Daily Archives: October 29, 2011
I do not know whether you have the same impression, but I have the distinctive feeling that the Assisi III meeting was a big, big flop.
I had written already about the fact that the secular media has given some notable space to the event, even noticing the dissent within conservative Catholicism. What i would not have expected is how rather massively ignored this event was, basically finding a substantial echo only in those place where this was unavoidable: the Catholic world.
One might legitimately say that in a world constantly looking for headlines, the Euro crisis stole the show and therefore the Assisi gathering went largely ignored. One might also say that a good God helped this to happen so as to avoid, as much as possible, embarrassment and controversy. I for myself would like to make some further points:
1) I always disagreed, and still disagree, with the extraordinary idea that a Pope has to do something just because he is put under pressure to do it. This is purely and simply not the case. The Pope, and no other, decides which gatherings to promote and which ones to ban. It is not only his faculty to do so, but his responsibility.
2) The “peace gathering” currency is rapidly becoming as discredited as anthropogenic global warming. It has now become that kind of abused, common place, worn news that the media will pick up only if there is nothing better to put in the first page, but will be happily ignored if more interesting things happen. To stay here in the UK, the mere fact that not only the Euro crisis, but even a couple of hundred campers near St. Paul could steal the show to the Pope says it all about the utter and total failure of this initiative, the non-necessity of it being done, and the supposed inevitability of the Pope having to – as the Germans say – “put himself at the head of the movement” in order to avoid further damage.
3) One could also say that the initiative was not picked by the media because a couple of non-Christian big wigs decided not to attend. This argument, if believed, says two things: a) that the Pope needs other people to gather interest around his initiatives, and b) that if the initiative dies because some Egyptian cleric doesn’t attend, it would have been annihilated if the Pope himself had not been there; nay: that it would have been ignored if the Pope had forbidden it.
Assisi III was a clear failure. Thank God for that. I hope this will be taken as a lesson and as an inspiration to do things differently in future, with more Catholicism and less banalities.
What has happened in Assisi was nothing else than a failed attempt to please the masses with a handful of trite common places. I am glad to say that it seems not to work anymore.
Read here in Father Z’s Blog about the pagan priest chanting to a pagan deity in the church.
This happened in the presence of the Pope, after the Pope himself had given the microphone to the chap.
I cannot imagine that this was a provocation, or was made with any kind of malicious intent; and this is, I think, exactly the problem.
If a Pagan thinks, in perfect good faith, that he can pray in a consecrated Catholic church, in the presence (I assume) of the Blessed Sacrament, in the presence of even the Pope, and after being given the word by the same Pope, this is a clear indication that the entire exercise was made in the wrong spirit, or at the very least that it was made so carelessly and with such blatant disregard for Catholic Truth, that such a thing could happen with the intention of pleasing the presents, and the Christians among them. This is how – to say it mildly – confused the entire concept was.
This is the unavoidable result of the ambiguity of wanting to do things straight and curved, pleasing the peace ‘n love ecumenical crowd and the orthodox Catholics at the same time. The concept of meeting together “for peace” in the spirit of accepting that it is fine to belong to different religions, but at the same time asking them to pray separately because it is not, simply avoids the issue of truth and lie, and of why Christianity exists in the first place. As the chap was singing alone, as requested, he was certainly not thinking of doing something contrary to Christian feelings; he was probably not even aware that for Christians he is actually supposed to convert; he certainly thought it a gesture of friendship to start singing pagan songs in a church.
Well, one can’t but wonder how could it come to such a point, and the answer is known to all of us: because Christian values have been pushed in the background in an awkward attempt to link, but not link, spirituality and desire for peace; to accept, but not accept, that people have other faiths; to say that it is cool, but that it actually also isn’t, to pray to one’s deity for peace.
I wonder whether the chap is aware, as I write, of the scandal he – unwittingly – caused. Possibly not, as no one might have thought it charitable to inform him of the fact. He was, after all, such a nice bloke so affectionate to his Amidala, or Olokuna, or however she is called.
If you ask me, this incident epitomises so much that is wrong in today’s work of the Church: the attempt to remain formally orthodox without saying the unpleasant things. This entire Assisi episode has been a long walk on the brink of heresy, with the Pope assuring us that he would take care that we would not fall into the pit, but in my eyes failing to provide a convincing argument that such a walk was advisable – let alone necessary – in the first place.
The result is the “Spirit of Assisi III”, clearly seen in a chap who thinks it perfectly appropriate to chant a pagan song in a Catholic church.
To help you to recover after the orgy of crowd-pleasing peace slogans – and worse, as I might write separately – some points from Pius XI’s Mortalium Animos.
All emphases mine. Enjoy:
…although many non-Catholics may be found who loudly preach fraternal communion in Christ Jesus, yet you will find none at all to whom it ever occurs to submit to and obey the Vicar of Jesus Christ either in His capacity as a teacher or as a governor. Meanwhile they affirm that they would willingly treat with the Church of Rome, but on equal terms, that is as equals with an equal: but even if they could so act, it does not seem open to doubt that any pact into which they might enter would not compel them to turn from those opinions which are still the reason why they err and stray from the one fold of Christ.
8. This being so, it is clear that the Apostolic See cannot on any terms take part in their assemblies, nor is it anyway lawful for Catholics either to support or to work for such enterprises; for if they do so they will be giving countenance to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ.
Jesus Christ sent His Apostles into the whole world in order that they might permeate all nations with the Gospel faith, and, lest they should err, He willed beforehand that they should be taught by the Holy Ghost: has then this doctrine of the Apostles completely vanished away, or sometimes been obscured, in the Church, whose ruler and defense is God Himself?
If our Redeemer plainly said that His Gospel was to continue not only during the times of the Apostles, but also till future ages, is it possible that the object of faith should in the process of time become so obscure and uncertain, that it would be necessary to-day to tolerate opinions which are even incompatible one with another? If this were true, we should have to confess that the coming of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles, and the perpetual indwelling of the same Spirit in the Church, and the very preaching of Jesus Christ, have several centuries ago, lost all their efficacy and use, to affirm which would be blasphemy.
Shall We suffer, what would indeed be iniquitous, the truth, and a truth divinely revealed, to be made a subject for compromise? For here there is question of defending revealed truth.
These pan-Christians who turn their minds to uniting the churches seem, indeed, to pursue the noblest of ideas in promoting charity among all Christians: nevertheless how does it happen that this charity tends to injure faith? Everyone knows that John himself, the Apostle of love, who seems to reveal in his Gospel the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and who never ceased to impress on the memories of his followers the new commandment “Love one another,” altogether forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt version of Christ’s teaching: “If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him: God speed you.”
Who then can conceive a Christian Federation, the members of which retain each his own opinions and private judgment, even in matters which concern the object of faith, even though they be repugnant to the opinions of the rest? And in what manner, We ask, can men who follow contrary opinions, belong to one and the same Federation of the faithful? For example, those who affirm, and those who deny that sacred Tradition is a true fount of divine Revelation; those who hold that an ecclesiastical hierarchy, made up of bishops, priests and ministers, has been divinely constituted, and those who assert that it has been brought in little by little in accordance with the conditions of the time; those who adore Christ really present in the Most Holy Eucharist through that marvelous conversion of the bread and wine, which is called transubstantiation, and those who affirm that Christ is present only by faith or by the signification and virtue of the Sacrament; those who in the Eucharist recognize the nature both of a sacrament and of a sacrifice, and those who say that it is nothing more than the memorial or commemoration of the Lord’s Supper; those who believe it to be good and useful to invoke by prayer the Saints reigning with Christ, especially Mary the Mother of God, and to venerate their images, and those who urge that such a veneration is not to be made use of, for it is contrary to the honor due to Jesus Christ, “the one mediator of God and men”. How so great a variety of opinions can make the way clear to effect the unity of the Church We know not; that unity can only arise from one teaching authority, one law of belief and one faith of Christians.
So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it.
This deserves a Te Deum.
Not due to the diocese of Orange, but merely to the sellers having picked the institution offering the on the whole best package for them, the Catholics of the Orange diocese have avoided having a Cathedral that looks like the headquarter of a pharmaceutical company, or a potential venue for Holiday On Ice.
The agreement now reached allows the proddie community to continue to remain in the building, transforming the bankruptcy procedure in a certainly painful – but not as traumatic as bankruptcy and asset liquidation – sale and lease back. The community will even have the right to buy back the property once the financial situation improves. The Christian Cathedral Ministry (as I think it’s called) could really not have picked any other solution, once the offer of Chapman guaranteed to satisfy the creditors. If we look at it realistically, if there is an offer which is acceptable by the creditors and allows the Ministry to buy back the building, the Ministry will have to be seen to be willing to buy the building back irrespective of the real chances of this really happening.
Please note that the offer of the Orange County diocese would also have allowed the ministry to remain in the place for another three years, thus making the solution certainly attractive from a financial point of view, but not so terribly fast compared to the process of building a new Cathedral.
Just as an aside, I allow myself to direct your attention to the result of the “miracle campaign” started last summer and about which I had already reported. It now turns out the final result of the worldwide fund raising campaign was….. £172,775.50.
I dare say that if we want to see miracles, we will have to continue to look for them in the place provided for them by God: His One Church.