Monthly Archives: January 2011
Another excellent blog post from Fr Longenecker, “The Collapse Of Cultural Catholicism”..
Fr Longenecker explains the roots of the problem in very clear terms:
“[…]for the last forty years Catholics themselves have not taught Catholicism to their children. They’ve taught ‘American Catholicism’ which is a watered down blend of sentimentalism, political correctness, community activism and utilitarianism. In other words, “Catholicism is about feeling good about yourself, being just to others and trying to change the world.”
As a result of this,
The next generation has drawn the obvious conclusion that you don’t need to go to Mass to do all that. You can feel good about yourself much more effectively with a good book from the self-help shelf, or by attending a personal development seminar. You can be involved in making the world a better place without going to church.
According to the author,
The solution is simple: we must return to the supernatural realities of the historic faith and evangelize like the Apostles of old.
This implies the overcoming of a major difficulty of our times (expressed here in terms so crude as to be, well, Mundaborian): nowadays there are a lot of people who, to all intents and purposes, are pagans believing themselves Christians and this makes the evangelisation work more difficult.
To these excellent observations I allow myself to add my own as in my eyes Fr Longenecker is absolutely right in his analysis of what happens within Catholic families, but in doing so addresses not the first, but second cause of the mess we are in.
In my eyes, cultural Catholicism is the result of assertive Catholic propaganda from the Church hierarchy and the clergy. In countries like Italy and France, cultural Catholicism is (albeit now clearly under attack) still an important part of the thinking of the common man, because it has been aggressively hammered into people’s head for generations.
Or allow me to put it in different terms: the more the Catholic hierarchy is assertively Catholic, the more Her teaching will filter through those strata of the Catholic population who may not be so observant, but still know very well where the Truth lies. Again, traditionally Catholic countries are the best example, with a diffuse Catholic thinking going far beyond the number of the practising Catholics. Still, when the Church limits herself to platitudes, easy slogans and easy-to-digest social issues the devout churchgoers will still continue to attend mass, but in time the message will be utterly lost in the outer circles.
You can see this as an onion, with the core formed by the churchgoers and successive layers formed by less and less aware Catholics. If the Catholic Truth is not assertively propagated, the onion will start to go off from the outer layers. This is exactly what has happened since Vatican II: the onion has lost its flavour because it was considered too pungent and whilst the core is still there and is reasonably healthy, the rest of the onion is decomposing rapidly.
In my eyes, the biggest problem of our time is not the (undeniable) inaction of the parents, but their neglect from the Clergy at all levels from the Popes down. The parents who neglect to properly instruct their children do so because they are left without proper guidance themselves whilst those who had been properly instructed have been, during the Sixties, cowed by the Church herself into thinking that their knowledge had been somewhat badly presented or poorly interpreted and was in dire need of a new, fresh approach.
Il pesce puzza dalla testa, “the fish stinks from the head down”. When the Popes appoint cowardly or heretical bishops, these will sabotage the activity of their priests; when bad priests are allowed to confuse the faithful, confusion will trickle through the next generation and become worse.
At the root of the loss of cultural Catholicism is the Church’s loss of a clear vision of Her identity and purpose, the abandoning of hard truths for easy-to-listen platitudes, the quest for popularity instead of the quest for souls, the abandonment of reverent liturgy for a mediocre, shallow, emasculated attempt at entertainment.
One day we will look in shame at a time where the Church was filling airports and holding mega-masses whilst Catholic identity was going lost. It is not difficult to fill an airport if people come to be told how good they are, nor it is difficult to be a popular Pope if you give people the “peace’n’love” platitudes they so desperately need as an ego fix.
At the root of the loss of Catholic identity is the massive failure of the Church, at all levels and starting from the very top, to properly do Her job. This failure started with Vatican II and was allowed to worsen in the following decades. The attempts at repair that followed have been – in striking contrast with the devastating Sturm und Drang of the Sixties – excessively prudent within the Vatican and almost non-existent at the local level, where sad travesties of bishops a’ la Nichols, Mahony and Nourrichard have been appointed for too long and continue to be appointed. Look no further than Southwark to have the last example, though luckily we are getting beautiful exceptions here and there.
The renewal of Catholic identity must start from the renewal of the Church, from the full recovery of the consciousness of her mission and identity. The rest will follow as the message trickles through increasingly wider strata of society.
Il pesce puzza dalla testa.
Interesting article on LifeSiteNews about Graf Clemens Von Galen, Bishop of Muenster, Germany.
Galen had the gut of being openly critical of Hitler’s euthanasia plans (oh, how history repeats itself…) in a time when thousands of Catholic priests were already toiling and dying in concentration camps (a circumstance, this, which is never remembered by the anti-Catholic nutcases); and in wartime to boot, when he could have been liquidated even more easily than in peace time. The claim that he expected martyrdom is, for everyone who knows a bit about Nazi Germany, completely realistic.
It didn’t happen. This time, Hitler felt that he couldn’t afford an open confrontation with a high prelate and backed down in the way he generally used to do it (that is: making in a hidden way what he wouldn’t consider prudent to do in an open one).
I have written already about the pathetic show of the UK bishops (and not only of the UK ones) about abortion. This courageous man of God provides a beautiful contrast to their behaviour.
Mind, though: I am not asking from our Bishops for martyrdom, or concentration camp. But if only two generations ago, amidst the most terrifying of circumstances, bishops had the courage to say the Truth out loud, I don’t think it is too much to ask that a tiny fraction of this courage be found in today’s Western Europe, with no martyrdom or concentration camps in sight.
Very good news from Whispers in the Loggia.
Bishop Robert Vasa, head of the Diocese of baker and former top aide of Bishop Bruskewitz (you can’t come with better credentials than those) has been appointed coadjutor to Bishop Walsh of Santa Rosa’s diocese. This clearly means that Vasa is Walsh’s successor when the man retires in two year’s time.
The contrast is striking. Walsh is one of those bishops California produced so well in the past, whilst Vasa – to quote Rocco Palmo – “comes with an enthusiastic national following on the Catholic right”. Please savour the words “enthusiastic”, “national”, “following”, “Catholic” and “right” as Italians do with good grappa, letting it descend very slowly through the throat, carefully, a few drops at a time. It enhances the experience.
Whilst one can’t say that Pope Benedict’s appointments will earn him much praise once he is gone (the trend has been rather to appease the old sixty-eighters and the local potentates, leading to people like this colourful chap bringing shame and disrepute on the Church), here and there some brilliant decision is clearly visible; in this respect, California seems to be considered by the Holy Father in particular need of repair, as the appointment of the rather conservative Gomez for Los Angeles in substitution of Mahony shows.
Bishop vasa is the kind of Bishop mentioning the possibility of excommunication for dissenting Catholic politicians; or clearly saying that being in favour of abortion is a “disqualifying factor” for a candidate; or criticising openly the modern fashion of bishops’ statements that appease everyone, mean nothing and can be interpreted as one likes best.
This is one carved out of the right wood, and no mistake.
Read on the Catholic Herald the Interview with the Conservative MP Nadine Dorries,, where the latter complains that the “churches” – as she wrongly says, but laissons tomber – have left her absolutely alone in her attempt to reduce the abortion limit to twenty weeks.
Dorries’ words are beautiful and deserve to be repeated in full:
“I need religious support. It is our core support. I need the churches being more involved, and the churches have been pathetic, pathetic, during the abortion debate in their support for what I was trying to do…The only person in the Catholic Church who made any comment was Cardinal O’Brien. Everybody was silent because the churches were weak and cowardly in their position.”
Please notice the following:
1) we live in a word where a conservative MP complaints that she doesn’t have enough support from religious organisations in matters of abortion. If our grand-grandmothers knew this, they’d wonder what Christianity is this. They’d be right.
2) It is clear from Dorries’ word that she was expecting help most notably from the Catholic (that is: the only) Church, as no one in a sober state can really expect that a shop able to appoint “bishopettes” and to close three eyes in front of homosexuality can be a valid help in the fight against abortion, or in any fight whatsoever.
The funny part of the article is where its author considers it “natural enough” that pro-life groups are “cautious” in supporting pro-life initiatives, because a similar attempt was unsuccessful … in 1987! One truly wonders what people drink in the morning, if a defeat is considered a “natural enough” excuse for inaction for twenty-three years. I thought this was a nation of Empire-Builders, not whining pussycats.
I wonder whether the same journalist would consider “unnatural” that, say, homos lose more than twenty referendums in the US concerning the legal status of those given to such pervert practices ( and I do not mean that they lose most of them: they lose all of them) and still continue to insist not only on the ground, but through homo judges and activists of all kinds, talk all the time about their supposed “human rights” and generally make as much of a mess as they can. I too wish that they’d shut up for twenty-three years after every defeat but hey, that’s not how it works! If you want to get your way you must become vocal, you can’t just retire in a corner for twenty-three years and limit yourself to blabbering innocuous nonsense that doesn’t offend anyone, the job specification is rather the opposite!
Pathetic, weak and cowardly.
Yep, that about sums it up.
Beautiful blog post from Father Longenecker about the attitude of Catholics (or those who call themselves so) regarding the problem they encounter in understanding or accepting Catholic teaching on various issues.
Father Longenecker puts is very well when he writes that:
[…] a difficulty is the attitude which says, “How can that be so?” whereas a doubt is the attitude that says, “That can’t be so.” The first is open, engaged, intelligent and searching the tradition in order to understand the teaching. The second puts on above the tradition and the teaching by insisting that one knows better than Holy Church.
Catholicism is not easy. Some of the truths therein contained can be disconcerting, seem to fly in the face of common sense and sometimes are, in fact, a challenge to our ability to accept the Truth. It is only normal that, put in front of them, the Catholic be at first (and before being properly instructed and guided) somewhat at a loss to understand and perhaps a bit lost altogether. What is not normal (for a Catholic) is that he reacts to his difficulties by appointing himself as judge of the validity of Catholic Truth.
A Catholic knows that he has to accept Catholic Truth. Every bit of it. If he has a problem with it, it is a clear sign that he must work in humility to overcome his difficulty. But he must realise from the start that the problem is not about who is right, but about how long will it take for him to understand why he is wrong.
The attitude cannot be: “I disagree with this, so the Church must be wrong”. This is as Catholic as Mohammed, or David Cameron. The attitude can and must be: “I must be wrong on this and I now want to understand why“. Without this fundamental humility (and fundamental wisdom) no spiritual progress is possible; on the contrary, our ego will give us countless excuses to indulge in our little power games. Just notice the smug undertones of all who say “I disagree with the Church on (put here a doctrinal matter)….” to clearly realise the speaker’s barely hidden satisfaction at feeling so important or rebellious or – funny, this – clever.
Credo ut intelligam, non intelligo ut credam. “I believe that I may understand, I do not understand that I may believe”. The acceptance of Truth comes before the full understanding of the Truth and it is what makes this understanding possible in the first place. It is through my humble acceptance of Truth that the instruments to understand it are given to me. My intellect, left to himself, will never lead me to the Truth, but will invariably become the useful idiot of my ever-expanding ego.
Before the open dissent comes a sin of pride; the extraordinary idea that Christ came on Earth and died for us, but somehow neglected to foresee that the Church would betray his teaching until we, oh so clever, come to its rescue; the idea that God is not able to found a Church which keeps His teaching intact, and needs us to cure Her from several centuries of misogyny, or homophobia, or inability to understand modern times.
As I have said, this attitude doesn’t sound very clever. Perhaps you can make this clear to the next wannabe church-founder expanding on how he wants to improve on Christ’s work.
If anyone had any doubt about the war on Christian values waged by a Prime Minister who dares to call himself “Conservative” and by his government, one doesn’t need to look further than here to understand the scale of the fraud perpetrated by Cameron & Co. against the solid Britons, those who still have values.
A country whose average citizen shows a level of ignorance of basic spelling skills that in most foreign countries would be considered bordering on illiteracy* finds it fitting to pervert its own children from kindergarten age. A country whose head of Government has the temerity of calling himself “conservative” embarks the country’s school system in a “celebration of perversion” meant at making the unacceptable openly approved or – as it is fashionable to say today – “celebrated”.
This government betrays the many millions of families who ask from it to at least not make their life more difficult in raising their children in the proper way. This governments sets to openly sabotage them and the values they share. There is absolutely nothing in the work of the government that could be even vaguely defined Christian anymore.
Not only we have to live with an openly atheist deputy PM, for whom the idea that the mother is the spouse best fitted to raise a baby is “Edwardian” (he means it in a derogatory way, of course), but we have to witness a Prime Minister that with one face says that he wants to protect family values and with another of his many faces says that two homosexuals are a family….. I can’t wait for the day when Cameron calls “a family” the marriage of his son with his dog and declares it wonderful news that makes him – as it is now also fashionable to say – “proud”.
If these abominations came from the reds, who are ideologically oriented toward the destruction of everything that is good and sacred, I would be very angry but I would understand the perverse logic of the events. But when those meant to protect the fabric of the country set to destroy it in such a way, even exploiting little children in pure Goebbels manner to further their rotten ideological agenda (Clegg) or their prostitution to fashionable trends (Cameron), this is really beyond comprehension.
The Conservative party has become the hostage of a totally value-free marketing man, of a moral vacuum with a posh accent who could sell his mother to whoredom wihout blinking an eye and call this “conservative”, and of an ideological fraudster of the worst kind.
God knows how much I hate Berlusconi, how much I am ashamed of the indecent spectacle he gives of himself and of the way he damages the institutions and the Country’s reputation (if any) abroad. But give me ten thousand times one who is intemperate in private and protects Christian values in his government work than a fake, despicable, slimy, oily, anti-Christian buffoon like Cameron.
* see the caption of the photo above; just one of too many examples.
Some of you will have heard of the little parish in Normandy, France; a small village with a Catholic church blessed with a vibrant Catholic community led by a brave, authentically Catholic priest, loyal to the Pontiff and to Summorum Pontificum. The Abbe’ Michel celebrates the Tridentine Mass, and his undiluted Catholic message has great success; ergo, he must be removed lest the bankruptcy of the post V-II ideology be exposed in front of the french Catholic world.
Therefore, the rainbow-clothed, sixty-eighter Bishop Nourrichard ( a man who has no problems with assisting to so-called women’s ordination, but has a problem with the Tridentine Mass) removes the priest from the church (I do not know the details, there might have been some skirmish; this is not uncommon and is actually the way you do such things as a liberal bishop) and has the effrontery of presenting himself in Thiberville to announce the removal.
The small community openly confronts the bishop in a way certainly most inappropriate in front of the Tabernacle, but that shows all the love and support of this authentically Catholic community for their rare priest. The bishop is booed and the villagers openly show who, for them, is the real Catholic; the videos go around the world.
The skirmish continues with the Abbe Michel refusing to vacate church and community pending the legal controversy.
One year later, the decision has come and it is, as largely expected, in favour of the rainbow-clothed, sixty-eighter, disgraceful Bishop Nourrichard.
Let me say that I assume that the Prelatura Apostolica was probably not in a position to decide otherwise and that my anger is not directed at them. This was probably a decision about competence, not opportunity; about the formal right to decide, not the factual quality of the decision. I do not think that many had expected a different outcome. Still, this decision hurts because, once again, it presents in front of our eyes a disgraceful bishop working against authentic Catholicism and getting away with it.
Bishop Nourrichard has now successfully removed this living testimony of his own failure from his diocese. Unfortunately for him, he has not become a bit less of a disgrace for that. This man is a scandal and a shame far beyond his choice of shirts.
Nourrichard was appointed to Evreux by Pope Benedict. If the Holy Father chooses jokes like this man as bishops, how can he hope that his reform will go on at more than snail pace? This is another clear sign that Pope Benedict’s appointment are, generally speaking, too far on the accommodating side and that this love of gradualism meant to appease the local hierarchies and tambourine mafias continues to damage the authentically Catholic faithful, and will do so for many years to come.
I am eager to get more information about this and will, in case, report again in the future. I’d love to know what is the next destination of the Abbe’ Michel, what will the local community do (vote with their feet and desert the church en masse, very likely) and whether there will be further developments.
A good development would be the removal of Bishop Nourrichard and his transfer – without the control of a diocese – to some very cold, very hot, or mosquito-plagued place, where he might perhaps even have ample opportunity to show off his striking shirts. As for the good Abbe’, I wonder whether he will not follow the example of the excellent priest about whom I have blogged yesterday and join the home of serious Catholicism in France: the Society of St. Pius X.
Interesting blog post on the Domine, Da Mihi Hanc Aquam blog. The blog post makes clear that, whilst Catholics avoid the noisy excess of screaming Protestant preachers, repentance for our sins is still – bar a Divine mercy that we have no right to expect – mandatory to avoid Hell.
The author of the blog post puts it in simple and very clear terms:
…refusing to repent of one’s sins constitutes blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and such a refusal will not be forgiven. In fact, refusing to repent cannot be forgiven. God will not save us against our will. He will love us right into hell.
Foreseeing the scandal of the liberal crowd, the author hastens to add:
This sounds harsh, I know. But this a truth of the Catholic faith that cannot be spiced up or sugar-coated or hidden away.
Everytime I read phrases like this I think of the many priests who have made of “sugar-coating” and “hiding away” an accomplished art – nay, a new religion! – and shiver.
The concept – so difficult to understand for some atheist – is brilliantly explained in more detail:
We have two truths in balance here. First, God wills that all His people return to Him through Christ. Second, He wills that we do so freely. So that all may return to Him through Christ, the invitation to salvation is made unconditionally, without limits, to everyone
Note here that the invitation is made to everyone (that is: even to non-Christians), but the return must be through Christ, with Allah & Co. not giving any entry rights, nor will a generic “I have been such a good chap” be of much use. Salvation is – bar an act of extraordinary mercy, on whose odds no one should ever stake his salvation – the result of a free decision to make the right choice.
Still another perspective is given by making clear that:
….. we send ourselves to hell by stubbornly refusing to repent. Our final refusal, our last rejection of God’s invitation to join Him in love is called “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”
When your friend or colleague or relative says to you (with the shamelessness of our times) that “there is no God”, you can calmly tell him that he is being blasphemous and endangering his soul; when he replies that he doesn’t care as he doesn’t believe in any God, feel free to point out that the fact that he doesn’t believe in God doesn’t make him any less blasphemous, nor his soul any less endangered.
He’ll probably still not agree with you; but it is still a free choice that he makes. Put in front of a clear hypothesis of damnation, he can’t say that by not believing in damnation he has not chosen it.
Given the choice whether to believe, he has chosen not to; given the choice whether to be blasphemous, he has chosen to be; given the choice whether to choose Christ, he has chosen to ignore Him. Therefore, “but I truly, truly didn’t think that you existed!” will, one day, not go very far.
Until the last moment before death, there is still time. Until the last moment before death, Christ may still fish a soul out of his self-inflicted destiny. But if one really insists in refusing His help, then it is not logical to demand from Christ that help that one has always refused, nor can it be reasonable to demand that Christ saves one against one’s own free will, after one’s free will has been given God’s rank.
At death, rien ne va plus.
This man is certainly worth 17 minutes of your time and I’d suggest that you do not let your next meal come before having seen this video.
Father Yannick is obviously not an originally trained SSPX priest. He mentions both the formation in a state university and his experience in a (non-SSPX) seminary. He makes examples of what obviously was his life as a diocesan priest. He has nothing of the, let us say, “Williamson” style of being an SSPX member. This is a young, well-prepared, eloquent, sincere priest talking about the problems experienced in his trying to be a good priest.
Forget for a moment that he did become a member of the SSPX. This short document is disconcerting, because the very same words could have been said (were it not for the fear or retaliation) by almost any priest in Western Europe. There is not one word of rebellion to Rome and not one word of criticism of the reality (that is: the documents, not the “spirit”) of Vatican II; there is the constant reference to how Rome says things must be done as opposed to the praxis found in his diocese; there is a simple, calm but determined attitude of looking at the problems in the face rather than just singing the next sugary hymn and pretending that everything is fine.
In seventeen minutes, this short interview covers much of what doesn’t work and at the same time shows that SSPX and the Vatican are much nearer to each other than you’d think. The greatest distance from the SSPX is to be found not in Rome, but in the liberal dioceses with their heterodox praxis and their utter neglect of their duty of care.
You will enjoy this video. Every second of it. It looks at the problems, but it gives hope. It clearly speaks of the thirst for real spirituality among the young and the way this thirst is not quenched. But the thirst is there.
I wish we had more priests like this one, and I wish that they weren’t forced to move to the SSPX to do their job properly.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s speech – held in Rome last month – with the proposal of a new “Syllabus or Errors” specifically intended to address the misconceptions and heresies of the “spirit of Vatican II” is now available in English in its entirety (hat tip: Rorate Coeli).
Bishop Schneider’s proposal is an interesting one, because an open and official intervention of the Vatican would amputate the legs of all those arguments more or less vaguely justifying deviations from Catholic teaching with a supposed “spirit” which, for reasons unknown to us, should now make what was wrong, right and what was right, wrong.
Besides, such a Syllabus would direct an enormous amount of attention to the old Syllabus, the creation of Blessed Pius IX. As more and more people read the original work instead of simply fantasise about what it is supposed to contain (material extremely offensive to their own “openness” and desire to do what they please, no doubt), the continuity of Catholic Truth would be beautifully put in front of their eyes. It is very important that Catholics start to concentrate on this continuity rather than on a supposed rupture with the past, and the recovery of a traditional terminology and way of teaching the faithful is, in my eyes, the best way of doing it.
This is also, I think, the only way to save Vatican II from utter ignominy and systematic massacre from the coming generations of Catholics. As the mediocrity of approach, the sloppy written work, the populism and superficiality of most of the council fathers becomes apparent, the explicit effort of patiently re-explaining what Vatican II got it right (that is: when it just repeated what everyone already knew) is the only way to avoid the entire work to be branded as an utterly useless waste of time and a disgrace.
This way, two results would be achieved:
1) The liberal nutters would find it even more difficult to spread their errors. They wouldn’t stop of course, but they’d find it much more difficult to persuade anyone but the most gravely deluded.
2) The continuity of truth would be beautifully reaffirmed. This would be of a certain help in the process of reconciliation with the SSPX in that it would show a path by which everyone is, in his own way, right: the Vatican in defending the orthodoxy of the council (properly intended) and the SSPX in defending the grave damage caused by its wrong interpretation.
Honestly, it seems to me that such a Syllabus is the best thing that could happen to Catholicism, particularly in this 2011 when the newly planned Assisi Mk III gatherings risks to generate unintended, but not easily avoidable misconceptions about what is Truth, what is heresy and what is heathenism.
Kudos to our friend from Kazakhstan then. This is no Borat, for sure.
Interesting video from Michael Voris about the time Catholics spend… being Catholic.
Voris’ argument is that outside of church, most of the time is spent immersed in the worldly atmosphere around us; in doing this, many people stop being Catholic at every practical level and simply accept that the world around us has become un-Christian to a shocking extent. This not only makes the role of the Catholic ineffectual (or not so effectual) in the world around him, but makes it more probable that the worldly society around him will slowly absorb him and become the normal, legitimate world, opposed to which the 50 minutes at Mass become a short immersion in a parallel universe without any real relevance to our lives.
The matter is less banal that it might appear, because the list of issues about which Catholics are simply silent has grown to astonishing proportions. Divorce, contraception, abortion, sexual promiscuity, sexual perversions, euthanasia and all other behaviour which our ancestors would have considered unthinkable are now tolerated by Catholics with the same indifferent attitude with which rain and cold are accepted, and I don’t want to think how many Catholics are more angry for the queues on the M25 than about abortion.
Yes, most churchgoers are at some level aware that they are against abortion, but this is far from becoming concrete action: from speaking out loud with friends and family, to taking this into consideration when voting, to caring that one’s own children grow up with the right moral values.
Others are more acutely aware of the evils of present times but seem content to keep their Christian practice private, happily (and conveniently) renouncing to make the Truth heard whenever reasonably practicable. No fuss, no anger, no loss of popularity. A bit too easy, says Voris.
Left alone, those 50 minutes are not enough to ensure Catholic values within the family, let alone to make a more Catholic world. Voris’ appeal is, therefore, important in that it reminds the Catholic that his mission begins when he goes out of church, rather than remaining confined to church attendance.
Don’t be a fanatic, but don’t be a coward. Remember that you’re a Catholic and that you are requested to beat witness of the Catholic Truth. Remember your responsibility toward your family and children and as a friend, a colleague, a voter.
Reading here and there, I sometimes have the impression that there is some misconception about what a catechism is.
Particularly the younger generations (those grown up in the doctrinal vacuum of the Paul VI – JP II era) must be under the impression that the one issued under Pope John Paul II is the Catechism, either believing that there was no catechism before it or that this catechism made everything that came before it superfluous.
I would like to point out to a couple of concepts and give the reader some background and reading hints.
1) A catechism is not infallible. Every catechism is nothing more than an attempt at explaining Catholic teaching in a way easily digestible for the non theologically trained laity. Similarly, no catechism is mandatory. There is an official catechism, but every catechism approved by ecclesiastical authority (particularly if in tempi non sospetti, as we say in Italy) can be used with profit.
2) Catechisms are broadly of three types: for small children (that is: coming from the time when people still cared to convey Christianity to children); for boys and girls approaching the age of confirmation or preparing to it and, lastly, for adults and confirmed youth. In some cases, entire sets of catechisms were released at the same time (the Catechisms of St. Pius X and the Baltimore Catechisms are probably the best known examples).
3) As a result, some catechisms can be of better quality than others, and some better suited to the intended readership. Always for this reason, catechisms can be criticised if someone believes that they contain doctrinal errors. As a catechism is never ex cathedra, it is never expression of papal infallibility.
4) Typically, a catechism was written in question/answer format, a remnant of a time when important things had to learned by heart (and as a result, remained impressed in the faithful’s memory) and the question/answer method made it easier both to learn the subject matter and to control the level of preparation of the pupil. I don’t need to comment about the consequences of abandoning this method.
5) There are many catechisms and every good catechism can be used by you with profit. With the recovery of Catholic tradition and the advent of the internet, the access to catechisms is nowadays certainly better than at any other time in the history of Christianity. Therefore you can easily pick a catechism that suits you and start working seriously on it. Catechisms are also more and more available as applications for smartphones, which means that you can have your favourite catechism always with you and read from it on the train, in a queue, etc.
Following, I will give some information about the catechisms I know myself. I am grateful for every indication of further catechisms available in English.
This is, if you ask me, the worst catechism of them all. I mention it first so that you are not tempted to waste money by buying a paper copy of it. This catechism is written for a more mature audience (priests themselves, and well-instructed laity). It is not truly fit for summarily instructed Catholics (that is: most of them). Furthermore, it is burdened by an obsessive need to justify almost every concept with V II documents, which besides being grating in itself gives the not properly instructed Catholic (that is: most of them) the impression that Catholic doctrine is obsolete if not confirmed by the Council; furthermore, it makes the printed work bulky and unpractical to carry. This catechism is also notable for the huge effort of political correctness and attempt at making people digest uncomfortable concepts (say: doctrine of war, or capital punishment) by formulating them in the most clouded way as possible. This is clearly wrong as Truth must be given straight, not diluted according to the readers’ dalai-lama-cum-ghandi prejudices.
This catechism is also notorious for having been heavily attacked by a noted theologian of the XX century, simply known as the Abbé de Nantes, who accused it of being heretical on a dozen of counts. Whilst the Abbe de Nantes was a man not noted for mincing words and prone to extreme criticism, on this occasion he must have found attentive ears in the Vatican, as you will read below.
If you need to improve your Catholic instruction – let alone if you need to begin with it – the best thing that you can do with this catechism is to stay away from it.
This is a serious catechism. It is commonly called the catechism of Benedict XVI because published during his pontificate and probably with his massive intervention. The date of publication is so near to Pope Benedict’s accession that it is widely thought that this catechism was ready and – so to speak – waiting for the end of JP II’s pontificate to be published. This beautiful catechism is notable for the following elements:
1) It recovers the traditional question/answer form.
2) It is easy to read and to carry and it does what a catechism is supposed to do: provide a short but effective and orthodox instruction for everyone.
3) It reacts to the criticisms of the Abbe’ de Nantes – to the full, widely published satisfaction of the latter – on all accounts.
This practical, beautiful, unimpeachable work should find a place on the shelves of every Catholic.
This catechism, now available online, is a masterpiece of Catholic writing. The extreme elegance and beauty of the language is the more astonishing, because still very clear and easy to understand even for a foreigner. This work is kept short and to the point, and its question and answer system is extremely effective. This is a diamond of a catechism. You compare this and JP II’s work and can’t avoid thinking that the ability to write properly is not what it used to be.
This is another little pearl of a catechism. It was issued In Pennsylvania but being very little and cheap to buy probably owes its name to the penny it cost to purchase it. It has accompanied the formation of countless young Catholics. Its English is not as elegant as the Douay’s, but this is a highly effective instrument to learn the basics quickly and seriously. The 370 answers/questions were meant to be memorised and digested one a day for around a year. This little book will easily bring every Catholic to a level of orthodoxy and knowledge of Catholic doctrine far surpassing that of most Catholic politicians, and of the totality of “liberal” Catholic bishops. At the same time, such catechisms give one the entire measure of the massacre of basic Catholic instruction coldly perpetrated and ruthlessly executed after V II.
This is also a product of the US clergy of the XIX century. Three catechisms of increased levels of difficulty were issued, plus a fourth one that is the No.3 with an added commentary. As you can expect, the quality of the work is very high and the availability of different versions allows one to pick the catechism most suitable to his needs. We can note from this catechism that a seven-to-eight-years-old child was fitter in his Catholic instruction than the vast majority of nowadays’ cafeteria catholics and – possibly – than a good number of regular churchgoers. Go figure.
This is the unofficial translation in English, made a couple of decades ago to encourage the diffusion of one of the catechisms of St. Pius X. The great Pope and Saint was responsible for the creation of three such catechisms (again: for little children, for more advanced young men and women and for adults), though their adoption never became mandatory and they only found regional application. I found years ago (and lost in a hard disk casualty) the Italian version some years ago and once again, the clarity of the Italian therein used greatly impressed me. The English translation seems rather good too, though it is important to remember that this is not an official version.
These are the choices I would recommend. Again, I don’t think it wise to waste money on the V-II ridden, politically correct, bulky and unsuitable for beginners JP II’s product.
I hope this helps. Best wishes of progress in Catholic instruction to you.
Read here for more details.
28 priests on their way to formation as Catholic priests. No news (as it was to be expected) as to who will be the Ordinary.
It is beautiful (particularly in these turbulent days) to be proud to be Italian. This letter is written by Catholics concerned about the possible effects of the next Assisi gathering; as a result, they beg the Holy father not to travel to Assisi.
The wording is absolutely beautiful. Instead of only reporting or commenting some passages, I will report the parts of the letter published on CITI in their entirety.
Most Holy Father,
(…)We take the liberty of writing you after having learned, precisely during the massacre of the Coptic Christians (Ed. in Egypt, December 31, 2010), your intention of convening in Assisi, in October, a large inter-religious assembly, 25 years after “Assisi 1986”.
We all remember this event that took place so long ago. An event like few others in the media, that, independently of the intentions and declarations of he (those) who convened it, had an undeniable repercussion, relaunching in the Catholic world indifference and religious relativism.
It is this event that caused to take effect among the Christian people the idea that the secular teaching of the Church, “one, holy, Catholic and apostolic”, concerning the unique character of the Savior, was in some way to be banished to the archives.
We all remember the representatives of all the religions in a Catholic sanctuary, the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, lined up with olive branches in hand: as if to signify that peace does not come through Christ but, indistinctly, through all the founders of any credo whatsoever (Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, Kali, Christ…)
We remember the prayer of the Muslims in Assisi, the city of a saint who had made the conversion of the Muslims one of his objectives. We remember the prayer of the animists, their invocation to the spirits of the elements, and of other believers or representatives of atheistic religions, such as Jainism.
The effect of this “praying together”, whatever its goal may be, like it or not, is to make many believe that all were praying to “the same God”, only with different names.
On the contrary, the Scriptures are clear: “Thou shalt not have false gods before me” (First Commandment), “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh to the Father but by me” (John 14:6)
Those who write here in no way contest a dialogue with each and every person, whatever his religion may be.
We live in the world, and every day we speak, discuss, love, even those who are not Christian, because they are atheists, indifferent, or of other religions. But that does not keep us from believing that God came down to earth, and let Himself be killed to teach us, precisely, the Way, the Truth, and not just one of many possible ways and truths. Christ is, for us Christians, the Savior; the only Savior of the world.
We recall with consternation, going back 25 years, the chickens beheaded on the altar of St. Claire according to tribal rituals and a statue of Buddha placed on the altar in the church of St. Peter, above the relics of the martyr Vittorino, killed in 400 AD to bear witness to his faith.
We remember the Catholic priests at the initiation rites of other religions: a horrible scene, for, if it is “ridiculous” to baptize into the Catholic faith an adult who does not believe, just as absurd is it for a priest to undergo a ritual of which he recognizes neither the validity nor the utility. By doing this, one ends up just spreading one idea: that rites, all rites, are nothing but empty human gestures. That all the conceptions of the divine are of equal value. That all moralities, that emanate from all religions, are interchangeable. That is the “spirit of Assisi”, upon which the media and the most relativist milieus of the Church have elaborated, sowing confusion. It seemed to us foreign to the Gospel and to the Church of Christ that had never, in two thousand years, chosen to do such a thing. We would have liked to rewrite these ironic observations of a French journalist: “In the presence of so many gods, one will believe more easily that they are all equal than that there is only one that is true. The scornful Parisian will imitate that skeptical collector, whose friend had just made an idol fall from a table: ‘Ah, unhappy one, that may have been the true God’.”
We therefore find comfort for our perplexities in the many declarations of the Popes who have always condemned such a “dialogue”. Indeed, a congress of all religions has already been organized in Chicago in 1893 and in Paris in 1900. But Pope Leo XIII intervened to forbid all Catholics to participate.
The same attitude was that of Pius XI, the Pope who condemned Nazi atheism and Communist atheism, but deplored at the same time the attempt to unite people in the name of a vague and indistinct sentiment, without religion, without Christ.
Pius XI wrote thus in Mortalium Animos (Epiphany 1928) concerning ecumenical encounters: “We see some men, convinced that it is very rare to meet men deprived of all religious sense, nourish the hope that it might be possible to lead peoples without difficulty, in spite of their religious differences, to a fraternal agreement on the profession of certain doctrines considered as a common foundation of spiritual life. That is why they begin to hold congresses, reunions, conferences, frequented by an appreciably large audience, and, to their discussions, they invite all men indistinctly, infidels of all kinds along with the faithful of Christ and even those who, unfortunately, have separated themselves from Christ or who, with bitterness and obstinacy, deny the divinity of His nature and of His mission.
“Such undertakings cannot, in any way, be approved by Catholics, since they are based on the erroneous opinion that all religions are more or less good and praiseworthy, in the sense that all equally, although in different ways, manifest and signify the natural and innate sentiment that carries us towards God and pushes us to recognize with respect His power. In truth, the partisans of this theory fall into a complete error, but what is more, in perverting the notion of the true religion, they repudiate it, and they fall step by step into naturalism and atheism.”
In retrospect, we can say that Pope Pius XI was right, even on the level of the simple opportunity: in reality, what has been the effect of “Assisi 1986”, in spite of the just declarations of Pope John Paul II, aimed at forestalling such an interpretation?
What is the message relaunched by the organizers, the media, and even the many modernist clerics desirous of overturning the tradition of the Church? What came across to many Christians, through the images, which are always the most evocative, and through the newspapers and television, is very clear: religious relativism, which is the equivalent of atheism.
If all pray “together”, many have concluded, then all religions are “equal”, but if this is the case, that means that none of them is true. At this time, you, cardinal and prefect of the Congregation of the Faith, with Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, and several others, were among those who expressed serious doubts. For this reason, in the following years, you have never participated in the replicas proposed each year by the Community of Sant’Egidio. (…)
These past years you have taught, without always being understood, even by Catholics, that dialogue has its place, and can take place, not between different theologies, but between different cultures, and not between different religions, but between men, in the light of that which distinguishes us all: human reason.
Without recreating the ancient pagan Pantheon; without the integrity of the faith being compromised by a love for theological compromise; without Revelation, that is not our own, being modified by men and theologians in the aim of reconciling the irreconcilable; without placing Christ, “sign of contradiction”, on the same level as Buddha or Confucius, who, besides, never said that they were God.
This is why we are here to expose to you our fears. We fear that, whatever you may say, television, the newspapers, and many Catholics will interpret it in the light of this past and of the present indifferentism; we fear that, whatever you may claim, the event will be read as a continuation of the manipulation of the figure of St. Francis, transformed by today’s ecumenists into an pacifist, a syncretist without faith. It is already the case…
We are afraid that whatever you may say to clarify things more, the simple faithful, of whose number we are, everywhere in the world will see but one fact (and that is all that will be shown, for example, on television): the Vicar of Christ not only speaking, debating, dialoguing with the representatives of other religions, but also praying with them. As if the manner and the end of prayer were indifferent.
And many will think mistakenly that the Church has henceforth capitulated, and recognized, in the line of the New Age way of thinking, that to pray to Christ, Allah, Buddha, or Manitou is the same thing. That animist and islamic polygamy, hindu castes or the polytheistic animist spiritualism, can go hand-in-hand with Christian monogamy, the law of love and pardon of the One and Triune God. (…)
Most Holy Father, we believe that with a new “Assisi 1986”, no Christian in the Orient will be saved: nor in Communist China, nor in North Korea or Pakistan or Iraq… on the contrary, many faithful will not understand why in these countries, people still die martyrs for not renouncing their encounter not with just any religion, but with Christ. Just as the Apostles died.
In the face of persecution, there exist political, diplomatic means, personal dialogues between States: may they all take place, and as well as possible. With Your love and Your desire for peace for all men.
But without giving those who wish to sow confusion and to augment religious relativism – antechamber of all relativisms –, an opportunity, for the media included, as appetizing as a second edition of “Assisi 1986”.
With our filial devotion,
Francis Agnoli, Lorenzo Bertocchi, Roberto de Mattei, Corrado Gnerre, Alessandro Gnocchi, Camillo Langone, Mario Palmaro
There is truly nothing to add.
I hope that the Holy Father will give this letter careful consideration.
On the newspaper of the Anglicans (called “Anglican Mainstream”) there is an article of Andrew Carey regarding the attitude of the Anglican clergy toward those who have decided to join the Ordinariate.
Basically, the Anglican hierarchy are refusing to give churches (even unused ones) to the converts for their own use; in addition, they are refusing the shared use of Anglican churches. Mr. Carey considers this attitude to be wrong as in his opinion a “broad church” like the Anglicans should “act differently”.
I disagree with Mr. Carey. I see in the refusal of the Anglicans to allow converts to use their own churches a last vestige of dignity and coherent thinking, the more remarkable because the Anglicans have been clearly losing both for many years now.
By all talking about being “broad” or “open”, it goes without saying that whoever is out is not in, and whoever has chosen to be out has consequently chosen not to be in anymore. The expectation (more or less strongly entertained) that there should be a moral obligation of the organisation that has been left to do something gratis et amore Dei for those who have left them is not very realistic and is, more importantly, utterly illogical.
For the Anglicans, the Ordinariates are a problem; certainly not a mortal one, but one that can’t be dismissed as irrelevant. To help those who go would simply mean to help to achieve one’s own demise. Glad as I would be to see the death of this heretical outfit born of whoring and/or bastard kings, I don’t think that this should be expected from them. If Anglicans have a remnant of dignity at all, they must still consider (wrong as this certainly is) their way the best one and conversion to Catholicism a mistake. If this is so (and it can’t be otherwise, logically) it certainly cannot be asked of them to help not only the achievement of their own demise, but the spreading of theological error.
In addition, it must be said that the Anglicans – wrong as they certainly are – are there to protect the interest of their own community. Their duty of allegiance is to those who are in, not to those who have chosen to go out. By all talk of ecumenism, this is a brutal truth that can’t be ignored without making oneself open to the accusation of working against one’s own shop.
As to the sharing of churches, the nicest thing I can say is that the idea is bonkers and I truly hope that it will never become a reality in any Ordinariate whether in the UK or abroad.
There is already an issue of letting the potential converts understand that Anglicanism is a completely different, utterly opposed, fundamentally antithetic choice to Catholicism. There is already the fear that many converts will prove fake converts thinking that they haven’t really changed anything, but have only continued to be the same in a slightly different setting (heresy and sacrilege I know; but browse around and you’ll read things that will have your hair stand on end). If to this danger of fundamental misconception we were to add the worship in the same church building as before, we would positively encourage the heresy and the sacrilege; this without even considering the practical problems of how to set the altar, how to care for the tabernacle and so on. Interfaith worship in the same building doesn’t make any sense, it merely confuses the faithful.
Does this mean that all those beautiful churches, now unused, should be left empty? Certainly not. In my eyes, in the coming years and decades some of these churches should be bought by Catholic institutions to be exclusively used as Catholic churches. As the Anglican so-called church has no use for many of them, their value is not very high and as they are mostly Grade I or Grade II-listed they can’t be knocked down to build shopping centres or garages, which circumstance further depresses the value of the land. Catholic dioceses could, in turn, purchase some (or more than some) of these churches and use them in substitution of their monstrosities of the Sixties, whilst the fact that most of the monstrosities are not listed would make it easier to sell the land to be redeveloped for other purposes; some of the newly acquired churches could then be shared by ordinariate and diocesan Catholics without any problem.
In this way, the Anglicans could do something useful for their own people (cash in, and less maintenance costs) and the Church would get a number of beautiful old churches, adequate worship opportunity for the Ordinariate Catholics, the disappearance of many ugly church building and perhaps, here and there, some rather nice real estate deal. A win-win situation, it seems to me, obtained without having to ask (or worse, expect) favours from everyone and without compromising the obligatory doctrinal rigidity of Catholic worship.
Beautiful and very encouraging news from Si Lanka. As Rorate Coeli reports, in Colombo’s cathedral women are now required to use the veil during Mass.
This is in the wider contest of a discussion of appropriate dress in places of worship, which is now being examined at government level with the aim of creating a dress code uniformly applicable across faiths (I am curious about that; but we shall see how it works), but the news from Colombo’s cathedral is a true indication of how things are slowly, but surely changing. How different this is from the feminist abortionist nuns of the United States, how distant from the home-made Catholicism of ageing “progressives”. These are young countries, and their young people will grow to re-edify the building of Catholicism so gravely damaged and desecrated by the hordes of now old or dying hippies and assorted rebel nuns.
One could say that to make the veil mandatory is a step too far. But if one is serious about the reintroduction of old Catholic customs (which carry with them, as every liberal so-called catholic will tell you, the by them intensely dreaded restoration of authentic Catholic mentality) a bit of energy can’t be, surely, wrong.
Every news like this one is another daffodil blooming in front of our eyes after the long, harsh winter started in the mid-Sixties.
(Caveat: not suitable for sensitive natures.)
It appears that Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who ran a clinic in Philadelphia, practiced illegal late-term abortions for decades, among many others things killing at least seven born alive babies in a way I refuse to repeat to you.
Words fail me to express the horror of what he did; you click the link at your own peril.
I’d like here to focus on a different issue: the consequences of the culture of death.
It is absurd to say (as no doubt the abortionist troops will be very eager to say ) that safe, legal abortion would avoid such episodes happening in the first place. Legal abortion will probably make abortions less dangerous for the mother, but it will not change almost anything for the child.
Dr. Gosnell (unless he is a psychopathic monster) probably tried to persuade himself that the babies were not really human lives, which is the same reasoning of most abortionists desperate to believe that abortion is not homicide; he possibly reflected that if it is legal to put an end to this “foetus” (no idea how he called it in his mind; very probably not “child”) within x weeks than he is just offering a service allowing poor exploited women (insert here the usual feminist “oppression” litany) to get the same service on week y, which is what those in favour of late-term abortion also think; and he caused great pain to the poor babies whilst killing them in a barbaric way, what every late-term abortion does anyway.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell seems to us a cruel psychopathic butcher. But his cruelty is, in his general outlines, the same one going on every day in abortion clinics. It’s exactly the same thinking, exactly the same killing of a baby, exactly the same considering a child a mass of tissue with no right to live.
Between Dr. Gosnell and the so-called “planned parenthood” the difference is only in the roughness of the instrument, not in the inhuman cruelty and in the nazi mentality that is common to both.
The horror of what Dr. Gosnell did is the horror of the culture of death. It is the same ideology, it works in the same way, and it has the same effects.
Planned Parenthood merely avoids the use of scissors.
I am neither the first nor the last to notice that the announced closure of the seminary, church and ancillary structures of the Ushaw College is uncannily near to the announcement that the newly created Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is looking for both a “central” church and a structure able to provide for their administrative and formation duties.
It doesn’t need a genius to at least consider putting two and two together here. Some say that the new HQ of the Ordinariate should be situated in (or near) London, but I frankly cannot see why as the Ordinariate is not steered from Westminster or from the Bishop’s conference, but from Rome.
On the contrary, establishing the heart of the Ordinariate far away from Eccleston Square would in my eyes more convincingly stress the operational independence of the new structure.
Furthermore, if one assumes that there will soon be a number of churches operating with the rite of the Ordinariate (a batch of further 50 former Anglican clergy ready to swim, it is purported), it is not unrealistic to assume that a number of these will be located in or near London; the opportunities to enjoy beautiful Catholic Evensongs in the Capital should therefore be there anyway.
We’ll have to wait and see what decision is taken, but I am sure that I am not the only one thinking that this episodes has a certain smell of less-than-perfect collaboration between different parts of the Church.
Glad of having saved his political career (largely, courtesy of his bosom buddy Dave) Nick Clegg now tries to gain some points making himself beautiful among his more “progressive” voters.
As you probably know, Nick Clegg is one of those new-breed politicians without any notion of the fact that God made two sexes for a reason. He may be partially excused because he doesn’t believe in God (insofar as one can be excused for non believing in God), but one would have thought that at his age and with three children it would have occurred to him that men and women are wired somewhat differently.
In Mr. Clegg’s world, the concept that a mother would stay at home and accompany her children in the first phase of their life is not something natural, but an option at best. In Mr. Clegg’s world a woman who has just had a child and wants to go back to conquer the world (?) leaving her child alone with her husband is not only not what Italians would call (and Italians know about happy families a bit more than Clegg) una madre snaturata, but she has even the right to feel persecuted if she is “judged” by what he calls “Edwardian” mentality (and we call thinking).
Therefore, in Mr. Clegg’s world a mother should be free to dump her child to the care of her husband (a person, well, not naturally hardwired to be mother and I hope that Clegg will agree on this, though on reflection I am not entirely certain) and, on her warpath to emancipation, get out to win the bread for the family whilst her baby stays at home with his certainly not so impressively manly but oh so caring surrogate mother. I’m sure Clegg likes the concept of surrogate mother, by the way. It’s so not Edwardian.
In Mundabor’s world, on the other hand, it is a rather indisputable fact that women are the ones naturally hardwired to be mothers, and men are the ones naturally hardwired to be breadwinners. I do not know whether this is Edwardian; I for myself would say that this is most elementary common sense and if Mr. Clegg had cared to think about it, he would have realised that this is the same thinking used by pretty much the entire humanity, before and after Edward VII and with the exception of a tiny minority of, well, madri snaturate.
Whenever I hear such politicians, I wonder whether they live in the same planet of plain facts and common sense as most of us, or whether the relentless search for sellable soundbites has long removed even the last trace of sensible thinking.
Clegg’s great-grandmother would have considered him not merely a retard, but positively insane if he had uttered such opinions in, say, 1909. But we are in 2011, when insanity is in power and using one’s brain “Edwardian”.
Bye the bye, I’d like to know how long Clegg took paternity leave when he had each of his three children.
From the Blog Hospitaller, excerpts from a very interesting book.
I will first report some quotations from the book, which I suggest you read very carefully.
“The purpose of Vatican II, in fact, sets it apart from any other Council, especially Trent and Vatican I. Its scope was not to give definitions, nor was it dogmatic or linked to dogma; it was pastoral. Thus based on its specific nature it was a pastoral Council.”
“In all truth Modernism hid itself under the cloak of Vatican II’s hermeneutic…
.The new rite of Holy Mass practically silenced the nature of sacrifice making of it an occasion for gathering together the people of God…the eucharistic gathering was given the mere sense of sharing a meal together..
if someone were to ask me if, in the final analysis, the modernist corruption had hidden itself within the Council documents themselves, and if the Fathers themselves were more or less infected, I would have to respond both yes and no…But yes as well, because not a few pages of the conciliar documents reek of the writings and ideas of Modernism–this can be seen above all in GS.”
“Anyone who, in quoting it [VII], puts it on a par with Trent or Vatican I, and accredits to it a normative and binding force which it does not possess in itself, commits a crime and, in the final analysis, does not respect the Council itself.”
“Let me say immediately that not even a single dogmatic definition included in the intentions of LG or the other Vatican II documents. The Council–we do well not to forget this–could not have even proposed one since it had refused to follow along the lines traced out by other Councils…This means that none of its doctrines, unless ascribable to previous conciliar definitions, are infallible or unchangeable, nor are they even binding: he who denies them cannot, for this reason, be called a formal heretic.”
“[A] missionary conception of the Church now freed from any form of or temptation to proselytism…this type of ecumenism, unfortunately, found a license to legitimacy from the spirit of assisi, thanks to the ‘multi-religious’ meeting celebrated there…”
“How many times the very men, into whose hands Jesus had entrusted the sacred deposit of the Faith, solemnly and pompously said ‘no’ to this or that doctrine, like the Marian Coredemption, because otherwise it will prejudice ecumenical dialogue. It was as if to say, ‘There is no other truth or value besides ecumenical dialogue.’…”
“And if someone passed through that door to introduce into the Church a Liturgy subversive to the very nature and primary end of the Sacred Liturgy…the responsibility for this, in the final analysis, is none other than the conciliar text itself.”
[T]he Liturgy which systematically boycotted the versus Domino orientation, the sacredness of the rite, the sense of latria, the irreplaceable beauty of Gregorian chant, the solemnity of gestures and vestments, and kneeling…[was committed in a] boundless cult of man…”
“Vow! – I hear you say – Strong stuff! This must be a really angry SSPX bishop, or some sedevacantist nutcase”.
Wrong. All quotations are from Monsignor Brunero Gherardini’s “The Ecumenical Vatican Council II: A Much Needed Discussion”, translated by the Franciscans of the Immaculate from the Italian edition of March 25, 2009 and available from the “Academy of the Immaculate,” 124 North Forke, Advance, NC 27006. Ph. 1-888-906-2742.
In case you should ask, the blog informs us that Monsignor Gherardini is a Canon of St. Peter’s Basilica, a secretary for the Pontifical Academy of Theology, a professor emeritus at the Pontifical Lateran University, and the editor of Divinitas, a leading Roman theological journal. This is a man of the Vatican apparatus through and through.
I should comment now but no, I think Monsignor Gherardini said everything already.
Fatima and Sacro Vergente Anno: Pius XII’s Consecration of “The Peoples Of Russia” to the Blessed Virgin
It is well-known that among the requests of the Blessed Virgin in Fatima was the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.
Less well-known is the fact that Pope Pius XII, Pastor Angelicus, also known as “The Pope of Fatima” for his relentless support to the apparitions, did consecrate “all the peoples of Russia” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1950.
I am informed that this consecration is widely believed to be somewhat short of the Blessed Virgin’s request, though in all honesty it is not clear to me why it should. It is, though, evident from Sacro Vergente Anno and from further Vatican documents that the great Pope, Venerable Pius XII, had to take care of political considerations in the way he responded to the Blessed Virgin’s request. Therefore, during the “hottest” phase of the Cold War he had limited himself to consecrate to the Blessed Virgin the peoples of all world (not wishing the potential political repercussions of a more direct action); whilst in the comparatively calmer 1952 he felt the moment come to the consecration to the Blessed Virgin of the peoples of Russia so that their freedom (and the freedom of the Church) may be achieved.
I will publish below the relevant part of Sacro Vergente Anno, in the elaborate but extremely elegant Italian in use when people had a somewhat longer attention span and could read longer sentences without becoming dizzy. Following the original text I will write a personal attempt at translation.
I am grateful to all those who will send a message with some link pointing to:
1) an official translation of Sacro Vergente Anno or at least of the relevant passage, none of which I could find.
2) the facts as to why the consecration according to the wishes of Mary is widely considered not to have been completely complied with; perhaps it could be because it was a consecration of the peoples of Russia rather than of Russia itself, though this seems rather a quaestio de lana caprina to me.
In the meantime, enjoy another spectacular example of the work of a truly spectacular Pope.
Noi, pertanto, affinché più facilmente le Nostre e le vostre preghiere siano esaudite, e per darvi un singolare attestato della Nostra particolare benevolenza, come pochi anni fa abbiamo consacrato tutto il mondo al Cuore immacolato della vergine Madre di Dio, così ora, in modo specialissimo, consacriamo tutti i popoli della Russia al medesimo Cuore immacolato, nella sicura fiducia che col potentissimo patrocinio di Maria vergine quanto prima si avverino felicemente i voti, che Noi, che voi, che tutti i buoni formano per una vera pace, per una fraterna concordia e per la dovuta libertà a tutti e in primo luogo alla chiesa; in maniera che, mediante la preghiera che Noi innalziamo insieme con voi e con tutti i cristiani, il regno salvifico di Cristo, che è «regno di verità e di vita, regno di santità e di grazia, regno di giustizia, di amore e di pace»,(8) in ogni parte della terra trionfi e si consolidi stabilmente.
And therefore we, in order that Our and your prayers may be more easily answered, and in order to give you a special attestation of our benevolence, in the same way as a few years ago We consecrated the entire world to the immaculate Heart of the virgin Mother of God, so now, in a very special way, consecrate all peoples of Russia to the very same immaculate Heart, in the safe confidence that with the extremely powerful protection of the virgin Mary the wishes expressed by Us, by you and by every good person for a true peace for fraternal concord and due freedom for everyone and for the Church in the first place, may be answered as soon as possible; in such a manner that, through the prayer that We send up to Heaven together with you and all Christians, the reign of Christ, harbinger of salvation, which is “kingdom of truth and life, kingdom of sainthood and grace, kingdom of justice, of love and of peace”, may triumph and steadily consolidate itself everywhere on earth”
Oh well, today it is really one of those days one doesn’t forget so soon…..
The very first Ordinariate for former Anglicans is there. You can read the details on the “Reluctant Sinner” blog.
My first reflections as it is very late now:
1) The Ordinariate is dedicated to Our Lady. This is a clear link to England as it was before a couple of bastard kings and their gravely deluded helpers made a mess of everything. It seems to me almost as if the Vatican would say to heretics of every sort “you are nothing more than a passing embarrassment for the Only Church”.
England, the recovering Dowry of Mary. Beautiful.
2) The Ordinariate is under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman. This is another choice that isn’t casual in the least. Newman clearly paved the way historically – and will pave the way spiritually – for those who decide to come back to the Only Church.
3) As I have already written here, the way will not be an easy one for those who sincerely want to convert and become true Catholics. Prayer, reflection and in case time will be needed. As for ourselves, let us remember them in our daily prayers.
4) Congratulations and best wishes to father Newton, the first Ordinary after Anglicanorum Coetibus. Rome clearly signals a great deal of trust in him and in his doctrinal orthodoxy.
At the same time, it is obvious that the (largely expected) appointment of a former Anglican to the head of the Ordinariate will give a certain amount of comfort to many disaffected and perhaps suffering still-Anglicans. What Father Newton has done – and Blessed John Henry Newman has done before him – they can do too. Whatever hard decisions he had to take, they were taken by a man many ordinary Anglicans esteem and respect. This will give them reason to think harder about where they see their future.
Again, it is very late now and in the next days more reflections and news will follow as the picture becomes clearer.
I am not one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the Ordinariate. I see a real danger that the Ordinariate may attract chaps like this one.
But I must say that today I feel rather excited.
The impending beatification of John Paul II will no doubt cause many questions among non-Catholics as to what this beatification is, and might reinforce many of them in their errors and misconceptions about this beautiful Catholic institution of beatification and canonisation.
I’d like here to give some very short explanations in bullet points, in the hope that in the coming months some non-Catholics may end up here and get some benefit from them and that Catholics may get some points to give explanations if and when required.
1) Everyone who is in paradise is a saint. Everyone. Angels are saints, the Holy Innocents are saints, etc.
2) Normally we cannot know whether someone is in Paradise. When the neighbour dies we know that he is either in hell, or in purgatory, or in paradise. Purgatory is widely believed to be the most frequent occurrence at death, but no one really knows. In Catholicism, individual certainty of someone’s destination is a sin of presumption, unless one believes one’s own private revelation (say: an apparition); indirectly, he can draw a big amount of confidence from the truth of a credible revelation to someone else (say: Saint Padre Pio’s well-known hours-long mystical vision of Pope Pius XII in Heaven on the day of his death). ” I believe that John Lennon is in Paradise because he wrote such beautiful music” does not qualify.
3) Catholic theology says that those in purgatory cannot effect intercessory prayer for those on earth, but those on earth can do the same for the souls in purgatory; on the other hand the saints can pray and intercede for those on earth, but not for those in purgatory. Notice the “circle” of prayer here, with saints being able only to help those on earth, who themselves are the only ones who can help those in purgatory. In this way there is a beautiful solidarity, a chain of love or if you prefer a “prayer cooperative”. This common destiny and common purpose uniting every good Catholic (souls in hell aren’t catholic, and can’t be helped) is called by the Church “communion of saints”.
4) As a consequence, a Catholic will need some clues to know those to whom he can pray for intercession knowing that they will actually hear their prayer and be able to intercede for them. He can obviously ask Christ or the Blessed Virgin directly, but the beauty of the communion of saints is in the mutual giving and receiving help like members of a loving family. Therefore, one may prefer to ask a person particularly dear to him to help him and to intercede for him by Christ. In order to do so, he’d be helped if he knew, instead of hoped, that the relevant person is really a saint, that is, is really in heaven. Mind, though, that no Catholic is forbidden to ask for the intercession of someone of whom he thinks that he is very probably in heaven.
5) God helps this system of “prayer cooperative” by making known that the one or the other actually is in heaven. He does so by linking a miracle to this person. With one miracle one can be declared Blessed, with two he can be declared a Saint. Notice that here the “s” is capitalised. Whether the miracle has occurred is decided – after an always careful and generally lengthy process – by a Vatican “ministry”, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
6) Whilst the miracle is God’s choice, the decision whether to declare the beatification or sainthood is the Pope’s choice and it is an eminently political one. A Pope might think a canonisation dangerous or politically not convenient (eg. because it could spark a wave of persecutions, as in Thomas More’s case; or a wave of slandering, as it is probably the case by Pope Pius XII), or he might not be persuaded himself that the work of the congregation was really good, that is: that the person is really in paradise. He cannot “kill” the process though, merely let things rest.
7) One day, a Pope decides that the moment has come and a man or woman is ready to be declared Saint. His decision is inspired in the sense that God takes care that a Pope does not make mistakes in this matter*. In the last centuries, this process was very slow and people canonised were people who had lived a couple of centuries before, but there always were exceptions. The late Pope John Paul II was himself of the opinion that canonisations (and beatifications, comes to that) of recently deceased people were the best choice, because their memory is still well alive among the faithful. This was the thinking followed in the first thirteen centuries or so, with some canonisations being really, really fast (think of St. Francis: death on the 3 October 1226; canonisation on the 16th July 1228).
8) Coming back to 6), the beatifications or canonisations of particularly popular people have always been relatively uncomplicated, whilst those pertaining to politically sensitive people have been, or are being, slower. But be assured that Thomas More and Pope Pius XII do not care in the least for that. There is no race to be canonised first and the speed of canonisation is no indication whatsoever of the “ranking” among saints. This is important in order to understand that calls of “santo subito”, particularly when angry or expressing a demand rather than a wish, are not really Catholic and are more suitable to football stadiums.
9) Once a Pope has taken his decision about a canonisation, every Catholic is bound by it*. A Catholic rejoices for every canonisation not only because of the happy news, but because he knows that many people will be drawn to Christ through the canonisation of the person they love.
The reasons for a fast-track for John Paul II are now evident. The sainthood of the man is uncontroversial among everyone except the most severe sedevacantists; his popularity makes of such a beatification a great weapon in the Church’s hands; his beatification helps to shift the accent from the political aspects of his pontificate (which many don’t like, yours truly included) to the towering spiritual dimension of the person.
It is not – and it can never be – about “giving precedence to celebrities”; it is about recognising that:
a) The Pope seems to believe that God wants hom to know that the man is in Paradise, and
b) the Pope doesn’t see any political obstacle to his declaring so in front of all Christianity.
This is as simple as that. It doesn’t mean that one only becomes blessed if he is a celebrity. It doesn’t mean that only famous people are said to go to heaven. It doesn’t mean that “Church celebrities” get special favours compared to those whose beatification has not been declared and emphatically it does not mean that, between two saints, the one is “more of a saint” that has been canonised or beatified.
* the matter is slightly different with the beatification. With it, the Church merely declares that it is “worthy of belief” that the person in question is in heaven. There is, though, no obligation for every Catholic to feel bound by this.
The important news of the imminent beatification of the late John Paul II has somewhat taken the spotlight from an important (nay: historic) event of today: the consecration of tree former Anglican “bishops” to the priesthood.
Let us welcome Father John Broadhurst, Father Andrew Burnham and Father Keith Newton into the Only Church. Best wishes to them and to all those (former Anglican clergy or simple faithful) who have already decided to take this important and life-changing step.
Let us hope that in the following years many more sincere seekers will find the courage to look at reality in the face and draw the unavoidable consequences.
There is only One Church. Accept no substitutes.
And so it is out: the beatification of JP II will take place on the 1st May.
I am, as no reader of this blog can avoid noticing, no great fan of the man as a Pope. I think that his contribution to the fall of Communism is vastly, vastly exaggerated (the one who did it for communism was clearly the Gipper; George Walker Bush and Pope John Paul II only reaped the benefits afterwards and the liberal press would commit suicide rather than give Reagan his due) and I find it frankly extraordinary that a Pope should be praised for…. being opposed to Communism.
As far as his work as Pope is concerned, I personally think that the only redeeming feature of his too long Pontificate is the fact that he came (excluding the short weeks of what could have been a wonderful Pope, Albino Luciani) after Paul VI, the undisputed Jimmy Carter of the Church. JP II’s actions against the problems of his time (say: the Dutch Schism, Liberation Theology, the rampant “spirit of Vatican II”-mentality) can be considered in a halfway positive manner only in the light of Paul VI’s tragic impotence, but were slow and contributing to the confusion of Catholics by every other modern standard. In his appointment of Bishops, JP II will probably prove one of the most disastrous Popes of all times as he is the main responsible for the appointment of an entire generation of bad shepherds, who have almost completely given away Catholicism and will now continue to afflict the Church for a couple of decades to come.
A further problems of JP II’s pontificate is, in my eyes, the stubborn refusal to deal in an exemplary manner with people clearly responsible for grave misconduct. Cardinal Law’s treatment, or Cardinal Groer’s, are in my eyes great stains on his pontificate as they show an attitude towards grave problems by which the desire to avoid scandal and public admission of fault comes before the desire to send clear signals as to how the Church is led and what behaviour is expected from the men at the top.
And then there’s the media orgy. JP II’s pontificate can be remembered as the age of the dumbing down of everything Catholic, the search for popularity at all costs, the media circus, the desire to sink towards common people aspirations and conveniences instead of drawing them to aspire higher to Christ. From the unspeakable rock concerts (in which Catholicism had to witness the head of Catholicism being publicly scolded by rock singers; Pope Pius XII must have cried from Heaven), to the interconfessional/ecumenical/heretical events in Assisi, Fatima and elsewhere, to the in itself obviously heretical kissing of the Koran, to the relentless seeking for TV time in his pursuit to travel in the furthest corners of the globe whilst Vatican work was clearly neglected (cue the inefficiency and indecisiveness in tackling the problems of the Church, like the evident issue of rampant homosexuality in the seminaries), John Paul II’s years have diluted and banalised the Catholic message. The most dramatic example of this sad development was seen in his last days, with a huge media happening and a vast attention from a mass of individuals obviously not caring in the least for Catholicism and merely attracted by the next media-pumped collective hysteria in purest Lady Diana style. When he died, JP II had successfully transformed himself in the Che Guevara of our times, a man whose face is on millions of t-shirts carried by people who don’t even know who he was and what he wanted, but find the projected image someway cool. In the meantime, a generation of Catholics was raised without even the basis of proper Catholic instruction but hey, there were 500,000 people when he went out of the aeroplane so we are doing fine.
One of the least palatable aspects of this attitude was the late Pope’s desire to please the masses by sending ambiguous messages which, whilst not openly contradicting the Church’s teaching, were meant to give them a varnish of political correctness and make their distorted perception popular when the real ones clearly aren’t. He formally abolished the capital punishment in the Vatican, but conveniently forgot to remind the faithful that the legitimacy of capital punishment is integral part of Catholic doctrine and as such not modifiable and not negotiable. He asked for forgiveness for the atrocities committed during the Crusades, but conveniently forgot to remind the faithful of the saintliness of their cause and of the glorious page represented by the Crusades themselves. He was personally contrary to every conflict happening in his time, but conveniently forgot to remind the faithful that the Doctrine of War is also integral part of Catholic teaching. As a result of this, Pope John Paul was vastly perceived – particularly by poorly instructed Catholics, let alone by non-catholics – as a white-clothed pacifist opposed to capital punishment and ashamed for the Crusades. I am not aware of any effort he made to counter this widespread popular impression and no, this is not good.
Allow me here to also remind my readers of the Lefebvre affair. From the information I have found and read, it seems to me that a clash of egos (it happens among the saintliest men; it’s human nature) played a more than secondary role in the events but that at the root of the mess was JP II’s refusal to understand when things have gone too far and it is time to stop being stubborn and to start being reasonable. Hand on heart, I thank God for Lefebvre’s courage and determination on that occasion. To use an admittedly strong image, when the father is drunk the son who refuses to obey him is not going against the family and his father’s authority, but respecting and upholding them and the values they represent. The SSPX’s affair is, if you ask me, just another of the many avoidable blunders of John Paul II’s pontificate.
Still, behind the Pope there was the man. A deeply religious, pious, spiritual, sincere, kind man of God. A man whose mistakes were certainly never made in bad faith and whose first desire was to protect the Church and to win new souls to Christ. A man in front of whose deep spirituality and pious nature most of us (and certainly yours truly) must hang their head in shame. A man of whom you can criticise everything, but not the pure heart and the honesty of his intentions.
Whenever Catholics criticise the many mistakes of his pontificate (as they, if you ask me, should do far more often and much more vocally in order to avoid another pontificate like his to be ever repeated), they should remember – and should remind the enemies of the Church – of the purest of hearts behind those mistakes and of the example which John Paul II continues to give as a saintly man.
A saintly man is not necessarily a good Pope and a good Pope is not necessarily a saintly man. Much as we would like to see both qualities together, this is by far not always the case.
When we are blessed with a saintly Pope, I can’t see why we shouldn’t – whatever the shortcomings of his Pontificate – draw strength and inspiration from his saintliness.
Blessed John Paul II, pray for us.
It strikes me as (not!) odd that abortionist organisations carefully avoid to say what they do: procure abortions, kill babies, destroy human lives, enable genocides. Instead, they choose good sounding words meant to let them appear good citizens full of “concerns” for other people’s welfare. In the US they have “Planned Parenthood”, whose planning is clearly meant to avoid parenthood and in good old Blighty we have the, wait for this, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the nature of whose “advice” will be evident in a minute.
In modern-day Britain, the early murder of an unborn child (first nine weeks; if you want to know more about how the baby starts to look like by this time click here) is carried out by taking one pill of poison in the hospital followed by another pill of poison one to two days later, always in the hospital. I am not a doctor but can easily assume that the local Dr. Mengeles want to retain control over what is happening and avoid the soon-not-to-be mother to make some mistake.
This is too cruel to the poor mother, say the “Pregnancy advisors”. Too much stress. Think of those poor women forced to have to face a second trip to the hospital to kill their babies. Inhuman, isn’t it? There is the risk of the cramping and bleeding (no one cares of the life being killed; how very “concerned”) and where do we put the emotional distress of being told where to kill your baby?
No, say the oh so concerned people at the BPAS: the woman must have “full control” of where the abortion takes place. It sounds so empowering, almost better than “planned parenthood”.
The idea is that abortion should be made as easy and uncomplicated as possible. You go to the hospital, get two pills, then kill your baby in the comfort of your home while watching a romantic comedy and a reality show. I can see the day where concerned advisors will ask for the pills to be made available at Boot’s The Chemist, in order to avoid to the distressed woman the unbelievably painful experience of a mandatory consultation and trip to the hospital.
What has become of us….
The SSPX has criticised in a rather harsh way the Pontiff’s decision to hold a new Assisi meeting.
“We are deeply indignant, we vehemently protest against this repetition of the days at Assisi”, declared Bishop Fellay and one can only wonder what Bishop Williamson would say if he were allowed to do so freely without being confined in some remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
I have already written about the matter and it seems to me that whilst I agree with Bishop Fellay on the fact that this is not a brilliant decision, the choice of words is not a particularly happy one. In my eyes, Bishop Fellay talks and speaks as if Pope Benedict were another John Paul II. I do not think this is the case. Besides the fact that even Pope John Paul II had to see that things had gone far too far in 1986 and took care that the worst excesses were not repeated during the second Assisi gathering in 2002, it is very clear after almost six years of pontificate that Pope Ratzinger has nothing of the “let’s be hip”-mania, of the desire to be perceived as modern and in synchrony with the times that made so much damage during his predecessor’s pontificate.
During these years we had no Koran kissing, no kissing of the ground, no rock concerts and no search for easy ways to please the crowds. Nothing in Benedict XVI’s demeanour says “I will accommodate your need to be entertained or to feel good in the cheapest possible way”. The Assisi-mentality is clearly not his and this (in my eyes, ill-advised) renewed Assisi-gathering a tribute to the good intentions of his predecessor, whose beatification is clearly imminent and who is still a powerful weapon in the Church’s evangelisation effort.
At the same time I must disagree with the generally excellent William Oddie, who in his reaction to the SSPX’s utterances exaggerates in the other direction and calls the SSPX on their way to the funny farm.
What happened in 1986 must never, ever happen again. It was a damned shame and a show of breathtaking TV-fuelled ecu-maniac orgy of the worst kind. That excellent defenders of Catholic orthodoxy like the SSPX be concerned is certainly understandable, though the way of expressing these concerns might be (and in my eyes, certainly is) open to criticism.
Let us also say that “when the mills were white” Catholics were not allowed to pray with non-Catholics and this for the simple reason that such an exercise generates confusion among Catholics and can easily lead to the perception that what faith one subscribes to is of no great importance. By all talking of peaaace and looove, we should never forget that whoever isn’t Catholic is in the wrong shop , however saintly he may be.
I also disagree with Oddie that an orthodox Catholic should not think that he is more orthodox than the Pope. Of course he should, and he should every time that this is the case. The Holy Ghost guarantees infallibility to the Pope only when he speaks ex cathedra; it doesn’t guarantee at all that the Pope may, in his behaviour, frontally go against Catholic teaching. Pope Benedict IX sold his Papacy, and no one says he is not a Pope for that. The same goes, of course, for the kissing of Korans. A Pope is infallible but nor impeccable. Sometimes, Popes make a mess of things and sometimes they make a huge mess of things (Paul VI comes to mind). To say this is not un-Catholic in the least and doesn’t call for any farm, funny or not.
Assisi 2011 will, I am rather sure, be nothing similar to the catastrophe of 1986. But this doesn’t seem to me sufficient reason to go back there anyway. The risk of awakening ghosts from a shameful past is too big.
Egypt has recalled its ambassador to the Vatican after Egypt found itself in the exclusive lists of the countries singles out by the Holy Father for not doing enough to protect Christians (he forgot India and Pakistan, I would say; but perhaps he thought these last two go sans dire).
The Egyptians complain that the security of Christians in Egypt is an internal matter of the Egyptian government. This might well be, but the Pope hasn’t said that he wants to run the Egyptian security policy; he has merely said that they are not doing enough.
I think, though, that a great embarrassment hides behind this uncomfortable reaction. It is not advisable for any government (particularly if relying on massive transfers from the US to stay halfway afloat and last time I looked only Israel received more transfer from the US than Egypt) to be in the black list of the Vatican and to be branded as a country not doing enough to protect Christians. I doubt that even Iran would look without worry to a similar situation but whilst Iran doesn’t have to be worried about the effect on their purse of 70 millions US Catholics, Egypt does.
Let us, then, register this little diplomatic scuffle as a sure sign that the Pope’s move will force the Egyptian government to deal with the matter rather than limiting itself to the usual whining of third world (please substitute this with the politically correct expression) fake democracies (please do it again).
We are just trying to overcome the shock of little Zachary, the result of the Sodoma Experiment about which I have written several times in the past days.
In the same league as that episode is a new “experiment” reported by the Daily Mail. In short, a mother whose daughter has been born without ovaries (“Turner syndrome”) is planning (planning, mind, this has not happened yet) to have her own eggs frozen so that her daughter may, one day, use them to have their “own” children through in vitro fertilisation.
The Daily Mail is, thankfully, not the “Telegraph” and they at least care to inform us that “the ethical implications would be immense”. As the Daily Mail itself puts it,
The test-tube baby would be a half-sibling of its birth mother as well as another child of its grandmother. The baby’s father would be fertilising his mother-in-law’s egg. In addition the baby’s aunts and uncles would also be its half-brothers and sisters.
We are clearly already in horror film territory. So much so, that even in politically correct Britain some acquaintances of the lady had the effrontery to tell her – or so she says – that they find the exercise “a bit sick”.
A bit sick. That’s a good one.
As always in these circumstances, the monstrosity of such an in vitro incest is not explored at all. The mother doesn’t seem concerned with it, not in the least. On the contrary, she is on record with the astonishing observation that: “it’s a comfort to know that if she did have a child they would still have part of her own genetic make-up as well, so it would still be a part of her”. This is brilliant and can actually be used to favour the use of her own father’s sperm (or if this is too much, perhaps of an uncle?) in case the young Mackenzie should marry a man (provided she marries a man; as we know, the options are now wider) with impotentia generandi. Hey, they’d have all home made! You do that with the shepherd’s pie too, right?
Fear not (too much), though, because this is apparently all in the planning phase. It would appear that the relevant legislation about the freezing of eggs will not allow the woman to proceed to the experiment for many years. What is breathtaking is that such a feat seems, at least for now, not to be forbidden.
This really tells you everything you need to know about the perversion of the times.
This is the Ford (Europa) Scorpio Mk II. This car is remarkable for being one of the ugliest cars ever made, and one of the least successful cars ever to be produced by a mass car producer like the giant Ford.
The genesis of such an opprobrium is very simply explained: at the time, Ford Europe was led by an American, and this chap insisted that the lagging, but not gravely unsatisfactory sales of the Scorpio Mk I could be improved by giving the Mark II a decidedly american flavour. This, he thought, would spark enthusiasm and be enthusiastically received by the European crowds, now yearning for something new and impressive. The result was what you see here and now that you have survived the first shock I can show you a photo of the back without running the risk of causing you a heart attack. Predictably, the car was massacred in the showroom and its failure became the epitome of automotive seppuku.
Why do I mention the unlucky and deservedly failed Scorpio Mk II? Because this ungainly car shows uncanny parallelisms to the Novus Ordo mass.
This car was not of particularly bad quality. Its underpinnings were those of the Scorpio Mk I, a car able do honestly do its job and sold in halfway decent numbers for many years. Neither was this car very expensive and in fact it gave its owners (in pure “Detroit metal” tradition) a lot of kilos for their hard-earned money. True, it never came with prestige attached, but neither were the first Scorpio or the later Opel Kadett /Omega or the older Ford Granada, all cars which always managed to sell in satisfactory numbers.
In short, this car was perfectly usable as a car. It was a car all right. You could never deny that it was a car. But it was such an ugly way to make a car, that most potential buyers decided to stay well away of every risk of being seen at its steering wheel.
In this case, the mess was such that the reputation of the house for making big cars was damaged in such a way – and the financial hurt from the car was so keenly felt – that since then Ford never again produced a car of comparable size and market position. Not only the name “scorpio” was irreparably destroyed, but the market for Ford was destroyed too. This tells you how many clients you lose if you abuse them by trying to give them things they don’t want, just because you think they’re hip and modern.
Now, I am not saying that the Novus Ordo doesn’t have sacramental validity. It certainly has. Like a Scorpio Mk II, it fulfils the function for which it is celebrated. But like the Scorpio Mk II, it does so in such an ugly way that I am all astonishment as to why people should insist in using such a mess, when they have the wonderful Mercedes 600 Pullmann available.
The latter is not the most modern of cars. It is, in fact, very old-fashioned. It doesn’t have all the thrills and frills usually employed to attract the superficial, and the gullible, nor does it try to cut corners and be cheap to purchase. It is authentic, unmistakeably valuable and almost painfully beautiful. Every bolt in it, every screw says “I am wonderful but not easy to understand and not ready to follow the fashion of the day. I will not try to please you. You will have to deserve me.” It is, in fact, a car that requires an effort, in the purchase and in the upkeep. It is the car for those who want it authentic and serious, rather than shallow and wanna-be.
Both cars fulfil their function. Both are authentic specimens of the genus. Both are valid examples of what you would call a car; both do what you expect from them.
But do yourself a favour: take the time to find and appreciate the Mercedes, even if this costs time and sacrifice both in the purchase and in the upkeep, and ditch the Mondeo Mk II.
Believe me, once you have learned to know and appreciate this car, you’ll never look back.