Monthly Archives: February 2011
Appeal goes on here.
More than ten thousand signatures in just a few days.
Please sign and forward.
I have received some time ago from the Catholic Truth Society some of their newest booklets. Among these one has caught my attention: “Pentecostalism”.
The booklet is very interesting because it explain to a Catholic in simple words and in rather concise form what Pentecostalism is, why it has so much success and where the danger of the approach lie. In particular, the aspect of the direct relationship with God attracted my attention.
You see, for us Europeans (let alone: Italians) people saying things like “The Lord directed me to do so and so” really sound arrogant to the point of blasphemy and therefore such expressions are, in the Old Continent, unheard of. One is tempted to ask whether the Lord has sent an email, or perhaps a text message, and whether the broadband connection is rather expensive.
It turns out that such expressions derive from a sincere, if naive, desire to really have a “direct line” with God. Not one in the Catholic sense (the relationship with God developed through faithful prayer, Mass attendance, submission to the rules of Holy Mother Church and prayerful carrying of the crosses God decides to give us), but one in the literal one: do this, don’t do that. Therefore it can happen that when one questions some decisions which to one appears rush, but which to the person in question have clearly come via Divine Broadband (say: a man marries a woman he has known only for two weeks because “the Lord directed him to do it”) the reaction can be rather harsh and unable to comprehend how a third party may put in question what the Holy Ghost himself has clearly directed him to do. By reading the booklet I suddenly understood the logic behind the assassination of Marvin Gay from his preaching father: no idea whether he was a Pentecostals but hey, if the Holy Ghost has directed him to do so….
I am frankly glad never to have met a Pentecostal, because by all my admiration for religiously fervent people (even if, alas, heretics) I can’t imagine a discussion with them being anything else than a ridiculous barrage of “the Holy Ghost Himself has given me the Truth, so shut up”. I can also easily imagine what consequences such mentality may engender; the Lord has directed me to ask from you for so and so much money, might the pastor say; the Lord has directed me to file for divorce, will the bored husband (in perfect good faith, probably) soon declare, and so on.
And in fact, the entire exercise seems to be strongly based on a personal relationship with God which is – and cannot but be – highly emotionally charged. Now, emotions can play very dirty tricks to us. Particularly when we proceed to brainwashing ourselves every day; particularly when we ardently desire to be “directed” in some way; particularly when all this happens in religious matters, with their explosive emotional potential.
Emotions are like a faithful dog. If we train them every day they’ll do exactly what we want them to. Nazis, commies and all other nut cases have successfully manipulated themselves to utter stupidity by just picking highly emotional themes and fully delivering themselves to them. Che Guevara could kill in cold blood a couple of dozen prisoners at a time without any big perturbation. Dr. Goebbels understood the power of emotional self-suggestion with great lucidity, it is surprising that the devastating potential of such purely emotion-driven approach is not yet fully recognised.
Please compare this with Catholicism. A rigid, coherent system of rules valid in all situations and at all times. A complicated, but universally applicable system of criteria to resolve moral dilemmas and difficult situations (think of the doctrine of war; or of the “double effect”). A link to the Lord which doesn’t need (though it may have) an “emotional relationship” at all, but on the contrary asks for worship and submission even from those not graced with mystical experiences or with a strong feeling of God’s presence. A closely knit system of moral rules to which even the Pope is bound and which are therefore guaranteed not to be abused under the pretence of an “inspiration from the Holy Ghost”. The resulting impossibility of the absurd consequences of such “direct line” mentality (husband says that the Holy Ghost has directed him to move to California; wife thinks that the Holy Ghost has directed her to keep her husband in Arizona; I wouldn’t want to be in that kitchen….).
The desire of a direct line with Heaven, of an intimate contact with God is an understandable one and I do not doubt that many of these Christians are sincerely devout.
But between desiring something and being let free to believe that our conviction is the fruit of Divine inspiration the step is very short, and very dangerous. It is the deification of whatever we feel strongly enough about, a life spent listening to gut feelings rather than solid common sense; the constant danger of having solid moral rules polluted by individual preferences and the constant abuse of the Holy Ghost, forcibly hijacked as the inspiring force behind – say – both the marriage and the divorce.
Thank God for Holy Mother Church, asking us to submit to rules which not only make a lot of sense, but are immutable and not at the mercy of the whim of religious leaders or, unavoidably, of our own fantasies of broadband connection with Heaven.
From Rorate Caeli, good news from the extraordinarily amusing world of the barking cats, that is: of those women who think that a woman should be (and in fact: even is) able to receive Holy Orders so that the grave gender discrimination Jesus put in place against them may come to an end. When the Vatican decided that such acts would henceforward be delicta graviora, the poor ladies had nothing better to do that meowing “discrimination” out loud.
Norma Jean Coon, a woman who deluded herself to the point of believing that she was ordained deacon, has now officially renounced to her error.
If you read her declaration on her internet site you’ll notice that the language is still extremely approximate and obviously wrong (at the beginning she gives the impression of still thinking that she has effectively been ordained, which is ridiculously wrong; and that her excommunication is purely due to this alleged “ordination” not being authorised, which is plain ridiculous), but if you continue to read you’ll discover that the lady gets the substance of the matter absolutely right and declares that:
1) she recognises the truth of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, and
2) she recognises that Holy Orders are an institution only reserved to men.
It takes a certain courage to admit coram populo that one has been so astonishingly wrong, and it certainly hasn’t been easy to completely distance oneself from a group of supposedly barking cats which had obviously been the object of a considerable emotional investment. Therefore, Mrs. Coon deserves our appreciation and our prayers.
It still seems barely believable to me that a mother of five could ever achieve such a summit of self-delusion, but the hints in Mrs. Coon’s declaration (that she has pretended to “officiate” only on a couple of occasions, and that the pangs of conscience must have been rather strong from the very days following her mock-ordination) lets one think that in this case the Holy Ghost has been at work to avoid the poor woman the damnation she was clearly working towards, with rather spectacular results.
Please also note that we might be here in front of a future conservative Catholic (the Prayer of St. Michael eminently displayed on the page leaves few doubt as to whom she thinks was at the origin of her troubles), and it is in fact rather natural that when one begins to see the light he may want to enjoy it in all its splendour.
It must be liberating to discover oneself free from ego-driven error and ready to enter the realm of real freedom: the freedom to follow the Truth and willingly submit to it.
Please join me in my prayers both for Mrs. Coon and in thanksgiving for this happy conversion.
The recent events about the so-called “civil partnerships” give me the occasion to explain why I think that the Church in England is culpably marching toward complete irrelevance even on the rare occasions when she seems to show a couple of milk teeth.
Archbishop Peter Smith has criticised, in unusually (for him) strong words, the plans of this pagan Government to allow so-called “civil partnership” ceremonies to be held in churches. This would seem all in order, if the intervention of Archbishop Smith weren’t the signal that the Church is simply not doing enough, not even remotely, and that she is constantly shooting herself in the foot in the process.
What Archbishop Smith seems not to get (or doesn’t seem interested in getting) is that in a democracy religious freedom is never abolished overnight, but always through a process of continual erosion by which the last concession to the pagan world becomes the basis for the next one.
Take the so-called “civil partnerships”. If homosexuality is not criticised by the Church in the strongest terms, it is no surprise that calls for civil partnerships will, in time, emerge from this or that corner. Basically, the average politician is an institutional coward easily bullied by pressure groups and it is in the nature of democracy that he will tend to represent the opinion of these groups, however little numerically, unless he can expect equal or worse troubles from their opponents. It is only when the Christian mainstream starts occupying the ground and showing readiness for combat at an early stage, that the combat becomes superfluous.
But Peter Smith doesn’t declare war on active and militant homosexual behaviour (remember: less than half a percent of the population) and as a result he gets the so-called “civil partnerships”. These are the fruits of cowardice and in the bishops’ expectations – that to be silent on this problem wouldn’t create bigger ones – we see all the incompetence and naiveté of a Neville Chamberlain.
When you cave in once, it will go on. Once the homos have obtained so-called “civil partnerships”, they’ll start to make pressure to be allowed to have them performed in a church. But this will not be compulsory, they say now. You’ll be allowed to say “no”, they say now, so why be upset?
Then, it will go on. Once the principle has been accepted that two perverts have the opportunity to legally “unite” in a church (as it has previously been accepted that they may form “unions”; as it has even before being accepted that sodomy is all right), how simple must one be not to realise that it is only a question of time before the homos will cry “discrimination” against anyone who does not allow them to?
Then, it will go on. If homos are allowed to have a statutory recognition of their “union”, and to have this performed in a Church, why shouldn’t they be allowed to call this “marriage”? And why shouldn’t they think that it is their right to have this marriage performed wherever they please in order not to be “discriminated against”?
If you think that this is political fiction, think again. Our not-very-esteemed Prime Minister already talks of civil partnership as if they were families, as he has explicitly stated that his defence of family includes civil partnerships. He clearly even seems to consider abominations like sodomy and civil partnerships part and parcel of Western values. He has lost long ago the very notion of what Christianity is, of what it means to be a Christian, of what the Commandments are, of what the Sacraments are. The man is a pagan, full stop.
We see this pattern everywhere. Abortion legislation didn’t start as abortion on demand. Divorce was allowed only in limited cases. Homosexual behaviour was, at the beginning, merely decriminalised. You give the Pagans one finger, and you expect that they’ll not try to take the entire hand?
Therefore, Peter Smith has it all wrong even when it would seem that he has it right. He can’t hope that it be allowed to him to remain silent about the so-called “civil partnerships” and get away with it. His cowardice will persecute him by forcing him to fight later the battles that he didn’t have the guts to fight sooner.
More in general, the Church in England can’t hope – if the bishops really are in good faith, which can be legitimately questioned and which must be questioned at least in the case of Vincent “Quisling” Nichols – that to cave in to the popular mood about civil partnership will save them from the necessity to fight. The fight will come on them anyway, but in worse terms, on a more unfavourable battleground and with a rearguard battle. This is what happens to you when you think that you can betray Catholicism and get away with it and all the English bishops, bar none, are culpable of this cowardice (or worse, of this malice). Christian values must be defended loud and clear, on every possible occasion, from the start, and the bishop is the man for it.
Archbishop Peter Smith should spend his time continuously and vocally asking for the repeal of the legislation about civil partnerships. He should start to talk publicly and strongly about the abomination of homosexuality. He should wish for legislation criminalising sodomy to be reintroduced and boldly say so. He should say this loud and clear, insistently and without fear. A couple of years of the “Padre Pio treatment” and Cameron & Co. (cowards, remember, because politicians) would not even think of titillating themselves with proposals like the last one. The awakening of just one tenth of the Catholic population would be enough to have Cameron & Co. running for cover faster than a Taliban vehicle under the fire of a Gatling gun and swearing that he never, ever approved of homosexual behaviour.
Archbishop Peter Smith has, like all his colleagues bar none, shut up for too long. The time is coming when he will not be able to shut up any more, but at that point the Church will already be under siege by a pagan society it has appeased for too long, and forced to a battle that has not been prepared because there was no courage to choose to fight. At the same time when he – semel in anno – spends some words in defence of Catholic values he shows all the incompetence of the lukewarm, indifferent, cowardly but permanently smiling shepherds that four decades of institutionalised appeasement of secularism have given us.
The battle is clearly coming but you can’t fight a good battle with the Neville Chamberlains of the world. Let us hope that starting with the next Papacy (about this I have already lost every hope of meaningful improvement in the average quality of our bishops) new appointments will give us the leaders we need to fight the good fight against the dark forces of secularism.
We don’t need cowardly bishops. We need people willing to take out the Gatling gun, and use it every day.
I have often read harsh criticism about the disobedience of Archbishop Lefebvre in consecrating the four bishops after becoming fed up with JP II’s waiting games.
I will readily admit that this was an act of disobedience. But in the simple world in which I live there is disobedience and disobedience. A son may disobey to his father in rebellion at his father’s authority qua authority, or he may disobey to his father because the father himself insists in misbehaving. The first disobedience is out of rebellion, the second out of a higher form of respect for the father’s role and obedience to the God-given commandment. The first disobedience is aimed at making a father out of a son; the second is aimed at making of a bad father a good one. The first disobedience aims at destroying traditional, God-given rules; the second at preserving them.
If your father is drunk and you don’t obey to his damaging – or outright wicked – orders not because you don’t want him to be your father, but because you want him to stop being drunk you are still being disobedient, but you are certainly a good son.
I have therefore not many qualms with the Society of St. Pius X and the only reason why I never attended their mass (whose sacramental validity I do not doubt in the least, nor does the Vatican) is my subterranean terror of finding myself surrounded by a couple of dozens of bony, angry nutcases eager to recruit “the new one” to their poisonous cause with intemperate rants about the Antichrist in Rome and the like. I might be entirely wrong of course; but in these matters I am a rather sensitive, delicate flower who prefers to avoid unpleasant experiences.
In the same spirit, I look with a certain sympathy to those cheeky priests who realise that they have been tested with an uncommonly disgraceful bishop and decide to try to twist his arm on this or that matter (the recent episode or Thiberville having as disgraceful protagonist bishop Nourrichard comes to mind).
In all these cases, I see disobedience as a higher form of obedience. Obedience to the Church as an institution rather than obedience to (say) a liberal baboon; or obedience to what the Church commands rather than to what a bunch of naive (or faithless) bishops wanting to play “cool” and “popular” think is all right and very Catholic indeed.
But you see, all these disobedient priests and bishops still obey to that higher order that is the Church that has always been. They haven’t tailored their beliefs to what suits them; they haven’t come out with a new theology; they have just continued to believe what has been transmitted to them by countless generations of Catholics! “The Bishop’s – or Pope – good servant, but God’s first” could they say paraphrasing Thomas More. Whilst I agree that this behaviour is not advisable bar in the most extreme circumstances, I can’t see in it a menace to the Church, but rather a menace to the liberals and modernists within her. Never can the Church be damaged by those who, confronted with dramatic and sweeping changes, upheld what the Church has always been. To think so is, in my eyes, a contradiction in terms. These reactions should then be properly seen as a useful gauge of a malaise within the Church; a malaise which would then have to be scrutinised in the light of the strictest orthodoxy, not demonised as if the Church of the past had suddenly become wrong.
This is the reason why in my page about Catholic Quotes (see the upper bar) the place of honour is given to this beautiful quote from Robert DePiante:
What Catholics once were, we are. If we are wrong, then Catholics through the ages have been wrong.
We are what you once were. We believe what you once believed.
We worship as you once worshipped. If we are wrong now, you were wrong then. If you were right then, we are right now.
I do hope that the rift (not schism) between the SSPX and Rome will be healed in my lifetime. Until then I will continue to give my allegiance to the latter, and my admiration to the former. I can’t avoid thinking that all that is happening now (from the slow resurgence of proper Catholicism to Summorum Pontificum to…. well, there’ s not much else for now and we might be slowing backpedaling) has been accelerated by the constant work of the SSPX, whose action – sometimes wrongly worded, sometimes a bit ego-driven, but in my eyes always conducted in a proper spirit of Catholic orthodoxy – has exposed the ridicule of NuChurch and helped to shape the resistance to the post-Vatican II drunkenness.
The threatened disobedience of the priest who says that he can’t accept what, in her essence, the Church has always been (find an example here) is not defending Church tradition, but starting his own one. The threatened disobedience of the priest (or archbishop) who says that he can’t accept that the Church may become different from what she has always been is on another plane altogether.
Bernard Nathanson died on the 21st February at the age of eighty-four.
Mr Nathanson didn’t come from an easy background. Grandfather had committed suicide, as later his sister did. He became a doctor as his father and a fervid supporter of abortion. He committed an abortion on a baby of whom he was the father, later he went on to become an important member of the abortionist movement and director of a big abortion clinic. A liberal Dr. Mengele, so to speak.
Jewish by background he was, by his own admission, an atheist. He divorced three times. Always by his own admission (though he changed this in later years) he might have been responsible for around 75,000 abortions. You’d say that one like him is a pretty safe candidate for Hell and fully deserving of the likely treatment.
Then things changed. The advent of ultrasound in the Seventies put him in front of the reality of the human being in the uterus in a way he had evidently never considered before. He made a u-turn and from abortionist became a vocal pro-life activist.
In 1996 he converted to…. Catholicism and his life went the full circle. From atheist, abortionist and divorce subscriber to voluntary member of the shop in total antithesis to his own old convictions.
It is difficult, for me as for probably everyone else, to forget as I write the 75,000 children, nor the huge number of those who have probably marched to damnation because of the influence they allowed him to have on their life. Still, my little human understanding cannot fully comprehend the immense love and forgiveness of God; the fact that at his baptism, even the sins related to the 75,000 victims were fully erased from his account, or the fact that God’s love was so powerful as to insist in offering him a further chance of salvation.
Think of it: the man who could perform the abortion of his own child in cold blood is the same man who went on to produce the vastly influential documentaries The Silent Scream and Eclipse Of Reason; the former atheist went on to become the author of The Hand Of God; the three times divorced Nathanson went on to become, of all things, a Catholic.
Yesterday Bernard Nathanson died and we have all reasons to hope for a happy death.
The ways of the Lords…..
Messa in Latino has another post about the thorny question of the instruction. Once again, this beautiful site shows that it has pretty good feelers concerning Vatican affairs.
The process of the instruction is described as follows:
1) There was a first version, ready as soon as February 2008. A good version but with some questions left open. The then secretary of Ecclesia Dei, Mons. Perl, personally vouched with the Messa In Latino‘s blog post writer “Enrico” about this fact.
2) A second draft was prepared by the new Secretary of Ecclesia Dei and therefore called “Pozzo draft”. This was, we are assured, magnificent, as it was both exhaustive in its dealing with interpretation questions and able to greatly enhance the concrete possibility of use of the Tridentine Mass.What Summorum Pontificum freed in the juridical sense, this Instruction would have freed concerning its practical application.
3) The Pozzo draft was apparently “too good” and, well, not entirely popular among liberal Bishops. These then started to lobby to have it watered down. Messa in Latino mentions as helpers Cardinals Re, Kaspar, Arinze, Tauran. Together with Cardinal Levada, some (not all, see Kasper) of them are rather conservative chaps but alas, they’re no great friends of the Tridentine.
An added problem was that the merging of Ecclesia Dei within the CDF in the wake of the “Williamson affair” led to a deminutio of the latter, now merely a branch of the CDF and not in a position to vigorously defend the original document once pressure for change started to come from the CDF (Levada) himself.
The rest, as we will probably very soon say, is history.
What would seem to transpire (and at this point it seems to me that the people at Messa In Latino certainly know what they write) is that an original sincere intention to do things better and, most importantly, in an orthodox way goes through a process of internal “improvement” and comes out of the Vatican’s washer-dryer rather discolored in the best of cases, and gravely stained in the worst. One is reminded of Vatican II, really.
Let us hope that last-minute interventions will avoid great damage and that the bombing of Summorum Pontificum, so it should come, will prove not threatening for the edifice’s structure.
In the end and as I have written in the past, there is no way the resurgence of the desire for the Latin Mass can be stopped, though it can certainly be slowed down.
The real solution will come from the undertakers.
Tomorrow 22nd February is the feast of the Chair of St. Peter. Whilst St. Peter’s feast day is the 29th June, the feast of the 22nd February is more directly aimed at celebrating the Petrine Office. This feast is, therefore, as Catholic as they come.
This feast day might be an occasion to explain to some non-Catholic in your circle of acquaintances why you are Catholic. When requested, I proceed more or less in this way:
1) And I say to thee: that Thou are Peter…. Jesus doesn’t say to Simon that he is a nice chap; or that he is very perceptive; or that he himself is surprised that among the apostles Simon was the only one to give the right answer to his question “Who do people say that I am?”. No, he changes his name and calls him a rock.
2) and upon this rock I will build my Church…. Jesus doesn’t say “I will build my first church”, nor does he say “I will build my provisional church”. Jesus picks a rock, and builds upon him One (1, Una, Eine, Une) Church.
3) and the gates of Hell shall not previal against it….. It, that is: the very same Church built on Peter, the “rock”. That one, and no other. Jesus doesn’t say “the Gates of hell shall, in around fifteen centuries, prevail against the Church I built on you”, nor does he say “the Gates of Hell shall prevail against the Church built on you but hey, let us be happy with a generic term of “church” so it can work even when yours goes astray”. He is very specific: he builds one Church upon one man and gives his promise of indefectibility to this – and no other – organisation.
4) And I will give to thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven….. This is also dumb-proof: keys are a very obvious symbol of power and authority and it is clear here that Jesus is speaking with extreme solemnity. He doesn’t say to Peter: “Peter, you keep the key for the moment” or “look mate, gotta go; keep the keys until I find you or yours unworthy, will ya?”. No, this is a solemn promise evidently made for all times, as his just pronounced promise about indefectibility must make clear to the dumbest intellect.
5) ….and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. For those who should at this point still not have gotten what is going on, Jesus becomes even more explicit: Peter has the keys, and the keys mean authority upon the faithful now and forever; an authority given in the most emphatic terms possible.
The meaning of these phrases; the clear solemnity Jesus gives to his words; the crescendo of emphatic declarations of such a broad and clear scope do not leave room for any possible doubt and as a result, Protestants have nowhere to hide. Whoever reads Jesus’ words with a minimum of intellectual honesty cannot avoid to recognise that the Only Church of Peter’s time (and of the following fifteen centuries) is the Only Church of today and that as a result whatever grievance against the men who run the Church does not change a iota concerning the position of authority of the Church. As to the complaint that some Popes were oh-so-bad (not much worse than many a tv-preacher I’d say, but laissons tomber….), Peter wasn’t immaculate either, but his shortcomings didn’t prevent Jesus from promoting him to rock of His Church.
To believe anything different from the fact that the Only Church founded by Jesus is.. the Only Church means to believe one or more of the following:
1) that Jesus made a mistake in founding His Church on Peter;
2) that Jesus was mistakenly persuaded that Peter’s successors would be good chaps, but had his toy ruined by the baddies who succeeded Peter;
3) that Jesus couldn’t count;
4) that Jesus’ words had a sell-by date, or
5) that Jesus made his promise of indefectibility without taking it seriously.
Or perhaps one could decide to read and understand the only possible meaning of such emphatically worded statements, as Jesus repeatedly made.
There is only One Church, folks. It’s the only one founded by Jesus. Simple, really.
I didn’t know Nick Frost. If I have already seen him somewhere he certainly didn’t do enough to impress himself in my memory. But I liked Simon Pegg after the exhilarating “hot fuzz” and the rather likeable (largely because of Megan Fox, I imagine) “How to lose friends etc”.
Well I must say I changed my mind about Pegg after seeing his last joke of a movie today. Besides being very lame and rather vulgar, “Paul” is distinctly, stupidly anti-Christian. I mean in a truly moronic way, with the two Christian characters one a drunkard idiot and one a young woman who, supposedly liberated from her superstition to embrace atheism, decides that she now wants to swear and fornicate and goes on saying rather infantile words for the rest of the movie. An eight-year-old would have been able to think something better than that.
As you have already imagined, Frost and Pegg are not only the protagonists, but the authors of the script too.
We live in a world where every idiot thinks he is an intellectual just because people laugh at what he says. On this occasion, though, I can assure you that the laughs at the anti-Christian jokes were few and far between and received with an embarrassed silence by most of the audience. The rest of the film wasn’t much better anyway, if you’ve seen the trailer you’ve seen the best already.
A bad movie written by morons who think that they have something to say just because they happen to be good comedians.
Do yourself a favour and avoid the dung of these infantile morons.
Beautiful initiative from Father Z, inviting the faithful to a Spiritual Bouquet for Pope Benedict in the month leading to the feast of St. Joseph.
I gladly follow his invitation to other Catholic bloggers to direct my readers to his site and to give some contribution to this beautiful initiative.
I particularly like the fact that Father Z is obviously aware and obviously not pleased with the proposed structure of the Instruction about Summorum Pontificum. Still, his reaction is a prayerful one.
I have already written a blog post about Bishop Fellay’s intervention in favour of Summorum Pontificum.
In the same interview, he deals with Assisi III and this is probably worth of separate consideration.
Bishop Fellay points out to the following problems:
1) That Pope Benedict heavily criticises relativism in religious matters (and rightly so, of course) but indirectly promotes the same relativism by starting the Assisi 2011 initiative.
2) That Pope Benedict is now celebrating an initiative which he himself clearly boycotted in 1986.
3) That in his idea that it be impossible for Catholic and non-Catholics to pray together, but that it be possible for them to gather together as members of different religious affiliations he is “splitting hairs”.
I find his criticism perfectly right on all points and whilst we will have to wait to see how Pope Benedict organises and shapes this meeting (that is: how he limits the damage that he has already done, the bomb of “interreligious gathering” being one which always causes a powerful explosion however orthodox your intentions), it is interesting to note that Bishop Fellay makes a supreme effort of explicate the inexplicable and theorises a desire to counteract the recent spate of persecutions as the real motive of this initiative.
Personally, I cannot see this as a real motive. Christians have always been persecuted and they always will; to water down the Christian message and to try to appease the persecutors will in my eyes only have the effect of increasing their aggressiveness. You just don’t fight religious intolerance by watering down the Christian message.
If you ask me, I can only see one – or all – of these three motives:
1) Pope Benedict wants to re-make in the right way what Pope John Paul once made in the wrong way, thus erasing as far as possible the bad memory of Assisi I and II with a theologically impeccable Assisi III. This seems to me a bit like trying to make dung smell good but one can – with a stretch of the imagination – understand the logic.
2) Pope Benedict thinks that conservative Catholics are becoming too cocky (utter and complete dominance on the Internet; vast support among young clergy; resurgence of the popularity of old, once forgotten or ignored heroes like Pius XII and Fulton Sheen) and wants to help the “other side” a bit. The beatification of JP II before the beatification of Pius XII, the oh-so-liberal sounding convocation of Assisi III and, perhaps, a restrictive interpretation of the scope of Summorum Pontificum would all be parts of the same thinking.
3) Pope Benedict is simply trying (in the wrong way, if you ask me) to promote the JP II brand as he sees in it a powerful instrument of evangelisation. Again, one understands the logic. I just wonder why he would allow himself to be persuaded to pick the most controversial of JPII’s many controversial inititatives to do so. It seems to me a bit like promoting Bill Clinton’s presidency by remembering the Lewinsky affair.
We’ll have to wait and see how all this pans out. In the meantime, I allow myself the comment that Pope Pius XII would have never dreamt of an initiative like Assisi (whatever numeral you may put to it); that Fulton Sheen would have never dreamt of encouraging interreligious gatherings of any sort, but exclusively Catholic gatherings of every sort; and that Padre Pio would have never dreamt of the necessity of a Novus Ordo mass, however “reformed after the reform” it may be.
In recent months, Pope Benedict seems to have been skating on rather thin ice. More the reason to pray for him.
“Truly The Antidote To The Crisis”: Bishop Fellay On The Traditional Liturgy And Summorum Pontificum
Read here the part of an interview to Bishop Fellay of the SSPX more directly regarding the implementation of Summorum Pontificum.
In my eyes, in his commentary on Summorum Pontificum Bishop Fellay has all his bases covered. He expresses the following concepts:
1) Summorum Pontificum has great importance because it recognises that the Traditional Mass has never been abrogated. This is of obvious meaning for the SSPX.
2) This fact is not at all diminished by the fact that most Bishops actively boycott SP.
3) Summorum Pontificum is the obligatory starting point for every renewal of the Church liturgy.
4) As the liturgy is the real core of the Church’s life and activity, to repair the Liturgy would mean to repair the Church and every repair of the Church cannot be done without repairing the Liturgy. Bishop Fellay says about the Tridentine Mass;
it is truly the antidote to the crisis. It is really very powerful, at all levels. At the level of grace, at the level of faith…. I think that if the old Mass were allowed to be truly free, the Church could emerge rather quickly from this crisis, but it would still take several years!
(I’d rather say “one generation or two” but hey, I like his optimism.. ).
Bishop Fellay stressing the importance of Summorum Pontificum may simply be instrumental to his desire of showing that the SSPX is right in protecting the Old Mass, or might be the result of his having received some hints about the content of the proposed instructions and wanting to intervene in a discreet manner in its defence. He is very diplomatic on the point as whilst he clearly criticises both the incoming beatification of JP II and – with much more energy – the initiative of Assisi III, he refrains from saying a single word of criticism toward the instruction.
It appears to me that Fellay is well aware that every negative consequence for Summorum Pontificum as a result of the Instruction would greatly add to the SSPX’s popularity and prestige in the eyes of conservative Catholics the world over as millions of well-educated, liturgically savvy Catholics would understand that the SSPX is the only safe bastion against the smoke of satan famously (and insistently) entering the doors of the Church.
The rest of the interview is also interesting and possibly worthy of separate blog posts. As always, you can read here and there some rather unusual words ( on page one, talking about the current discussions with the Vatican, Bishop Fellay says: “it is really a matter of making the Catholic faith understood in Rome”, which is strong tobacco by any diplomatic and un-diplomatic standard), but on the whole by reading this contribution I have the impression that I always had in the past by reading SSPX documents: that they are a bit cantankerous and not always very diplomatic in presenting their point of view but boy, they are 100% Catholic and no mistake.
This is about a DOXA poll regarding Summorum Pontificum made in 2009, that is: more than 2 years after Summorum Pontificum.
Whilst not entirely new, it is relevant to us because the source is the most prestigious poll institute in Italy. The results of the poll are rather astonishing and are given here in short form:
1) Of those who go to mass at least once a month (rather high in Italy: 51% of the Catholic population), only 64% knew about the possibility of having a Latin Mass. This means that two years after SP, many priests had not considered necessary to even mention the existence of this historic motu proprio. Then they say, of course, that the faithful “don’t want the Mass in Latin”.
2) Asked whether they would have any objection to both the Novus Ordo and the latin Mass being celebrated in their own parish, 71% of the respondents says they would not have any objection at all.
3) Among the weekly churchgoers, 40% would go to the Latin Mass every Sunday. Please read it again, I have checked the numbers! By the way, this means 9 million people every Sunday.
This was a poll made among people who often didn’t even know about Summorum Pontificum and the possibility of having a Mass in Latin and therefore could not educate themselves about the differences of the two masses, let alone assist to the Tridentine Mass for some time to assimilate them. The numbers are therefore nothing less than astonishing and once again, they come from the best known and most reputed polling institution of the Country.It is very obvious that there is a strong appetite, a very vivid interest for the recovery of old Catholic traditions.
If the Pope had more courage to go against his liberal bishops, a generalised use of the Tridentine Mass with an extremely strong following among weekly churchgoers might become the reality in the country in just a few years as there can be no doubt that the enthusiasm for the Tridentine Mass among seminarians is very common.
I thought that in these troubled days, such information might be of some value.
When the most reputable Catholic weekly magazine reports about the growing worries of the Catholic world concerning a possible roll back of Summorum Pontificum, it is clear that we are not in front of the paranoia of some small group of traditionalists but of a serious concern spread among a multitude of serious (meaning: orthodox and churchgoing as opposed to “liberal” and “non-judgmental”) Catholics.
Whilst I wouldn’t go as far as to define the Catholic Herald “traditionalist” in any way, it is clear that this fairly conservative magazine considers the appeal of Rorate Caeli and Messa in Latino highly relevant for conservative Catholics the world over. Tellingly, not only Rorate Caeli but the Catholic Herald also publish a link to an online petition. I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is that serious Catholics participate to these initiatives in great numbers. The petition is the same for both internet pages, so you don’t need to send it twice.
I repeat below the list of addresses posted yesterday, in case you’d want to back up your petition with a personal email.
Pope Benedict: a) firstname.lastname@example.org or b) email@example.com
Cardinal Levada, CDF: firstname.lastname@example.org
Congregation for the Clergy: email@example.com
Congregation for the Evangelisation of People: firstname.lastname@example.org
Osservatore Romano: email@example.com
You have (hopefully) read here about the possible attempt to sanitize Summorum Pontificum. If you haven’t done it, I ask you to follow the link and make good use of the email addresses herein contained.
From Paolo Rodari’s Blog we are informed that these were all rumours without a basis in reality.
After reading both sides (one of the few times where it is an advantage to be able to read Italian) I must say that Rodari’s denial of the rumours is not very reassuring – better said: it is positively alarming – for the following reasons:
1) Rodari contacts his sources and these say to him: “don’t worry, no watering down is happening”. I wonder who would ever say to him “be worried, that’s exactly what is going to happen”. A denial is, in my eyes, credible if it gives new information; if, for example, an explicit commitment to the expansion of the celebration of Tridentine Masses had been conveyed to Rodari, this would have been a powerful reassurance. Nothing of the sort has happened.
2) As it transpires, Rodari’s sources confirm that Scicluni and Canizares are the two main actors. This was unknown to anyone until… the leak about the watering down. This confirms that the sources of the rumours are very well informed.
3) You don’t need to be a fan of “Yes, Prime Minister” to understand that such leaks always happen for a reason. In this case, it seems rather clear that the draft of the instructions has been found rather unpalatable by conservative men within the Curia, who are now acting to stop the mess before it becomes a bomb.
Summa summarum, I would say that Rodari’s affirmation do nothing to tranquillise conservative Catholics. On the contrary, they only show the precision and credibility of Messa In Latino‘s sources.
Please keep sending the emails.
Desirous to read Catholic books about pretty much everything?
Not too flush at the moment?
Fear not! Just click here and a list of hundreds of traditional Catholic texts (from the Bible to mainstay of catholic theology to life of saints, etc.) will be downloadable in convenient .pdf format, for free! Ok this is not kindle, but .pdf files are very readable and whilst the monitor cannot be ideal, the quality remains rather high even after printing (costs again I suppose, but one can’t have his cake and eat it… ) .
A beautiful initiative that will certainly help many Catholics.
A prayer for the promoters of such a beautiful initiative is certainly in order.
Dramatic news from Rome.
It would appear that the long-awaited clarification document on the application of Summorum Pontificum would pose heavy limitations to its celebrations. Such limitations might, in fact, not go beyond the boycott of the Tridentine already witnessed among large part of the Catholic hierarchy, but would give the clear message that such a boycott is not unwelcome after all or, said in a slightly less polemic way, that the times are considered not ripe for a generalised diffusion of the Tridentine.
I generally choose not to write about rumours, but this is worrying. Rorate caeli is on the barricades and they are certainly not the types prone to alarmist and hysteric shouting. Messa in Latino (a delicious Italian blog written with all the violent energy of passionate Italians, I do pity those of you who can’t read Italian and will henceforward consider myself utterly soft and ruined by years of living in England) is firing from all cannons and also makes nomi e cognomi (Monsignor Scicluna and Cardinal Canizares), the rumours are confirmed from different sources and in short, the alarm bell is ringing.
From the details transpired until now, it would appear that the clarifications are in the sense of
a) rigidly restricting the old rite to the proper Roman Rite (for example: no usus antiquior of the Ambrosian Rite), and
b) pointing out to the concept that the Tridentine is, so to speak, a separate exercise for those with certain “sensitivities” but not meant to influence and penetrate the liturgical life of the Church.
Messa in Latino calls this exercise annacquamento, anzi annegamento (“watering down, nay: drowning”) of Summorum Pontificum and it is clear to see why they would get so emotional: if a signal goes out that the Tridentine is something rigidly limited to sensitive, rather than meant to help the sensible, the knives will be out to relegate the Tridentine in the attic of liturgical praxis.
This is very, very bad and if confirmed would, I am afraid, be in indelible stain on the entire pontificate of Benedict XVI and indicate, as the Italian say, that he has grown “afraid of his own courage” and doesn’t want to encourage the strong wind of renewal (that is: restoration of tradition and sanity) clearly noticed in these last years.
I would be inclined to dismiss such fears, if the behaviour of the Pontiff in the last months would give me confidence that this rumours are unlikely to have any ground in reality. Unfortunately, the Pontiff’s careless words about condoms on one side and the extraordinary initiative of Assisi III on the other side do appear to justify the fear that this Pope is, so to speak, not really like wine.
Let us hope that all this is a tempest in a water-glass. But at this point it is fitting that there be a tempest.
Find here a list of addresses to contact the Vatican. Several email addresses are included. Be short and respectful. Please write to all email addresses you can get your hands on. Please everyone send a message to me with other relevant email addresses if you find any and I will update this page asap.
Pope Benedict: a) firstname.lastname@example.org or b) email@example.com
Cardinal Levada, CDF: firstname.lastname@example.org
Congregation for the Clergy: email@example.com
Congregation for the Evangelisation of People: firstname.lastname@example.org
Osservatore Romano: email@example.com
I have already written about Msgr. Charles Pope (the “Monsignor with no uncertain trumpet” and the Monsignor dealing with “the lock and the key”). He has the rare gift of expressing himself in a highly imaginative and entertaining manner and is always a pleasure to read.
This time, Monsignor Pope (what a name, by the way…) deals with, so to speak, medical issues. In his experience (and in that of many of us, I am afraid), the spiritual development of many Catholics stops at age seven or eight and doesn’t progress much further as he goes through life; on the contrary, the risk of regression to first spiritual infancy and utter Catholic illiteracy is rather big and frequently observed.
Still, Monsignor Pope doesn’t fail to notice that whilst arrested development in every other aspect of life would not fail to greatly worry the parents, in the case of spiritual formation to remain at the level of a seven-year-old is considered nothing worrying at all. His example is in my eyes a bit extreme for a churchgoer, but it applies wonderfully to the army of lapsed Catholics out there whose theology is restricted to easy and convenient platitudes a’ la “God is Love” and “do not judge”; platitudes taken out of every context, uttered whenever convenient and generally very apt to persuade the spiritual child that there is no need to make any homework, let alone any penance, let alone any effort to be a better child.
I would give the main responsibility of this disastrous state of things to the Catholic clergy (yes, I do “judge” when I see a scandal, but he who criticises me is “judging” me too) who are, even more than the parents, those primarily in charge of the propagation of the Catholic message.
If here in the West we had courageous priests ready to risk their popularity instead of cuddling their audience with easy slogans and insipid common places, the message would get outside and reach, more or less indirectly, those who do not attend. You’d have an army of churchgoers properly instructed and ready to go out and spread the message with reasonable accuracy. Most of all, you’d have the end of the simplistic “celebration” mentality – utterly devoid of any obligation and only concerned with its own shallowness – now slowly infecting Catholic life. I was well in my Forties when I first heard people talking of “celebrating” instead of “mourning”, or before the astonishing meaning given to the words “do not judge” by the ignorants and the liberals became clear to me. I assure you these things didn’t happen in the Countries where I had been living up to then and I started to wonder what strange of Christianity this is, where people call themselves Christian but know more of Ghandi than Christ. Also here in Blighty was my first case of a person candidly reporting of being sure of being Christian, but not being sure of having ever been baptised. “I assume I was”, she said, “though my mother never mentioned it”. Church of England apparently, so a baptism should definitively have occurred. Words fail me.
Here in the West we have a massive epidemy of spiritual arrested developments and the problem continues to spread because many priests are (nothwithstanding the long years of theology studies, by which one wonders whether anything sensible has been learned at all) either astonishingly untrained or, more probably, predictably cowardly.
Proper Catholic instruction starts from the priest and the pulpit. If the priest does his job, more and more parents will send their children to be properly instructed; more and more adults will have intelligent answers to give to their friends; more and more of Catholic patrimony will start spreading around and become again, in time, part of the cultural patrimony of the country.
It must all start by the priest and the pulpit.
Interesting article on Catholic Culture about Hell. It is a pleasure to see that the invasion of the blogosphere from intelligent Catholics is slowly but surely bringing to the attention of discerning Catholic readers what a disgraceful clergy wanted them to forget or ignore. In this case the article is certainly not new (1995), but the internet is the way to make it better known.
Mr. Young doesn’t try to sweeten the pill; he is very clear on the unpleasant part, the one that in these days – when it is considered rude to say unpleasant things – is so often ignored. But at the same time – and with that mixture of common sense and good-natured optimism that is so typical of the best Catholic attitude – he sends a clear message of hope to those who may either be prone to scruples or thinking that if there is a Hell they are hopeless anyway.
In fact, negation of Hell (which in itself might well send one there) is rather common among those who don’t know the Gospels and prefer to fantasise about alleged Church conspiracies rather than to examine the facts. Jesus himself talks of Hell in a very clear manner, insistently, and nowhere more than in the Gospels do we see Hell mentioned. If one is able to read the Gospel without getting this message loud and clear he must simply re-learn to read.
Secondly and regarding the “conspiracy theorists”, it would appear rather extraordinary that the “conspirators” would be ready to die for Christ in such big numbers (and very often in such atrocious ways) because bent on creating – a couple of centuries after their horrible, humiliating death – some big organisation able to forbid one to eat meat on a Friday, & Co.
I have never seen conspirators so ready to die in order that their lie may triumph a couple of hundreds year later. I bet you never did, either.
Thirdly, Jesus’ clear insistence on Hell should make clear to everyone that Hell has not been created to allow Satan to play poker with Pol Pot, Hitler and Stalin. Hell is a clear, concrete possibility, a fundamental choice every one of us can make, a choice about which Jesus reminds us constantly.
“Oh Well” – you might say – “they aren’t three then, and perhaps not even three hundred; but compared to the world population…….. very few, surely?”
“The gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
These words come from the alleged First Conspirator Himself and frankly, the idea that his words might have been wilfully distorted in a gigantic effort to cheat God Himself of the message he wanted to send is more than blasphemous, it is outright stupid. Rather a few people, then, “find the hard way that leads to life”. It doesn’t mean that only those few will be saved, but it certainly means that there is no ground whatsoever for complacency.
But this the problem of modern times: people talking of Christianity without knowing the first thing of Christ, or talking of an alleged “betrayal” of Christ’s message without stopping to think of the absurdity of the concept.
Aut Deus, aut homo malus. Excluding the obviously absurd hypothesis of clinical insanity (that you never hear espoused by any critic of Hell’s existence anyway), Jesus was either a fraudster and a con man, or he was God. No intelligent, thoughtful reading of the Gospel allows any other possibility. How people who claim a vague belief in Jesus may reconcile their belief with the extraordinary denial of what he said strikes me as so arrogantly stupid as to not even deserve a serious conversation.
Jesus couldn’t have possibly been ” a nice chap”, or ” a man of God” duped by scheming apostles, or “the Son of God who was conned in the end by scheming martyrs”. It just doesn’t square, because this nice chap did say that He is God in thousand different ways and nice men don’t go around making such claims. Therefore, every DIY Christian and every Christian by hearsay must simply face the fact that unless He was God, He was not nice and not a man of God, but the most tragically cruel liar Himself; a man whose schemes not only led to His own death, but who preferred to continue the lie up to the cross, thus causing countless others to be killed because of His lie.
If one does as much as to believe that Jesus was not positively insane and not a scheming fraudster, then he must deal with the clear intellectual evidence of His being God. One of the first consequences of this actually rather easy to achieve conclusion is that Jesus has given us so many warnings about Hell for a reason. Or is there anyone ready to believe that God Himself would need to lie to us about Hell in order to save us from it?
It is time to face reality. Atheism may be logically linked to the absence of belief in the existence of Hell, but any form of credit given to Christ is utterly incompatible with it.
Therefore, Jesus is God and Hell exists, but where does this leave us in our matter? To put it with the author’s robust common sense,
“I think we should say it is not unlikely that many are lost. We should definitely not hold the opinion that few are lost.”
At the same time,
we must avoid generating a morbid fear of hell or an obsession with it. It is not a fate that can overwhelm us against our will; any who go there have chosen evil deliberately.
Hell is therefore very real and certainly not very sparsely inhabited; but it is avoidable all right if one as much as takes care that he does not embrace it.
To close with the powerful statement closing the article (emphases mine),
The doctrine should be seen in the light of God’s greatness and our dignity as free beings. He is so great that hell is a just punishment for rebelling against him; our dignity as responsible beings is so great that we can deserve that fate.
From the treasure trove of Lux Occulta, another interesting vintage booklet in economic and social matters, “A Christian Alternative to Communism and Fascism”.
The book has his own little faults and read with today’s mentality, calls for administered prices and a minute description of the corporative structure do seem more than a bit naive. Still, the booklet makes a good job of explaining the basic idea of Catholic corporatism and whilst the preoccupation of separating it from Fascist corporatism – unjustly vilified and actually much more similar in his day-to-day reality to the model herein described than to the nazi-ish, totalitarian apparatus described – is evident and clearly due to the openly stated necessity of avoiding any identification with the Fascist experience, there is no denying that a lot of sound and easily doable ideas transpire from this little work.
The first is that the omnipresent State activity must be controlled if it is not to stifle the freedom of the citizen. These words were prophetic many decades ago but are tragically true today, after the advent of the “social state” (better said: socialist state) has created the idea that it be not only normal, but good that state nannyism should put its dirty nose in every activity of its citizens.
The second is the concept of subsidiarity: that the citizens should come together and create organisations meant to deal with those matters by which the citizens cannot adequately provide autonomously but do not want to leave to a pachydermic, bureaucratic, wasteful, invading State. Matters like wages, hours of work, regulation of competition, pension contribution, social care for the ill and disabled come to mind. This is a very modern concept, some aspects of which are highly developed and highly efficient in countries like Germany, and that should be given much bigger consideration today.
The third one (closely linked to the second) is the concept of proper corporativism: that such activities should be regulated by professional organisations similar to the guilds of old (and actually very similar to the corporazioni of Fascist memory), left free to regulate their own matters in a way able to make their industry at the same time competitive and worthwhile to work in. The bakers have different hours than the transport industry, but as they are all interested in the prosperity of their respective sector they will decide within their own professional guild how they want to have their own wages, working hours, pension, social security & Co. regulated, with a fair sharing of the burdens and profits making the industry attractive for both employers and employees and able to withstand the competition for skilled workforce aspiring to a decent wage and to a decent life.
All this – and this is the basic message – can be regulated and decided within the relevant guilds much more efficiently than through an all-pervasive State intervention imposing rules and obstacles (as the Italians beautifully say: lacci e lacciuoli) which are burdensome and counterproductive. If we think of Blighty, the recent proliferation of asphyxiating health and safety regulations and the even more recent tsunami of “equality” legislation are the best example of a self-serving, ever-expanding State apparatus only interested in creating jobs for their own protegees at the expense of the working – and risking – businesses of the country.
There is much to say for a wise, gradual delegation of powers to the professional organisations and to the local communities. When such systems are implemented, they tend to work well. The German health care system is broadly based on such principles and is infinitely more efficient and less expensive than the NHS Behemoth; so was the Italian health care system until the Sixties, when the cooperative-based, corporative health care system was replaced by a state monster of NHS inspiration. Professional bodies (say: for lawyers, chartered accountants & Co) have a good track record of being able to regulate themselves in a rather effective and efficient manner. Mutual help organisations like the Knights of Columbus in the United States show with what success individuals can organise themselves to provide for self-regulated social services. All this with a degree of efficiency and social justice unknown to Western European bureaucracies purely bent on creating consensus and job for potential voters who are, interestingly enough, never the ones who have to foot the bill.
There is a lot to say for this kind of Catholic corporatism. Not only from a moral and christian point of view, but also from a practical one. The reason that such a model is neglected is that – in this country as elsewhere – the citizens have been brainwashed into thinking that there is no alternative to a huge nosy aunt wanting to regulate your life and matters in the most minute details, allegedly for your good but in reality to procure jobs and favours for her own friends.
A parallelism has been made from some quarters between the usual strong opposition of the liberals to everything Vatican and justified with the “spirit of Vatican II” on the one side, and the fact that the new translation of the Mass will be implemented without major traumas (or better said, without overt opposition: how many priests will implement the new mass perfectly on time is another cup of tea) on the other side. The implication here is that the “spirit of Vatican II” is slowly going out of fashion.
I would like to comment on this as follows:
1) I so wish journalists would refrain from the temptation of seeing “trends” everywhere, or inflating things out of proportion for the sake or an article, or of a headline.
2) Priests will implement the new Mass just because they have to, open refusal to obey leading to serious consequences for their livelihood. As (supposed) martyrdom has never been a speciality of the liberal priest, there is no overt opposition to be awaited.
3) The “spirit of Vatican II” is being taken care of by the professional category of the undertakers. Their action will become more and more incisive in the years to come, but I can’t notice old sixty-eighters becoming any less sixty-eighters or just more tired of being obnoxious morons, let alone rediscovering the beauty of a reverent Mass.
Such “movements” usually end because they land in the same place as their promoters: six feet under.
4) If anything, the British clergy is more heretical today than it was twenty or thirty years ago. No English bishop would have, decades ago, publicly declared that he “doesn’t know” whether the Church will accept the “reality of gay partnerships” and no bishop would have dreamt of ever saying that he is “nuanced” and does not oppose civil partnership. Actually not even people in open revolt to the authority of Rome like Henry VIII would have ever dreamt of saying such absurdities.
Nowadays even an Archbishop of Westminster is allowed to say such things and remain unpunished.
The “Spirit of Vatican II” is alive and kicking. It goes together with dissent or open heresy of all sorts and – in the absence of any strong action from the Vatican, nowhere to be seen at the time – it will die only as its proponents kick the bucket in increasingly larger numbers.
This is the sad (but encouraging in a sense, as the undertakers are clearly on our side) reality of the Church in England. Supposed trends out of thin air do not help to deal with the many, serious problems.
I sometimes wonder whether those who care for such obviously superfluous, clearly failed, ridiculous outfits as ARCIC truly believe in what they are doing or simply enjoy the travels, the meals and the jolly good times.
This news would actually speak for the latter hypothesis. It turns out that the so-called Archbishop of Canterbury has nominated this woman to be part of the Anglican side of the ARCIC team. The Anglican team will be ten strong, which will make for jolly entertaining conversation.
One can imagine the Catholic side sitting in front of the Anglican ones, with the intent of discussing a possible “union” with…… a bishopette. It would make a good “Little Britain” sketch.
On the other hand, if you accept the fact that ARCIC is there to provide selected Anglicans and Catholics with a travel to Italy, some seriously good food and some pleasant conversation the entire exercise truly makes perfect sense.
It is hard to believe, but countries like Canada have TV programs that can deal with Catholicism for three-quarters of an hour and being seen nationwide. If the BBC were to do something comparable, the program would obligatorily include a parade of sexual perverts explaining to us why the Church is evil; all interspersed with seemingly sympathetic comments from seemingly unbiased journalists aiming at pushing their secular agenda under the cloak of “tolerance” and “diversity”, which means approving pretty much everything under the sun.
Well, not so in Canada, where the Michael Coren show* deals with Catholicism for very long and in a serious fashion, inviting Michael Voris (well-known to the followers of this blog) to talk about it.
From this (longish) programme, several facts emerge:
1) Michael Voris has already been downloaded 5.5 million times in the last around two years. That’s some 7,500 downloads a day, give or take and with the trend going up (350,000 in January 2011; do your math). Very admirably, Voris says they don’t work “for” downloads, but can’t avoid noticing their growing number.
2) Criticism of Voris tends to come from people who think him “not charitable” (usual liberal excuse to attack those who are Catholics).
3) Voris makes clear that his role is to teach Catholicism. By a trend to 4+ million downloads a year, this gives all the scale of the failing of the Catholic clergy regarding their first duty: teaching the faith.
4) Voris makes an excellent job in explaining to the his viewers (composed of many non_Catholic, I can easily imagine) that to criticise what Church men do doesn’t mean that the Church is not infallible. The Church is doctrinally infallible, the people who compose her are prone to all sorts of errors. This is very important and must be explained again and again to your friends and colleagues when they are (naturally, seeing that they are not properly instructed) confused. This is also a huge source of prejudice against the Church, so it is very good that it was addressed.
5) Coren says it very clearly: Catholics schools teach people to be good citizen, but not to be good Catholics and in fact, even when they go out of school they can’t even define what their being Catholics is all about. I’d say these reflections can be shared by most people; they are the strongest indictment against the Catholic hierarchy in the West.
6) Voris is very clear: the problems started when Vatican II became a conduit for heterodox tendencies already contained in the conciliar documents. It is not the documents themselves that were heterodox, but they were so bad that they could be interpreted so and in the cultural climate of those years they predictably did.
Voris also cites the recent appeal of Bishop Schneider of a new “Syllabus of Error” regarding V II: this must be surprising and at the same time refreshing for non-Catholic viewers: seeing that the Church has not really ever changed, but has merely done her work badly for a handful of decades.
7) Coren is very perceptive: he notices that the liberal voices are the most intolerant ones and that “liberals” are only “tolerant” with those who “behave the way they want them to behave”. You’ll never hear that from the Beeb. Hat off to Mr. Coren.
8) “A lot of liberalism is about sex”, says Coren in another brilliant statement. He understands that liberalism is about doing what you please, and being Catholic is about trying to do as Jesus asks. The man is disarming in that he says things that in England would cause calls of hate speech as if he was saying the simplest facts on Earth. Refreshing.
9) Coren says it again in a very communicative way: he understands that “the teaching from Rome is perfect”, but that the problems lie in the provinces of the Empire. Voris has no problems in explaining the scale of the problems coming from the clergy. This must be, again, both shocking and refreshing for the viewers, who have the opportunity to see an organism sacred in her essence, but fallible in her workings.
10) Even Coren notices that younger priests and bishops tend to be much more orthodox than older one. He is 52, and a convert. I think he is spot on. Again, this is rather known among Catholics but it must be most interesting for non-Catholics viewers. An extremely instructive programme for them.
11) “Judas is the Saint of Social justice”. This Fulton Sheen line criticising the “militant social stance” of many priests is another statement you’ll never hear on the BBC.
12) The hard arguments come out around 27:00: the losing of the West’ soul, the hard truths about Catholic “unpleasant” messages, the necessity to hammer the hard messages to the people, the fact that your moral view will influence the entire society in which your children live. Coren reacts to Voris’ hard statements with grace and humour, his clear Catholicism never becoming obnoxious to those who don’t share his persuasion but clearly showing where his preferences lie. Again, I think that a non-Catholic can see this programme and be pleasantly instructed and entertained.
13) Moving details are revealed: Voris’ mother asking for a cross so that their children may come back to the faith, and dying of cancer in a prayerful way. Looks a bit like “Brideshead revisited”, but in real life. Voris avoids the emotional outburst, but one clearly understands that the event touched him profoundly.
14) Coren deals with the main criticism liberals move to orthodox people: being not charitable. Voris has the chance to explain what true charity is, and what false charity leads to.
No interruptions whilst he explains. Simply good journalism.
15) “It is not the role of the Church to blend in with society”. Another strikingly relevant statement from Voris. No English bishop I know would have ever the guts to say it so strikingly.
16) Some bishops apparently said to Voris something on the lines of “keep on saying what you say, because I can’t”. Sorry, but these are bad bishops. It can’t be that Voris may have the guts, and the bishop can’t afford to. Voris is there because they just don’t do their job. See point 15).
There are some other interesting points, but I’d like not to go beyond 1000 words. This is an excellent example of good, informative journalism, though clearly coming from a Catholic journalist. Coren respectfully listens to his guest allowing his viewers to get 45 minutes of solid formation in Catholicism. I can easily imagine that whilst Coren is clearly Catholic himself, his journalistic style may appeal to many non-Catholics and help them to get nearer to the Catholic truth. The chap has the warmth, the graceful ways and the smoothness of tone of an Italian in a good mood.
I so wish the BBC could learn a bit from him instead of being the miserable hotbed of secular anti-Catholic propaganda it is.
* as always, you may have to register. Free of charge and certainly worth your while.
I have already written about the decision of the Colombo’s Cathedral to impose a rigorous dress code with obligation for women to use the veil during Mass.
Father Z posted an interesting poll meant at knowing whether his reader thinks that a) a head covering should be worn and b) in this case, whether this should be made mandatory.
You can go directly to the site and click your way to the poll, where you will be able to vote even if not registered.
Interestingly enough, the YES to the head covering variations are majority among both sexes, with in both cases those preferring to leave freedom of choice being more numerous than those preferring that it be obligatory as it was in the past.
I was very pleased to read Fr Z confirming that the habit of covering the head among churchgoing women seems to be coming back again as this confirms my anecdotal observations both at the Oratory and elsewhere.
I have voted for the mandatory covering of the head for the following reasons:
1) I don’t think that this is the kind of obligation that could let anyone feel uncomfortable. It is an obligation out of love and those actions of which we make obligations out of love are the most beautiful ones.
2) Men have the obligation, not the choice, of uncovering their head when in church. Rightly so. The resurgence of male headgear (from formal hats to baseball caps to, well, hoods) hasn’t had any effect on this very simple, natural rule.
3) The women’s obligation of covering one’s head in church was a tradition of the past. Beautiful concept, tradition. Something passed from generation to generation …… before the V II generation decided that hey, it was not good enough anymore. In my eyes, whenever one recovers Church customs of the past one can never go wrong. If it was good in my grandmother’s time, it can’t be wrong now and if my grandmother never wondered whether the veil or hat should be mandatory I don’t think we should wonder now. You see, my grandmother lived in time when Christianity was more important than individual freedom. Food for thought.
4) Head covering is considered a traditional sign of modesty for women even outside of mass (see photo). Whilst one doesn’t advocate women always having to cover their heads, it is clear that if the covering of a woman’s head is a sign of modesty, the church is the natural place for it.
I salute the return of this beautiful tradition, then. I see in it another small step towards the recovery of liturgical sanity. Let us hope that this old custom may spread more and more in the decades to come.
It is always instructive to observe how the liberal press and media are never slow in mounting the next “homophobia” story, but never seem to pay the same attention when the story turns out to be not only utterly wrong, but damaging to their ideological agenda.
To make a sordid story short, it happened (read the beautiful contribution from the “Reluctant Sinner” blog) that David Kato, the Ugandan homosexual activist with the dubious honour of landing on a conservative newspaper’s list of prominent homos with the questionable headline “hang them”, was subsequently murdered.
After the tragedy, the ululations of the homo-wolves were longer and higher-pitched than usual and a “homophobic attack” presented as the very likely cause of the sad loss of a human life (and probably the ever sadder loss of an immortal soul). Sadly for the ulutating wolves, it turns out that the chap was murdered by… a fellow poof who was… his hired lover. You can’t make protest marches with that I am afraid.
Strangely, the space given to this story was – in my perception and, I bet, in yours – nowhere near the one given to the first, “homophobic” one. How very strange.
Reflecting on these matters, I would now be at a loss to mention heterosexuals killed by their occasional lovers, or killed by people who had been their “guests” for some time.
If on the other hand I think of the supposedly “gay”, several examples come to mind of homos killed by their own lovers, who were being paid by them.
Think of Pierpaolo Pasolini, a wasted talent and the epitome of everything that is filthy, killed in the most squalid of circumstances after quarrelling with male prostitutes about, well, professional fees. Whilst in recent times someone has tried to rewrite history, no one of a sane mind has, or ever had, the slightest doubt about the circumstances leading to his death.
Or think of Gianni Versace, killed by another homosexual very probably “known” to and already “hired” by him. Here too, attempts are being made at re-writing history to divert the attention from the relish with which supposedly “gay” people kill each other, but what became clear is that the man was no stranger to hiring desperate or drug addicted sexual deviants for very cheap money. Like the rather well-off Pasolini, Versace was another cheapskate because of his hate, I think. I’ll come back to this.
Now the case of David Kato, the Homo-Martyr-That-Never-Was. It turns out that the man was killed by the very poor boytoy “gardener” he kept in his home (gardener? GARDENER? Wait a minute! Kato was not wealthy at all and lived in a very dangerous neighbourhood, right?) against shelter, food and you-know-what.
Here too, money is at the centre of the tragedy and here too, “gayness” seems to go together with being a liar and a cheapskate at that or – depending on from what side you see it – a murderer of the man you were screwing just hours before. How very romantic. Kato apparently promised money to his (cough) “gardener” but then failed to deliver and the other had a bout of (cough) “gay pride” and found nothing better to do than to kill him. No doubt, in a few years’ time the attempts to rewrite history will be started here too.
I can’t avoid from all this the impression that homosexuals use, enslave, cheat, and murder their “lovers” with rather alarming frequency; that the idea of hiring sex slaves seems to be rather well spread (no, I do not think that his murderer was very much “romantically involved” with Kato; do you? And didn’t even Oscar Wilde, once in France, start to fish among the poorest and most destitute to satisfy his cravings?); that, in short, these oh so sensitive flowers screaming “homophobia!” and threatening with suicide if one says to them so much as poof often have a way to relating to each other that to me seems dominated by brutal exploitation and raw hate.
Which makes sense, because if there is one sensible conclusion that can be drawn from the extremely high rate of suicide, diseases of all kind and general brutality with each other that the supposed “gay” population exhibits, is that these people hate their own guts with a passion, and the guts of those like them with an ever greater one. Prepotence without manliness, and bitchiness without femininity.
Hate of oneself, then. Wait a minute, how is it called in medical terms?
From Domine, Da Mihi Hanc Aquam an interesting observation (mentioned also by others) about the IPhone application meant to prepare one for confession.
Typically, the worst part of the press has not lost the occasion to be misleading and superficial, possibly engendering in the most acutely lapsed Catholics the idea that it be now possible to, so to speak, self-confess and self-absolve oneself with the help of an iPhone application.
Of course, the readers of this blog very well know how things stand. But it might be useful to be vigilant and decidedly refute every opinion set in circulation by the uninformed. It might be even better to try to casually throw the app in as preparation to confession, just to have a good thing mentioned… 😉
If we remember the confusion generated by Pope Benedict’s careless words about condoms, we have the idea of what damage can be created among the very many for whom Catholicism is only as a distant voice, and who will receive Catholicism as a distant and often distorted echo. They shouldn’t be neglected and the effort to have as many doctrinal points as possible right among the majority of the general public is, in my eyes, essential if we want these lost sheep to come back to the fold.
I have never written about a beautiful Catholic publication and Internet presence, Christian Order, so it is a particular pleasure to do it today.
Apart from the extremely orthodox views reflected in the editorials (which you can all read online), what I find particularly enjoyable is the very clear, wonderfully politically incorrect, no-holds-barred way of presenting the argument. If you think that this blog is too harsh, you may want to pay a visit.
Christian Order’s January 2011 editorial is one of those pearls. It is very long and deals with several issues, but if your time is counted I’d ask you to focus your attention on the second part, “Tragedy”, because there is really no other way to describe the present situation in Arundel and Brighton’s, and in Westminster’s diocese.
Tragedy, Part One: Bishop (alas!) Conry declares, before the Papal visit, that Pope Benedict
May well be relieved to be coming to a place where, unlike some of his other recent trips, there are no big problems for him to sort out.
One is speechless at the disingenuousness (that my grandmother, God bless her soul, would have called “dishonesty” and “bad faith”) of such affirmations. A country where abortions hover around 200,000 a year; divorce and cohabitation are widespread; perverts “marry” perverts with the blessing of the government; drug use is on the rise; wiccans get recognised as members of a “religion”; loss of orientation is everywhere and shallow TV programmes seem to be the new unifying faith is to bishop Conry a country with “no big problems to sort out”.
Either for bishop Conry 200,000 abortions a year are not a big problem and the fact that perverts can “marry” is a fully normal and democratic occurrence, or the man has obviously lost his marbles. Unfortunately for us and for his soul, the first hypothesis is by far the more probable.
The scandal of such an ideological blindness was too much for a good man answering to the name of Edmund Adamus, aid to Archbishop Nichols. Adamus gave a well-publicised interview in which he described the United Kingdom as “a selfish, hedonistic wasteland” and “the geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death”, which actually pretty much hits the bull’s-eye. Punctually, Archbishop Vincent “Quisling” Nichols felt the need to let us know that Adamus’ opinion “did not reflect his own”. I have blogged about Adamus’ courageous interview here.
This was probably too much of an invitation for BBC lefties, and here the tragedy’s second part took its course. Asked by a BBC journalist about how he sees Adamus’ comments and whether he sees the UK society as “extremely secular”, Nichols answers:
“Well it’s not how I would describe our society at all actually. I think our society is characterised as much by generosity and by genuine concern one for another, and I think religious faith is taken quite seriously by probably a majority of people in this country.”
A roar of laughter would be here the most appropriate answer, if the person making such an ass of himself were not the most prestigious Catholic of the Realm. I know that an Archbishop of Westminster must live a rather sheltered life, but only an extraordinary amount of self-inflicted blindness (which my grandmother, God bless her soul, would have called “dishonesty” and “bad faith”) can move one to even think of making such extraordinary utterances.
John Smeaton, the intrepid blogger and head of the society for the protection of the unborn children, said it very aptly:
I can’t think of anyone, Catholic or non-Catholic, religious or non-believer, who believes that “religious faith is taken quite seriously by probably a majority of people in this country.”And with 570 babies killed daily in Britain and with well over two million embryos discarded, or frozen, or selectively aborted, or miscarried or used in destructive experiments since the birth of the first IVF child was born over thirty years ago, how can the Archbishop blithely dismiss the culture of death without having his head kept, deliberately, buried in the sand?
Deliberately is the operative word here. Meaning with cynical disregard for Catholicism, for countless murdered babies, for the way the country is morally going down the drain. Provided that stupid, sugary songs continue to be sung in front of a greying audience slowly not even remembering what rebellion to the Pre-Vatican church was like but liking the idea anyway, Nichols and Conry think that the world is in good order. They’ll just have to ignore the irrelevant details of the 200,000 abortions a year, of the institutionalised sexual perversion and of the galloping de-christianisation of the country at all levels (are they aware of a drive to legalise euthanasia in this country? No? Shouldn’t they be informed?) and occupy themselves with the next statement that says nothing, sounds good and lets one appear oh so good.
Mala tempora currunt.
From the Catholic Herald, a rather shocking example of how much is still to be repaired within the damaged body of the Only Church. The more shocking, because it comes from a country which by all its problems is still considered at the forefront of the Catholic world and where, for example, the majority of the population still approves the ban on abortion.
It would appear that almost ten percent of the Irish clergy is not only opposed to the introduction of the improved translation of the Mass – which would be bad news in itself, but one would be able to dismiss it as the result of mediocre lirutgical formation -, but that the arguments they bring against the new translation are so ideologically biased, so obviously un-Catholic as to let one fear for the sheep who have to attend Mass every week with these wolves in sheeps’ clothes.
I never thought I’d see the day when not one, but hundreds of clergy consider a translation from the Latin sexist. This is the kind of verbal flak you expect from the BBC, from a fashionable unrepentant pervert a’ la Stephen fry, or from a die-hard (but hey: dying they are) feminist group.
The arguments of these people sound to me as if I’d asked a left-wing Italian teacher to celebrate Mass. Still, I dare to say that the criticism moved by many of such left-wing teachers would not go as far as to express a “grave concern” because the new translation “demonstrates a lack of awareness of the insights gained from linguistics and anthropology during the past 100 years”.
What these bad shepherds say is that the translation from the Latin is wrong, because the old liturgy is naturally politically incorrect and we can’t talk that way anymore. But we are talking about liturgy here, not about stupid linguistical conventions for afternoon teas. We are dealing with the Truth and its proper expression here, not about politically correct linguistic usages. We are dealing with the way the Church has, for countless generations, deemed fit to express what is most central in Her entire existence, nay, what alone justifies Her existence in the first place!
These priests simply think they can re-write Truth, because Truth doesn’t conform to their anthropological views anymore. This is not even biased dissent but, in its essence, Modernism.
It gets – if possible – worse than this. Obscure threats of…(what, really?) are also made, “chaos” painted on the wall, open revolt hinted at. A chap called Father Gerard Alwill expresses himself in this way:
We are saying very clearly that this new translation of the Missal is not acceptable… We are deeply concerned that if these new texts are imposed, they could create chaos in our church. Our Church doesn’t need chaos at this time.
The new translation is not acceptable to you, Father Gerard? Well don’t accept it! Ask to be defrocked! Get out!
This is not the Anglican so-called church, where every Dick and Harry can decide what is “acceptable” to him. Particularly so, when we are talking of words as they have always been, liturgy as it has always been intended. These people think that the Church should follow their own “anthropological views”! And they call themselves Catholic priests! Astonishing!
That with the “chaos” is also funny. The good chap seems to dream of a schism, or of some great revolt. “PC Priests Against Chauvinist Liturgy”. Where’s the rainbow flag……
Again, it is staggering how little these people know (or pretend to know) the Church. This is Anglican talk and Anglican thinking and frankly, Anglicanism is the right place for these sorry excuses of Catholic priests.
Chaos? Keep dreaming, old boy.
You might have read (actually, I hope you haven’t) about all the turmoil in Italy in the last months and particularly in the last weeks.
As many other Italians, I watch with a certain consternation the level of decay those who represent the Institutions have reached. As many others, I wonder what the future holds and as many others, I wonder what the unintended consequences of a “morality drive” might be.
Let us take 2006. The centre-left government wins the election with the shortest of margins. Catholics are heavily represented and the PM is a rather devout chap with an irreprehensible political pedigree and (as far as one can ever be certain of such things) immaculate private life; a “Mr. Clean” not only in comparison to the “Mr. Dirt” (and I am not talking about his private weaknesses here) he fought against, but by any conceivable standard. For those who shouldn’t know, in Italy centre-left generally means “centre-centre-centre-with some crumbles left to the lefties”. It was a centre-“left” government that bombed Serbia without UNO approval, and it was centre-“left” governments who introduced the most relevant pro-market reforms of the last 20 years.
Everything looked fine, then, until the point where the left part of the centre-left coalition decides to get one or two ideological scalps to counteract the, once again, very obvious moderate/Catholic/centrist drive of the PM and his government. The battleground of choice is – in the impossibility of choosing dogs or cats – the “marriage” of men with…. other men, a sacred cow of anti-Catholicism the world over.
The proposal, obviously going against the grain of the vast part of the population, sends the Catholics of the centre-left on the barricades whilst the opposition laughs heartily and says “we told you so”. To make a very long (and as usual very emotional) story short, the Prime Minister finally gets his way in the usual Italian way (victory against internal opposition; then resignation at the first possible occasion; then re-appointment with new and more centrist platform to show who is boss; if you’re not Italian, I bet you’ve lost me…..).
The Catholics, then, win the battle, but the country listens and learns. Millions of aged and less-aged Italians discover that the inconceivable almost happened and that a centre-left coalition does carry the risk of very nasty surprises. At the following general elections, the bill is presented and it is an expensive one: both communist parties don’t get entrance in parliament (first time after WW II) and the vocally pro-poof greens are also kicked out (first time since they first got in). Centre-right wins big and whilst it can’t be said that it was exclusively because of the attempt to institutionalise sexual deviancy, if you add 2+2 you know that the matter played an important role and opened many people’s eyes as to what the real dangers are.
And so we come to the present days. Top Pig (or as many call him “Il nano pelato”, “the bald dwarf”; try that in the UK…..) is in power again, but he is a very shrewd marketing man; he knows who keeps him in power and what he must deliver if he wants to hope that the electorate overlooks his very, very many shortcomings. Therefore you have the very strange situation where a government who is nothing less than the embodiment of private decadence and public corruption is also a strong defender of Christian values (euthanasia, say; “civil partnerships” are for now just not on the radar screen anymore).
The last example comes from here, with the Italian government the first one (France followed in tow) to actually say to every other European government to wake up and smell the Christian coffee, and being rather outspoken and rather effective in the process.
Italians – and, make no mistake, the Vatican – are now confronted with the choice whether to push a change which might end up very badly, or to live with the non presentable but reliable deliverer of conservative values.
After reading the link provided you might conclude, with me, that a Berlusconi is still preferable to a Cameron every day of the week.
No, it is not a compliment for the bald dwarf.
If you want to have an immediate perception of everything Vatican II represents, look no further than these two photos, courtesy of the always excellent Rorate Caeli blog.
I do not need to tell you which one is the old altar and which one is the new one. I would like to make the following observations:
1) The doubt whether the bishop (this is the Cathedral of St. Vincent in Viviers, France) who considers such a movable (look at the carpet) and almost casual device suitable for a Consecration believes in the Divinity of Christ is fully justified. I’d say the more intelligent question at the sight of such an opprobrium is how long ago the bishop in question has lost his faith, or whether he ever had one.
2) If I had even someone as infinitely lower than Christ as my King or Head of State at supper I’d never dream of dedicating to him my kitchen table, or my movable camping device, or the small breakfast table in the balcony. I would think that to prepare for my guest the best that I can offer would be the most elementary sign of my respect for my guest, and of my fitting tribute to his rank. I am rather sure the bishop who had the idea of commissioning such a sacrilege thinks the same, too and would never dream of receiving his distinguished guests in boxers and flip-flops, nor of inviting them to dinner and let them sit on the portable table in a corner of the patio.
Whenever I see such altars I can’t avoid thinking of someone who receives you in his undies and thinks it cool. This goes together with the modern times, when young idiots wear their undies as substitute for the back of their trousers and think it cool, too; but at least, they aren’t bishops.
3) I am very much in favour of the Holy Father talking, as he does here, of the necessity for the priest to “oppose the trend of the time”, to be “like a tree that has deep roots” as opposed to the “portable” ideology of the post- V II clergy. But I can’t avoid noticing that the Holy Father is very shy in walking the walk and that he – not to put too fine a point on it – continues to allow what he criticises. This is the same spirit of encouragement instead of demand already championed by Paul VI and John XXIII and about which I have already written here. It hasn’t worked these last 45 years and I can’t imagine that it can start working now.
This altar is a shame and a mockery of Catholicism. The downplaying of what happens on the altar is so evident as to make explanations superfluous; nay, I go as far as to say that the reason for such an altar is to make the downplaying of the Consecration perceivable to the dimmest wit. Symbols and images are very powerful and say one thousand words with a single statement. In this case, the statement can’t possibly be overheard.
Such clergy (the bishop, and those attuned to him) need our prayers, but they need to pull themselves together more, and they need correction the most. Beautiful speeches about the need for the priest to “not be chaff” are not really useful unless they are accompanied by the opportune measures and by a robust enforcement of the behaviour requested of them.