Daily Archives: November 4, 2013
I read around of an otherwise unknown to me, but apparently respected priest launching a torpedo or two against “Traditionalist” Catholic bloggers, for the reasons you can easily imagine.
I allow myself here to express a couple of thoughts, which may or may not meet your approval.
Firstly, let me say my blogging activity – provided you want to call me a “Traditionalist” blogger; which is fine, though I am certainly not one of those who refuse to attend Novus Ordo masses – is first and foremost the result of the astonishing cowardice I have in the meantime elected as the main feature of the V II clergy. Whilst countless people like yours truly do not miss an occasion to risk losing even a dear friend rather than compromise on our allegiance to Jesus, it is rare to see a priest able and willing to even risk the one or other harridan in his own parish declaring that she is “hurt” by his being Catholic.
Whilst everyone of us must do his best, it is first and foremost the job of the priest to make himself unpopular so that he may save souls. The priest is also the one to whom a degree of unpleasantness – or worse – in the pursuit of his profession can and must be asked in much greater measure than to a layman. Why? Because he is a priest, period.
Blogs like mine – and countless others – are the result of the genuine suffering and righteous anger of many sincere Catholics who feel that the post V II clergy are culpable of dereliction of duty in the gravest of ways, and possibly in an unprecedented manner in the history of Christianity. Our elementary religious feeling simply rebels at seeing so much – I must say the word, because I find it appropriate – brown-nosing to the world, going on at all ecclesiastical levels since the beginning of the Sixties. This, and nothing else, is what leads us to blog. I for myself would not even dream of being here at 11pm writing this angry blog post, rather than sitting with a good book, a glass of Porto and Schubert in the background, if I knew the clergy are doing their job. If they did, blogs like ours would be of no interest for the reader even provided we were – which would not be my case – willing to write them. People would, very simply, follow the events in the Catholic world through the interviews, the homilies, the books, the blogs, the calls to battle of the good clergy themselves. If we had a halfway decent clergy, every church would resound of their rage against the abominations and godlessness of our times, and the parish magazines would contain long lists of locally, nationally and internationally excommunicated politicians. Instead, the pulpits – if they are still used – are generally used for convenient waffling about peace, luv, social justice, & Co.
We talk and write, because our priest and bishops and popes don't. Our blogs are read, because good Catholics have pretty much nowhere else to go.
Secondly, most of us are not priests. We do not pretend to be what we aren't, and we do not demand – nor would we have any right to – that our words are listened to with particular attention or deference because of some role that we have. Mostly, we are angry laymen fed up with the ravaging of Christianity whilst the main concern of the clergy seem to be to encourage illegal immigration, or to pursue a populist agenda of the stupidest sort. As a result, each and every reader who happens to land on our blogs is forced to evaluate it according to the quality of the arguments therein contained, rather than the position of the one making the argument. The explosion of traditionalist Catholic blogging seems to indicate the arguments of the bloggers aren't bad. Alas, they can't be silenced with Clericalist arguments, because these aren't unknowing peasants. Too bad, uh, Father Grima?
Thirdly, many bloggers and commenters – like myself – are totally anonymous. Not even my mother knows that I write a blog. Absolutely no one this side of heaven, though I am sure the Blessed Virgin is aware. If I were to get knocked down by a bus, or a flower vase were to fall on my head, this blog would stop suddenly, and no one would ever know why. No friend can ever compliment me saying “I have read your latest blog post, great!” I will get no kudos from anyone in flesh and blood, someone who knows who I actually am. Many others do, in their own way, the same. Thousands, as I write, blog and comment and quarrel and stay up late at night for no other reason than their love of God and their suffering at seeing Christianity wiped out from the West; all this whilst our utterly, utterly disgraceful Pope tells us it's good that Catholics are now a minority in Italy, because they can be the leaven and blabla and blabla. Heaven, the bread was already leavened! One can't destroy a Catholic culture with fifty years of cowardly nonsense and then say it's all fine, because the destruction allows us to build one! Such is the stupidity of our clergy, and such is the reason why so many blog, or comment, or read, or symphatise. A priest who can't understand – and be glad of it – that countless people stay in front of a monitor at night because they love the Church and thirst for sound words they don't hear from the pulpit is a priest unworthy of his habit. Many of those, I am afraid. The majority in the West, I can safely say. But no, for the bad priest it is not he who has completely failed. Those who are bad are the critical bloggers, and their readers.
Which is why many others besides yours truly sit here blogging or reading or commenting until too late. Gratis et amore Dei. Often without even our friends or relatives knowing. And all this should come from… what exactly? Vanity? Greed? Boredom? Or perhaps, simply, Catholicism?
It would be high time a couple of priests and bishops and the occasional
Pop bishop of Rome understood the utter failure of the clergy to halfway decently transmit and defend Catholic values is what caused the explosion of conservative Catholic blogs. Thanks to the technical developments of the last decade, the bloggers are simply doing – as well as they can – the job the clergy has systematically refused to do since the beginning of the Sixties. Not to understand this means not to understand much, at all.
Let the clergy start being Catholics again, instead of a bunch of effeminate idiots waffling about the “joy of giving witness” whilst Sodomarriage becomes law, abortion is considered normal, fornication a bodily function, and contraception a human right. Let them start being unpopular, and hated by the world, rather than the usual slightly high-pitched chaps who are “always so nice” with their relentless message of universal salvation and quiet complicity with every sin or outright abomination under the sun. Let them be savagely attacked by the same atheists newspapers and journalists they now go at such extreaordinary lengths of nonsense and even heresy to please.
Let them start doing it. You will see, when this happens many bloggers will do like myself.
They will switch to a good book.
The “eternal rest” is possibly the shortest prayer I know, and its simple structure lends itself very well to frequent repetition.
It might be well, therefore, to try to train oneself, during this month of November, to insert more short moments of prayers in the midst of our day. Even busy activity will have short moments of quiet being with ourselves, though we might not always notice it. Even the short walk to the filing cabinet, or the kitchen, or the bathroom in the midst of a busy office day can be an occasion for two or three well-said eternal rests.
At the end of the month, they could be quite a bunch.
Every Italian child of my age has known Christ Crucified from the tenderest age. Even before they knew who He is, they had seen Him. At home, at the grandparents', in kindergarten and at school, the crucifix was everywhere.
It wasn't a Walt Disney image. It was a tale of suffering, and every little child knew that. Before they knew why the man was hanging there, they knew what he was doing there. Suffering.
There was no attempt, at the time, to sweeten the pill. When you were told the story, you knew why Jesus had died, and you knew all the suffering involved. The crucifix was in every home, in every classroom, in every courtroom, and (I am told) in every hospital room. Films were shown at school, showing the Gospel and the Passion. They ended with the same suffering. No attempt was made to disguise the crude reality of the situation, though I clearly remember the attempt to protect children from violent movie scenes. The flagellation wasn't as brutal as in Mel Gibson's movie, and Christ was tied to the cross with ropes; but even we, children of eight or nine as we were, knew those should have been nails.
Coherently with the above, the real crucifix (the one with Christ suffering on the Cross) was the only type of Crucifix I have ever seen in my time. If it does not have Christ nailed and suffering on the Cross, then it's not a Crucifix. Simple.
Or so you would think.
Alas, the Church of Popular has become so stupid that Christ on the cross has become more than she can trust for the sheep to bear, as seen from the new papal Ferula.
After Scorzelli's disquieting crucifix, the Calvinistic (look at the arms' angle) tale of desperation and utter defeat, we have the contrary image: the aesthetically questionable and theologically challenged “Resurrexifix” donated to the Bishop of Rome.
Scorzelli's crucifix was a tale of suffering without victory, or dignity; this one is a tale of victory without its foundation: the death and suffering.
The strange spiky metal wants, I suppose, to represent the radiance of the risen Christ, but in fact it dominates the Cross itself, which is clearly pushed in the background. Christ does not even appear truly nailed to the Cross, thus further downplaying the Passion. The suffering has basically gone, and it's just a citation for those in the know. If you don't know anything about Christianity, the cross in this Ferula will appear to you a mere ornament. This is a crucifix fit for Francis' papacy: a time in which adults are considered not ready for truths that were, in my time, fit for little children.
Suffering is not something the Church of Nice wants her members to stomach. Let's be positive instead, and skip the unpleasant part. Fast forward to the happy ending, eh? no? Then we can talk about the “joy” of being Catholic, which should sell much better than an almost naked Man (and God) atrociously executed.
The new Resurrexifix in the papal Ferula refuses to tell the real tale. It tries to hide the Cross behind the glory of the Resurrected Saviour. It tries to hide or downplay the suffering. In short, it tries not to be a Crucifix.
Again, let us reflect that this is a fitting crucifix for a Pope also trying to downplay his role, and unwilling to understand a Pope is there to offer solid guidance; particularly in times like the present one, dominated by bad instruction and destructive peer pressure.
The Resurrexifix is misleading, confusing, and aesthetically questionable. It must be good enough for Francis, then.
Can't wait for Fr Lombardi explaining to us that papal Ferulas are no “Denzinger” and they must therefore not be “overanalysed”. Lombardi might also tell us the Pope never received a preliminary drawing of the work, which was the result of a friendly, non recorded chit-chat with the sculptor. If Francis has received the drawing, he might not have opened it. If he has opened it, it is not clear whether he has actually seen it. If he has seen the drawing, it's not sure whether he was paying attention, & Co. …
Granted, the wrong Ferula is, in the great scheme of things, not anywhere subversive as the letter Francis has written to Scalfari and the interviews he has been giving; but it is, without a doubt, another indication of Francis' forma mentis.
Look at the crucifix above. It is Lello Scorzelli’s crucifix in the papal ferula used by John Paul II and now also adopted by Pope Francis.
I find this crucifix disquieting for more than one reason. Apart from the obvious ugliness of the Christ (an anatomical ugliness that can’t be ignored: a Christ clearly undernourished almost to the point of starvation, and with arms that seem to me out of proportion to his legs), and of the theological implications some have remarked (with the arms of the Christ upwards as in the Calvinist and Jansenist tradition, rather than horizontal in an obvious gesture of openness and embrace of humanity) and which go beyond my pay grade, what I noticed first is the absence of dignity the image conveys.
Even when I was a child and looked at a crucifix in all his crudeness, the magnificence of this suffering never failed…
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