Daily Archives: April 9, 2012
A Pope’s role is traditionally twofold. On the one hand, the Pope is there to give an example. On the other, he is the one responsible for correcting abuse, and paying attention the shop remains orderly and tidy.
In order to do the first, there’s no need of flexing any hierarchical muscle: a Pope will make clear through his actions what the main points of his pontificate will be, and the others – from the cardinals and bishops down – will take notice of this. This is the easy part.
Where the problems begin is in the second aspect, the normative or prescriptive one. Assuming most Popes – at least most Popes of the modern era – are sincere believers in good faith and sincerely want the best for the Church, this is where the best of men can prove deficient in his role as Pope.
Put it in a brutal way, a Pope is like two parents – for the avoidance of doubt: of different sexes, and married to each other – who lovingly show their child how to behave, but at the same time – and as expression of the same love – must be able to correct or punish them when they insist in not doing it. It belongs to the experience of everyone of us that the most loving parents will run a great risk of completely fail their role as educators if they cannot manage that most important part of their loving interaction with their children: the prescription and enforcement of correct behaviour.
This in my eyes elementary concept has been somewhat forgotten in the last decades, or at least it would seem it has been played down considerably; at the point that a Pope is nowadays basically expected to be weak, and those strong Popes of the past – those portrayed with a vivid eye, perhaps a strong beard, and a clear “don’t play with me”-attitude – make a strange impression, as if they were out of character. The situation has become so extreme that in the modern times some commentators will tell you the Pope has “acted” when he has publicly criticised this or that other group of rebels. No he hasn’t; he has talked, and talking is nothing without the acting.
In the last decades – and particularly after Vatican II, though Pope John XXIII apparently had the same thinking – the new mantra has been that the Pope indicates the right way, and the theory goes that in time the sheep will uniform themselves to the direction and will, out of sheer love for the Church, conform themselves to orthodox thinking. The theory is beautiful besides being very convenient, but in practice it works in the same way as it would for the parents deciding they will raise their children in a completely anti-authoritarian way, and live to see them either in prison or given to addictions.
When the Dutch Schism came, Pope Paul VI thought it would be enough to just explain to his own heretical bishops how to do things the right way. It clearly didn’t work, and the schism was put to an end only after Pope JP II (he too, only after too many years of “encouragements”) crushed them in the Eighties. Exactly the same was made – or rather, not made – with the so-called “liberation theology”, with the same pattern of Paul VI whispering “be good, children” and the children not believing their luck until, at some point and far too late, discipline was finally imposed.
Now we should ask ourselves: has the method worked? Has the softly-softly approach to the Dutch Schism given any contribution whatever to the end of such schism? Has the Vatican inaction on the so-called “liberation theology” produced any effect whatsoever?
The simple answer to this is: no, it hasn’t. Repression, on the other had, has.
We are now in front of an analogous situation in Austria. The revolt is there. It is unmistakable, very open, carried on through the internet under the sun, nourished with open appeals, and defined by a clear and clearly willed intention to disobey the Pope in clearly doctrinal matters; that is, to disobey the Church; that is, to becoming openly heretic, though the words are obviously not spoken.
The revolt has gone on, very openly, since last Summer, and the local hierarchy is obviously complicit. What to do? “Lead by example” and wait for the phenomenon to deflate from itself, for some strange reason not known to us? Or do what a Pope is there for: correct and, if necessary, punish?
We must consider this rebellion is not the result of some fringe group, or some isolated nutcase, suddenly deciding they want to have Catholicism their own way. This rebellion is the result of a non indifferent part of the Austrian clergy drumming for years to have things their own way already whilst their shepherds looked on, or were pleased. Make no mistake, many of the priests certainly have mistresses, as otherwise they wouldn’t risk an open confrontation with the Vatican, from which they can – when it comes – only be crushed. Others are most certainly homosexual – don’t forget Austria is the country of the Sankt Poelten Seminary, then closed as a result of the open homosexuality which had almost completely taken over the place; open homosexuality which certainly had not started the day before the apostolic visitation, and whose poison must perforce run through the vein of the Austrian church as I speak -. Lastly, many of them – nay, simply all of them – do not believe in the role of the priest, or in the Real Presence, as you can easily ascertain by visiting their site. I wonder how many of them believe in God in the first place.
These people do not wake up in the morning asking themselves how they can be more orthodox, or more attuned to the Pope’s wishes. They have their own ideology, and their own private agenda. They will pursue this agenda – under the smokescreen of the ideology – as long as they believe they can get away with it, and they will only stop when the only alternative is to be crushed.
We have seen the same in the case of the Dutch schism, and of the so-called liberation theology. It is in the nature of such movements, and in the dynamics of such confrontations. The Holy Father can write as many books as he wants, travel as much as he wants and even issue as many warning as he likes.
Until he acts, nothing will happen.
Extremely interesting post on Linen on the Hedgerow about the striking similarity of the devastations caused by Queen Elisabeth I on one side and post V II liberal Catholics on the other.
From the stripping of altars to the mutilation of liturgy, and from the promotion of the usual suspects to the neutralisation of uncomfortable priests, the methods of post V II liberal clergymen seem to take inspiration – if, forcibly, in a less violent way – from the ones used by the sovereign the senseless hypocrisy of the time called “the virgin Queen”.
This is, indeed, an interesting but not a surprising observation, if we but observe that in both cases the aim was to gradually protestantise the relevant organisation. The extent of the operation is easy to be seen, today, in many secondary but not irrelevant details, like the smiling priest greeting everyone after Mass as if he were the Vicar, or stoups hidden so well you congratulate yourself when you find them.
I repeat it once again: the future generations will see in V II and the years which followed a possibly unprecedented attack on everything that is Catholic, a shameful attempt of self-destruction for the sake of popularity, a planetary devastation on a scale not even the Barbarians could have put in place.
Isn’t it surprising, then, the same V II is still defended in the Vatican?
It has become something of a commonplace to shoot at the Church of the past. Thanks in part to a tireless anti-Catholic propaganda, in part to the softly-softly clergy of the post-V II, too often eager to agree with the critics, and in part to the slowly apocalyptic proportion of modern times’ ignorance (once upon a time peasants knew they were ignorant; nowadays every semi-illiterate cretin can write a blog), the past centuries have been portrayed as the theater of unforgivable, never to be repeated, shameless Church behaviour from which every intelligent creature should distance himself as a matter of course. Well, I disagree.
Firstly, there is no doubt in my mind those were more Christian times than ours, as the centuries of the Crusades and the Holy Inquisition had individual salvation at the forefront of societal organisation. Now, if you are a Christian you cannot avoid admitting that medical advancement, beautiful cars and smart Ipods are a jolly good thing, but the most important thing in life is to be saved. If this is true, it follows that the most important metre of how a society organises its affairs does not lie in the matter of how clean its hospitals are, but in the way it helps its own members to pave their own way to salvation. It follows that, if we look at what really matters, those societies were vastly more advanced than our own. If you disagree with this statement (which you will, if you think with the mainstream mentality) you will have to admit salvation is not the most important thing to you, but rather other values like, say, democracy, social equality, economic progress, freedom of opinion, etc.
Make no mistake, I am not saying all these things are not important. What I am saying is that they all pale compared to Salvation, and whilst modern Western societies are very good at helping one to achieve these secondary values, they are abysmally bad at helping one to provide what is infinitely most important than everything, absolutely everything else in his life.
Secondly, it seems to me rather obvious that, say, Spain in the sixteenth century was a vastly more just society than every Western country you care to mention. True, corruption and abuse were widespread; true, economic resources were not optimally used, and inequality was certainly rampant. But you see, in XVI century’s Spain your probability of being aborted were rather low, whereas as a child in the womb of a black girl in, say, XXI century’ England your cards look rather bad. Which society is worse, the one caring you are born in a world of inequalities, of the one where you have a rather high probability of not being born in the first place? Modern societies tolerate genocide on a scale never known in the history of humanity, and dare to criticise the comparably rare occurrence of the autodafe’, and the Sacred Inquisition. Talk about blindness.
Thirdly, many of the institutions of those times are – due to sheer ignorance – seen and judged with the metre of modern times, which makes the entire construct absurd. It is true there were trials for heresy, but everyone knew that; it is true if the religious authorities condemned someone for heresy, the civil authorities of the land would send him to the scaffold of the stake, but everyone knew that too. The rules of the game were rather clear, and you ran zero risk of being just supposed a heretic and burn at the stake because the mob needed some strong entertainment. Note also the Church had by far the fairest trials the contemporary societies could offer, and you were in infinitely safer hands if tried for heresy than, say, for murder. You can visit one of those rather graphic museums in Europe to persuade yourself of this very rapidly. Or you can go to the Tower of London and read the reports of Guy Fawkes’ “interrogation” to persuade you of this.
Before some genius posts some comment stating I wish the return of XVI century’s Spain, let me say that I do not believe in the least the past was an ideal time, where everything was fine and peace and justice reigned. What amazes me is the attitude of people who condone the endless slaughter of children all over the West, but can’t avoid trying to look intellectual or tolerant mentioning the Inquisition as soon as you tell them you’re Catholic. If you dig a bit you might discover they are in favour of abortion but hey, they like PETA a lot. Fools.
There is a blindness in this that, if anything, only a huge dose of ignorance can excuse.
Now you will ask: how did past societies defend themselves from genocidal ideologies? How did they, for examples, defend themselves from the Cathars and their (literally) inhumane and suicidal ideology?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HARRISBURG, PA (6 April 2012)
Five hundred priests and deacons of the national association, the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, pledge their complete loyalty and obedience to the Pope and Magisterium and, by means of fraternal correction, exhort their dissident Austrian brothers of the ‘Pfarrer Initiative’ to repent and recant. Disobedience among deacons, priests and bishops is not only scandalous to the faithful but injurious to the Mystical Body of Christ (the Church). We are not just resigned to the discipline of celibacy and merely tolerant of the doctrine of a male priesthood, we totally accept and embrace them. The marks of the Church (one, holy, catholic and apostolic) are personified in the Petrine ministry. Hence, to obey the Pope is to obey the Church, the Bride of Christ. Like Judas who betrayed Christ, dissident clergy betray the same Lord by their prideful refusal of submission to lawful authority.
Dissent from Magisterial teaching and disobedience to Papal authority are incompatible with Catholic Christianity. Jesus founded the Church and instituted the Sacraments. Holy Orders is one of the sacraments and it is the essence of the hierarchy (which means an orderly chain of command). The soul of Holy Orders is obedience. Clergy must lead by example, as did Our Lord, who submitted to the will of His Father. When Deacons, Priests and Bishops disobey the Church and her chief shepherd, the Pope, they do a grave disservice to the people they have been sent to serve.
The CCC professes allegiance to the Holy Father, especially in all matters of faith and morals. We see obedience to the authority of the Church as obedience to Christ. As the Bishop of Rome, the Pope is head of the Church. Vatican II and the Catechism (1992) define his authority as, “supreme, full, immediate, and universal,” by divine institution.
Rev. Fr. John Trigilio, Jr., President of the Confraternity said: “As all priests renew their promise of obedience each year, we urge our fellow clergy all over the world to imitate Jesus in His humility. Pride prevents one from obeying. Jesus who was Priest, Prophet and King, founded the Church so she could continue His work of teaching, sanctifying and shepherding. He simultaneously created ordained ministry in order to implement that three-fold mission. Hence the deacons, priests and bishops of the Church exist to serve and service is substantially obedience. The cleric submits his will as did the Son to the Father.”
O for more priest with this attitude. Specially in Europe, when there is dire need for orthodoxy.
On a depressing note: isn’t it very telling priests from the other side of the Pond must issue this kind of appeal, because an incompetent – or worse – Archbishop would not deal with the matter in a halfway acceptable way?
To a simple mind like mine, Father Guarnizo is right because he has done what every good priest, in every age of the Church, would have done in his place.
Alas, it would seem that just because Canon 915 was written in order to achieve exactly the aim the Church wanted to achieve without Canon 915 for almost two thousand years, it is now allowed or even mandatory to examine whether really, really, really all conditions called for by Canon 915 to refuse communion were present.
I truly wonder. It is as if in front of a canonical text people would say “let us stop thinking for a moment, and let us examine the dispositions of the Canon as if they existed in a purely theoretical vacuum”. The fact is, they don’t. They exist in the real world, and they exist to express a need that was there before Canon 915 was written, and because of which it was written in the first place. When in presence of a lesbian who openly declares her homosexual relationship to a priest before a ceremony consisting of, among others, a couple of dozen of her relatives there are still doubts whether said priest should protect the Host from desecration, I truly wonder what has become of us.
Still, in case you are not satisfied with what the basic common sense and the Christian logic of the last two thousand years should have suggested you, and want to spend some time reading a very detailed, extremely well argued and, most importantly, adherent to common sense and common Catholic feeling explanation of canon 915, you have to do nothing more than to click the following links:
Both text are absolutely impressive not only in the rigorous logic and spotless foundation of every steps he takes, but in the exemplary clarity of the language used. Whoever he is, this Fr Anonymous is a cannon.
The arguments used as clarification in the second post are, in my eyes, clear enough already from the reading of the first post, so that you may skip the second post without detriment to the clarity of Fr Anonymous’ argument. For example, in my eyes the idea a woman would live in a lesbian relationship with another woman at the point of bringing her “lover” to her mother’s funeral, but without her lesbian concubinage being known among her siblings and relatives – at the latest at the funerals, and applying basic common sense a long time before – is completely preposterous. Beside the fact we do not exactly have to do with a shy wallflower here, when things have come to such a point of brazenness if you would pretend with me the relatives didn’t know and – even in this absurd case – wouldn’t know at the funeral at the latest I would seriously ask you what’s wrong with you. From the beginning, it seems to me that basic common sense was the first victim of this controversy.
Still, the two posts give a clear, detailed explanation of why Father Guarnizo acted in conformity of Canon 915 (which is as to say: why Canon 915 does nothing else than translate in a canonical norm elementary Christian rules of behaviour concerning the Most Blessed Sacrament). You will find the reading extremely interesting not only because so well written, but because so intrinsically sound.
Fr Anonymous raises a second question, the conformity to Canon law of the measures taken against Fr Guarnizo. I have not dealt about it here, but the argument in favour of Father Guarnizo is not less cogent than in the matter of his denying communion to the lesbian female.
Once again, this squabble reminded me of one of Father Corapi’s most lovable quotes (also to be found in my “quotable Catholic”):
My grandmother, who had only an eighth grade education, knew more than many theologians because she knew the truth.
We live, thankfully, in times when Catholicism is giving timid but clear signs of recovery. The Internet was, if you ask me, the starter engine of such movement. The Internet allowed more and more people to understand that they are not alone and that the dumbing down of Catholicism and its reduction to a bunch of slogans for kindergarten children caused suffering to many others.
The rest came from there; the amount of books available, and of traditional Catholic sources directly on the internet, would have been inconceivable only a few years before. If you were born in Italy or France or Germany a couple of dozen years ago, either you were really angry or the mainstream outlets (the popular book stores, and so on) would not have given you any alternative to the blandness and effeminacy of the Vatican II/Assisi/pacifist/social justice crowd.
The Internet changed all this, and with the increase in conservative Catholicism came a wave of reprints. Fulton Sheen, Ronald Knox and many others were made available again, and today your kindle (a wonderful invention, Kindle) would allow you to store more Catholic knowledge than most wealthy Catholic would have in their libraries in centuries past, effortless and at low-cost. You can bet your pint the process will continue, and will continue to change the way the common Catholic sees the Church.
Still, it was not always so. Think of what it must have been for a middle-aged person in the Sixties to be surprised by such a tsunami of changes. To them, it must not have seemed a momentary folly. To them – particularly if not robustly educated; probably even in that case – it must have seemed irreversible. The Church itself said to them – in all possible ways – that the Church had changed, and this showed everywhere, not only in the Mass but in the mentality, the demeanour, even the clothes of the priest, the robust wine of salvation now substituted for a bland soft drink smelling, mainly, of sugar.
How difficult it must have been for those who have decided they wouldn’t stand for it. A tiny minority, derided and insulted, considered obsolete dreamers in their dotage, unable to see the luminous new path the Holy Spirit would – obviously changing his mind, but laissons tomber – now show to the renewed Church.
I think here not only of the few religious who had the gut to say “no” to the madness (Archbishop Lefebvre obviously comes to mind; but let us not forget staunchly conservative churchmen like the Abbe’ de Nantes, and the monasteries who simply refused to obey to the diktat of “change”), but particularly of the laymen. Romano Amerio was vilified and mocked for a book now read all over the world, and whilst all around him priests were surrounded by guitars it must have been very bitter to see two thousand years of Christianity almost crumble under a wave of such immense stupidity.
I also think of the many old people who were literally overcome – or I should say: run over – by the tidal wave of “change” of the Sixties and Seventies; old, frail, often poor people for whom their simple faith was the main comfort in their last years, and trying to march toward salvation in the company of accustomed values, and rites. How they must have suffered!
If they were alive today, they would at least know that the counter-charge has now started and will soon be in full swing. They would look into the future and see hope of improvement; nay, they would see improvement is in time unavoidable. But how could they in those dark years, when the “renewal” was imposed on them by the same priests who assured the Holy Ghost was tirelessly working on the destruction of all they held dear!?
They are, of course, all gone now. Gone is Archbishop Lefebvre, gone is the Abbe’ de Nantes, gone is Rosario Amerio, gone are all those old people I imagine crying in their kitchen after hearing the guitars at mass. I think of them, and cry. A person can cope with a lot, if he has faith. Think how many of them had gone with as much serenity as they can – and as much faith as they could muster – through wars and loss of their most beloved ones, even in the hardest moment resting against the wall of their faith. Picture them now in their Seventies, with their religious system and philosophy of life put upside down, and restless adolescents with long, unwashed hair and jeans strumming their guitars in the church under the approving eye of the young, not-so-manly priest.
It was a huge shock for me the first time I heard guitars in the church, and I was only ten years old. For a seventy years old, it must have been the end of the world as we know it.
The unsung heroes are now being vindicated. The public figures are rising high in the consideration of the posterity after having been derided by their contemporaries. The common people are, at least, pitied in their suffering they were, were probably, not even allowed to utter.
Dear reader, every now and then, please think of for the old couple who was crying in the kitchen; of the war widow informed there would be no vespers anymore as apparently the Holy Ghost doesn’t like that now; of the old woman who lost her boy in the war and was told Mass would now be in English, with a chap talking to the congregation as if he was their pub buddy; and with the guitars, the guitars! Think of the old scholars vilified like Romano Amerio, and the old churchmen belittled or even excommunicated.
When you can, please say a prayer for the unsung heroes.
The UK Site of the SPPX has one interview with Archbishop Lefebvre, given around one year after the consecration of the four SSPX bishops
One part is particularly interesting, because it echoes an issue that is of particular actuality. Let us see question and answer (emphasis in red mine).
Question: Some people say, “Yes, but Archbishop Lefebvre should have accepted an agreement with Rome because once the Society of St. Pius X had been recognized and the suspensions lifted, he would have been able to act in a more effective manner inside the Church, whereas now he has put himself outside.”
Archbishop Lefebvre: Such things are easy to say. To stay inside the Church, or to put oneself inside the Church —what does that mean? Firstly, what Church are we talking about? If you mean the Conciliar Church, then we who have struggled against the Council for twenty years because we want the Catholic Church, we would have to re-enter this Conciliar Church in order, supposedly, to make it Catholic. That is a complete illusion. It is not the subjects that make the superiors, but the superiors who make the subjects.
Amongst the whole Roman Curia, amongst all the world’s bishops who are progressives, I would have been completely swamped. I would have been able to do nothing, I could have protected neither the faithful nor the seminarians. Rome would have said to me, “Alright, we’ll give you such and such a bishop to carry out the ordinations, and your seminarians will have to accept the professors coming from such and such a diocese.” That’s impossible. In the Fraternity of St. Peter, they have professors coming from the diocese of Augsburg. Who are these professors? What do they teach?
These were, therefore, the words of Archbishop Lefebvre at exactly the same question is posed today. One wonders: what has changed?
My answer is that whilst something has certainly changed, it is fair to say the changes are probably not enough to let the SSPX feel they can proceed to the reconciliation without fears of being muzzled. At least, they would want to have some form of guarantee (the Ordinariate might be one) and things made in such a way that a Vatican infiltration of SSPX structures (the last cited words are enlightening) is not allowed.
It seems clear to me, though, if Lefebvre lived today he would have a very cautious approach, and would put the guarantees for the proper action of the SSPX before his personal desire of not being excommunicated or in some irregular position anymore.
The 15 April looms. Don’t hold your breath. If there is a surprise, it will be the more beautiful but honestly,it is likely the times are not ripe.
I do not often link to the page of a Protestant blog, but this time I really had to make an exception.
Cranmer‘s fisking of our teflon-coated Prime Minister is not only spot on in the matter, but it has the great merit of clearly telling the readers Cameron is as fake and hypocritical in his show of Christian feelings as he is in
pretty much everything else.
Cranmer “fisks” the Chameleon’s Easter address, that is: is dissects his speech taking phrases that he comments. Let us see an example:
This is the time when, as Christians, we remember the life, sacrifice and living legacy of Christ.
This is actually the holiest period in the liturgical year, Prime Minister. And Easter Day is the day we remember the Resurrection of Christ, not his ‘legacy’. Politicians tend to be concerned about leaving us with a legacy: the Son of God was concerned with offering us eternal life. Yes, that’s a legacy of sorts. But what’s wrong with the word ‘Resurrection’? Does it stick in the PC-pantheistic throat a little? Is it a bit too literally theological? Or mythically laughable? After all, carpenters tend not to get resurrected very much in Coalition Britain, so it’s probably safer to allude to some generalised ‘legacy’ rather than risk inciting Richard Dawkins and his intolerant secular-humanist hordes and being classed as a ‘nutter’ who believes on ‘conjuring tricks with bones’.
Or you might enjoy this:
The New Testament tells us so much about the character of Jesus; a man of incomparable compassion, generosity, grace, humility and love.
Yes, yes, but the New Testament tells us so much more than that, doesn’t it? Let’s not forget his uncompromising assertions of truth, his anger, his sharp tongue, his sternness and absolute intolerance of hypocrisy. What about the Jesus who was physically violent in the Temple? What about the Jesus who spewed out verbal abuse when the Pharisees criticised Him for healing on the Sabbath? And it’s not very Christian, is it, to curse a fig tree such that it ceases to bear fruit? That wouldn’t go down very well in Witney Garden Centre. Jesus told us to suffer the little children; not abort them. He told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more; not find a lesbian partner and marry her. And he taught quite a lot about money, greed and hell, but they’re not so fluffy and pink, are they? Jesus was an Orthodox Jew, Prime Minister. An awful lot of what he did and said may seem utterly antithetical to the modern, decontaminated Tory understanding of ‘compassion, generosity, grace, humility and love’. Love demands truth, or it is not love. And sometimes the truth is unpalatable, and people tend not to want to hear it. Especially if they’re politicians.
It is worth your while to read the article in its entirety. Notwithstanding the disastrous title of the blog this chap would, methinks, make a good convert. He certainly has managed, in the midst of his error, not to lose sight of the basic tenets of Christianity. The rest of his contributions – I have perused the site a bit, I confess – is of high quality and an interesting mixture of religious and political comments. This is a rather known blog, and is obviously followed in political circles. Let us hope that “Cranmer”‘s activity gives a contribution in exposing the purest example of Pharisaism of our time.
Hat tip to His Hermeneuticalness.