I sometimes – nay, rather often – wonder what is the use of a layman’s Catholic blog. I mean this not in the figurative sense, but in the literal one: what contribution can the blog of a layman give?
Take, for example, my little effort.
At the beginning, I though a blog could win new Catholics. I didn’t think this was the main aim, but I though it would be a somewhat interesting weapon. I saw it as an outlet where people more or less vaguely seeking would stumble, be intrigued at what they read, and bring home with them one or two seeds of, perhaps, one day, a future conversion.They would, I though, be shocked or even angry at first, but if they are moved by a sincere search they would gather the nerve to continue reading and bring home more and more contributions to a better perception of the hard, but beautiful Catholic Truth.
Twenty months later, I wonder.
This blog has grown very slowly but very steadily over the twenty or so months of its existence. When I started, the pageviews were counted in dozens. Nowadays, one thousand pageviews a day aren’t news anymore, and are rather an almost daily occurrence when I have time to care for the blog. At first sight, it would look like the contribution given by this blog would grow; that it would, as the saying goes, “make a difference”. But does it? Let us look at things with a bit of realism.
1) The blogosphere grows. Soon every child will be able to go on the internet from everywhere using his iPhone. Growing pageviews do not necessarily mean a growing interest, rather a growing pool of people clicking your blog by mistake. Every blog grows its pageviews. It must be so. If it didn’t grow, it would mean it is going backwards. Very simply, the tide of clicks lifts all blogs, and the tide of the blogosphere is growing fast.
2) Many – I do not know how many, but many – of my clicks probably come from people searching for images. Not very flattering I know, but I think the reality of most blogs who use photos. I like a photo in my blog post, I just do not flatter myself there won’t be people visiting not my blog, but the photo.
3) Some other clicks come, I suppose, from people who are curious in a very superficial way.They care for religion as much as I care for feng shui. Still, it goes in the statistics.
4) Lastly, a majority of the clicks – I dare to think this, at least – come from sincere Catholics, who already think as I do.
So: many readers don’t care at all; others aren’t really interested; the majority do not need to be persuaded. As to the sincere seekers who are slowly approaching Catholicism, I am more and more persuaded they would rather go to blogs written by religious, of which there are many excellent ones. I think it is a reasonable assumption and it is what I would personally do, instead of clicking Mundabor. With all due respect for Mundabor, of course. Capital fellow.
Why, then, a layman’s blog? I’d say for the following reasons:
1) My “about the author” page states as follows:
This blog’s aim is to allow true, traditional, unadulterated, strictly orthodox Catholic doctrine to be made available in a world suffocating more and more in political correctness and “feel-good”, “everything goes”, “let us not upset anyone” so-called Catholicism.
I allow myself to think this is important, or at least useful, even if I were to exclusively “blog to the converted”. It gives ammunition, some adrenaline here and there, a sense of urgency in the battle, that might otherwise not be so keenly felt. The trumpeter in the midst of the battlefield might not be decisive, but he is certainly not superfluous, and he might not manage to give courage to the pavid, but he will give some encouragement and spirit to the brave. This blog is particularly aimed at the brave, and tepid Catholics will soon feel encouraged to click somewhere else. I see myself as an anonymous smuggler of politically incorrect Catholic weaponry for the Catholic warriors out there.
2) A blog like mine gives one the confirmation that one is not alone. A blog written by Joe Bloggs gives the reader clear evidence that normal, fully common people, like your baker or butcher or the person sitting near you on the bus have had enough of this, big time. I’d find it reassuring, even if I were already “converted”. There’s strenght in number, and security in counting one’s own side’s numbers before the battle.
3) As the ways of the Lords are infinite, you never know whether a layman’s blog might still be one of them. An idea, a sentence which remains impressed, one or two arguments the readers ruminates about after he has left the blog, are always within the realm of the possible. With growing visitor numbers, they become rather inevitable.A small effect I know, but with the time it adds up…
4) The echo effect. Reader A might be already perfectly persuaded, but reader B who reads his retweet perhaps not, and reader C who talks about it with B at the pub might become curious. He will look for blogs of religious of course, but a seed is valuable even if very tiny.
5) Peace of mind. Perhaps is the advancing age but no, I think it is that I now write a blog. When something makes my blood boil, in the past my blood would happily boil away with all the consequences, sleepless nights not excluded. Nowadays, I simply think “I will write a blog post about this” and (almost always) feel already better. When you know you’ve done all you can, the sense of raging impotence is much lessened.
6) (shameless plug). I blog, my dear reader, also for your prayers, of which I am in need. Do not think for a second that just because I write a blog I am less of a sinner than most others are, or less in need of prayers than everyone else is. My being a sinner is, in fact, a main motivation for me to write. If I were to be surprised by death tomorrow, knocked down by the new (and very beautiful) London bus, the around 1060 blog post already written would, I hope, be of some help, and so would the prayers you have hopefully said for me.
Please, dear reader, if you like this blog do not deny me a short Hail Mary every now and then.
This blog here appears exclusively dedicated to the Rosary in Latin. His wisely anonymous (and therefore, perhaps a “her”) creator did an excellent work in caring for those who have not been exposed to Latin, at all.
The main page has all the prayers in Latin. If you have doubt as to the correct pronunciation, there are several links leading to pronounciation help. There is even an audio version to put what you have learned in practice.
I do understand that for those who have not been exposed to Latin in younger years the switch might come as a shock or that it might be seen as an inuperable obstacle, but this is simply not the case. For generations, innumerable illiterate peasants have recited a number of prayers in Latin and whilst I doubt that their diction was perfect, I am rather persuaded that many of them were better at praying in Latin than many contemporary Brits are at writing in English.
In the case of the rosary, the daily repetition of the prayers will soon allow everyone to feel reasonably comfortable. This is much easier than being confronted with a Latin Mass.
Perhaps the one or the other will take this occasion to give it a try. Perhaps the one or other will take this as motivation to learn and practice the Rosary in his original language first.
I cannot stress enough how important the Rosary is in the economy of salvation. Those who are interested may read more here , here, here, here, here and in the mother of all my blog posts about the Rosary, here
“Pro Missa Tridentina” Website and the progress of Summorum Pontificum in the German speaking dioceses.
Curious to see how things are going with Summorum Pontificum outside of Blighty, I found the Pro Missa Tridentina website. This website has been established by Catholic laymen (I have already written here about the fact that the Catholic Renaissance on the Internet is nowadays driven by the laity, this is another beautiful example) and has the purpose of, inter alia, providing a listing of all regular Tridentine Masses being celebrated in and around the German speaking dioceses in Europe. You will find the list under the “Hl. Messen” (“Heilige Messen”, “Holy Masses”) link.
In the German speaking world the recovery of the Latin Mass seems to be more advanced than in the United Kingdom. Not only there are regions with a predictably high concentration of Tridentine Masses (Bavaria is a small paradise, it would seem that everyone with a car doesn’t even need to be much concerned about fuel costs….), but even the number of Masses available in Austria was – considering the liberal infestation of many of its dioceses – largely above my expectations. The small German speaking Belgian minority is also provided with Latin Masses and even in the once-schismatic Dutch Church the Tridentine Mass is slowly but surely coming back.
I have written in the past about the fact that Latin was meant to be, up to the beginning of V II (Veterum Sapientia), the basis of Catholic liturgy and that the subversion of its role is one of the poisoned fruits of the Bugnini-poisoned years which followed. I see in the resurgence of the Latin Mass (we are talking Tridentine here, not even Latin versions of the Novus Ordo) a continuation of the same mentality informing Veterum Sapientia, a brilliant document and probably one of the most neglected and most rapidly forgotten in the entire history of the Church.
The addresses and postcodes make it very easy to locate a Tridentine Mass for non-German speakers who are in the region for business or holiday. Even without any concrete need for a Tridentine Mass it might be useful to browse and get an idea of what is happening, I found it encouraging and a much needed bit of good news. This is, of course, only the beginning and the very existence of Internet websites allowing one to locate a Tridentine Mass shows how far we still are from an acceptable situation. Still, I couldn’t scroll down the list of the churches offering the Tridentine Mass and escape a feeling that we are now at the turning of the tide. The statistical section allows one to follow the progress of the reintroduction of the TLM.
My hat goes off to the laymen who had the initiative and courage to organise such an Internet presence (starting before Summorum Pontificum, mind) and make of it a useful instrument of the “reform of the reform” now slowly but surely underway.
“I never thought I’d see the day”, you will possibly think, but it is a fact that we live in a world where priests have to be encouraged to hear confessions and even to go to confession themselves. This being the situation, it is laudable that a Cardinal, Joachim Meisner, publicly tackles the issue and says a couple of uncomfortable things.
Cardinal Meisner puts the problem in clear terms:
“A priest that does not put himself frequently on one side or the other of the confessional screen experiences permanent damage to his soul and to his mission.”
A priest is there to be just that: a priest. The Church doesn’t need environmentalist priests, or revolutionary priests, or social worker priests. The Church needs priests whose first priority is to do their job. In the Cardinal’s words again:
“when the priest is no longer a confessor, he becomes a religious worker.”
As pointed out, some priests do not even regularly go to confession themselves. The mere idea makes one cringe and the Cardinal himself points out to the fact that the neglect of Confession is
“one of the most tragic ‘failures’ that the Church has experienced in the second half of the 20th century”.
Much needed words. Still, we should reflect that such problems did not arise simply because the years went by, but because something happened within the Church that caused them to happen.
Tutto si tiene. Everything is linked. You set aside your beautiful Mass and substitute it with a dumbed down version and you will cause a contagion of shallowness in all parts of the Church life, because what you do to the Liturgy, you do to the Church. You simplify and stultify the life of the faithful (depriving them of Vespers, Holy Hour and the like) and this stultification will unavoidably spread to the very priests in charge of them. You downplay the importance of being a Catholic in the economy of salvation and this will irresistibly lead to confusion among the faithful as to why sacramental life should be important. You neglect to explain and defend Catholic teaching – in your homilies and elsewhere – and your sheep will soon not know anymore what it is that makes them “Catholic”. You stress the kind of emasculated, woolly, fuzzy ecumenism beloved by so many priests and you invariably lead people to think that “provided they love Jesus” or “have their hearts in the right place” everything is fine.
Gandhi cum Dalai Lama (and some sugary songs): that’s what you’ll make of Catholicism.
All these modern errors, this shallow collection of common places very often mistaken for “Catholicism” have happened not because of some revolt from the pews, but because the clergy was in the first line in the effort to make them happen. The Church has been sabotaged from the inside, from the men at the foot of the altar who have refused to put Christ and the Church first and have started to put their popularity, or acceptance, or “going with the flow” first.
Bad theology. Bad catechesis. Socialist, or communist, or environmentalist priests. Neglect of the opus dei for mere social work (no, it’s not the same). Downplaying of the importance of sacraments. Neglect of sacraments. Loss of Catholic identity in the muddy pond of “be good-ism”….. All this has a cause. All this has been perhaps not directly created, but certainly made possible and positively encouraged by a clearly identifiable event: the Second Vatican Council.
I do hope that in time, Cardinal Meisner’s commendable analysis will not stop at the problems’ existence, but will look for the removal of their cause. It will not be easy – too many among the clergy are still emotionally invested in Vatican II – but in due course and with a lot of prayers I believe that we will get there.
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
The “inclusiveness” saga of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and its persecution of Dr. Ken Howell continues to make headlines. I have reported, inter alia, here the facts at the origin of this seemingly unreal controversy.
LifeSiteNews.com now reports that UIUC has issued a barely believable statement maintaining that as Dr. Howell is still a member of the faculty, he has not been fired and there is therefore no ground for litigation.
The speciousness of this claim is obvious, but the attorneys of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) who have undertaken Dr. Howell’s defence have readily debunked the claim pointing out to the utter uselessness of being a member of the faculty when one is not allowed to teach.
Perhaps the University of Illinois is trying to keep the fire escape open, hinting at a possible reintegration of Dr. Howell that would be presented as “business as usual”. With the words of the University’s President Michael Hogan:
“No decision has been made regarding the appointment of an instructor for the course Prof. Howell previously taught in the Fall semester; and no decision will be made until the review is complete.”
Or perhaps the “inclusive” chaps at UIUC are just trying to block Dr. Howell’s legal action. We’ll soon find out.
It is anyway evident from UIUC’s sources that they believe that Dr. Howell’s emails
“violate university standards of inclusiveness, which would then entitle us to have him discontinue his teaching arrangement with us.”
This last statement leaves one breathless. If the criterium of “inclusiveness” is allowed to override academic freedom, the obvious result of this is that nothing else can be taught, than what is considered inclusive. This excludes the almost totality of world religions and every non-religious expression going in any way, shape or form against the wishes of the PC-obsessed and the sexually deviant (more often than not the same people btw). The real issue at stake is very obvious here: whatever goes against the grain of the “inclusive troops” has no place in the university. A priceless pearl of stupidity and intolerance and a clear enunciation of “inclusiveness” as the new Führerprinzip.
UIUC is probably running out of ammunitions. ADF attorneys have given UIUC time until the 27th to fully reintegrate Dr. Howell or face the continuation of the suit. Stay tuned.
An online petition in support of Dr. Howell is available here
Facebook’s Dr. Ken fan page is here
Michael Hogan’s email is: email@example.com
The sad reality of cowardly bishops all too indifferent to the trampling of Catholic values is exposed with beautiful regularity on the Catholic blogosphere. Distressing as these news are, their diffusion is a meritorius work as the renewal of the Church is herewith helped and encouraged. Oportet ut scandala eveniant.
This has now become normality. We live in a world where Nancy Pelosi has the effrontery to call herself an “ardent Catholic” and to relentlessly put forward an abortion agenda without fearing any excommunication.
Thankfully, this is not always the case. There are still shepherds (few and far between, I admit) able to use harsh words to bring their sheep in contact with the brutal reality of the great discrepancy between Catholic values (that is: God’s law) and the secular mentality. This has happened in South America, where the recent approval of so-called same-sex marriages from the Argentinian Senate led to strong reactions from senior clergy both in Argentina and in Peru. CNA reports that the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, calls the legalisation of so-called same-sex marriages “a war against God”.
A war against God. Just imagine what would happen if such expressions were used here in Europe! The scandal of the secular classes would know no bounds and those who do not believe in God in the first place would be among the angriest.
Still, we can’t put all the blame on the secular society. Such claims would appear so astonishingly harsh in Europe, because the European shepherds meant to make them have relinquished their role a long time ago. Christianity has been considered by them, for now many decades, something you just don’t talk about or do so in very vague and uncontroversial terms – like “peace”; who doesn’t like “peace”? – whilst utterly avoiding the controversial issues they are supposed to care for in the first place.
Democracy will not give Catholics everything they want, but a self-professed abortionist should never be allowed to pursue her agenda and call herself Catholic at the same time. In some countries unpleasant legislation will be passed, but this shouldn’t happen without an open, hard fight.
Some Argentinian, Brazilian and Spanish bishops are now beginning to show the way. They are beginning to affirm Catholicism when Catholicism is uncomfortable rather than harmless consensus. They are right not only from a religious point of view but from a political one, too.
In a democracy, you pander to the interests of every minority which manages to get loud and obnoxious enough. The ugly truth is that vocal minorities are perceived as being ready to make their own votes dependent from having their way, whilst the lazy majority is seldom ready to switch alliances because some minority got soon forgotten concessions. Therefore, politics become the art of the pandering to minority interests. Take Muslims and deviant minorities. They have mastered the minority game and are now ruthlessly milking their “angry minority status”, creating the appearance that they are united (which they aren’t) and that the minority members aren’t largely indifferent (which they are).
Catholics could easily do the same. Five million Catholics could easily scare every Prime Minister into obedience, if they were led by courageous bishops looking for a fight instead of shunning it. The argument that the vast majority of Catholics are basically not so engaged does not stand: this is the case by every other minority, too.
We need to import to Europe the courage and clear words of Bishop Bergoglio; we need to make expressions like the one he used more often heard, and more seriously considered; we need to create a climate in which the mere idea of touching Catholic interests is seen as rather stupid.
To do this, we need brave bishops.
This illustrates all the scale of the problem.
I have written already about the strange idea (entertained even by some people who, for reasons unknown to yours truly, define themselves as “Catholic”) that a cat should be allowed to bark or, if you want to put it more directly, that a woman should be allowed to be priest.
The very simple fact that a woman cannot be a priest more than a cat can bark (to become a priest it is necessary to be a male in the first place; to bark it is necessary to be a dog – oh well, a canidae – in the first place) appears to elude the ladies (of both sexes) who fight such an heroic battle against common sense and ridicule.
In the last days we had another example of this astonishing forma mentis, when a rather routine like announcement from the Vatican has been attacked again by feminists fringes looking for the usual self victimhood festival.
The Vatican has decided to promote the canonical crime of attempted ordination of a woman (attempted, mind: you can’t ordain a woman as priest more than you can make a cat bark) to the exclusive rank of the delicta graviora, which are the most serious category of canonical crime and attract, inter alia, exclusive Vatican competence.
The feminists reason that if you decide that a crime involving women should be considered with more severity, you are attacking women. One must love the logic. It is as if those deluded women attempting to obtain “ordination” were punished because born women, rather than because they offend a sacrament. The harsher rules apply, by the way, to both sexes, so that the argument of the feminists (of both sexes) that the Church is persecuting the foemina diaboli so dear to their imagination is, as always, devoid of any logic.
Logic or no logic, these news are always worth reading because they provide some very nice entertainment in these distressing times. For example, it may make your day to know that there are people around calling themselves “Roman Catholic WomenPriests” (last one is only one word I think; more progressive, you know……) and that these people demand that the Church “affirm women’s full equality in the Church, including priestly ministry”. I can’t wait for the demand that the Evangelists be referred to as St. Lucia, St. Joan, etc.
Incidentally, the women also complain because the Church dares to mention them in a document also dealing with paedophile priests. Here we see the height of delusion and paranoia. It is as if the paedophile priest issue were highly radioactive: if the Vatican wants to mention it, well of course no mention of women must be made in the same document… Document they haven’t read, because if they had they’d have discovered that it also deals with several other canonical crimes (simulated celebration of the Eucharist, say).
God forgive the poor deluded old girls. They are obviously pagan blasphemers worshipping the god of feminism. A god showing the signs of its age, as do the worshippers themselves.
Still, the infinite mercy of God might reach out, we are told, even to them.
I’ll remember them in my Fatima prayers. And plead for insanity on their behalf.
Sincere, orthodox Catholics are all too frequently afflicted by the many signs of decadence and corruption that have contaminated – as so often in Her history: the Latin saying ecclesia semper reformanda is neither new nor without ground – a large part of the Church. I have reported on this blog some of the most striking recent episodes and will, no doubt, have to sadden you with many others.
Still, we are not left without blue skies. One of the most striking phenomena observable in the post “spirit of V II”-era is that the emphatically progressive religious orders are generally dying, whilst the clearly conservative ones – often heavily inspired by pre-V II spirituality, following traditional pre-V II rules and using pre-V II liturgy – thrive.
Today I’d like to introduce you – courtesy of the excellent Forest Murmurs blog – to one of these examples. A new community of Carmelite Monks has been recently constituted in Wyoming. They follow the traditional rule of their order and their liturgy is pre-V II. What is remarkable in this new monastic community is that if you visit their internet site and browse a bit around to discover what their plans are you have the distinct impression that the “aggiornamento” has been wilfully ignored and that those who think that way do not fare badly at all.
First, let us look at the community. Seven monks at the moment. Expansion planned up to forty. Huge interest with 500 (five hundred) enquiries of potential novices last year alone, people leaving in the middle of Obama-America and considering to spend the rest of their lives devoting themselves to work and prayer in an isolated place in the Rocky Mountains.
Secondly, observe that money seems not to be a huge concern, as you can clearly see from the scale of the proposed works. This is a huge task of course and one to be realised during many years of prayers for the necessary financial resources, but you won’t find any such confidence in the future in, say, those dying communities of new-age, diversity-appraising, soi-disant religious sisters so concerned with being “inclusive”, that they forget to be Christian.
Thirdly and lastly, please observe the appearance (at the same time ideological stance) of the proposed works. Nothing “modern” here, no trace of “spirit of Vatican II” whatsoever. If the entire place had been planned several centuries ago, the differences would have been rather secondary.
I will leave you to visit the internet sites for yourself. They exude a solid faith, a very clear idea about how to do things (that is: keeping “aggiornamento” out of the main entrance), a strong confidence in the future and an obvious resonance among sincere seekers.
This seems to me a clear sign that even in the middle of the orgy of feel-good, everything-goes, non-judgmental, fuzzy attitude of too many representatives of today’s Church, the Holy Ghost quietly attends to the repair works to the Barque of Peter made necessary by half a century of “aggiornamento” follies. This is a slow and often hidden process but not a timid nor, I believe, a reversible one. We see the same tendencies towards the “old religion” slowly emerging a bit everywhere, among religious orders as well as among the laity, in the pews as on the internet. At the same time, the Vatican hierarchy very slowly but, I think, irresistibly steer the course towards more orthodox, authentically and unapologetically Catholic waters. It is as if the geyser of Catholic Truth would start bubbling again below the layer of mud deposited since the Sixties, biding its time and gathering energy for the eruption of renewed spirituality that in the life of the Church always followed periods of corruption and decay.
We certainly have grounds for rightful indignation but we have no reasons for pessimism or, worse, despair.
Some of you will be already acquainted with Michael Voris. He is one of those extremely outspoken religious commenters uniting an undoubted Catholic orthodoxy with affirmations of shocking harshness which, if taken out of context, could even seem to invite to open revolt against the See of Peter (which is very obviously not the case).
Father Z has linked to his latest video here and invited to a poll without making any comment. After listening to the video (the usual mixture of spoken word and written repetition of key words) I have participated to the poll voting the second option, “he got a few things wrong but in the main I agree”. To my surprise, it turns out that I am clearly in the minority, with “that video was dead on target” taking more than two and a half votes for every “I agree in the main” vote.
As it is not necessary to be logged in to vote, I would invite the readers to visit Father Zuhlsdorf’s beautiful Internet site, listen to the video and cast their vote.
The so-called bishop Schori (a so-called “woman bishop” from the Episcopalian so-called church in the USA) is visiting England. On occasion of her stop by the Southwark Cathedral – where she was allowed to preach the new gospel of political correctness to the usual “inclusive” audience – she was, as reported among others by Father Z, not allowed to wear her mitre but forced to carry it instead. This is because whilst she sees herself as a full-fledged “bishopess” the so-called church of England – belonging, mind, to the same Anglican Community – apparently doesn’t. This episode is a beautiful reminder of what happens when a so-called church is, not being the Only Church, consequently not helped by the Holy Ghost.
In the wonderful world of Anglicanism – where everyone believes what he pleases whilst at the same time maintaining that they are one, ehem, church and calling this “broadmindedness” or better still, “diversity” – Ms Schori is so many things to so many people that one almost becomes vertiginous. For the more conservative Anglicans of Catholic sympathies she is neither a priest nor a deacon; for others she is not a priest, but merely a deacon; others still think that she is a priest but, alas, not a bishop; and for a last group of very “inclusive” members she is a bishop, even if their spiritual head disagrees with that.
And all this, believe it or not, within the same soi-disant “church”. Funny, isn’t it?
Anglicanism is the most similar thing I have ever seen to a Pizza Express menu, where everyone can not only pick and choose the basic variant of his faith but also add those particular toppings he thinks most appropriate and savoury for himself. In the meantime, this so-called church sinks in an ocean of highly publicised controversies at various levels. It appears that the various so-called churches of the Anglican Communion are trying to react to the declining number of faithful by becoming less Christian, more politically correct, more secular in their outlook and as a result more controversial, more divisive and yes, more ridiculous. A pure marketing exercise, and a very short-sighted one at that.
The moral and theological bankruptcy of Anglicanism (in his numerous flavours) is under everyone’s eyes. It will get worse as the number of adherents continues to head south as it has done in the past several decades. The attempt to save themselves by embracing secular ideology will only accelerate the decay. This is what happens when the Holy Ghost does not help a community of faithful: they will split in countless conflicting and purely personal interpretations of the Only Truth. Tot capita, tot sententiae. This is the destiny – and in fact the reality – of all protestant ecclesial communities, without exceptions.
There is only One Church. She has been founded by Christ. Accept no substitutes.
I have reported about the irreverent and possibly blasphemous anti-Catholic Hyundai ad.
I found this on my email inbox:
Hello and thank you for your feedback regarding Hyundai advertising.
Hyundai Motor America would like to thank you and other consumers for sharing concerns about a new ad titled “Wedding” which aired during the opening games of the FIFA World Cup broadcast last week. We take comments of this nature very seriously. Because of feedback like yours, we have removed the ad from all Hyundai communications and stopped airing it.
We credit the passionate World Cup viewers and Hyundai owners for raising this issue to us. The unexpected response created by the ad, which combined both soccer and religious motifs to speak to the passion of international soccer fans, prompted us to take a more critical and informed look at the spot. Though unintentional, we now see it was insensitive. We appreciate your feedback and hope you will accept our sincere apologies.
Hyundai Motor America
The American Papist informs that Hyundai are now also cancelling the adv from youtube.
It is beautiful to see that when Catholics mobilise, results are obtained. One cannot avoid to think that Catholics should mobilise more often. Catholicism is defended by being vocal, not by being “nicely” coward.
In the past weeks confused but altogether not reassuring news about the planned Papal visit to the UK have started to circulate. Explosions of costs were mentioned, uncertainties about the venues and contrasts between the local bishops and the Vatican about where to celebrate the Beatification Mass of Cardinal Newman.
It is sad that such an important occasion (important because of the powerful symbolic value of a visit in a highly secularised country as the United Kingdom) should be clouded by issues like organisational failures and lack (or better: waste) of faithful’s money. Still, some broader issues arise from this situation.
The first is the character of the Beatification Mass. I can’t see how a mass celebrated in an airport can be as solemn and edifying as a Mass celebrated in a Cathedral or other church building. In an airport, the main aspect of the Mass (the sacrificial one) is clouded by the “gathering” aspect of the event. This is in my eyes better left to the Protestants. There is a reason why buildings have been erected for the purpose of celebrating Mass rather than looking for the next available open space, and it is because they are a more fitting place.
The second issue is the necessity of such megalomaniacal planning. I do not agree that when a Pope comes to visit a huge effort should be made to allow as many people as possible to see him. The Pope is the Head of the Universal Church and his visit has a high symbolic meaning irrespective of how many people are there to see him. It is not a contest to see who can mobilise the greatest masses.
The third issue is one of pure ability and competence. If there was the capacity of organising such huge events at a reasonable cost, without squandering money and remaining within budget, then such gigantic efforts might, hypothetically, start to make some sense. But this ability is obviously not there.
The fourth issue is how the faithful’s money is spent. From the relevant internet page we are informed that £350,000 are going to be spent for “evangelisation material” and £650,000 for “communication work” of various sort. For one event. This looks like “jobs for the boys” to me. Also notice the £200,000 on “fundraising costs” in a country where the Catholic Church is represented everywhere and most wealthy donors are just a phone call away. All this, whilst churches are closed for alleged lack of funds.
It is illusory to think that one can forward the Catholic cause in the United Kingdom by organising mass gatherings. Catholicism is promoted by being Catholic, saying it out loud and demanding to be heard in every matter touching the Catholic faith. The bishops of England, Wales and Scotland are evidently deficient in this and the “missionary zeal” that the Holy Father has demanded from them is clearly not there.
A couple of televised events will not make up for the lack of this missionary zeal. Particularly if they are mismanaged.
The Psalmist’s rod and staff are traditionally used images to convey the fact that the faithful will invariably need unpleasant correction. As the shepherd uses the rod and the staff in a way which is not pleasant to the sheep but keeps them away from harm or sudden death, the spiritual shepherd must at times use his spiritual rod and staff to make clear to his sheep that they are headed in the wrong direction and a correction of course is needed. This kind of correction is unpleasant – more so in modern times, where more and more people think that they are the creators of their own moral coördinates – but is nevertheless necessary and salutary.
For too long, we have been led to believe that the good shepherd is the one who is popular among the sheep; the one whom the sheep consider a frightfully nice chap, a smiling tolerant inclusive fellow and, in short, a pleasant bloke all around. For too long, our spiritual shepherds have tried to be our friends rather than our guides, have thought that we would naturally grow out of all our shortcomings instead of charitably but clearly pointing out to them and have in general tried to avoid every occasion of making themselves, well, less popular. The first result of such a shepherd’s behaviour is that many of his sheep start to die; the second, that more and more sheep start to question whether they need a shepherd at all; the third, that an increasing number of sheep lose the sense of why the shepherd was there in the first place other than to entertain them with platitudes abundantly available everywhere.
Thankfully, all this slowly begins to change. As the post-Vatican II (and post Sixty-Eight) generation of priests slowly retires and a new generation of more orthodox priests begins to fill the pulpits, a clear tendency to a more assertive style of spiritual guidance is frequently noticed. The rod and the staff are coming back. You can see here that the Holy Father himself insists on the point.
The Holy Father’s words are particularly important, because they come at a time when the push toward tolerance at all costs is particularly strong within the secularised West; strong, in fact, to the point that such an “inclusiveness” seems to have become the new religion, the moral absolute and the ethical compass of a growing number of secular – or simply not properly instructed – individuals.
We need more of these assertive shepherds. We need more Fulton Sheens and less Roger Mahonys. We want our shepherd to use his rod and his staff to help us to grow instead spoiling us rotten so that he may be popular and have an easy life.
The “American Papist” reports a very disrespectful – and possibly blasphemous – adv from Hyundai on occasion of the Football World Championship.
The adv (I will not do Hyundai the favour of putting it here) makes a mockery of Catholicism by showing a caricatured version of a Catholic Mass. Whilst the message is probably not intended to be directly offensive to the feelings of Catholics, it is obvious that the Catholic love for liturgy has been chosen as an easy target for the rather shallow slogan of the advertisement: “for someone, football is a religion”.
One wonders whether the genial minds of those responsible for this TV spot would have chosen to make a mockery of, say, a Muslim or Jewish religious ceremony to present the same slogan. They obviously wouldn’t, because they well know that in the contemporary cultural climate mocking the Catholic Church is fair game but mocking Islam or the Jewish faith would put them in a dangerous and unpleasant position.
This is a beautiful example of the double standard used by the media in religious matters.
The right answer to this kind of behaviour is: remember this adv and next time you are shopping for a new car do not buy Hyundai (or Kia, the sister company).