Category Archives: Good Shepherds
After the shutting down of “Protect the Pope”, I think it might be useful to write some reflections on the matter of obedience.
A Deacon, say, writes a blog saying “I am a deacon in the Diocese of X”. In this case, he is “spending” the name of the diocese and the prestige and sacredness of the Holy Orders he has received (a Deacon is, let us remind ourselves of this, ordained). As a Deacon, he owes obedience to the Bishop. Not a blind one, certainly, and not obedience to every whim of the Bishop. But certainly, when the Bishop instruct him to do something – or not to do something – that is directly related to both his activity as a deacon and the diocese presided by the Bishop, the Deacon in question should, in my eyes, seriously reflect whether he really does not want to comply.
Now, if Deacon Nick had run his blog without spending his title, it would have been, in my eyes, different. If the bishop can't tell the deacon what he has to discuss at the pub with his friends, as “Nick”, he should also not be able to tell him what to discuss on the Internet with his friends, as “Nick”. In this case Deacon Nick could, I think, have legitimately replied that his own freedom of expression, particularly when the expressions are orthodox, is nothing upon which the Bishop has any say. But this is obviously different. This is someone writing in his role of ordained man, incardinated in a diocese, and who owes obedience to a bishop.
I am not a canonist, but I think Deacon Nick could have only done one of the following:
A) inform the bishop he will continue to blog, as this is his private exercise. No mention of deacons anymore, of course, unless perhaps and for some time for the clear statement the blog reflects his private opinions and is nothing to do with the diocese or his ministry as a Deacon. If the bishop wants to drag him in front of an ecclesiastical tribunal, welcome. The blog will report everything as it happens.
B) Go to court against the bishop to obtain the removal of the order (which I suppose was given in writing, and under exercise of the bishop's authority) to stop blogging.
C) obey the bishop's order.
Now: a Deacon of all people should reflect very attentively whether A or B are really wise courses of action. Is a blog so important that it justifies a very public conflict between a deacon and his bishop? Well yes, it might be, if the Deacon thinks the order to stop blogging is a scandal that must be made public, and fought against. But the Deacon can also legitimately decide that he will fight with Padre Pio's (and countless saints besides) weapons: silence, obedience, and prayer. If the Deacon obeys to the Bishop, the latter carries the responsibility of whatever results from his order. Let God, who sees everything, give the Deacon the premium for his obedience, and the Bishop the punishment for his insolence. If it is God's will, not one but ten new blogs will be born out of this outrage, and countless blog readers will be motivated to search the blogosphere for other authentic voices, and grow in faith as a result. We must not make the mistake of thinking this matter lies, so to speak, entirely in one or two persons' hands. Dio vede e provvede. God sees and provides.
Obviously, there are cases in which disobedience is or may be the only sensible way, or the most sensible way: say, when the preservation of the Mass of the Ages is in danger, or – I add – an excellent religious order is being trampled by an unconscionable Pontiff. In these cases we have to do with the Mass, and the Mass is more serious than any blog, and take precedence before the obedience to any Pope.
But honestly, there is no scarcity of orthodox Catholic blogs. Many more will be created. Again, God can give back ten times what was taken away. Obedience should, as a reasoned choice born of faith in Providence, always be respected.
It is, therefore, not fair to say that Deacon Mick is waving the white flag, or in a way “chickening out”. Rather, I think he has decided that he will put his obedience in the hands of the Lord, and He will do with it what He thinks appropriate: rewarding, and punishing, in His own good time.
Blogs like Deacon Nick's, or mine, are but grains of sand in the great scheme of things. The Lord can decide to sacrifice them – and to sacrifice much worthier things than a blog; perhaps through the allowing of an injustice – so that in the end more good may happen.
In these matters, it is always useful to remind ourselves of God's lavish abundance, a way that to our scarcity-accustomed minds may seem wastefulness. Billions of billions of suns, and accessory planets, just to give us a glimpse of His might. Schubert was dead at not even 32. Mozart at 35. Bizet before becoming 37. Mendelssohn at 38. Chopin at 39.
St Theresa of Lisieux, a Doctor of the Church, died at 24.
If God has decided the world could do without St. Therese of Lisieux when she was only 24, methinks we can relax at the thought of the Catholic blogosphere having to live without “Protect the Pope”, or this little effort.
All those who, then, suffer this loss may do worse than wondering whether, perhaps, they might start writing their own blog. At times, unpleasant events bear great fruit. If I had not been banned from “Homo Smoke” I would never, ever have come to the idea of blogging myself. I allow myself to think that it was a wise decision and, I hope, a meritorious one. But you see here how Providence works.
Deacon Nick will, then, be a non-blogging Deacon again, and my thanks to him for his sterling work and for the example of obedience he has now chosen to give. May God reward him and his worthy wife for their effort, time, and pain.
We, the non-deacons, will continue to blog and, perhaps, to blog more numerous and more motivated than before.
God works in mysterious ways.
But most of all, God isn't fooled by Bishop Campbell's religion of niceness.
There are interesting reflections around concerning what to do to have more vocations. Certainly, we must pray. Certainly, we can support the idea of vocations among the young in our environment. But if you ask me, the best way to more vocations is to have better priests.
I still remember very well my formative years, and looking back it is clear to me the office of priest was not considered by anyone as in the least desirable, not even by mistake. The reason for this is that most of the priests we had around us – and in the Italy of those times you had many priests around you, both in your place of residence and at school – had a common and distinctive trait: they looked, sounded, and even smelled, ashamed to be priests.
There was a kind of hierarchy of un-priestliness. There were those who were silently but obviously embarrassed, those who were more ostentatiously “modern” and those who were outright dissenters – the priest who whispered at school that the devil does not exist, in an heroic effort of blasphemy meant to let us understand how very courageous he was, I will never forget -. But all of them seemed to have the same slogan, a kind of “unglorious” one: the least Catholic, the better.
If the priest is ashamed himself of being a priest, who will want to become like him? If the priest is the very epitome of the uncool, pathetic loser, who will want to follow in his steps? And this is, in fact, what they pretty much all were: pathetic losers, ashamed to be priests; lives to be pitied, and an example not to be followed. The priest of those times was a cautionary tale.
This phenomenon created another one: the attempt to gain credibility not by being a true priest, but – in a suicidal, and not very manly move – by being something else: the “modern priest”, the “good friend”, the “nice chap”, the “favourite uncle”. The automatic self-divesting of any form of authority made of them, for all the world to see, unquestioned beta males deprived of true manliness, because manliness is always linked with assertiveness, self-assuredness, and a quiet but still very public show of testosterone.
Every man, but particularly adolescents, smell authority and manliness like the hound smells the fox. Not everyone has the natural assertiveness to be a natural leader, to be one to whom others look up to; but absolutely no one has the desire to be, for all the world to see, the last wolf in the pack. Such a one is not very manly at all, and could actually have problems of graver nature. Which is, I think, the origin and motive of many “vocations” in those years.
And so we have, I think, a faithful picture of perhaps 80% of the Western priesthood up to this day: no manliness, no authority, no “coolness” around them. Boys look at them, and pity them. As they well should, and as I do myself. They are embarrassed to be priests, and try to be as little of a priest as they can. As a consequence, they are embarrassing to be around.
Away goes sin; hell follows soon thereafter; “joy” is everywhere. Some time ago, I listened to a homily of a Cardinal. He sounded like a girl making a motivational talk for old aunts in a holiday resort. By all the authority given by the office, the red robe, and the choreography, he still smelled of girly loser. Who would want to be such a tool? Mind, this here was a Cardinal, helped by the trappings of the office. The girly parish priest truly has no chance with the boys.
A priest must be assertive, manly, unashamedly Catholic, outspoken, and with no hint of sissidom in him. He must be a shepherd, not a dry nurse. The shepherd has a rod, and he uses it. The shepherd leads his flock towards green pastures, he does not ask the sheep “where they want to go today”. The priest must be a natural leader, because a priest has to be a leader if he is to be successful. The priest has to be uncomfortable, harsh when needed, and quietly manly when he is gentle.
These are the priests who produce priests. These are the men who will cause boys to say “I want to become one like him”. These are men whose very demeanour will say to those around them that they are willing to die for their cause; which is as manly as it gets, and will be smelled by the boys around them like the above mentioned hounds smell the above mentioned fox. Not many will follow in his steps. But the admiration will – with God's grace – cause some of them to fo it. You must impress dozen to get one vocation to blossom, because this vocation will be nurtured from the respect or outright admiration surrounding the priest.
Boys will be boys, and their vocation must go with their nature, not against them. They must feel encouraged to use their own faith to channel the natural assertiveness, even aggressiveness, of the male of the species towards the higher goal of saving souls, of being shepherds of souls. This is one of the 1,374 reasons why women are not fit to be priest. Women are nurturers, not shepherds. God save us from a manly woman. There are two sexes for a reason, and this is the same reason why only those of one sex can be priests.
If you ask me, it's as simple as that. In the Seventies the priests were at their most stupid (the “worker priest”, the “social priest”; the Jorge Bergoglio types) and the vocations were at their lowest. As the worst excesses went away, the vocations slowly increased. Strong religious orders continue to create strong vocations to this day – so much so, that the Jorge Bergoglio types must crush them to deflect from their own bitchy incompetence – and the situation slowly, but gradually, improves. In the meantime, the Jorge Bergoglio types cause their seminaries to close. May their ruins be visible from afar, and be a monument to human stupidity.
But we need more of these good priests. The Brompton Oratory is always packed. You listen to them, and you know how a true vocation sounds, and how a real man speaks.
The boys listen, and learn.
Vocations are aplenty. No closures to be feared there.
Hope you have been good on Earth Day and have cut a tree in front of a tree-hugger, just to show the followers of the new religion that no, trees have no human rights; babies in the womb have.
You haven't, you say?
Neither have I.
Too much sweat for a quiet writing nature like myself.
But it would have been worth a video, for sure.
A once successful singer marries a once rather famed TV presenter. Lately, he has reached his fame mainly with a “benefit” initiative that brought him a lot of Bono-like notoriety. His wife is, as said, known on her own.
They have, I think, two children. But husband and children is not exciting enough, and the wife runs away with another, far more famous rock star. The latter is also drug addict, and certainly unstable.
The two – actually, the three – start the usual war for the custody of the children. The wife almost dies of an overdose, but I can't remember if this is before or after the famous rock star commits suicide. Doesn't matter, because the original father manages to take the children anyway. But wait, I think first the mother dies of booze or drugs, too; it could be after losing the children, though, but I am not sure, because these aren't the people who say “let's try to be responsible, we have children”. The children she has – two from the not-so-fanous singer, one from the worldwide famous one – all have names you would give to cats, or rather names that children would give to cats.
The not-so-famous singer then gets the children, and actually adopts child number three, the one of the famous singer who has committed suicide. The famous singer, say his friends, would have rolled in his tomb knowing that his “enemy” got his own child. Could have avoided suicide, you might say. It's not so surprising the only father of this triangle who has not taken his life should get the children, is it now?
Predictably, the children grow up emotionally wrecked. Let us count: two of them had mama and stepfather taking their lives through suicide or excess (note the word, by the way), the third both his natural parents. The percentage of drug addicts at some time or other among the parents is thus never below 50%, with peaks of 100%. You can call this a very “interesting” family background.
The poor children have to cope with the mess, because only the idiots refuse to acknowledge that the sin of the fathers – and the mothers – will be visited upon the sons. At least one also becomes a drug addict; almost dies of an overdose – like her mother – but then recovers. Or says she does. She dies suddenly some days ago, for reason not easy to ascertain, probably simply medical ones because there are no obvious signs of suicide or overdose. She leaves children also named like cats. The sins of the fathers and the mothers have visited the children and, at the same time, grandchildren. You read all the names in the newspapers, and think the articles is about an institution for abandoned cats. No one seems to link the names – and the entirely de-Christianised environment they betray – and the tragedies.
I do. Go on, call me a “holy card face”.
This further tragedy in the family – I almost forgot: at twenty-five the young woman was already at the second marriage; but again the children of drug-addicted, suicides or both together rarely tend to make good marriage material; at least bar a conversion of which there is no trace here, as indicated by the children, all named like cats – leaves more children irrimediably scarred. The father expresses his sorrow, and seems not to have the faintest idea whence all these tragedies come. He seems to live in a planet where bad actions and their consequences are entirely disconnected, and tragedies just happen; mind, the last tragedy might have simply “happened”, but human actions are what caused all the rest.
The public is informed of this Hiroshima-style family, and you don't read anywhere a word of warning; I do not say a warning concerning the obvious truth that the sins of the father – and the mothers – will be visited upon the sons; but not even concerning the immense tragedy of having people taking drugs, quarrelling, committing suicide; leaving behind them people who take drugs, quarrel, and perhaps will, one day, commit suicide.
Not one word of warning. Too “judgmental”, you see. People simply register the facts, and consider them parts of the “lifestyle” of “celebrities”. What hell the life of such people must have been, must still be if they aren't such children that they can't even feel the pain of an adult, the public does not care. This is, most emphatically, not a cautionary tale. An excuse for easy emoting, at most.
It will be weeks before the causes of the death of the young woman will be made known. We can only hope and pray she died of natural causes, and at least, so to speak, halfway in the grace of God.
Looking at it coolly, the chances aren't great.
Let it be a cautionary tale. The sins of the fathers, and all that.
Kathleen Sebelius' destiny appeared, to external observers like yours truly, sealed for a while already. It was evident to any halfway skilled observer that a mess like Obamacare would need for people very high in the chain of command to fall on his sword, so that the Emperor may go on living. The approaching mid-term elections also made it utterly unthinkable to continue for much longer without an Officially Sacrificed Scapegoat. Therefore, the female was clearly a goner. Today, it was announced she was finally ordered to fall on her sword. No, they didn't put it this way. But you and I can see through the usual spinmeisters' crap, that persuades only those who don't need persuading.
I now predict Obamacare will undergo the same fate of Communism: as the real existing one continues to wreak havoc in the lives of countless people, the die-hard fans will insist the problem is merely in the implementation, which could have been better, but clearly not in the product itself. Whose fault it is, that Sebelius did not realise the Obamian Utopia, we will never be told. The locusts, probably. The earthquake. Certainly not the godless madness of the Emperor, who is Divine and therefore above success and failure.
Sebelius' political demise marks the day the Obama administration openly – though still not officially – admits Obamacare is a huge liability, and the situation is now called “red alert”. The attempt starts today to say the mess is not Obama's fault. He was betrayed by people he trusted. Not because he is an idiot, but because he flies too high for the dirt and little miseries of this world, where Christians demand that their religious freedom is respected, companies are fed up with having additional costs burdened of them, simple citizens discover every day the same, and everyone realises whenever Barry tells you you can keep something, you had better start saying farewell to it now.
Obamacare is in shambles. The Biggest Possible Scapegoat has been slaughtered today. All the problems remain. Barry has nowhere to hide, though the army of boot lickers will shield him as they can. I don't think the midterm will be a great joy to him, making him even lamer than he is now, and with the party scrambling for a face saving castration of Obamacare before the 2016 elections care for it themselves. We shall see.
But it's good to see Kathleen meet the same end as her almost identical twin, depicted above.
Every now and then, I try to think how the Cardinals could, in that fateful day of March 2013, have picked an even worse one than Jorge Bergoglio. Martini would have been one if he had been alive, but he had already gone to his Creator – or the other way, as the case may be -. Schoenborn is another candidate, but I think Schienborn is, if every bit a sellout as Francis, more intelligent, better educated and probably more prudent.
With the benefit of hindsight, Maradiaga is also such a one, though it is difficult to see whether he would have been as spirited in leading the madness than he is in following Francis' lead, safe in the knowledge he can take refuge in the shadow of the more senior heretic.
From what one begins to hear Tegle might also be such a one, but such a young Pope was probably never in the card. Tegle is, unfortunately, already a candidate to the Sea, one day. Let's hope he ages well, or does not age at all.
Possibly, the one with the best probability of being worse than Francis – if such a feat would have been achievable, at all – must be Cardinal Ravasi, the red-hatted version of the Italian TV singing “nun on cocaine”. Not because he dances so well – I do not know; Francis does not dance, either, and he lets other people dance the Tango just in front of the sanctuary for his and their more or less pious amusement – but rather because he can stoop to such a low level of tomfoolery that should the Red Nose Pope die, you know the Hip Hop Cardinal would be a good substitute. I doubt he knows as little of Catholicism as Francis, but hey, nobody is “perfect”.
The person of the Pope and the Papacy are separated. Of course they are. The latter is a divinely appointed office, the former is a fallible man elected by fallible men; men who may, or may not, ask for the guidance of the Holy Ghost during a Conclave.
Therefore, logic demands that it be allowed to criticise the fallible man – harshly, if his shortcomings are so extreme as to make it necessary – without this impinging on the sacred institution. On the contrary, the Pope is criticised exactly because of the damage he causes for the sacred institution of the Papacy and, by extension, of the Church.
It is rather disingenuous, and devoid of logic, to say that those who criticise the Pope damage the Papacy. They damage the Pope's credibility as a person – particularly if he has none, as in this case – but they do it to protect the Papacy, and by extension the Church and, ultimately, Her Bridegroom, Christ.
If, therefore, anyone were to say that the Pope cannot be criticised because this damages the Papacy, this would be tantamount as to say that the person of the Pope cannot be criticised if he damages – the current occupier, actually, insults or very obviously misrepresents – God. This borders on Papolatry, and makes no sense at all. Particularly then, when at the same time all the other ranks of the Church are considered fair game for criticism, and harsh criticism whenever necessary; only not the Pope, who does pretty much the same that the others do, but with infinitely more scandal as his every word is far more widely read and listened to.
Furthermore, it is not to be seen why criticism of the Pope would damage the Papacy, but criticism of the Successors of the Apostles or of Princes of the Church would not damage the Church. The Pope isn't a demigod on earth. In fact, the actual occupier of the office insists in seeing himself as a Bishop, and calling himself that way.
Either the Church is damaged by criticism to his prelates even when they are justified, or she isn't. Either it is allowed to criticise the Pope, or it is not allowed to criticise the bishops. Compulsory blindness when the line to the Pope has been crossed has never been the Church's way. Ask St Paul. Or St Peter, come to that. I wonder how many, today, would say to Paul that he can criticise everyone and everything, but he must stop in front of Peter.
It does not make any sense to compare traditionalist Catholics to Luther. The proof of the pudding is, as always, in the… Truth.
Traditionalist Catholics would stand the test of every generation of Catholics of the past. Luther wouldn't, and neither would Francis. You measure a Catholic according to his loyalty to Christ's Truth, not to his blind refusal to criticise the Pope.
Nor can it be said that the Pope is misread, the Cardinals aren't. Kasper is wrong, but Francis who supports him isn't. Homos within the Chutch are wrong, but Francis who shamelessly and publicly defends Ricca isn't. Liturgical wreckovators are wrong, but Bergoglio committing liturgical abuses – yes, it's a liturgical abuse even if one is Pope – isn't. I could go on.
It also does not make any sense to accuse friends of the SSPX to have “left the church”. They haven't, unless one is deranged enough to think that 2,000 years of Catholicism have left the Church. Again, adherence to Truth is what counts. Admirably, the SSPX practices this adherence to Truth in everything, including their obedience to the Pope whenever possible. But like every Catholic generation of the past, they do not let their obedience become blind Papolatry. Ask John XXII, or Pope Liberius, or Pope Honorius, whether this was the thinking of Catholics of the past.
Finally, it is very disappointing that someone who has been criticised in a very charitable way should accuse his opponents of outright malice.
Firstly, it is not clear why the same accusation could not be made to the same person when he criticises, say, Cardinal Dolan. Secondly, it has no basis in logic.
I do not accuse anyone of, say, not criticising the Pope because, say, his sponsors and donors – like, say, the Opus Dei - would stop giving money to him. I understand the thinking could simply be aligned. Similia similibus solvuntur. But I am rather grated when one who takes contributions to defend a certain line – contributions out of which his own livelihood is paid – accuses of ulterior motives many bloggers – and getting more numerous – who criticise the Pope out of sincere love for Christ and His Church; after working hours and sacrificing their own free time; and without any hope of monetary reward for their effort. Gratis et amore Dei.
It is astonishing, and utterly devoid of any logic, that one who is criticised for telling the Truth about anyone but the Pope should move the same accusations to those who do the same as he does, but with more coherence, and following 2,000 years of Church history from St Paul down.
I go as far to say that when such a malicious criticism is levelled, a breach of trust has occurred.
Avoid Michael Voris' channel.
At times I read posts in blogs written by priests that are so good I am very tempted to report them here, and add some words of personal encouragement; but then I refrain from it, because I am afraid that this might, in time, attract the ire of their bishop once some parishioner of them (or not parishioner of them) complains said priest is lauded in “ultra-conservative Catholic blogs” of the (bbbrrr…) “SSPX type”.
I make an exception this time for two reasons: the good priest in question keeps keeping me in his blog column (thus showing a remarkable, rather astonishing candor); and his blog is – from what I can see from the referrals to mine – growing so fast that if the good man has problems with the bishop it will certainly not be because of me, but because of the bigger and bigger audience his blog attracts.
Allow me, then, to show you what a blogger priest can write when he is really, really good. Emphases in red mine.
A Liberal is one who seeks to change Church teaching or pastoral practice in order to accommodate the changing values of the world, such as artificial contraception, cohabitation and homosexual pairings. In reality they exchange the teaching of Christ for the theories of Rogers, Freud, Marx etc. Such a person has fallen into moral heresy, abandoning Gospel morality as taught for 2000 years under the guidance the Holy Spirit.A Conservative is one who is loyal to Rome no matter what. Be they laity or prelates, they are blind ultramontanes; those who change their teaching and pastoral practice because Rome has said so –and without asking whether Rome was entitled to make the change. This form of ultramontanism is most dangerous because it appears loyal, but it is erroneous in that it is loyal only to the Pope of the day and not to the whole history of papal and Conciliar teaching.
A Traditionalist is one who is loyal to the Pope of the day as long as that Pope’s teaching is consistent with that of previous Popes and Councils. There can never be a ‘good Pope’ who changes doctrine or allows doctrine to be sidestepped for pastoral concerns, since doctrinal change is renunciation of previous teaching and a pastoral sidestep creates a lex vivendi which gives impetus to a change in the lex credendi. A Pope who changes doctrine or sidesteps it in practice cannot be a safe, good or loyal Pope, because his task is simply to defend and promote the Deposit of Faith. He may develop it in application to new situations, but he cannot distort it or discard it in order to accommodate new situations.
Another statement is absolutely brilliant, and what we very seldom hear from priests:
Doctrinal change and/or pastoral sidestepping are what liberals expect of Pope Francis, and at the end of the day I cannot see him obliging them. Certainly some of his off-the-cuff remarks have given a hope to liberals and in that sense they are to be regretted, but unless he has the arrogance of assuming that for two thousand years the Church has been wrong; that he alone has correctly perceived the mind and will of God who is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb.13:8) and in whom “there is no change, nor shadow of alteration” (Jas.1:17), Francis simply cannot oblige liberal desires.
There’s a lot here. I’ll leave this without comment. It’s just too beautiful.
May God richly bless this brave priest, and give him the richest reward when his time comes.
Yes. It’s as bad as this.
In happier and more hopeful times, when the horror of Bergoglism had not shown itself to the world with all the arrogance of humility, yours truly and many others had a reasonable hope that the new Pontiff would have been reasonably conservative. Yes, it was clear it had a penchant for very public shows of humility, and it was evident the rhetoric of poverty would have been in his menu du jour pretty much every day. But we thought it would have been not much worse in the end than a Ratzinger with the addition of a bus ticket and a wheelchair. The Pinocchio Mass was clearly worrying stuff, but one hoped (for the record: I don’t anymore) that once become Pope the man would understand the implications of his new role.
This short introduction will help you to understand my comments to one of Francis’ off-the-cuff homilies. In it, Francis tell us what kind of Pope he plans to be.
Do not believe me for that. Let Francis himself talk. The emphases are from the original translation.
“How’s our faith? Is it strong? Or is it sometimes a bit superficial? (all’acqua di rose – “like rose water”, meaning banal, an insufficient substitute, shallow, inadequate)” When difficulties come, “are we courageous like Peter or a little lukewarm?” Peter – he pointed out– didn’t stay silent about the Faith, he din’t descend to compromises, because “the Faith isn’t negotiable.” “There has been, throughout history of the people, this temptation: to chop a piece off the Faith”, the temptation to be a bit “like everyone else does”, the temptation “not to be so very rigid”. “But when we start to cut down the Faith, to negotiate Faith, a little like selling it to the highest bidder”, he stressed, “we take the path of apostasy, of disloyalty to the Lord.”
If you click the link and go on my comment of that time, you will see a clear description of what Francis’ words meant, and some reflections on the various ways in which it would be possible to him to use the principles he had just enunciated. Faithful, hopeful stuff.
In those early days, there was no need to let the words of the Pontiff go under the microscope to see whether he really meant what he had just said. Particularly on this occasion, I do not remember any uncertainty from anyone anywhere.Strangely enough, when a Pope expresses himself in a clear and orthodox way, no contortionism is necessary.
Again, the points clearly were:
1. The faith isn’t negotiable.
2. This means it must be told whole.
3. There will always be the temptation to accommodate and choose comfort and popularity, but
4. we must choose to be rigid and, consequently, hated,
5. because otherwise apostasy can’t be far away.
Fast forward to pretty much six months later, and I notice Francis has, in all this time, done exactly the contrary of all that he preached.
1. He has clearly indicated the faith is not only negotiable, but optional. Do we have to convert? No! No! No! Proselytism is nonsense, & Co.
2. He always “forgets” to mention anything Catholic when he talks about Catholicism. he states that Jesus “saved us”, but then he forgets to “explain” it isn’t so. Atheist can follow their conscience, he says to them, but then he forgets to tell them this is not the case, & Co.
3. As to the “temptation to accommodate and choose comfort and popularity”, it is fair to say Francis is the walking, talking, child-kissing, wheelchair-embracing, Renault 4-driving incarnation of his own words. He has, in fact, brought the very concept to a new high (or, well, low). The pieces of the faith he has chopped away are, well, pretty much all of them.
4. Rigidity has been explicitly rejected by him. Rigidity is, by default, narrow-minded. We must not “obsess” about abortion and sexual morals, for example. Besides, we must not make ourselves hated, because it alienates people. It would, in fact, be a catastrophe for us if we did.
5.The very concept of “apostasy” has become very blurred in one to whom not even atheism is a problem, and who does not feel any need to actively exert himself to change one’s atheism. I remember him comparing those who count rosaries to heretics, though. Perhaps he meant that.
One wonders: has Pope Francis changed his mind about his reign after this little sermon, or was he a Jesuit from day one and was simply talking like one, saying to the audience of the day what would make him popular with that particular audience? How is it that when he talks with atheists he sounds like one, and when he talks with clergymen he sounds (almost, and in parts) like one?
Francis is always on all sides at the same time, so no one can say he is not “pastoral” to them. This is called “running with the hare and hunting with the hounds”, and Jesuits take it with their mother’s milk. Not quite like Peter, I dare say.
Other bloggers will certainly disagree, but I have seen in him no trace, none whatsoever, of all the beautiful virtues Francis says both we and he must have. On the contrary, I have seen in him an attitude that is not only “all’acqua di rose”, but so publicly and shamelessly yielding to the “temptation to accommodate and choose comfort and popularity” that not even blatant heresy is an obstacle to his boundless desire for approbation, and it becomes more and more difficult to attribute even a modicum of good faith to his actions. His much-vaunted humbleness looks like a monstrous self-centredness to me, one that has put him straight on the way to damnation. As I write, a numerous and ever crescent number of blogs of all types openly cry “heresy”, or at least “shame”.
They know why. They can read. Words have a meaning.
“Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is Good” sounds rather different from “Peter didn’t stay silent about the Faith, he didn’t descend to compromises, because “the Faith isn’t negotiable”, doesn’t it now?
No, no verbal yoga exercises now, please. I prefer the beauty and clarity of the English language.
This is where we are. But hey, this is what happens if you elect a Jesuit as Pope.
Traditional Catholicism has always been very logical.
If God is the source of all that is good, it unavoidably follows that people are good in proportion of God's love for them. If God loves them more, they will have more of that most evident manifestation of godliness that is goodness.
Therefore, the saintliest men and women are such certainly through their own effort; but they make the effort to such an heroic degree because they are loved most.
This utterly politically incorrect, Un-egalitarian Truth has been believed by countless generations of Catholics without any problem. Ultimately, Padre Pio is vastly better than I am, because God loves him vastly more than he loves me.
If one does not accept simple truths like this, rebellion can't be far away, because then there would be something fishy or arbitrary in the way God selects his great saints, and one would feel treated “unjustly” at not being so loved by God as Padre Pio was; though how many would really want to have his lifelong suffering and tribulations is, I dare to think, a different matter.
God loves me, then, vastly less than Padre Pio. He clearly loves me – and all of us – with a love no human mind is able to imagine; but still, with a love vastly less strong than the one he has for Padre Pio; a love that was – had to be, if we are coherent – there before Padre Pio was born in the first place.
Once upon a time, things were very linear, very simple, and utterly logical. If saintliness is a gift from God coming from His love for us, my duty as a Catholic is to try my best to be as good as I can; so that the growth in holiness, once achieved, may be in itself the proof of God's love for me. Those whom he predestined, he also called, and justified, and glorified.
God first predestines some; and then, to the predestined, he gives ways to, so to speak, learn the trade of saintliness and become proficient in it. This, because he loves them more. If, therefore, one manages to become a saintly man this is in itself, so to speak, the proof of the pudding. If he weren't loved more, he wouldn't be saintly. His efforts at being saintly have been inspired in the first place, and subsequently crowned with success, because he was loved more.
Makes sense, right?
Well, apparently, not entirely. Or not for all. Or, at least, not for some.
The Bishop of Rome – the oh-so-modestly-driving, Mozzetta-shunning, feet-of-infidels-washing, friend-of-newsagents Francis – seems to either think differently or, more probably, seem to want you to think differently.
No,” he said, “you are not excluded! Precisely for that reason you are preferred, because Jesus prefers the sinner, always, in order to pardon him, to love him. Jesus is waiting for you, to embrace you, to pardon you.”
The idea here is not that the sinner must never feel excluded – of course he must not; what are we, darn Calvinists? – ; the message is that the sinner is, in some strange way not explained to us, preferred and loved more. Preferred, mind, not “even if a sinner”, but preferred as sinner, or better said preferred because a sinner.
One wonders. Extremely saintly people like Padre Pio – one who, even as a child, talked to angels like I talked to my grandmother – must obviously be loved so much less, and not preferred at all; because heavens, if one is so boringly good, what great desire will God have to wait for him, embrace him, and pardon him? Compare the great saint, if you please, with the drug addict, the alcoholic, the sodomite, or the child rapist. How much must God love them! Ah, if I were at least a coprophagous man (for you Greek majors: a shit-eater), I could certainly claim to be preferred to Padre Pio! (though, sadly, certainly not to all the pedophiles and sodomites out there)…
Let us leave the jocose world of the paradoxes aside, and let us examine the brutal truth of today's Catholicism. What we see – in Bishop Francis as in many others – is the unspoken desire to let people feel good, full stop. As we are all sinful, to let people feel good unavoidably becomes to let people feel good in their sinfulness. This goes, with an attitude than I can only call Jesuitical, so far as to imply that great sinners are, in some way, special: more loved, and preferred.
That this puts the very concept of morality upside down escapes Francis, because Francis isn't fine or smart enough for Beethoven, much less Aquinas. What counts for Francis is, though, not to be smart or even logical – almost no one is nowadays, so who cares – but to be popular, hip, modern, daring, and oh so refreshing.
This aim he has obviously achieved. Read his words again, put them in the luv and joy context of V II, and you will immediately realise what he has in mind is the awakening of the emotional, cosy feelings so typical of our times.
“Gosh, I must be loved so much!” , thinks the crack addict as he steers the next high…
As I write these politically incorrect words, I can almost hear the high-pitched whining of the bitches of political correctness of both sexes and none. They will certainly call me monstrous, because I lack the feeling and compassion for said drug addicts, & Co.
What they neglect to think, though, is that logic and Christian morals are nothing to do with… feelings; on the contrary, there is no religion on the planet as divinely logical as the True One. Wrong is wrong. Feelings about it are neither here nor there.
As for compassion, I declare that the emotional sissies – of both sexes, and none – do contribute to create the very problems they claim to be so compassionate about; if not with positive help and approval, at least with the implied acceptance and the complicit silence that make them accessory in the others' sin; whilst, no doubt, feeling awfully good with themselves, and undeniably saintly.
Bishop Francis belongs to this category of people and is, in fact, their undisputed torchbearer. Whenever he opens his, alas, Jesuit's mouth, you know something will be wrong somewhere, but he will sound good everywhere.
A Dolan without the gluttony. This is the … bishop of Rome we have. I am afraid a Francis with the gluttony might even be his successor.
Pray for Francis with all your heart. If not for love of him – not easy, I am sure – at least for love of Christ and His Church, of his guardian angel, and of his immortal soul.
Impressive experience yesterday, at a Novus Ordo church I will not mention.
The start was very bad, as for the first time since attending in England I had to endure a guitar, which made the usually atrocious hymns even more atrocious.
I prepare myself for a horrible experience when the priest appears. Like more and more priests in these part, the man is African, though his strong accent does not make the understanding difficult. Father is young, big and tall, and his assertive, masculine tone immediately makes clear this is not your Father Pansy.
Where things really become surprising was by the homily. Never, outside of the Brompton Oratory, had I heard the like. Taking inspiration from the the gospel reading, Father invites with thundering voice to defy, and in case quarrel, even with our closest family members in defending Christianity's values.
He spoke with a very loud, thundering voice, and if he ever was a timid child, this was a long time ago. He spoke, if you allow me the arrogance, like one who reads this blog every day, albeit it would be more appropriate to say “like one who cares for Catholicism”. It was clear, though unsaid, that the impact with the British society must have been rather traumatic.
It was like a black Don Camillo thundering from the pulpit, and I kept wondering how this could be reconciled with the guitar, and the atrocious hymns. Perhaps he is new and must wait some time before he strikes, I thought; or perhaps he, being African, doesn't really understand our beautiful musical tradition and follows the “colourful” musical arrangements of that Continent. At the time of distributing communion a third hypothesis could be made, as a far older white priest came out to help with the distribution (in cassock! The man was wearing a cassock!) and I thought the older priest might be in charge, and be the more accommodating type.
I had been in that church before, and the two priests I temember were different ones: the one was rather good but still too V II, and the other very probably a homo. The new team was certainly different, but again it was the Black Don Camillo who was highly impressive.
“These are the people who inspire vocations”, I could not help thinking. His passion, energy and candor, but also the assured manliness of his behaviour, must send to every boy the message that priesthood is fitting for real men, and if you aren't one you have no business in even thinking of becoming a priest. Noticeably, there were no altar girls, either.
If it had not been for the damn guitar and the blasted hymns, I would have thought shameless Catholic reaction is here openly at work. Perhaps, though, the matter is much simpler: there is great need for priests, and these priests come largely from Africa; and boy, they do Catholicism.
My impression is that a young priest who has risked the stick in his own country is not really afraid of the bishop, or of the old petty women in the parish council, when he moves to England. His vocation has been already tested far more than most of our bishops will ever dream of. To him, “sensitivity” squabbles must seem as stupid as… they actually are.
This is not the first time I notice when the NO parish priest is a young African the chances he's good are very high, and when he is a sixty-something English smiling champion they are very low. Give this country another fifteen or twenty years, and priests like this Black Don Camillo will become very common. I'd love to see what the bishop can do, then, to keep them silent, and that might also be the time when vocations start to increase in earnest.
Salvation for this country, now tragically sinking in an ocean of stupidity, political correctness and compulsive niceness, may well come from Africa.
In time, they'll get it right with the music, too.
After an observation or two in the comment box, it is perhaps fitting to say one or two words about this little effort, so that any uncertainty that there might have been in less attentive – or less assiduous – readers is definitively dispelled.
1. Read the statement from Robert De Piante on the right hand column of this blog:
What Catholics once were, we are. If we are wrong, then Catholics through the ages have been wrong.
We are what you once were. We believe what you once believed.
We worship as you once worshipped. If we are wrong now, you were wrong then. If you were right then, we are right now.
This is probably the most famous statement expressing in just a few words the essence of traditional Catholicism. It is there for a reason. I do not exclusively employ the term “traditionalist” because I think that “conservative” Catholic also perfectly fits the bill, though in a wider sense. Since this blog’s inception almost three years ago, pretty much all of my posts have been tagged “traditional Catholicism”. If some post isn’t, it’s because I forgot. My blog “line” (the one you also read on every search engine) is also very telling: tradidi quod et accepi, another famous traditionalist “punchline” commonly associated with the SSPX.
2. My blog posts in support of the SSPX are very many, though they are certainly not enough in number or worthy enough in their quality. I do not think I have ever been ambiguous in my approval of their work both in the present time and at the time of the disobedience/refusal to close down the seminary in Econe/appointment of the four bishops. Where I stood in the matter of the preambolo dottrinale is also very clear to everyone who reads my blog with a minimum of regularity and attention, and I dare to say I have made myself clear in as open a way as I could without thinking I was failing to show the proper respect to the office – and in the case of Pope Benedict, the person – of the Pontiff.
3. I attend very often Novus Ordo Masses, and will continue to do so. This I do because I fear the effect that an entrenchment on the Traditional Mass would have on me, given my uncompromising nature and the resulting tendency to incendiary emotions and hardline militancy; emotions and militancy that can be very dangerous, and might well lead me astray unless I recognise the problem and act accordingly to counter them and soften my approach. Therefore, as long as I have no doubt that the Novus Ordo Masses I attend to are sacramentally valid, I plan to continue to do so for as long as I see the danger of slowly slipping into Sedevacantism if I don’t. I also see it as a form of penance, when I reflect that our sins (mine, and yours; not only the clergy’s) are also a cause of the present mess.
Through the participation to a second-rate – but by all means not invalid – Mass, I figure I show the Lord my loyalty to the Church even when it hurts, and at the same time keep my inner religious arsonist in check. But this does not mean I think you should do the same. The Novus Ordo is vastly inferior to the Traditional Mass (I do love to call it “Tridentine”, by the way), and if you can and want to attend it every time, more power to you. For the same reason (obedience to the Pope in as much as I can without conflicting with 2000 years of Catholicism) I go to confession to Novus Ordo priests, as I have up to now never met a priest in the confessional who was such a clown as to make me think, after due reflection, the absolution was not valid. I think most of my readers do the same. Or you can say this: as long as I think a Novus Ordo priest can provide me with a valid absolution, I personally see no reason to confess to an SSPX priest. But if had valid, constant reason to fear then I would happily recur to the services of the SSPX priest. But again, personal fears play a role in my decision: the day I decide a NO priest isn’t good enough, how far am I from Sedevacantism? You may not have the problem. I do. Novus Ordo confessor is it, then.
Still, either the SSPX have supplied jurisdiction, or they haven’t. As I am persuaded they have, after long reflection and opportune readings I have reached the conclusion that I can’t see how this should not be extended to confession. The SSPX priests also obviously think in the same way, and as I would trust my path to salvation much more eagerly to them than to the most conservative of the Cardinals, I can’t see anything wrong in that. In times in which the Popes are bad Catholics, a religious order can certainly be more Catholic than the Pope. Since March, I’d say this is not difficult at all even for a properly instructed layman. The Holy Ghost never promised the Pope would be a good Catholic, or would know the Ten Commandments, or wouldn’t be a murderer, a robber, a fornicator, an accommodating coward, or a pious nincompoop. Read the contract attentively, it’s in the small print.
4. In consequence of all the above, I think it should be clear enough to any reasonable reader what this blog is about. I notice, though, here and there a certain tendency – again, perhaps the fruit of insufficient reflection – to approve of what I write without considering what this necessarily entails. If you think that the SSPX are in formal Schism, then you must think that they endanger souls. If you think so, already the reading of the quote mentioned above and of the blog line should be reason enough for you to strongly disapprove of this blog, whose support of the SSPX is as staunch as its author can express with words. To behave any differently means either to take one’s own salvation lightly, or to read this blog because of the titillation coming from the enjoyment of my somewhat robust prose (and many thanks for the compliment!), but without sufficient reflection as to the values this little effort constantly tries to defend.
I do not write this blog for the sake of a vast audience. I have never searched popularity or approval. Wretched sinner as I am, I write this in the first place in the hope the Blessed Virgin will one day look at my effort and find it certainly inadequate and unworthy, but not entirely useless.
I take my salvation extremely seriously. I spend a lot of time thinking of it, praying for it, hoping for it, fearing for it. I have found that the best course to follow is to be on the side of 2000 years of Catholicism; no ifs, no buts, and most certainly no Pinocchios. Faithful to the Church always. Obedient to the Pope as long as that faithfulness is not challenged. Whilst I am sure the day I die many horrible sins will reemerge to haunt my conscience, I am very confident my support for the SSPX will be on my assets, not my liabilities column. You who read these lines, do you think the same?
My dear reader, please reflect on the consequences of your reading this blog. Be wise and do not follow it merely for the sake of emotional satisfaction and enjoyment of my somewhat, ahem, Italian writing style. If the SSPX is wrong, then they are entirely wrong, as is this blog. If they are in schism, then not only 2000 years of Catholicism are in schism but both yours truly and you are, with my approval of them and your approval of me, being an accessory in this sin.
Of course, I do not think they are in schism, because I do not think 2,000 years of Catholicism can be declared “schismatic” without contradicting the very essence of what Catholicism is. I think the safest way is to live and die on the side of these 2,000 years, rather than following the madness of a new way of thinking that came to power during the Kennedy/ Khrushchev era. If logic and common sense were not enough to persuade me of this, the immense devastation of the last 50 years would.
Stuff Pinocchio. I for myself will take my refuge, and put my hope, in the Church transmitted to my grandmothers and to countless generations of devout Catholics before them; then if we are wrong now, they were wrong then. If they were right then, we are right now.