Reading around on the Internet, one stumbles upon some debates that to this cradle Catholic – who grew up in a country and in a time where Catholicism was still taken seriously – do sound rather strange.
I therefore thought that I would spend two words about what I think is the role expected from a priest vis-a-vis the challenges of modern times – and, come to that, of all times -.
1) I find it very good that a priest is shocked at perverted behaviour. When a priest – or every other person – is not shocked anymore, this means that he has been polluted by perversion himself. One must wonder about the state of a soul who is not taken by disgust at seeing people of same sex holding hands in public or, worse, kissing. Of course a priest must not be a Pollyanna utterly unaware of the existence of sin; but neither can he be one who looks at sexual perversion without cringing.
2) I find it (after the consecration) the most important duty of the priest to be good from the pulpit. In particular, it is inconceivable to me how a priest – any pastor or minister, let alone a Catholic priest – may renounce to address the matter of sin. I do not only mean the sin of lust, but all sins: envy, gluttony, pride, the lot. We are surrounded by obese people, on their way to a life of trouble and a premature death, because the sin of gluttony is not mentioned anymore; we have more and more vocal perverts around, because their sin of pride has been hidden under the cloak of “understanding” for their “plight”, when vocal homosexuality is simply utter rebellion to Our Lord; we have the environmental madness and the spreading of socialist ideas, because the sin of envy is not properly addressed; nay, it is encouraged.
How important the homily is can be clearly seen from the fact that the Church post Vatican II has tried to kill it, transforming it in a harmless chat where no uncomfortable messages are conveyed. The measure in which sin is so accurately avoided in every trendy homily is simply scary. In fact, whilst we still say that something is said “from the pulpit”, the pulpit itself has been one of the victims of Vatican II. How many new churches have been built with a proper pulpit? And when a pulpit is available, how many priests still use it?
The entire concept and physical presence of the pulpit reminds one of sin. NuChurch wants to get rid of the concept of sin. Therefore, NuChurch has to get rid of the pulpit.
Let me state very plainly that to me, a priest who is unwilling to address sin from the pulpit is unrecognisable as a priest.
3) In my eyes, a good priest is one who is, as it is generally said, a lion from the pulpit and a lamb (when he sees contrition, of course) in the confessional. From the pulpit, I am reminded of what a wretched sinner I am. In the confessional, I am re-directed toward the path of salvation. Being a sinner, I need the constant reminder that I go astray, and need to be reconciled to Jesus; that I am like those half-broken spring-propelled toy cars we had as children, which couldn’t go straight and had to be constantly put on the right way again; and this not only in the very grave things, but in the lesser ones also. I need to be reminded that I alone can do pretty much perfectly absolutely nothing; that left to my devices, I am very likely to find a rather fast way to hell; that my path to improvement and to a life of – at least – struggle to be as good as I can goes through the humiliation of penance, the crushing acknowledgment that I continue to nail Christ to the Cross every day. And this humiliation is really good (I mean: salutary), because it keeps me away from the worst of the sin of pride, and puts ruthlessly in front of my eyes what wreckage concupiscence is ready to make in my soul, if I am complacent.
Unpleasant? You bet! The human condition is unpleasant: we are sinners ready to continue to offend Christ every day. We are serial sinners who, unless we are properly instructed and reminded and admonished and rebuked, would easily find a speedy way to hell, and the priest is the man to help us avoid that.
4) Still, my ideal priest is one who uses a wise mixture of all that; one whose homilies are a healthy mixture of instruction and admonition, of hope and brimstone, of roaring and consoling. By one homily of twelve to fifteen minutes a week there is really a lot to say, and a normal churchgoer can have a thorough foundation in Catholic teaching, and at the same time develop a very healthy, nay, indispensable sense of his own sinfulness, in a matter of just a few years. This is what has always happened in the past, when people actually built churches with pulpits; and this is what the perverted generation of Vatican II has abandoned. Even the way to the confessional clearly goes through the pulpit, as the confessionals are deserted because the need for confession is not stressed strongly enough. One would have to talk about sin, you know. So he devotes the homily to the jooooy that awaaaaaits us aaaall in heaaaaven instead. “What a beautiful homily, Father”, will the people whose hand he is – in pure Protestant fashion – happily shaking after Mass say to him. Nothing but smiles all around. How very nice.
5) A good priest is, in my eyes, one who doesn’t refrain from addressing sexual perversion from the pulpit. He will – if he is any good – be able to express himself in a way that is clear without being obscene, and can be directed to the adults without upsetting the children. I agree that one hundred years ago the Sin of Sodom didn’t need to be addressed in Church; but others did, and St. Augustine openly rebuked his parishioners who slept with their own servants without being so afraid of what questions the children of these very fathers might have asked after Mass.
This is not meant to offend anyone in particular, of course. In fact, the blog where I have read one of these debates is run by what I think a most excellent priest. But then again, it is surprising what comments people (or even: priests) can write around as comments to blog posts or answers to questions. If I look back at my own experience the lack of proper homilies as a child has been, no doubt, one of the things which allowed me to slide away from mass attendance. If the priests isn’t serious, you end up not taking the Mass seriously. My mistake of course, but I can’t say that I was even warned from doing the mistake. Such were the times and such they, I do not doubt, very often are. We live in times where many priests would consider mentioning Mass obligation a no-no. Then they complain about the fact that the world is so materialistic and not turned to God. Why don’t they wake up instead.
A priest doesn’t have to be a master in sensitivity. He is there to save souls. He must be able to find the words, and to use the strong ones when needed. This is what a loving father does.
At times I have the impression that modern “Fathers” would prefer to be called “Mother” instead.
This is another fruit of the genius of Mitchell & Webb, though not in the way they intended.
This man needs some little re-orientation, and adjustment of coordinates.
He might do with becoming a little more polished, and revising his theology here and there.
After that he’ll make, no doubt, an excellent Catholic priest.
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.”
From my little collection of sayings under “the Quotable Catholic”, some intelligent quotes that would, I think, be very useful for Father Corapi.
Here they are.
When you crash against the rock, you will not damage the rock but you will hurt yourself.
My grandmother, who had only an eighth grade education, knew more than many theologians because she knew the truth.
Our arms are too short to box with God.
The definition of heresy is, ‘pick and choose’.
It is easy to praise the Lord when everything is going alright. Just let us stub our toe and see if the praise still continues.
If He went through torture and crucifixion, then how could we not put up with criticism.
Don’t mess with a strong man’s bride.
An old priest sits on a bench in his garden, and thinks about the past. It seems like yesterday. A “nuChurch” was being born, and there was a widespread hope that this new approach to things would cause the Catholic faith to expand everywhere, facilitate reconciliation with non-Catholics, and increase the number of vocations. Guitars were being strummed, and tambourines beaten to the rhythm of the new times.
He was then starting his priestly activity. How proud he was of himself! He felt the epitome of the “modern priest”, so different was he from his old colleagues. He sees himself again, a young man devoid of any severity of demeanor, fully anti-authoritarian, concerned with social issues, friend of the people, friend – particularly – of the young. The young were, in those times, everywhere, the be all and end all. They were the bearer of a special wisdom, of a fresh, unquestionable truth. How proud was he to be one of them, a rebel like them in his own way; the bearer of a fresh wind, and of a new truth. How could anyone not be comfortable with such a chap? How could such a new priest not greatly help not only the cause of Catholicism, but the explosion of vocations? A priest in sweater and jeans…. what is nearer to the young than that? He felt in the middle of things, shaping a new world, shaping a new Church, making everything new. He thinks of himself in those time and a sudden question freezes him and causes him to shudder on his bench: where was heaven in all that?
He sees himself now, forty years later. He still wears sweater and jeans whenever he can, but he is now old and all that was natural in the past now feels increasingly uncomfortable, out of touch, even weird. The tambourines have started to become silent some years ago, and are now increasingly considered a ridiculous remnant of a very stupid past; and the guitars are so Seventies, only old people who were young in the times of “the Mamas and the Papas” can tolerate them in a church. He knows his parishioners, and knows who are the ones liking the guitars. They are the people like him, who were young in an era of mad, wild dreams and don’t want to awaken to the sobering reality of their utter and complete failure.
He reflects sadly on what everything has become, and must now admit that “nuPriest” was a spectacular fiasco. Many of his colleagues who got out of the seminaries in those years cannot even read Latin, let alone celebrate the old Mass. He can, but is afraid to. Many of his colleagues cannot, but don’t even want to. He sees them now with the eyes of the world outside, and realises that their refusal to come back to the past lets them appear such useless tools, such remnants of a past age of error, such ridiculous dotards as not even the old priests of his youth ever did. The sweater and jeans look increasingly more out of order to a growing number of his parishioners, particularly the younger he once so worshipped, and considered “the future”. The number of parishioners itself has been greatly reduced and consists now largely of grey-haired people; people who were young with him and have become old with him; like him, facing the smiles of the younger generation for whom a guitar in the church is a sacrilege, and a priest must be dressed correctly and according to the rules. The old people still want the guitars, poor souls, and he doesn’t want to embitter their last years. He is an old man, having patience with other old men and knowing that the young think the same of him: a relic of a past age of foolishness, a man whose retirement will be commented with half words of barely concealed satisfaction, and knowing smiles.
He reflects on the paradox of the “youth mania” of his young years. His generation, with its worship of everything young, should in fact be the first to admit failure now that the young clearly refuse their ways. It doesn’t happen, though, and those who were celebrating “the young people” in the Sixties and Seventies now seem to think that the young people are wrong, and the old people right; the same old people who have lived an entire life in the celebration and exaltation of youth. What an irony, and what a tragedy.
His ilk is dying. Not many young men followed the call for the “modern” priesthood. Worse still, a non indifferent number of those who did decided to do so for unspeakable motives, as the word started to go around that modern seminaries were a paradise for homosexuals, and an easy way to make a living whilst enjoying – if one was clever enough not to give scandal – impunity. He has known several of those priests, as they started to get a less and less infrequent appearance in the Seventies and Eighties. He knew, and he knew that they knew, and that they didn’t care of either him, or everyone else suspecting. Nuchurch allowed them to do so, provided they didn’t shout their perversion from the bell tower.
In time worse still emerged, with the explosion of cases of pedophilia, largely among those very same homosexuals who, having infiltrated the Church with one abomination, were now completing the devil’s work by humiliating her with another, even more terrible one. He felt humiliated, but he still couldn’t see the link between homosexuality and pedophilia. He didn’t realise that Satan will not stop half way, but will want the whole enchilada of abomination and perversion and destruction. He now does.
He used to be, and to be called, a “modern priest”; but he has now become old, in all possible meanings of the word. His model of “priesthood” is now considered obsolete and inefficient; not only is he aware of his being considered the same “methuselah” the young people of his generation accused old priests of being; worse still, he is aware of the ridicule now slowly but surely surrounding his way of doing things; a ridicule the old priests of his youth never had to fear, because they were surrounded by an authority he never claimed for himself. He belongs to an ilk who will die with his generation, and will be remembered as an unprecedented catastrophe.
In the meantime, he clearly sees the Church growing in another direction. In the evening of his life, he must acknowledge that those who grow and attract young people to the priesthood are those with a completely opposed model, those who want to create the same type of priest he wanted to destroy. Conservative orders are on the march, whilst those who don’t want to change (the Jesuits, the Franciscans) have transformed themselves in hospices for failed sixty-eighters, pathetic shadows of their former self, echoing a social, feminist message that even to him – a priest in sweater and jeans – now sounds so ridiculously shallow. Even those whom he used to call “schismatics” – with a certain joy, and feeling so superior, and thinking them a small bunch of nutcases soon to be cancelled by the sheer force of time – thrive. He has just learned that the FSSPX is building a new, much bigger seminary in the US as the old one can’t accommodate the explosion in vocations. If they had told him as much when the SSPX bishop were consecrated he would have laughed very loudly. He was just plain wrong. He was wrong all the time.
How things have changed! The SPPX doesn’t know where to put their seminarians, even if all those young priest can count with a certain suspension a divinis the day they are ordained. But they believe in what they do, that much he can clearly see. They do their thing with a conviction and sureness of purpose that he never had, with a faith he has started to lose a long time ago and is now uncertain and almost shameful, with the energy of those who want at all costs to repair to the damage the he, and his, have caused.
He is old now, and will soon retire. The young priest who will substitute him will be, that much he fully realises, very different from him. He will wear clerical garbs at all times, and perhaps even a cassock. He will stop every one of the post V II innovations he is still keeping; soon, there will be no EMHCs – two old ladies, bitter and petulant; he is almost glad at the thought of their displeasure, but then refrains and recites an hail mary for them -, no altar girls – other two old ladies, poisonous old feminists, worse than the first! – no modern hymns; obviously, no guitars; he himself let the tambourines go a long time ago, and the old parishioners complained……
The entire world he wanted to create, the entire church he wanted to re-shape is going to die, one innovation at a time. NuChurch is old, and tired. She looks ridiculous in the eyes of a growing number of faithful, and he knows these faithful are more Catholic than he ever, ever was.
His older parishioners, they don’t see that. They still buy the “Tablet” (that he never had the gut to take away, though he has been long embarrassed by it), wave their arthritic arms, sing their hymns with a feeble voice, desperately want to feel young, and to feel right. They don’t want to understand, and he has no courage to try to make them understand. He must admit to himself that he is too cowardly to tell them that they are all wrong, that they always were, that the whole “spirit of Vatican II” was a huge failure, that – as they have said all their lives – the youth are right, and the methuselahs are wrong.
He reflects on his conduct, and shudders. Is he being charitable, or is he being accessory to their sins? Will they go to hell? If they do, then…… – he will go with them! Most assuredly he will! He who has carefully avoided – even when he started to realise it himself – to tell them they were wrong, how will he be able to escape punishment? He, a priest, the first responsible for their souls!! He is terrified now, and can’t stop the tears.
He must change, that much he now realises. Whatever damage he has done in the past, he must do his best to undo it, even if only for a few months, or a couple of years. He must start to speak clarly, to speak Catholic, to speak….. like the old priests of his youth did! He will have to apologise, to say that in his effort to be charitable, he was being an accomplice. He will have to. He will start to talk of those things he always carefully avoided: the last four things; the works of mercy; the sins crying to heaven for vengeance; the Vesper; the Sacred Heart of Jesus; the Immaculate Heart of Mary; the Rosary…… – oh Lord, the Rosary!! How could he keep the Rosary from his sheep! And what has he given to them instead? Guitars, talk of social justice, and stupid hymns! He has told them to be nice to the milkman, and tolerant towards the grocer, and a friend of the environment!
The tears are unstoppable now, he almost can’t see when he gets up and runs to his bedroom, kneels in front of the picture of the Sacred Heart – the picture his old mother had given him; accepted from him as an act of patient kindness – and cries convulsively, shattered, now completely surrendered, wrecthed and miserable as he never felt in his life.
And there, kneeling and crying, he slowly feels the sweetness of his wretchedness, and the grace of his sorrow. He understands, whilst still crying, that his worst day is his best too. A new beginning has been given to him, a late repentance, a shot – nay, the last shot at redemption.
He continues to pray, more composed now. As he prays, he begins to see in front of him the new old priest he has now become, and the new parish he will now give shape to. He will ask for his retirement to be deferred and will start to do things properly, old altar “girls” or no old altar “girls”. They can cry and complain as much as they want. He knows that he has now stopped to be a coward, and that God’s grace has given him the gut to be a true shepherd.
He stands up; dries his tears; and smiles.
I complain very often about the BBC, a nest of liberal vipers all too ready to forget any balance and abandon themselves to the most scandalous liberal/atheist/anti-Catholic bias.
I must say, though, that even on the BBC I have never heard anything remotely approaching the total lack of balance and basic religious literacy of the incompetent wannabe journalists living from the public purse at this sender.
You would think that the article has been written by some thirteen-years-old girl playing journalist, so cretinous the entire presentation of the matter is.
The author of this piece of misinformation truly seems to believe that it is possible to con the Church into creating what can’t be created. To even think of being able to write that “women were secretly ordained” as priests is on the same level of intelligence as believing that in 2002 seven women were secretly appointed Dobermann Of The Year, or Second Moon Of The Earth, or Secret Presidents of Middle Earth.
There cannot be women priest, because being a man is a constitutive element of being a priest. There can’t be women priests more than there can be barking cats. It’s as simple as that, and even a girl journalist – even if entirely stupid – should be able to get this.
Sadly, simple logical thinking doesn’t seem to be a requisite for journalism anymore. The newspaper ludicrously talks of “ordinations” as if a real ordination – instead of a pathetic masquerade – had really taken place. It talks of “domino effect” as if a mickey-mouse priestess would be able to validly confer holy orders to another mickey-mouse priestess. This is so stupid that every seven years old child, properly instructed, would find it completely unworthy of his time and an insult to his intelligence.
The bias truly knows no boundaries. The wannabe barking cats
“made their way down the aisle, beaming like brides”.
Good Lord! What is this, the screenplay of a third-rate comedy? The excited little scream of a Justin Bieber fan? This is below stupid.
But this is not all:
The two-and-a-half-hour ceremony ended with Holy Communion — the moment they’d been waiting for.
No it didn’t. They ate some bread after having dressed themselves and were blasphemous and sacrilegious in so doing. I’m glad that the idiots attending were punished with two and a half hours of this, though.
Each woman performed the rites for the first time as a priest, breaking bread and serving wine as tears of joy flowed down their faces.
Our little girl journalist is here fully losing control, or perhaps she thought that she was writing an email to some, no doubt, stupid girlfriend of her. Whatever this is, this isn’t journalism.
Following these pearls of wisdom and journalistic talent, the mind (if any) of these nutcases is explained or, better, unwittingly exposed:
Fellow ordinand Patti LaRosa had a similar experience growing up. She came from a close-knit Italian family and always felt comfortable in the Catholic Church.
So the lady felt “comfortable” in the Catholic Church. Hey, why leave it then? If I decide that I now am, say, a Mullah, why not to appoint myself “Catholic mullah”? I feeeel so comfortable with that!
And it so happens about this lady that:
Several times a week she would go to church during her lunch break, and one day she realized, “I’m supposed to be a priest.”
So she sits there and one days she thinks, “I’m supposed to be a priest”. She could have thought “I’m supposed to be an elephant”, and the logical content would have been exactly the same.
I suppose the lady doesn’t feel comfortable with elephants.
There should be less money for useless public radios, and more money for serious mental health care.
You may think that “Litany of Lament” is an invention of mine to mock the deluded geriatric potheads recently responsible for the heresy fest in Detroit. Well this is not the case and the “Litany of Lament” was, in fact, an official part of the proceedings.
Without repeating this piece of comedy in its entirety, let me explain for you some revealing points:
“2. Angered by church leaders who protect pedophiles and persecute prophets, we cry…”
It is, of course, not forbidden to be angry at bad shepherds. But it is decidedly forbidden to aspire to so-called female priesthood. Now make no mistake, when they say “persecute prophets”, they mean “punish women stupid enough to think they can be priests”. They even had huge posters about this at the conference. What claim these ladies have to be “prophetic” is not clear to me; neither it is, I think, to them….
“3 Denied Eucharist because of the failure to address the priest shortage, we cry.”
This is very, very funny. I mean, if they were in the middle of the Australian Outback one would understand a certain difficulty in finding a Catholic church; but what the old potheads are saying is “we must have wymmyn priest because now they are so rare we can’t find a church”. Beside the obvious heresy of wanting wymmyn priest, this is just plain stupid.
“4. Aching for the Eucharist to be celebrated as nourishment for sinners, not a reward for good behavior, we cry…”
This is rather difficult to understand. I never thought (and was never taught) that I can get communion only if I have been oh such a good boy. Being free of mortal sin and well disposed to receive the Eucharist is, in fact, all that is required. On the contrary, it is receiving a good communion that will wash out my sins, provided they are not mortal.
Moreover, the distinction between “people who behave well” on the one side and “sinners” on the other is wrong. We are all sinners of course, so the expression doesn’t make sense. But substitute with “aching for the eucharist to be given to everyone even if an unrepentant pervert” and I think you’ll get at the root of what they meant….
“5. Wondering why we are closing parishes rather than opening ordination, we cry…”
Heresy again. “Opening ordination” (to wymyn, it is meant here) is just not allowed. It is Church doctrine. Even if there’d be only, say, twelve priest left on the face of earth, Church doctrine would not change. “Closing parishes” is, therefore, neither here nor there and oh, have I said that asking for wymyn priest is heretical?
“6. Longing to celebrate creative theologians rather than mourn their marginalization, we cry…”
Buzzword alert: “celebrate”. The “creative” theologian is the heretical Hans Kueng, not allowed to teach anymore and not defrocked merely to avoid doing him a favour, but applauded by the marijuana-crowd.
“7. Oppressed by rigid structures of racism, we cry…”
Buzzword alert: racism. This is very, very funny. The Church who sets black men very high in the hierarchy (think of Cardinal Arinze) and has priests and bishops of every possible skin colour or shade would be “racist”. I think the word just had to be there. The old fools are so accustomed to using it….
“8. Blind to the beauty of God’s image in gay and lesbian people we cry…”
This is outright blasphemous. The beauty of God’s image is in the person, not in his being a pervert.
God doesn’t do perversion, God doesn’t create perverts, God doesn’t want one to be a pervert.
“12. Amidst the shattered images of godliness and ministry, we cry…”
It is difficult to understand what was meant here as probably the joint had already gone around for long enough. What I think this might mean is that without wymmyn priest the ministry of priesthood is “shattered” (read: God was fooled by a bunch of chauvis, these two thousand years) and that – I think; bear with me though, I am just trying to give some meaning to the words – therefore the Church is not reflective of, or representative of, any “godliness”.
Fun reading, I know.
It reminds me of those liberal teachers asking the young pupils at elementary schools “how they imagine God”.
These are the typical old people acting like children.
With the added brain damage from the drugs.
If you don’t know what the American Catholic Council is, don’t worry: you are not alone.
In short, this is one of those ridiculous outfits which claim to be Catholic whilst clearly being Protestant. From thinking that everyone should be priest, to being in favour of wymmyn priest, to encouraging the usual pervert sexual behaviour, they serve you the whole enchilada of the “dissent” madness. You may ask why they don’t become Protestant as they clearly… already are, but intelligence and logical thinking are graces clearly not given to everyone.
It so happens that this mickey-mouse “catholic” organisation holds a conference in Detroit in the next few days, featuring some of the usual heretical muppets. The event will (would; was supposed to) also host an “ecumenical mass”, which considering the ideas of the organisers screams “liturgical abuses” from very, very far away.
Now the local Archbishop is a certain Vigneron; a man who might possibly not be a sword of Catholic orthodoxy (I seem to recall his diocese being pretty harshly criticised by Michael Voris in the past; I might be wrong) but has certainly the energy to avoid tolerating such a load of manure without reaction.
Therefore, Archbishop Vigneron has made the following:
1) he has not authorised the mass, and
2) he has written a letter to his priests and deacons stating that his questions about the mass have not been answered to his satisfaction, that the whole thing screams of liturgical abuse, and that therefore any deacon or priest who should entertain the unealthy thought of participating in this liturgy runs the risk of being dismissed from the clerical state.
I can picture the “dissident” Protestants-telling-themselves-Catholics now faced with the unpleasant reality of even a “moderate” archbishop throwing around threats of laicisation for deluded feminist/homosexual hotheads, and posed in front of the unpleasant task of having to find a priest in good standing but ready to risk the soutane (if he ever wore one) for them or show that the archbishop can well and truly block them.
Alternatively, they may ask some layman to celebrate a fake mass; or some wymmyn; and what about the dog……
I think of their situation and try to feel sorry for them in their quandary.
Thankfully, I can’t.
A couple of days ago, a well-known blogger announced that his “Catholic ordination” (note the words) had been postponed, clearly sine die.
The news went around the blogosphere and I also made some comment on the site of a Catholic weekly. As it is my custom, I intervened with a string of messages and then left the matter alone, being fully persuaded that those who don’t get things right when one writes them once or twice will not be able to get them right if one keeps writing them again and again.
The discussion tended about finding the reasons why the blogger’s ordination was put on ice. Some believed that an element might have been that the blogger in question can be, at times, rather abrasive. Some others – including your truly, and at least one Catholic priest blogger – tend to think that the reason might well be that said blogger gives at times a rather strong impression of either not accepting Apostolicae Curae (about the nullity of Anglican Orders), or of “accepting” it the Anglican way, that is: interpreting the way he pleases.
The elements that led me to believe that the second reason might be the right one are as follows:
1) one commenter explicitly said that said blogger had in the past repeatedly showed his failing to accept Apostolicae Curae.
2) the blogger refers to himself as “Father”, but is not ordained a Catholic (only for the sake of clarity: it means “Roman” Catholic) priest.
3) the blogger refers to his “ordination as priest” and his “43 years of priestly ministry”, in both cases talking of Anglican so-called “orders” as if they were valid orders.
4) on his blog, a well-known Catholic blogger priest went explicitly on the matter, opining that the problem might have originated by his calling himself “father” and candidly saying that he (the priest commenter) had thought that he (the blogger) was a Catholic priest.
I have written in the past on several occasions – here, about when conversions go wrong, or here, about the many Anglicans who seem to want the roast without the trimmings, or here, with a little vademecum for Anglicans thinking about conversion – about the great danger that Anglicans desirous to convert to Catholicism may have – in best Anglican tradition – an attitude of refusal of what they don’t like, and acceptance of what they like. This is, I am afraid, so ingrained in the Anglican way of doing things – and without which the Anglicans would have long split many more times than they already did – that it was very much to fear that in many cases – and without taking anything away from those sincere convert who sincerely accepts Catholicism in its entirety – this would be the case in occasion of their conversion, too.
What is truly worrying, though, is that the comments left on the comment box of said blogger left no doubt whatsoever that this Anglican mentality of accepting what is convenient, and talking away what isn’t is rather spread among his followers. This would suggest, at the very least, that said blogger should feel the opportunity – nay: the responsibility – to properly instruct his followers about the nullity of Anglican orders, with no ifs and no buts.
I want to think that said blogger is – albeit this might have been, or must have been painful to him – aware of the nullity of his Anglican orders; of the fact that he therefore hasn’t any; of the fact that he will only become a priest the day he is ordained a priest by the only Church; and that his calling himself “Father”, & Co. are merely unlucky ways of expressing oneself; ways perhaps due to force of habit and, say, needs of internet name recognition.
Still, it would not be good if, of all people, those prominent members of the Anglican clergy who are swimming the Tiber would not help those following them to do things properly, that is: believing all that the Church believes and professing all that the Church professes.
I have in the past only been an irregular reader of the blog in question; I have found most of what is written there intelligent, instructive and – with the exception of the seeming attitude towards his own “priesthood” – very orthodox. I sincerely think that the man will be – if he is orthodox about Apostolicae Curae – a great asset for the Ordinariate, and an effective weapon in the Catholic armoury.
But this makes it, in my eyes, the more necessary that former Anglican clergy like him be a shining example of orthodoxy, irrespective of his seeming attitude towards Apostolicae Curae having been the cause of his problems or not. Anglicans are such experts of ambiguity, that they must be above every suspicion of abandoning themselves to it again once they have become (notice the word: become) Catholics.
We are all human beings, we all have egos and we all have, so to speak, an affection towards our past. It is understandable that, here and there, our ego may offer some resistance and perhaps even play us some bad tricks. But it is then the more important that, at the beginning of a new life, a last effort is made to remove all obstacle remaining to the beginning of this new phase of existence.
I sincerely hope that we will, sooner than not, welcome this blogger as a new, fully orthodox Catholic priest.
At which point, by the way, we will all call him “Father” anyway.
Next time you hear someone complaining that in the Tridentine Mass the priests gives his back to the faithful, you may want to ask him the following questions:
1) Is he offended that the people sitting in front of them in the pews turn their back to him?
2) Shouldn’t the Mass, then, be held with the faithful in a nice half circle of one row only?
3) Does he know what a Tabernacle really is? You might have to explain this I’m afraid. When you have explained, you may ask:
4) Has he noticed how the priest is placed relative to the Tabernacle during the New Mass?
5) So who should the priest face: God or the faithful?
Of course you always run the chance of someone answering “the faithful, as God is not offended but the faithful are”.
But at least you’ll know whom you are talking to.
From the Deacon’s Bench, a barely believable story about a priest suspected of pedophile behaviour and, subsequently, the object of a letter written by the school’s principal to the bishop.
Apparently, Bishop Finn never read the letter. Instead, he appears to have received a “brief verbal summary” about it from his vicar general.
Following questions arise:
1) How can the vicar general have given the bishop a “brief verbal summary” without mentioning words related to the word a bishop must dread most: pedophilia. The details mentioned on the letters are from alarming to sickening (and certainly so in the big picture that emerges from all of them together) and would have put every sensible man, let alone a priest (or a bishop, see below) in a state of maximum alert.
2) Who is this vicar general: a priest (in this case, appointed by the bishop himself) or an auxiliary bishop (possibly not appointed by the bishop; at least not freely so). In the first case, bishop Finn must still be considered accountable in certain measure for the people he puts in position of great responsibility; in the second, we still have a bishop – though not bishop Finn – directly responsible for the blunder.
3) How can a clergyman (whether bishop, or not) not have all alarms bell ringing when he reads or hears something even remotely similar to the word mentioned above. We are in 2011, not 1951.
This seems to me a history of extraordinary incompetence, or laziness, or bad faith at some – not yet entirely clear – level. Which is a double pity, as bishop Finn seems to have his theology in order and not to be one of the progressive and cowardly shepherds. A short google search has given this, the like of which I have never read from any English bishop, (whether reading his letters or not) and will probably not read in my lifetime.
Still and as much as it pains me to say this, it beggars belief that in 2011 we must still read such stories of utter failure of most elementary control mechanisms.
I have written here about the unspeakable Herman Spronck, the Dutch Salesian Superior being on record with saying that sex with a child of twelve is fine with him.
It would now appear that this evil man has been suspended, and that a decision of the Pope is pending whether he should be defrocked.
The source of this is, says here, the Dutch journalist Roland Strijker.
If this news is confirmed (and the source seems to be credible, if even Messa In Latino doesn’t hesitate to echo it) this would show, semel in anno, a remarkable speed from both the Salesians and the Holy Father in reacting to the events.
It is true that the declarations of the Spronck man were openly evil. Still, it is a pleasure to see that a new praxis is paving its way in the corridors at least of the Vatican, that grave scandals are now punished without the slowness traditionally abused by bastards and heretics of all kinds.
If it can be of interest, the pedophile organisation called Martijn, of which the suspended Salesian at the origin of Spronck’s interview was a member, complains with the Pope and the Vatican and showers lauds on the Spronck man. Nothing else to say, really.
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.
Beautiful intervention of Father Z a propos the priest who has been asked to recant his support for so-called ordination of women or be dismissed from the seminary of Maryknoll.
Father Z’s comments are beautiful and most certainly worth the reading.
I feel the need, though, to add some short considerations of mine:
1) How en earth can it happen that a priest supports so-called women ordination for what have obviously been many years before he is asked to recant or face consequences.
2) How on earth can it happen that a priest supports so-called women ordination and he is still a priest.
3) How on earth can it happen that seminary goes from 300 to 10 seminarians without anyone thinking that in order to do so, they must have made serious mistakes.
4) How on earth can it happen that a seminary with 10 seminarians is allowed to stay open and employ an array of teachers, administrative personnel and the obvious costs of the structure.
This sad piece of news is disconcerting in more ways than one.
This is the text to be found on Father Corapi’s website. it comes from the former Bishop of Corpus Christi, Rene’ Gracida.
The text deserves to be read in its entirety:
The public controversy over the announcement of the accusations against Father John Corapi, SOLT, and his suspension from exercising his priestly ministry offers an opportunity to reflect on the flawed procedure apparently being followed in too many dioceses of the United States these days in the case of a priest accused of sexual misconduct not involving minors. The procedure is flawed because it inflicts grave injustice on the priest and serves as a deterrent to young men thinking of offering themselves as candidates for the priesthood.
The procedure operates something like this. A person accuses a priest of sexual misconduct (again, not involving a minor). The priest is immediately suspended from active exercise of his priestly ministry while an investigation is launched into the truth or falsity of the accusations.
There is no need for a public announcement to be made that gives the name of the priest and the fact of the accusation and the suspension, and yet, all to often such a public announcement is made. Such public announcement by a diocese almost always results in media exploitation of the news in a sensational manner to the detriment of the Catholic Church and its priesthood. It seems that rarely, if ever, is mention is made in the announcement of the name of the accuser.
The investigation may take days or months or years to complete. In the meantime the priest’s reputation is effectively destroyed and perhaps he is ‘thrown out on the street’ with no means of support. The accuser, on the other hand, enjoys anonymity and suffers no loss of reputation or negative material consequences and in the case of an accusation later proven to have been false the injustice to priest is great.
In cases where the priest is accused of having used force (rape or some other form of involuntary abuse) there is some justification for not publishing the name of the accuser. But, where there is reason to believe that the alleged sexual misconduct was effected through mutual consent there is no justification for not publishing the name of the accuser. Under the present procedure it is too easy for a person to allege sexual misconduct (again not involving minors) for a variety of possible unworthy motives: revenge, hope for monetary gain, hostility to the Catholic Faith, etc. Such is reported to have been the case of the accusation against Father Corapi. The only safe way to guard against damaging the reputation of individual priests and the Catholic priesthood in general is to not publish the name of an accused priest until an investigation has proved beyond doubt the guilt of the priest.
The Bishop does not intervene to say that Corapi is innocent, and rightly so. He points out, though, to the absurdity of the current praxis: priest exposed, accused protected in his anonimity (we still don’t know the name of the lady; but we all know that Father Corapi is suspended), great danger of permanent reputation damage and all this, in a case where minors are not involved.
It is refreshing to see a former Bishop intervene in favour of common sense. Bishop Gracida goes so far as to suggest that even the fact that an investigation has taken place should only be divulged after (and if) the priest in question has been found guilty. We are not talking of matters involving the police or the criminal courts here anyway.
Yup, makes sense to me.
I have often read harsh criticism about the disobedience of Archbishop Lefebvre in consecrating the four bishops after becoming fed up with JP II’s waiting games.
I will readily admit that this was an act of disobedience. But in the simple world in which I live there is disobedience and disobedience. A son may disobey to his father in rebellion at his father’s authority qua authority, or he may disobey to his father because the father himself insists in misbehaving. The first disobedience is out of rebellion, the second out of a higher form of respect for the father’s role and obedience to the God-given commandment. The first disobedience is aimed at making a father out of a son; the second is aimed at making of a bad father a good one. The first disobedience aims at destroying traditional, God-given rules; the second at preserving them.
If your father is drunk and you don’t obey to his damaging – or outright wicked – orders not because you don’t want him to be your father, but because you want him to stop being drunk you are still being disobedient, but you are certainly a good son.
I have therefore not many qualms with the Society of St. Pius X and the only reason why I never attended their mass (whose sacramental validity I do not doubt in the least, nor does the Vatican) is my subterranean terror of finding myself surrounded by a couple of dozens of bony, angry nutcases eager to recruit “the new one” to their poisonous cause with intemperate rants about the Antichrist in Rome and the like. I might be entirely wrong of course; but in these matters I am a rather sensitive, delicate flower who prefers to avoid unpleasant experiences.
In the same spirit, I look with a certain sympathy to those cheeky priests who realise that they have been tested with an uncommonly disgraceful bishop and decide to try to twist his arm on this or that matter (the recent episode or Thiberville having as disgraceful protagonist bishop Nourrichard comes to mind).
In all these cases, I see disobedience as a higher form of obedience. Obedience to the Church as an institution rather than obedience to (say) a liberal baboon; or obedience to what the Church commands rather than to what a bunch of naive (or faithless) bishops wanting to play “cool” and “popular” think is all right and very Catholic indeed.
But you see, all these disobedient priests and bishops still obey to that higher order that is the Church that has always been. They haven’t tailored their beliefs to what suits them; they haven’t come out with a new theology; they have just continued to believe what has been transmitted to them by countless generations of Catholics! “The Bishop’s – or Pope – good servant, but God’s first” could they say paraphrasing Thomas More. Whilst I agree that this behaviour is not advisable bar in the most extreme circumstances, I can’t see in it a menace to the Church, but rather a menace to the liberals and modernists within her. Never can the Church be damaged by those who, confronted with dramatic and sweeping changes, upheld what the Church has always been. To think so is, in my eyes, a contradiction in terms. These reactions should then be properly seen as a useful gauge of a malaise within the Church; a malaise which would then have to be scrutinised in the light of the strictest orthodoxy, not demonised as if the Church of the past had suddenly become wrong.
This is the reason why in my page about Catholic Quotes (see the upper bar) the place of honour is given to this beautiful quote from Robert DePiante:
What Catholics once were, we are. If we are wrong, then Catholics through the ages have been wrong.
We are what you once were. We believe what you once believed.
We worship as you once worshipped. If we are wrong now, you were wrong then. If you were right then, we are right now.
I do hope that the rift (not schism) between the SSPX and Rome will be healed in my lifetime. Until then I will continue to give my allegiance to the latter, and my admiration to the former. I can’t avoid thinking that all that is happening now (from the slow resurgence of proper Catholicism to Summorum Pontificum to…. well, there’ s not much else for now and we might be slowing backpedaling) has been accelerated by the constant work of the SSPX, whose action – sometimes wrongly worded, sometimes a bit ego-driven, but in my eyes always conducted in a proper spirit of Catholic orthodoxy – has exposed the ridicule of NuChurch and helped to shape the resistance to the post-Vatican II drunkenness.
The threatened disobedience of the priest who says that he can’t accept what, in her essence, the Church has always been (find an example here) is not defending Church tradition, but starting his own one. The threatened disobedience of the priest (or archbishop) who says that he can’t accept that the Church may become different from what she has always been is on another plane altogether.
I have already written about Msgr. Charles Pope (the “Monsignor with no uncertain trumpet” and the Monsignor dealing with “the lock and the key”). He has the rare gift of expressing himself in a highly imaginative and entertaining manner and is always a pleasure to read.
This time, Monsignor Pope (what a name, by the way…) deals with, so to speak, medical issues. In his experience (and in that of many of us, I am afraid), the spiritual development of many Catholics stops at age seven or eight and doesn’t progress much further as he goes through life; on the contrary, the risk of regression to first spiritual infancy and utter Catholic illiteracy is rather big and frequently observed.
Still, Monsignor Pope doesn’t fail to notice that whilst arrested development in every other aspect of life would not fail to greatly worry the parents, in the case of spiritual formation to remain at the level of a seven-year-old is considered nothing worrying at all. His example is in my eyes a bit extreme for a churchgoer, but it applies wonderfully to the army of lapsed Catholics out there whose theology is restricted to easy and convenient platitudes a’ la “God is Love” and “do not judge”; platitudes taken out of every context, uttered whenever convenient and generally very apt to persuade the spiritual child that there is no need to make any homework, let alone any penance, let alone any effort to be a better child.
I would give the main responsibility of this disastrous state of things to the Catholic clergy (yes, I do “judge” when I see a scandal, but he who criticises me is “judging” me too) who are, even more than the parents, those primarily in charge of the propagation of the Catholic message.
If here in the West we had courageous priests ready to risk their popularity instead of cuddling their audience with easy slogans and insipid common places, the message would get outside and reach, more or less indirectly, those who do not attend. You’d have an army of churchgoers properly instructed and ready to go out and spread the message with reasonable accuracy. Most of all, you’d have the end of the simplistic “celebration” mentality – utterly devoid of any obligation and only concerned with its own shallowness – now slowly infecting Catholic life. I was well in my Forties when I first heard people talking of “celebrating” instead of “mourning”, or before the astonishing meaning given to the words “do not judge” by the ignorants and the liberals became clear to me. I assure you these things didn’t happen in the Countries where I had been living up to then and I started to wonder what strange of Christianity this is, where people call themselves Christian but know more of Ghandi than Christ. Also here in Blighty was my first case of a person candidly reporting of being sure of being Christian, but not being sure of having ever been baptised. “I assume I was”, she said, “though my mother never mentioned it”. Church of England apparently, so a baptism should definitively have occurred. Words fail me.
Here in the West we have a massive epidemy of spiritual arrested developments and the problem continues to spread because many priests are (nothwithstanding the long years of theology studies, by which one wonders whether anything sensible has been learned at all) either astonishingly untrained or, more probably, predictably cowardly.
Proper Catholic instruction starts from the priest and the pulpit. If the priest does his job, more and more parents will send their children to be properly instructed; more and more adults will have intelligent answers to give to their friends; more and more of Catholic patrimony will start spreading around and become again, in time, part of the cultural patrimony of the country.
It must all start by the priest and the pulpit.
A parallelism has been made from some quarters between the usual strong opposition of the liberals to everything Vatican and justified with the “spirit of Vatican II” on the one side, and the fact that the new translation of the Mass will be implemented without major traumas (or better said, without overt opposition: how many priests will implement the new mass perfectly on time is another cup of tea) on the other side. The implication here is that the “spirit of Vatican II” is slowly going out of fashion.
I would like to comment on this as follows:
1) I so wish journalists would refrain from the temptation of seeing “trends” everywhere, or inflating things out of proportion for the sake or an article, or of a headline.
2) Priests will implement the new Mass just because they have to, open refusal to obey leading to serious consequences for their livelihood. As (supposed) martyrdom has never been a speciality of the liberal priest, there is no overt opposition to be awaited.
3) The “spirit of Vatican II” is being taken care of by the professional category of the undertakers. Their action will become more and more incisive in the years to come, but I can’t notice old sixty-eighters becoming any less sixty-eighters or just more tired of being obnoxious morons, let alone rediscovering the beauty of a reverent Mass.
Such “movements” usually end because they land in the same place as their promoters: six feet under.
4) If anything, the British clergy is more heretical today than it was twenty or thirty years ago. No English bishop would have, decades ago, publicly declared that he “doesn’t know” whether the Church will accept the “reality of gay partnerships” and no bishop would have dreamt of ever saying that he is “nuanced” and does not oppose civil partnership. Actually not even people in open revolt to the authority of Rome like Henry VIII would have ever dreamt of saying such absurdities.
Nowadays even an Archbishop of Westminster is allowed to say such things and remain unpunished.
The “Spirit of Vatican II” is alive and kicking. It goes together with dissent or open heresy of all sorts and – in the absence of any strong action from the Vatican, nowhere to be seen at the time – it will die only as its proponents kick the bucket in increasingly larger numbers.
This is the sad (but encouraging in a sense, as the undertakers are clearly on our side) reality of the Church in England. Supposed trends out of thin air do not help to deal with the many, serious problems.
This man is certainly worth 17 minutes of your time and I’d suggest that you do not let your next meal come before having seen this video.
Father Yannick is obviously not an originally trained SSPX priest. He mentions both the formation in a state university and his experience in a (non-SSPX) seminary. He makes examples of what obviously was his life as a diocesan priest. He has nothing of the, let us say, “Williamson” style of being an SSPX member. This is a young, well-prepared, eloquent, sincere priest talking about the problems experienced in his trying to be a good priest.
Forget for a moment that he did become a member of the SSPX. This short document is disconcerting, because the very same words could have been said (were it not for the fear or retaliation) by almost any priest in Western Europe. There is not one word of rebellion to Rome and not one word of criticism of the reality (that is: the documents, not the “spirit”) of Vatican II; there is the constant reference to how Rome says things must be done as opposed to the praxis found in his diocese; there is a simple, calm but determined attitude of looking at the problems in the face rather than just singing the next sugary hymn and pretending that everything is fine.
In seventeen minutes, this short interview covers much of what doesn’t work and at the same time shows that SSPX and the Vatican are much nearer to each other than you’d think. The greatest distance from the SSPX is to be found not in Rome, but in the liberal dioceses with their heterodox praxis and their utter neglect of their duty of care.
You will enjoy this video. Every second of it. It looks at the problems, but it gives hope. It clearly speaks of the thirst for real spirituality among the young and the way this thirst is not quenched. But the thirst is there.
I wish we had more priests like this one, and I wish that they weren’t forced to move to the SSPX to do their job properly.
I’d like to say a word about one of the consequences of the “Spirit of Vatican – II”-wave centering the Mass experience on the “feelings” rather than on the rather hard job of promoting Catholic orthodoxy, namely its emasculation expressed as both childishness and effeminacy. I’m afraid that the trend has been encouraged by the increased number of priests of dubious virility – or worse; or much worse – allowed to become priests after V II.
Those of you who have the privilege of being able to attend a Tridentine Mass will immediately understand what I am saying. At a Tridentine Mass you have sober, measured, dignified gestures, repeated in the same way again and again. A sense of serious business, of momentous proceedings. Solemnity, dignity, gravitas at all times.
The priest is a figure of authority. He clearly leads, the faithful follow. The entire matter is – I can’t find a better word – rather military in the precision of every gesture. Whatever emotions the priests has, he keeps to himself. It truly is not about emotions.
Compare this with the Novus Ordo as practiced in the friendly progressive parish church near you.
1) The priest is not a figure of authority. He doesn’t even want to. He makes the impression that, given the choice, he’d rather be an aunt distributing chocolate and biscuits.
2) The new hymns are of two types: the extremely childish and the worryingly effeminate ones. All of them seriously embarrassing stuff.
3) The readings are frequently read – particularly by women – in a highly emotionally charged, smug, patronising voice, as if little children had to be thought the importance of not telling lies to mommy.
4) The exercise is repeated during the prayer intentions. Politically charged “I can’t believe how good we are”-undertones will easily sneak in.
5) The sign of peace is an outburst of easy emotionalism at which, once again, mainly women excel. “Peaaace beee with youuuuuuu!”. Yes, ma’am.
6) At times, the altar “girls” (oh well…) literally surround the priest during consecration. The visual message couldn’t be clearer.
7) The “extraordinary ministers” are, in my impression, mainly women.
8 ) Don’t get me started on the bringing of the gifts to the altar. Might be interesting for children under Four. No, make it Three.
9) The homilies tend to focus on emotional aspects: “feel the love” instead of “obey the rules”. They have no admonishment to give, merely encouragements. They do not demand, but suggest.
10) At the end of Mass, the priest is at the door with his best smile for everyone. You think a Tupperware party might just have gone to an end. But he has such a nice smile. Aren’t we a jolly good parish.
All this makes of your typical Novus Ordo atmosphere something between the kindergarten and the self-awareness group. I still remember a church in Central London I entered to go to confession. There was a Mass still going on and a statue of Mary was being carried in procession within the church. The most sugary of hymns was being sung and the extremely effeminate priest was asking everyone to …….. wave white handkerchiefs at the statue of Mary whilst singing along at it.
You could have cut the embarrassment of the males with a knife. I mean, for a woman this might well seem a stupid exercise; but to ask a man for that is to go against everything he is. I didn’t wave, but I did remember. I’d love to be able to tell you that the priest might have been blissfully unaware of the childishness and effeminacy of all this. I doubt it.
In conclusion: on the one hand we have a clearly masculine and adult exercise, executed with sober and military precision by what were, in the absolutely vast majority, clearly heterosexual men.
On the other hand we have an emotional fest taking over and expressing itself in childish or effeminate, but always ridiculous ways; ways tolerated or positively encouraged by priests in serious need to man up, when we are lucky.
Then we complain that poorly instructed teenagers – grown up with “feel the love” platitudes and not even told that Sunday Mass obligation must be taken seriously - stop attending Mass.
Sooner or later it had to happen. Whilst it is obvious to everyone that most blogging priests are (as it is expected by them, besides being an excellent character trait) extremely prudent in their public utterances and attentive not to let disagreement between them sink to a level unworthy of their habit, it was only a matter of time before some serious clash would erupt in the Catholic blogosphere.
In this instance, the episode seems to go a while back and has as protagonists a lofty Monsignor with a tendency to reinvent Catholicism and a passionate, but rather emotional retired priest loved by everyone. When, therefore, the lofty Monsignor (most probably not influenced, I hasten to add, by the liquor so famous in his part) wrote a rather extraordinary theory about Our Lord not being physically present after the Resurrection (to refute which it is enough to read a Gospel; alas, Monsignori are not anymore what they used to be), the emotional priest, full of righteous anger, reacted in a way which the very sensitive Lofty Monsignor considered libellous. A longish controversy apparently ensued, at the end of which the good priest announced the intention to close his blog.
Now, I am not a priest but I know something about being emotional; for this reason I’ll allow myself a couple of considerations.
1) It is utterly contemptible that a religious – besides reinventing Catholicism in the most extraordinary way, but I suppose this comes with the progressive credentials – should stoop so low as to engage in a longish, bitter controversy with another religious over the use of such adjectives like “lofty”. I can think of one or three adjectives which would be far less pleasing for the Monsignor to hear, vastly more appropriate, and certainly not actionable. If this becomes a fashion, the use of the internet from brave priests as a showcase for orthodoxy might be stopped from above, which would be a big disgrace.
2) I may be cynical here, but unless the man is in serious need of professional help I can easily imagine that this controversy has been brought about for so long precisely in order to discredit conservative Catholic blogs written by Catholic priests , or at least with this consequence seen as a pleasant side effect of the controversy. Even in the land who gave us whiskey one must be aware of the fact that his own reputation will suffer most atrociously and in all eternity, as google has the memory of an elephant. But I might be wrong here, and the professional help what is truly needed.
3) Without being a lawyer by trade, I can’t conceive that adjectives like “lofty” can really constitute an actionable offence. Were this the case, no single blog a’ la “Homo Smoke” would be functioning, no single expression like “homo smoke” were ever used on the Internet and the turnover of the Internet libel lawsuit industry would greatly exceed the one of the global armaments. This is simply not the case. Look at how journalists berate and belittle each other every day on press and internet and draw your conclusions.
These are professionals, mind, certainly better trained than a retired priest in the subtle matter of libel laws; and still they shoot at each other with the pump gun day in and day out.
4) Having said that, I can’t say that I approve the decision to close one’s blog because some chap in some very cold and windy place starts threatening one with absurd lawsuits. Such a behaviour smells, if I may say so in the kindest of ways of a certainly very kind man, of passive-aggressiveness. “Look what the brute has done to me, an old man” is the message. We are all humans of course, but in my eyes the first thing (the inordinate, ridiculous reaction of a man who can’t even read the Gospel) has nothing to do with the second (the decision to close the blog).
Whatever lawsuit might be initiated (and it would be the grandest waste of money and reputation, if you ask me), the decision to close the blog wouldn’t have any influence on it. The closure of the blog can only be seen as an aggressive act toward a person thus indicated as the responsible for the closure. But this is just not true. Whatever the faults of the man (“Fawlty” he has also been called, I wonder whether this is actionable?), he is most certainly not responsible for the blog closure.
Summa summarum, I’d be very pleased if this episode would teach the Catholic Times that if you carry the name “Catholic” you should have contributors who can read the Gospel and know the most elementary facts about Jesus; and I truly wish that the good old priest will, perhaps in time, realise that by closing the blog he has made the impression of the one who goes away with the football. This can’t be good and can’t be right.
Why, oh why have we to cope with a joke called Vincent “Quisling” Nichols when the US have so many Bishops who could be sent here to relieve us of our misery?
You can read here what has happened in Minnesota, where Bishop Nienstedt has refused to give communion to a group of militant homos wanting not only to receive communion notwithstanding their open rebellion to the Church, but even do so wearing a visible sign of their revolt, rainbow buttons and sashes.
The decision of Bishop Nierstedt would be to commend unconditionally, and a rare good news worthy of being shouted out loud, if the fact had not been tainted by a grave episode of scandal after the mass, when a priest obviously squarely on the pro-Homo side has hastily celebrated a Mass for the homosexualists, during which they were allowed to (try to) receive communion by the same priest.
It is now the clear duty of Bishop Nienstedt to bring his disobedient priest rapidly and clearly into line, then isolated episodes of orthodoxy are – whilst always commendable in themselves – much diminished in their importance and in their teaching value if dissent is allowed to flourish among the very priests of an orthodox Bishop.
Short, interesting and as always very entertaining video from Father Corapi about the opportunity of trying to convert other Christians to Catholicism.
Besides the obvious wisdom of father Corapi’s words, there is an element I’d like to stress. The person implicitly accusing Fr Corapi of “wanting everybody to be Catholic” (and being “deadly serious” as he says that) was not a Presbyterian pastor, or a Protestant layman. This person, completely missing the grace imparted through the Eucharist and the Catholic sacramental life and totally oblivious of the role and function of the Church, was a Catholic priest.
The conversation clearly happened a couple of decades ago and it is reassuring to see that at the “wanting everyone to be a Catholic” moment the public understands the absurdity of the other priest’s position and happily laugh.
That Fr Corapi felt the necessity to instruct the other priest about the fact that “God doesn’t do useless things” (and we are talking here of Sacraments like the Eucharist and the Confession, not about a corkscrew or a safety-pin) really says it all about what was happening among the clergy of the Only Church.
I am rather confident that if would be, if not impossible, certainly much less probable to find a priest failing his vocation and his Catholicism in such a spectacular way today than it would have been some twenty years ago, particularly among younger priests. Still, it goes to show that the “education” and “intelligence” Father Corapi praises in his old interlocutor are not worth much if the faith is not there, or the intelligence has been used to pervert the teaching of the Church.
At the top of this page you will find a link called “The Quotable Catholic”, a collection of short and mostly easy to memorise phrases meant to be a handy Catholic armoury for yourself and your little, ahem, online confrontations. I re-read them regularly in order to let the wisdom of those great Catholics be slowly absorbed. Father Corapi (easily the most represented in this little collection) is there with a little gem I always found wonderful:
My grandmother, who had only an eighth grade education, knew more than many theologians because she knew the Truth.
One listens to the video and understands how right the man is.