Daily Archives: April 19, 2013
From the very long – and very fitting – letter #80 of Bishop Fellay to Friends and Benefactors: (emphases mine)
We beg Heaven and the authorities of the Church, in particular the new Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, Successor of Peter, not to allow souls to perish because they no longer learn sound doctrine, the revealed deposit of the faith, without which no one can be saved, no one can please God.
What good is it to devote oneself to serving people if one hides from them what is essential, the purpose and the meaning of their life, and the seriousness of sin that turns them away from it? Works of charity done for the poor, the needy, the infirm, and the sick have always been a true concern for the Church, and we must not excuse ourselves from it, but if it becomes merely man-centered philanthropy, then the Church is no longer carrying out her mission, she is no longer leading souls to God, which can really be done only by supernatural means: faith, hope, charity and grace. And therefore by denouncing anything that is opposed to them: errors against faith and morality. Because if people sin, for want of that denunciation, they are damned for eternity. The Church’s reason for being is to save them and to help them avoid the misfortune of their eternal perdition.
“Mundabor”, the teacher would have said at school, “what does the author want to say”?
I am not at school anymore, but I think I know what I would answer: the author wants to say that there has been enough talk of simplicity, black shoes, iron crosses, and Argentinian newsagents, whilst the real issues continue to be happily ignored.
One month on, the silence of the new Pope concerning the new, exploding phenomenon of pro-homosexual legislation is deafening; but Heavens, we know everything about how he doesn’t like Papal Apartments, red shoes, mozzettas, or Roman cobblers.
The SSPX has certainly been prudent for a while, waiting to see how they can picture this Pontiff before speaking publicly.
Their decision to move to an open appeal clearly means they consider his silence as scandalous. Please read Bishop Fellay’s words again. They are clear enough.
Pope Francis has not justified the worst fears (up to now, at least), and has moved rather well on a couple of occasions (the LCWR comes to mind; actually nothing else of consequence comes to mind… one good homily here, one good idea there, things like that); but he has also lived dramatic weeks for world Christianity whilst doing basically nothing, or whilst letting us know how sensitive he is to his newsagent down in Buenos Aires.
God knows how much the French Catholics would have appreciated strong words of the Pontiff concerning the abomination of sodomy; it would have given – and would still give – the movement great strenght for the years of fight in front of them.
Instead, we haven’t heard one word. Not one.
I am sick and tired already to try to see Francis through Benedict. I see that Benedict was indecisive enough, and Francis can talk rather refreshingly if he wants, but he avoids to do it when it means grating the masses whose approval he is so sedulously seeking. Whilst the French members of parliament send the country’s soul to hell, he entertains us with the evil of gossiping.
Mozzetta or no Mozzetta, this is not good enough; this is no longer carrying on the Church’s mission, and allowing souls to perish.
It is a paradox that we had a Pope who saw the necessity of war but didn’t have the nerve to lead us into it; and we now have a Pope who probably has the strenght of character to lead us into any war he chooses, but seems not to think the unprecedented disintegration of the Christian fabric of the West is worth a war in the first place.
But hey, we know all about his cobbler.
I receive from reader “Papapiusdecimus” (whom I thank from the heart for the kind words) an extremely interesting link, published above.
This appears to be the only film ever made about the great pope St. Pius X. Googling around, the year of production appears to be 1951. De Gasperi was Prime Minister, and Pius XII was Pope. A dream team by any standard of today, and probably of any day.
The names involved in the production of this movie make clear, even before seeing it , this is a quality production.
Unfortunately, this is youtube format, and no subtitles.
It appears the movie was also dubbed in English, title “The Secret Conclave”.
Those of you who have Netflix might be able to see it, says here. Please can someone of my readers with Netflix subscription let me know if this is available.
If any reader can indicate where they might be found this would be wonderful, but of course I understand this must be nearly impossible. I will try to discover whether the film was dubbed in other languages (French perhaps? Or maybe Spanish? They were Christian countries back then… ).
I will try to have the thing downloaded on a USB key and put on my TV. I doubt very much the quality will be satisfying, but I want to say it after I have tried.
Those of you who don’t understand the language will, I am sure, at least enjoy its beautiful sound.. 😉
Please do not forget three Hail Mary for our good reader Papapiusdecimus, who – I think – deserves them entirely.
1. You have a cobbler making your shoes.
2. You send those shoes the other side of the planet for repair, and back.
Or wait, perhaps not a Franciscan, but …
Life is, decidedly, never tired of surprises. I had my last yesterday, when I discovered for some Catholics it would not be in order if the Pope allows himself some witticism, or even – God forbid! – a laugh. If anyone where to tell me such a nonsense, I’d answer “you’re a convert, right?”. It is, in fact, inconceivable that a person may have such outlandish, Presbyterian rubbish in his head without it first having been put into said head by some Presbyterian, or by other equally wrong people.
There’s nothing in Catholic culture – or doctrine – against a good laugh, much less against a refined humour. Pope Pius IX brilliantly macabre joke at the expense of the Anglicans who wanted a “blessing” from him (“May you be blessed by Him in whose honour you shall be burnt”, the formula for the blessing of the incense; but he said it in Latin, so apparently they didn’t notice) is very well known, but for one joke that goes into posterity there are hundreds that don’t. A man able to make such a joke must have been an entertaining chap indeed.
Or one should think of St Philip Neri, a man of such devastating humour that occasionally the doctor had to be called because of the breathing difficulties the hysterical laughter caused in some individuals. Without recurring to the truly extreme example of St. Philip Neri, everyone who has enjoyed Don Camillo on TV or books should know a certain playful naughtiness is as much a part of a good priest’s life as anyone else’s.
If this is not enough, the levity and joy of life of Catholic countries – as opposed to the dourness and rigidity of traditional Protestantism – should be enough to let one think that this idea that jokes be inappropriate isn’t really Catholic.
Still, if at the end of the discussion my hypothetical (and formerly Protestant) counterpart were to be still not satisfied, I’d suggest to him that he reflects on the Gospel rather than – as many of them do – learning chunks of it by rote. The Gospels are short booklets written for eminently practical purposes, giving us a very condensed account of Jesus’s work. For Jesus’ joke about the “sons of thunder” to make it in such short stories, there must have been countless gentle pieces of mockery from the side of Jesus, causing hilarity all around. Today, we can’t register even the hint in the Gospel without a smile.
Truly, it seems some Protestants never got what it means that Jesus was fully human. Can they really leave all the hilarity and the playfulness of life aside, and still see Jesus as human? What kind of humanity would that be, that is against a joke, a bon mot, a playful banter, a gentle mockery? Can they really imagine Jesus at Cana, invited to a marriage together with many others, with wine and food and merriment all around, looking all the time like Gordon Brown on a bad day? How very Un-Christian…
Yours truly is, God knows, surly his part, and with a marked tendency to take everything extremely seriously. But I assure you, not even I would have ever thought that witticism doesn’t belong to Catholicism; and if this blog doesn’t make you smile it is due to my lack of talent, not my lack of will. Besides, humour is a powerful weapon, so he who has it, let him use it ad maiorem Dei gloriam; and if he is Pope, so much the better.
My suggestion to all converts from Protestant errors is that they take much attention in spotting where a deeper Protestant layer continues to subsist below the newly acquired Catholic theology. There are many of those influences, from the obsession with the second Commandment (say, that awful writing, GOD or even G-D, or thinking that pious expressions common all over Southern Europe are blasphemies…) to the one with the Scriptures, to the Gordon Brown attitude. In time, the convert will discover he has become a bit more relaxed, and a tad happier. He will, perhaps, one day, even enjoy a good joke without feeling guilty.
“How many people work in the Vatican?” Pope Blessed John XXIII was once asked.
“Oh, about half”, was the answer.
That’s the spirit.
I have excluded comments from the post in memory of Margaret Thatcher. Not from the general settings, but only from that post.
For reasons not clear to me, WordPress appears to have “imported” the setting as “default” for some posts I have published afterwards, a circumstance I have noticed only now.
Normal service has now been restored.
The John Wayne Reblog
I must admit that I recalled it differently: that John Wayne married thrice, always to Catholic women, and that his last wife was the one most directly instrumental to his conversion. Which seemed a bit odd to me, as it is not clear to me how a devout Catholic woman may marry a man who has been married twice (or once, in the case of the second wife) to Catholic women, has divorced and the first Mrs Wayne is still alive.
Still, I am not an expert and the matter is complicated; one would have to know more in detail how the Church considers the marriage of people who – like Wayne – did not consider marriage a sacrament, and/or didn’t even, perhaps, marry in church. I must raise a white flag here, though my first instinct would be that the Catholic second (or third) wife shouldn’t even think of…
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