Monthly Archives: July 2010
If you wonder why this blog has so many Michael Voris videos, the answer is: because they are so good!
This one is rather shocking because it catches even Bishop Dolan (generally considered one of the good, if not of the very good) in a dangerous slip of – probably ill-advised – “diplomacy”.
As I have explained in the last entry about Michael Voris, the times when a Bishop could make such mistakes and get away with it are gone.
Bishop Dolan’s (referred) answer remains highly unsatisfactory not in its doctrinal basis (which is very sound) but in the implications about how able he is of sound judgment and, when necessary, tough love.
The truth is that the only thing coming out from St. Francis Xavier seems to be serial ambiguities (well they are Jesuites, aren’t they….) meant not to go in open conflict with the Bishop whilst at the same time giving an implied but still very clear support to the homosexual agenda. Just look at what they put in their internet site. The thin veil of not-openly-denied orthodoxy cannot conceal the scandal. This must be stopped.
The contrast with Courage (a thoroughly orthodox, highly commendable organisation) is rather impressive.
I do hope that Bishop Dolan will understand that a harder line needs to be taken here. There comes a point where the lie is so big that naivete in believing it is no less culpable than weakness in dealing with it.
First there were the rumors; then came the bloggers; last came an open letter from the parishioners, asking the Birmingham Oratory to provide information as to why three of his members (Fr Dermot Fenlon, Fr Philip Cleevely and Brother Lewis Berry) have been sent away – several hundreds miles away from each other – for an undetermined period of time.
The Birmingham Oratory does not make any comment besides informing that there is no question of impropriety, but still the call for explanations doesn’t abate.
I do not agree with those who say that the Birmingham Oratorians should provide some form of “transparency”; nor do I believe that in these matters you have to speak in order for others to shut up. In situations like these, people never shut up. Whatever you say only gives them ammunition for the next round of rumors.
The three beloved and esteemed Oratorians are clearly above suspicion. There is therefore no question of the three being in any way slandered or compromised. Consequently, there is no need to start any crusade for their protection. For the same reason, there is no ground for concern that the spotless reputation of the Oratorians may itself suffer. There is, in fact, no problem you and I need to know.
The fundamental question here is whether one trusts the Oratorians. If one does, the need to know why certain decisions have been taken is just not there. If one doesn’t, it is not clear why the Oratorians should busy themselves giving “explanations” which would only aliment further rumors as to the “real motives” of whatever they might say.
Even in these post-V II times, the parishioners do not own a religious order. Attending Mass at their church does not give them any special right to information or control. They must decide, as everyone else, whether they trust the Oratorians and draw the consequences from their decision.
I personally support the decision of the Oratorians to remain silent on the matter and am extremely confident that this will remain the case whatever the level of noisy (and nosy) complaint in the future. It is good to see that there is at least one institution reacting to this modern mania that everything must always be put in front of the public, let alone that the public has the right to be informed of everything.
The Church is not a reality show. If the Oratory has decided that it is better to be silent on the matter, this means that they have thought this the proper conduct and in my eyes we should respect their call instead of starting the bickering and the peeping into other people’s affairs.
Pave the way Foundation is a Jewish organisation promoting the understanding among religions . This is not en “ecumenical” effort, mind; rather, the foundation has the aim of removing non-theological differences among different religions. This is also not the usual micro-organisation set up by two or three nutcases inventing conspiracies, but a highly regarded institution uniquely received en bloc (more than 150 of them) by the late Pontiff John Paul II.
“Pave the way Foundation” has spent four years reconstructing a coherent view of the attitude and actions of Eugenio Pacelli – and later, of Pope Pius XII – in front of Nazi oppression and persecution of the Jews. Among the immense quantity of documents analysed, a small selection of representative pieces of historic documentation has been put together in a power point presentation. This 56-minutes documentary (in the proper sense of the word, as the only thing showed are….. documents) allows everyone following the presentation to have a very clear idea of the relentless, intelligent, prudent but at the same time very courageous action of Pope Pius XII in the face of such a dangerous, determined and godless mass destruction machine.
Whilst the presentation is rather long, the nature of it allows its exam a bit at a time if so wished. The fact that one can go back and forth only through the audio commentary (no possibility of autonomously switching pages) makes of it more of a video documentary than a presentation. Still, the material is easy to follow, highly impressive, attentive to every aspect of the Pope’s activity (and to his great personal courage, to the point of putting his own life at risk) and highly credible particularly in light of the circumstance that the documents showed are, as repeatedly stated, only a small part of the vast quantity of documents supporting the case of the Foundation.
Let me say it once again: this is a Jewish foundation. It goes to show that when reasonable analysis takes the place of self victimhood and ideological (read: liberal) hate of a conservative and fiercely anti-Communist Pope, understanding is easily possible and can bring both side on the same side; in this case, on the side of such a great – and for this reason so greatly slandered – Pope.
Read here about the spectacular victory of Dr. Ken Howell, the persecuted Catholic teacher at the University of Illinois about whom I have written on four different occasions in the past.
This is great news, as it clearly shows that the University of Illinois didn’t feel it could risk a legal confrontation on this. Whilst the internal investigation of Dr. Howell’s position is still ongoing and his reinstatement (formally at least) only temporary, the object of the investigation (“whether Howell’s immediate removal violated his academic freedom or right to due process”) speaks volumes about the direction the events have now taken.
It is very easy to suppose that the attention will now be diverted on the one who should lose his job: Robert McKim.
Mr. McKim is (as I have written here) not only the head of the University’s “Department of Religion”, but a sponsor of the “queer studies” in the same university. He is the main man behind the decision. He is the one who has decided that his own prejudices and the prejudices of one biased and sexually deviant student should come before freedom of expression and academic freedom. He is the one who should be asked to go.
All those who have signed the petition in support of Dr. Howell, joined his facebook support group or otherwise supported him can now pat themselves on the back. This episode goes beyond the individual destiny of Dr. Howell and could now become a turning point in the fight against the growing radicalisation and militant ideological stance of certain parts of liberal academia in the US. The absurdity of the charges moved against Dr. Howell have exposed all the ideological blindness of those whose job should be to fight against it.
I know it may sound rhetorical, but this is a great victory for all those who love freedom.
In the past weeks a lot has been written about the scarcely believable episode happened in an Anglican church in Canada, where the local would-be “priestess” thought it fit and proper to give the host to a dog.
all that happened here was that a woman pretending to be a priest gave a dog a treat she pretended was the body of Christ
In my opinion, the truth is in the middle, in the sense that the episode is scandalising as well as showing all the ridicule of modern (liberal, I should add: thankfully even among them it is not all black) Anglicanism.
Let us leave aside the question whether the woman really believed the host to be the body of Christ, as liberal Anglicans nowadays seem to see in the host merely a symbolic reminder of the Last Supper, with no transubstantiation or consubstatiation attached to it. The real issue is, in my eyes, the total loss of the rationale why liberal Anglicans do such things as taking communion.
If the lady would-be “priestess” had had the slightest idea of the meaning of Communion (whether she believes in consubstantiation, or just in a communal meal) the idea of giving it to a dog would have never, ever entered her mind. On the contrary: one can only show such extraordinary behaviour if the act of giving communion has long become an empty ritual whose meaning has not been the object of any reflection for a very long time.
The behaviour of those present was just as alarming: dozens of faithful must have witnessed the scene, only one has complained. The same considerations made for the would-be priestess can therefore safely be applied to her parishioners: they do take communion, but many of them have obviously entirely lost the perception of what they do and why.
On a Catholic, such episodes make the impression that such ecclesial communities are now so engulfed in their “inclusiveness” madness, that Christianity is slowly becoming an empty hull for a purely social agenda; an agenda in which Christ, His message and His sacraments (whether valid or not) only find a place out of a habit of the past and only as far as they can be adapted to the inclusiveness mantra.
This episode is not indicative of a disrespectful act of a minister. The lady did not want to be disrespectful, at all. But exactly this is her problem: that she has forgotten the meaning of what she does.
The role of new media and evolving technology has been discussed for some years already. It is now clear that the Internet has revolutionised the world of information, transforming the oligopoly of a limited number of news outlets in a fragmented universe of countless sources of information.
This Michael Voris video examines the difference this made in our specific Catholic world. The following points seem to me particularly important:
1) Information control through a limited number of sources of conventional Catholic wisdom has been broken. The socialist, liberal wave of post – V II lies cannot be freely imparted to the faithful without opposition anymore. The Internet will provide that lies and heresies are exposed. If the shepherd is a bad shepherd, confused or relatively uneducated sheep will nowadays realise it faster and with more certainty than ever before.
2) The Catholic internet revolution (and reform) has been up to now mainly driven by the laity. Whilst some members of the clergy do make a wonderful effort, it is clear that the vast majority of serious Catholic blogs is run by laymen simply fed up with the misinformation, the half truths and the outright lies they have been served with for too long. The revolt against heterodoxy didn’t come from the clergy, but from the pews.
Voris doesn’t say it explicitly, but I think that a further point can be added: Catholic tradition is so strong, its message so powerful, beautiful and immutable that not even 40+ years of systematic neglect or outright attack from the inside could do anything to change it. The Truth will come out, no matter how big the efforts to reshape it to a politically correct lie. The Holy Ghost wants so. Through the Internet, the Truth can easily enter every household. The Internet is therefore a powerful evangelisation tool in a time of almost total failure of those meant to care for it.
You all are, dear readers, part of this. In the next years, the inevitable advance of the internet and of all the applications the Internet makes it possible to utilise will certainly increase the possibility for every serious Catholic to obtain good information and to expose the wolves in sheep’s clothing.
For this reason alone, there would be every reason to be optimistic regarding the quality of Catholic teaching available to the generations to come.
Below, some chosen lines out of a Vatican document of the past (feel free to skip at will 😉 ):
The Church […] values especially the Greek and Latin languages in which wisdom itself is cloaked, as it were, in a vesture of gold.
But amid this variety of languages a primary place must surely be given to that language which had its origins in Latium, and later proved so admirable a means for the spreading of Christianity throughout the West.
And since in God’s special Providence this language united so many nations together under the authority of the Roman Empire — and that for so many centuries — it also became the rightful language of the Apostolic See. Preserved for posterity, it proved to be a bond of unity for the Christian peoples of Europe.
Of its very nature Latin is most suitable for promoting every form of culture among Peoples. It gives rise to no jealousies. It does not favor any one nation, but presents itself with equal impartiality to all and is equally acceptable to all.
Nor must we overlook the characteristic nobility of Latin formal structure. Its “concise, varied and harmonious style, full of majesty and dignity” makes for singular clarity and impressiveness of expression.
For these reasons the Apostolic See has always been at pains to preserve Latin, deeming it worthy of being used in the exercise of her teaching authority “as the splendid vesture of her heavenly doctrine and sacred laws.”
She further requires her sacred ministers to use it, for by so doing they are the better able, wherever they may be, to acquaint themselves with the mind of the Holy See on any matter, and communicate the more easily with Rome and with one another.
Thus the “knowledge and use of this language,” so intimately bound up with the Church’s life, “is important not so much on cultural or literary grounds, as for religious reasons”.
“For the Church, precisely because it embraces all nations and is destined to endure to the end of time … of its very nature requires a language which is universal, immutable, and non-vernacular.”
[..] Latin [..] is set and unchanging. It has long since ceased to be affected by those alterations in the meaning of words which are the normal result of daily, popular use. Certain Latin words, it is true, acquired new meanings as Christian teaching developed and needed to be explained and defended, but these new meanings have long since become accepted and firmly established.
[..] the Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic, and non-vernacular.
In addition, the Latin language “can be called truly catholic.” It has been consecrated through constant use by the Apostolic See, the mother and teacher of all Churches, and must be esteemed “a treasure … of incomparable worth”.
It is a general passport to the proper understanding of the Christian writers of antiquity and the documents of the Church’s teaching. It is also a most effective bond, binding the Church of today with that of the past and of the future in wonderful continuity.
I could go on, but I think that you get the gist: this is a passionate praise of the inestimable value of Latin and of its being the only possible preferred choice for the Universal Church.
Who is the author of this? The strong anti-modernist Crusader St. Pius X perhaps? The rigid Dobermann (said in a good sense) of Orthodoxy Pius XI? Or maybe the severe, solemn, saintly diplomatic Pius XII?
None of these, dear readers. This is all taken from Veterum Sapientia, the Apostolic Constitution “on the Promotion of the Study of Latin” authored by…. John XXIII and promulgated with great pomp just a few months before the beginning of the Second Vatican Catastrophe!
This Apostolic Constitution gives you all the scale of the subversion of traditional Catholic mentality (not talking of dogmas here, merely of the general outlook on life) perpetrated during and after Vatican II. The clear impression is that V II itself has been a subversion of the very traditional “Spirit of pre-V II” which had been the basis for the preparation of the very Council; and that after the conclusion of V II, a new wave of subversion started, with the forces of demolition now unleashed and determinedly bent on subverting V II itself.
Veterum Sapientia dates February 1962. Only five years later Vatican II itself was being happily demolished by the new orgy of renewal at all cost. The Aggiornamento was eating his own children.
In my eyes, this bears two lessons for us:
1) once you begin to play with ideas of Aggiornamento, you open a Pandora’s box of great devastating power.
2) If such a great amount of devastation could be executed in just a few years without leading to the disintegration of the Church, I can’t see why a comparable amount of restoration should not be possible within the same timeframe. The Church is not a fragile LibCon coalition government needing protection from every jolt. It is a rather stabile, rock-solid institution under the protection of the Holy Spirit.
The Church has survived a great amount of falsity and heretical infiltrations. There is no limit to the amount of Truth it can withstand.
Read here a beautiful entry of a Catholic blog called The Deacon’s Bench about the many reasons why a Catholic priest should wear a Roman collar.
In reading it, though, I could not avoid thinking that many priests nowadays do not wear a clerical collar; they actually do not wear clerical garments at all. Why is that? Because they want to “mix”, be “one of us”, be considered “friends” rather than “pastors”.
So far, so bad.
But then one thinks: if the Church wants to be recognisable, why has the Church tolerated the spread of clerical garments (the so-called “clergyman”, at least in Italy) making them look pretty much like Anglican clergy?
If you modify clerical garments and make them more similar to normal garments (with trousers, shirt and jacket), why should you as an institution be surprised that some priests understand the motives of the modification and happily go further along this line of thoughts? And why – as we are by the questions – is this neglect of regulations happily ignored by countless bishops?
If you want to go back to make the priest recognisable as a Catholic priest, the best thing to do is to make him…. recognisable as a Catholic priest instead of as a possible Anglican clergyman.
The proper clerical garment (whenever appropriate) is not the “clergyman”.
It’s the Cassock.
You can find here the content of an E-mail complaint sent to the University of Illinois concerning the teaching activity of Dr. Howell. This is apparently not from the anonymous student who gave origin to the contention, but it would appear that the two have the same forma mentis and are perhaps friends; the attached E-mail (not showed) might well be *the* one.
Let us examine the highlights of this E-mail, because it gives numerous clues about the way these people (don’t) think. I will not make the joke that they can’t think straight.
1) The author of the E-mail never assisted to Dr. Howell’s lessons. He refers what he has heard. This is the worst possible start for a complaint. The author is blissfully unaware of that.
2) The core of the complaint is that Dr. Howell would say “things that were inflammatory and downright insensitive to those who were not of the Catholic faith”. The expectation that a system of belief should be taught in a way that is “sensitive” to people of a different faith is downright absurd. If Islam says that I have to be converted or pay extra taxes or die I can be angry at Islam, not at the fact that I am informed of this. Most people have problems with other faiths. This is why they don’t belong to them.
3) The author goes on saying “I am in no way a gay rights activist, but allowing this hate speech at a public university is entirely unacceptable”. Well no he is – a gay activist, I mean; I have my doubts about his sexual orientation, too – and in pure activist style he introduces the term “hate speech” without giving one example, one phrase, one word to support his assertion. “My friend says the chap is inflammatory” is the only support. This is an opinion out of hearsay, not an argument. Again, the boy is blissfully unaware of this.
4) “It sickens me to know that hard-working Illinoisans are funding the salary of a man who does nothing but try to indoctrinate students and perpetuate stereotypes”. Here the mask falls off entirely. The problem is not how Dr. Howell teaches Catholicism, but that Catholicism is taught. How one can teach Catholicism without people learning it or its values being perpetuated is a mystery to me. But perhaps the author knows better.
5) “Once again, this is a public university and should thus have no religious affiliation”. It gets worse. Catholicism being taught is confused with the University “having a religious affiliation”. It gets more and more obvious that the problem of whining homosexuals is that there are Catholicism lessons.
6) “Teaching a student about the tenets of a religion is one thing. Declaring that homosexual acts violate the natural laws of man is another”. This is again very confused and shows that the boy needs a course of introduction to Catholicism. That homosexual acts violate the natural laws of men is – beside being evident to every right-thinking man free from sexual perversions – part and parcel of Catholic teaching. Always was. Always will be. The objection is therefore a contradictio in adjecto.
7) “I can only imagine how ashamed and uncomfortable a gay student would feel if he/she were to take this course”. Here we are again. I might feel uncomfortable at a course about, say, Hindu or Buddhist spirituality. But this would be entirely my problem. I don’t have any right to feel comfortable. These people are pampered boys refusing to accept that they’ll meet people whose opinions they don’t like. Besides, following this line of thought one shouldn’t teach that it is a sin to rape children, because “I can only imagine how ashamed and uncomfortable a student convicted for child rape would feel if he/she were to take this course”.
8 ) “I am a heterosexual male”. Not very credible, old boy. Heterosexual males aren’t homo activists and homo activists aren’t heterosexual males. Whatever they may think about it.
9) “My friend also told me that the teacher allowed little room for any opposition to Catholic dogma”. It gets more and more absurd. A dogma is, by definition, something which does not allow any room for opposition. You accept the dogma (then you’re Catholic) or you don’t (then you aren’t). Again, the man needs an introduction to Catholicism himself, sharpish.
10) the “founder of the queer studies major” has been copied. The author is acquainted with him. This is the man saying he is not a homo activist. Go figure.
We are still waiting for the decision of the University of Illinois about what to do. Dr. Howell’s lawyers have given today as the deadline to reintegrate him or face litigation.
Still, I thought I would give you my thoughts about this to illustrate the confusion reigning in these people’s minds and their absurd demands that nothing be taught which offends their sensitivity. How very intolerant, how very absurd and, well, how very effeminate.
Faithful to the motto oportet ut scandala eveniant, yours truly reports here an entry from Father Z’s blog informing us that the retired Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton has brilliantly discovered that 2000 years of Christian tradition and undisputed Church teaching about Male-only Priesthood are utterly and completely wrong. Caveat: this is not for the faint of heart.
It is also unclear whether Mr. Gumbleton is able to read, because if he were he would have stumbled across an Encyclical Letter called Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (link is provided on the right column under “Church Teaching”). This Encyclical Letter was written for those less fortunate among us (the heretics, the extremely misinformed and the retards) who couldn’t accept the very clear evidence of Church teaching and was basically meant to tell them “just in case you were trying to deceive yourself into believing some sort of feminist nonsense, be informed that 1) you are not allowed to believe such nonsense and 2) you are not even allowed to discuss the matter”.
Bishop Gumbleton is very probably not a retard and being a Bishop one may safely suppose that he has received some sort of instruction. Therefore Bishop Gumbleton is a full-fledged heretic bent to cause maximum damage and confusion among Catholics because he is – albeit luckily already retired – a Bishop of the Only Church.
Besides praying for the conversion of Bishop Gumbleton and the other heretics, a useful thing you can do is to send your complaint to the Congregation for the Clergy at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org . You may want to send a copy to the “Osservatore Romano”, email@example.com . If you prefer to write a letter, the address is: Congregazione per il Clero, Piazza Pio XII, 3, 00193 Roma, Italy. If I have got the wrong Congregation don’t worry, they’ll know where to forward.
Bishop Gumbleton should be either laicized or ordered to lock himself in a monastery for the rest of his days to clear his head and to expiate his sins. He needs our prayer but he needs to be severely and publicly punished, too. The times in which Bishops could confuse the minds of the simpler Catholics with their heresies and remain unpunished should now slowly but surely come to an end.
A Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel is surely in order here.
A Novena is a cycle of prayers repeated for nine times (generally every day for nine consecutive days, in urgent cases every hour for nine consecutive hours) either in public or at home as a private devotion, generally in order to obtain a grace or blessing. It started to spread during the middle age and was practiced with increased frequency in the following centuries. From the nineteen century – with the attachment of indulgences to certain novenas – they received official recognition. Novenas are part of those once extremely popular and then – in the wake of the aggiornamento – almost forgotten traditions now experiencing a revival in line with the general recovery of Catholic practices and devotions.
Novenas are very numerous and different in structure (say: a Padre Pio Novena is different from a Francis Xavier Novena) but all of them contain invocations specific to the one who is invoked and various combinations and repetitions of traditional prayers.
Their origin seem to be in the special significance of the number nine. Jesus died on the ninth hour of the day according to the Jewish (and unless I am mistaken, Roman) hour counting (starting at 6 am in the morning). In addition, the Romans knew the parentalia novendialia, the yearly celebration of a set of rituals for nine consecutive days to remember the family’s dead. Moreover, the number nine seemed to be an apposite number because as the number ten symbolized perfection, the number nine symbolized the flaws and sinfulness of human nature. As already stated, it is generally acknowledged that a Novena is rather strictly linked to a situation of petition for the granting of some grace, whilst for more festive occasions the Octave is the favourite form.
To start a private Novena is extremely simple: google the text of one Novena particularly suited to you among the very many available and recite the prescribed set of prayer every day for nine consecutive days. The first thing you will notice is that a Novena forces you to a minimum of discipline and it is ideal to start creating a habit. If you are inconstant in your prayer life, there’s nothing better than a Novena (which doesn’t allow you to “skip a day”; if you do you’ll have to start again) to give your prayer life some discipline and structure. Public novenas may be recited in a church near you, at certain times of the year.
The author, who is devoted to Padre Pio, suggests the beautiful “Novena to Padre Pio”, which is modelled on the Novenas padre Pio himself used to pray. As you will see if you follow the link, this beautiful Novena is comprised of the following:
1) an invocation to Padre Pio, reflecting every day on a different aspect of this wonderful Saint;
2) a quote from Saint Padre Pio, also different every day and in keeping with the tone of the invocation;
3) a set of prayers (click on “Prayer to the Sacred Heart” to let it appear). In this case, the set of prayer is the “Prayer to the Sacred Heart”, which is in itself a set of traditional prayers.
This Novena will require around five minutes a day and, most importantly, some discipline and attention. Catholicism is not primarily about dramatic conversions and spectacular enlightenments, but about the simple, humble habit to stay with the Lord and the Saints every day. The idea is that real spiritual advancement is more easily achieved through slowly improving one’s habits than through the seeking of explosive emotional experiences in “Blues Brothers”-style.
Gutta cavat lapidem. Tell this to the friendly Protestant near you when you next hear him complaining about Catholic “superstitions”.
Below you will find another excellent product of the religious fervor of Michael Voris: “Teach First”, the “Vortex” message of the 20th July. In my eyes, some points are worth of special mention:
1) More than one hundred years ago, St.Pope X was complaining about the superficiality of catechesis. If I think of Italy, in those times the Catechism was customarily learned by heart and taught to every child, whilst Catholic devotions were so spread and so omnipresent (think of the processions! When have you last seen a proper procession?!) that everyone still able to breathe was exposed, volens nolens, to a massive amount of Catholic teaching. Still, it appears that at times (or in regions outside of the traditionally very devoted Italy) not enough was done.
One wonders what St. Pius X would say if he were among us today. I think he’d feel like kicking some backsides (not few of them purple, or red).
2) Faith itself is, to an extent, dependent from proper catechesis. Faith is like a plant that needs to be watered, not like a painting you hang on the wall and more or less forget there. This an another concept almost completely forgotten today and about which only the best among the priests will continue to insist: Faith is something you work at. If you listen to some atheists, it is as if they would have any right to be angry with an hypothetically existing God because He has not delivered the Faith to them.
3) The reason why the Catechism is at times neglected is, with the words of St. Pius X,
“…because[…] it does not lend itself to the winning of public praise”
It is not popular, the Catechism. It will never make of the priest the darling of the community. It will expose him to accusations of being “insensitive”, “intolerant”, “chauvinist”, “homophobic”, “uncharitable” (yes! Uncharitable!) and possibly altogether bad whilst the friendly Vicar down the road – with his suave smile and his easygoing, easy-to-accept theology of complacent tolerance for almost everything – will possibly not get many sheep, but will be considered by most a frightfully nice chap.
4) This vanity (says St. Pius X) is an obstacle to the salvation of souls (says Benedict XIV), which means that if a priest neglects proper catechesis, souls will be lost. I’d like to know when you have last heard a priest (or a Bishop) publicly speaking of salvation and damnation not in generic, easy to accept term (eg saying that those “destroying the environment” may commit a mortal sin: this is very easy as it is always someone else who “destroys the environment”), but in the same brutal terms used by Benedict XIV: that individual catechesis impacts individual salvation.
The reality of today is that even the most fundamental, most dramatic alternative of our life (in the end it will be Heaven or Hell, simple as that) is constantly pushed away from us from the very same people who should constantly remind us of it, whilst Hell is very often presented as something reserved for the Hitlers of the world, but very far from the reality of the sheep in the pews.
This is dangerous. Dangerous for the soul of the common parishioner, more dangerous for his priest, most dangerous for his bishop.
Enjoy the video
Read here about the children of sperm donors going into life with more problems (I mean here serious problems: identity problems, criminality problems) than the average child.
Of course one shouldn’t believe every study he reads about. Still, this one makes a lot of sense as it is a matter of purest common sense to realise that the child of a woman and some grams of carefully selected sperm might have some difficulty to cope with his situation.
The only surprising fact of such studies is, in fact, that someone should find them surprising. The idea that a child’s genetic code might be selected according to the wishes of the mother whilst the father himself is deemed dispensable is indicative of the blindness of our age and of a society in which the fulfilling of individual desires comes before everything else. The egotism of a mother deciding that a child doesn’t need a father (or worse: of two people of the same sex deciding that they are, hey, “a family” and who thinks otherwise is a lot of things all ending with “phobic”) is the perfect mirror of how the relentless pursuit of individual happiness leads people to absurd decisions without even becoming aware of their absurdities. Of course it may happen that a child is born without a father (in war times or by dangerous professions certainly not an altogether unusual occurrence in the past); but these are unwanted exceptions, not willingly accepted societal changes.
Sadly, this ego-driven mentality (which, as every other ego-driven desire, is never going to give lasting satisfaction) is banalised by the entertaiment industry, with a recent film showing the recourse to a sperm bank as something nowadays rather normal and good for a laugh, rather than for a serious and disquieting reflection.
Hopefully, in a couple of decades this madness will go the way of flower children and disco music.
“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: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Catholic Herald reports of the alertness of the Police in the preparation of the Papal visit, now less than two months away. Not only there are (as Anna Arco reports) Muslim fringe organisations aiming at disrupting the visit, but an aggressive welcome to the Pope is also planned from other sides as well – from Peter Tatchell pink desperadoes to Orangist groupings to aggressive Atheists -. It seems as if the papal visit could become a showdown between radically different mentalities.
This has led many commenters on Catholics blogs to wish that the visit may be postponed, or that it should not take place at all. I disagree with this thinking for the following reasons:
1) The United Kingdom is not a tin-pot African country. They’ll be able to provide for the Holy Father’s security quietly and efficiently. It is not as if the Holy Father were visiting the Gaza Strip wearing a Moshe Dayan t-shirt.
2) This is a State Visit. The Holy Father has been invited by the Queen. To postpone or cancel it would be tantamount to saying to the British Government “you can’t provide for my security”. Perhaps not the diplomatic equivalent of accusing them of being a tin-pot African country, but not far.
3) We must be pleased that the Pope is controversial. I am glad when the Church is controversial, I am worried when she isn’t! JP II was perceived as a largely harmless mediatic Glastonbury Festival, but B XVI is perceived as a real threat to secular society. This is why the secular press smiled on the former and hates the latter.
4) Once reassured (as I think we all should) about the personal security of the Holy Father and his entourage, we should look at disturbances and assorted provocations not only without worries, but with a shade of anticipation. Provocations and disruptions are going to come from fanatical nutcases and assorted fringe groups. There’s nothing to fear from them. On the contrary, the average man and woman in this country will instinctively symphatise with the old man having the gut to visit the wolf’s den and to be insulted and slandered for our sake.
The Pope on one side, loonies and leftist journalists on the other: who do you think is going to make the better impression on Middle England?
There will certainly be a lot of dirt being thrown around and the press will not have any scruple in gigantically amplifying every hint of new scandal or revelation – founded or not – in the days preceding the visit. But the perception of the press – that they mould the conscience and opinion of the country – is just an illusion. Decades of proto-marxist BBC have certainly not given us a country even remotely similar to the one they’d wish, the Guardian has supported the Yellows for the first time and as a result….. they have lost seats, and the “Sun” is best known for supporting the candidate they think is going to win.
There is not much of a downside in this visit, but there are tremendous opportunities for a strong message fearlessly delivered in the middle of the most secularised and aggressively anti-Catholic country in Europe.
If the message is loud and clear people will listen to the Pope, not to the fringe groups’ static noise.
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.
Dr. Ken Howell’s adversities (I should say: religious persecution) have now made it to the national press. The Washington Times dedicates to the matter a rather perceptive article pointing out not only to the absurdity of being fired for teaching what one is supposed to teach, but on the larger problem of the fact that institutions of superior education like the University of Illinois have come to the point that they utterly fail the very academic freedom that should be at the core of their entire existence.
Interestingly, the author of the article (Patrick Gillen) puts a name at the centre of the controversy: Robert McKim. Mr. McKim is not only the head of the University’s “Department of Religion”, but a sponsor of the “queer studies” in the same university. The intellectual integrity of Mr. McKim is openly put into question and in the next weeks he might feel all the heat of the summer.
With a bit of luck, this story will end with Dr. Howell not being the only person losing his job.
P.s. Those of you who love novels based on the issue of “political correctness gone mad” so spread in the academic world would probably enjoy two interesting books: Tom Wolfe’s “I am Charlotte Simmons” and Philip Roth’s “The Human Stain”.
The numerous fans of “President” Chavez (one of the biggest entertainers and muppets of our time) were already well aware of his many talents. The suavity with which the man tramples common sense is, indeed, worth of admiration as very few of us would, even in our much smaller sphere of influence, dare to make such asses of ourselves.
Chavez is different. He thrives in making you laugh. Like a court jester, he relinquishes every desire of dignity and self-esteem to achieve his aim to entertain and delight. A Rigoletto without the brains. He is at the same level of that other great comic talent, Mugabe; but he has the oil reserves, which makes the utter devastation of Venezuela slower and less pervasive than what Mugabe could, after a considerable and prolonged effort, achieve in Zimbabwe.
In his effort to diseducate and entertain, “President” Chavez has now discovered a new vocation as theologian. The Catholic News Agency reports that he has made his first outing in his new career by stating that “Christ doesn’t need any ambassador” because “Christ is in the people”. This he uttered in the middle of a controversy that led him to call the Archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, a “Neanderthal”. This he said publicly but as the laughing response from the paying public was not loud enough, he said it out loud again and now hopes that his reputation as stand-up comedian will increase as his theological fame spreads.
One is at a loss to understand why even a damn commie would go to such a distance to enrage the feelings of the many Catholics subject to his dicta….., erm, “presidency”. In the end, no one needs more enemies than strictly necessary and of those, Chavez already has a vast collection.
One is at a loss. But then again, one will never be a showman – let alone a theologian – in the mould of Mr. Chavez.
A couple of years ago, I was visiting a market town together with a group of friends. It was a saturday, near Christmas time and the town was bristling with activity. We were a group of a dozen people. We were informed by a flyer that the local Anglican church was inviting for the afternoon. “Come in and relax”, was the message. It was a bit like a marketing exercise for Starbucks: “tired by your shopping and the excitement of the day? Spend a quiet 30 minutes with us!”.
I must admit that I was curious. It was clearly not a Mass (that was explicitly said) and it was clearly not a party. It must be – we decide – a “sermon light”, with no fire or brimstone in sight. An Anglican take on the Christian faith. We decide to split in two groups and I choose the Vicar.
At the appointed hour, a man and a woman come in. Both wear dark suits but there is nothing in their appearance saying “I am a Vicar/I am a Vicarette”. They introduce themselves and yes, that’s what they are. To a Catholic this always makes a strange impression; it is a bit as if a man in shorts would knock at the door and say “I am from the undertakers’ “.
The two start to talk about the stress of modern life and how they understand how so terribly tiring it is to spend a saturday in a market town. Captatio benevolentiae, we’d have called it at school, but it is clear they have captured the audience already.They are impossibly nice.
Then they start cracking jokes. A lot of them and all rather brilliant. They act in a double like stand up comedians, are well-trained and professional; the end result is highly entertaining. It goes on this way to the end. There is no attempt to present Christianity as something alternative to secular mentality. There is nothing controversial, or even thought-provoking. There is, of course, absolutely nothing which might have caused some of the people looking for a bit of “relax” to get offence. There are two (they might have been three; but I think they were two, really) fleeting mentions of Jesus, of the “Jesus liked to see happy people around him too”-sort. There is no mention of, say, a parable or an episode of Jesus’ life and his significance. There is no attempt I do not say to convert, but to even instruct. There is not one single train of thoughts with Jesus at his centre.
It is as if the two felt compelled to slip His clearly embarrassing name somewhat in, but were sending the message that this, unfortunately, must be; we beg your forbearance; normal service will be resumed shortly.
But they continue to crack jokes. Brilliantly. It is obvious that the routine has been rehearsed because they are beautifully synchronised and assured in the delivery; not one hesitation or interruption. They end their performance after the promised thirty minute, expressing the hope that they have delivered on their promise to relax us. They most certainly have.
Once out, we immediately comment on the entertainment value of the double act (very high) and on its Christian content (slightly below zero). We can’t call it a sermon, because it isn’t. This, none of us had expected. As Catholics, we are accustomed to a priest saying that he talks about Christianity even when he talks nonsense.
I re-read the invitation flyer and at that moment it dawns on us. This wasn’t meant to be a sermon. It really wasn’t. The “Vicar and Vicarette”-duo didn’t want to talk about Christianity, at all! When they said “come in and relax” they meant… just that! Come in and be entertained by us! Come in and get something for the money you pay at Christmas and Easter! Come in and be assured that we will not make you uncomfortable with obnoxious Christianity! Come in and we will amuse and delight you! Come in and see that we are not entirely useless!
This episode seems to confirm what appears clear from many other signs: Anglicanism is nothing much to do with Christianity anymore. It has transformed itself into a strange body seeking (financial) support from a largely agnostic audience and careful not to upset them by actively promoting Christian values. Social work and entertainment is now all they want to offer.
I have reported some time ago about Dr. Ken Howell. Dr.Howell’s Catholic courses at the University of Illinois were terminated after the complaint of a student and the “concerns” of the – unbelievably, truly existing – “Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered concerns” about, well, what Catholicism teaches.
Fortunately, the reaction of many Catholics (a facebook support group with 1600 members, the University obviously bombarded with protest emails) are producing some effects. The American Papist blog reports that the University of Illinois now at least pretends to be interested in protecting Catholic freedom of expression from the fanaticism of deviant groups.
In another positive turn, we are informed that the relevant Diocese of Peoria has taken action with the University, though this had not been made immediately public and had therefore given cause to concern and criticism.
I will continue to follow this unbelievable story, which seems taken directly out of Philip Roth’s The Human Stain. This is certainly not going to be the end of the politically correct madness and of the thought control aspirations of a bunch of perverts but there is some hope that, at least in this matter, reason will in the end prevail.
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.
Read on American Papist the incredible story of Ken Howell, an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois. Mr Howell has been told that he will not be able to teach about Catholicism because his course “Introduction to Catholicism” mentions that Catholicism condemns homosexual acts; also that he has been so cheeky as to follow up with emails on the subject, after one student’s strong opposition to this Catholic teaching.
The episode is disconcerting for several reasons:
1) The course is about Catholicism. You can’t ask Catholicism to be what it is not. You either “introduce people to Catholicism” or you don’t.
2) The University in question has – as it appears from Mr Howell’s letter – an “Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered concerns”. I kid you not. No trace whatsoever of an “Office of Catholic concerns”. The world has probably gone mad. Some universities certainly have.
3) The idea that people against a certain religion may find any “concern” about what that religion teaches is preposterous. Pure thought control. Not even I would have dreamt of saying that I have “concerns” with Hindus believing in reincarnation or Buddhists subscribing to metempsychosis.
4) Mr. Powell’s reaction is also entirely disconcerting. He presented the argument that if Catholic teaching about homosexuality is offensive, than he should be advised not to touch the matter in his course! This is an astonishingly weak reaction and one which defeats itself from the beginning. If you accept the idea that Catholicism may be censored, you can’t complain when it is. The idea of an “Introduction to Catholicism”excluding the controversial bits is as ridiculous as saying that there should be no “Introduction to Catholicism” if one is so bad as to……talk about Catholicism.
As always, the United States leads the way in political correctness gone mad. The case is now under judicial review and I do hope that the stance will be on the harsh side of “we are ready not to talk of anything which is of concern to lesbians, homosexuals, and other deviants”.
Kudos to the “American Papist” for having the guts to relate such extraordinary events instead of hiding behind the “we don’t discuss controversial topics” stance of so many Catholics, who are interested only in a quiet life and “going along to get along” with everyone.
I came across this interesting Elizabeth Scalia’s article on “First Things” (an interreligious pro-life internet site) illustrating some points in a forceful way.
I would see the most relevant as follows:
1) The refusal of radicalism (understood as blind fanaticism) and the honest admission that in this some Christians are not entirely free of fault. Thankfully, we Catholics have the Tradition to guide us and to keep us away from fanatical fringe positions under the excuse of a bible quotation or two, taken out of the context.
2) The fact that many of the fanatics believing in some golden calf (the environment, say, or the so-called “right to choose”) end up organising themselves, thinking and acting as if they were one of the very religious organisations they condemn.
3) The appalling self-serving cynicism of a Weltanschauung by which what is convenient becomes the only criterium for the decision about a right to kill an innocent life and this is admitted candidly and without any shame. On this third and in my eyes most important point, the author Elisabeth Scalia quotes from Antonia Senior writing – unsurprisingly – in the London’s “Times”. Please read her words attentively:
“I could think of one cause I would stake my life on: a woman’s right to be educated, to have a life beyond the home and to be allowed by law and custom to order her own life as she chooses. And that includes complete control over her own fertility. […] Any other conclusion is a convenient lie that we on the pro-choice side of the debate tell ourselves to make us feel better about the action of taking a life”.
There is no effort to wear a mask here: the ability to “order her own life as she chooses” is the rationale of the abortion and every other consideration is – as it is honestly admitted – a “convenient lie that we on the on the pro-choice side of the debate tell ourselves to make us feel better about taking a life”.
You may now ask: how can it be that the willful suppression of an innocent life is fully recognised, but no consequences drawn? Simply in this way: that what is not convenient for the mother ceases to have status and dignity of a human life. To put it again in the words of Ms Senior,
“That little seahorse shape floating in a willing womb is a growing miracle of life. In a resentful womb it is not a life, but a foetus — and thus killable”.
This is the most honest explanation I have ever read from so-called “pro choice” activists and at the same time the most chillingly inhuman: if it doesn’t suit the mother, the very same foetus loses any right to be called a life.
One doesn’t know what is more appalling: the cruel consequences of such a thinking or the ability to fully recognise its cruelty and still give it one’s full assent.
Bored of the Catholic Mass?
Can’t stand sitting there in the pew without anything practical to do?
Think you are just wasting your time?
Fancy a “Costume Mass”, where you can sport your new western costume?
No time in your life for sensible things like smoking, eating and drinking beer?
Or perhaps not a Catholic, but you’d like to have a Catholic Communion – for a change – nevertheless?
We have what you want! Cardinal Schoenborn is your friend! This year he has expressly authorised (for the third time) our new and beautiful…… Western Mass!
Look for yourself on Gloria.tv how modern, relevant, hip and FUN Catholicism can be!
“Things cannot remain as they are”. This is not I, dear friends, saying so. Who am I to say such things? Why would you ever believe me? No, this is the Cardinal himself! What a jolly good fellow he is…..
Come visit us next year! You’ll be able to sit at a table in a pleasant Biergarten whilst a western band plays some beloved evergreens. You’ll be able to take a sunbath with your little child, have a chat with your friends and in general have a lot of FUN, all whilst the Mass goes on. No time losses, no boring queues, no having to listen, no inconvenient fast times anymore! You’ll exchange the “sign of peace” across the tables. At Communion time, just go up and get your host in your hand; try not to have ketchup on them but hey: you’re eating, right? Just please stand up when the priest asks you to, you’ll feel very pious. And oh, please do, do try to be somewhat silent during Communion. We are very reverent.
Look at the video: how happy everyone is! How satisfied! Particularly the priest, entertaining you about the necessity to “change the way the Church does things” and to “reach out to everyone”. Capital fellow. So nice.
If you’d like to participate next year, please do give a look at the video and see that we are not telling lies. The video is in German (Austria, again; lots of fans in the area; beer is good, too), but we trust you’ll have a clear picture of what is happening anyway.
Before you look at the video, please send the children to bed and do not show this to sincere Catholics of an advanced age, or with a heart condition. We must take care, in a non-judgmental manner, of our less fortunate brothers who are unable to understand that we have to change and reach out to everyone.
Father Z references a letter (in German) dated June 21st from Ecclesia Dei stating that
the celebration of Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form envisages the reception of Holy Communion while kneeling, as the Sacred Host is laid directly on the tongue of the communicant. There is no provision for the distribution of Holy Communion on the hand in this Form of the Holy Mass.
One would think that in a Tridentine Mass the reception of Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue would be obvious, but apparently this is not the case.
I thought that this letter would be worth a little hurrah.
I was born and raised in Italy. In those years, Catholicism was the “Official Religion of the State” and this was anchored in the Italian Constitution. A Crucifix adorned every classroom. This was, besides its obvious religious significance, a most natural cultural factor. The mere idea of questioning its presence would have seemed bizarre in the extreme.
Then came the (disgraceful) “Revision of the Concordate”. Catholicism was not the Official Religion of the State anymore, but the State recognised the “cultural role” played by the Church in Italy’s life. The Crucifix remained on the school walls, but in “superior schools” at the beginning of the year the teachers had to ask whether there was opposition to it. In my school of twenty classes, opposition never came.
Mind you, this was not because of the absence of atheists (sometimes rather vocal ones; Communists were, after all, still around), but because even the Communists and Atheists would have been ashamed of asking for the removal of something so naturally part of the country’s cultural backbone. It would have been a bit like declaring pasta “fascist” and in those years even the Communists possessed the basic decency to respect commonly and widely spread religious feelings. In short: even those who insisted in being wrong took care not to appear stupid.
There might have been exceptions. I am sure they weren’t many.
Not anymore, you might say, but you’d be wrong. The support for the Crucifix is still widely spread within the Italian society. The biggest party of the Centre-Right coalition (yes, that one!) and the biggest party of the Centre-Left coalition (yes, the one with the ex-Communists in it!) are both in favour. So are many of the smaller parties. So is, in his overwhelming majority, the Country. The Crucifix, some years ago challenged by a Muslim father because – hear this – it “scared his child” was even upheld by the Italian Constitutional Court.
All right, then? Well, er, no. A not-so-well-known organ called Europe’s Human Rights Court (constituted by an even-less-known supranational organisation called Council of Europe, nothing to do with the EU by the way) has decided that the Crucifix has to go. What the tradition, the people, the political parties and the judicial system of the country all consider right is actually, we are informed, wrong.
The Italian government has now presented an appeal, together with another dozen or so countries. Even if they should lose the appeal, I do not doubt that as long as the Centre-Right coalition is in power they will do whatever they please for as long as they please. Italian governments have this down to a fine art and the Italian electorate – always fond of the “furbi” – would like it a lot. I can’t imagine that they would just give up. They might even be hoping to lose the appeal and reap a rich harvest with the opposition to it, but that’s just me.
Still, I must reflect on a couple of things (three, actually):
1) this is what happens when a government consents to participate to feel-good initiatives only meant to create jobs and to show some humanitarian activism. Italy is no Zimbabwe. No, really. It knows a thing or two about human rights, democracy, and Crucifixes. Yes, even the actual Prime Minister 😉
2) I am fed up (as many of you I am sure are) with delegation of Sovereign Powers (at least nominally) to supranational organisations. If you ask me, it means to put your cultural patrimony at the mercy of a bunch of feminists (of whatever sex) and atheists largely of other countries. You don’t want that.
3) This must be reversed. Italy must (as every other European country) proudly re-claim the *right to decide for itself* in matters like this. It can’t be that a bunch of judges start to remould the cultural fabric of an entire Country against the will of its Parliament, Judiciary and people.
If we don’t wake up, we’ll all end up in the hands of a bunch of social nannies playing God at our expense.
It is some months old now, but I would like to mention this very interesting article from Brendan O’Neill.
Brendan O’Neill is an atheist. As such, the “press consensus” fed us by the BBC would want him outraged at the paedophile priest scandal and – as he has been raised as a Catholic – probably to consider himself a victim of some mild form of abuse in the form of Catholic brainswashing.
But if you read his article you’ll discover that an atheist can still maintain a rational attitude in front of a scandal (grave in itself, no doubt!) concerning a religious institution.
He doesn’t try to minimise any crime. He doesn’t whine. He doesn’t predict the end of the Catholic Church or try to say that Pope Benedict’s Papacy is in tatters. He doesn’t tell the Catholic Church how She should change to comply with his own standards.
Instead, you find that he mentions his sources; that he reads them; that he looks at actual numbers and sets them in the broader context of society and societal changes; that his analysis goes beyond the easy barking and shouted sensationalism so typical of those only bent to exploit the “theme du jour”; that his refusal of emotional language and easy headlines is – admirably – as total as his opposition to atheist anti-Christian fanaticism.
Of course, we as Catholics cannot agree with everything he writes and our analysis would be different from his. Still, the honesty of his approach is to be commended.
Please read the (longish) article in its entirety. It is certainly worth the time. I will here only mention its conclusion:
“Whatever you think of the Catholic Church, you should be concerned about today’s abuse-obsession. Events of the (sometimes distant) past which nobody can change are being used to justify dangerous trends in the present. A new kind of society is being solidified on the back of exposing abusive priests, one in which scaremongering supersedes facts, where people redefine themselves as permanently damaged victims, where freedom of thought is problematised, and where parents are considered suspect for not adhering to the superior values of the atheistic elite”.