became the archbishop of New York in the Civil War era, when the Irish had flooded America when fleeing the Potato Famine on the Old Sod.

Hughes got his nickname for two reasons. In the typical Catholic fashion of the day, he would put a cross before his name when he signed something. Some people saw the shape he intended. Others imagined it differently. Here, look at the picture of this book cover for a clue of what I mean. Dagger John got his reputation for his willingness to confront the matter of church arson by the nativist (Protestant) neighbors of his day. He announced that when the next Catholic church was burned, it would be followed by ten Protestant ones. And whaddaya know, the burnings stopped. Shazzam. Amazing what a little backbone can do.

Dagger John also challenged the practice of teaching the Protestant scriptures in public schools, and then went further by forming the first Catholic school system. He even built Fordham University. Not bad for Irish scum, as the New York press reviled him. Here’s the real salient point. When he came to New York from Philadelphia, he saw the rampant Trusteeism that rendered the Church worthless. His solution? To hold an election of the members of the Church denouncing Trusteeism. In other words, he used Democracy to kill Democracy!

You can’t do this trick without two things. First, an impeccable reputation, which Hughes had. His work amongst the sick and with orphans was renowned throughout New York. He had worked with St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Philadelphia before that. He was a tireless educator. That was the second ingredient needed. He educated his flock on the dangers of Trusteeism. Given his own background of having fled Anglish-ruled Ireland (wherein a priest was banned from even attending his sister’s funeral), he was able to make clear the dangers of ecclesial rebellion that I have written of above. He taught them that only the King would profit from their rebellion against true and genuine authority.

He told them their poverty (spiritual and temporal) was the result of their subjugation to anti-Catholic rulers, both in Ireland and here. (You do know that the KKK was originally formed to combat Catholicism, right?). Hughes made it clear that self-discipline was the key to their future, both here and hereafter. No one was a better model of this thought.

Hughes protected and then educated his flock. They rewarded him with their loyalty. They voted out the Trustee boards of all the local parishes in his diocese. They submitted themselves to their true shepherd. Why would they do this? They knew he had their safety, both temporal and eternal, as his greatest goal. He would go to the wall for them, against any King or Mayor or President. Everyone, everywhere, Catholic or Protestant, knew it. They knew it in spades. This guy was extremely dangerous. Earthly life was the last thing on his mind. Yet they all understood, at the very least, the earthly consequences of his ire. We should pray that his successors would understand his example.

How is it we will we know when there’s a real Bishop at the head of our diocesan flock? Pretty simple, pilgrim. First, he will be a nobody. A man given to simplicity of life. No more grand dinners, no more fundraising extravaganzas. No more fat Bishops. Especially, no more captivity to the large donors who emasculate them in return for their cash. No more reliance on government programs to fund a bloated bureaucracy. No more deference to the groupthink of the USCCB.

And no more unspoken diversity regimes, where chanceries are run by women. In short, no more dialogue with the wolves. Sermons are not dialogues, they are monologues. The shepherd needs to speak, clearly. The sheep need to listen, acutely. This is the only solution.

A true shepherd will begin by educating his sheep again, without the heavy hand of the State looking over his shoulder. As the story of Dagger John goes, he will ‘build the school first, and the church second’. He’ll spend our money to give our children a true classical education founded upon the Truth. Only then will we be educated enough to understand that we truly need someone to lead us, together, without dissent. For without obedience, we have earned nothing in this life. Obedience will cost you. But you only get what you pay for.

Lastly, you’ll know him when you see him at his best. He won’t be a fan of ‘dialogue’. Instead, he’ll be leading an angry flock. Literally. A flock ready to burn the houses of power against those who have burnt theirs. Leading them against those who would enslave them again. He’ll be leading us against the King or his men. Until the Kingdom submits to the Church. And the peace of Angland returns.

When you see an angry man leading his sheep against the wolves of the State, against the literal rapacity of the King and his modern men, you’ll know that he’s no coward. Most importantly, that he is no traitor to his flock. Nor his to his Master. Only then will you know you finally have a real shepherd. Someone you can follow without doubt. Someone who will lay down his life—for you. Isn’t that what you really want?

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10 Thoughts

  1. Hi William Briggs and Ianto Watt,
    I have wanted to comment for quite some time now and just tell you now wonderful you both are. Ianto, I have purchased your book (AMAZING!), and Briggs -I mean to soon purchase yours. I am a Catholic father of 8 children (number 8 arrives this December), and make no mistake that your wisdom and knowledge filters through me to them. Thank you for everything you do. I’m sure that it grows tired crying out in the wilderness, but truth and knowledge (when either discovered, or passed down) – will take root and grow. It does especially so in a world mostly devoid of it. I pray and thank God everyday for the both of you, Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Sarah, Fr. Richard Heilman, Fr. Z, and others who write and work diligently for the souls of humanity. Thank you so very very much!

  2. Yes, Ianto! Some of us have been crying out for such a man. If enough fast (and I don’t mean give up TV or chocolate bars) and pray (and I do mean on our knees until they are sore) God will send us another Dagger John.

    If not, we will get what we deserve.

  3. You’ve got this completely wrong. The scandal of child abuse in the Catholic Church has nothing to do with “predatory homosexuality”, and everything to do with the Church’s systematic covering-up of abuse, their fostering of a situation in which adults have unsupervised access to children, and an unwarranted air of authority.

    Consider Father Stefano Cherubini, who abused children and was rewarded by being put in charge of a school. This happened in the 17th century, so it’s not as if the Church hasn’t had time to learn appropriate lessons, they’ve just decided to blame others instead: the problem is blamed on “predatory homosexuality”, a permissive society, or even the victims.

    Get a clue.

  4. Speaking of clues and getting them, your mistake (unintentional, I am sure) is claiming the two are mutually exclusive (predatory homosexuality and cover up of abuse). But for the predatory homosexuality, there would not be much to cover up.

  5. @ c matt,

    “But for the predatory homosexuality, there would not be much to cover up.”

    Homosexuals aren’t attracted to children, some of the abuse was/is carried out against girls, and some of the abuders have been nuns. Add yourself to the clueless list.

  6. @Shecky R
    Please consider in your future comments to be more specific. If you think Mr. Watt is mistaken, then point out where and how. In doing so, you will help all the readers determine which of you are correct. Thank you.

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