Daily Archives: March 20, 2013
Whenever I am in Rome, I get inebriated at the richness of our Catholic heritage, which is not only the Vatican Museums and the glorious palaces linked to the Church's history but, largely, churches.
These churches can be entered by everyone – provided he is dressed, and behaves, decently – without any expense. This is a very nice contrast to England, where the oh so inclusive so-called CoE asks you a variable but never symbolic amount if you want to see any decent Cathedral, topped by the – if memory serves – 15 pounds for Canterbury Cathedral, one of the many buildings they, by the way, stole from us.
If you enter any one of those beautiful Roman churches, you will often find people praying there alone or in little groups (saying the Rosing, for example). You will easily see these people are largely popolani, the Roman word for “working class”. Simple people of faith, caring for their salvation like Samantha Cameron would never even believe, and accumulating treasuries in heaven whilst she cocktails and fundraises herself to hell.
Traditionally, this has been the “audience” of a church: the popolani who made the vast part of the population, and of those attending Mass and the other functions and devotions.
It is, of course, true that the extreme richness of many Roman churches is lavished ad majorem Dei gloriam, but it is also undeniable the main earthly beneficiaries of such magnificence are the vast number of simple people frequenting the churches.
As every properly instructed Catholic will tell a Protestant, a Catholic church is meant to transport those who enter it into another world. The thick walls will keep the hustle and bustle of daily cares outside; the silence or the practising organist will immerse them in an atmosphere of deep spirituality, and the utter magnificence of what they see around them will immediately remind them of the unimaginable treasures waiting for them, one day, after their earthly toil.
It is impossible for a Catholic to conceive that a poor pewsitter could resent, or even question this splendour. Poor may he be, but he will never dare to think “if this Madonna were sold, some of the proceed may help my family”. It would be like stealing from the hand of Christ Himself.
This, every poor man or woman understands without difficulties, and not even the Communists have ever tried to promote laws allowing the sale of the inestimable treasures contained in churches all over the Country (belonging, many of them, to the State, which pays for their upkeep). Such a thinking would be not even the mark of the Philistine, but rather of the Barbarian.
As so often in our life, though, it is the champagne-sipping, gay-marrying, hell bound upper middle class who pose as the protectors of the poor, feeling very holy as they do so. Their stupidity is so vast – or their disingenuousness so false – that they do not think how actually cheap all this beauty is. Firstly, it was largely paid either by the rich (the initial expense) or the ordinary taxpayer, and therefore emphatically not the poor (the upkeep). Secondly, it has nourished with beauty and spirituality a vast number of people; so vast in fact, that if you wanted to distribute the proceeds among the fifteen or twenty generations of pewsitters since construction – not to mention the many ones, God willing, to come – you would discover that the proceeds wouldn't change the life of everyone, but the loss of such beauty would make everybody miserable. Unless, of course, you were to allow one generation to appropriate for themselves the beauty rightly enjoyed by all the future ones, thus proving once again that socialism is never more than two inches away from robbery.
Whenever possible, Catholic churches must be splendid. Let Catholic shows how much they love Christ without any shame and fake “social” prejudices.
Let the Calvinists congregate in squalid barns. We Catholics will continue to delight in our wonderful churches; not only because of the symbolic spiritual value of all the wealth, but because where Christ is present in the Eucharist, no splendour can be too much.
Almost one week after the fateful decision to elect Meisner’s and Mahony’s candidate to the Papacy (though one suspects the latter would have voted for St. Pius X if he had thought this brings him some advantage) it might be worth spending some words about The attitude of the secular, liberal press toward the Holy Father up to now.
It seems to me the secular press has the same problems we traddies have: we know this Pope is more or less influenced by Modernism, and they know this Pope will be, broadly speaking, Catholic. But on the respective good side, we hope he will be a very robust defender of life, marriage and Catholic sexual morality, and they hope he will be a useful Mini-Chavez, propelling them into a sort of Obama stratosphere where illegal immigration, increased taxation and general socialist whining become the new Vatican currency, generously distributed to leftist governments all over the planet.
Not knowing whether thePontiff is to be counted among the useful instruments of their ideology or a threat to it, they choose a cautious middle. They can’t praise him up to the sky, because they’ll be in trouble if he start to seriously bite, but at the same time they can’t attack him too harshly, because they risk losing what could become their best ally by some measure.
Notice, therefore, the cautious attitude not rabidly criticising the Pope for being Catholic, but merely shooting some salvo about his work at the time of the Argentinian dictatorship and the “dirty war”. The rumours – or slander – being largely base on a former guerrillero, it will be easy to dismiss him as an unreliable source should the necessity arise; but if it should become clear that the Pope is to be considered an enemy, the early “dirty war” accusations will allow he Guardian, the New York Times and the others to say “we told you so”.
For leftists this Pope is a bit of an eel, and they seem to wait to see how much political capital can be harvested from him. If the harvest proves plentiful, expect the past to be examined in light of the Pope’s “struggle against economic oppression” and the Pontiff to be praised as a Great Revolutionary. If, however, the harvest fails, expect a torrent of mud like you’ve never seen in your life.
The leftists’ cannons are already in place, and are ready to fight. I hope Pope Francis will accept battle, and relish in it.
For obvious reasons, I could not follow yesterday’ s ceremony live. Therefore, both yesterday evening and for solid forty minutes this morning I looked for sensible information about what happened yesterday: how the liturgical aspect was organised was obviously a major concern, but the most pressing matter to me was to examine how this new and innovative Pontiff dealt with the rather uncommon occasion of speaking in front of the representatives of so many governments, from soft dictatorships of relativism like the US to brutal dictatorships of violence like Zimbabwe. Surely, I thought, a Pope who wants to set a new precedent of courageous apostolate will profit from this occasion for a passionate defence of the unborn life, and a severe reminder marriage is a divine institution?
Well, this might or might not have been the case, but if it has the press (and I mean the Catholic outlets, taken from Catholic aggregators) were, in their worry of not being enough enthusiastic, not been paying attention.
What I found instead was an obsessive reporting of utterly harmless subjects, and an orgy of easy emotionalism fit for the audience of a kindergarten.
The Pope has, then, apparently, encouraged his audience to preserve Creation. A typical tofu-statement, anodyne to the point of meaning perfectly absolutely nothing and therefore being easily accepted by perfectly absolutely everyone. From Neonazis to Old Stalinists, from Palin to Biden, and from Berlusconi to Merkel, everyone can be in agreement with such a statement, and I wonder if “good morning” could not be seen as rather more controversial.
We are here, therefore, firmly in non-news territory; which has not prevented this astonishingly profound encouragement to be echoed by the press with such sugary tones as to let you think something historical has happened, and they’ll ask you to take part in a merry-go-round next.
Then there is the second non-news of the day: protect the poor, the weak, etc.
Not “the unborn”, mind. The weak, the poor. An obvious departure from the papacies of the past, relentlessly inviting the faithful to kick their backside. This is another serving of V II tofu, allowing the Bidens and Pelosis of the world to fly back home and tell everyone how engaged they are in furthering the Holy Father’s agenda. Even Mugabe will be able to make excellent use of it, and I actually wonder if Adolf Hitler himself would not have sat in his place nodding approvingly, and thinking his people have the best hospitals, youth clubs, swimming pools, maternity legal discipline, social security, and social activities of all kind.
Thirdly, and most Oprah-like in a world rapidly sinking into unknown depths of idiocy, the embracing of the poor man in the wheelchair for the benefit – wanted or not – of worldwide audiences; an act, obviously, not to be censored at all in itself, but given such messianic importance as to let one seriously wonder. As per yesterday, compassion for disabled peoplewill have to be televised globally, because otherwise no one would know it exist. Gone are the days when a gentle Pope avoided every gesture which might have been seen as easy fodder for the emoting mob. Gone are the days when papal homilies where, if often ignored, dense of significance and intellectually stimulating. What the media represent today is an Oprah in white, literally feeding the chicken with the most astonishing platitudes and looking at the noisy excitement in the worldwide henhouse.
Forget abortion, marriage, moral relativism, militant atheism, sodomy! Just talk about “creation”! Better still, stop the car and embrace a disabled man! The entire planet will be delighted! The picture emerging here is of a Tofu papacy for the intellectually challenged, dishing banalities in the best tradition of JP II, and one can only wonder whether Pope Francis will resume the latter’s habit of “kissing the ground”: another perfectly meaningless, but oh so good looking gesture the present Pontiff might think of adopting.
Unless, of course, the Pope did say the unpleasant things, did defend marriage, did defend the Catholic view about homosexuality, and the worldwide Catholic press and blogging world simply chose to ignore it, because if you earn in proportion of your page views or the newspapers you sell the tofu waffle will go down much better and sell much more.
This orgy of emotionalism is also evidenced by another rather shocking piece of information: several journalists apparently hyped the event so much as to say around one million people were there. The Vatican had to correct, saying 150,000 to 200,000 is a more likely take. The collective media interest in making of this Papacy a worldwide media event of perfectly harmless, and therefore easy to sell content could not have been revealed more blatantly.
Therefore, one of the two is happening: either we are going towards another Oprah-Papacy, or the press and media outlets are so obsessively trying to make of this Pope an Oprah in white that the real message is covered by the emotional screaming of the journalists and bloggers conveniently excited like teenage girls when the pop star arrives at the hotel.
In future, I’ll try to find reliable sources for the text themselves of the Papal speeches – further complicated from the fact he tends to improvise -, then I begin to notice in the usual reporting channels an emphasis on emotionalism and feel-good attitude.
The best blogs will also, in time, report with some depth about yesterday; still, to get later in the office because on the news aggregators one only found waffle for 40 solid minutes is more than a bit frustrating.
In the meantime, I suggest the Dalai Lama starts embracing children in wheelchairs fast, or he has already lost the popularity race.