My post of yesterday about the “Dawkins’ delusion” has (alas) attracted some comments – most of them kind, a couple of them rather less kind – from agnostics and/or atheists.
Those of you who are acquainted with my moderation policy know that I do not allow my blog to be used as a platform for anti-Catholic activity of whatever kind. Still, if there are interesting comments which I think might help my Catholic reader to better understand the Catholic (or Christian) argument, I do not see why I should not go into the matter.
One of the arguments brought against the Christian argument – nay, Truth – for the existence of God is that:
1) Jesus probably never existed as a historical figure, and
2) If he did, his claims were in part founded on wisdom, and in part on delusion.
I will deal today with these claims. In time ( I want to write my blog, rather than being driven by others about what to write ), I will deal with other arguments I have read. Once again, this is a Catholic blog and not a place for debate, for which I ask those so inclined to look elsewhere. I am not the BBC, my time is limited, and my aim is to defend Catholicism, not to give a platform to its enemies or waste my life trying to explain Truth to those deaf to it (I’ll deal with that, one day, too).
This post, and the others to follow, are not meant for debate. They are only a starting point, an invitation to the sincere seeker to expand and deepen the Truth. Frankly, life’s too short for endless bickering. If anyone wants endless bickering, he is in the wrong place.
To the point.
The belief in Jesus did not spread in some region utterly separated – both in time and place – from the scene of His working on Earth. It may be easy to believe in extraterrestrials having landed in some strange mountain two thousand years ago; much more difficult it is to believe in extraterrestrials landing in Trafalgar Square yesterday afternoon. This new “cult” of the Christians began to spread immediately after Jesus’ death, among the very people who had seen him preaching, walking, eating, drinking, joking, healing. It stands to reason it is simply inconceivable the belief in one person who did not really exist could have spread among people – a rather small community, compared with today’s demographic situation – accustomed to know each other. To this, we must add the Jewish penchant – which we might call obsession – for genealogy, with a sort of “public record” (not written of course; but transmitted orally, like a vast part of the knowledge of the time, sacred as well as profane) of the ascendants of everyone. It would have been utterly impossible not only to deceive the local population into the belief about the existence of someone who did not, in reality, exist; but it would have been similarly impossible to deceive the locals among his descending from exactly those and those ancestors. A small community, obsessively attentive to these facts, would have taken away every credibility from whomever would have tried to “cheat” in this regard. It is a fallacy of modern societies to believe that such legends could be spread then, just because they could much more easily be spread now. In the society of the time, you just couldn’t create a legend of someone who was simply non-existent, and you couldn’t even create a false genealogy. Therefore, we can have no reasonable doubt Jesus was certainly born in Bethlehem, certainly from exactly those parents (one putative, as we know today); certainly moved to Egypt (as one couldn’t have created the “legend” of a year-long disappearance without losing face in front of all the locals, who would remember and say so); certainly grown up in Nazareth, & Co, & Co. The small discrepancies in the Gospels (normal in the oral transmission of wisdom) do not negate the validity of the general construct (which is why oral transmission worked so well for thousands of years).
In the same vein, in those relatively tightly knitted communities it would have been simply impossible to believe in Jesus just “by hearsay”. If there is a man going around and making extraordinary things – like, say, feeding the Five Thousand – these five thousand would allow to have first hand information about what had happened to a non indifferent part of the entire local population. It was not like London, were riots can put entire neighbourhood to war zones and I can only know it from the TV. A huge number of Jews had Jesus not further than a one or two days journey, knew people who knew him or knew him personally, could listen to him regularly in the synagogue, or preaching outside, or just see him strolling around, or eating or drinking, or at social ceremonies (marriages, for example, were big social gatherings). Reading the Gospels, it is plain to see how easy it was to get in contact with Jesus for those who wanted.
The XXI century man, thinking with the logic of the XXI century, asks “where the historical evidence is” (it is there, of course; it is even in Jewish sources, though you’ll have to make your own reasearch about that; but it is, certainly, sporadic). The wise man knows that without historical truth of the underlying facts (not only the physical existence of Jesus and His genealogy, but the facts and events linked to His work on this earth) Christianity would not have gone past the first house court and women’s gossip.
The contemporaries of Jesus knew this very well.The Jewish priests knew it very well, as they never tried to deny Jesus’ existence, not even in own writings or propaganda pamphlets which would then, no doubt, have come to us for self-evident reasons. The common populace knew it very well, as otherwise Christianity could never have spread in the very places where Jesus was told to have walked and talked and healed. And all the others knew it very well, as Christianity initially spread – even before the advent of the Gospels – outside of Judea and Galilee thank to the “authenticity check system” of the time: the transmission from trustworthy eye witnesses to others able to carry on the message with the same authority.
Obviously, legends can also spread very far (the poems of Homer are a wonderful example). But the difference is, that never did the Greek believe in the Truth of the legend they went around transmitting. They didn’t, because they knew there wasn’t any.
Nowadays, too many people make the mistake of believing that if someone wasn’t documented in writing it hasn’t existed, simply because written record is the way we transmit information. This thinking would have seemed most extraordinary, if not brainless, to the contemporaries of Jesus.
The next post will deal with the second part.
I will, of course, not write a book for the sceptical.
For those among the agnostics who may be interested, I suggest Fulton Sheen’s Life of Christ, now available even for Kindle. A true masterpiece of Catholic apologetics in an easy to understand, easy to remember style.
The Internet is ablaze with the last feat of the first Affirmative Action President of the history of the United States.
A man who grew up in a liberal and secular environment firstly, and in a Muslim household – and attending a school for Muslism – later, thinks he can teach us what Jesus would do in matter of taxes. You can read here and in many other places the angry reaction to this pathetic attempt to masquerade Socialism as Christianity, something he might get away with purely because most of his supporters seem not to have more knowledge of Christianity than he does.
His attempt at trying to persuade the Christian electorate of his Christian credentials – or, more probably, his decision to fully embrace the tax and spend gospel irrespective of the consequences and make of this campaign a war of the envious against the hard working – is made even more ridiculous by the other attempt, running in parallel, to force Catholic institutions to pay for contraception and abortion through compulsory medical insurance contributions.
On the always excellent blog domine, da mihi hanc aquam the Adolf Hussein Obama mentality is thus eloquently exposed:
B.O.’s spurious claim that his Big Government grasp at power is somehow akin to “what Jesus would do” is truly beyond ridicule. Does he think that Jesus would also expect us to surgically and chemically render women infertile? Or use scissors and vacuum pumps to remove unborn children from their mother’s womb? Where in scripture does Jesus order his followers to surrender their charitable responsibilities to Caesar’s bureaucrats and tax collectors?
Jesus expects his followers to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and heal the sick (Matt 25). And that is exactly what billions of Catholic dollars and thousands of Catholics do in this country every year through Catholic Charities, Catholic hospitals and hospices, and hundreds of other service organizations operated by the Church. Why is this a problem for statists? Competition. The Church provides free health care to millions but it also operates without the preferred ideological/sexual agenda of the secular Left. With the Church out of the way, those millions join millions more as dependent wards of the state, their liberty as citizens defined and regulated by their Enlightened Betters.
I am not really worried about these pathetic attempts of the President to give himself a varnish of Christianity. Those who care for Christ know he is talking bollocks, and those who don’t or are Christians by hearsay are not going to be shifted on his side by his saying he is the New Messiah (a tendency, by the way, he always had).
Still, I think it fitting to put to my reader’s attention the level of fraud this President is able to perpetrate. This man redefines the concept of “shameless”.
My impression is that he was trained to this since the tenderest age.
I truly hope the choice, come November, will not be between this strange circus article and a flip-flopping Mormon. It might come to this if, as I see it, prudery wins over solid conservative thinking.
If you ask me, it would be a shame.
Another excellent blog post from the “man with no uncertain trumpet”, Monsignor Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington.
This time, Monsignor Pope’s attention is focused on the image of Jesus that was smuggled around in the Seventies, and that still influences the Sixty-Eighters and other pot-smokers today. In those years – and whilst I was a child, I got my share of those years – Jesus was generally portrayed as a kind of a whimp, a girly boy unable to exert or project any form of manliness, a mixture of hare “krishna” follower and Gandhi with, later, the addition of a dollop of Nelson Mandela. Victimised, but as meek as a sheep; bullied, but always answering with a smile, and unable to threat or harm, this is the Jesus we had brought to us as an example. “Peeaace” and “luuuuv” were everywhere, and not a whip in sight.
Well, one only needs to read the Gospel to get a completely different picture of Jesus; a man who never said things half, and never minced words; a man able to openly defy his opponents in public, in times when conflicts were carried out rather less nicely than today, and “being hurt” had a different meaning than today; a man whose followers went around armed with swords, certainly not for aesthetic reasons; a man able to free himself from the grasp of multitudes desirous to apprehend him, which can’t have been accomplished without a towering presence and an extremely commanding, charismatic, utterly manly attitude; a man able, alone, to throw away from the temple an undefined, but certainly not little number of moneychangers out of the sheer fury of his action, and the might of his whip. On this occasion, the contrast between the calm preparation of the whip and the explosion of irresistible physical power gives a wonderful example of the manliness of Jesus’ behaviour.
No, this was no pink-shirted, manicured, anti-wrinkle-lotioned, tubular-jeans-wearing metrosexual; this was a real man, oozing masculinity in everything he did. Try to imagine the scene of St. Matthew’s conversion and tell me whether it is compatible with anything else than the most commanding authority. Then try to imagine how Gandhi or Deepak Chopra would have tried to achieve the same result, and you’ll know the difference.
You see this everywhere in the Gospels, as the words and gestures of Jesus are always accompanied by an undercurrent of sheer authority, a commanding stance, the attitude of one who knows that he will be obeyed everytime he wants. Even scourged almost to death, Jesus talks to Pilate from a position of utter power, and leaves him in no doubt as to who is boss. Make no mistake, this is no Gandhi.
Thankfully, the gently whispering Jesus of my younger years is now slowly being substituted for an image more attuned to the Gospel image, largely – I think – because of the excellent “passion of the Christ” and James Caviezel’s very manly rendition of the Lord. It will take time, though, before the Birkenstock-sandalled, tofu-eating, Cosmo-reading and Oprah-watching Jesus is replaced by, well….. Jesus.
There is an excellent blog post about male priesthood from Jennifer Fulwiler on the National Catholic Register. The blog post is the more interesting, because the now-converted (Deo gratias…) author remembers her reasoning about the male priesthood when an atheist and – as she herself admits – a feminist.
Mrs. Fulwiler brilliantly puts it as follows (emphases always mine):
At the time I had recently become a mother, and there’s nothing like pregnancy and childbirth to hit home the fact that men and women are really, really different. Even outside of the Catholic perspective, there’s no denying that whoever created us—whether you call it God or Nature or Allah or whatever—created men and women with complementary yet entirely separate capabilities. Women can carry new human life within their wombs, men can’t. Women can breastfeed, men can’t. Men are generally stronger; the strongest man in the world is always going to be the stronger than the strongest woman in the world. The list of the innate differences between the genders goes on and on. Assuming that the entire human race was not born into an inherently unfair situation, it would seem that our Creator does not believe that you need to be able to do all the same stuff in order to be equal.
This injection of common sense would do a lot of good to a lot of feminist – be they atheist, or wannabe Christian – out there. But such an injection would require them to sacrifice some holy cows, which is why they choose to remain impervious to logic, and allergic to truth. One of these cows is described by the blog post author as follows:
[...] I had begun to question this pervasive modern idea that what you do is your value. [...]. One of the results of this idea is that we, as a society, decided that if women are not invited to do every single thing that men are invited to do, the only possible explanation could be that they are valued less — and being barred from doing certain activities means that their options for reaching complete fulfillment as human beings are limited. The more I considered it, the more this worldview struck me as sadly utilitarian. I started to think that it’s possible to believe that men don’t make good lactation consultants, women don’t make good guerrilla warfare combatants, etc. without it being a commentary about the inherent worth of one gender over another.
I generally explain this concept with my persuasion that feminists want to be men, and therefore feel as a deminutio every instance in which it becomes clear to them – or, alternatively, to the thinking part of the human race – that they cannot. Strangely, you never hear feminists fighting for the abolition of one of the last, blatant bastion of sexual discrimination: the separation of men and women in sport competitions. No need for equality there. Differences must be taken into account. There are structural specificities that would be impossible to ignore.
The next injection of common sense comes regarding the male priesthood itself:
When God took on human flesh, he did so as a man. He could have come down as a woman, as a brother and sister team, or as a genderless being. But he didn’t. If you want to reject Christianity as untrue, that’s one thing; but if you accept Jesus Christ as God incarnate, it seems like you must also accept that God sees the male gender as having a special role to play in the world.
Yes, brilliantly and amusingly true. Once again, the contradiction of accepting Jesus as God Incarnate and refusing what choices this God Incarnate made is clearly absurd. The fact that 100% of the Apostles were men (no female quota there, in a clear show of political incorrectness) actually closes the question.
The best part is for the end: the Blessed Virgin.
Once I discovered Catholicism, one of the many things that rang true about its teachings was the emphasis on Mary. It made perfect sense that God would give a woman a critical role in his plan, someone who could serve as an example of perfect feminine holiness—and it made sense that his true Church would understand and celebrate this fact.
I add to these beautiful words a fact that to me seems extremely relevant: that in the heavenly hierarchy (yes! There is a heavenly hierarchy!) the Blessed Virgin is above every saint, above every Apostle, even above Peter and Paul and St. John the Evangelist and St. John The Baptist; even above every Angel, every one of them! Only the Trinity is higher in glory than the Blessed Virgin!
So let me reassume the brilliant feminist theory: a bunch of chauvinistic traitors manage to utterly ruin the clearly feminist, emancipated message of Jesus; they isolate Mary Magdalen and succeed in cancelling from history every trace of her apostolate; they proceed to create a rigidly man-dominated system, clearly showing which one is the qualitatively better sex………then they proceed to put a woman in the highest place conceivable for a human being, and this in a society that had come to consider women as little more than reproduction instruments.
Explain this, angry feminists….
It is beautiful to see that, when one is ready to apply some elementary logic rather than senseless slogans, a lot of things start to appear very clear, and to make a lot of sense.
Even for an atheist.
You’d think that a soldier who has served (or even died for) his country would have the right of having words like “God” or “Jesus” in his funeral service.
But this doesn’t seem to be the case in the military cemetery in Houston, where you simply can’t say the words.
This is a very interesting development, mainly because it shows all the intolerance and stupidity of its proponents. It goes not only against the most elementary sense of religious liberty, but against liberty tout court.
As such, this exercise in intolerance and dictatorship must certainly come from…. liberals. It is as if they’d say “Jesus must stay outside”, as you’d do with dogs. Even worse than that, it is some cretin telling you what to tell and not to tell when you remember a beloved one. And this cannot be an incident or a misunderstanding as several organisations have reported the news. One would wonder what would be the practice with Allah & Co, but by this level of ideological blindness and pure hatred it would not be surprising to know that the same rules apply.
The Department of Veteran Affairs has already stated that it ““respects every veteran and their family’s right to burial service that honors their faith tradition.” It is therefore an easy prediction not only that this scandal will soon end, but that this might well cause a couple of liberal heads of the Department of Veteran Affairs – the cemetery director being a prime candidate - to silently roll on the green cemetery grounds. Still, this episode goes to show the extent of the intolerance of modern “liberals”, probably the most illiberal people remained on the planet after the North Koreans.
These people are a true menace for freedom and must be stopped until they ban us from pronouncing every word not pleasant to them.
The news about the extraordinary interview given from the Patriarch of Lisbon, Cardinal Policarpo, has already gone around the internet for a couple of days. The news was, I must admit, too incredible to dedicate to it a blog post until further news from a reliable source are available.
Now Rorate Caeli publishes an ample excerpt of his interview. I allow myself to mention here some of the more enlightening parts.
It was not by fortune that Jesus chose men to be apostles and gave women another kind of attention… [sic]
“Another kind of attention”. This is, I have to say, more than vaguely creepy. It sounds as if the Cardinal had given the interview after a good meal, with good wine and a glass of port, or three. Very unfortunate choice of words, for sure.
Once I was here in the Diocese and, when we had a discussion, there was a young women who asked the question: why can’t women be priests? And I decided to risk it. I said: you are right, but, in order that others study this matter, it is necessary to know if there are candidates…[sic]
Besides the extreme lack of intelligence of the argumentation – “would you want to do it?” is certainly not a logical argument; I mean, in Kindergarten perhaps, followed by “nananananananaaa”, but not between adults; and yes, the deluded candidates for such “jobs” are not missing, for sure – the Cardinal dares to answer to the feminists: “you are right”.
This is a man whose tongue is not properly under control, or not well-connected with his brains.
All kept their heads down.
Good Lord. That’s the argument! The women kept their heads down! Even if he had just said that ….. they were right! What a formidable debater we have here. A true Prince of the Church.
Once, in the context of an international meeting on the new evangelization, in Vienna, this question was posed, and I said that there is not, at this moment, any Pope who has the power to do that.
This calls for a tranquilliser. Let us repeat this verbatim: “There is not, at the moment, any Pope who…..”. Is the good Cardinal looking for a suitable one? Has he already advertised to fill the vacancy? “Pope sought. Power to ordain women is an absolute requirement. Send your CV to Card. Policarpo, Lisbon.” Or should there, in fact, be one, but he has missed the train and couldn’t make it to the ordination of priestesses? Or is the good Cardinal waiting for a new Pope from Mars, who will be able to do it? Questions, questions……
You gotta love that Port wine, though.
It goes on.
This would create tensions, and it will happen only when God wants it to happen and, if it is in His plans, it will happen
Ah, now we know it! Male priesthood is not a matter of infallible (in-fal-li-ble; I-N-F-A-L-L-I-B-L-E) Ordinary and universal Magisterium. It is something that God might simply change! God changes His mind pretty regularly, didn’t you know? Just as the Twelve Commandment became Ten and the Sixteen Apostles (at least two of them, very probably, women; we don’t know for certain) were reduced to Twelve we might, one day, have women priests! Simples! Be patient though, will you?
Yes, you know what I’m thinking….
It goes on.
The Holy Father John Paul II, at one point, seemed to settle the matter. I believe that the matter is not settled like this; theologically, there is no fundamental obstacle; there is this tradition, let us say it this way… [sic] it was never different. (Emphases mine)
(Your humble correspondent stops here, because he feels unable to keep composure and write about the matter in a way acceptable for polite ears).
(Well, Wimbledon is good to calm yourself down. Now, where was I….)
Note the words. Pope John Paul “seemed to settle the matter”, but then he apparently forgot to. Or Cardinal Policarpo was just not there. Or he just can’t read. Apparently, then, according to our hero “there is no theological obstacle”. It’s not a theological matter, you know. It’s just that, hey, it just happened to never be otherwise. As they say, “shit happens”! But you never know, one day the Vatican might find a letter from Heaven saying to do it differently! It has happened already, don’t ya know? It’s called the “Ordinary, Universal and Disposable Magisterium”. Yes, a bit like Kleenex. We love that thing here in Lisbon! We use it all the time! No, not the Kleenex…
At this point, I do not even think that Port wine can do this. Not the one I know, at least, unless Portuguese Cardinals have access to some very, very strong stuff.
It goes on….
The problem is on another level, in a strong tradition, which comes from Jesus, and in the ease with which the reformed churches went that way. This did not make the solution of the problem any easier, if this problem has a solution.
So, you know what the Cardinal thinks it has happened? Jesus has created a problem! Instead of doing Cardinal Policarpo the favour of having a couple of token women as every serious, “equality sensitive” multinational would do, he just goes on stubbornly appointing an all-male, chauvinistic team; one where women can’t even find a place as reserves to be inserted in the last fifteen minutes, when you’re winning 3-0 and are playing 11 against 10. Oh well, it is what it is, we’ll have to live with the problem now…. And look, Jesus, we look even worse now, because the Protestant teams ( I’ll call them “churches”, of course; “reformed churches”. I know it sounds heretical, but hey, we can’t say “there’s only one Church”, right?) have inserted women in their teams with such… ease! Good Satan, this is embarrassing! What do we say to the customers now! This is going to give us a serious marketing problem! We need to change the product, Jesus; we truly do!
And now, dear readers, is the time for some serious, sad reflection.
The hypothesis that the Cardinal might have drunk too much, and might have lost control during the interview, is in my eyes not entirely unfounded. If you read the interview, he loses his thread several times, once at the very beginning; he sounds confused and creepy; he seems not to reflect on the huge heresies he goes on spitting. In short, he looks like one surprised at a very bad time, and who didn’t have the presence of spirit to call it a headache and leave the thing for another day. It happens more often than you think, Ken Livingstone is just the last example.
This would be the charitable explanation. Let me stress this: the charitable one; the one which considers human frailties; the one which tries to discount the open heresy and to find an explanation for his inexplicable words, a halfway understandable excuse for his inexcusable blabber.
On the other hand – and sad as it is to have to say so – Rorate Caeli informs us that this is the same man who has overseen the Portuguese church in a time of legalisation of abortion on demand and of same sex marriages without opposing more than some obligatory meowing; the one who has presided over a collapse of church attendance but is still the owner of the very telling privilege of presiding over the only capital in Europe still without a Tridentine Mass.
A coincidence is a coincidence, but….. you know the rest…
Once again, this shows that the Liturgy is so closely intertwined with the theology, that you can’t separate the two. Where you have bad liturgy, this will create bad theology. Where you have stubborn opposition to Catholic liturgical orthodoxy, you will have the ideal ground for the spreading of heresy.
The Liturgy is the Church. When you use violence to the Liturgy, you use violence to the Church. The rest follows automatically.
I truly hope that in the next days the Cardinal will offer to the press a strong refutation of his words. But as this has not yet been the case, I can’t imagine that there is a realistic chance for this and that we must face the reality of an openly heretical Cardinal. Nothing new under the sun of course, but sad nevertheless.
Therefore, unless this man was “tired and emotional” at the moment of giving the interview, the only possible conclusion is that the Patriarch of Lisbon is openly heretical, and has the gut to clearly and openly defy the Pope’s and the Church’s authority in matters clearly pertaining to the Ordinary and universal Magisterium.
When such a challenge to the Church’s teaching authority is moved, and from such an elevated position, it is the duty of the Pope to correct, admonish and if necessary punish the person responsible.
If the Pope lets this provocation pass without correction, his authority and prestige will be irrevocably damaged and after the Patriarch of Lisbon, other heretical senior churchmen will come out of the wood and start expressing their more or less veiled approval for heretical theories. This must be stopped now, as it has already gone far enough.
The days of the Popes who limit themselves to administer some nice words of guidance and counselling should have ended long ago. As Romano Amerio beautifully pointed out, the role of the Pope has traditionally been one of both direction and prescription. If the Holy Father only focuses on the first aspect and neglects the second, heresy, anarchy and schism will be the result. It will be Pope Paul VI all over again!
The Cardinal needs our prayer. But just as surely, he needs to be kicked out, sharpish. There can be no excuse, no reason of opportunity, no fear of schism that can justify the permanence of such openly heretical cardinal at his place. Souls are at stake. Those who have the duty to act will have to anwer for these souls.
The place where to address your righteous indignation are as follows:
Congregation for the Clergy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Congregation for Bishops: Palazzo della Congregazioni, Piazza Pio XII, 10, 00193 Roma, Italy (email address not found)
Holy Father: email@example.com
Please try to be much more moderate than I was here. There’s a time for the sword and a time for the floret. You’ll be addressing Princes of the Church or even – at least officially – the Holy Father himself. I’ll do it as soon as I can.
Frankly, at the moment I can’t.
The Capuchins made the headlines with something authentically Christian, and your humble correspondent can’t avoid reporting on the matter.
This video is a beautiful testimony of the Catholic faith, and particularly fitting in the weeks leading to the Corpus Domini. So much so, that Father Z has made a poll on it, and the conservative readership is, on the whole, delighted (I have voted “5″, too).
Note the reverence of the Capuchin friar/priest (very good arms, by the way), and the way he holds the monstrance all the time and looks at it without pause. The text (read by a second friar) repeatedly invites those present to “come and kneel before Him now“. This some people slowly begin to do, some old and some young, and stay there whilst the Eucharist in front of them reminds them (and the passers-by) of a couple of Catholic truths.
Tim Drake at the page linked above has made the beautiful effort of creating an almost complete transcript of what the second friar says. I’ll repeat the text below for your convenience. There is nothing wishy-washy there, and some very polemic references to new age and “Oprah” are delightful.
My only reservations (not a criticism; just a suggestion of how this excellent idea could be further improved) are as follows:
1) the protection of the Eucharist. OK, England is not a place where people start to mob or assault a priest, and the camera was certainly seen as security enough. But I did have some discomfort.
2) at times, the lack of reverence. Perhaps the text should be modified stressing in several points the absolute reverence due to the Body of Christ. The applause to the friar in front of the Blessed Sacrament was, in my eyes, completely out of line, though the clappers probably didn’t even noticed it. What is next, choirs of approbation in football-stadion style?
All in all, I found this beautiful. I hope this initiative founds imitators among conservative priests and religious orders.
Text. With many thanks to Tim Drake.
“Jesus Christ is in every book of the Bible.
In Genesis, Jesus is the Seed of the Woman.
In Exodus, He is the Passover Lamb.
In Leviticus, He is the Priest, the Altar, and the Lamb of Sacrifice.
In Numbers, He is a Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by Night.
In Deuteronomy, Jesus is the Prophet, like Moses.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Joshua, Jesus is the Captain of Our Salvation.
In Judges, He is our Judge and Lawgiver.
In Ruth, He is our Kinsman and Redeemer.
In 1 and 2 Samuel, He is our Trusted Prophet.
In Kings and Chronicles, He is our Reigning King.
In Ezra, He is the rebuilder of the broken down walls of human life.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Nehemiah, Jesus is our Restorer.
In Tobit, He is the Messenger of New Life.
In Judith, He is Weakness Turned into Victory.
In Esther, He is our Advocate.
In 1 and 2 Maccabees, He is the Leader who dies for God’s law.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Job, Jesus is our Everliving Redeemer.
In Psalms, He is our Shepherd.
In Proverbs, He is our Wisdom.
In Ecclesiastes, He is our Hope of Resurrection.
In the Song of Songs, He is our Loving Bridegroom.
In Wisdom, He is the emanation of God’s thought.
In Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), Jesus is our security.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Isaiah, Jesus is the Suffering Servant.
In Jeremiah, He is the Righteous Branch.
In Lamentations, He is our Weeping Prophet.
In Baruch, He is the Mercy from the Eternal One.
In Ezekiel, He is the One with the Right to Rule.
In Daniel, Jesus is the Fourth Man in the fiery furnace.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Hosea, Jesus is the Faithful Husband forever married to the sinner.
In Joel, He is the One who Baptizes with the Holy Spirit of Fire.
In Amos, He is the Restorer of Justice.
In Obadiah, He is Mighty to Save.
In Jonah, He is our great foreign missionary.
In Micah, He is the feet of one who brings Good News.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Nahum, Jesus is our stronghold in the day of trouble.
In Habakkuk, He is God my Savior.
In Zephaniah, He is the King of Israel.
In Haggai, He is the signet ring.
In Zechariah, He is our Humble King riding on a colt.
In Malachi, Jesus is the Son of Righteousness.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Matthew, Jesus is God with us.
In Mark, He is the Son of God.
In Luke, He is the Son of Mary, feeling what you feel.
In John, He is the Bread of Life.
In Acts, Jesus is the Savior of the World.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Romans, Jesus is the Righteousness of God.
In 1 Corinthians, He is the Resurrection.
In 2 Corinthians, He is the God of all comfort.
In Galatians, He is your liberty. He sets you free.
In Ephesians, Jesus is the Head of the Church.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Philippians, Jesus is your Joy.
In Colossians, He is your Completeness.
In 1 and 2 Thessalonians, He is your Hope.
In 1 Timothy, He is your Faith.
In 2 Timothy, Jesus is your Stability.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Titus, Jesus is Truth.
In Philemon, He is your Benefactor.
In Hebrews, He is your Perfection.
In James, He is the Power behind your Faith.
In 1 Peter, He is your Example.
In 2 Peter, Jesus is your Purity.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In 1 John, Jesus is your Life.
In 2 John, He is your Pattern.
In 3 John, He is your Motivation.
In Jude, He is the Foundation of your Faith.
In Revelation, Jesus is your Coming King.
The First and the Last.
The Beginning and the End.
He is the Keeper of Creation and the Creator of All.
He is the Architect of the Universe and the Manager of All Time.
He Always Was, He Always Is, and He Always Will Be Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and Never Undone.
He was bruised and brought healing.
He was pierced and eased pain.
He was persecuted and brought freedom.
He was dead and brought life.
He is risen and brings power.
He reigns and brings peace.
The world can’t understand Him.
The armys can’t defeat Him.
Schools can’t explain Him and the leaders can’t ignore Him.
Herod couldn’t kill Him.
The Pharisees couldn’t confuse Him.
The people couldn’t hold him. [This is where the clapping begins]
Nero couldn’t crush Him.
Hitler couldn’t silence Him.
The New Age can’t replace Him.
And Oprah can’t explain Him away.
He is Life, Love, Longevity, and Lord.
He is Goodness, Kindness, Gentleness and God.
He is Holy, Righteous, Mighty, Powerful, [missing word]
His Ways our Right, His Words Eternal, His Rules Unchanging, and His
Might [missing phrase]
He is My Redeemer, He is My Savior, He is My God, He is My Priest, He is My Joy, He is My Comfort, He is My Lord, and He rules my life.”
On the Vivificat blog, this beautiful blog post about “Why I oppose same sex marriage”.
It is so pithy, beautiful and charitable (charitable in the right way), that the best thing to do is to reproduce it in its entirety, including the emphases.
There you are:
Why am I strongly opposed to same-sex “marriage”?
Because it is an offense against the institution of marriage? Yes, but not really: that institution has already been demolished by our modern Godless society.
Because it will most likely wind up forcing me, as a citizen of this nation, to in some way participate? Yes, but not really: I am ready and willing to be persecuted for my beliefs.
Because this is a democracy and most Americans oppose same-sex “marriage”? Yes, but not really: I support many things that most Americans oppose and oppose many things that most Americans support.
Because it is a slippery slope that may lead to legalized polygamy, incest, etc.? Yes, but not really: that would be like opposing abortion because it could lead to condom use (Sodomy is the greater evil)
Because it will likely lead to more disease and economic devastation in our nation? Yes, but not really: those are fleabites compared to my real concerns
Rather, I oppose same-sex “marriage” because I love homosexuals. Because I do not want to see just another enticement (which is what this would be: a legal endorsement of that behavior) for them to remain in that wayward lifestyle and for young people to join that lifestyle. It is a lifestyle that tears apart their souls, makes depression rampant, and motivates suicide to an astronomical degree. For the government to bless their unions with same-sex “marriage” is to say “Come and partake of this banquet, for there is nothing wrong with it. Come and appease your passions and give in to your temptations, we will bless your efforts. Come and reap the fruits of your actions, that you may spend eternity with us.” In other words, I oppose same-sex “marriage” because it turns the government into the very mouthpiece of Satan.
Is this “theocratic” of me? In violation of “separation of Church and state”? Label me as you will. My stance here is a stance of love, in obedience to the Almighty through His Church, and it will never change.
As for myself, I don’t give a hoot how many from the glitterati, the elites, Hollywood, government in all three branches give their secular blessing on this so-called same-sex “marriage”. Call me what you wish, I will never set this lie above the Truth.
Congratulations to Teofilo de Jesus and Dan O’Connor, the authors of this beautiful witness of Christian love.
From Father Z’s blog, a barely believable – if we lived in normal times – story about a canadian Catholic school. In said Catholic school the idea of having a crucifix in every classroom was in the past considered – for reasons I do not even want to think about – not really necessary. I know, I know…..
This year, this state of things changed and every classroom was equipped with his crucifix.
Thinking that this would make some explanation necessary (a crucifix: what will then that be, one wonders….), a teacher (and principal of the school) decided to give some “explanations” to every class in the school.
The explanation centered about Jesus not having physically risen from the dead. Not only Easter, but the entire concept of divinity of Christ, and with that of Trinity, goes herewith out of the window as I can’t understand why God would decide that he can resurrect, but prefers not to and tells us a lie about it instead, clearly allowing this lie to be believed for some 20 centuries before a Canadian minus habens comes along.
Because this is, according to one brave girl who immediately challenged him, what is all about: Jesus “never resurrected”, the whole thing is “like a metaphor that you follow” and, you know, “people have taken the Bible too literally”.
In the view of this “enlightened” teacher in a Catholic school, the “moral” that Jesus died is right but hey, “the story is wrong”. The man is, at this point, launched toward the creation of a completely new religion and dutifully delivers: “Because He died in our honour we should be nice to each other,” or if you prefer to put it another way “the crucifix represents helping others” and when the students look at it “that’s all it’s supposed to mean”.
And there, a new religion is born. This new religion, “BeNiceAnity”, has a vague flavour of Christianity and actually can even tolerate a Crucifix, but not without an explanation that says: “hey, don’t take it all too literally with this Christ: the chap is still six feet under (at which Mundabor would have asked: “where’s the body? Who has stolen it? Who has lied about it? Why?”) and you must just relax, be nice to each other and try to be helpful” (and, no doubt, inclusive).
I don’t want to think what private issues a man can have to want to blasphemously offend Christ in this way, in his role as teacher, in a Catholic school, but one doesn’t have to be a genius to see that they must be huge.
One would wish the chap all the best in his chosen new professional path. Whatever that is, I’m sure he’ll be better at that than he was at teaching.
CNA has a beautiful Papal intervention, aimed at stressing the necessity of good evangelisation work.
One must say, this Pope is good at talking. Take for example these two phrases:
“It is important to make them understand that being Christian is not a type of outfit that one wears in private or on special occasions, but something living and totalizing, capable of taking all that is good in modernity.”
“proclaiming Jesus Christ, the sole Savior of the world, is more complex today than in the past, but our task continues to be the same as at the beginning of our history. The mission hasn’t changed, just as the enthusiasm and courage that motivated the apostles and first disciples should not change.”
I see a slight problem, though. To talk the talk is all good and fine, but from a Pope able to talk the talk with such clarity, one would expect the ability to walk the walk with far more energy and determination than this is the case now. It seems to me more and more that Pope Benedict sees himself not as an enforcer of orthodoxy, but as one whose task is to prepare the way for future orthodoxy. He often gives to me the impression that he is working so that his successors may act, but without acting directly with anywhere near the energy that would be required.
Summorum Pontificum was obviously huge, and Universae Ecclesiae provides the priests and faithful (after, if I may say so, too many years of inaction) with valid instruments to improve its implementation. What I miss, though, is the concrete action on the ground, the factual providing for robust evangelisation rather than the talking about it; in short, the walk.
We still are afflicted with bishops like Nourrichard (Benedict’s appointment to his present position) and Fonlupt (whose very recent appointment even sparked a reaction in form of a letter from French priests); we have an Archbishop of Westminster (also a Benedict’s appointment to his present position) openly boasting that he is nuanced about homosexual relationships and doesn’t know whether he will celebrate their “marriages”. If you read around this blog, you’ll find many more examples, but you get my drift: evangelisation is best made by first putting one’s house in order.
The Church is not in order. The number of bishops with either heterodox views or without the guts to defend orthodoxy is staggering. The situation is so bad, that when a bishop dares to do his job properly this makes huge waves, so unexpected it is. Many of these liberal, heterodox or cowardly bishops have been appointed, and continue to be appointed, by Pope Benedict and I am sorry to say so, but as long as this continues every beautiful talk about the need of a new evangelisation will sound little more than verbal decoration.
Make no mistake, I am a big fan of Pope Benedict’s reforms and I think that, as a Pope, he is a huge improvement on his saintly but catastrophic predecessor. Still, I think that he will be remembered rather as a Pope who prepared the ground for concrete action, than as one who acted decisively himself.
Summorum Pontificum is no concrete action if after four years we still have very few Latin Masses, and nice talks about the needs of evangelisation are no concrete action if the evangelisation is then left to the devices of the Nourrichards of this world, whom the Pontiff himself appoints. Concrete action is to take care that the sheep are provided with good shepherds, and that the shepherds take care that the priests are sound.
Evangelisation via television doesn’t work, much less evangelisation via “encouragement speech” to people whose theology and praxis is almost beyond repair. Evangelisation is done from the pulpit; with a reverent celebration at the altar; with a strong defiance of unChristian politicians; with an insisted, frontal assault on secular thinking.
Most of all, evangelisation is done by forcing the Nourrichards of the world to march allineati e coperti like as many soldiers, or by getting rid of them without delay.
The so-called (this is important, “so-called”. He is an usurper. Never forget!) Archbishop of Canterbury clearly is more confused than we thought and I slowly wonder whether some professional help might not be of some use to him.
Believing to be talking in front of a North-Korean audience, our old man first decided that Shakespeare was a Catholic (I know that this has been rumoured for very long; but now that we have the confirmation from him I rather begin to doubt) and then proceeded to please the audience (he thought he was in North Korea, remember!) by saying that the fact that the old and well-off Bard was “hoarding grain and buying up property in Stratford” makes him, in the eyes of Comrade Williams, “not very attractive”. Which is rather easily said when one disposes of lodgings in places like Lambeth Palace, you might say; but we don’t want to be fussy, do we?
I wonder if someone has informed the old man that Joseph of Arimathea was so wealthy that he hoarded I do not say grain and houses, but even superfluities like …….. luxury tombs. And a very expensive one he had there, just in case…. pure capitalistic decadence! Remaining in Gospel times, Zacchaeus and Nicodemus were not entirely poor, either, but I was under the impression that Jesus seemed to find both of them attractive. How very strange…..
Clearly, Our Lord was not as socially advanced as Mr (note here: no holy orders for him I’m afraid) Williams, who just can’t like people who are doing very fine, as in: even better than he.
Possibly because no applause had ensued, he decided to reinforce the concept with the following pearl of wisdom:
“If he was a Christian, he wasn’t a saint.”
Well nor are you, old ….. boy. Nor am I, or most of us. But wait, Joseph of Arimathaea is a canonised saint!? Recognised even by most Anglicans?! How can it be, if he had so much grain on the side? And the rich Nicodemus? He is a Saint too? !You don’t say?! Who’d have thought it?! What is next, the canonisation of people who were rich enough as to have their own private zoo, like…. St. Thomas More? (Oh well, I assume Thomas More doesn’t count for the Anglicans, does he now….).
We need Mister Williams to start working seriously at the remaking of Christianity. We really do. These last two thousand years have clearly been a promising start, but without him we would still be thinking that it isn’t a sin to be rich, and that riches are a grace that must be used properly and administered like a good steward would. We would even think that the Church has been helped to carry her work by countless rich and saintly men and women, who have given generously not only to alleviate the suffering of the poor, but also to help the Church to grow and spread Christ’s word. We wouldn’t even understand that Jesus has clearly said that property is theft, so blind are we! And we would, perhaps, even be so mad as to be thankful to the countless generous donors who have allowed so many works of sacred art to be created ad maiorem dei gloriam!
Where would we be, without this old… boy.
The capture of Ratko Mladic, the notorious bastard of the Bosnian War, once again reminded me of a similar Italian situation, how Italians dealt with it, and why.
The Italy of the post WW I years was extremely explosive, and during the “biennio rosso” (1919-1921) it seemed that an outright civil war was in the cards. As it is well-known, a de-facto alliance of liberals, landowners, industrialists, conservative Catholics and Fascists put an end to this danger.
When it was clear that the Fascists had got the upper hand, they had to deal with the opposition. But they weren’t Serbians, or Spanish commies. In the end, everyone wanted to live peacefully, and leave adversaries alone as much as this could be reasonably done. The most used device to “pacify” the country was typically Italian: castor oil.
In two words, a small troop of Fascist activist would present themselves to the home of the relevant chap (a socialist, or an anti-fascist liberal or Catholic) and invite him to drink the castor oil. The refusal to drink obviously meant open war, but the acceptance of the “medical aid”a sort of token: one would abstain from anti-fascist activity and would, henceforth, be left alone. No blood, no murders, no widows, no orphans. Not even physical violence. You can call this fascist oppression and I won’t say it was pleasant. But given the circumstances I call it absolutely genial, very Italian, and very Catholic.
This praxis, savagely criticised in the following decades, was in my eyes extremely civilised, and I don’t know any other country where such limitless hate was set aside in such a bloodless way. Humiliating as the drinking of the castor oil was, it was a humiliation meant to consolidate Fascism in power without tragedies, and keeping even one’s adversaries totally unscathed.
I must honestly say that, whilst the civil war phase at the end of WW II was much bloodier than the Fascists ever dreamt to be, most anti-Fascists were honest and decent enough to remember the wisdom of the treatment and, when their hour struck, caused many bottles of castor oil to go over the pharmacy counter and, from there, down different throats. Again, I see in this the way of a country where even the strongest hatred very rarely causes people to forget a sense of humanity and Christian piety; not even then, when those now in the commanding position wouldn’t even define themselves as Christians. Such is the power of an all-pervading Catholic attitude.
The most humorous way to describe in very visual terms the difference between the Serbian and the Italian attitude can be seen in this fragment of a Don Camillo/Peppone film, so popular at the time because so adherent to the Italian reality.
Unfortunately there are no subtitles, but the story is easily told.
1) An old fascist (the great Paolo Stoppa, dressed as a Redskin) has profited from the Carnival to come back to his old village; but he has been recognised from Peppone’s commies and is now very afraid something truly bad may happen to him. He takes refuge by Don Camillo.
2) Don Camillo reminds him that he would feel “safer” if it wasn’t for the castor oil the other had made him drink many yeasr before. The other has the usual excuses: come on, we were mere boys then…
3) Don Peppone, the commie mayor, intervenes after having gone in from the window. He carries a bottle of…. castor oil. Doctor’s orders, he says. “It will do you good”. An iron bar strenghtens the doctor’s advice considerably.
4) The Fascist chap makes a first attempt at escaping, but is stopped. He frees himself a second time, reaches for Don Camillo’s gun, threatens Peppone. “Don’t be stupid, it’s loaded”, says Don Camillo.
5) Now it’s iron bar against gun. Peppone must drink.
6) Triumphant, the fascist chap sends him away. “Now go and call your reds. Perhaps it will cost me my skin, but I won’t go to hell alone”.
7) Don Camillo smiles. He fills a glass. He remarks about how good the oil’s quality is. “You’ll like it”, he says. When the chap threatens him, he informs him that the gun is not loaded, and overcomes him with sheer physical strenght. “I’ll count up to three, then I’ll pulverise you by mere force of slaps”. The chap has no choice but to drink. He is then sent away with the advice of “dressing as a hare” before he is found by Peppone’s boys.
8) Everything seems fine, but Jesus now talks to Peppone: he has lied. “If I had told that the gun wasn’t loaded, Peppone would have massacred him”, tries Don Camillo. “You could have spoken when the redskin forced Peppone to drink the oil!”, says Jesus. “But then Peppone wouldn’t have drunk!”, answers the cheeky priest feigning indifference whilst lighting a cigar.
9) Jesus calls this “vengeance”, Camillo replies with “Justice”. When Jesus insists on him having a “profound sense of justice”, his words are clear: “justice demands that violence and lie be punished”. Camillo’s eyes fall on the castor oil bottle. “Ah, you understood me well!”, says Jesus.
10) At this point, resistance is futile. Camillo tries to cheat, but then fills the glass properly. Before he drinks, he movingly says: “in the end, my Lord, this will remind me of my youth”.
I hope that this little, delightful sketch has added some sun to your Sunday, and that it has explained to you the difference between mad fanaticism, and a Catholic approach to the enemy.
Reasonably high turnout in Malta for the divorce referendum.
It would appear, says Times Of Malta, that
a low turnout among younger voters was noted throughout the day, while the elderly and the religious community appeared to be out in numbers, thus potentially giving the ‘no’ vote the upper hand.
This is certainly a reaction to the appeal of the bishops, cleverly made en masse and in force on the last sunday before the vote, about which I have reported here.
I will probably not be able to report about the result of the referendum until tomorrow. What I notice is the fact that one of only two countries still banning divorce allows a referendum on it, and the result is uncertain to say the least. This seems to me a highly relevant result irrespective of the definitive outcome of the referendum. It means that it is possible, even in the middle of Europe, to build a society whose perception of real values is strong enough as to have a real grip on the population’s decisions.
This is not a coincidence of course. You have seen from the previous blog post mentioned above that the Maltese bishops are committed, outspoken shepherds. They show that if the shepherds are good, there will be enough sheep to give the goats a fight for their money. But this doesn’t happen overnight and is, surely, the result of constant work.
Picture now such a referendum in England, where the local hierarchy seems unable to talk about anything else than social and environmental issues and, when they really talk about embarrassing things like Jesus, they do everything possible to let you understand that they do it because they are supposed to, but you shouldn’t feel offended because they are oh so “inclusive”. Imagine what influence can such a cowardly stance have over a Catholic population already surrounded by a secular and protestant influence, and very often needing clear words to recognise the truth.
Whatever the outcome, this battle in Malta (and the one in Italy about euthanasia, I add) shows that if the Church leaders are committed to the fight, a Catholic army will, in time, be formed; disciplined and well-equipped enough to be a danger for every politicians wanting to stop its march.
You’d have thought even Protestants would, at some point, open their eyes as to the utter madness of their own guides. But in fact, if you look at things more carefully, you easily discover that this simply can’t be.
What is Protestantism? In its essence, it is the desire to sit in front of a Bible and make one’s own theology. No more Only Church, no more immutable rules, no more unpleasant obligations. Granted, there are a lot of Protestant who are very sincere Christians, but the initial planning mistake is forcibly present in their own edifice, too.
Protestants will, then, basically decide what they want to believe and then look for a congregation more or less in line with what they have already decided is the Only Truth. Until, of course, they change their mind (because inspired by the Holy Spirit to a New And Better Truth, one assumes) and move somewhere else, or their own congregation changes the “policy” but they themselves don’t agree with that so their line with the Holy Ghost must be disturbed.
You want divorce? Hey presto, let us have one and who cares what Luther & Co. would have said of that. You want several wives? Easy, just find a suitable quotation in the Bible and found your own church on it and failing that, let us recur to …… the Holy Ghost inspiring us. You want priestesses? Same. You want lesbian priestesses? Ditto. The list is very long.
But what happens if you want…. rapture? Will you find people so clearly disturbed as to agree with you? Yes of course you will! Hey, in Protestant lala-land common sense is only an option, just make some calculation and come up with something you wanted to think in the first place! Isn’t it just what every other Protestant “church” is doing?
This is, you see, the perverse beauty of Protestantism. Even nutcases tired of living but clearly not allowed to think of suicide, frustrated losers dreaming of some “revenge” against the world considering them nuts and idiots, and people who simply enjoy scaring others and being scared themselves can find their own church. How wonderfully inclusive. The only think the rapture nutcases must do is to find a deranged (or clever and greedy) individual whom they can accept as a guide; then, they have everything: the “church”, the “pastor”, the infallible “prophecy” and the excitement whilst waiting for the great event to happen. Wouldn’t want to be one of their relatives, though.
The event will, obviously, not happen as predicted. Never, ever. Why is that? Simply because – as every Catholic knows – we know neither the day nor the hour. But this being simple logic based on a coherent, rational interpretation of Scripture it has the great defect of not saying to the nutcases what they want the Bible to say. No problem, let’s find (or found) a church.
But what happens when the event does not happen? Do you think they’ll open their eyes? Nonsense! If they had had eyes to see, they would have opened them long ago! What they will do is simply… continue to do what they have always done! A mistake in the calculation, say. Or Jesus having really come back in 1941 as foreseen, but no one having noticing it* (I think he was seen drinking a coffee, though). Failing everything you can even say that the Holy Ghost has given you extra time. The possibilities are endless…..
Therefore, the amused world is now informed that the rapture is going to happen not on the 21st of May, but on the 21st October.
Slight mistake in the calculation, apparently. Apologies. Regular millenarianism to be resumed shortly.
I can’t wait for the 21st october, I would almost say. But no, really, what will happen on that day is the same that has happened this time. Sorry mate, calculation had a slight glitch. Keep believing.
* That will be the Jehova’s witnesses, I believe.
Soon the Feast of Ascension will be upon us; it will be followed, soon after, by Pentecost.
When I used to live in Germany, these were both public feast days. Actually, at Pentecost the festivity was the following day.
I never can understand when even people who consider themselves religious manage to separate the calendar from their religious convictions. Religion is not a private matter, something that you remember only when you are closed in your own bedroom and pray. Religion is very much a public matter, and Christianity, with its inherent claim to evangelisation and expansion, is the most public matter of them all.
It is true that Christians would celebrate Christmas even if it wasn’t a public festivity; but it is also true that when a Christian festivity is a feast day the following happens:
1) the Christian character of a country is reaffirmed;
2) Christianity is forcefully put to the attention of non-Christians;
3) the Christian calendar moulds collective identity, even for non-churchgoers.
The idea that it be all right for Christians to celebrate, say, Labour Day or those insipid, utterly stupid, PC-stinking “bank holidays” we have here in the UK without pushing for their substitution with Christian holidays is, in my eyes, not very Christian. In my opinion, public feast days on, at the very least, Ascension, Pentecost, Corpus Domini and Assumption should be in the private list of grievances of every UK Catholic, and the first two in that of every Christian. The Catholic – and not only Catholic – hierarchy should push for the recognition of at least the first two in lieu of those stupid, politically correct, tofu-like “bank holidays” or, in case and when necessary, through the reduction of statutory holiday rights. They might, admittedly, not succeed in this generation, but their assertiveness would put Christianity high on the agenda and force the country to think about what it want to be, and what price it would pay if the wrong decision is taken.
These days, middle ways are difficult to maintain and – as I have heard saying – he who stays in the middle of the road risks ending up under a truck. Cue the calls for the abolition of Christmas as a festivity, or the renaming of Christmas markets as “winter lights” – or such bollocks – already seen all over England.
Christianity can’t be protected by half, and neutrality is of no use. You either fight for the Christian values of your country, or you will be forced in a rearguard battle by the ever complaining, now more and more aggressive atheists.
In countries like Italy – where the situation is not ideal, either – every city has a feast day on the day of his patron saint. Think of what this means: that the city puts itself under the protection of a saint, and that this is made clearly visible as a social, and not merely religious, event.
Feast days alone will, admittedly, not cause a country to become more Christian. But by clearly marking the Christian ground, they will at least make it more difficult for it to become less Christian, and will be a public call to conversion in times of licence and unbelief.
Christianity is not a private matter.
Shocking affirmation of the newly appointed chaplain of the United States Congress; unsurprisingly, a Jesuit.
Rev. Patrick Conroy is on record saying:
I never pray in the name of Jesus — except when I’m doing something Catholic — saying Mass, for example.
This would look like a serious case of schizophrenia, if it wasn’t just a normal case of being a Jesuit. A Jesuit like the chap tolerating homo masses in Manhattan, or like the chaps leading universities with links to Planned Parenthood, or like the chap denying the existence of Hell.
Interviewed for the liberal Huffington Post and – being a Jesuit – wanting to accommodate everyone and the devil, our hero of the day basically says that he prays in the name of Jesus only when he really must because of his profession but otherwise, hey, he is far too inclusive for narrow-minded acts like……… praying in the name of Jesus.
Someone of his confreres should explain to him the origin of his order’s name. If anyone still remembers it, or was taught it in the first place.
So we have a Jesuit appointed to a prestigious and exposed position, saying that Jesus for him is confined to the realm of strict professional duty. When he prays alone, or when he talks to others, he will simply ignore Jesus and pray – who knows – some other non specified, politically correct, inclusive, huffington-post-approved deity instead.
What this Jesuit (who might or might not be a Christian, but I doubt it) is basically doing, is:
1) denying Jesus in a way which, he thinks, wouldn’t automatically cost him his habit; he might be, unfortunately, right on his assumption, though if the Jesuits were still Christians I think the matter would look entirely different.
2) making of Jesus an embarrassment that he is ready to push out of the way whenever halfway practicable; and
3) making a clear statement of Assisi-I-style religious syncretism, in which Jesus is nothing more than a badge to wear on certain occasions, a particular aspect of one way to pray; basically, an option.
Of course, one must hope that the usual clarification will now hit the computer screens, explaining to us what a horrible misunderstanding this is and how “white” has clearly being misunderstood as “white” when it is clear that it means “black” instead. Only, no one – not even one who has probably long begun to forget what Christianity is, as I bet most Jesuit are doing – could have possibly conceived such an utterance without having a very clear idea of what the implications are and without asking for the text to be modified or, failing that, issuing a clarification together with the interview.
This has not happened; which means that Rev. Conroy is either blissfully unaware of what he has said, or doesn’t care a straw.
Yep, he must be a Jesuit.
Truly, “Thou shall not” seem to be obsolete words in that mickey-mouse organisation calling itself “church of England” and once upon a time, at least, mindful of trying to protect Christian values. That this is obviously not the case anymore is proved, once again (I get tired of linking every time to the many posts on the matter, also because they are becoming more and more numerous), by their astonishing ability to throw overboard principles considered for two thousand years at the basis of Christianity (like, ahem, the Ten Commandments?) and say that it is fine to do, basically, whatever one pleases. The times one lives in, and if there is love, and all that. Strangely, both “love” and “times one lives in” were there in Jesus’ time, too; but don’t tell Dr Sentamu….
Sentamu now says that concubinage is OK, because what Christianity has said for two thousand years is not relevant anymore since his own daughter has said something about milk and cows (cows must recur frequently within the Sentamu family, we gather).
Dr Sentamu manages, in one interview, to make all of the following:
1) He gives his backing to a couple obviously living in sin and giving scandal by every Christian standard, even those of many Anglicans!
2) He reinforces this by saying that he has celebrating marriages for “many co-habiting couples”. This is – like Anglicanism itself – fully deprived of logic: Dr Sentamu might have celebrated marriages for many reformed prostitutes, but this doesn’t mean that prostitution is OK.
3) He makes the reference with the milk and the cow: as we are talking of sacraments I don’t offend you with repeating it. But no, really, we are talking of sacraments, sex, procreation, family. Dr Sentamu throws overboard the entire Christian conception of sexuality and marriage; but he feels very modern because he has the backing of his daughter.
4) He justifies the entire thing by saying that ““For some people that’s where their journeys are”. So Anglican. Can be said of prostitutes, homosexuals and pedophiles too. But wait, I doubt he has a problem with the first two anyway. I thought, anyway, that a bishop’s job (even of a heretic, non-existent, mickey-mouse one) was to say where the journey goes, not to justify people for wherever their journey is.
This man doesn’t care a straw for Christian values. What in his eyes validates people’s choice is: a) what his daughter says, b) where people are, and 3) how you buy cows.
Yep, he must an Anglican.
I woke up very early this morning (a festivity here in England, and apparently a fine day too) to hear the news that is now going round the world: Osama Bin Laden is dead, killed by a US Navy SEAL commando of 40 in Pakistan.
I won’t do anything to hide from you my sense of satisfaction, of a job well done, and of gratitude and admiration for the brave soldiers who executed this brilliant operation without even a casualty.
A short time later, in front of my hot caffellatte, I wondered how probable it was that the bastard now rots in hell. Rather probable, I would say. Nay, make it very probable. The idea that he would, on his last seconds (and we do not know the details, but from what has transpired it would appear that he has seen it coming; which again doesn’t make me sad, at all), manage to get a perfect contrition is, how should I put it, not entirely believable.
And so I was there, looking into my caffellatte in this glorious sunny morning of victory and justice, and wondering whether I should… pray for Osama Bin Laden’s soul. I pray for the dead (particularly for my dead, I admit; but for all the dead anyway) every day and this prayer is to me not only the compliance with a religious duty but a tender link to beloved people not here with me anymore; moments in which I detach myself from the cares of this world and connect in spirit to the other part of my family, those who are now past those cares, and in which I give back in a small way the endless prayers that – I am sure – several of them have prayed for me and for all those I love. Therefore, praying for the dead is something I love to come back to again and again, just because it is a tender moment.
Should I therefore, now, expressly pray for…… such a bastard? For the epitome of senseless cruelty and fanaticism? Should I pray for him, even if I am almost sure that he rots in hell and the seventy-two virgins might have – more or less metaphorically speaking – turned out to be something like, say, seventy-two angry feminists or seventy-two extremely horny sodomites?
I tried, and I failed. It seemed insincere to pray for someone you feel is in hell. It seemed like I was just making a stupid attempt at “feeling good” (I hate these things, having experienced that people who try to be good and people trying to feel good are two completely different sets of people) with utter disregard for the reality on the ground.
Still – I thought – I do pray every day the Lord that he may “lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of [His] mercy”. But this is a generic embrace of suffering humanity and, most importantly, refers to a salvation that is still possible to every one of them. I was, therefore, very unsure.
But then I reflected a bit more, and I realised (always looking at my caffellatte, still too hot to drink) that Jesus must have loved this soul as much as everyone else’s, and that his salvation was as important to him as the one of the greatest of his saints. Seen in this perspective, things changed and I could now envisage praying for him not because I think that he is probably in purgatory (which I don’t), but because after the Holy Ghost has made an effort to recover him for so many years, I can at least put an effort of mercy for a short minute.
I therefore made the sign of the cross and started: “Eterno riposo dona loro, Signore…….“; feeling at the beginning – I admit – slightly stupid in the process but going on the best I could, and repeating the exercise three times.
At the end of the prayer, a strange sensation came to me: not the one of “feeling good” (which I hate), but of a little obstacle that I had overcome: the one of not only knowing, but feeling that the person I despised most on earth was still a beloved child of Christ, a soul of infinite importance. It seemed to me that I had done my duty of forgiveness for the improbable case he has escaped hell, and that I had paid my little homage to his long-suffering Guardian Angel and to the Holy Ghost who both have, I am sure, made so many efforts to save him.
Dear readers, you know that I am absolutely allergic to good-ism and similar bollocks, and that I think that there is a time for peace and a time for war.
Still, there is also a time to tear and a time to mend; a time to kill, and a time to heal.
In this glorious day of victory and justice you may want to try, if you can, to pray for Osama Bin Laden.
It probably won’t do any good to him.
It certainly won’t do any harm to you.
Some time ago I read a book from the great theologian Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, called Life Everlasting.
I have found on the Internet the following excerpt from this book and I remember being as struck now as when I first read it directly from the book.
I copy the passage here in its entirety.
Deathbed conversion, however difficult, is still possible. Even when we see no sign of contrition, we can still not affirm that, at the last moment, just before the separation of soul from body, the soul is definitively obstinate. A sinner may be converted at that last-minute in such fashion that God alone can know it. The holy Cure of Ars, Divinely enlightened, said to a weeping widow: “Your prayer, Madame, has been heard. Your husband is saved. When he threw himself into the Rhone, the Blessed Virgin obtained for him the grace of conversion just before he died. Recall how, a month before, in your garden, he plucked the most beautiful rose and said to you, ‘Carry this to the altar of the Blessed Virgin.’ She has not forgotten.”
Other souls, too, have been converted in extremis, souls that could barely recall a few religious acts in the course of their life. A sailor, for example, preserved the practice of uncovering his head when he passed before a church. He did not know even the Our Father or the Hail Mary, but the lifting of his hat kept him from departing definitively from God.
In the life of the saintly Bishop Bertau of Tulle, friend of Louis Veuillot, a poor girl in that city, who had once been chanter in the cathedral, fell first into misery, then into misconduct, and finally became a public sinner. She was assassinated at night, in one of the streets of Tulle. Police found her dying and carried her to a hospital. While she was dying, she cried out: “Jesus, Jesus.” Could she be granted Church burial? The Bishop answered: “Yes, because she died pronouncing the name of Jesus. But bury her early in the morning without incense.” In the room of this poor woman was found a portrait of the holy Bishop, on the back of which was written: “The best of Fathers.” Fallen though she was, she still recognized the holiness of her bishop and preserved in her heart the memory of the goodness of Our Lord.
A certain licentious writer, Armand Sylvestre, promised his mother when she was dying to say a Hail Mary every day. He kept his promise. Out of the swamp in which he lived, he daily lifted up to God this one little flower. Pneumonia brought him to the hospital, served by religious, who said to him: “Do you wish a priest?” “Certainly,” he answered. And he received absolution, probably with sufficient attrition [imperfect contrition], through a special grace obtained for him by the Blessed Mother, though we can hardly doubt he underwent a long and heavy Purgatory.
Another French writer, Adolphe Rette, shortly after his conversion, which was sincere and profound, was struck by a sentence he read in the visitors’ book of the Carmelite Convent: “Pray for those who will die during the Mass at which you are going to assist.” He did so. Some days later he fell grievously ill, and was confined to bed in the hospital at Beaune, for many years, up to his death. Each morning he offered all his sufferings for those who would die during the day. Thus he obtained many deathbed conversions. We shall see in Heaven how many conversions there are in the world, owing to such prayers.
In the life of St. Catherine of Siena we read of the conversion of two great criminals. The Saint had gone to visit one of her friends. As they heard, in the street below, a loud noise, her friend looked through the window. Two condemned men were being led to execution. Their jailers were tormenting them with nails heated red-hot, while the condemned men blasphemed and cried. St. Catherine, inside the house, fell to prayer, with her arms extended in the form of a cross. At once the wicked men ceased to blaspheme and asked for a confessor. People in the street could not understand this sudden change. They did not know that a nearby Saint had obtained this double conversion.
Several years ago the chaplain in a prison in Nancy had the reputation of converting all criminals whom he had accompanied to the guillotine. On one occasion he found himself alone, shut up with an assassin who refused to go to Confession before death. The cart, with the condemned man, passed before the sanctuary of Our Lady of Refuge. The old chaplain prayed: “Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who had recourse to thy intercession was abandoned. Convert this criminal of mine: otherwise I will say that it has been heard that you have not heard.” At once the criminal was converted.
Return to God is always possible, up to the time of death, but it becomes more and more difficult as hard-heartedness grows. Let us not put off our conversion. Let us say every day a Hail Mary for the grace of a happy death.
This beautiful passage is, I think, instructive in many ways.
1) Please note how fast the conversion process can be. The episode mentioned by the Cure d’Ars recalls another one in the life of Padre Pio, with the great saint assuring a mother that her son has repented and asked the Blessed Virgin for forgiveness after throwing himself from a bridge.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that such a conversion should be assumed, as it is the scandalous praxis of too many priests nowadays. To do so means to play down the extreme gravity of suicide, and to indirectly cause further ones.
2) Please also note Father Garrigou-Lagranges insistence on these being extreme cases, with the sailor who didn’t even know the Hail mary of Our Father being, in my eyes, the most striking. Powerful, consoling stuff.
3) Particularly notable, please note how strongly the prayer of third parties can, with Mary’s assistance, move the sinner to repentance. The cases of St. Catharine of Siena and of the Nancy chaplain are in my eyes – and someone please correct me if I am wrong – to be interpreted not in the sense that conversion will impose itself on the sinner against his will, but that the prompting to conversion can, through heavenly intervention, become strong enough to reach, together with the collaboration of the sinner, the desired result.
I liked the chuzpah of the chaplain, though….
4) You see here a typical example of what I am tempted to call “South European Catholicism”, to distinguish it from the rigid, protestantised attitude tinged with Puritanism I happen to see in the northern part of the Continent. Once again, we see an approach that whilst doesn’t play down the gravity of the sin, points out to the relative ease with which the direst consequences can be avoided and allows the faithful to live his faith with confidence – the typical attitude in Catholic countries – rather than with fear. I can’t avoid thinking that this confidence is the single most important reason why traditional Catholic countries have – collectively speaking – that striking joy of life that I, alas, never noticed in the north.
5) These examples taken together point out to the absolutely vital necessity of daily prayer. Prayer is what gives us the best cards in our hope to be given final perseverance, and the same Blessed Virgin who helped the sinning sailor just for uncovering his head will very probably take care in her mercy of those who pray to her daily and daily ask her to pray for them in the hour of their death.
As a corollary to this, the great importance of the practice of praying the Rosary and the extremely powerful promises attached to it can never be stressed strongly enough.
I do hope that this little gem of Father Garrigou-Lagrange’s wisdom will help the one or other among the readers; particularly if – as I suppose must happen not infrequently in those parts of Europe, still polluted by Puritan influences – they tend to labour under scrupulosity.
I always thought that Pontius Pilate is treated too harshly by many Christians. People who don’t even dare to contradict their neighbour when he talks astonishing bollocks in some religious matter are instantly ready to demand that Pilatus be ready to risk a revolution to save their hero. They talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.
The reality on the ground is that the vast majority of the people in his position would have behaved like he did; nay, worse than he did. In fact, it can be easily said that Pilatus did for Jesus more than most would have done in his position and only receded when he saw that the Jewish leaders would give him no other alternative than acquiescence to their demand or all out fall out.
Still, the fact remain that Pilatus clearly sees that justice demands one behaviour, and politics suggests another. Put in front of the choice and being, well, a politician, he makes a politician’s choice; a shrewd move from a political point of view, but a catastrophic one from a moral one. He is, therefore, certainly guilty to an extent – and Jesus tells him so in his face – but clearly not evil, or cowardly.
Pilatus is remarkable for another revealing expression: when Jesus confronts him with the Truth, he replies with the famous: “What is truth”? Little he knew that two thousand years later, the same expression would still be used by all those who, like him, see the Truth in front of them but refuse to accept it, because the acceptance means a price they are not ready to pay.
Pilatus is, then, not evil, but rather a mix of good intentions, political calculations, and less than steely moral standards. He perceives himself as doing “what he can” to help Jesus, but what he can is determined by the way he thinks. At the same time, he is acted as well as acting, as it is abundantly clear from historical sources that Rome truly didn’t want to see further troubles in Palestine. If Pilatus had started an all out confrontation, the first victim would have been himself and I wonder how many of us would, in the same situation, choose the heroic option: to throw to the dogs career and privilege – or worse – in order to make a point about a person he had never seen before – though he had heard about him -, who was unpopular among his own, and not even a Roman citizen.
Pilatus could, of course, have called the bluff and invited the Jews to the homicide-suicide: open revolt, Roman representative deposed or even punished, but Jewish hierarchy massacred by that time. Still, this is more easily said than done, as such a radical option can only be chosen by someone who has made a radical choice for truth. This was clearly neither the case in the concrete situation, nor part of the job description in general.
Pilatus chooses, therefore, to do not what is moral, but what is rational. Clearly, if he had chosen to accept the risk of a revolt over an individual case of such small (we would say today) geopolitical relevance for Rome, the accusations of having been utterly emotional and of having started a mess for the sake of his pal’s skin would have been, in the Roman perspective, clearly impossible to refute. Pilatus’ drama is, therefore, a dilemma that continues to be fascinating to this day and only the most stupid must tell themselves “If I had been in his place I’d have saved Jesus, of course!” Well, firstly with such a mentality you wouldn’t have been in his place in the first place and secondly no, you don’t even have the cojones to criticise the scandalous behaviour around you, so the jewish mob would have scared the crap out of you and no mistake.
Pilatus has become the epitome of cowardice, and I do not think it is fair. He behaves with consideration and humanity *; he goes to great lengths to save Jesus; he extensively tests the waters and leans himself out of the window more than most politicians of today would think of doing; but he recoils when he sees that no half solution is possible and that he is put in front of the fundamental choice and asked to decide whether justice or ragion di Stato should carry the day.
There is, I am afraid, a Pilatus in every one of us. His dilemma is our dilemma in our everyday fight to be coherent Christians; his ultimate moral defeat is, very clearly, ours.
I love to think that he has been forgiven and is now safely in Paradise. For obvious reasons, I like the “Good Romans” mentioned in the Gospels (say: the Roman centurion with the ill servant; or the other centurion under the Cross, Longinus, who – if memory serves – went on to convert and, some say, become a bishop). Pilatus doesn’t match them, but I don’t think he is the worst, either.
Tomorrow, I’ll hear the whole story again. Once again, I’ll be confronted with Pilatus’ dilemma. Once again, I’ll as myself what I would have done in his shoes (I mean really done, not as an armchair general safely talking with the benefit of hindsight, and of two thousand years of Christianity). And once again, I’ll bow my head in shame.
A prayer for Pilatus is, I think, fully in order.
* note that even his order to have Jesus flogged is from the background of the hope that after the flogging the Jews might renounce to have him executed.
They say that an image can say more than thousand words. This may not always be true, but in some cases I think that these words are very, very near to the mark.
Let us take the film, “The Passion of The Christ”.
This film is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it, I must hasten to add, for the faint of faith. If you subscribe to the “let’s celebrate” mantra so conveniently spread in these godless times, you won’t like this movie. Violent, you will call it. Insensitively focused on cruel details. Graphic in the extreme.
And in fact, this film is a truly shocking experience. Still, I can tell you that no reading of the Gospel, no homily and no personal reflection and prayer ever opened my eyes to the reality of the Passion so much as this shocking film did from the first viewing.
I could never see this movie without crying of sorrow and shame and I tell you, it doesn’t happen to me whilst listening to the homily. The reality is that the sheer violence of this film delivers the goods in a way the best homily could probably – for want of the necessary visual props – never achieve. And in fact it can – I think – easily said that if you found the violence of the film excessive, this is a clear indication that the reality of the Passion was never transmitted to you in all its crudeness in the first place.
This film is not dedicated to the message of Jesus. It doesn’t primarily intend to explain Christianity and, in this sense, it can only indirectly be considered a help to the conversion of non-Christians. What this film does, is to limit itself to the last twelve hours of Jesus’ human existence. This, the film does not by explaining, but by observing. The screenplay closely follows the Gospels and is here and there integrated with elements of Anne Catherine Emmerich’s “The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord” (an unjustly neglected book, since come back to vast popularity). There are no frills, no hollywood-like “enrichments”, no attempts to make the story palatable. It is undiluted, brutal truth.
For this reason, the language has been accurately considered. No English-speaking actors here. The Jews talks in an Aramaic dialect (as they did in reality), and the Romans speak Latin. Astonishingly for the fans of the theory that Catholic churchgoers be too stupid to ever cope with Latin (much less… Aramaic!) you can easily follow the plot at all times through subtitles (just as you would, in church, with a Latin-English missal or booklet; but I suppose this is too much to ask of our liberal geniuses).
I watch this movie again every year during the Holy Week, but I think of it countless times during the year as its highly impressive visual message is a great help in my Rosary meditations. Every time, the violence of the Passion strikes me anew, which again tells me how easy it is to slowly but constantly sanitise the message until the sheer evidence of it is put in front of our eyes again.
To watch this movie is, to me, something akin to going to confession: unpleasant in the very thought, but highly salutary in the end result. I don’t sit joyously in front of the TV screen thinking “how beautiful, I am going to see Jesus being horribly tortured and killed again” in the same way as I – my fault, no doubt – do not manage to joyously run to the confessional, or to proceed to my examination of conscience without a sense of shame, humiliation and sheer inadequacy. Still, the spiritual benefits we can reap from such unpleasant activities can never be underestimated; not in case of the sacrament of course, but also certainly not in the case of such a powerful help to truly understand the Passion as this film undoubtedly is.
In the beautiful world of ours, for most of us this powerful Christian message is only a click away (or click here if you use the US version). Notice how cheap (particularly in the UK) this film has now become.
I suggest that you make the investment now and look at the film during next week.
You won’t like it. But you won’t regret it, either.
I have already written in the past about all the outrageous things happening among our Proddie brothers and sisters in , I hope, Christ.
Today, I’d like to give you a further example of what happens when one belongs to a so-called Church the Holy Ghost (alreadyhaving His own Church, which is the Only One) doesn’t touch with a tadpole: Christianity mixes with political, or politically correct, ideas and what comes out of this mess is a tragic banalisation of the Christian message or, worse, outright disrespect for our Lord.
Take this, for example, from which the following words of wisdom reach us:
The Episcopal Church’s office of Economic and Environmental Affairs released a statement urging followers to stay mindful of global warming, recycling and reducing carbon dioxide emissions while celebrating the ancient Christian holiday in 2011.
“This year Earth Day falls within Holy Week, specifically on Good Friday, a profound coincidence,” said Mike Schut, a church spokesman. “To fully honor Earth Day, we need to reclaim the theology that knows Earth is ‘very good,’ is holy. When we fully recognize that, our actions just may begin to create a more sustainable, compassionate economy and way of life.”
“On Good Friday, the day we mark the crucifixion of Christ, God in the flesh, might we suggest that when Earth is degraded, when species go extinct, that another part of God’s body experiences yet another sort of crucifixion — that another way of seeing and experiencing God is diminished?”
From this, the unenlightened learn that:
1) The Episcopal Church, rapidly approaching self-extinction, has an “office of Economic and Environmental Affairs”. This is Episcopalian in so many ways: supposed religious people wanting to meddle in politics, the bold statement that economic and environmental affairs be clearly inseparable, and the smugness of the entire operation. It reminds one of “Yes, Prime Minister”, with Sir Humphrey reminding the premier that nowadays politicians talk like religious, and religious like politicians.
2) The desire to “honour Earth Day”. This is so very nuChristian.
3) The chaps are seriously worried that Good Friday well take some light from earth day. I kid you not. Read it again.
4) To make 3) more clear, Good Friday is called “ancient Christian tradition”. It is not said how infinitely more important Good Friday is, but there is simply a parallel: the new day “to be honoured” here, the old, “traditionally” honoured day there. Congratulations. You must be Episcopalians.
5) In the same spirit, earth day must be “christianised”. Never mind that for 2011 years Christianity never felt the need to have an “earth day”, instead concentrating on trifles like the Death and Resurrection of Our Lord. No, the earth as a whole must be made a new Christ, so that it may be worshipped.
6) Proof of this is the astonishing remark that when you (according to their metre of judgment, of course), neglect the environment, the earth experiences a sort of crucifixion. In no clearer way the complete loss of the meaning of the Crucifixion and its dumbing down to the level of the environmental protection could have been better expressed.
These people have simply lost their marbles or – more probably – have lost their faith. Were this not the case, such comparisons would instantly and instinctively sound deeply disturbing to them.
When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing— they believe in anything.
~ G. K. Chesterton
This is an anonymous – You see? Anonymity is very good at times! – but very detailed report of what happened within the walls of Irish National Seminary. Whilst the beginning is shocking enough, it is followed by such a long series of abuses, outright blasphemies and clear – if not always open – rebellion to the Church that one wonders whether a seminary run by fans of Richard Dawkins would be run any worse. Unless one reflects, of course, that many of those involved must be fans of Richard Dawkins.
I would divide the problems in two big families: a) the heresy or outright blasphemy and b) the effeminacy. Picking just some of the complaints of the anonymous seminarians, they were taught the following:
1) that (and this is really, really hugely blasphemous) there is no difference in the various way of presence of Jesus in the world. Jesus be equally present in the people, in the world, in the priest and in the Eucharist.
I’ll leave this without comment. Let it sink in. This is what happens within the Church today.
2) that they do not have to kneel during consecration
This is the obvious consequence of 1). I see those idiots rather kneeling in front of a tree.
3) that the hierarchical structure of the Church is wrong.
That is, that the Church must “change”. One “facilitator” adds that he is always angry when he hears that the Church says that she will “not change” in this or that. Hey, everything changes! Obama for Pope!
4) that the absence of “female leadership” within the Church is wrong.
Nothing in the article allows to assume that such “criticism” was limited to the irreligious sisters present in the structure. This shows an astonishing degree of effeminacy within the structure, at all levels.
5) that the moral teaching of the Church is wrong.
Note that whenever dissent is mentioned by the seminarians, homosexuality always comes in the first place and this tells a lot.
6) that a “general chat” would be a good way to provide the seminarians with spiritual formation.
I think of a couple of priests I have met and yep, they must have come out from Maynooth.
7) that teaching can be based on non-Catholic texts, or on texts from catholic dissenters silenced by the Church.
8) that one must stress one’s emotions, and one’s emotions must drive one’s actions.
Besides being utterly un-Catholic in his total disregards or rules and a systematic and structured system of values, and besides basically allowing everyone to build his own theology and moral system, this emotion-driven thinking is a clear sign of effeminacy.
If I hear a man talking about his emo-o-tions in such a way and of how they oh drive his oh actions, I know what to think and no, it’s not I being homophobic; it’s you being blind.
All this, please note, in the National Seminary of one of the most Catholic nations on the planet.
Interesting throughout the contribution is the description of the modus operandi of these people. As open dissent would lead to consequences – see St. Poelkten in Austria – the habit was to continually criticise by feigning the role of “devil’s advocate”; for example, the feminist irreligious sisters would talk of how so many women out there feel hurt and oppressed by a male dominated Vatican, & Co. Obviously, that such irreligious sisters are allowed to run the classes – and to run them in such a way – in the first place is a clear indication of the general mentality within the leadership of the structure.
The most shocking element of this report is, in my eyes, how real and credible it sounds. This is not the fantasy of some old conspiracy theorists seeing the end of the world behind every street corner. This accurately reflects experiences we have all made at some point; the innuendos and “devil’s advocate” tricks are experiences we have witnessed already; we have heard the covert blasphemy during homilies in the church, how can it be that these people do not express themselves far more strongly when there is no congregation to listen to them?
Well then, this appears to be – and the accusations are here not only very accurate, but entirely credible – the tran tran within the Seminary. It is shocking that things were allowed to come to this point in the first place. One is, sadly, reminded once again that the Vatican seems to only recur to Apostolic Visitations when things have deteriorated beyond parody, a too long period of silence or toleration of disobedience followed by a very late, but generally very heavy steamroller. I’d prefer the Vatican to act sooner, so that it may be milder.
If only half of these allegations are true – again, from the look of them I’d say they are all true – I can’t see how Maynooth can deserve to survive. The fake priests and irreligious sisters responsible for its demise and for a generalised climate of blasphemy, rebellion and effeminacy deserve to be thrown on the street.
Hey, they think that Christ is present everywhere in the world in the same way, so they’ll be fine.
Beautiful blog post from Domine, Da Mihi Hanc Aquam.
As Lent is the main “confession time” and the only time of the year many Catholics will approach the confessional (and they are already clearly in front of the very many who will not do it because they believe – possibly with the complicity or, worse, acquiescence of their priest – that they can be their own confessors), it is very fitting to lead your attention to this beautifully written, very open, very encouraging piece of sound catholic advice.
I found the one about the “excuse, explanation or decoration” rather funny (once at the Oratory there was an entire homily on the matter, it tells you who cares for the sacraments and who doesn’t) and the one about “thine own sins ans no one else’s” outright amusing, but the entire piece is enjoyable and edifying at the same time.
Now that we are in the midst of Lent, perhaps this will help the one or the other “undecided” or lapsed catholic on the brink of coming back to sacramental life to take the plunge.
To my knowledge, people don’t die on the confessional and if they do, well I suppose it is because of a heart attack; but even so, I’d rather die of a heart attack just after the absolution than discover after death that I really, really needed one.
Hat tip to Lux Occulta‘s Shane for this beautiful Michael Voris video.
Voris’ as always very outspoken message begins with a harsh criticism of the way Mass is too often celebrated: a self-celebration that is Protestant in nature and exclusively centered on more or (more often) less entertaining clowns. “All of this emphasis on all of these humans is absolutely out of place”, says Voris, and Cardinal Burke clearly points out to the danger of losing one’s faith by allowing oneself to be contaminated by such a protestant (and very convenient, and very “do not judge”, and very “inclusive”) thinking.
“The Mass is about Jesus Christ, everything else is Protestant”, says Voris with the usual openness and one wonders how long will we have to wait until we hear such concepts expressed by our bishops as a matter of course and, most importantly, openly and assertively instead of being coded within the usual politically correct crap they feed us with.
The second part of Voris’ message is even stronger than the first and points out to the immediate danger of damnation hovering over the countless priests and bishops who have perpetrated or allowed these abuses. “How many bishops in America have allowed this”, says Voris and thinking of our own bishops in the United Kingdom one is even more afraid.
The simple truth is that from the part of Catholic hierarchy considered as a whole, a betrayal of everything that is Catholic is going on that has few precedents (and possibly: no precedent, as even in the darkest days of the IX and X century Christian feelings were certainly better protected and better transmitted among the faithful) in the history of the Church.
Whilst remaining faithful to the Church founded on Peter by Christ, we must acknowledge the simple truth that many, many bishops make the work of the devil and that their criminal neglect of Catholic Truth to favour the approval of the masses will have – bar an always welcome repentance – to be paid at the highest price.
Very rightly, SPUC’s chef Smeaton says that Archbishop Nichols’ view on homosexuality endanger children’s souls . It goes without saying (though Mr. Smeaton says that, too) that Archbishop Nichols gravely endangers his own soul, too.
These are, alas, the times we live in. We are surrounded by bishops who, when they have not completely lost the faith – which by the tone of their actions and inactions seems by far the most frequent case – have surrendered every idea of fighting the good fight and are happy to feed the faithful with inane platitudes and assorted harmless slogans. In turn, this gives us priests who, when they have not completely lost the faith – which must be a rather frequent occurrence if you just listen to what many of them go around saying – are, poor chaps, too weak to start a battle against their own bishop; a battle that would see them in the end chastised in the best of cases, and utterly ruined in the worst.
Whenever cases like the one in Thiberville happen, where a joke of a bishop like Nourrichard (yes, he is the one in the photo; seriously!) is allowed to prevail over a courageous priest and his authentically Catholic community, priests all over the planet register the event and take note.
Make no mistake, though: I am less angry at the priest who can’t find in himself the courage to willfully undergo persecution that at the bishop who can’t find in himself the courage to be unpopular. A priest is a human being too and if he is “not born with a lion’s heart” (Manzoni) he will end up merely trying to limit the damage. I am also aware that (to say it with Manzoni again) “courage, one cannot give it to oneself”. May God have mercy of the poor priests who can’t find the strenght to do what they know they should do as he will – hopefully – have mercy on me, who are also unable to do what I know I should do.
But the position of a bishop is entirely different. Besides having greater responsibility as a successor of the Apostels, a bishop is so established in a world of power and privilege that even the persecution of a seriously modernist Pope (not to be seen anywhere on the horizon, by the way) would not go beyond the loss of a diocesan position and the confinement in some very comfortable – as the Italians say – “elephants’ cemetery”, very probably still in the company of all the accoutrements of rank and prestige.
A cowardly bishop has, therefore, no excuses, let alone a faithless Bishop wilfully and actively making the work of Satan (yes, I am thinking of Vincent “Quisling” Nichols and his ilk). We are all sinners of course, but there is a huge difference between being short of Jesus’ demand in one’s private life and to undermine His message in the public one.
God bless Michael Voris, Cardinal Burke and all those who fight the fight for the integrity of Catholicism in the face of the modernist, homosexualist, protestantised fifth column formed by too many bishops and, alas, still far too compact in its ranks.