Pollyanna And The Grumpy Old Man

Wouldn't make a good blogger...

It might be, perhaps, useful to explain to my readers how I intend to report and comment the issues – which I fear will be numerous – concerning the new Pope.

Good or bad (or very bad; or awful; or outright heretical) the Pope is my Pope, and he will be until he proclaims an error as dogma. This means that before I criticise, I will do my best to examine what he says without any animosity or preconceived criticism.

If I find what he says or does is objectively wrong (a Pinocchio Mass has simply no excuse, none whatsoever) or highly questionable (the “poverty drive” and the awful whiff of populism) then I will express my criticism in terms which I see as respectful, but very open; and I will continue to go back on them as long as the issues themselves continue to exist.

I can safely say no one will ever suspect me of acquiescence to all the Pope says merely because it was said by the Pope; at the same time, cries of impending doom seem wildly inappropriate to me, and I have no intention whatever of starting my own little personal war against Pope Francis qua Pope Francis.

Instead, I will try to examine the single facts as they are presented to me, and do my best to provide a comment of which I hope Padre Pio would – taking account of my human shortcomings and of my rather emotional nature – not disapprove; and in doing so, I will try to say it straight – and try to inject some humour here or there – without, I hope, becoming all too heated.

If, therefore, you are hoping that this blog becomes an outlet of anti-Francis propaganda and resentment you will be disappointed, because I will endeavour to report what I think is good with the same zeal I report what I think is going wrong. Please also consider the good, gentle, and liturgically (somewhat) conservative Benedict was largely unable to be effective, but a strong-willed Pope will be able to do a lot of good at least in what concerns particular issues; though I am persuaded that if a Pope's theology is polluted by neo-Modernism – an issue from which none of the VII Popes are totally exempt anyway – this Pope will never be what is expected from him, and error will accompany him every day of his life.

Neither a Pollyanna nor a Grumpy old man, this is what I would like to be when I write on this blog. If you are looking for militant anti-papacy or sugary “who are we to judge” rubbish, your time is better employed away from this blog.



Posted on March 18, 2013, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. Hurrah! At this point we need to give him the benefit of the doubt, not act as though the sky is falling in. If it does fall in, you can tell us about it in your inimitable style 🙂 x

    • Thank you for the flowers, Jessica!
      If the sky does fall in, at least some will believe it because it does not come from people whose sky is falling in every day… 😉


    • Sounds like (as ever) you have it right. No point in sycophancy (not your style anyway) but equally little in running round screaming before anyone touched you (not your style either) 🙂 x

    • Many thanks, Jessica!
      Am I right in assuming you are thinking of converting? By the Anglos you are such a waste…


    • For a long time now I have been camped out on Mt Nebo. I go to a High Anglican Church which uses the same Liturgy as the Ordinariate. If I went to my local Catholic Church it would be happy clappy all round – and therein lies part of my problem. If there was a branch of the Ordinariate locally (that is withoin a 100 miles) I would be there like a shot. I loathe the NO Mass.

    • May I suggest that a Catholic NO Mass is still better than the most splendid Anglican service? In the end, the matter of truth is more important than the aesthetic one, and the ordinariate would still necessitate a conversion. I do hope this blog will help you to ask, one day, for admission to the only shop…

      Do you have an SSPX chapel anywhere near? Or a parish Traditional Mass?


    • No, alas, I am surrounded by very liberal parishes. My own priest was ordained by an Old Catholic Bishop as well as an Anglican one. The Catholic priest locally is on record as lamenting ‘Ratzinger’s’ election and is an admirer of Hans Kung.

    • Ouch!

      FSSP, methinks?

      Conversion and teeth grinding? Pay attention, though, that the chaps do not test your faith more than it can bear…

      At some point, though, I hope you’ll come to the conclusion it’s better to go to mass to a Socialist Catholic parish and offer one’s suffering to God, than remaining in the wrong shop because one isn’t provoked every Sunday…


    • Where I am now we have weekly Eucharistic Adoration, weekly confession and a Rosary Group. My local Catholic Church has only the second of these, and the PP told me to my face that they didn’t need any “Mariolators'” – he knows I am devoted to Our Lady. I have done the RCIA, but cannot bring myself to abandon Adoration and the Rosary Group and the High Altar for a rugby scrum.

    • Jessica, I do not want to sound rude, but the confession of an Anglican priest of course isn’t a valid confession, and the eucharistic adoration is the adoration of a wafer because not consecrated by a Catholic priest in union with the Church.

      In the end, please reflect that for us Catholics the option of going to an Anglican “eucharistic adoration” is just not there, because it isn’t the real thing. We think, though, that if we offer our suffering to the Lord, we will in the end get a great benefit from the “rugby scrum”, turning the work of the devil against him.

      It may be that you aren’t ready. You will see that when you are ready, and want to be a Catholic, you’ll want to be a Catholic with all the suffering this entails. I begin to think dear Pope Francis might do, unwittingly, a lot of good to a lot of Catholics…


    • Well, as I say, my priest was ordained by a Dutch Bishop in direct line of succession to Catholic Bishops, so I would say he has valid orders. He’s certainly more loyal to the Pope than the local Catholic PP! We are still hoping he will declare for the Ordinariate.

    • I must be blunt again: no he hasn’t.

      This is an Anglican meme that doesn’t make sense. If your priest has left the Church, he has left the Church. The Church is very clear on that, and has consistently denied a former Catholic priest who has converted to protestantism can, so to speak, “bring valid sacraments with him”. Jesus comes in the consecrated host because it is consecrated within His Church, not because some chap used to be a Catholic priest.

      If this Anglican legend were true, there could be a former Catholic bishop “consecrating” an army of Anglican priests, all claiming to be “in direct line of succession to Catholic bishops”.

      Without unity with the Church, there’s no Church. If there were, Catholicism would have no reason to exist. One would just pick the ex-Catholic priest of whatever denomination he wants to belong to, and Catholicism would exist in all denominations where ex-Catholic priest live their heretical life.


    • All of that I understand. The Bishop who consecrated my priest is not a Protestant any more than the SSPX is. He is a member of the Old Catholic Church which would not accept Vatican I.

    • The SSPX are not in communion with the Anglicans, the so-called Old catholic Church is.

    • Ah, thank you, I didn’t know that. I read your advice, and yes, I see everything you say. But no Rosary, no Adoration, ghastly hymns and a rugby scrum – is that really the Catholic Church or a modern fake?

    • My take is this:

      as long as you have reason to believe the Consecration takes place (that is: the priest does what he is supposed to do) the consecration takes place and it is a valid mass. Horrible, atrocious, irreverent, desecrating, but valid.

      if the priest acts in a way which objectively indicates he might not believe in the transubstantiation and shows it to his faithful, then we are in trouble.

      If you look for my post “In Bruges” you will see an example of consecration which might not have taken place, because it contained a clear liturgical abuse typical of those who do not believe in the transubstantiation: the earthen vessels.

      Still, I may have doubt about the consecration in a horrible novus ordo mass, i do not have any doubt there is no consecration in an Anglo-Catholic church, in whatever way, shape or form the “priest” may celebrate it.

      As I have written in the other post with the “vademecum”, in the end it is about developing (which, I understand, might take time; J H Newman himself took years)a clear conscience of where the truth lies. Once this problem is solved and appears very clearly in front of one’s conscience, then the other decisions will fall naturally in place. The most horrible of catholic masses is still infinitely better, because qualitatively different, then the most magnificent Anglican mass: the one has the Transubstantiation, the other hasn’t. The excess of the transubstantiation not taking place must be extremely rare nowadays (not so much in the Seventies, methinks), and if the priest has the prescribed vessels (gold or silver plating: no glass, or pewter, or (God forbid!) earth) and behaves in the prescribed manner during the consecration, then it is a valid mass, and the priest may well go to hell if he so deserves, but Christ will come to you in the Eucharist.

      As you might have noticed, I make “mass tourismus” at times, for logistic reasons or visiting parishes to take the temperature of the Church around me.
      On several occasions, I got seriously angry. I offer it up, knowing that if the priest managed to harm himself with his mass, he did not harm me.

      In the end, it’s 40 minutes a week. Ugly as they might be (and looking around there will be those who aren’t so ugly) it’s the Only Church, it’s where Christ is, it’s home.


    • I take all of that. But if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and it quacks, then is it really a swan? That, at the moment is the problem for me. I have a very liberal (wants women priests, gay priests, the lot) PP in a very liberal diocese who certainly dies not believe in transubstantiation, operating a Mass which is like a parody. I have a very traditional Anglican priest who celebrates daily and does believe in transubstantiation and does not want innovations, and whose liturgical practices are reverent. Until it becomes clear he won’t join the OOLW, it seems better to stay than to join the ship locally. If my priest won’t go, then I shall have to join the scrum and sing Shine, Jesus Shine!

    • How far are you able to travel? If you go on the internet you’ll see it is very improbable you’ll find two parishes in favour of gay priests. Actually, the “gay” one should be listened to attentively and then the content of him homily communicated to the Congregation for the Clergy and the Nuncio (you can forget the bishop), but seriously there will be better priests within driving distance.

      If, however, you think your community will join, you may want to ask a good confessor (again, you’ll have to travel, for this one time) what to do. In the end, if you say to your priest “I can’t wait but I am looking forward to join again the community when we are all Catholics” I think it’s all right. Or perhaps the confessor will suggest that you wait considering the community is intentioned, though I personally would say don’t.

      I commend your decision to “join the scrum”, if must be, at some point. I never sing “Shine, Jesus Shine”, though! 😉

      Again: the more challenging the times, the more merit in joining the challenge! 😉


    • I am limited to about 50 mile radius. I think it is very likely that we will join the Ordinariate, and there are discussions going on. I have said I will give it until Advent, and if there is nothing by then, the rugger scrum it will have to be.

    • Excellent choice, and I praise your spirit!

      When you are discouraged, you can still visit this blog.. 😉


    • You always keep me from despairing. Thank you 🙂

    • But you see, if he goes into the Ordinariate he will have to admit he never had orders, “bishop in line” or not!
      The very consecration as priest means that now he is not a priest!

      He is probably thinking of it, though. This would, in fact, solve all problems.


    • He is, and it would! You have hit on his main problem. For me I cannot give up Our Lady, and the local PP seems to regard my veneration for her as a bad sign. Pray for me, if you will

    • But of course I have hit on his main problem! That’s the problem all Anglo-Catholics have! One can’t be A and B at the same time!

      I will pray for you for sure!

      May I suggest this


      To phone or visit a solid SSPX structure would also be a good idea, methinks…

      I understand it’s not easy to go to a place where you would suffer. Life isn’t fair. But no suffering remain unseen where it really counts…


    • Thank you 🙂 Alas, there is not one closer than London, which is a three hour each way journey.

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