Which Church Leader Deserves the Coveted ‘Golden Millstone’ Award?

By John Zmirak Published on June 12, 2023

As someone who writes about current events and tries not to go insane, I’ve been forced to develop little coping mechanisms — along the lines of emergency room workers and trauma nurses, who famously have a slightly morbid sense of humor. There’s just no other way you can go on, day after day, dealing with shattered limbs and gruesome wounds. (My sister was an ER nurse. I’ll spare you the stories. Let’s just say they include stray human organs serving as hand puppets.)

One mental game I play is to award an imaginary prize for the most appalling outrage in different categories of news. When it comes to events in the Church, the honor I offer is called “The Golden Millstone.” It isn’t a statuette that you hand the winner, but a full-size actual millstone from an old-timey farm, spray-painted gold. You hang it around the deserving winner’s neck in a ceremony at sea. Then gravity does the rest.

My nominees for this month are the following:

The Nun Who’s a Fan of Anti-Catholic Drag Queens

Sr. Jeannine Gramick, a Los Angeles nun and activist for the LGBTQMYNAMEISLEGION movement. She qualified for the prize by speaking up to praise the lewd, anti-Christian drag queen “nuns” of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and urging the Los Angeles Dodgers to honor the group at its “Pride” event. She offered the Dodgers “Catholic” cover for their decision to reinvite these nun-faced minstrels, who apparently also fundraise for gay-specific charities. She wrote:

The choice of clothing, even if offensive to some, can never trump the works of mercy. … I applaud the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence for their financial assistance to those in need. I support them because of all their good works.

The Priests Who Worshipped Under a Giant Pope Francis Idol

Fathers Juanino Díaz, Javier Bravo and Monsignor José Ignacio Herrera, three Argentinian priests. They celebrated a liturgy which featured a gigantic statue of Pope Francis, looming over the altar like some pagan idol. It’s rare for Catholics to put up such statues even of long-dead saints or apostles, standing in place of the crucifix or cross. But to honor a living man that way, just because he’s in power? That’s something out of Diocletian’s Rome or Kim Jong Il’s North Korea.

The personality cult of Pope Francis is getting out of control. Far too many Catholics have come to see him, thanks to his habit of contradicting Scripture and ancient church teaching, as a kind of second Christ or replacement for Christ — offering a new gospel that’s much more “compassionate” and “inclusive.” Of course, St. Paul had a term for people who offer “new gospels.” It rhymes with “poltergeist.”

The Protestants Who Let an AI Algorithm Lead their Liturgy

Theologian Jonas Simmerlein, and the worshippers who took part in this grotesque morning service. According to Business Insider:

Hundreds of protestants gathered in Nuremberg, Germany to hear a sermon written by ChatGPT.

Multiple avatars controlled by ChatGPT delivered the sermon on a huge screen above the altar.

During the sermon, ChatGPT told the congregation not to fear death.

The artificial intelligence chatbot asked the believers in the fully packed St. Paul’s church in the Bavarian town of Fuerth to rise from the pews and praise the Lord.

The ChatGPT chatbot, personified by an avatar of a bearded Black man on a huge screen above the altar, then began preaching to the more than 300 people who had shown up on Friday morning for an experimental Lutheran church service almost entirely generated by AI.

“Dear friends, it is an honor for me to stand here and preach to you as the first artificial intelligence at this year’s convention of Protestants in Germany,” the avatar said with an expressionless face and monotonous voice.

The 40-minute service — including the sermon, prayers and music — was created by ChatGPT] and Jonas Simmerlein, a theologian and philosopher from the University of Vienna.

“I conceived this service — but actually I rather accompanied it, because I would say about 98% comes from the machine,” the 29-year-old scholar told The Associated Press.

Have You Accepted the Hive Mind as Lord?

I really can’t pick a winner. And no, please don’t write The Stream to cast your votes. Maybe I’ll award it to all of these people jointly, assuming I can source sufficient millstones and rent a large enough boat.

In fact, all three of these gallows-humor punch lines are related. Yes, it’s little blatant for Protestants to swoon at AI-generated banalities instead of the words of scripture. And for Catholics to kneel in front of a huge statue of the pope. And it seems a bit on the nose for a nun who abandoned her real vocation to become a gay activist to help a baseball team mock real nuns who actually live out their vows.

But these stories each reflect disturbing trends we see equally in the World and in the Church. The vaguely reassuring, grammatically correct blather that emerged from the AI in Nuremburg is hard to distinguish from the actual statements of Pope Francis on crucial issues. Indeed, for more than a decade I have complained that too much rhetoric in Catholic circles seems to have come from a randomized computer algorithm, which I dubbed “The Amazing Catholic B.S. Generator.” [mild profanity]

Likewise, in throwing her support behind a wealthy baseball team and a group of sexual deviants who slum by mocking nuns, Sister Gramick is simply showing where her loyalty lies. It’s not with Christ, or His Church, but with the Hive Mind that operates better than any algorithm yet written, and determines which positions are socially acceptable — and which ones will get you canceled.

Leading the Gadarene Swine Over the Cliff

It’s not moral arguments, science, or anything rational which dictates the ever-shifting Party Line. Nobody could have predicted when the Supreme Court imposed same-sex “marriage” on 50 states that within five years we’d have to be arguing the ethics of castrating children.

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The Hive Mind seems to operate spontaneously, by rules all its own. It churns out new positions, and our elites duly adopt them, then use their wealth and power to punish dissenters. I’ve explained here before how membership in our elites is determined not by merit or even money, but by one’s adroitness in Groupthink and skill at running in front of the Herd as it heads off the cliff.

And Christians who kneel before this idol are earning themselves something much, much worse than just a millstone.


John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”

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