Benedict XVI is still the Pope

This is a post I’ve contemplated writing for a while but have been very reluctant to do. The title alone should indicate why but rather than just make this statement, I want to give some background to my thinking on this issue and how I have come to this conclusion. Pure reason works on exceedingly few minds and I would humbly include my own among the multitude. I freely admit that this post will be much more personal than academic (when are blogs ever otherwise?), though I will do my best to thread it together with my reasoning. 

In short, I no longer believe that Benedict XVI validly resigned and therefore believe that he remains the Vicar of Christ — the Pope. It follows from this that Pope Francis is an Antipope and every official function he has performed since his election in 2013 is invalid.

From here I will do my best to explain how I came to this conclusion.  

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The Evil of Contract Law

Any society featuring rules and mores based on contract law is inherently evil and is inevitably bound to devolve into rule by charlatans and thieves.

It is not an accident that Satan prefers to operate by binding contract.


Contract law is literally demonic. It amounts to rule by corruption and fraud.

What sort of madness is required to make contracts the basis of both a) societal economics and b) societal morality?

Vox Day (taken from SocialGalactic)


The observations above as well as recent personal events have led me to think more carefully about contract law than I ever would have otherwise. After all, it seems perfectly reasonable as an idea. Two parties make a written agreement that both sign on it. Most of the time the parties follow through n this agreement and if one doesn’t, the wronged party seeks some sort of legal arbitration to settle it. A major function of the state then is to enforce contracts between individuals. We are taught in the West that this is all a very good thing and a sign of the superiority of our society over others. Indeed, the written constitution that my (and many other nations) have is considered to be of so great benefit to us is a contract. 

The problem of course, as observed above, is that contracts actually favour the most ruthless and dishonest. The spirit of the agreement is broken down into semantics and the dishonest will take every advantage they can while the honest party — that is one who is unwilling to deceive — is left at a distinct disadvantage. This isn’t always the case as many people will obey the spirit of agreements made without getting into technicalities or trying to reinterpret the agreement to their advantage. One doesn’t have to look far to find plenty of counter-examples though.

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Beyond Donkey Kong Book Review

Beyond Donkey Kong: A History of Nintendo Arcade Games by Ken Horowitz, McFarland, November 30th, 2020

I have previously reviewed Ken Horowitz’s first book Playing at the Next Level and also been a long time (though not regular), contributor to his website Sega-16. I also read his second book The Sega Arcade Revolution and enjoyed it just as much though I didn’t write a review. Beyond Donkey Kong is his third book and his first to focus away from Sega’s legacy in the home console and arcade business.

Most histories of Nintendo or video games in general will dwell briefly on the early history of the company with playing cards, toys, mechanical games and then once they get to Donkey Kong will jump straight into the history of the home console market. But as the title implies, there is a lot more to Nintendo’s arcade history than this and this book sets out to cover it in detail from the early beginnings to the company’s quiet exit in the early 1990s. Continue reading

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Fisking Dreher and Skojec

As with a previous fisking of mine, this one is coming almost a year later but I felt compelled to do it given the subject matter. It will mostly be taken from this response by Rod Dreher to a highly emotional post by Steve Skojec who is the founder of the Catholic blog One Peter Five.  It was already responded to in a timely fashion by Edward Feser here and then again when Dreher briefly responded to his first post. This was all over a few days in late May, last year. 

Before moving forward, I want to comment in general on Catholic writers, journalists and anyone who has a prominent position whether paid or not in the church. Feser, Dreher and Skojec all fit into this category. And even I do at a lower level and in a way, everyone who is a Catholic also bares witness to the faith in their own way however small. This is especially the case for public figures though who I would say are putting themselves under similar judgement to priests with their very visible status within the church. What they do and how they behave in public can cause far more scandal than the average layman can.

You may love Catholicism and want to promote and write about it but it isn’t hobby writing like I do with video games or others do with train sets, stamp collecting, crafts and so on. It has significance beyond even that of  political and social commentary. I should hardly need to emphasise how important it is. And I believe that the very public way that both Dreher and (it seems Skojec), have left the church have greatly discredited them in my eyes and caused immeasurable scandal.

I am not in a similar position to them but I imagine if I had similar misgivings that led me away from the church, I should keep this all as private as possible for the sake of the audience I had. Of course, as I am not in such a position, you can only take my word for it.

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Is the bare minimum enough?

I have mentioned the Mike Judge film Office Space once before here when reviewing his film Idiocracy and I shall have to do a deeper dive into the film at some stage. Perhaps after the next time I watch it. For this post, I’m taking a memorable scene to work into a religious angle. The scene involving an employee requirement to wear bits of “flair” in a restaurant is posted below for context.

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The Importance of the Scouring

Homeward Bound by Alan Lee

I have recently re-read the The Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time in a decade — this time to my son who had really enjoyed The Hobbit. When getting to the end I was reminded of a brief post Vox Day wrote about The Scouring of the Shire, which is the final major event of the novel. When I first read it many years ago, I found it a surprising turn of events but I didn’t give it much thought beyond that. In re-reading there is certainly foreshadowing with Sam’s vision in the Mirror of Galadriel and in smaller ways such as with Merry and Pippin’s happy discovery of halfling pipe-weed in the ruins of Isengard.

Vox says it is “a minor flaw, but it is a flaw nevertheless”, and suggests this is an early example of message fiction through Tolkien’s famously luddite-lite views on the modern world. Having had this in mind on re-reading, I disagree and consider it an important and logical end to the events though I do allow that the time-frame in which Saruman could have accomplished all this was perhaps implausibly brief.

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Microsoft has bought husks

Last month Microsoft announced it had purchased Activision Blizzard, one of the largest publishers in in the video game industry. This came after a number of high-profile purchases over the last few years including Bethesda in 2020 and a number of smaller development studios. I didn’t initially comment on this as it was worth waiting and getting a few details first. And one of the advantages of having few readers is there is little pressure to respond to the news cycle. 

Microsoft has been involved in video games for a long time with DOS and then Windows becoming dominant in the personal computer market — the latter still being the main focus for PC gaming. They moved into the console market just over twenty years ago and the financial investment they put in immediately put them right in the competition though the original Xbox sold relatively poorly compared to Sony’s PlayStation 2; their main competitor. 

They became far more successful with the Xbox 360 which was released in 2005 and remained on the market until the Xbox One was released eight years later. The Xbox One had a terrible start but did become successful though selling roughly half as well as the PlayStation 4. They are now on their fourth home console with the Xbox Series X (also continuing their confusing choice of names). It is too early to predict where this next generation will go — especially with the continued shortages of available units but the Xbox brand will at the very least, retain a significant place. 

I haven’t mentioned Nintendo which has been there the whole time though not considered a direct competitor. The Nintendo Switch is still by far the most dominant home console though whether this continues is hard to say as Nintendo has seen more than a few rises and falls in close to forty years of involvement in the home console market. 

One more aspect before getting to the main purpose of this post, is to point out that both Microsoft and Sony have noticeably began bringing their brands to the PC market. The Xbox brand is integrated into Windows 10 and most of the games and services are available on PC as well as console. Sony is slowly doing the same with many major games coming to PC though the console releases remain the priority. These moves suggest the brands may move truly beyond the consoles themselves and become services available on a variety of different devices in the long-term. 

For now, Microsoft’s moves to acquire so many studios suggests it is trying to address a major weakness of the brand and that is the lack of exclusive titles available to the system.  

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The Gamma According to Trollope

Having just finished reading The Warden and Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope, I wanted to write something about them as I loved them and Trollope is now on my ever growing list of authors I regret not reading earlier. I had a number of ideas for topics to such as to what extent the events of this novel (unintentionally) support priestly celibacy or a general commentary moral crusaders and their crusades chiefly drawing from The Warden. Instead, I found myself coming back to a topic I’ve written about before and that is Vox Day’s Socio-Sexual Hierarchy (SSH).

This comes forth particularly in the character of Mr. Obadiah Slope, the main antagonist of Barchester Towers. I will quote extensively from Trollope as he writes better than I could ever hope to and add commentary and give context where necessary.

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A Review of The Hobbit Film Trilogy

I shared the excitement of many when it was announced that Peter Jackson would be returning to direct a film adaptation of The Hobbit. This excitement was somewhat muted learning it would be split into two films and was further subdued when it later became three. The Hobbit was a shorter work than any one of the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings and the writing was also far less dense. That this could be stretched into three films even including further elements found in Tolkien’s canon, was hard to believe. When the first part, An Unexpected Journey was released in the cinema, I went to see it and came away underwhelmed. It covered only a tiny portion of the book and many scenes were overly long or surprisingly underdone. My opinion at the time was that it was being artificially dragged out and I didn’t bother to see the next two in the cinema or home media until this year — almost a decade later.

I had tried to re-watch the first and then watch the sequels a number of times but never got far. I couldn’t even bring myself to watch a fan edit that brought the three films together into one as it should always have been. What brought me to finally sit down and watch them through? An amusing Twitter account. What else would?

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Goals Set, Goals Accomplished & Goals for 2022

Once again, I reflect on the previous year with goals I set for myself. Last year  I made a smaller list in the hope that a narrower focus would yield more results. As we shall see on review, I did not accomplish what I set out to do but thankfully it is not all bad news. Once again, I had a fairly positive year overall despite the increasingly strange circumstances we now live. I think one reason for this is I don’t allow myself to live or be guided by the world but the world has ways of getting to you regardless. I have now been significantly effected by events but I won’t get into this here. Let us instead review the goals I set for myself last year and how I did.

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