Monthly Archives: September 2010
This is what we have waited to see for almost a year.
As you can read here, in Maryland an entire community of Episcopalians (“Mount Calvary Episcopal Church”) has decided to enter the Ordinariate. This will happen already in October after their sister community of Episcopalian religious sisters (the “All Saints sister of the poor”) have been received into the Only Church last year.
One is reminded of that scene of the “Lord Of The Ring” movie, when the battle of Helm’s Deep approaches and at the first volley King Theoden says …… ” So it begins”….
The warmest welcome to our brothers and sisters now united to the Only Church.
This delicious snippet from the excellent “Yes, Minister/Yes, Prime Minister” TV series (possibly the best TV series ever produced, certainly the favourite of Baroness Thatcher) is, as almost every word in this series, perceptive and profound whilst always managing to be suavely entertaining.
A quarter of a century after the episode, and with two of their three main actors going to their eternal (hopefully) reward, we can reflect that on the one hand the so-called church of England was already in an advanced state of decay and – more worryingly – that there is almost no sentence coming from the wise mind of Sir Humphrey (a hero of our times, and still underestimated…..) which could not – to an extent, if not always literally – be applied to the Catholic hierarchy here in Blighty.
“The word modernist is code for non-believer”
“When they stop believing in God they call themselves modernists”
“The c of England is primarily a social organisation, not a religious one”
“….significant religious events, like the Royal Garden Party”
” the Church is trying to be more relevant”. “To God?”. “No, of course not, Prime Minister!”
One listens to this refined dialogue and understands that it is not the fruit of parody or comic exaggeration, but acute and critical reflection of everyday reality. I would love to tell you that such devastating criticism does not apply to the men currently leading the Catholic church in England and Wales but if we are honest, this just doesn’t seem to be the case.
Say a prayer, if you want, for Nigel Hawthorne, the unforgettable “Sir Humphrey”. I do hope he managed to save his soul in the end.
ICN reports about the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy coming to the defence of Catholicism in general and of Pope Benedict in particular.
Mr. Lévy’s assertions are of a certain importance due to his notoriety and reputation. Also please note that he is a Jew, but he does not indulge in the anti-Catholic self-victimhood so typical of some liberal Jews (to be clear: of those who don’t believe in God and are enemies of religion anyway).
His point about the desecration of Catholic cemeteries are in my eyes particularly relevant. In his words:
“In France there is much talk about the desecration of Jewish and Muslim cemeteries, but nobody knows that the tombs of Catholics are continually desecrated. There is a sort of anti-clericalism in France that is not healthy at all.”
I’d add that this unhealthy anti-clericalism is alive and kicking in the UK too and probably worse than in France. Here in Blighty you can build your notoriety on savage anti-Catholicism, though a strong attitude towards Islam (eg in Oriana Fallaci style) would be frowned upon and probably lead to security concerns.
Kudos to Monsieur Lévy then, as one of the so-called “intelligentsia” who has the guts to defend the Pope is not so easy to find nowadays. I’ll pray for him and for his conversion.
If there’s something I can’t stand (well I admit, there are several things I can’t stand; but this one grates me in a particular way) is selfishness willfully masked under a veil of goodness. “I think too much of my colleagues and too little of myself”, says the chap interviewed for a new job and you know he’ll never be sincere on the workplace, because decent people just haven’t the gut to lie in such a way; “I want to stay near my children”, says the father moving out with his mistress but hey, not too far away from the family he has abandoned; “I will bicycle in the Cotswolds against leukemia, do you want to sponsor me”? says the colleague who wants to have the holiday paid and look good at the same time.
Now let us be clear: everyone has his own frailties, but I think that those who say “I want to try to stay as much as I can near my children as I am hurting them enough already” does make a better impression; gravely weak, but at least not sanctimonious.
Today I stumbled upon another, even more pernicious example. You can read here on First Things of a “modern” nun who in the Seventies decided to avoid the clerical garb and dress in ordinary clothes.
The nun in question explained her wanting to go around dressed like your aunt Agatha who lives down in Portsmouth with the argument that this way she would, say, stop starving Italian ice cream sellers and leading them to certain ruin. The argument goes as follows:
“When we were in our habits, a fellow with an Italian ice barrow would always insist on giving us free ices, but why should he? Why shouldn’t we pay like anyone else? Why should we deprive him of his living because we were in a costume?”
Please stop for a moment and admire the self-effacing gentleness of the lady, desirous to not be recognised as a nun not to be free to do whatever she pleases instead of carrying with her at all times the duties (and the dignity) symbolised by her habit, but merely desirous to avoid the poor chap being “deprived of his living”. When I read it I was moved to tears. If this is not Mother Teresa, it’s only half a notch below.
Please also stop for a moment and consider the cruelty of pre-V II times, when legions of nuns avidly charged towards Italian ice cream sellers and cruelly expected that the poor chap said to them “fooore youuuu theeere iiiise noo chaaarge, siiiister” whilst thinking of his shoeless six children, desperate wife and unpaid rent; all due to the insatiable cravings of the ice cream-loving sisters. And yes, if we think of it: how many Italian ice-cream sellers have we seen in our days, begging on the sidewalk?! How many times have we thought – our hand clenched in a fist of rage – “that’s another one ruined by those damn ice cream-loving nuns…..”?! No, this must be at par with Mother Teresa…
I also notice that the sister didn’t choose any of the complicated and utterly selfish alternatives (like avoiding getting near to the ice cream seller; or even insisting to pay). This would have been too arrogant of her as it would have put Luigi in a position of utter social inferiority, showing all the glory of her exalted station in life!
No, sister “stracciatella-and-nougat” chose the hard way; made the difficult choice; sacrificed herself on the altar of neighbourliness; she bravely threw away her religious habit to switch to a humble pair of jeans. How selfless, democratic and sooo charitable!
Forty years later, we laugh at this sanctimonious arrogance and – healed by forty years of post Vatican-II stupidity – clearly see through the hypocrisy of Sister Selfish. But I wonder how many, forty years ago, saw this with the clarity of our days. Methinks, many have given to such ladies the benefit of the doubt, or even thought than in times in which it seemed that everything was supposed to change a nun should be authorised to change, too. I can feel the sense of confusion, the shame at being the one who “thinks ill of another person”, the sad feeling of revered customs going away forever. I can feel it, because I have felt it myself.
In this and in other matters (say, false Archbishops) we must say things as they are instead of being ashamed of thinking that what looks wrong and sounds wrong can’t be right.
I am often reminded of the saying of the very Catholic, but very cynical Italian statesmen Giulio Andreotti: “he who thinks ill commits a sin, but he is very often right”.
The LA Times feels the need to tell us that, on average, atheists know more of religion than the faithful. What is not clear is why this should be surprising.
Firstly, it is apparent that an atheist has had to inform himself about why he doesn’t believe (thank God, we still live in times where you can’t go around for long saying “I’m atheist” without someone reacting, a vague form of Christianity is still mainstream) whilst a believer is never checked about how deep is his knowledge. Or can you tell me when it was last time that someone has said “I am a Christian” and someone else has challenged this belief. I mean, I do it at times with some people (particularly with the “but people”; “I am a Christian, but…”), but you are not likely to meet me very often. Also note that other religions do not fare much better.
This is rather normal: few people – when left to themselves – spend time in deepening what they already believe. I can’t give you a scientific demonstration that the earth rotates around the sun; I believe it and that’s all I need to know, end of story. On the other hand, if I were of the opinion that the sun rotates around the earth I’d have all the Ptolemaic knowledge at my immediate disposal.
Secondly, this is not a survey about the militant Christians, or the informed Christians. This is a survey about the generic Christians, those with a lick of Christian varnish, often several decades old and sometimes never applied at all; those who think that Jesus was a chap who came on earth to bring peace, or to tell us that we “shouldn’t judge”, or who believe that Jesus wouldn’t have had any disagreement whatsoever with Gandhi or with the Dalai Lama. Therefore, the conclusion of the LA Times that it would be better to ask an atheist than a Christian if you want to “know more about God” is not really intelligent. If you want to know about God, you ask someone who knows the Truth, because the truth is nothing to do with statistics.
Thirdly and as far as we Catholics are concerned, this ignorance is nothing else than the product of fifty years of terrifying catechesis. Considering this, it is in my eyes encouraging that 60% of the surveyed Catholics still get the transubstantiation right. I can imagine many Catholic priests and bishops saddened at the fact that there are still so many. This is the situation on the ground and this problem has been denounced for decades now by conservative Catholics. This is also what is permanently shouted from Catholic blogs all over the planet, so nothing new here.
What therefore the LA times achieves is to show how right conservative Catholics are. This newspaper article should be pinned at the door of every parish disgraced by a trendy priest who has fed his sheep with convenient bollocks all these years, letting many of them go away and keeping the others in abysmal ignorance of even the basics.
A last point I’d like to highlight is the issue of the “education”. The LA Times seems to consider an acquired truth (and I would like to read more data about that anyway) that better educated people tend to be more atheists than less educated people. Even if this were true, though, it would certainly not show that religion is a fantasy for the less educated, but purely that the wrong type of education lets people become haughty and endangers their souls.
I would vastly prefer to be an uneducated peasant living and dying with a simple but solid faith than a faithless sophisticated urban professional living a life of privilege and dying without Christ, because The former has the knowledge that really counts whilst the latter has a fake knowledge that blinds him and leads him to perdition. As Father Corapi would say the peasant knows much more than the educated professional, because he knows the Truth.
This is one reason more to insist that one’s offspring is educated in the proper way.
Just in case you had thought that I am the only one jumping from the chair when he reads what our disgraziato wants to smuggle as Catholicism, I refer here about the reaction caused by the same Archbishop Vincent “Quisling” Nichols on Mr. John Smeaton, the head of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. Mr. Smeaton has, as previously reported, his own blog, and an excellent one at that.
The ire of Mr. Smeaton was referred to an interview given by Vincent “Quisling” Nichols to the Daily Telegraph (the once conservative, now pinkish-PC daily newspaper) on the 11 September.
In this interview, Nichols is asked whether he thinks that the Church will ever “accept the reality of gay partnerships” (notice here: the “Telegraph” doesn’t write “homosexual”. “Gay” is the word of choice. As everything in the DT, it exudes political correctness. How very gay.) and he answers “I don’t know”. I admit to have read the article and to have given “Quisling” the benefit of the doubt; not being a mother tongue, I thought that this “I don’t know” could be meant in the same way as the “I’m not sure about that” used to express your clear disagreement; I have, therefore, not blogged on the matter.
Interestingly, though, Mr. Smeaton points out to another affirmation of the same man, interviewed by the BBC on the same matter and answering: “”I don’t know. Who knows what’s down the road?”
“Who knows what’s down the road?!” Well for one you are supposed to know what’s down the road, Mr. Nichols!!
I have already mentioned yesterday, but repetita iuvant, what Vincent “Quisling” Nichols is bound to know and to say about these perverted “unions”:
In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.
I will also, like Smeaton, mention CCC 2357 here as I didn’t do it yesterday:
Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
I’ll avoid sending my adrenaline sky-high just writing what I think of this disgraziato. Read and reach your conclusions for yourself. Unbelievably, this is an archbishop of the Only Church. It’s like listening to a Nancy Pelosi with some brain; or to an Anglican with some fear of actually being disciplined.
John Smeaton’s conclusion is perfectly logic:
“..as a Catholic parent, I am in a position to say, and on behalf of Catholic parents I meet up and down the country, that Archbishop Nichols’s, my archbishop’s, comments are dangerous to the souls of my children”
He later quotes from Evangelium Vitae and points out that:
“it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection”.
Archbishop Vincent “Quisling” Nichols is not interested in all this. He doesn’t give a penny for two thousand years of Christian teaching; he pretends not to know Vatican documents on the matter; he pretends (we have seen it yesterday) that Pope Benedict is even of his opinion; he even pretends to completely ignore what JP II’s Catechism very clearly says on the matter.
This man is just a disgrace for the Church and an enemy in our midst.
The address where to send your email of complaint is firstname.lastname@example.org
Please point out to this scandal. Let us help those of good will in the Vatican (I’m sure there is someone, and more than someone) to clean the Church from their enemies.
Surfing around in Anglican pastures I have found an interesting article from Mr. Michael Gollop, an Anglican Vicar writing on a blog called The Anglo-Catholic.
The entry is very interesting because its author seems to guide the reluctant convert (and there must be many out there, torn between the fidelity to the church of their fathers and the growing, unpleasant awareness of ……. those fathers being actually wrong all the time) toward conversion in a way which is gentle and absolutely honest at the same time.
The main arguments of the author seem to me the following:
1) so-called Anglo-Catholicism has in the past been useful to maintain at least a part of Catholic thinking within Anglicanism, but this is now not the case anymore. He quotes the prophetic words of Cardinal Newman, that “the Nation drags down its Church to its own level…” . More than 100 years later, these words seem prophetic in a way that Newman would have considered not even possible, the so-called c of E of today not even Christian anymore.
2) It is an illusion to think that the process may be reversed. The so-called church of England is now firmly in the end of the liberals and this is not going to change. The liberals will soon finish to massacre its theology and whatever Christianity is going to remain in the form of rebel evangelical provinces is clearly not going to be after the taste of those with catholic tendencies.
3) The experience of the past brings the author to see what he sums up, again, with the words of Cardinal Newman. These words are charitable and hard at the same time (better said: they are charitable because they are hard):
“…and, unwilling as I am to give offence to religious Anglicans, I am bound to confess that I felt a great change in my view of the Church of England. I cannot tell how soon there came on me,—but very soon,—an extreme astonishment that I had ever imagined it to be a portion of the Catholic Church. For the first time, I looked at it from without, and (as I should myself say) saw it as it was. Forthwith I could not get myself to see in it any thing else, than what I had so long fearfully suspected, from as far back as 1836,—a mere national institution
This is so beautiful that I had to re-read it several times. Newman’s words leave in no doubt as to who is in error and he makes no mystery of his astonishment at having ever thought that he could be a Catholic whilst an Anglican. But his beautiful words also beautifully express the serenity now attained, the safe haven from which he sees his past errors but also knows that the he has now found Truth, and peace.
The truth is hard, but liberating. And the hard truth is that one can’t be Anglo-Catholic more than he could be Capitalo-Communist or Buddho-Christian. One thing excludes the other and the desire to remain in a place of comfortable illusion is now (providentially, I’d almost say) smashed under the ruins of the crumbling edifice of what is rapidly becoming the former so-called church of England.
Newman expresses this certainty with the usual lucidity, powerfully expressing the correct perception of Anglicanism born of the now acquired Truth. His words are hard, but they are serene. To every Anglican torn by doubts they must sound as a blow; but with a glimpse of the serenity to be found on the other side of the doubts and the promise of the serenity being attainable by him too, if he is but ready to take this merciful blow.
I wouldn’t want to have been one of the many conservative Anglicans probably looking at the Pope on TV, comparing him with their funny bearded muppet believing everything and its contrary and being suddenly struck by the acute and painful feeling that they belong to the wrong shop.
Still, the discomfort coming from such a realisation can lead to a future of safety and serenity in the Truth. The same serenity so beautifully expressed by Blessed John Henry Newman.
I am extremely disappointed in having being informed only yesterday that it was the “boycott Mass” Sunday. Had I known it before, I wouldn’t have missed the bigger part of the fun. Pity, really.
I attended at the Brompton Oratory, as usual. Eleven am Mass. Full, as usual. Perhaps (just perhaps) a bit more mantillas than usual. I might be wrong. Otherwise no, no differences. Surfing around it would seem that mass attendance was rather higher than usual, as in places where the initiative has been drummed people have chosen to show the wymyn what they think of them in the right way. The ways of the Lord….
Anyway: for those of you who don’t know, apparently some soi-disant “Catholic” wymyn has called for Catholic women to “boycott Mass” (I kid you not!) to protest against the oppression of the wymyn not allowed to be Popess, not even Bishopess, not even Parish Priestesses! The ignominy!
I am now waiting for their demand to have an artificial penis implanted at taxpayer’s cost, but I think for that we’ll have to wait a couple of years yet and it might be necessary to “boycott Confession”. It will be fun.
The concept of boycotting the Mass is so stupidly blasphemous that one is afraid that not even the stupidity of these wymyn may save them from actual mortal sin. To willingly, deliberately skip Mass was, last time I looked, already an objective mortal sin. I am scared of thinking of the subjective element in people inviting not to attend Mass for…… feminist reasons. I truly am!
What is really funny, though, is the idea that you can boycott a religious organisation by just not showing up. This is like saying that I have damaged Islam on Friday by not showing up at the local mosque. Or perhaps wymyn think that they are indispensable because of, well, the dough? This is rather strange, considering that for 20 centuries said dough has not really come in from women in any significant amount and the Church has expanded everywhere.
I would, anyway, encourage the wymyn to not call themselves Catholic and – most importantly – not to dare to receive the Most Holy Communion. If one thinks attentively about it, it can well be that this initiative has avoided 10 or 12 unworthy and sacrilegious attempts to receive the Real Presence. I therefore heartily invite all the unreformed feminists to continue with their protest until repentance or death. Better to die in mortal sin without a huge string of desecrations than with them.
Feminists of the world, wake up. You just don’t count. No, really.
I would have tought (in a cynical moment; it happens) that nowadays the main occupation of Belgian bishops was to try to stay out of scandal and help rebuild some reputation.
Funnily, though, it would seem that they still have time to question priest celibacy. Now it is true that priest celibacy is a matter of discipline rather than of doctrine, but one would really think that the gentlemen would have something better to do than to question an extremely old church institution and one which has worked so well all these centuries, accompanying the growth of the Church through the entire planet.
I might be an idiot (and there are people around saying I am, though knowing them I am reassured they do), but in the little world of Mundabor if your national church is ridden by scandals and covered in shame you want to react with more orthodoxy, not with less; with coming back to doing things as they were done and paying attention that you reconstruct church life from their very foundations.
I wouldn’t expect you (as in “you hypothetical Belgian bishop”) to react by starting a debate that must be confusing to most local Catholics, particularly considering that they’ll wonder whether there aren’t more pressing priorities themselves. I would also expect that you, as one of the shepherds, realise that the departure from orthodoxy is what caused the problems in the first place; that when you kick orthodoxy out of the door you have Satan coming in from the window; that you can’t expect to start corrupting the Teaching without the same corruption penetrating the very walls of your organisation, affecting the very people entrusted with the Teaching and who have now made themselves unfitting to protect it.
The Belgian bishops seem not to live in the little world of Mundabor. Fair enough. But the “Wall Street Journal” has set up a poll asking the public to have their say.
Turns out that as I write 85.5% are in favour of priest celibacy. I am curious to see how it ends, but this might well be another “Papal Visit Moment”, when one discovers that what the press publishes is pure fantasy created with a political agenda or because it makes for some nice headlines.
Let us play a game.
Let’s imagine that you are a famous rock star. Fame, money, girls, the lot. Your ego balloons dangerously. At the same time you have a lot of more or less penniless friends who are now slowly expecting that you do something for them. You would like to of course, but you won’t certainly pay for fake grace and favour jobs for all of them. I mean, even in “Entourage” they are only a handful and when you have a driver, a manager and a cook that’s pretty much it.
But then your ego continues to grow and you are tired of being perceived only as a successful singer. You want to become more than that. You want to be a kind of messiah.
As a third problem, there’s the fact that you want to travel in style without paying, and you want to meet famous people.
And then there’s your agent, who has been saying for years that you need to stay more in the headlines because fame is a cruel mistress. Look at madonna (little m) and Angelina (big…. lips), how many children they adopt and how much popularity it brings them!
You must, then, do something which allows you to:
a) place a lot of friends and friends of the friends (and mistresses, and the like) in well-paid jobs, without costing you a penny;
b) make yourself important at no cost to you;
c) use other people’s money to tell foreign Governments how to use taxpayer’s money.
At the end of the story you will be the idol and they will be the idiots, because the game can be played ad infinitum: you will always be able to say that the West “doesn’t do enough” whilst the crowds adore you and the government will always be interested in getting near you.
This is the killer media magnet. Beats adopting third world children any day.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to let it grow up to 120 people (that’s a lot of friends even if you include the friends of the friends and the mistresses) and even make good weather with journalists, which is rather important for a pop icon anyway.
Yup. You must create an advocacy group.
And so the Pope came, saw and conquered. People were moved, crowds were gathered, even journalists felt stupid (which happens to them much less often than it should) and for some days toned down the Anti-Catholic propaganda.
Still, those accustomed to observe the British Catholic clergy knew that this wind of orthodoxy would not last long, with the local bishops bending to said winds like a birch and coming back to normal as soon as the nuisance ceases.
This is exactly what has happened; but in this case, the desire of the British clergy to show that the Papal visit was just an unwanted nuisance was so strong that the Head Scoundrel, Archbishop Nichols, couldn’t wait more than one day to launch himself in an open attack to the Teaching of the Church. Make no mistake, the message here is emphatically clear: I am still in charge and now it is back to normal.
Nichols is among the interviewed of the usual BBC “let’s be inclusive” interview (he loves doing that); interviewed with him is the also usual token homo, in this case an Anglican professor.
As LifeSiteNews reports, Vincent Nichols denies that – to put it with LSN – “the Church is opposed to the homosexualist agenda”. Please read this again. 1) There are homosexualists (= homosexual activists) around. 2) The Church is opposed to them. 3) The homos complain about the fact. 4) Nichols denies the fact. He denies that the Church be opposed to their agenda.
At this point, Nichols embarks in a defence of what the Church in England has done for them. His words are:
“In this country, we were very nuanced. We did not oppose gay civil partnerships. We recognized that in English law there might be a case for those. What we persistently said is that these are not the same as marriage.”
If this is not enough to let your adrenaline level go through the roof, I don’t know what could. Let us see what this disgraziato is saying:
1) “in this country”.That is as to say: “we are different from the rest of the Church here. We are on your side”. He must know that in countries like Italy the Church has made such a strong opposition when civil partnership were proposed, that the proposal died before a vote. He must know that in countries like USA, Mexico and others the controversies rage and the local Church is invariably on the right side. But he doesn’t care. He clearly says on whose part he is. He speaks for his fellow bishops too. In this he is probably right.
2) “we were very nuanced”. This is oh so typical of people like Nichols, who must have lost his faith in his youth. No right and wrong anymore, just “nuances”. Far more convenient. Just compare with those idiots in Italy, Mexico, USA; primitive, uncharitable people unable to be “nuanced”.
3) “We did not oppose gay civil partnerships”. “Gay” is not a theological word. In Vatican documents you find “homosexual”, not “gay”. And he did not oppose them. Vincent Nichols pretends to be unaware that he can be accessory to another’s sin by silence, by consent, by defense of the ill done, by flattery. He pretends to have completely forgotten what then Cardinal Ratzinger once wrote in his letter to the bishops (that is: to him personally):
Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.
Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not.
(Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the pastoral care of homosexual persons)
Vincent Nichols is expected to teach homosexual that homosexual activity is not in order. He is not supposed to pretend not to know that homosexual activity is what happens within a civil partnerships and that through it sodomy becomes legalised and made socially acceptable.
There is an hypocrisy here, a brazenness, an open revolt to the Church and to common sense, that is breathtaking and beyond contempt.
4) “What we persistently said is that these are not the same as marriage”. Please. Every idiot knows that two people of the same sex living together are not “married”, even the perverts pretending to be “married” know it. But this is not the point. The point is that you can’t be so hypocritical as to say that you can accept civil partnerships whilst pretending to still condemn sodomy!
I can picture Vincent Nichols in pastoral visit in Sodom literally saying to the locals “we are very nuanced in this city; we do not oppose your civil partnerships; we recognise that in Sodom there might be a case for those; what we persistently say to you is that these are not the same as marriage”.
To think that this is an archbishop. It beggars belief.
As an Archbishop, Mr Nichols should be aware of the existence of a document called “Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons” (link under “Church Teaching”). Notice: “unions”, not “marriages”. No nuances here. In this document we find written:
In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.
Which part of “clear and emphatic opposition” is Mr. Nichols not able to understand? Which part of “duty” is not applicable to England and Wales? What is so difficult to grasp in the words “gravely unjust laws”?
It doesn’t end here I am afraid. This despicable man goes to the point of implying that homosexuality is not a big deal after all, and that …… Pope Benedict thinks the same! In Vincent Nichols’ word, if a Pope has been consistently preaching the same ( and the Church’s) message both as a cardinal (with letters he pretends not to have read) and as a Pope, but avoids dealing explicitly with the matter for four days, hey presto, he has changed his priorities!!
Nichols expresses himself with the following words:
“I think it’s very interesting, and I don’t think for one minute it’s accidental, that when the pope wanted to raise this question, [in his address at Westminster Hall] where are the moral standards on which we base our activity, he chose as his example the financial crisis. I think that’s very important and not to be overlooked.”
I must say I have never found a worse example of falseness and a clergyman more brazenly disrespectful of the Holy Father. This man openly provokes the Holy Father by openly saying that his own homo agenda is shared by the Holy Father himself.
I never thought I’d see the day where an Archbishop of Westminster has the temerity of openly make a mockery of a Papal visit one day after its end.
Vincent Nichols has already attracted serious criticism and John Smeaton has said that his words are “fatally undermining (as distinct from denying) the security and even the legitimacy of Catholic teaching on the nature of human sexuality”.
Nichols is an enemy of the Church who doesn’t dare to openly attack the Pope, but prefers to undermine Church teaching through allusive words, a show of independence from Rome (even recognised by his homosexual interlocutor, as you can read) and a “British way to Catholicism” which is, to say it plainly, heresy.
The address where to write your complaint is
You don’t need to write a speech. Make it simple. Just post the link to the interview, advise that he is giving scandal and ask them to act.
No insults, no ranting, just the facts. In case, please wait until you can write with the necessary composure. I know it can be difficult, but it is the only way to be taken seriously.
Michael Voris has an interesting “vortex” (*) about the recent Papal visit.
The elements I’d like to emphasise are as follows:
1) He stresses the fact that whilst the Pope was kind in his word, he was hard as steel in the message he delivered. Truth soaked in charity, not falseness soaked in false compassion.
2) He very aptly points out to the fact that the Pope has centered his message on the salvation of souls instead of the social instances so often espoused by those who have stopped believing and want to undermine or downplay the Teaching of the Church.
You may want to listen to this video attentively and keep in mind both points above, because the videois a good introduction to the next entry. The next entry will deal with the utter betrayal of Catholic values from a disgraceful individual fully bent on confusing Catholics, spreading scandal, undermining Catholic teaching and pandering to the political correctness of our times: Archbishop Vincent Nichols.
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Dr. Rowan Williams has given an interview to the well-know liberal and anti-Catholic newspaper, “The Times”, about homosexuality.
As amply known, Times bizarrely thinks that people will be ready to pay in order to read their internet site, which I find very funny.
It would anyway appear that the interview contained an amazing new concept: sodomy is fine unless you’re Anglican clergy. This is astonishing even by Anglican standards.
Still, I do not like to post if I can’t link to exact words and phrases.
In substitution, here is an interview (short, but highly representative of RW’s positions) given by Dr. Rowan Williams.
It is some years old now, but still of great actuality; I’d say that it reflects his positions well.
We have examined in the past two posts (here and here) the most common ways to understand reincarnation and their fundamental incompatibility with the existence and work of Christ. Let us now conclude by examining the utter failure of such new age “Christianity-cum-reincarnation” perspectives from a more practical point of view.
In order to do so, one must decide whether Indians are a people intrinsically or even genetically prone to violence and cruelty, or not. If one decides that they are, one subscribes to a racist vision of the world which is the contrary of what modern followers of reincarnation tend to (at least consciously) believe. If one doesn’t, he has a problem.
It is in fact clear from the most superficial exam of the Indian society that a high level of cruelty and ruthlessness, unknown to Christian societies, has dominated its social structures for a long time. The suttee, the habit of burning the widow at or around the death of her husband, is in my eyes a clear evidence of the consequences of reincarnation. I am not interested here in the details of the practice (how consistent it was with Hindu spirituality; whether it was more often voluntary or forced; whether it was common or rare, etc.); rather with the fact that such practices never existed in the Christian culture. And really, whilst one does not necessarily need to believe in reincarnation to commit suicide or being killed (a lot of atheists commit suicide or kill even by us), it is difficult to imagine that such practices would have been even imagined without a belief in reincarnation spread through the veins of the Indian society. The problem here is not whether Suttee is compatible with Hindu spirituality, but whether it is compatible with the belief in reincarnation…..
Similar considerations can be made for other aspects of the Indian society, less evident now but still not eradicated: the existence and toleration of castes by otherwise decent people can only be explained with the belief in reincarnation.
Never in Christian countries have people died of starvation in the middle of the road among the general indifference; not even in times of pestilence. Never in Christian countries have people been considered unworthy of being touched, or even their shadow being considered defiling. Never in Christian countries has the gap between starving poor and shamelessly rich reached the scale of the Indian subcontinent found by the British colonisation. I could give further examples of cruelty and utter disregard for the dignity of the human being.
Still, no sensible person could deny that in that same country one could find a multitude of excellent people; compassionate in their own way, lovers of family and friends, sometimes extremely spiritual as clearly showed by an impressive spiritual tradition. It is therefore fair to say that it is the belief in reincarnation which made the cruelty, the suttee, the starving of people under one’s eyes & Co. acceptable in the eyes of decent people. I do not want to say that an individual who believes in reincarnation must perforce accepts these things; rather that a nation that believes in reincarnation will end up accepting them.
The problem of today’s society is that too many people are ready to see as “cool” and “spiritually advanced” everything that comes from the East, but do not think to the end about the consequences of the beliefs they are trying to import. They consider a “cruelty” that a priest (a man who has made an adult and free choice) is not allowed to marry, but never consider that a child brought to a Buddhist monastery to be raised as a monk never had a chance to choose, or to protest. They never ask themselves how would they feel if Catholic priests or friars were selected in the same way. They are so vocal in the defence of animals and will love to tell you how nice Indian people are to cows, but will readily forget how less nice they are to the starving and to the widows. (Yes, many widows die in India today of strange domestic accidents. Doesn’t happen by us, strangely enough).
This doesn’t want to be a generalised condemnation of Indian society. I am sure many excellent people (Hindu, Muslim etc.) live and have always lived there. But you can’t take Sodom out of Lot, and you can’t avoid the belief in reincarnation causing an amount of indifference and acceptance of starvation and violence just inconceivable by us.
And so it happens that whilst Western countries nowadays provide up to one fifth of the GDP of countries thousands of miles away, out of sheer compassion for people they’ll never see, Sri Lanka drowns in a sea of corruption even after a disastrous tsunami, with entire categories of citizens enriching themselves out of the money meant to save their own people from tragic death and utter destitution.
Christian societies work. They are far more compassionate than any other. They have never allowed mass starvation, not even in the darkest hours of hunger and misery and plague. They have never burned widows like the Indians, or exposed sickly children like the Greek. Not even in the hardest circumstances.
Reincarnation is not only wrong but when applied to entire populations for generations, sooner or later it will create the conditions for the toleration of every aberration.
Beautiful post on Ann Coulter’s site comparing Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was launched on the national political scene during Goldwater’s presidential campaign, with the “time for choosing” speech, but Coulter makes a good job of explaining why Reagan surpassed Goldwater and went to triumphal victories not only as Governor but as President, too.
Ann Coulter is witty, vitriolic and highly entertaining. She is also spot on in remembering Ronald Reagan in a time of abortionist Presidents of very dubious Christian beliefs, picking lesbian activists as Supreme Court judge candidates.
Once again, we see the difference ideals make.
One of the most cretinous affirmations of homos is the delirious belief that anywhere between six and ten percent of the population would consist of homosexuals or lesbians.
I do imagine that these people must have their perspective rather warped from the life they lead and the people they frequent; but for crying out loud, six percent means around one in sixteen! Around two for every school class, whole floors in every bigger office building! What do these people drink in the morning?!
Against these urban legends, Catholics have always maintained that the number of the sexually deviant is much more limited; in fact, anywhere between half a percent and one and a half percent of the population according to country (it being a deviant behaviour, countries with demolished family life will obviously tend to have more homos and lesbos than countries with solid families, growing their children in a healthy environment with loving and caring parents, clear role models & Co.) .
Turns out that Catholics were right. The “Daily Telegraph” (more and more pink these days and now unable to write a headline with the word “homosexual”) informs us that the percentage of homos and lesbos in the lands would be….. around….. one and a half percent. I’d never have thought it after schools, buses, offices were oh so full with ohh so “normal” homos….
It is amazing what happens when people open their eyes and start to think. Or to count….
Beautiful blog entry on the Holy Post blog (motto: “get down on your knees and blog”) about the Papal visit.
Instead of (excessively) focusing on the popularity of the Pontiff and the unexpected (and the more remarkable) success of the visit the post’s author, Father R.J. de Souza, points out to the fact that in the end it is not about what the press calls “success”, at all.
On the aeroplane to England, Pope Benedict was asked what he could do to make the Church more attractive. The Pontiff answered:
“One might say that a church which seeks above all to be attractive would already be on the wrong path, because the Church does not work for itself, does not work to increase its numbers so as to have more power” […]. The Church does not seek to be attractive, but rather to make herself transparent for Jesus Christ.”
Father de Souza wonders how many pastors – Catholic as well – take these words to heart and everyone living in England knows how right he is. “Attractiveness” and “popularity” are the main drivers of the British clergy’s actions and are what has emptied not only the pews, but the people’s minds after the systematic destruction of proper catechesis.
Father de Souza again:
“Consider the relentless pressure on all churches to trim ancient doctrine or adapt moral teaching to something more in tune with — well, what exactly? The latest shifting sands of public opinion? There have been churches that have changed wholesale their teaching in such efforts, now celebrating as holy what they previously taught was sinful. Should they be considered more or less successful for making themselves attractive?”
And are they really? Or are they not dying, all of them? I’d very much like to see how many English Anglicans or Methodist would call their churches “successful”. “Terminally ill”, more like.
Further, one might ask attractive to whom? The British visit occasioned many people who wish the Catholic Church nothing but ill to advise her on how to conduct herself. Why should Catholics measure their own success on the criteria of their enemies? Or consider the judgment of mass culture; should the Church seek to appeal more to the same people who choose, for entertainment purposes, to watch in large numbers people embarrass and degrade themselves on reality television?
I admit that I loathe reality television, so I liked this in a special way; I also notice the use of the small “c” in “churches”, always a welcome token or orthodoxy. But what I liked the most is that Fr de Souza points out to the fact that people who hate the Church must never be allowed to influence it. Not when it is about defining “success” nor, I hasten to add, when it is about their sensitive “feelings”.
Success is not about how many people were there. Nor about whether one had flowers or stones thrown at him. Success is about why the stones (or the flowers) were thrown.
Pope Benedict has put the right accents on his visit and struck the right cords. He has been diplomatic, but not accommodating and has shown a clarity of thought and decisiveness of action that Brits had forgotten a long time ago.
This is the real measure of his success.
This is rather easy, as the belief in reincarnation can only be (erroneously) held if no attentive and systematic reading of Scriptures has taken place. What generally happens is that a “hearsay Christian” (vast majority nowadays, I’m afraid) reads or receives from some friend some information about verses of the Gospel in which Jesus would seem to endorse the theory of reincarnation. Also rather spread are legends about the bible having been “manipulated” (an old dish of heresy, this one), but I am going to discard those for their evident absurdity.
One verse often cited is the one in which Jesus asks the Apostles who they think He is and they answer ” Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” (Mt. 16, 13-14). To an attentive reader it is evident here that Jesus could not possibly have been the reincarnation of John the Baptist, who lived in the same time as Jesus. Therefore, in order not to make the entire construct absurd the phrase must be read as “some believe you have in you the spiritual strength and power of John The Baptist (who had been executed already), some of Elijah, etc.).” This reading makes much more sense than reincarnation, which is in light of the pure historical event of St. John’s life utterly absurd. Also note that Jesus here does not say that what people believe is right. He says instead, emphatically so, that what Peter says is right. Peter doesn’t say anything at all about reincarnation. What he says is: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!”. There can be no more powerful evidence that Jesus, by so emphatically endorsing Peter’s claim, utterly disregards all the claims formerly made.
Another rather difficult part is John 9: 2 where Jesus is asked: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” If the man was born blind, goes the reasoning, then he can only have sinned in another life, which would prove at least that belief in reincarnation was spread in Jesus’ time. By answering “neither this man nor his parents sinned”, Jesus would thus implicitly accept the theory as he doesn’t explicitly correct it. Against such interpretation can be said: 1) that some Jews believed that a baby could sin in the womb, a theory known to Jesus and all present. 2) that there is no evidence in jewish sources that a belief in reincarnation was spread; 3) that Jesus does not endorse everything which he does not explicitly refuse, as we have seen in the former passage in which he doesn’t waste time in explicitly saying that he is not ” a new Elijah”, etc. When Jesus wants to teach, he always takes care to make the point.
Which last point takes us neatly to, well, the point. It is utterly illogical to give an adventurous interpretation to one or two Gospel passages, by at he same time disregarding the entire New Testament. Jesus alone talks of Hell, eternal punishment, Gehenna, fire everlasting & Co. more than any other in the Bible. The examples are too numerous and too well-known to limit ourselves to individual examples. If there is one leitmotiv in the Gospel, it is atonement, redemption, hell and heaven. It is immediately obvious on serious reflection that Christ’s death on the Cross doesn’t make any sense if reincarnation operates anyway; nor does His continuous, insisted mentioning of hell and eternal punishment. Here we see another sign of the times: that Jesus spoke so often of hell is nowadays completely disregarded; it has just disappeared from the radar screen to make place for platitudes entirely devoid of context a’ la “do not judge”, the rhetoric of peaaace and the like.
The concept of atonement is so elementary to a practising Catholic that it would barely be worth the mentioning. But in non-practising Catholics, and in non-Catholic Christians, the concept of atonement and redemption opening the way to everlasting life in God can be extremely diluted or even forgotten, with Jesus reduced to the task of spreading some rather good news and telling everyone to behave and be “inclusive” and “tolerant”. Just ask every non churchgoer to tell you in few words why Jesus came to Earth and stun in disbelief at the answers you hear.
Further difficulties for such interpretative “adventures” arise if we read further in the New Testament. “It is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment”, says in Hebrew 9, 27. The author of this (be he St. Paul or not) is one of the first Christians. He lived in close contact with many of the (other) Apostles. This is real, first hand evidence of what the First Christians were ready to die for. Would Jesus ever accept reincarnation “by implication” but allow His disciples to be, in such an important matter, so tragically and completely wrong? Thought not…
In short, the belief in reincarnation is totally unscriptural not only because Jesus never endorsed it; not only because Jesus himself was extremely clear in his warning about eternal punishment; not only because the belief in eternal damnation was obviously commonly accepted among his disciples, but because if one accepts the theory, the entire mission and sacrifice of Jesus loses its meaning.
On the Koran burning front, there are some news I think it would be at least curious to report.
The first comes from England, where a groups of Chavs has been arrested after burning a Koran and putting the video on the internet. As you can clearly see from the video, there are parts of England where people think they can use what appears to be common parts of a condominium to abandon themselves to burning and screaming exercises.
Now don’t get me wrong: I am all in favour of considering the burning of a Koran as freedom of expression and, as such, legal irrespective of the good taste of such an idea.
Still, these chaps should have known (unless they live on Mars) that such feats are forbidden in the UK. Right or wrong, a law-abiding citizens tends to abide by the law. Unless he is a chav, of course, in which case he’ll have himself filmed in order to be arrested more rapidly.
The video is tragically amusing. These people just think they can start fires on common spaces as they think fit. They make savage dances and screams like idiots whilst doing it. They are so stupid that they don’t even get that covering their heads doesn’t help them a bit if they not only make the house and surrounding places fully recognisable, but even put their own names and location on the video. Yup, must be Chavs.
I do not know Gateshead, but I imagine that they must have their fair share of thugs. The ones in Gateshead appear to be uncommonly stupid, though.
The second news is an astonishing legal feat for which I ask the help of my American readers. It appears that Terry Jones, the Kuran-burning-but-perhaps-better-not Florida pastor, is in the process of being billed by the local police for the security effort necessary during the days of the controversy.
Now where I come from, one pays for police through taxes, not bills. If the police thinks that one is deserving of protection it will protect him, otherwise it won’t. But at no times will any public authority have the right to send a bill to anyone (let alone: for doing its job).
Where I come from, a local authority can impose a fine if someone is making something which is not allowed; the government can even refuse to a foreign citizen the right to enter the Country, if the government doesn’t want to have the public order harassment and costs linked with his presence; a police force can obviously act against a person if it thinks that he is doing something illegal (say: the police can arrest one if he goes around with nazi flags; oops, no actually not, that is legal; it’s a free country after all……).
But what any public authority cannot do, is to send a bill to someone for 1) what this authority is there for and in any way 2) without a contractual agreement with the counterpart.
One doesn’t need to be a genius to understand whereto this mentality leads: whoever wants to express his opinion only needs to be threatened by an angry mob to march toward ruin and the local police can silence any controversial opinion by just going around sending bills for “protection”.
I do not know the detail of this incredible situation and it may well be that in this case things are not as they have been reported, but I wonder what remains of the first amendment if one can be ruined for exercising it.
AFAIK, at no stage has any competent authority maintained that Mr. Jones had no right to burn the Koran; at no point has he been threatened with arrest from the local police, or fined for an administrative offence.
It just can’t be that one abides by the law and is ruined.
If anyone can help, I am grateful for every piece of information.
I am rather sure that it has happened to you too at some point: some friend or colleague or acquaintance of yours not only believes in reincarnation (perfectly possible, if he’s not a Christian), but sometimes even considers this compatible with Christianity; perhaps he even calls himself a Christian with utter conviction and in perfect good faith and will still say that he believes in reincarnation.
In such errors we must see another result of the disgraceful catechesis of these last decades; when such things happen I would invite you to be gracefully firm with the person in question and simply point out to the incompatibility of reincarnation with Christianity, and explain why. Sadly, though, we live in such times that new age infiltrations (or Buddhistic ones, or such like) are allowed to dilute the message of Christianity because no effort whatsoever is made by the Clergy to maintain the integrity of the Teaching. When the Archbishop of Westminster bows in front of an Hindu altar himself, how can you blame the generic (often lapsed; not always!) Christian for being confused themselves and for trying to reconcile apparent contradictions in a way that seems rational to them? When gatherings in Assisi-style take place and Buddhas are placed on Catholic altars, how can you blame laypeople for thinking they can “improve” on the received religious wisdom? This is when we, the orthodox and informed, come to the rescue.
First of all, let us agree some terms (which are used in various ways, and engender confusion) about what is meant with reincarnation. I have, up to now, met two families of thought that I will call: 1) metempsychosis and 2) reincarnation proper.
Metempsicosis is the idea that there is no individual soul, only a life energy. This life energy continuously reforms itself into new forms of actual life; but there is no continuity, no A dying and becoming B, then C and then D. You must imagine life force as a huge water reservoir, from which some water is taken when a human (or a dog, or an insect, or a tree) is born. When this form of life dies, the relevant life force comes back into the reservoir, mixing itself with the rest of the water; from this reservoir, some water will be taken away to create new trees, new insects, new humans etc. As there is no continuity of water (it is not the same molecules being used to create a new man after the death of the first, as the water mixes in the reservoir) there is no re-incarnation in the proper sense. No one is re-born, but rather a huge living force continuously takes new forms. This would explain why no one remembers former lives (there aren’t any, individually speaking) and why the same life energy of a man, once he is dead, comes into the great circle of life as, say, an insect. It is not that the man was re-born as an insect. Rather, the “water” of his life has been put into the big reservoir again, out of which further plants and insects and human beings are going to be born.
There can be no place for a biblical God in all this. There is a huge life force, whose occupation is to live through all living things and continuously mixing this living energies into new forms. This has been explained to me in extremely clear terms from a buddhist acquaintance who also was, as you can imagine, as atheist as Stalin. “Ice-cold!”, I said to him. “Wonderful!”, he answered. No merciful God, no hope of salvation in whatever form, no expectation of living as an individual. Instead, the participation in a huge machine continuously re-making itself, life as the vision of a huge living energy that lives in me, and will take other forms when I die; forms that are still expression of the same life, but not I in any recognisable form anymore.
Reincarnation proper is the idea that one starts life as a lowly life, say, an insect or an arachnids or even lower. Slowly, he evolves into higher forms of intelligence (say: cat, dog, horse) until he will finally be reincarnated as a human. The individual is always the same, taking new bodies. The higher he goes in the scala of intelligence, the more is he able to sin. When he becomes a human, he’ll start at the lower end of the scala (as a pariah, say) and then, in principle, gradually evolve. Unless he is a great sinner, in which case he’ll be punished with re-birth in a lower forms of human being: of a lower rank than his later reincarnation, or plagued by various troubles (say: sick; ugly; stupid; poor). The desire of God to see him evolve and come to Him fights with the creature’s inherent sinful tendencies a fight which goes on for possibly an immense number of incarnations, marked by “promotions” and “demotions”, until liberation is achieved and the soul is allowed to enter Heaven. In this conception, once one is born as a human he’ll always be born as a human (because when he is able to sin seriously, he must be able to pay serious consequences of his sin), but every life will bear the mark of the sins (or virtues) of preceding lives. Some will be born oh high caste, beautiful, witty and rich; other of low caste, ugly, dumb and poor, etc.
This conception is much more similar to the Christian one than metempsychosis and one understands why poor formed Christians (led to believe that Jesus just didn’t want to go into the matter, but this will be the subject of another entry) may find it credible. In this conception, a compassionate God works on our salvation but punishes us for our sins; his infinite justice lets us pay everything, but his infinite love leads, in the end, everyone to his heavenly destination. In this conception, not only purgatory but also hell take place here on Earth and even the most atrocious life conditions and individual destinies are but the reflection of God’s justice, working in him at the same time as God’s mercy assures to him, as to everyone else, eventual salvation. At the same time, the apparent inequalities are resolved in a cosmic justice, where everyone has at any one time what (good or bad) he has himself worked for.
This hindu and new age belief is much nearer to Western thinking than metempsychosis and it has, one must admit, the appeal of trying to explain some aspects of the human condition allegedly not explained by Christianity: eg, why some people are born with apparently cruel disadvantages compared to others; why life is a bunch of inequalities; how one can reconcile infinite mercy and infinite justice, etc. If you hear someone saying “if there is a God, why the earthquake in Haiti?” (rather fashionable among Christians, nowadays), it is rather probable that at some point he’ll subscribe to some new age tenet.
Of this two theories (I do not doubt that there are a lot of variations, I’d say these two represent the situation rather well, though) the first bears no resemblance whatever to Christianity and can be discarded as not dangerous. The second, though, is the most dangerous to Christian orthodoxy, as the superficial Christian may easily be led into finding here “answers” to apparent contradictions of life and thinking this, in the new Assisi-world, perfectly OK.
On the upper list of links of this page, under “Catholic vademecum”, you will find a more detailed explanation of Faith in the traditional understanding of the Church.
In times of discussion about “aggressive secularisation”, it is perhaps fitting to repeat a concept or two in reduced form.
The Faith required of every Christian is not a feeling. No atheist can excuse himself by saying that he is very sorry, but he just doesn’t feel the existence of any God; nor can he say that if an omnipotent God existed he could cause him to believe and that would be that, but alas…..
Faith is something we are expected to work towards. To do this, two things are necessary: will and intellect. Without the will to believe we’ll go along believing what we find comfortable to believe; without the intellect we will not be able to grasp the Truth.
God can be “known with certainty by the natural light of human reason” (Vatican I). By reason we discover 1) the historical truth of the existence of Jesus; 2) that this Jesus is, by a great number of prophecies realised in Him, beyond doubt the Messiah the Jews were waiting for; 3) that therefore his claim to be God must perforce be as authentic as His authentically being the Messiah.
The fundamental concept here is twofold:
1) God can be known with certainty, if one cares to do his homework;
2) no one is excused from doing this homework.
“Not believing” is neither here nor there. It is not about “believing” as in “feeling that there is a God”, it is about working on the historical and theological sources, reading the prophesies about the Messiah and register as a matter of pure facts the astonishing number of correspondences between what the Messiah was supposed to be, and what Jesus came to be. Faith is about realising 1) that the Christian Messiah was, uniquely, announced; 2) that when he came he showed that he was the One who had been announced, and that he was God.
Jesus is the only one who proved His identity, who proved that he was the one whom the world was waiting for. No amount of uninformed “but I do not believe in God, so I do not care” can ever go beyond this simple fact.
Faith (in this meaning) is not about angels visiting one and giving him assured proof of the existence of God, nor is it about explosive inner voices shouting until reason gets the message.
Faith is an assent to a truth believed because known from a source one has examined intellectually and has considered beyond doubt. If someone tells me that the Earth rotates around the sun, or that water is made out of hydrogen and oxygen, I believe this pretty much in the same way: I believe the authority on which the assertion rests, because this authority stands the exam of my intellect.
Faith is about doing one’s own homework. As it has to do with eternal salvation, there’s no work more important than this.
Another brilliant article by Stephen Glover on the Daily Mail.
Glover points out, with great clarity, to some striking facts:
1) Benedict’s authority eclipses Rowan Williams’
2) Irrespective of authority, Benedict has the guts to say things straight and Rowan Williams hasn’t.
3) There is a thirst for religious values. The coE can’t satisfy it. It doesn’t even want.
4) The atheist crowd has been silenced and exposed for what they are: haters. But they hate Benedict, not RW, because the latter is no threat at all.
Let us read some of the most striking passages of this eye-opening article.
“In a manner wholly unlike our home-grown clerics, the Pope spoke to the soul of our country, affirming eternal moral verities which our own political and religious leaders normally prefer to avoid”.
“Pope Benedict’s declarations over the past few days have been remarkable and, in modern Britain, virtually unprecedented”.
It is almost a shock to hear a religious leader speak in so blunt a way, so inured are we to our own religious leaders, particularly Church of England bishops, accommodating themselves to secular values.
(I would add here: Catholic bishops are not bad at accommodating secular values, either)
“The tragedy is that Dr Williams and Anglican bishops probably agree with almost everything Pope Benedict said about the dangers of secularism – and yet they do not have the courage, or whatever it takes, to say it”.
And whereas the Pope speaks clearly in English, which is his third or fourth language, Dr Williams often speaks opaquely or in riddles in the language that is his own.
(true.. 😉 ).
In his concluding address, Pope Benedict said that he had discovered ‘how deep a thirst there is among the British people for the good news of Jesus Christ’. He is right. And yet how often our national Church – the Church of England – fails to proclaim this good news.
In large parts of the Anglican Church there is a sense of defeatism in the face of the incoming tide of secularism, as congregations dwindle and parish churches close. But look at the young people in Hyde Park or those lining Princes Street in Edinburgh or those standing outside Westminster Cathedral. They yearn for the good news, and they invite moral certainty. Would it be too much to hope that Anglican bishops might learn something from the fearless commitment of the Pope?
Speaking of the aggressive anti-Catholic atheists, Glover writes:
Their foaming and often unbalanced denunciations of the Pope reveal their fear. They fear him because he adheres so strongly to traditional Christian teaching and champions principles they abhor. They fear him because the values he reiterates commend themselves to millions of people and, above all, to millions of young people. They do not trouble to vent their spite and vitriol on the Archbishop of Canterbury because Dr Williams has been so cowed by the forces of secularism that he no longer poses any threat to their bleak vision.
In invoking the heritage of our Christian past, and suggesting we might still have a principled Christian future, Benedict XVI has achieved more than the Church of England over many years. The lesson of the past few days is that Britain is not quite the deeply un-Christian country that the BBC and other parts of the media would have us believe.
Of course, Mr. Glover doesn’t get it completely right. He describes papal infallibility as “bizarre” and doesn’t even stop to reflect what be so “bizarre” in it, or to wonder whether he has perchance not just assisted to infallibility at work.
Still, this is a remarkably outspoken article making clear that the country can recover its values and that a courageous Pope, not the so-called church of England is the one able to do the job.
I imagine that a good part of the Daily Mail reader, whilst not Catholic, feel an instinctive sympathy not only for the courage of the man Benedict, but for the courage of an institution not ready to accommodate her principles to those of the world. One can only hope that in time, this vague perception may become in many a more profound feeling and identification with Christian values and the acknowledgment that those values cannot be adequately defended by imitations, but only by the Original.
The video gives even to the non-initiated powerful insights about what happens during a pregnancy. One sees it and understands why anti-abortion activists go with ultrasound trucks in front of abortion clinics: it is difficult to conceive that a woman might see the life developing inside her (and at that point, she will have to realise that it is a human life, period) and go on with the abortion. Due to the depth of the information and the clarity of the images, this video is a more powerful tool than every 30-second commercial.
Viewing and forwarding highly recommended.
P.s. Music alarm! So sugary that it could seriously harm your health! You have been warned… 😉
It is very interesting to know that in 1976, Michael Voris was altar boy at the Mass celebrated by Archbishop Fulton Sheen to commemorate Independence.
More interesting still is the vivid portrait Voris makes of the man, both in his human quality and fervent patriotism and in his, well, utterly “un-chareeetable” approach to “ecumenical dialogue”.
If you look at the video (for which you might have to register, which is fast and free) you’ll see how saintly men deal with those who want to “improve” Catholicism.
It is getting more than slightly pathetic to look how Christopher Hitchens, now rapidly approaching the day of the redde rationem, continues not only to ignore the fundamental issue his disease poses to everyone else’s attention, but is even peeved that people pray for his conversion.
Mr. Hitchens writes on the Washington Post:
the offer of prayer can only have two implications: either a wish for my recovery or a wish for a reconsideration of my atheism (or both). In the first instance, a get-well card – accompanied by a good book or a fine bottle – would be just as bracing if not indeed more so. (Also easier to check.) In the second one, a clear suggestion is present: surely now, at last, Hitchens, your fears will begin to vanquish your reason. What a thing to hope for!
This man’s logic is gravely flawed.
In the first instance, the invitation to send get-well cards and bottles of wine instead of prayers is, beside looking very tacky, utterly dismissive of the sincerity of those who pray for his recovery. Love is at work here, and the man doesn’t see it. By the way, this is in contrast with a previous interview of him, in which he had said he was fine with people praying for his recovery; apparently, it must now be wine instead.
In the second instance, Hitchens forgets a great truth, that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. It is obvious that a faith solely based on fear is far away from the ideal of Christianity, but it cannot be denied that if fear can move this man (or any other man) towards the Truth, then fear is a welcome and powerful instrument for the salvation of souls.
All this escapes Hitchens. He is so much in love with his own love for himself that the idea of having to give away a bit of it seems repellent to him. “Better to slowly die in the terrifying conviction that I am right and complete annihilation awaits me than to bow to something greater than my love for myself”, goes his reasoning.
Mind, he still can’t escape the fear; he’ll just do his very best to refuse wisdom.
After this priceless pearl or arrogance, Hitchens proceeds to write a piece of so unbelievably massive tosh that one has to doubt his oh so often celebrated intelligence.
An intelligent man generally knows what he’s talking about and when Mr. Hitchens talks about Christianity he is supposed to know the first foundations of it; alas, this doesn’t seem to be the case.
Let us read what the man has to say:
“The deity whose intercession is being implored is claimed to be omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. It is fully aware of the situation. It can make me a believer if it chooses, or wave away my carcinoma. Why should it be swayed by the entreaties of other sinners?”
The mental confusion here is astonishing, and not due to medicines. It is a basic tenet of mainstream Christianity (and one which Hitchens, who writes about it, is not authorised to ignore) that Hell is a choice God leaves to every individual.
It is a bit too easy to wilfully choose Hell (as Mr. Hitchens continues to do) and then to imply that an omniscient God would make of him a believer if he wanted. Yes he could; but he won’t, and that’s the entire matter.
Mr. Hitchens continue to dodge the fundamental point: it is his choice and his responsibility, and it will be his freely chosen Heaven or Hell. He has written books about God, but he still can’t grasp the basics.
The last part, the “why God would be swayed by prayer” one, is of such ice-cold cynicism that it could only come from a man whose mother has committed suicide. Still, such an affirmation goes to show the absolute nothingness of these “thinkers”, unable to even conceive the infinite power of love and the way Love decides everything, and can change everything.
Mr. Hitchens may have some extenuating circumstances. Still, the tragic occurrences of his life are no excuse for such appalling refusal of love and for such appalling spreading of scandal and perdition.
One may have doubts, and keep them for oneself. One may have hard tests and be unable to pass them. But the spreading of blasphemies on a planetary scale cannot be excused by any personal circumstance. His stance is, in the end, his choice and his responsibility. His brother was born of the same mother and suffered the same drama, but he reacted differently in the end. The one chose the redemption of love, the other the coldness of self-deification.
Mr. Hitchens is receiving the biggest grace of his life. On the wretched platform of his disgraceful existence the last train patiently awaits, the fruit of love utterly unmerited and still freely given.
This train will stay there for a long time, months or perhaps years, patiently wait for him to make the step that would save him. Alas, he seems resolute in refusing to board salvation and in wanting to lose souls with his last breath.
The “Independent” had certainly hoped in empty roads, the embarrassment of the catholic hierarchy only disturbed by the noise of the perverts protesting against him.
Alas, things have gone badly wrong for the usual alliance of liberals and sexually deviant. Turns out that everyday Britain still understands when something special is happening and doesn’t start to insult the Pope at the command of a bunch of wannabe intellectuals.
Put in front of a reality televised live and not to be ignored even by the strongest effort of liberal will, the editorial cut of both article is rather a dry appraisal of the facts and an utter silence about what can only be called popular enthusiasm for the visit. There are even – rara avis – some facts which the “Independent” reports correctly, like the Pope being drafted into the Hitlerjugend, then deserting; facts that only a minority would have subscribed to months ago and that are now so much into the public domain that not even the “Independent” can deny them.
This damage control of the “Independent” (whose criticism of the Holy Father is then outsourced to some predictably unintelligent readers’ comments) is the first element that takes the attention. But there is another one: in the day in which the entire experience of the visit is reflected upon, the protesters are not thematised. So utterly ignored they have been, so insignificant they have been in countering the enthusiasm of ordinary people, that even the Independent prefers not to mention them.
The “protesters” have managed to get as much public attention as the “propagandamentary” of Mr. Tatchell, that is: almost zero. They have utterly failed in making of this trip a public outcry against the Pope; on the contrary, they have shown the extent of their own irrelevance in the Country at large. When even the “Independent” is embarrassed at mentioning you, you know you’re in deep trouble.
One can hope that even the one or the other pro-pervert politician will now listen and learn. Whatever the liberal press and the BBC may say, popular support is not on the side of Stephen Fry & Co.
Rorate Coeli has a beautiful detail that will make you smile; very fitting for a Monday.
When in Westminster Abbey for the Evensong (about which I have written here), Pope Benedict wore a stole made for Pope Leo XIII.
Now, Pope Benedict is profound and intelligent enough not to wear a stole from a Pope who has been dead these more than 100 years simply because he likes the look of it. No, this stole was certainly a willed, conscious, tribute to a particular Pope in a particular circumstance.
Leo XIII is, as I have repeatedly stated on this blog, the Pope of Apostolicae Curae (please see link under “Church Teaching”). With Apostolicae Curae, Pope Leo XIII has not (importantly) decreed, but he has repeated the nullity of Anglican orders.
What a pleasant, saucy old German Pastor we have ; )
Now that the four day-marathon has ended and the Holy Father has come back to his warmer and less aggressively atheist climates, it is perhaps fitting to compare what has happened with the exaggerated fears preceding the visit.
For months we have heard dire predictions about arrests and disorders. Once again, I must point out to the fact that the uncritical reading of whatever the press says leads to a vision of things which has not much in common with reality.
Foreign Head of States are not arrested when they visit a country. Not even in Zimbabwe, let alone in the United Kingdom. Adequate security is precondition to every State Visit. The idea that the man sitting in the pew be so concerned about the security of the Holy Father, but the vast security apparatus in charge of these visits has forgotten to adequately deal with the matter is just plain ridiculous.
What has, once again, happened is that the media – always desperate for the next bout of collective hysteria, because it sells – have given vast publicity to the deluded rants of spoiled children and that as a result millions have believed that these fantasies had a basis in reality. Peter Tatchell’s threat of arresting the Pope has never been more credible than the tantrums of a small child in need of physical correction. It was, in fact, just a matter of courtesy from the police to invite Tatchell beforehand and to make clear to him that every “attempt” would be a serious criminal offence; but I suppose that you try to be patient with small children.
Summa Summarum, the fact that the visit has not been plagued by any security concern whatever (the episode with the road sweepers was more a confirmation of the efficiency of the measures and the excellent work done by them than any indication of inefficiency or threat) should lead us to be, in future, more cynical as regard to various claims made by the press and expected to be swallowed by the readers/viewers without posing questions.
There has never been a security “threat”. This is not a tin-pot African country. It is even possible to organise an absolutely safe Football World Championship in one of the most corrupt, criminality-plagued countries of the world, how can it be difficult to organise a safe visit of the Pope in England.
Don’t believe what the press says. Not even half of it.
What the press publishes has no bearing with reality, but merely with the possibility to cause sensation.