Daily Archives: July 8, 2011

A New Cathedral, As God Intended

Beautiful! The new cathedral in Pristina

I have written about the possible purchase of the so-called Crystal Cathedral from the Diocese of Orange, and suggested that the construction ex novo of a cathedral made in the good old way would be a far preferable solution to the conversion of a protestant temple without the typical aesthetic (and spiritual) feature of a cathedral.

From the always excellent Rorate Caeli, an example of what can be done: the new Cathedral of Pristina, Serbia/Kosovo.

As you can see from the photograph, this is a very traditional, beautiful, inspiring building. It is also encouraging that it should be build in a region tormented by civil war not many years ago.

The future looks, thank God, more and more similar to our beautiful past.


Cardinal Policarpo Backpedals On Female Ordination

Cardinal Policarpo.

Some of you might remember the scandalous interview of Cardinal Policarpo of some weeks ago.

If you needed some evidence of the power of the new media, look no further than at the excellent Rorate Caeli blog. Here, what is clearly a retractation from him (he calls it “clarification”; let us put a charitable blanket of silence on that…) was posted.

Allow me to say beforehand that I will not insult your intelligence by pretending to believe – and asking you to believe – that no external pressure was at work on this, and Rorate Caeli themselves have no doubt whatsoever on the matter. If you ask me, this has “Rome” written all over it and my congratulations are for them, not for the Cardinal.

The most salient words of Policarpo’s message are in my eyes the following (emphases always mine):

The reactions to this interview have forced me to look into this theme with greater care, and I have ascertained that, mostly for not having taken into appropriate consideration the latest declarations of the Magisterium on the matter, I gave rise to those reactions

So, he has forgotten to read Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, or was not attentive in class. Which, OS having been released only seventeen years ago, goes under “latest declarations of the Magisterium”. Still, it is nice and deserving of credit that he acknowledges that the problem has been caused by him.

The most recent Magisterium of the Popes interprets this uninterrupted tradition, that has its origin in Christ and in the Apostolic body, not only as a practical way to proceed, which may change at the rhythm of the action of the Holy Spirit, but as an expression of the ministry of the Church itself, which we must receive in faith.

The Cardinal is wrong again here, but one understands that he is just trying to give some half-baked excuse for his scandal. The truth is that the Church has never said that male priesthood is a practical way to proceed. Never, ever. The Cardinal is confusing male priesthood with male celibacy, for sure. Much less has the Church ever said that male priesthood “may change at the rhythm of the action of the Holy Spirit”. Already the idea that there be a “rhythm” of the Holy Spirit “rhythmically” changing Truth is openly heretical and again, the Cardinal is confusing Catholicism with, say, Episcopalianism. The idea that there could be an “uninterrupted tradition” in such vital doctrinal matters that could be changed by the “rhythm of the Holy Spirit” is purest “so-called bishopess Schori”-thinking.

Male priesthood is constant and universal tradition of the Church.  This is Ordinary and universal Magisterium, period. This would be every bit as infallible if Ordinatio Sacerdotalis had never been written. Someone who had expressed himself in, say, the Thirties as Cardinal Policarpo expresses himself today would have found himself in deep trouble, very fast.

Let us read again the relevant bit of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, also cited by the Cardinal:

‘Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church’s judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force. Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.’

How is it possible to understand from here anything else than the simple, plain fact that the “rhythm of the holy spirit” bollocks has never been justifiable, that it has always gone against Church teaching and that it even goes against “the Church’s divine constitution” is beyond me. If a teacher teaches to his pupils in 1994 that 2+2=4, this is not the teacher’s “latest declaration”. This is fact. It has always been this way, not starting from 1994!

The Cardinal continues with the following words:

“We are thus called to accept the Magisterium of the Holy Father, in the humility of our faith, and to continue to deepen the relationship of the ministerial priesthood with the priestly quality of all the people of God, and to discover the feminine way of building the Church, in the decisive role of the mission of our women sisters.

I hate to be fussy, but the good Cardinal obviously still doesn’t get it. It is not the teaching of JP II that says that male priesthood is the only way. It is Ordinary and universal Magisterium, because it is what “has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church”. There can’t be a clearer indication of this being Ordinary and universal Magisterium than these words. Cardinal Policarpo, and all those with the same strange “rhythmical” fantasies, must once and for all stop pretending that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis has brought any change. It hasn’t. Ordinatio Sacerdotalis has merely stated what always was.

In the end, though, and making some allowance for the embarrassment of a poor man trying to justify the unjustifiable – like the pupil caught sleeping in class and asked to give an explanation of what he is doing – Cardinal Policarpo makes very clear that where the Magisterium is, there is he. This is a welcome, erm, “clarification”, because a different message had been spread through his words.


The Vincent Nichols Tapes Are Online

The "nuanced" Archbishop, Vincent Nichols.

Some good, brave, patient soul has set up an anonymous blog with a collection of rather astonishing (if we didn’t know the man, that is) utterances of Vincent “Quisling” Nichols in video, audio and printed format.

The title is brutally truthful: “Archbishop Vincent Nichols”; subtitle: “An unofficial record of sights, sounds and sayings from the Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster”.

From the numerous recordings, a very disquieting portrait of this spectacularly failed appointment to the Archdiocese of Westminster emerges. A man who, when he is not openly in contradiction with the Church, does everything he can to avoid saying what the teaching of the Church is. A man who, as one of the video shows, surprises even his anti-Catholic detractors, with the poor anti-Catholic man having to admit – obviously without having any idea of the implications  – that the Church in England is not aligned with Rome in matters regarding that logical and biological impossibility some call “gay marriage”. And in fact, Archbishop Vincent “Quisling” Nichols really, really wants to be on the side of the world rather than the one of the Church; it is merely that he cannot always say so openly.

I have dedicated the attention of this blog to Archbishop Vincent “Quisling” Nichols more than a couple of times already. Just to make two examples, there was the time when he wanted us to know how “nuanced” the E & W Church is in matter of so-called “gay marriage” is, or the time when he said that he didn’t know whether he would celebrate gay marriages . But the link I introduce you to today is different, because on the one hand it puts together what I have already written, and a lot more; and on the other hand lets us hope that it will be updated in future, thus constituting a sort of “Nichols Report”.

This meritorious work is already inserted in my own list of Catholic links (“Bad shepherds: The Vincent Nichols Files”). Please forward this link around: mail it, tweet it, facebook it, spread it, make it known.

Recent examples (the blasphemous degenerate so-called art of the late Mr Hrdlicka, a feat of Cardinal Schoenborn; the “Western Mass”, another feat of Cardinal Schoenborn; and the thingy with women ordination, this one the work of Cardinal Policarpo) show that Rome is increasingly more attentive to these kind of episode, and increasingly more inclined to act fast(ish) to put an end to them.

Oportet ut scandala eveniant. Unpleasant as it is to have to read (let alone: to write) about questionable or disgusting or blasphemous or heretical episodes, their public condemnation is the only way abuses can be reined in and orthodoxy made the duty of everyone, starting from those who should care for it the most.

Better days ahead. A prayer for the brave and patient soul who has done this work gratis et amore Dei is certainly in order.


Investigation Against Schoenborn And Maasburg Discontinued

Good news (rara avis) from Austria.

I have written yesterday that a criminal investigation against both Cardinal Schoenborn and the director of the Pontifical Mission Society, Dr. Leo Maasburg, had started. I remind you here of how things work in Continental Europe: the police cannot stop, or decide not to start, a criminal investigation; whenever an individual files charges against someone, an investigation must start. If it turns out that there is no crime, the investigation is then discontinued (or as they say in Italy, “archived”).

This is what has happened (with laudable speed, I must add) in the case mentioned above. Vienna’s Staatsanwaltschaft (the prosecution office) has now made publicly known that the investigation has been discontinued for the following reasons:

a) statute of limitations
b) facts did not constitute a criminal behaviour in the first place.

This is good news, as the principle that a quisque de populo can wake up, say, fifteen years after a fact and say that the one or other religious should have done more on this or that occasion, and that by not doing so he has acted criminally, has not been accepted. Besides the obvious fact of the statute of limitations (which as an institution does make sense, even if at times it hurts the feelings of the most sensitive souls), it stands to reason that it isn’t reasonable to expect from a third party a behaviour (going to the police and filing charges) that one is free, but not willing to put in place oneself.

In this case, the behaviour of the woman who filed the charges is – as it transpires from kath.net, unfortunately in German – even more absurd than that, but I spare you the embarrassing details.

In my alarm, I have written yesterday:

if what has happened justifies a criminal case God save us all: every adult would now be able to come out and ask for money because hey, twenty years ago he mentioned something to a priest and he hey, did not run immediately to the police. A nightmare.

I am now glad to report that reason has not only prevailed, but that it has prevailed with great speed.

Kudos to the Austrian prosecutors for acting so speedily.


Father Corapi Did A Good Job After All

Sheep dog. Authentic.

Father Corapi has released a reply to the SOLT’s press release of some days ago.

On that occasion, I wrote:

SOLT must be aware that they are now exposing themselves to be sued for libel for a huge amount of money if the information they have given proves grossly incorrect. As we can reasonably exclude this case, the only reasonable assumption now is that what was stated by Father Corapi’s order corresponds to the truth.

For this reason, I do not see it fit to waste your time and mine by repeating Father Corapi’s (repeatedly stated) arguments. I’d be extremely happy to report one day that he was right and SOLT was wrong concerning his sexual misconduct, but I won’t hold my breath.

I will also not examine the facts about the alleged violation of his promise of poverty again. As I have written already, the SOLT’s position on this seems to me to be rather disingenuous.

What I would like to point out to, is that even in this situation, it turns out that Father Corapi did a very good job.

Many of his followers are people who had completely lost the faith, or had never been Catholic before. From their messages on Father Corapi’s new website it is very easy to see how many lives this man changed*. At the same time, what transpires from the vast majority of messages is their love for the Church and their absolute orthodoxy. There are, of course, people who continue to cling to him in a way that lets one be afraid that they had converted to him rather than to true Catholicism; but the amount of well-meaning, totally orthodox messages is, considering the nature of the forum, rather impressive.

What striked me the most is the fact that many of those messages do not focus on the matter of Father Corapi’s innocence or guilt; but rather, on the fact that by leaving his priesthood he causes to himself a damage bigger than any wrongdoing could have caused, and on the value and meaning of obedience in an ordained man.

The absurdity of the current situation is that Father Corapi has put himself in a position where he would be found guilty of very grave conduct (leaving the priesthood) even if he were to be found innocent with regard to all accusations. Guilty at the point that I would personally not hesitate in considering his leaving the priesthood, in himself, graver than every one of the accusations moved to him; one who has failed to behave as he should (in the end everyone of us does it to an extent; every day!) can repent and start again; but one who throws away his clerical robes is like the one burning the confessional because he is angry at the confessor.

Yet, this man now so severely tempted has put his followers in a position to resist the temptation of clinging to their idol at the expense of their loyalty to the Church; he has made* (as it seems to me) the vast majority of them immune from the lure of “black sheep dogs”; he has given them the instruments to see the truth in the midst of life’s troubles. Satan may be attacking him with great force now, but he has made so many people much more resistant to his attacks.

As to the matter, we must now wait and see whether Father Corapi uses some of the cards which, if innocent, he has at his disposal after his planned leaving of the order, like for example:

a) suing the SOLT for libel; this would trigger a trial in front of a civil court and force the order to release the evidence, thus allowing him to refute it.

b) provide a trustworthy, third-party medical certification of his not taking drugs in the last several months, which is easy and rather cheap to do (ask every professional athlete).

Please do not cease praying for this good soul in trouble.


* I use here the current way of speaking, as in “St John Vianney converted many souls”.

Archbishop Dolan: Battle On Marriage Goes On.

Archbishop Dolan of New York

Read here the latest post of archbishop Dolan of New York about the recent disgraceful legislation in the US state of New York.

The Bishop makes clear that the battle doesn’t end here, and very laudably dares to say very clearly that what is called homophobia by the fraction of the unrepentant perverts is, in fact, theophobia, “hatred of God”.

I am glad to hear that the Bishop doesn’t want to let the matter rest and promises that the battle will go on. This confirms me in my opinion that this issue is going to stay with us and might well become one of the main themes of the 2012 electoral campaign. I am also pleased to hear that the Church is not going to be intimidated by any calls to force her to admit the “moral validity” of homo so-called “marriages” or face criminal charges. I think that Archbishop Dolan and others in the Church in the US recognise that if they don’t accept the battle now, the battle is going to reach them anyway, but not on their terms and in a position of rear guard, as the liberal Nazis try to suffocate every expression of opinion that doesn’t correspond with their own as “hate speech”, or the like. I particularly liked the archbishop’s beautiful words that “no unfortunate legislative attempt can alter reality and morality”.
Kudos to the archbishop, then.

Still, I allow myself two considerations:

1) In order to be effective, words must be followed by facts. The excommunication of the people who, as Dolan himself says, “scandalously claim to be Catholic” is in my eyes indispensable not only to try to save their souls, but more to the point to make the Catholic population aware of the gravity and scandal of such positions.

2) In this respect, Archbishop Dolan’s record is not entirely free from blame, as in his very own diocese scandalous homo masses continue to be celebrated, and behind words of convenience homosexual lifestyle continues to be promoted by the (of course) Jesuits of the church of St. Francis Xavier, where participation to so-called “gay pride” marches continues to be promoted and advertised, and rather blasphemous symbols like a rainbow crucifix can be seen (no, ladies: Jesus was not a homo; nor did he approve of homosexual practices. Cfr Mt. 10:15; nor can the Cross ever be misused in such a disgusting way).

Catholic doctrine requires that when war is waged, the intention must be to win it. Nothing less than all out confrontation is required if we want the Catholic electorate to wake up to the danger for the Christian future of the country, for its freedom of expression and, let us not forget, for their own souls.

Archbishop Dolan has been, I think, rather good at launching the car in the first gear. It is now time to put a heavy foot on the clutch pedal and get into second and third.
Starting from his own diocese.


Orange County And The Crystal Cathedral

Beautiful. As an office building, that is.

It would appear that the Diocese of Orange needs a new Cathedral and plans to build one in Santa Ana. Coincidentally, the local Protestant landmark, the so-called “Crystal cathedral”, is on sale after the bankruptcy of the protestant ecclesial community previously using the structure. Apparently, the Diocese of Orange would be interested in buying.

I remember this building. When I lived in Germany, it was televised by CNBC every Sunday morning. There was a strange chap there with a beautiful white mane, dressed a bit like a Christmas tree, probably talking about Christ in some way or other. Whilst the building is, in its way, a rather impressive piece of real estate, I struggle to see the reason why the Diocese of Orange should attempt to buy it. My reasons are as follows:

1) Beautiful as this building now appears, it will get old. Glass does get old. Not in such an ugly way as concrete, nor in such a fast one, but it always does. A traditionally built Cathedral, on the other hand, will beautifully resist the passing fashions and the whims of men. If I were the Bishop, I would go for something that will look good in centuries to come, not something that looks good, or has some kind of notoriety, now.

2) A Cathedral should be, if you ask me, more than a functional building; more even than an aesthetic exercise; it should be a statement of Christian spirituality. The way they were made was traditionally consistent with the message they sent. They were, so to speak, talking stones, and this is the way a cathedral should be. It follows that even the most spectacular of buildings must be considered inadequate, if it doesn’t comply with these requirements. The Crystal cathedral clearly doesn’t. It is beautiful, but it is beautiful in the way the headquarter of a pharmaceutical company can be beautiful; the presence of a tall bell tower doesn’t change the general impression of the complex as a big glass box.

3) Bishop Brown seems very interested in stressing the fact that the place should be preserved as a place of Christian worship. I fail to see the reason why. Even Catholic churches are deconsecrated all the time, and the idea that a Protestant gathering place should henceforward be used for other uses shouldn’t really bother anyone. Besides, there will be one Cathedral in both cases: whether the place of (Catholic) worship is in Garden Grove or in nearby Santa Ana, the number of places of Christian worship will be exactly the same, with no loss and no gain.

In my eyes, every time that the possibility (and the money) are there to build a new Cathedral, things should be made as our ancestors used to do them: properly and with the centuries in sight. The recycling of a modern, “glass and iron” building does not fulfil, if you ask me, either requirement*.


* technical note: modern buildings of this sort are built to different specifications than buildings of the past, because the economic realities of our times make it more convenient to specify a useful life of around 100 years. This is obviously considered when valuing the building, but make no mistake: this structure is not very likely to be there in 100, let alone 300 years’ time.

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