Church, Caudillos, Cojones

Sincere friend and great asset of Catholicism: Francisco Franco.

The Holy Father will soon visit Spain for the World Youth Day. He will find a country where Catholicism has been in steady decline for some time. This is the same, though probably even more marked, that has happened in France, Italy and the Catholic part of Germany.

I look at all those countries and my answer to who is the culprit is always the same: the clergy. I have lived personally – and I do not doubt that the same has happened in the other countries examined – the simple reality that there has been no issue by which traditional Catholic practice or thinking has been attacked or dismantled, without prestigious members of the Clergy giving their support.

We live in times where bishops allow churches to be used by non-Christians; support the building of mosques; carefully avoid to mention I do not say Satan and Hell – whose existence they have long forgotten – but even the evil of abortion, or basics like Sunday Mass obligation; sabotage the sacredness of the Mass; downplay or do not believe in the Eucharist; downplay or do not believe in the Church as the way to Salvation; downplay or do not believe in the sacrament of confession. I could go on.

You tell me whether a national church whose clergy doesn’t even have the gut to forcefully remind the faithful of Mass obligation has any right to avoid being punished by the Lord with humiliation and decay. The Church (big C) is obviously indefectible, but the same guarantee is not given to the local churches, in Italy, France, Spain, Germany. If they insist in wanting to commit suicide, here and there they might even succeed.

This is exactly what is happening today, where we see a generation of cowardly or heretical or plain stupid bishops trying the possible and the impossible to please the young generations not by being Catholic, but by pretending to be young. The problem is that the Church is not sexy, and no disco-masses or similar bollocks will ever – thank God – make it so, nor will any dismantling of her liturgical apparatus make her attractive to secular minds. A church without sacredness is neither fish nor fowl: she is too boring for the worldly, and too shallow for the spiritual.

So, the Pope will visit a country with declining Catholicism. He will crowd the streets, as a Pope is always a media event. He will say the usual words that everyone is expecting to hear: be good, don’t be bad; be faithful, don’t be atheists; do things right, don’t do things wrong. To the bishop, he’ll give similar words: be courageous, don’t be weak; say it straight, don’t say it “nuanced”; be real bishops, don’t be fake bishops, & Co., & Co.

After which, he’ll go away leaving the same incompetent cowardly bishops free to continue the work of destruction in exactly the same way as they were doing before his arrival, and the church in Spain will continue to die exactly as she was doing before his arrival.

Mind, I do not think that they will succeed in this. The clergy, as Cardinal Consalvi reminded Napoleon and us, has tried to kill the Church for eighteen centuries and has never succeeded. But if the church in Spain avoids extinction, I think it will not be for lack of effort of her incompetent shepherds, but because the V II generation will not live long enough to see the work of destruction completed.  Already the next Pope will be the first one in half a century not directly involved with V II, and from there the dynamic will take its own course. The first Pope with real chuzpah will be enough to repair if not all the damage, an awful lot of it. Catholicism is, if properly used,  an extremely powerful weapon.

If the government of the United States embarks in a policy of senseless spending, sooner or later some rating agency will downgrade its debt. For the Church, the punishment is slower, but harsher. The Lord punishes the Church by making her weaker, allowing her to lose perspective and prestige, suffering that she be humiliated.

The Church in all Western European countries has been, as the Spanish experience abundantly proves, downgraded not of one, but of several notches. It is high time that those in charge (Pope, bishops) realise this simple, undeniable, plain to see reality and react accordingly. The Church in Spain is in decline because in Spain , as in many other countries, the clergy “no tienen cojones“. The sooner this very simple message is understood, the sooner the reconstruction work will start.

The present situation is like talking with a shepherd whilst more and more of his sheep fall into ravines, with the shepherd saying “you see, in these modern times more and more sheep are lured into the ravines” (no, they always were at risk; but they used to have good shepherds); “we admonish them not to fall into them, but we believe in sheep liberty and therefore can’t force them” (of course you can, you must, even!); “at the same time, we must be sensitive that we are not harsh to the sheep that are still alive, lest they throw themselves into the ravines, too” (gotta love the logic: don’t tell them not to fall, or they will fall). Whilst you talk with the shepherd, you see further sheep falling. The shepherd says to them “oh please sheep, be good, don’t fall into the ravines”, but stays there without moving one finger. More sheep disappear. The shepherd looks at you and says “sad, isn’t it? It’s the modern times, you know…”.

I do not doubt that the Papal visit will be a great media success, though…


Posted on August 9, 2011, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I think you’ll like this

    • Yes Shane, I had seen the video already and actually liked it a lot.
      Time allowing, I might write some comment.

      Thanks for the tip!


  2. It would be easy to agree with you wholesale : I bitterly remember being one of perhaps ONLY 100 thousandodd unsupported outonalimb prolifers in Madrid’s plaza mayor , about 1984, while the legalization of abortion was afoot, being adressed by mother teresa of calcuta, no less.(It is significant that in neither spanish nor englkish can I google nor wiki the event. But it happened.I was there.Mother Teresa was coldshouldered.)
    Priests suffer the devil more than I, Bishops more than priests- I don’t like even thinking it, but the public impression was that the hierarchy and clergy in Spain were not too gungo about human life, let alone a few other things. The -unreported -decline began well before 75.
    The clergy and hierarchy have changed, not before time, and not enough.But changed: defence of life , moralty, freedom etc, and are changing, slowly, for the better, and Godsend not too late.
    However, the” sincere friend and great asset?” Hmm.
    I wouldn’t relativize both Spanish civilwar “sides”-oddfellows coalitions more like – into equality. But,eg,maybe your case? you can view with overitalian spectacles or orther spectacles.
    That the “republican” side, whose flags were red and red and black to begin with, were every bit as bad and probably worse, than the propaganda against them makes out ought not to be debatable.This does not canonize the” national” side-whose first days of fighting were under the republican flag in many places, nor was Franco originally their leader- he was a johnny-come-lately..
    The” republicans” publicly and openly and boastfully as well as nocturnally and secretly killed clergy, religious, and laity , with and without trial for the simple, sufficient, and sole reason of being Catholic, by the tens of thousands, if not more, for the short t ime they had the opportunity.
    The nationals, with exceptions, whose reining in prove the rule , did not.
    This makes them preferable, given the choice, but not papal zouaves nor crusaders.
    The nationals did not hesitate to execute legally and illegally, nor deprive of their property or jobs tens of thousands, or more, of good catholic laiety, and other innocents of any crime for whatever reasons happened to suit them, and of course the same heterogenous gang, some good catholics,many very far from,( it’s the latter who fathered about 90% of the presentday red” establishment” )were in power,latterly mainly feathering their own nests in a fairly civilized fashion, until 75.They had a lot more time to do good or evil, and did both, in proportion as would need an encyclopedia, and what they did wrong is more in living memories,many traditionallyminded practicing catholics included, and added to every day in the schools, media, etc.nowadays.
    However, what the reds and trendies still don’t forgive Franco for, is winning, pure and simple.
    Franco himself was a far more sincere catholic, with warts, than many of the people he led to victory and than most of the governments he headed.The warts are very obvious.Any worse, if more public, than anyone else in the pew with thee and me? For thee, I can’t answer
    What has happened in Spanish society and in the Catholic church is what has happened in France , England, Usa, Italy…… Franco is a red herring, for the most part. But a handy purely Spanish tarbrush tempting for reds and trendies, even within the church, to use locally.
    Also I dislike the implication that Omnipotent God is written “imp..” if his church can’t stand up without being filled at bayonet point.
    This papal visit is against a touch less pessimistic panorama than you paint, I believe. Not much, but a touch. We have four overseas pilgrims at home as I write, half the family were at mas with more. I’m hopeful. The media can go hang, and soon will.

    • Pepe, I think we often make the mistake of believing that if one doesn’t stand our scrutiny from the comfort of our chairs, he shouldn’t be praised or defended.
      I allow myself to disagree.
      Chances are that if you and I had been in the same situation, we either would have done nothing or we would have made exactly the same. Civic wars have their own dynamic and in every war of this sort there will be things censored afterwards.

      It is a sad reality that with Mother Teresa the Falange would have lost, and with Franco it won. You need the Mother Teresa in certain situations, and the Francos in others.

      In Italy, we had a similar – if far less cruent; Italians are very good at avoiding excesses of cruelty – situation. Jeeves wouldn’t have solved the situation, Mussolini did. Yes, it took the stick and the cod liver oil; yes, it took blood and less than beautiful things. That’s how it works. It is illusion to think that you can get out of these situations without violence He who believes it, loses.

      One of the things for which I admire the likes of Franco, is that they understood that you can’t have forty years of Catholic Spain without first get rid of the reds.

      The sitting at my chair and deciding, many years later, what i would and what I would have not done is just something I never do, and refuse to do. It’s a bit too easy, it seems to me.

      I don’t know what you mean with the “imp..” thing, but yes, of course God requires His church to be defended at bayonet point at times. This is why we had the Crusades, or the Cristiada, or, well, the Spanish civil war. All of them, no doubt, full of things we shouldn’t have done – from the comfort of our chair – .

      You say yourself that Franco was a sincere Catholic. This is one I would wish as a leader by any war, civil or not. Franco was a sincere friends because he was sincerely Catholic, and a great asset because with him Spain had forty years of decent Catholicism. Oh for more of those..


  3. PS: Voris as per shane as succint a picture as possible in 5minutes, he’s good, very good, at the broad picture.But the 90% 65+ , saying Im Catholic” havent been any majority prolife, promarriage, promass every sunday, prouse of confession, accepting HV: oh no indeedyweedy.

  4. A very interesting comment by Pepe. The Spanish Civil War was a truly fascinating event — as was the Mexican Cristeros uprising Mundabor alludes to. (I’m very much looking forward to the release of the “Cristiada” film).

  5. 40 years of atheist-free rule? Certainly.
    40 years of decent Catholicism? sadly, not so.., unless you take the newsreels universally shown as conclusive evidence.
    40 years in which the church had a degree of freedom and a leashed degree of support and a largely missed opportunity?
    The italian parallel is forced.
    Like Musso or not, we are talking a very different figure: Mussolini was someone who started something, who was the natural leader of a mass movement who were reasonably likeminded, reasonably behind him.
    (Nb another difference:The nastiness and violence in spanish civil strife came in with Boney and masonry and never stopped.Marx’s minions added another twist from about1860, but it was bad already, several times a generation.)
    You extend 36-39 to 75.
    Franco, red propaganda to the contrary , did not start the civil war as leader of any faction, and only ended generalisimo of a wierd conglomeration including eg competing monarchist movements and the basque nationalists of alava and navarre, riding a multiheaded tiger with the personal loyalty to him alone of few but such army(not navy, not airforce) officers he had trained himself, and some African Army comrades in Arms.
    Not so much the war itself, but the peace 39-75, marked the buying off, including an overfree hand, of the lot of them, and the harassing of relatively few who weren’t into settling for revenge and boodle (If you feel profalange, check out Hedilla). It’s understandable,I don’t want to condemn him,bottom line is we ARE in the same pew, but he went along with far far too much for far far too long once the war was won.
    Many Spaniards, maybe most, went along too : imperfect order is preferable to the horrors of lawless unbridled marxist murders, let alone outand out war. But catholicism is not equatable to a lesser evil, only to its choice over worse.
    The bayonet was not just to defend the faith in war and civil strife – nowadays it cannot be repeated enough how liberticides in general were specifically in 36 targetting, inter alia, christianity by the “elimination” of christians and the dynamiting etc of externals- but afterwards eg ,massgoing certificates being obligatory for civil life, alongside membership of the “movimiento” My serbian relatives postwar had perforce to be CP members very similarly, tho the massive difference is that , dragooned into the church , one may find a pearl of great price. But that doesn’t justify dragooning as a peacetime system, appearance at Sunday Mass justifying any 6dayaweek flouting of God’s law. If Opus Dei and afew other similar had got going earlier , catholiciscm inside to out and 24/7, it might not have stopped the civil war, but undoubtably would have limited the nastiness during and after, (and noone would ever have thanked them.)
    The concern in the church about what was wrong with the peacetime regime which Franco headed was prevatican2, and started early. Check up the AchBishop of Seville in the 40s, because of which and whom, and similar,within the regime plans had reached written form to do a Henry VIII and set up a Spanish national church which would at least be obedient to the “civil power” and hence might ,eg bless the noctural seizure of subjects from their homes to be murdered in the hedgerows and beaches, which didn’t stop till the fifties. Nothing compared to the marxists, but enough for the church to be unhappy with. The faith survived the regime , but there are a great many people Ive known whose memory I honour rather than Francos who fought on the national side 36-39, but who did, as Catholics, have sticking points after 39.
    As I say, by God’s grace, not bayonets, the faith survived the regime, but , with hindsight, went into VatII with the rot already in the system, and happily committed slow harikari on an altar of goodfeeling lukewarmness largely irrespective of Franco and the regime, one way or t’other.Same as everywhere else in western Christendom.
    That lukewarmness, not war, was what I was mentioning Mother Teresa being unwelcome about.
    Modern Spain is low, very, on young catholics .A great many older ones, however unsung, have been very inspiring. A very great many more, and I must include myself, have not.

    • Pepe, I think you are over-analysing.

      Whatever rot there was in the Spanish church pre V II, this must be answered by the Church only. The desire not to have trouble from the local clergy is an obvious one, and Mussolini was certainly heavier-handed in that than Franco.

      The “we went along for far too long” argument can be made in Italy, and everywhere. It’s a political reality. There is no situation where the victory of the right side starts the edification of the Perfect Society. Every leader knows that he is only in power thanks to a mixture of several elements, some of them less than good, some of them probably bad. I do not know any Crusader who ever did differently.

      You touch a lot of arguments, and I prefer to write about my own issues so it would take too much time to touch them all.

      But in short, give me a honest Catholic trying to do his best knowing that he’ll have to answer to God for his work, and I’ll sign irrespective of all the compromises, imperfections, wrong developments, poor choices and bad companies he will unavoidably have with him.

      This is, by the way, why some people stay in power 20 or 40 years, and others don’t. The crudity of political life.


  6. Fascinating discussion gentlemen. Whatever the defects of Spain 60 years ago surely we can all agree that it was in a far better state then that it is now. (That also goes for the Church.)

    Not that I’m throwing stones…my country (Ireland) has declined to an even greater degree than Spain has.

  7. Shane ,Mundabor: How I would love to continue!
    But the point in hand is that The Holy Father is coming to Madrid to meet, admonish, celebrate mass for, and encourage perhaps a million young catholic pilgrims of every spirituality in the church : not rioters, hoodies, sybarites, consumerists , all of whom are save perhaps the Poles, remnant minorities whence they come,perpetually under fire at school, on the street, mocked for defending chastity, ridiculed for their faith by thier peers and their elders and authority, who are making sacrifices to come, often considerable,to and (local Spaniards) in a country whose faith has been voluntarily relegated to near insignificance. (The trendies and lefties hate the very idea).The local church and hierarchy and clergy, perhaps even the faithful, as I disagreed with mundabor, ARE getting more energetic, more gungho in defence of life,more obedient to the Holy Father, well… more catholic, and the whole thing is worth praying for and celebrating.
    Of course it isn’t enough!
    And you have to take stuff like some showbiz temptations , explicit disassociation with Voris, etc, like the degree of commercialism around a shrine like Lourdes.
    There are times, such as Lepanto, when by Divine providence a physical threat to the faith’s existance is physically countered.
    Our present Peter has compared the present situation in the church to the Arian heresy: warring orthodoxy and heresy not only in parishes, religious orders, bishoprics , but often in the very minds of single individuals!
    What remedy have we ever had for such other than prayer, fasting , and almsgiving?
    One of todays Saints gives hope: overtraddie in his defence of orthodoxy it seems he fell into an opposite error in his zeal and even became an antipope! Yet divine providence later saw him and the then Pope into quarryslavery together in Sardinia, where they were reconciled, and their martyred remains returned jointly to Rome.
    The Almighty makes all smooth, the gates of hell will not prevail everywhere,( tho here and there they may.!)

    • Pepe,
      I am glad to see that both clergy and faithful are gettign more orthodox.
      No disagreement there, for sure.

      I’ll be glad if you’d write here some short comments about your impression of the Papal visit (I am rather uninterested in the whole “youth” rhetoric): how the Spanish media deal with it, whether people crowd the streets, whether it gives rise to some serious thinking etc.


  8. I’ll try! Kids of mine are going,but Im not, and I don’t read or watch MSM, it’s bad for my blood pressure! But one anecdote:400odd clicks from Madrid a chancemet agnostic proabortion yet very conscientious fellowteacher is already impressed, suddenly open to ideas steel shuttered against ,because there are local shindigs, because I’m putting up foreign pilgrims and so is an aunt, becuase people are doing other than standard consumerist bread , circuses, and whinge……..
    Were it only one soul eventually saved, twould all be worth it.

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