Daily Archives: June 9, 2010
Fr Tim Finigan reports that Channel Four (the still taxpayer-fed English broadcaster with the remit of being “alternative” and “diverse”, which in the UK rather often means “deviant”) has announced that Peter Tatchell – the well-known homosexual paladin of all causes able to give him publicity and a stage – is going to produce a so-called “documentary” about the Holy Father’s career. Unsurprisingly, said “documentary” will be broadcast on occasion of the Holy Father’s visit next September.
There are several outrageous issues here. The first is that Channel Four receives money from the taxpayer and it seems utterly disgraceful that public money be used to further the causes of a tiny minority of (deviant) fanatics. The second is that no serious journalist could ever claim that such a documentary from such a (deviant) man could have any appearance of impartiality, or at least some vague trace of halfway balanced reporting. The third is that the choice of the most widely despised “homosexualist” in the Realm to produce the “documentary” clearly shows the intention of Channel Four to stir controversies and reach a wide audience not through the quality of its reporting but through the clamour such controversies create. This isn’t journalism, this is purest activist poison.
Peter Tatchell is the kind of person who wants to censor song lyrics he finds “homophobic” whilst talking about “freedom” all the time. His life is a continuous search for a stage and there is no “alternative” cause he would not espouse if it gave him a bit of limelight (Aborigines, Vietnam War, Green Party, Pinochet, Mugabe, Irak war…. the list is very long). He fought for years to lower the age of consent to 14 years and was behind an even more radical proposal to decriminalize every sexual act provided the age difference between the “partners” (read: homosexual boys or worse, children) is below three years. I am not making this up. This gives you a clear idea of the moral authority of the man. I can easily imagine that the one or other paedophile priest is a true fan of him.
Once again, Catholics are asked to remember that the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against the Church. All that Tatchell and his likes are going to obtain is to expose their fanaticism and awaken more sympathies for the Holy Father. Ask Dan Brown how much he has damaged Opus Dei and you’ll have all the reassurances you need.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
One of the consequences of the remarkable levelling to the minimum common denominator of almost every conceivable activity is the scaling down of those elements of ceremony once cherished as beautiful and today considered arrogant or elitist. In fact, one can go as far as to say that nowadays whatever is not absolutely and tragically plain is at high risk of being labelled as “elitist” or “snob”. We see this everywhere but what I would like to mention with you today is the style of Papal appearances.
There was a time where a Pope would – on certain and particularly solemn occasions – be carried on a sedia gestatoria. This was a kind of movable throne, splendidly adorned, offering the advantage of making the Pope visible by a large crowd whilst at the same time beautifully stressing his (literally) exalted position. It goes without saying that the entire exercise was not entirely “democratic”, but as the Church never was and never would be no one really cared for such matters. On the contrary, in former times – before egalitarianism started to infiltrate every aspect of public life – such shows of authority were expected, respected and not disliked at all. Men need symbols and something like a sedia gestatoria had a highly symbolic meaning.
Not anymore, at least for now. John Paul II first refused to use it, evidently considering a Pope unworthy of being revered and honoured as such. John Paul II also started to dress down in other ways (for instance: no papal tiara).
If you ask me, dear reader, this is all very wrong. Men need symbols. They breath them. Few things are more natural and speak more directly to the human mind than the visual or aurial experience of power and authority. The Pope is powerful; he has authority. A lot of it, in fact, as we would be at a loss to find another person on the planet with the authority to remove or fire anyone of more than 400,000 employees of his organisation at will and with the only appeal given to…. himself; let alone a person with such a high moral authority over 1.15 billion faithful.
Men need symbols and those in position of power and authority have always naturally availed themselves of various means to stress this authority and to make it visible, palpable, audible. There is nothing wrong with that.
Pope Benedict is showing some timid signs of wanting to recover the rich symbolic tradition of the Papacy, but he has still not revived the use of the sedia gestatoria (nor that of the papal tiara). The nowadays omnipresent “security reasons” cannot be brought as an excuse because the use of the sedia gestatoria can be modified to make it safer (say: only within a church) and increase both the visibility and the safety of the Holy Father. Had a sedia gestatoria been used, last year’s episode in St. Peter could not have happened at all.
We are now seeing the first signs of a change of direction, albeit things proceed – as so often in Church matters – rather slowly. We can only hope that, in time, the vast symbolic patrimony of the Church will be fully recovered and proudly considered a powerful symbolic weapon instead of an embarrassment.