Daily Archives: May 14, 2011

Universae Ecclesiae: Archbishop Nichols Starts The Hostilities

After the release of "Universae Ecclesiae", activity was intense.

You would have imagined that the bishops would have been not slow in reacting to Universae Ecclesiae, but I’m sure the speed with which Archbishop Nichols has started to fire his Big Bertha against the Tridentine post is nothing less than remarkable.

Mere hours after the publication of the Instruction, Archbishop Vincent “Quisling” Nichols was already intent at the first trial shots. His analysis of Universae Ecclesiae doesn’t stress the huge importance of the work in terms of the obligations it puts on bishops, or the renewed statement of the importance given to the Tridentine Mass, or its being every bit the equal in rank to the Novus Ordo.

Instead, his analysis focuses on the (now reduced, though he doesn’t say) powers of the bishops and, most importantly, on the stressing of the only weak point of the Instruction: the absence of compulsory instruction in the celebration of the Tridentine in Seminaries.

It is really telling of the Archbishop’s forma mentis that he would immediately point out to the only point that is not overtly in favour of the mounting tide of Catholic conservatism. It is, at the same time, very telling about the spirit and attitude with which at least the bishops of England and Wales will react (react is here truly the right word) to Universae Ecclesiae.

Just a few hours after the release of the instruction, ++ Nichols’ trumpet has gathered his own around him and made clear to them that they may start preparing to battle. As so often in life, the why something is said tells you much more about an issue than what is, in the specific case, being said. This is clearly the case here, with the first distinguos clearly giving the start for the slow, silent, relentless work of sabotage now approaching. The Italians call this seemingly innocuous, but in fact very dangerous sabotage muro di gomma, or “rubber wall”. It is clear here that Archbishop Nichols’ message to his troops is “we may not be able to stop this, but we will certainly try”.

We will see whether he has any success. In my opinion, a prompt enforcement from the part of Ecclesia Dei will cause things to run smoothly from the start, whereas uncertainties in the enforcement will condemn this instruction to certain, if perhaps rather slow, death.

Let us hope the first will be the case.


Friday Penance Is (Truly) Back!

Friday Fare

Some of you might remember my reflection on Abstinence of Fridays of some time ago, and on the slow movement toward a full restoration of the practice of some time later.

It is now with great pleasure that I can inform those who don’t know already that it has been now decided (for the UK) that Friday penance (actually never abolished, though its existence has been carefully hidden from your sight by the western Catholic clergy) is going to be reintriduced in full style, that is: by making clear that the standard way of making friday penance is by abstaining from meat.

The new rule will get in force starting with the 16th September. This basically means – if the new rules are made known and explained to the faithful – the return to the good old days in just a couple of years.

Also interesting are the motivation the bishops have given for this – semel in anno – very laudable initiative: 1) the recovery of Catholic identity and practice, and 2) the common celebration of friday penance.

As to 1), one thinks that the old sixty-eighter generation must be rather bewildered at the concept of Catholic practices being reintroduced because they are specifically Catholic. This really doesn’t square with the ecu-maniacal soup they have been eating for too many decades. I doubt that even a joint will be enough for them to forget the crude reality of the irresistible return of traditional Catholic practices. I do hope they’ll enjoy the salmon, though.

As to 2), this is interesting in its social relevance. If this practice is made known and the faithful regularly reminded about its observance, in just a few years you’ll have every biggish office, association etc. where Catholics are clearly recognisable. This is a bit like Ash Wednesday, where you see in the underground the people with the ashes on their forefront and you either know, or are curious…. In time, those standing out for this strange behaviour will become more and more, one question will lead to another and, no doubt, many a soul will be saved as a result.

I warmly welcome this development and didn’t want to miss one of the very rare occasions when our bishops act in a decisive, laudable and even slightly uncomfortable way.


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