Daily Archives: April 28, 2011
A very nice blogger priest, who calls himself Reverend Know-it-all, has posted a long series of semi-serious but rather perceptive and very pertinent observations about modern marriage in his own experience (hat tip to Father Z).
This long blog post has reminded me of two things: the sad scene at the beginning of the film “Gran Torino” – that has been haunting me since – and the less haunting, but cynically pleasant song “makin’ whoopee”, though as we are talking about Catholic marriage (and as we are at the vigil of, oh, that marriage) I should obviously not mention the point at all.
Without depriving you of the joy of reading the post, I would add some considerations:
1) the sense of the Catholic marriage as a sacrament has been profoundly damaged in the last decades. If one feels the need of having a DJ for the party after the marriage, then something is clearly seriously wrong. Again, one is reminded of the “Gran Torino” funeral scene.
2) I never cease to be amazed at why marriage be still so idolised by non religiously minded women, when the very same women are the ones who will file the vast majority of the subsequent divorces. With the exception of the minority of people who continue to feel the marriage as sacred and indissoluble (alas, not very many even among Catholics: Catholic Cologne has the same rate of divorce than neighbouring, Protestant Dusseldorf!) marriage is not a definitive choice anymore, but the indication of a serious attempt at most. The fire exit is, though, always there and firmly in the mind of both the component of the oh so smiling and beautiful couple (wanna be sure? Ask them if they are against divorce, or if they would be ready to solemnly and legally shut the fire exit….). It is therefore difficult to understand why – with the exception of the minority above mentioned – the female excitement should be so high, and this with regard to both marriage in general and, well, that marriage in particular.
3) Father know-it-all is suavely ironic, but we can’t forget that part of the guilt resides by the very priest, that in most cases goes along with pretty much everything he describes in his blog post without so much as a grunt, much less a stern reproach.
4) In many countries, like Italy, you can’t be married in the church (a holy cow of many women even in these “liberated” times) unless you subject yourself to a long (six month, I believe) pre-matrimonial course and I even know of several cases where the priest has been inflexible on this (which meant, nowadays, that the bride wasn’t pregnant). Such exercises go a long way to ensure that the couple really dedicate a lot of time preparing for their married life rather than merely for the marriage ceremony.
5) I often hear that it would be “better” for a couple to undergo a phase of concubinage before the marriage, “to see if things work”, but no one has ever proved to me with numbers that this is really the case, and the countries were such habit is common are those with the highest frequency of divorce.
Rather, it seems to me that people who are serious about their marriage as to not choose a phase of (gravely sinful, scandalous, and which even excludes from communion) concubinage are ipso facto those who bring the best ingredients for a successful marriage. Marriage doesn’t work because there was no serious breakdown during the warranty time, but because there is a serious intention not to have the breakdown in the first place.
6) Tomorrow there will be a historic marriage in this country. All the best to the couple, but he who whistled “makin’ whoopee” by the last royal marriage was rather the more perceptive, realistic chap; it there being not only a legal basis, but even a precedent for divorce, we all know what will happen tomorrow is a hope at best.
This is what happens when you take the sacrament out of the ceremony.
This – as always – excellent Michael Voris video* points out to a very important aspect of the current crisis: the fact that vast parts of the Church (among both the clergy and the laity) simply refuse to see it.
This is largely due, I think, to the increasing influence the media have on the easily impressionable. A Pope gathering extremely large crowds can give the impression that Catholicism is prospering, but this is only a very superficial impression. Catholicism is certainly on the increase, but in vast part of the West its shallowness – and in the worst cases a quiet abandonment of catholic orthodoxy – has been if not actively promoted, certainly tolerated through silence.
When 75% of Catholics don’t go to Mass and almost as big a percentage doesn’ t even believe in the Real Presence, the crisis is there irrespective of how many airports you may fill.
I disagree with Voris’ only in one point: that in this crisis the heresy is not a deliberate choice, but largely a matter of astonishing ignorance of the faithful, ignorance carefully built in 45 years of relentless dumbing down of everything Catholic.
My personal experience is that most non-churchgoing Catholics haven’t any meaningful idea of what offence it is to be a Catholic and not to go to Mass; and as they perfectly well know that many priests wouldn’t insist on it, they are not really going to change their mind when the occasional Mundabor explains the facts to them: when the rules conflict with the reality they see at work every day, a reality amply tolerated by the clergy, how can this be differently?
The same goes for abortion, contraception and the like. In a world where it is rather difficult to find priests who have the gut to say to the parishioners in their face that it is not about what they consider right, but what the Church says it’s right, how do you want to avoid even churchgoers going around picking and choosing? If their priest never tells them so much as a half uncomfortable word, and reduces everything to “celebrating” and “accepting” and being “tolerant”, how can we expect that this rubbish is not going to influence them in their daily lives?
And I am talking of the churchgoers here, let alone the lapsed Catholics.
In the last months I have taken the habit of asking those who say “I am a Christian, but….” (followed by a heresy of their choice) whether they can recite the ten commandments to me.
Of the supposed Catholics, no one can.
The “heresy” of our days is fed by people who don’t even know the ten commandments but have persuaded themselves that they can call themselves “Christians”; a concept that not more than two generations ago would have seemed absurd I do not say to every theologian, but to every child of ten years of age.
The consequence of this is, in my eyes, that one or two generations of committed instruction of Catholics through both the clergy and an aggressive work of propaganda through the media would let the heresy naturally recede; because in the crisis we are living the heresy is not due to a willed, deliberately chosen frontal conflict with the Church, but to the sheer ignorance of what being a Catholic implies.
The way to this goes, in my eyes, through the recovery:
1) of the Liturgy (how do you want people to believe in the Real presence, if you feed them the dumbed down, protestantised New Mass?);
2) of proper Catholic instruction; and
3) of an assertive mentality and media behaviour replacing “social justice” rhetoric with true evangelisation.
The crisis is vast, but it is not such a deep ideological hiatus as, say, the Heresies of Luther, Calvin and Zwingli were.
Bring proper instruction to the sheep, and they will naturally come back to the fold.
Father Michael Pfleger is one of the stupidest liberal nutters in the Land of the Free, a fact of which you can easily persuade yourself by watching the video above. His speciality seems to be an extreme form of “white guilt complex” and if you look at the video above you will see the extremes to which this chap can go to. He is like a very pale Farrakhan. I’m sure Michelle Obama likes him a lot, though I doubt that he is Muslim enough for her husband.
You will in the video also note the personal show set up by the man; the studied, extreme gesture, the “protestant preacher” attitude, the over-the-top tones.
You would be forgiven for thinking that such a priest is, well, not very priestly. You would be right.
Father Pfleger has just been suspended by his bishop. The reason for this is that, being requested to be transferred to another position – in a role which, from what I can see, can in no way be seen as a deminutio, which considering the fanaticism of the man might be a scandal in itself – he not only refused to obey, but declared publicly on the radio that, if forced to be transferred, he would consider leaving the Church altogether. Methinks, he hasn’t read the job description properly.
Father Pfleger shows the self-centeredness of the liberal would-be prophets like him; he shows that not Christ is at the centre of what he does, but his own pride and convenience; he shows that the notoriety given to him by his pandering to the most aggressive black revanchist attitude has gone to his head, big time.
Please compare this to a Father Corapi, suspended because of one letter and who disagrees with the decision – as he is certainly allowed to do – but still obeys to the order of his superior.
These are the occasions where you can see who is interested in serving God and who is interested in the promoting of political ideology and of himself.
Father Pfleger has been given some week for prayer and recollection – whilst being suspended – and he is now in front of the choice whether to admit that he has been an ass (again) or show to everyone what a fake catholic he has always been.
I do not doubt that he can make a more than decent living as a defrocked preacher, touring resentful black America as the white liberal poster boy. But at least he won’t be allowed to go on with his madness whilst being a Catholic priest anymore.