Monthly Archives: October 2010
In just a few days, the autobiography of George W Bush will hit the bookshelves. From the parts already given to the public as appetizers it would appear that Bush was moved from the firm stance of the Pope about embryonic stem cell research to severely (if not completely) restrict research activities which would lead to the killing of embryonic lives.
This piece of information is important for several reasons. The first is to show that Bush (a great president if you ask me; not as great as Reagan for sure, but infinitely better than Al Gore would have ever been, every day of the week) was, ever after becoming the most powerful man on the planet, humble and perceptive enough to change his mind about important moral issues. One compares with Obama, and stuns.
The second is the fact that the separation of Church and state doesn’t mean that a President can’t think Christian, let alone that he shouldn’t be guided in his actions by Christian motives. Again, the comparison with a President who comes to the point of expunging references to God when mentioning the Declaration of Independence is evident. Bush’s life rests on his faith, Obama’s on his absence of it.
The third is – and it is sad to have to say it here, but say it we must – that when the two men were obviously disagreeing, it was – if you ask me; but you are reading this, so you are – the President who was right.
The widely publicised personal opinion of the Pope, that the war in Iraq was wrong, has been too often manipulated and misconstrued as a kind of “Catholic doctrine of pacifism”, which would be open heresy but which has been eagerly seized by pacifists, cathocommies and assorted lefties the world over. The parallel affirmation of Joseph Ratzinger – that it be perfectly legitimate for Catholics to disagree whether the Iraq war is opportune, or not – is on the other hand ignored with beautiful regularity and when it was first uttered did not fail to shock honest but misinformed Catholics confusing JP II’s protopacifism with Catholic teaching.
The truth is that John Paul II – whether because of sincere desire for peace or because less and less able to think clearly, or more probably for both reasons together – abandoned himself, particularly in his last years, to a sort of “kindergarten Catholicism” never short of a trite banality and of a common place but very palatable for the masses, particularly the non-Catholic ones. He drove things to the point of giving a completely distorted perception of Catholic Doctrine on a series of issues: on the legitimacy of war, where the ultima ratio criterium was pushed to absurd consequences, just two millimetres away from open heresy; on the Crusades, where carefully worded anodyne declarations spread the impression (make no mistake: wanted) that he had asked for forgiveness for them; on ecumenism, where to the much-publicised Assisi madness the effrontery of the kissing of a Koran was added; on the prestige and dignity of the Papacy, where he went to the point of participating to a rock concert and being publicly scolded as a result; or on the death penalty, where two thousand years of Christian teaching were conveniently re-interpreted as to give the impression that nothing short of Holocaust would ever justify the capital punishment.
Thankfully, our Dubya was rapid in following the Pope when he was right but equally as prompt in disappointing him when he (the Pope) was wrong. Granted, Bush is not a Catholic (for now at least: rumours of his conversions have made the round of the blogosphere already), but he certainly has that kind of solid common sense thinking, deep felt religious feeling, and ability to act with courage when necessary which have been the stuff of many an excellent Catholic converts before him.
I am in no doubt that he would make a much better convert than Tony Blair, although like the latter he’d have to fight the negative influence of his spouse. On the occcasion of the publishing of his book, I’d be glad if you would join me in a short prayer for his health and serenity, and for his conversion.
Interesting article of the Catholic Herald about the Pope’s message to Brasilian bishops, who are now visiting him for their ad limina.
The Pope’s message is very interesting for a number of reasons:
1) It comes in the immediate vigil of an important election day in Brasil. It doesn’t happen very often that a Pope has the not very diplomatic, but welcome courage to remind Catholics of their duties as voters just before an election. This will probably cause criticism by the anti-Catholic faction but hey, this can only be a good sign. By the way, next week is the US’s turn. I can easily imagine that the Holy Father was – as they say in Italy – “talking to the wife so that the mother-in-law may understand”.
2) Once again, the Pope profits to remind the Bishops and priests of their duties. In a world where all too often the clergy merely panders to the prejudices of the secular mob (see our ineffable Vincent “Quisling” Nichols, explaining that no, the Church in England doesn’t oppose so-called “civil partnerships”; may he repent before Satan takes him) it is good to see that the Pope continues to send a clear a message that not only they can, but they must fight the good fight. One merely notices that if the Holy Father were as clear-cut in his bishops’ appointments as he is in talking to them, we would be far more advanced on this worthy road.
3) The third message is very important, and must not be undervalued. Un-Christian values are a betrayal of democracy. When a democracy is used to de-christianise a Country, its scope has been perverted and its legitimacy starts to vanish.
Too often, democracy is considered an absolute value, a received truth, a golden calf. For a Christian, this must simply not be the case. Democracy is fine (is, actually, very fine as a political system and I do not know of any other which brings peace and prosperity in the same measure) when it is informed by Christian values and meant to respect and protect them. But for a Christian democracy is not the ultimate end, salvation is. Our civil and political institutions derive their values from the fact that they are not in contrast with the Christian message, or positively help to further it. This is – for a Christian – always the case irrespective of what his constitution says, as it is inconceivable that a Christian may put anything at all before his duties to God.
Democracies are there not only so that Christian countries may progress in peace and prosperity, but may do so in a Christian way. This has been so everywhere until the Sixties and all Western democracies used to be very much pervaded by Christian values in the way their societies were organised. When, though, a democracy starts to de-Christianise itself (eg embracing values typical of Nazism and Communism like abortion, or widely approved during Nazism like euthanasia), this democracy progressively loses its legitimacy before God and as such, in front of every Christian.
Democracies are not eternal, nor are they an absolute good. They can perish out of their people’s cowardice and indifference, or can deserve to be dissolved because they have turned against God. General Franco’s decision was not the delirious outburst of a Christian nutcase, but a lucid setting of the right priorities. What many lukewarm Christians do not understand (not because of rebellion to God, I think; rather because they don’t think this matter to its end) is that for a Christian every Nation is under God, whether it says so or not. There is no way one who calls himself a Christian can, once he reflects on this, reach any other conclusion.
Democracies are betraying their own scope and reason of existence. The separation of church and state is more and more interpreted as the elimination of the religious phenomenon from every aspect of public life and the creation of a society which is completely disconnected from Christian values. How absurd this is, how an utter perversion of what our ancestors would have thought the most elementary common sense, is showed by the fact that the first great nation who sanctioned the separation between church and state found it natural to write its allegiance to God even on its banknotes!
We are now rapidly reaching the point where Christian values can’t be even written in elementary school books, let alone banknotes. We are reaching the point where sacraments are seen as pure human conventions and agreements. We are reaching the point where even the sanctity of life is seen merely as a mean to an end and is seen as disposable whenever a society more or less democratically (through election or referendum or even judicial activism) decides that it is fitting so to do.
These behaviours hollow democracy from the inside; they eat it like a cancer; and like a cancer they will lead, unless stopped, to its own demise.
God is not fooled by secular slogans. The price for rebellion is corruption, the consequence of corruption is decline and the end result of decline is the death of political systems. It is the duty of every Christian to start thinking more like Thomas More and to say to himself: “my democracy’s good servant, but God’s first”.
This is a very interesting Michael Voris video about the way Catholic shepherds lead their sheep when there are important decisions to be made.
As in the United States it is now election time (and a particularly important election this one is, whose repercussions could be felt for decades to come) it is very important that the message is given very clearly that in a democracy to be a Catholic is to vote as a Catholic should.
This would seem utterly redundant if we lived in a sane world, mindful of Christian values; but we live in a mad world where socialism and anti-Christian values are allowed to be smuggled as Christianity; therefore, there is a word or two to be said.
A society which allows abortion is a society which legalises genocide. The public opinion of every Western Country thought exactly the same until not many decades ago and abortions were only performed in Nazi Germany or in Communist countries. Only when Christian values started to be confused with “social” issues – and the clergy started to compromise with the growing anti-Christian values in order not to become unpopular – we witnessed abortion creeping within Western legislation as an exceptional remedy and – once the Trojan Horse that abortion is justified in certain cases had entered the walls – rapidly became de facto abortion on demand pretty much everywhere.
Similarly, a society which accept homosexuality as a lifestyle is a society that rebels to God and decides that new golden calves (nowadays called “diversity”, or with other very stupid names) should take the place of the old religion; all the while continuing to abuse of Christ by masking the worst abominations and exterminations behind a veil of Christ seen as “social man”; an expression which means pretty much nothing and can be used to justify pretty much everything.
You’d think that Catholic Bishops in the US would take the sword and finally start to tell Catholics to wake up, smell the coffee and vote with the first priorities of Catholicism in mind. You’d be wrong. Whilst there are a number of excellent bishops doing their job admirably (Chaput and Bruskewitz to mention just two), many others continue with the old inane, vague rhetoric of the “do not kick the cat and be friendly to everyone”-type.
Let us examine this nonsense:
“Go to the polls on election day and, through your choices at the ballot, act on your vision of a better society”
This pearl of wisdom comes from the bishop of Massachusetts, Cardinal Sean O’Malley. I think that Michael Voris is far too generous in saying that the message is inane. It is worse than that. It confuses Catholics and is totally heterodox.
Cardinal O’Malley thinks and speaks like a secularist liberal of the first water. There are no absolute truths he feels he must defend. There is no binding guidance, directly derived from the Catholic teaching, that he feels he must impart to the faithful. Not even the most obvious Christian values, like the defence of life, are strongly called to the attention of the voters.
We have, instead, a typical example of moral relativism exalted and taken as a worthy guide of the individual’s choice. “Act on your vision of a better society”, says the Cardinal. Good Lord, Che Guevara did it too, when executing prisoners by the dozen! Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot all did exactly the same! The statement is entirely a-Christian in its absence of Christian values, and entirely Anti-Christian in its clear implication that whatever “vision of a better society” one has, it’s fine.
Cardinal O’Malley is confused. He should be told the difference between Catholic values and man-made systems of values. He should be reminded why he is a Cardinal. He should be asked why he became a cleric in the first place. Every Stalin or Pol-Pot could have subscribed to the statement above, without any problem.
This is not what a Catholic needs to hear, let alone what a Catholic shepherd has the duty to say. Catholics need to be reminded of their values, and encouraged to give them the proper rank. They must be constantly reminded of their duties toward their faith and of the fact that there will always be a price to pay for them. They must be constantly warned from the danger of moral relativism, of easy pick and choose mentality, of being seduced by the Law of Man. This message must be sent clear and loud. Vague defences of human life interspersed with phrases like the one above will have only one consequence: that the misinformed or utterly deluded Catholics will continue to think that they can pick and choose with the consent of their shepherd. I will not insult the intelligence of the Cardinal by saying that this result is not foreseen and positively intended.
Messages like the Cardinal’s one positively encourage Catholics to go the wrong way and feel justified in doing it. A Catholic abortionist (an oxymoron I know, but he will probably not want to see it that way) will feel encouraged to think that he can vote for a clown like Nancy Pelosi and say that he is fully in line with the exhortations of the Cardinal! I wonder who would deny the validity of his assumption……
I so much hope that this is the last major election in the US by which Catholic shepherds are allowed to confuse the faithful and lure them in the false sense that they are right to have ideals and convictions, no matter what they are. They are right if their convictions are the right ones, and if they’re Catholics they can’t choose which convictions to have.
The Church is in a very sad state if even Cardinals do not live these simple fundamentals of the faith and haven’t the guts to act accordingly.
The Infant jesus of Prague is a miraculous* wax statue with a moving and edifying history. It was first donated to the Discalced Carmelites of Prague by a rich lady who, after the death of her husband, desired to dedicate herself to works of piety and charity. The lady donated the statue (very dear to her heart) to the Carmelites saying “I hereby give you what I prize most highly in this world. As long as you venerate this image you will not be in want”. The lady’s work proved prophetic on several occasions as the following years proved that whenever the Carmelites seriously recurred to the statue, they were helped and when they neglected its proper devotion, they weren’t.
The Carmelites put the statue (made of wax itself, with rich vestments) in their oratory and performed special devotions in front of it twice a day. For some reasons, such devotions were particularly loved by the novices. Particularly by one, Cyrillus, who was through his prayers delivered from a period of spiritual dryness. But then the Thirty-Years war started to bite and in 1630 the novitiate was removed to Munich; the devotion was more and more neglected and the prosperity of the community progressively declined.
The following year, the Protestant troops of King Gustavus Adolphus took Prague. The Monastery was plundered and vandalised, the statue was damaged and thrown over a heap of rubble behind the high altar. It stayed there completely for the following seven years, years of great hardship for the community.
In 1637, Cyrillus – in the meantime Father Cyrillus – came back to Prague still occupied by the Protestant invaders. He remembered the little statue and asked of the prior to be able to search for it; the entire place was turned upside down until the statue was finally found and recovered from his pile of rubble. That the rubble had remained there for years without anyone “cleaning up” tells the story about the poverty of the times. The little statue was put in a fitting place and the devotions started again, this time with greater zeal due to the difficulties of the times.
Cyrillus was once again the most fervent disciple of this devotion and one day, whilst praying, he heard the following words:
“Have pity on me, and I will have pity on you. Give me my hands, and I will give you peace. The more you honour me, the more I will bless you”.
Only then Cyrillus noticed the missing hands of the statue behind the rich vestments that adorned it. Several attempts followed to have the statue repaired by Father Cyrillus. He asked the money for the repair from the prior, who wouldn’t open the purse of the very poor community. He begged the Blessed Virgin to help him and as a result was called to the sickbed of a wealthy man who, told of the story, donated a large sum for the repair of the statue, but the prior decided to buy a new statue instead. The new statue was accidentally (or rather: providentially) destroyed just after being put into place and the devotion to the mutilated statue was resumed, the problem of the repair still to be solved. Then a new prior was elected and Cyrillus begged for the funds once again, but once again his wish was refused. Stubbornly, he once again asked the Blessed Virgin for help and as a result received a large donation by an anonymous woman. This time, the prior took almost all of the money, leaving Cyrillus a portion insufficient to repair the statue. It really seemed that this statue was never to be restored, but our chap was of the kind that never let go and he put his trouble in front of the statue itself. Once again he heard the following words: “Place me near the entrance of the sacristy and you will receive aid”. This our Cyrillus promptly did and a short time later a stranger offered to pay for the repair. This time the prior didn’t appropriate the fund and the statue was rapidly restored.
From then on, the devotion to the statue rapidly procured a great fame. The prior itself was rapidly healed by the pestilence which had befallen Prague after promising to recite Holy Mass before the statue for nine days if healed. During a successive period of great financial need, the prior ordered that the entire community should pray in front of the Divine Infant and again, generous financial help promptly came. In the meantime the popularity of the statue had started to grow, so that it was moved again from the oratory to the church to allow for its veneration by the general public. In 1641, a large donation allowed the erection of an altar to the Most Holy Trinity, with the statue of the Infant Jesus placed within it. It didn’t remain there for long, though, because the following year another generous donation allowed the erection of a chapel dedicated to the Divine Infant, completed and consecrated in 1644. Since then, the devotion has continued to spread and the favours received through its devotions have become innumerable. The devotion to the Infant Jesus grew more and more and in 1665 a crown was prepared for the statue and put in place on the Sunday after Easter.
The devotion to the Holy Infant is now spread worldwide. It has generated a series of worldwide recited prayers: the Prayer of Rev. Cyrillus, the Litany of the Miraculous Infant, the Prayer to the Infant Jesus to be said by a sick person, the Prayer of Thanksgiving for Graces Received from the Infant Jesus among them, though the most famous must be the Chaplet of the Infant Jesus of Prague. The Church of Our Lady of Victory is visited by around 500,000 pilgrims every year.
The fortune of the devotion is probably due not only to the innumerable favours granted to those devoted to it, but probably also to the favour that this devotions found among saints like Therese of Lisieux. You must also consider that the devotion to the Infant Jesus was not a new phenomenon having been widely spread during the Middle Age, with St. Francis and St. Bernhard of Citeau among its best known followers.
The idea of the Infant Jesus, so powerless and still so powerful, so little and still so big, has never failed to inspire and to this day Catholics can very well, particularly in times of need, relate to this beautiful paradox of Christianity. In addition, it is easy to see how the devotion to the Infant Jesus puts us in front of another mainstay of Christian thinking: the opportunity to pray with great candor, defenceless humility and, well, tenderly shameless confidence, that is to say with the typical attributes of a child’s prayer. In front of Jesus we are all children. We need to pray like a child does. We need to pray with exactly those qualities that can make a child’s request so difficult to refuse.
This message wants to be a small contribution to the revival of this beautiful Catholic devotion, neglected after Vatican II as almost everything unapologetically Catholic and hopefully destined to greater glory in the decades to come.
* In the Catholic sense, of course. Please don’t go around saying that Catholics believe that wax statues make miracles. Thanks!
In the last days, objections have been made to the fact that many of those who write about Catholic matters do so anonymously. As always, there is no scarcity of people who indulge in easy accusations of what they don’t like, and can’t control. Let us examine what this is all about and the many valid reasons for anonymity on the internet.
1) Anonymity is freedom. Unless one lives on Planet Pollyanna, there is no denying (not even by its detractors) that the protection afforded by anonymity allows information to be exchanged and discussed that otherwise would have never reached a wider public. This makes our societies (and more specifically the religious discussion) more free. This is important, as freedom of expression is an extremely important pillar of every democratic society.
2) Anonymity encourages criticisms of what doesn’t work within the Church. As Catholics, we have the duty to react to scandals and abuses we see around us, but we don’t have the duty to seek martyrdom (I mean here in a broader sense, as persecution or discrimination because of our convictions) if we don’t have to. Anonymity on the internet makes therefore not only democratic societies more free, but provides a better system of control for the abuses within the Church. If a Bishop tells you that he feels scrutinised by the anonymous internet bloggers, it’s because he is. This is good for Catholicism, and potentially vital for the salvation of the relevant Bishop’s soul.
3) The accusations of it being “coward” to hide behind anonymity are the most cowardly acts themselves. Repressive political systems are those who try to repress anonymity the hardest. The people asking bloggers to reveal their identity are not much different than, say, Saddam Hussein calling his opponents cowards because they stay hidden. There’s a reason why people hide behind anonymity and only stupid people, or people in utter bad faith, pretend not to understand them.
4) If you look attentively, you noticed that anonymity is one of the most powerful engines of progress. Whistleblowing sites could never exist without the protection afforded by anonymity, and they are a most powerful engine of correct behaviour and have now possibly become the most implacable weapon against criminal behaviour within corporations and public bodies. Why anonymity would be acceptable for them but unacceptable for misbehaviour within the Church (which, notabene, can include child abuse and the like) is beyond me.
5) The accusation of it being very easy to slander people from behind anonymity does not really stand scrutiny. It being very easy to slander from behind a wall of anonymity, the relevant information is heavily discounted. People have always written anonymously on walls, but this has never made what they wrote believed just because it was written. On the contrary, an accusation made from an anonymous person will need to be substantiated to even begin to carry any real credibility. This is exactly what happens on the Internet. Criticism of clergy is accompanied with facts and evidence, or it is easily discarded. This is another of the beauties of the Internet. If, say, a Bishop gives scandal by participating to the “ordination” of a “bishopess” or some Protestant ecclesial community, the information will be there with the facts: day, people present, photos, videos, the whole enchilada. It is obvious to the meanest intelligence what counts here is the fact, the provenance being fully irrelevant in the economy of the scandal.
6) It is undeniable, though, that insisted, repeated slander may – even if unsubstantiated – have some effect in the long-term on the person affected. Voltaire used to say something on the lines of “keep on slandering: something will stick”. There you are, you will say, but the best protection against such slander is, once again, anonymity! Every non addetto ai lavori (as journalist, or priest) who willingly renounces to his own anonymity when he writes on the internet is allowing his ego to play him the most dangerous of tricks. Be assured that there will be a price to pay, as recently seen in the case of a “commenterer” known to many of us.
7) It has always been known to people with some salt in their brains – a minority, I sometimes think – that a wise man picks up his own fights. It is utterly illogical (nay: it is outright stupid) to think that what we write will not have an impact on our future – allowing for countless forms of covert discrimination, never to be proved and impossible to trace or fight against – for decades to come. It is the very freedom of our societies which makes this unavoidable.
This may not be a problem for a journalist (who makes of it his profession, and for whom his own name is a brand and professional tool), but can be a huge problem for everyone else. A wise man will prudently decide himself if and when and under which conditions to face a conflict because of his religious convictions, but a moron will gladly expose himself to every kind of retaliation of which he might even never become aware (lost work opportunities, or business opportunities, or both).
8 ) Even anti-discrimination legislation wisely chooses the same way as Internet bloggers. Information about health, age, religion cannot be asked by a potential employer. There is a reason why, and it is that such information opens huge doors to discrimination. How stupid would it be to legislate against such form of discrimination, whilst demanding that bloggers voluntarily expose themselves to it, irrevocably, for all time to come. Make no mistake, religion is – and always will be – the biggest cause of hatred and conflict. It’s just the way it is and he who doesn’t see it is in serious need of waking up.
9) Stupid commenters were never considered less stupid because they are not anonymous. Intelligent commenters were never considered less intelligent because they are. I – and everyone else – will pick my sites and blogs according to the validity of their content, not according to the degree of anonymity of their writers. Just to make an example, “Splintered Sunrise” is an excellent blog. Is anyone concerned that it is anonymous? Not I.
10) We have recently had another example of how beautiful anonymity is. I do not know whether priests are allowed to blog anonymously (albeit, by definition if they really wanted they’d be able to do it anyway), but had Fr. Mildew written an anonymous blog, he’d have been much more relaxed against the bullying of Mgr. Basil Loftus. His blog is now closed. QED.
This is of course not meant to be a justification of my being strictly anonymous, for which there is no need. Rather a caveat to all those who still haven’t understood the potentially devastating influence of a sustained, prolonged Internet presence with their own names, particularly when the subject matter is not neutral (like photography, dogs, or gardening) but serious, highly emotional issues like politics and, most importantly, religion.
Wake up to the reality of the Internet. The immense freedom it harbours also hides dangers for your own professional future; dangers the more devastating because subtle and able to damage you whilst keeping you fully unaware of what is happening. And if you think that this problem only concerns people with extreme views or roaming the internet with illegal purposes ask everyone who works for reference checking firms, and think again.
You wouldn’t believe it, but every now and then some Catholic Bishop here and there actually starts doing his job.
This time it happened in San Antonio, where the interim head of the Archiocese, the auxiliary bishop Oscar Cantu’, decided that Homo Masses are not a sign of “chariteeee”, but Homo propaganda. One would have to say a word or two about the fact that the local faithful had protested against this abomination for fifteen years and the hierarchy had not reacted, but today I’ll limit myself to registering the fact that someone has finally done what is right.
As they say, better late than Nichols.
Let us read what Bishop Oscar Cantu’ has written about the matter:
“The Mass … continues to send conflicting messages about the Church’s official teaching concerning the proper celebration of the Eucharist and living an active homosexual lifestyle,”
This short but rather damning statement contains three important points: 1) there are “conflicting messages”, meaning: you avoid open heresy but in fact undermine Catholic teaching on the matter; 2) the celebration of the eucharist is not properly made, if it is made for a “special interest group”. Catholic means universal. You are Catholic, you go to Mass. You are a homosexual Catholic, you go to exactly the same Mass; 3) Homo Masses end up being propaganda for the acceptance of “an active homosexual lifestyle”. This point is so obvious than in order not to see it one must have the shameless, arrogant cheek of a Vincent Nichols.
In this particular case, the scandal was (if possible) even bigger because the Masses were “offered” for a so-called “gay advocacy group” called “Dignity”. This group openly advocates the acceptance of so-called homosexual lifestyle* and is therefore not in the least compatible with Catholic Teaching on the matter. Basically, homo activists openly in contrast with the Church have been allowed to confuse the faithful and give scandal for fifteen years, under the very nose of the Bishop and notwithstanding the repeated complaints of the clergy. The interim Bishop has now put an end to this after the old one – the allegedly very conservative Gomez, Opus Dei and now in Los Angeles – evidently never found the courage to grow a pair and tell things as they are.
Bishop Cantu’ is only 44 years old. He is “merely” the interim Head of the Archdiocese, with the new Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller taking over next month. It will be very interesting to see what Garcia-Siller does once installed, Cantu’s move certainly will not make it easy to come back to the old homo-friendly practices.
A very promising young shepherd, this Bishop Cantu’. Kudos to him and let us hope that this will become a fashion.
* That’s what they call it. For Heaven’s sake, would you call incest, bestiality, pedophilia a “lifestyle”? The world has become mad if we allow anyone to define themselves as they please and demand that we all call them as they wish.
“Perverts” is the word.
Father Z has reported a piece of news from the Associated Press.
Though the intent of the piece is not exactly that, its content is extremely flattering for all those who, with their blogs or contributions or TV channels, are contributing through the Internet to the return to Catholic sanity.
The list of compliments paid to Conservative Catholics active on the internet is very long: they are said to be “enraged by dissent”, something every true Catholic would love to have acknowledged of him from High Above the day he dies; they think, says AP News, that this has gone “unchecked for decades” and here I think no sane person can move any objection whatsoever, so they must be right; they “dissect the work” of clerics for “any hint of Marxist influence”, which shows their dedication to the cause and their love for Truth; they “comb through campaign finance records” to expose catholic agencies covertly supporting abortion.
One feels proud of what these Conservative Catholics do. The article is, unwittingly, so appreciative of the way these worthy citizen operate that it doesn’t dare to even hint at their being, say, heterodox or sedevacantist or otherwise rebellious. Truly, it’s good news all around.
Why, then, is your humble correspondent more than a tad peeved at the AP News article? Mainly because its writer, whilst unable to point out to any theological error of these Conservative bloggers, actually clearly implies that in being right, they are actually wrong. Why it is this? Because they are “uncharitable”, apparently and here the author really, really needs to know what “charity” is.
The evidently biased report also makes ample use of the usual leftist smokescreens all the world over; an “analyst” for the National Catholic Reporter is cited as an authoritative source on the alleged problems caused by the Conservatives, but the reader is not told that the NCR is considered largely unreadable leftist waste product by every true Catholic able to breathe. Similarly, a “preoccupation” of the Church hierarchy is cited as a proof that these people are getting obnoxious, which firstly utterly ignores the encouragement of the Holy Father for Catholic activities on the net (even extended to clergy, the vast majority of whom are also clearly on the conservative side) and secondly begs the question, as what the Catholic internet activists want is precisely that the Vatican starts acting and finally gets the shop in order.
At the end, though, the writer of the article gets a bit more realistic. Things aren’t going to change, no matter how many appeals to “charity” are made. The problem that the AP doesn’t see is that what they call charity is false charity, and therefore rightly fought against by the faithful.
Moreover, I am rather irritated at this calling Conservative Catholics “Talibans”. Talibans are heretics of the first water, so this is utterly inappropriate. Talibans themselves do not call us Taliban, but “Crusaders”. Now this is a beautiful epithet! Crusader!
Dear readers, all of you are, in one way or another, Crusaders. Be proud of this! It is from the effort of true Catholics (both clergy and laity) that enough pressure will be generated to clean the rather shabby looking shop of the Only Church. The Catholic hierarchy, like the American Bishop’s Conference calling to “charity” (not even knowing what it is) are not the solution. They are the problem.
Faithfulness to the Only Church demands that we say this out loud. And we do. Thank Goodness, we do.
Sooner or later it had to happen. Whilst it is obvious to everyone that most blogging priests are (as it is expected by them, besides being an excellent character trait) extremely prudent in their public utterances and attentive not to let disagreement between them sink to a level unworthy of their habit, it was only a matter of time before some serious clash would erupt in the Catholic blogosphere.
In this instance, the episode seems to go a while back and has as protagonists a lofty Monsignor with a tendency to reinvent Catholicism and a passionate, but rather emotional retired priest loved by everyone. When, therefore, the lofty Monsignor (most probably not influenced, I hasten to add, by the liquor so famous in his part) wrote a rather extraordinary theory about Our Lord not being physically present after the Resurrection (to refute which it is enough to read a Gospel; alas, Monsignori are not anymore what they used to be), the emotional priest, full of righteous anger, reacted in a way which the very sensitive Lofty Monsignor considered libellous. A longish controversy apparently ensued, at the end of which the good priest announced the intention to close his blog.
Now, I am not a priest but I know something about being emotional; for this reason I’ll allow myself a couple of considerations.
1) It is utterly contemptible that a religious – besides reinventing Catholicism in the most extraordinary way, but I suppose this comes with the progressive credentials – should stoop so low as to engage in a longish, bitter controversy with another religious over the use of such adjectives like “lofty”. I can think of one or three adjectives which would be far less pleasing for the Monsignor to hear, vastly more appropriate, and certainly not actionable. If this becomes a fashion, the use of the internet from brave priests as a showcase for orthodoxy might be stopped from above, which would be a big disgrace.
2) I may be cynical here, but unless the man is in serious need of professional help I can easily imagine that this controversy has been brought about for so long precisely in order to discredit conservative Catholic blogs written by Catholic priests , or at least with this consequence seen as a pleasant side effect of the controversy. Even in the land who gave us whiskey one must be aware of the fact that his own reputation will suffer most atrociously and in all eternity, as google has the memory of an elephant. But I might be wrong here, and the professional help what is truly needed.
3) Without being a lawyer by trade, I can’t conceive that adjectives like “lofty” can really constitute an actionable offence. Were this the case, no single blog a’ la “Homo Smoke” would be functioning, no single expression like “homo smoke” were ever used on the Internet and the turnover of the Internet libel lawsuit industry would greatly exceed the one of the global armaments. This is simply not the case. Look at how journalists berate and belittle each other every day on press and internet and draw your conclusions.
These are professionals, mind, certainly better trained than a retired priest in the subtle matter of libel laws; and still they shoot at each other with the pump gun day in and day out.
4) Having said that, I can’t say that I approve the decision to close one’s blog because some chap in some very cold and windy place starts threatening one with absurd lawsuits. Such a behaviour smells, if I may say so in the kindest of ways of a certainly very kind man, of passive-aggressiveness. “Look what the brute has done to me, an old man” is the message. We are all humans of course, but in my eyes the first thing (the inordinate, ridiculous reaction of a man who can’t even read the Gospel) has nothing to do with the second (the decision to close the blog).
Whatever lawsuit might be initiated (and it would be the grandest waste of money and reputation, if you ask me), the decision to close the blog wouldn’t have any influence on it. The closure of the blog can only be seen as an aggressive act toward a person thus indicated as the responsible for the closure. But this is just not true. Whatever the faults of the man (“Fawlty” he has also been called, I wonder whether this is actionable?), he is most certainly not responsible for the blog closure.
Summa summarum, I’d be very pleased if this episode would teach the Catholic Times that if you carry the name “Catholic” you should have contributors who can read the Gospel and know the most elementary facts about Jesus; and I truly wish that the good old priest will, perhaps in time, realise that by closing the blog he has made the impression of the one who goes away with the football. This can’t be good and can’t be right.
If you ask me, only one of the two can be true:
1) some people live on the moon.
2) some people find it convenient to talk as if they did.
The latest example is the utter lack of realism in the Christian-Muslim “dialogue”. The naivety of his most ardent proponents it even surpasses the “ecumenical” process a’ la ARCIC.
A beautiful example of this delirious mentality is the (thankfully) retired nuncio of the Vatican for several Muslim countries, El-Hacheb. The chap seems to live in that beautiful world in which children start to march all together for world peace and behold, it becomes a reality. Among the measures our chap would like to see more seriously implemented are schools filled with Catholics and Muslims. Let us mix all together, ponders the man. That in this way a serious Catholic teaching becomes impossible (because it makes the occasion of conflicts even nearer) doesn’t seem to worry him as his implied solution seem to be to dilute Catholicism to make place for “diversity”. Catholics will become a little more Muslim, and Muslim will become not one bit more Catholic but hey, it sounds so good.
This ecu-maniacal thinking is deluded because it starts from the assumption that if Christian and Muslim would only know each other better, they would avoid being in conflict. This is more than naive, this is outright moronic and the fruit of total disregard of the simple reality under the sun.
Christians and Muslims have been living together in several countries for many centuries now; the idea that conflicts be caused by not knowing what the other thinks is more than outlandish and the fruit of the same delusion which has caused the creation of that other child dream made expensive reality, the United Nations; namely, the thinking that just because people talk, wars stop happening.
Christians and Muslims fight each other because they know each other good enough, not because they don’t. The real facts the ecu-maniacal sissies do not want to understand (or conveniently pretend not to understand) is that Christianity will never be compatible with Islam, and Islam will never be compatible with Christianity.
Besides being theologically incompatible, an even bigger obstacle is that they are both expansive: both want to convert the world, an exercise in which – say – Jews and Buddhists are not interested in the least. The reasons of conflicts between Christianity and Islam is built-in in the way both religion work, and no amount of daydreaming and wishful thinking will ever change an iota in that. Christianity and Islam can, at best, avoid actual war and they actually do it most of the time. But even that might not be possible, or not be expedient and this is another reality conveniently forgotten nowadays.
But then again, the former nuncio also wishes for summer camps where the young of both religion meet and spend some day together, which gives you the measure of his detachment from reality. Muslim parents sending their daughters in a holiday camp with Christian boys? “That will be the day”, I hear the Duke saying…..
The simple fact is that for too long the pretension of childish dreams of “peace” has been conveniently used to mask cowardice; that ecu-maniacal efforts and fantasies of “dialogue” have been used to disguise the unwillingness to become vocal and aggressive in defending Christians in predominantly Muslims countries; that the fundamental nature of the conflict between Christianity and Islam makes the end of such a conflict utterly unrealistic; that only a moron can give any credibility to a “dialogue” with members of a religion which allows them to lie to further its interests.
It is high time that we stop burying our head in the sand, abandon the convenient blindness of political correctness – what is political correctness if not the demand that one be blind, lest he be offended by what is plain to see? – and start to hammer into the heads of the Christians that Islam and Christianity are fundamentally incompatible and there is no place for any coexistence of the two. Not from a theological point of view (because we must work to convert the whole world, not to convert the non-Muslim one) and not from a practical one (because Islam has the same ideas we have, and there’s only one planet to convert).
This conflict is here to stay. It is inherent in the way the two religion work. Nothing short of the eventual defeat of Islam will change it.
We need to wake up to this elementary truth.
We live in times where collective stupidity and vulgarity is very much en vogue and there is no level of entertainment considered too stupid or embarrassing. The entire cultural climate is slowly going down, flattening itself to the minimum common denominator of the uneducated, peeping, gossiping masses. Consider our TV programmes becoming increasingly more stupid, our newspapers becoming increasing more coloured (and leaving your finger an even bigger mess than they used to) and shouted, our politicians treating us as increasingly more stupid (witness the huge amount of adv telling us not to kill ourselves on a bike, or to drink and drive) and the life of what is in the meantime a huge army of “celebrities” being inspected and given to the hungry masses in the most embarrassing detail.
One of the most notable examples of this trend toward the superficial, the vulgar and the outright stupid is the Osservatore Romano, the once serious (if not necessarily orthodox) Vatican publication now clearly intent on becoming the most ridiculed newspaper on the planet. The paper does so brilliantly, with journalists regularly making asses of themselves and causing worldwide laughter in the process.
It all started (unless I am missing something) with the Osservatore’s “absolution” of the Beatles, whereby we were informed that the Beatles (and well, particularly Lennon and by reflection the female who has become the epitome of everything that is wrong with the human race) were blasphemous drug users but hey, it’s all fine because where would music be without them…. Touching and profound, don’t you find?
Then we had the “Blues Brothers” article, where the religious content of the movie and his defence of Catholicism was put in evidence. This was, if you ask me, far less stupid* than the previous observations about Lennon & Co, but it still betrayed an utterly inappropriate need of being “hip” and to talk about things that have nothing to do with the actual job of the newspaper.
The summit (at least for now) was reached when the same newspaper, not content with the degree of ridicule already earned, went out with the rather astonishing observation that Homer Simpson be a Catholic. The reasons would be that he sleeps at his Protestant church’s sermons and a couple of other pieces of nonsense too idiotic to repeat. I distinctly remember that when I was in kindergarten discussions were far more logic and profound than this one and it truly seems that the Osservatore Romano will not stop until their reputation for moronic stunts has reached the furthest corners of the planet; which will be very soon.
In the meantime, the producers of the “Simpsons” have felt the necessity to speak. “If Catholics are as stupid as that newspaper”, they must have thought, “we’ll need to release some form of official dementi”. Please note the astonishment of the poor chap at Homer Simpson being defined as Catholic.
The impression that comes from all these stories is that at the Vatican someone is seriously confusing proper journalistic work with puberty problems. One has the distinct impression that Beavis and Butthead have now become, respectively, news writer and editor by a well-known and once reputable newspaper. The problem is that whilst Beavis and Butthead may be fun on MTV, they are not on the Osservatore Romano.
* I admit growing up in the admiration of that movie. I still think it is one of the greatest movies ever made. And I find the “Penguin” one of the most lovable creatures ever devised by the silver screen.
I will blog today about the extremely grave episode that has happened in one of the cradles of Western civilisation, Florence and has since dominated world news.
As in the meantime everyone who doesn’t live on the Moon knows, an extremist Christian has succeeded in entering a Mosque in Florence and has violated and desecrated a place of worship. The entire action was filmed and has been on youtube & Co. for some days now. This caused widespread outrage among the Muslim community the world over, repeated threats from the Iranian government, calls to Jihad in all major Muslim capitals, great burning of Western flags, the killing of several priests and Christian laymen and in general frightful tensions between the Christian community and the Muslim one.
I am sure that every reader of mine will agree with me that such acts are extremely shameful and and that sincere Christians feel ashamed at what their co-religionist has done.
For this reason, it is also not surprising that the NY Times, CNN, BBC, the “Guardian” and in general the world media have condemned the action as one man, echoing the world wide outrage this senseless act has caused. This has been going on for days now so if you haven’t noticed, you must have been sleeping all the time or more probably, you are dead already.
This was to be expected, I hear you say. You can’t violate a place of worship of a religion with a worldwide following and around a billion faithful without the entire media world making a huge uproar about that, can you?………………………
Oh well apparently (and to use a phrase very much en vogue, at least until the beginning of November) yes, you can!
The only thing you must do is avoid targeting Islam. Best thing to do is to target Christianity. This way, you will be sure that you will be able to dance on the high altar of the Florence cathedral without the world media noticing the episode in the least!
Now if you had proposed to, say, burn a Koran, this would have been different of course. One just doesn’t do such things unless he is a racist Nazi Ku Klux Klan fundamentalist bastard deserving of death by stoning and subsequent frying in camel’s urine.
But if you desecrate an altar to the point that it will possibly have to be reconsecrated, then it is very fine and no world wide outrage will erupt.
Similarly, there will be no calls to a Crusade, no danger for the life of Islamic clerics in European countries, no world wide self-flagellation from soi-disant intellectuals and no global media coverage to the point of nausea.
Which probably explains why nothing has happened in this case.
I must always cringe at those american films with a Protestant marriage. You know what I’m talking about. The last one I saw was in the last movie with Catherine Heigl. Movie’s name already forgotten, but you know what I mean anyway.
Generally, the ceremony happens in a prosaic place (like a garden; what if it rains; oh well…); the ladies are dressed in the same way as if they were at the stadion, or as if they found the event such a great fun; the individualised marriage formulae are so unbearably sugary that I am reminded of the “dickus biggus” scene in “Life of Brian”; and then the hopeless kitsch of the entire apparatus; the prepared speeches; the meetings to rehearse the prepared speeches, and the tired jokes. How embarrassing.
I look at those movies and hope that in real life, people over there marry in a different way. Solemn, dignified, spiritual. Fitting to the sacrament they are celebrating. And, hopefully, in a church, which is where sacraments are supposed to be administered: in God’s house, not in your garden.
But then I stop and wonder. Is it really that way that the see a marriage? Do they really see it as a sacrament? I mean literally, do Protestant consider marriage a sacrament? I don’t know but if yes, why divorce and why are people free to choose the formulas? They aren’t free to choose the formulas for baptism, surely?
If, on the other hand, they don’t, then I begin to understand a couple of things. If it’s not sacred, then it’s better be fun. If it’s not a solemn promise made in front of God, then why should it be made in a church. You don’t buy cars in churches after all. Even if they often last longer than a marriage.
If this is how things are, then one understands how marriage becomes something which must be fun and rather practical. To this effect, may I suggest McDonald’s. You can have the reception together with the ceremony. Catering & Co. all very sensibly arranged. No hassle of choosing menues, either. Your friends don’t feel obliged to abandon their usual shorts and flip flops; hey, it’s supposed to be fun!
Apparently, it all works very well in Hong Kong. As the company spokeswoman(1) noticed, many couples had their first dates, fell in love and even had their marriage proposals take place at McDonald’s, so “it makes it particularly meaningful and memorable to hold a wedding party there”. A proposal at McDonald’s. How romantic. Yes, I understand that in such circumstances a marriage elsewhere would be unconceivable. Burger King is, clearly, out of the question.
I am not peeved at McDonald’s. Laugh at me as much as you please, but I do like the Big Tasty and their fries are, I must say, always excellent. I merely wonder what has become of a world once built on important choices, made after very careful reflection; of commitments that could resist the strain of disagreements and the unavoidable difficult times; of the idea of solemnity, and of the idea of sacredness.
Sacredness, this is the word. Sacralità.
Not much en vogue now, is it?
The flip flop generation marries at McDonald’s.
Or if you’re lucky, in a garden.
(1) Thank God they still don’t have the “spokesperson” over there.
No time yet for a more detailed analysis and please forgive the absence of the usual embellishments.
Both Dolan and ++ Vincent “Quisling” Nichols will have to wait. Italian troop raised around one-third in one go and provided that they are orthodox, this little Italian heart can’t be displeased.
High incidence of Vatican elements anyway. I think both these elements might work for Scola at the next conclave.
The names are all here.
Feel free to add your own thoughts on the Cardinals you already know.
The 80 years rule is making the position of Cardinal more and more detached from that of elector, as the latest numbers show.
More on this as soon as I can research a bit.
We live in – as the unforgettable Baldrick used to say – strange and disturbing times. Times so strange that common sense is not applied anymore and too many people are afraid to switch on their brains for fear that the result might not be politically correct and, as a result, put them into trouble or at the very least disturb the course of their orderly lives.
Take alcohol, for example. It doesn’t need a genius to understand that a young man or woman raised up in a family of alcoholics might well grow up to be one himself. Particularly so, when the habit of getting drunk is seen as not only harmful, but morally neutral or even part of an alternative way of living only criticised by “bullies” and “alcophobics”. Or take violence in the family, with the obvious effect that violence experienced daily will exert on the young souls if they get to know the world through the eyes of their role models, people glorifying violence as a way of life which only bigots and “violophobic” dare to criticise. Or take again coprophagy or coprophily, with a young boy or girl growing up in a family of people eating or loving crap and continually hearing how intolerant and “coprophobe” the world is.
The list of perversions and dysfunctions could be long, but common to all of them is that it is purely a matter of common sense that without a proper education and transmission of proper values, the healthy development of younger generations could be hampered and grave damage done. This is why the role of the parents is so paramount and the vital importance of their example so universally stressed.
Of course, things do not have to always go bad. Children raised up in dysfunctional families can grow up to become perfectly balanced adults, and some may even get – from the very evil they see in their own domestic environment – the desire to excel in the virtues their own parents lacked. But it is obvious to the simplest common sense that their task will be more difficult, and that whenever they’ll succeed they’ll do it notwithstanding the bad or perverted influence of their families instead of because of it.
In general terms, it has always been a received truth that the sins of the fathers are transmitted to the sons, both in a religious and in a more practical way. Talis pater, talis filius, the Romans also used to say; people, these, who must have understood something of human nature if two thousand years later we are still fond of their sayings.
Strangely enough – and in defiance to the most elementary common sense – all this would not be applicable to sexual perversions. For example, we are required to believe that a child raised up by an homosexual “couple” would not be influenced by the sexual behaviour and attitude he sees in his home every day and which is presented to him as perfectly natural. The obvious observation that to grow up in the midst of perverts might make of a child a pervert does not touch them (officially, at least); it isn’t convenient to say so, therefore it can’t be true, and damn common sense.
Obviously, homosexuals know all too well what could become of their “adopted” “sons”. They do desire it. But they don’t tell you, preferring you to believe the stupid tale of the sexual orientation being something which can’t be perverted but is simply in one way or the other. As if Sodom had been the place where, stranegly enough, the sexual orientation had happened to be always the same one. What en extraordinary coincidence.
It is another evil perversion of the homosexual lobby to demand that their tale of the non-influence of their sexual perversion(1) be accepted as mantra whilst working to have children made in their own image (another interesting figure of speech by the way). Can you imagine the homosexual “father” proud of seeing his son starting to run after the girls? How could this father not notice what probable effect his son growing as heterosexual will have on the relationship between the two? How easily can an heterosexual grown in an homosexual household grow up to understand the perversion running in his own domestic environment? In the very best of cases it will be as in Chandler of the Tv series “friends”; in the worst of cases, much worse.
Thankfully, every now and then someone has the courage (and courage it is) to say that the emperor has no clothes, and that children of homosexual “couples” are much more likely than the average to grow up perverted themselves.
The discovery of boiling water, you will say. Still, this is something that has to be said also in the “research” environment, where otherwise madness would know no boundaries.
If this elementary common sense continues to be spread and brought to the attention of the public opinion, perhaps one day we’ll force the homos to throw away the mask and at least admit that in adopting a child they’ll hope that he becomes a homosexual and do nothing to avoid this happening, trusting that family values and a habit of perversion lived every day will be sufficient. This will even reinforce them in the fantasy of their own “normality” and is in any way coherent with their idea that homosexuality be “their normality” (which, by the way, every paedophile Catholic priest could tell you in exactly the same words).
Truly, modern society is allowing itself such madness in ideology-driven social “experiments” as not even the Nazis would have dared to dream of.
(1) can we please stop the bollocks with the “orientation”. A perversion is a perversion. You don’t say of a paedophile that he has an “alternative orientation”. You say that he is a pervert.
I stumbled on Twitter on this site,Abortion Facts, which must be the most complete source of information about abortion around.
The amount of information imparted by this site is very extensive. I found particularly impressive the pages about the back-alley abortions and the Christian view of abortion, but will no doubt discover other pages in the next days.
The arguments I have read up to now are very rigorous but not overtly confrontational and they seem well researched. This is a work that can be consulted again and again as the occasion requires and even if the text is far too little for my liking (I seriously hate these things; if it were for me to decide there would be only books in large print) it is nothing that can’t be endured for the few minutes necessary to read the relevant page.
I recommend the saving of this page under your favourites and perhaps its forwarding to those among your friends or acquaintances who might receive it well or forward it.
Read here about Anna Arco reporting that the Anglican bishop of Fulham is preparing to take up the Ordinariate. In itself, this is not shocking news and was in some form largely expected. What in my eyes is more surprising is the astonishing declaration of Mr. John Broadhurst that Forward in Faith be, as reported by Arco, “not an Anglican organisation”.
I have written here and elsewhere on several occasions that I see a problem in the commingling of Catholicism and Anglicanism. Catholicism and Anglicanism are like fire and water. They just can’t mix. It must be clear to every convert that he is moving from Lie to Truth, not from one truth to another one.
Every element which would in any way whatsoever persuade Anglicans in the process of converting that nothing much is really happening (as some of them have been known to say on several blogs and forums) and that they would not become, but merely “continue to be” catholics is intrinsically heretical and must be rejected in the strongest form.
In the case of the Anglicans, the problem is made more acute by their inveterate habit of bending whatever statement of principle to their own particular convenience of the day, with people of the most diverse doctrinal persuasions happily coexisting under the same roof without seeing a problem at all. They have their “39 articles” but many of them decide which ones of them they want to follow, or even whether they should be considered binding in the first place, but opposite views on this matter don’t seem to bother them much. They have people agreeing with women priests and people strongly disagreeing with them, but astonishingly they don’t see this as making communion impossible. They have people in their midst wanting to remain within Anglicanism even if they disagree with both priestesses and bishopesses and one really wonders what their concept of “church” is. In short, there are people there showing a long habit of astonishing mental gymnastics and ability to adapt to whatever they want to think and whatever it is convenient to say.
Now, I wholeheartedly agree that even a person highly trained in such compromises and exercises in doublethink can – through prayer and by the grace of God – see the error of his ways and become an excellent and orthodox Catholic. But I wonder whether they will be helped in achieving this result by suggesting to them – because this will be the frequent effect of Mr. Broadhurst words – that when they were part of the Church of England, they actually weren’t and when they were wrong, they were actually right.
It seems to me as if the message which risks to be received is that what is required is not a real swimming, but merely the mooring of an Anglican boat on the other side of the Tiber, with the implicit result that many of them will think that the boat was the right one in the first place and has always been. In this case the conversion would not do anything for the soul of the converted, but merely endanger it much more gravely because of the open heresy thus brought within the Only Church.
Of course, in theory nothing prevents a convert to fully understand the implications and extent of his step by continuing to call the thus converted organisation with the same name. But in practice I see trouble coming. This, particularly considering the extreme affection for this kind of mental gymnastics and plays with words which is, alas, so common in Anglican thinking.
I started reading this booklet, How to avoid Purgatory, with not a little measure of scepticism. Grown in an environment where the non practising Catholics were rather indifferent (my parents) and the practising Catholics were rather stern (most notably: my rather steely grandmother) I grew up believing that Purgatory is something you grow to expect, hoping that it will be as little unpleasant as possible; that it is difficult enough to avoid Hell to have the presumption of thinking of even planning to avoid Purgatory; that this idea of asking for oneself something reserved for the most saintly Christians smells of arrogance or, as I would have put it in my childhood, of being a spoiled child.
Add to this that this booklet is clearly dated. The measuring of purgatory in terms of earthly days (so and so many days of indulgence for such and such prayers, or measuring purgatory in “years”) would have been considered extremely questionable even in 1936 and acceptable only as a way of explanation for the uneducated, and of encouragement for the very young.
Still: when one has read the entire booklet, has absorbed its meaning and has pondered a bit over the general tone and message of this little but very intelligent work (and, most importantly, has noticed the continuous effort of the author to explain that the desired behaviour will, in many cases, not be enough to avoid purgatory altogether, to which even my grandmother would have gravely nodded), one understands what blessings this little booklet can bring to the faithful.
If I were allowed to make a politically incorrect comparison, I’d say that the leitmotiv of the booklet reminds one of the typical behaviour of one of the two sexes. What it boils down to is: ruthless nagging of God, The Blessed Virgin and the Saints for what we desire; a countless number of little efforts and little prayers; an unceasing pushing made in little things, but repeated a huge numbers of time. The following of the practices suggested in the booklet (there are several of them; no one of them unpleasant; all of them rather easy; almost all repeatable at will; some rather daring and not frequently heard) is most fitting for those not strong enough for the heroic effort, but clever enough to recognise a deal on very favourable terms when they see one.
Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi, sed saepe cadendo. The drop hollows out the stone; not by force, but by frequent dropping. In our case, the stone is so willing to be hollowed out by our drops! And yes, without heroic virtue one will probably not attain avoidance of Purgatory anyway and not many are those who bring to the deal the necessary strenght. But very many of us can – if they but apply themselves to the acquiring of a limited number of not very uncomfortable, but very good habits – obtain such favours as to avoid that Purgatory – so it is not spared to us – is at least devoid of its harshest sting.
Come on, boys’ n girls….. Let’s start nagging!
There are days, I truly can’t recognise this country anymore. It seems to me as if certain news were actually a parody but no, they are true.
Let us consider this. Fr Ashley Beck is the Dean of the Archdiocese of Southwark in charge of the training of deacons. He says something which in my world is so banal that it wouldn’t even deserve mention: children of people co-habiting shouldn’t be admitted in Catholic schools. To me this is like saying that the Pope should be Catholic, but the fact that Fr Beck says that they should not shows that such a banality is, in fact, a piece of news and that apparently children of a cohabitation are admitted as a matter of fact in many Catholic schools. One wonders how a Catholic school can even begin to raise children in a Catholic environment if it is not even requested that their parents follow I do not say the strictest orthodoxy, but at least a behaviour such that they do not live in objective mortal sin, give scandal and are excluded from communion. What is in my eyes surprising is that what Fr Beck asks is merely that the parents be married, not that they be Catholic! I might be missing something here, but it seems to me that Fr Beck’s words can only be defined as generous, and more inclusive than they should.
Apparently, though, the marital status of the parents cannot be considered by a school. A Catholic school is not allowed to consider whether the parents are married.
Someone here is seriously under the influence whilst in Government.
Am I missing something here? How else can the objective mortal sin of the parents be considered irrelevant in the education of the child, other than because a Catholic education is considered not important and the objective mortal sin of the parents utterly irrelevant at worst, or a sub-optimal option at best? How else can the fact that the parents are excluded from communion be neglected, other than because the exclusion from communion is ignored or considered a relic of the past? How can a faith school not be allowed a mainstay of that faith as an admission criterium?
After the words of the Dean (which would be absurd to define courageous; the adjective “obvious” comes to mind) one would expect the atheist “dementigentsia” to cry foul (they hate Catholicism but hey, they want a Catholic school for their children…) and complain that……… the Pope is Catholic. This would be mildly amusing on a good day and no more than unnerving on a less good one.
But when one gets rather angry is when one discovers that such a statement of the damned obvious leaves Oona Stannard, the Head of the Catholic Education Service, “almost speechless”.
The woman is not speechless because children of non-Catholic christians are allowed into Catholic schools, leaving children of Catholic families out, nor is she angry because a Catholic school is not allowed to enquire about the marital status of the parents of the prospective pupils. No, Mssss Stannard is outraged that a religious would dare to ask that the parents be at least married!
What belief this Stannard woman belongs to? Some New Age stream? Wicca? Druidism?
She can’t be Catholic, for sure.
The rumours are more and more frequent on the blogosphere and it would seem that a new consistory is imminent.
As the date of the appointment would be the Feast of Christ The King, which falls on the 21st November, and as it is the usual praxis to announce the names one months in advance of the official appointment it would seem that within a few days we’ll have the name of the new red hats.
Whilst one does not doubt that unpleasant names will be inserted in the list (I think here in particular of His Disgrace Vincent “Quisling” Nichols, often the object of less than pleased entries on this blog), there is reason to hope that this new batch of Cardinals will, on the whole, give us conservative Catholics added security that the successor of Benedict will be a step forward; or at the very least, not one backwards.
Besides the unavoidable disappointment here and there (Benedict has already disappointed more than once in his UK appointments and he is obviously not willing to risk an open confrontation with the clergy of England & Wales) it will be nice to examine the new candidates one by one and try to assess how much the new appointments shift the average toward the conservative side. I am also glad that this consistory finally arrives as – always speaking in general- the more Cardinals of Benedictine appointment there are, the better it is.
But we still don’t know and we’ll have to bear some uncertainty for a couple of days.
As I think Pope Benedict would say: Abwarten, und Tee trinken…
Nutcases, perverts and cruel people of all kinds have long understood that the best way to get their way through the barrier of societal disapprobation is to talk of their relevant cruelty or crime or abomination in terms of “rights”. No, make it “human rights”, it sounds so much better….
As a consequence, the mother wanting to kill her baby (provided she recognises him explicitly as such) will talk of murder in terms of her right to choose; sodomites will see their practices as something to which they are simply entitled; paedophiles will claim for themselves the right to sleep with consenting minors, incestouos couples will talk of their “right to love”, and so on.
It seems that nowadays everyone thinks that he has the right to do everything. I am waiting for the day where maniacs (of which there is no scarcity) will claim the right to self-maim themselves or to allow one person to maim and torture another to death. This has happened in Germany some years ago and I am not the one to withhold from you the information that the chaps in questions were both homosexuals. This last episode is very handy, because it is difficult to recognise every appreciable difference between one or two perverts weary of living (both “adults and vaccinated”, as they say in Italy) and desirous to exercise their “right to die” when and in the way they see fit and the new entry among the “right to do everything”-crowd, the Healthcare Professionals For Change.
This group (which Sky defines as “influential” without telling us why) is composed of “doctors and nurses” in favour of assisted suicide. The groups should have called itself “Death Doctors and Nurses” I’d have said, but “change” is sooo Obama…
The group wants to challenge the opinion of the vast majority of doctors and nurses in the UK, who are firmly opposed to any form of assisted suicide. “There is not a single Royal College or significant medical organisation in this country that backs the legalisation of assisted suicide or euthanasia”, says “Care, Not Killing” and in fact if one reflects that in the London area it becomes increasing more difficult to get an abortion due to the growing number of doctors refusing to murder babies in the womb one understands that the claim is rather credible and that these latest nutcases truly represent a tiny minority of health professionals.
Personally, if I were in a hospital with an incurable disease I would insist on NOT having any of these doctors and nurses dealing with me.
We all know what good intentioned nazi doctors were capable of.
Interesting video of the always inspiring Michael Voris*, based on the concept of oath.
Think of it, one is surprised of how many people take an oath. Civil servants; military men; judges; jurors; witnesses…..
You would think that of all people, Catholics would be the one with the least difficulties in taking an oath. The granitic nature of Catholic teaching should make this so banal as to not even be matter of discussion, right? Unfortunately, we all know that this is not the case. This is not the case because heterodoxy has spread in many quarters of the Church; has been encouraged to spread by the very people who were in charge of avoiding its diffusion; and has now spread to the point that many Catholics do not even know that they have been fed with superficial common places in the best case and with heresy in the worst.
Yes, I do think that a demand of Pope Benedict to all the clergy to take an oath stating in no uncertain terms their total obedience to the Magisterium would create great difficulties. But this is not the reason to avoid it. In my eyes, the fact that it would create such an outrage is the reason why it should be done in the first place!
Alas: good as he is, Pope Benedict is no St. Pius X and we will not have any oaths during his pontificate; rather, we’ll have a mixture of admirable liturgical restoration – and great courage in starting to spreading the truth rather than politically correct soundbites – and accommodating episcopal appointments which help to perpetuate the grave situation we have today.
Until the situation improves – and it will be a long time before it does – the duty of spreading orthodoxy will fall, to a not little extent, on the shoulders of the laity. The more so in those countries (like England or France) where the clergy is – on average – below an acceptable level of decency.
Let us be prepared, then, and let us pay attention not only to the Magisterium, but to the news and debates surrounding the Church. It will make it more easy – when the occasion invariably occurs – to refute the lies, defend the truth and perhaps help the one or other soul on her way to conversion.
* al always, you might have to log in, which is fast and free.
The excellent blog of Deacon For Life has a beautiful statement of Peter La Barbera, the president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality.
This statement has the merit of being short but rather complete and is truthful and charitable at the same time (let us remember that truth is very often charitable, whilst niceness often isn’t). It clearly exposes the usual trick of the homo lobby of trying to manipulate the wrong of physical assaults to homos to obtain acceptance for the abomination of sodomy.
As in these last days homo self-martyrdom has been present on both sides of the pond (with the homosexual man committing suicide after having being filmed on the one side and the recent events in Belgrade on the other) it is very appropriate, I think, to have some clear words said on the matter.
We must condemn evil, never use evil as a pretext to condone another.
Kudos to Deacon For Life for the beautiful entry.
One gets a bit tired of reporting of another escursion into the popular land of heterodoxy from a member of the Catholic clergy; still, oportet ut scandala eveniant and it is at least a consolation to see that whilst members of the clergy do everything possible to pander to the secular mentality, courageous laymen have no problems in telling it straight.
The last example are the contradictory declarations of Mgr. Carrasco, Head of the Pontifical Academy for Life about the recent and controversial announcement of the Nobel Prize for Dr. Edwards, the inventor of in vitro fertilisation.
Mgr. Carrasco appears not to be entirely bad and his official declarations, on several occasions, have struck the right tones; still he seems -like many others – unable to resist the temptation of making compromises with his interlocutor when representing an unpopular position and as a consequence ends up talking nonsense. Let us read his words again :
[Dr. Edwards] “ushered in a new and important chapter in the field of human reproduction in which the best results are visible to everyone, beginning with Louise Brown.”
“New and important chapter?” “Best results?” What is this, Christopher Hitchens talking the Church down? And this, from the Head of the Pontifical Academy for Life? It truly sounds like a spoof, but unfortunately it isn’t…
Thankfully, the Vatican has immediately recognised the blunder and has rapidly corrected the imprudent Monsignor, promptly stating that Carrasco’s declaration was in answer to a journalist’s question (read: he was imprudent and wrong, but without malice) and does not represent the opinion of the Pontifical Academy for Life. I do think that he was the victim of the “agree-itis” so typical of these times; of a mentality in which no one wants to say it straight, lest he appears rude and no one dares to deny some kudos to his opponent, lest he is considered a bigot.
No one? Well, apparently not. It would appear that there are people out there who don’t tarnish their criticism of Dr Edwards with …….. a resounding praise of how good his work was.
The International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations does not leave any merit to Dr. Edwards’ work. They merely recognise as factual the joy given to the misguided parents, but clearly criticise the work of Dr. Warner in itself. No trace of “new and important chapters” here….
Harder still is Lucio Romano, the president of the Italian association Science and Life. Romano’s remarks are extremely damning as whilst he recognises that Edwards was a pioneer of the application of livestock methods to human beings, he also clearly says that this is no progress for humanity, at all.
Basically, what he is saying (though not with such words) is that every Nazi doctor can be said to have been trying to achieve some progress, but he was forgetting an elementary sense of humanity in the process. Dr. Josef Mengele was involved in seminal medical work, too.
None of the statements of the laymen organisations can be called unorthodox in the least. The words of the clergyman in charge of the matter had to be hastily corrected.
These are the times we live in.
Allow me first to disagree with the author of this article. The Council of Europe is not “influential” in any way, shape or form. It is the type of “advisory parliamentary body ” you create as backup employment opportunity for politicians. It looks good and very “technical” on paper and as it merely “advises” and can’t really decide anything, but it is a good excuse for a government to do something that government wants to do anyway. “Following the recommendation of the (let me check…) Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe……..”)
In this case, the UK member McCafferty has had the brilliant idea to sound the possibility of a crackdown on conscientious objection in matter of abortion. Just so you know, this McCafferty woman entered Parliament through an all-women Labour candidate shortlist – something that would be a criminal offence today – but feminists do not stop in front of discrimination if it advances their cause. McCafferty is therefore as much of a token woman as they come and her commitment to “sexual health and the rights of women” unquestionable.
Mssss. McCafferty wanted to celebrate her approaching 65th birthday proposing to “oblige the healthcare provider to provide … treatment to which the patient is legally entitled despite his or her conscientious objection”. Congratulations, Mssssss. McCafferty. A life well spent.
Thankfully, not everyone was of the same opinion of this old Sixty-Eighter red abortionist feminist and two members of the same wannabe parliament (the Italian Volonte’ and the Irish Mullen) have presented an alternative proposal which completely reverses McCafferty’s position; their proposal has been approved.
I agree with you that this is nothing more than an amusing event in the life of just another useless supranational organ. Still, it does not happen every day that an initiative is proposed and a diametrically opposed one is approved. One is astonished at how many useless organs have been slowly created under the nose of the European taxpayer (this is not even EU, by the way), but I thought that you’d like to know anyway.
In another sign that perhaps, just perhaps, somethign is startin gto change and the Church on the British island is starting to become a bit more aggressive in Her defence of Catholic value, it is to be noted that the opposition to a congress of abortionists held in England (and comprising the usual murderous “chariteees”) peeves the liberal press enough to be mentioned with less than neutral tones in articles like this one, with the author amusingly concerned about the costs of going abroad to do what is a criminal offence in his own country and some of the commenters launching themselves in the usual absurd reasoning of the “if you have killed heretics you can’t tell us not to kill babies”-sort.
I though it fitting to give notice of this because it seems to me that the tones are getting at times a bit more similar to what they should always have been. To denounce the conference as “clearly designed to undermine the rights and welfare of children in the womb and the consistently pro-life position of the majority of people on this island” cannot be defined (thank God) a very diplomatic statement and the appeal “to all those who cherish the inherent dignity of human life in all its stages to join us in expressing opposition to this event” is also a nice piece of clear communication.
I concede that this is Ireland and that it is easy to speak the truth when one has a majority behind one, but it is still clear that on this occasion there is no fear of a fight.
Let us hope that this commendable behaviour will find more and more imitators also in the UK.
I have already posted about the Rosary and you will find an explanation of what it is – and how beneficial its recitation – under the “Catholic Vademecum” button at the top of this page. In this Month of the Holy Rosary, I have found what I think is a useful integration.
This here is, though, a useful integration because it is a video following you step by step and allowing you to enter into the “rhythm” of the Rosary. Various options are at your disposal, from the background you find mor einspiring to two different sets of video to the possibility of joining an already ongoing rosary recitation or starting from the beginning of the five decades you have picked up for the day.
At any time, a virtual rosary (the object) on the right will tell you at a glance where you are in the process.
This product is really interesting in that it gives to beginners, who might be intimidated and not willing to enter a church to see how it’s done, a comfortable way to follow “how it works”.
On a window below you’ll see how many people are praying together with you. This is another important component of the rosary, a devotion that can also be prayed alone but is best prayed with other faithful.
I personally found the video somewhat distracting and to better focus on the relevant mistery had to close my eyes often, but everyone collects his thoughts in a different way. I also stop to meditate shortly on the mistery before starting the Our Father in order to help myself to stay focused, but accomplished rosary prayers will not have this need.
One day I’ll try to see whether there is something like that in Latin, possibly with all the trimmings like the rosary depiction. For the moment, I dare to hope that this extremely well made product will encourage the one or the other to stop hesitating and to finally start with the recitation of the Rosary.
Tomorrow the Church celebrates, for the first time, the feast day of Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman. The date is not casual, being the date of his conversion in 1845.
The choice of this particular date (instead of, say, the 11th August, day of his death) has caused the usual frowning from certain Anglican quarters, more or less angrily expressing the opinion that the October date has been chosen in order to anger the Anglicans or, at the very least, without any regard for the “ecumenical” dialogue and so on, and so forth.
Therein we see all the problems of the fake ecumenism as it has been practised – by Catholics too, must be said – in the last decades. Such a process of “dialogue” has engendered in the Anglicans (to be fairer: in many Anglicans) the idea that ecumenism be a process by which Truth and Heresy meet somewhere in the middle, or by which Truth uses all possible regards towards Heresy so that Heresy is in no way embarrassed. The idea that it be less than perfectly appropriate to choose Newman’s conversion day as his feast day is a wonderful witness of what happens when the Truth is either not told, or told in such a subdued way that it is not understood.
It is true that in many cases the day of death (or a day around it) is the chosen one as feast day. But in most cases the beatified person is a cradle Catholic. In Newman’s case it cannot be put into doubt that the main event of his life, the decision which defined Newman’s entire existence and so decisively coloured all his achievements (even the vast ones of his Anglican time) was neither his birth nor his death, but his conversion. This would be the case by every convert, but it is even more relevant in Newman’s case, the case of a man of vast prestige and theological reputation whose conversion helped to define an entire era. The choice of the 9th October as his feast day is therefore not only entirely fitting, but the only reasonable one.
In addition, it must be said that even if the 9th October had – for some hypothetical reason – not been the most symbolic date in Newman’s life, its choice would still have been the most appropriate one.
This because it is at this point particularly important that the message sent by Newman with his conversion be fully and properly understood. By his conversion, Newman expressed the exact contrary of what the sensitive Anglicans complain about. The message that he sent (and still powerfully sends, the more so now that he has been beatified) is that there can be no meeting in the middle, no mixing of Truth and Heresy, no compromise whatsoever between the right and the wrong shop. One either belongs to the right shop or he belongs to the wrong one, tertium non datur. Newman was so great because – inter alia – he had the courage to see this clearly, and to act upon it. To demand that Newman’s conversion be relegated into second place – as if it has been an accident of sort; a detail of his life not precluding his mutual admiration from Anglicans and Catholic alike – is tantamount to willingly ignore the essence itself of Newman’s teaching and work of a lifetime. To demand this is to want to take refuge in the usual, fuzzy and in the end perfectly insignificant “let us celebrate our similarities”-mentality. Such a mentality might be conducive to pleasant afternoon teas, but it doesn’t help in the least to discern truth from error.
The complaint of the sensitive Anglicans about the choice of the 9th October is a logical contradiction. Newman converted. He converted because he saw that the Church was the truth and Anglicanism was the error. He showed this in the most spectacular of ways, clearly renouncing in toto to every “meeting in the middle”. There’s no way even an Anglican – irrespective of how well-trained in mental gymnastics he can be – can ignore this. If you admire the man, you must draw the consequences from his conversion or at least understand its huge significance. If you don’t, there’ s no reason to complain about the choice of his feast day.
One of the main points of Anglicanorum Coetibus – irrespective of the many diplomatic declarations to the contrary – is to have made factually very clear that a choice must be made, that the time of ambiguity has now come to an end.
Anglicans cannot have their cake and eat it. It just doesn’t work that way. If the choice of the 9th October as Blessed Newman’s feast day helps them to come to terms with this, this will have been another little service made not to a wrongly understood ecumenism, but to the Truth.
This here is a home-made (but well-made; I would like to know whose music this is) video showing the events leading to the battle. The long siege in Cyprus, the surrender, the treason and torture which followed, and the cruel events becoming a wake-up call for Europe. Whilst it is clear that a showdown was in the cards anyway (Venice had been carefully planning the conflict on its own for years before the fall of Cyprus and wanted to counter the bigger force of the Ottoman with superior technology) it is undeniable that traumatic events do play a big role in actually precipitating planned war scenarios.
In our case, the destiny of Marcantonio Bragadino (in my time, mandatory patriotic school fare; I hope it has remained that way) and of the poor defenders of Cyprus certainly gave more than an appetiser of what would become more and more frequent along Southern Italian coasts if not checked, let alone what would have happened if Rome itself had fallen in the hands of the Ottoman.
It seems that there is a common thread linking Vienna and Lepanto. An increasing threat is perceived as such, but without this creating a generalised and compact desire to react to the enemy; until something huge happens, traumatic and life-changing, and this event impresses itself in the collective consciousness of Christianity and leads, with more or less immediacy, to individual diplomacy being cast aside and the sword of Christ taking the word.
This has happened in the 1070s, with the traumatic exclusion of Christian pilgrims from the Holy Land (an event whose extent we can barely imagine today, and of cataclysmic proportions for the contemporaries) and, after the failure of a long-winded “peace process”, the decision of a strong Pope to react with open warfare. This has happened again with Bragadino’s cruel end, and again with the sieges of Vienna. Every time, though, there has been a reaction.
We can now make a parallel with the resurgent Islamic fundamentalism (a phenomenon very similar to the one leading to the closing of Jerusalem to Christian pilgrimages in the XI century) and with Nine Eleven, an event which would be extremely stupid to analyse merely in political or sociological terms, particularly when the authors of the act don’t even dream of doing it themselves.
We can only hope that – as happened in the XI century – a traumatic event will, in time, make Christianity aware not only of the need to fight an approaching danger with due decisiveness, but also to a growing awareness of the great strenght of the Christian West and of the possibility it has to wipe out – if sufficiently cohesive and united under God – every adversary and every threat.