Daily Archives: March 18, 2014
Dear Bishop, Deacon Nick Donnelly, of the blog “Protect the Pope”, provided many of the faithful with a sound insight into church affairs, especially into the disgraceful activities of the ACTA organisation.
Could you please tell me, therefore, why you have asked him to observe a period of prayer and reflection?
Assuring you of my prayers. Richard Collins.
It is good to know Bishops have blogs. It allows the shepherds to “get out” in the world, and “get in touch” with the sheep. To “reach out” to the “outskirts”. More “dialogue”, and “inclusion”. So very Francis.
Alas, it would appear Mr Collins’ message was culled.
Now: the Bishop’s blog is his own living room, and I do not think I can tell him, or anyone else come to that, whom he should or should not welcome in his own living room. If he thinks the question impertinent or disrespectful he will certainly cancel the message, and that’s that.
But just in order to be sure that the message was not cancelled merely because the bishop does not like Mr Collins (perhaps confusing him with the slightly more famous Phil Collins, whom he might not like as a musician), I thought it fitting to copy and paste Mr (Richard) Collins’ message and to post it in the combox of a blog post pithily named: “Entering into Lent with the Syro-Malabar Catholic and launching “The Light is ON for YOU – Reconciliation Wednesday!”).
As I write this (Tuesday evening, 10:45 pm GMT), the message is respectfully waiting in the moderation room of the Bishop; probably sitting on a comfortable, if rather old-fashioned, sofa and nervously tapping the floor with the shoe, wondering “will I be allowed to get in?”. I am sure the Bishop’s assistant offered him a coffee, though, so the wait should be bearable.
You may want to check, tomorrow afternoon (19 March) GMT, whether the message has been posted, or even answered. In this case, I would be so kind as to forward said message to Mr Collins who, I should say, is entitled to read it before me.
If no message has been posted – perfectly legitimate, I repeat it: I cancel tons of messages myself – it cannot be excluded that this has happened because the Bishop does not like me, besides Mr Collins. Shocking, I know. But again, my comment box tells me every day that perhaps – just perhaps – somewhere, someone might not like me.
In this case, I would suggest that you also post a message. I am sure Mr Collins will not be offended if you allow yourself to copy and paste it, as I did. In the end, it isn’t much longer than the title of the Bishop’s blog post, so I doubt he’ll consider it beyond “fair usage of combox” policy. If that particular blog post does not allow to leave a message, I am sure the Bishop will fully understand if you leave the message using another one. If several of you do it, I think he will be even happier about the dialogue with faithful Catholics. He chose a wordpress blog, so I can tell you the message will appear in the same line on his screen wherever you may post it, even a one-month-old post.
The question posed by Mr Collins seems very legitimate to me, who have been scratching my head for days trying to understand what special need of prayer and reflection Mr Donnolly may have had.
The Deacon seemed a thoroughly fine chap to me. Never a wrong word. Not even “faggot”, or “dyke”. Exemplary.
It has nothing to do with ACTA, surely?
Surely not, but it would be nice to know more. The bishop likes the “Tablet”, I am told, so he must have read of the blog issue there, too.
And has the bishop noticed how nice the blog is? Happily, the Deacon’s prayer time has not made any damage at all.
Dear Readers, please let me know how this one goes. It’s good to be able to communicate directly with the Bishop on occasions like this one.
Actuosa Participatio, I call it.
More Lio coming.
Rather predictably, I would say; then whilst there is no Kirchensteuer here our bishops, priests and faithful aren’t, on average, so much better than in Germany.
This is what the Tablet has to report:
Two bishops of England and Wales have broken ranks with their confreres with one calling for developments in church teaching on human sexuality and the other criticising the collective decision not to publish the findings of a Vatican survey.
The Bishop of Middlesbrough, Terence Drainey, called for a “radical re-examination of human sexuality” that could lead to a development in church teaching in areas such as contraception, homosexuality, divorce and remarriage and cohabitation and the role of women in the Church.
Bishop Tom Burns of Menevia says that in the interests of transparency the bishops should publish the findings of a Vatican survey which asked questions on cohabitation, contraception and same-sex marriage. In an article for The Tablet, Bishop Burns notes “the height and depth and width of the intense pleas made by God’s people for urgent attention to their pastoral needs”.
It gets funnier: Bishop Burns thinks there is something like “good remarriages”. He means not the remarriage of a widow, but when a marriage still exists. His Gospel must be a personalised version. Let’s peep in:
But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit a remarriage, but there are good ones: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth a remarriage, but there are good ones.
The man is, certainly, so daft that a 29 page report is enough to let him forget what job he has, and why.
Bishop Drainey is at times more “nuanced”, and prefers to be quoted with “pastoral solutions”, calling public adultery “struggling” and choosing a couple among the most popular fluffy words, “welcome” and “include”. But he is also quoted with the biggest bomb: “radical re-examination of human sexuality”. That this is an oxymoron for every Christian, he does not even realise.
That’s another wasted clerical habit.
This will become a huge mess.
The concerted attack that started from the German-speaking Countries will now extend to vast part of the West. A huge expectation for “change” will be created. The Synod will start with the idea that changes now will have to come, lest hail, locusts and schism befall us.
In the end, pastoral solutions will be introduced, and we will be told to rejoice because no dogma was raped.
Everything according to the script prepared last September, and carefully executed since.
Lord, have mercy!
“The faithful have a right to compare the teaching of an individual minister with that of other ministers and ultimately with that of the supreme teaching office. This right comes from their sharing in the teaching office of Christ conferred by baptism, and carries with it an obligation to reject false teaching in the internal forum, that is, in their own mind, and, if circumstances require, to attack it publicly as well”.
Romano Amerio, Iota Unum, Par. 320, Page 716. Emphases mine.
These are the, as always, simple but straight words of the great Romano Amerio.
He wasn’t, very probably, a Great Saint; and if he was, Pope Francis has not yet proceeded to his canonisation, so we have no way to know. But he had a profound knowledge of Catholicism, and a keen desire to help souls to achieve salvation.
What has happened to us, that we should come to the point of thinking that the teaching office of Christ should give way to the blabbering office of daily off-the-cuff fluff, and our obligation to attack false teaching in public should suddenly become the obligation to remain silent; to remain silent, even, when false teaching is shouted from the highest place, echoed the world over, heard by the entire planet, and enthusiastically embraced by the enemies of Christ.
Ubi honor, ibi onus. We who had the grace of having been born in – or having been led to- the One True Faith also have the duty to protect it as we can, and to protect it very publicly if it is very publicly attacked.
Say a prayer for Francis, that he may come to his senses or at least stop this endless, reckless nonsense.
Say it in Latin.
It’s more fashionable.
Yesterday a third video appeared, “The Pope IS different”. I have examined Michael Voris’ last effort to square the circle. Predictably, he failed.
I have found in Mr Voris’ video no word of public excuse to the people already publicly blamed by him: Christopher Ferrara, John Vennari, Michael Matt, and Louie Verrecchio. Whilst these four gentlemen may be extremely charitable people and invite the Vortex viewers to not abandon Voris, or may have had private clarifications and reconciliations directly with him, I continue to be of the opinion that we should draw a line in the sand in front of such a behaviour; a behaviour damaging and insulting not only to the four gentlemen in question, but of Catholic Traditionalism as a whole. Therefore, I personally encourage my readers to stop the subscription to Mr Voris’ effort, and to cease any form of financial support if they were giving any. I suggest them to direct any help that they feel ready to give to authentic Traditionalist causes instead; first and foremost the SSPX itself, but also the ones of the four above mentioned gentlemen. You can’t call yourself a Traditionalist and keep feeding those who bite them. At some point, lines will have to be drawn.
For what it’s worth, I will be very glad to retire this suggestion when Mr Voris publicly gives sufficient satisfaction for the offence given to the Traditionalist cause.
On the matter itself
In his video, Mr Voris makes several arguments. I will allow myself to render them as well as I can, and to give my two cents on each.
1. “Pope equals Church”, because he has a pre-eminence of a very special nature.
This is a slogan. As every slogan, it may sound good but it does not say much. If the Pope says “atheists are saved if they follow their conscience”, does the Church say so? No, it doesn’t. The brutal truth is that the Pope is no incarnation of the Church, merely the first (the most pre-eminent) of God’s servants. A servant serves, he does not dispose of the teaching of His Master as he pleaseth. A servant who does not serve well is a bad servant, and love for the Master demands that this be said.
2. To criticise the Pope is perceived as an attack to the Church. Therefore, we must not criticise the Pope.
Perceptions can never be the metre of what is right and what is wrong. Particularly so, when the perceptions are wrong themselves. If this were so, then Cardinal Kasper would be justified in asking that communion be given to public adulterers. Not doing so is, very clearly, perceived by many horribly instructed Germans as intolerant and non-inclusive, so with this train of thoughts we should give communion to public adulterers.
If perceptions are allowed to become the metre of what is right and wrong, Mr Voris and all of us can pack our things and start dedicating ourselves to Classical Guitar, or Origami. On the contrary, I say that if the perception of the Pope is wrong it behooves every well-instructed Catholic, particularly if in a public role in the media, to work towards its correction. Otherwise, I can see no difference with the above mentioned Cardinal.
It is nothing less than astonishing that a sender constantly lamenting the dismal state of instruction in which the Church hierarchy leaves the faithful should justify its position with the same lack of instruction it ceaselessly condemns.
To counsel the ignorant is a work of mercy. To adapt to his ignorance is the work of the devil.
3. Our first duty to Christ is to lead souls where the Church is fully present.
I disagree again. I see my first duty as to contribute as much as I can to the salvation of my readers’ soul, not only amore Dei but actually in the hope this will help towards the salvation of my own one. Love of Christ and His Church and salvation of souls – which is the first law of the Church – is also the first inspiration of many of us who, in their free time, decide to sit at a keyboard instead of playing with the X-Box. If the Pope confuses souls and leads them to possible perdition I will most certainly not help Francis to confuse them further. On the contrary, whenever the Pope gives scandal, it is absolutely necessary that the faithful be alerted to it, so that they may follow Christ instead of being led by the blind. And in fact, Mr Voris’ suggestion amounts to this: that we should allow countless others to be led by the blind, because this blind here is a very special one.
Truth is non negotiable. Error has no rights. Whether they come from the Pope or not is neither here nor there.
4. Not everyone can understand nuances.
We are not talking “nuances” here. We are talking of dozens of occasions in which reckless, shameless scandal was given, and continues to be given without interruption. The confusion that Francis words’ spreads is so thick that, as the Italians say, can be cut with the knife. One year on, there is no sign whatever this could change. Not once has the Pope retracted one single word of what he has said. For one who listens to the confused and embarrassed explanations of Father Lombardi or Father Rosica, one thousand are already confused. The Holy Father just does not care.
5. Publicly criticising the Pope is dangerous for the souls.
The Pope’s scandals are not private ones. He is very, very public in giving scandal. A pope who privately entertains a mistress might well be rebuked privately so that no worse scandal ensues. But a Pope who publicly defies and sabotages the obvious understanding of the very basics of Christianity (like the ultimate destiny of those who die in their atheism, or a very basic fear of the Lord, and of our judgment) and everything that has been sacred to more than sixty generations of devout Catholics (from the Rosary to the Traditional Latin Mass) must be criticised publicly so that the very public confusion he engenders may be contained as much as we can.
To instruct the doubtful is a work of mercy. When Francis spreads so much doubt in public, the remedy cannot but be a very public one.
Similarly: silence is a way to be accessory to another’s sin. I have never known this comes with the qualification “unless you are silent concerning the Pope”.
6. Only the Great Saints can criticise the Pope.
Nonsense, obviously. Let’s keep this short: Pope Francis himself disagrees with this vision, as his phone call to his harsh critic, the great, late Mario Palmaro shows. I hope Mr Voris does not want to publicly disagree with the Pope in a matter from which, he says, salvation of souls may depend.
Besides, I doubt there was even one great Saint who in life ever thought “I am a future great Saint, therefore I can criticise the Pope”. Actually, great Saints are notable for this, that they are acutely aware of being wretched sinners; and the fact that they were, in fact, far less sinners than us does not change anything in the fact that not one of them would have stood up and said: “Look! I pass the Voris Standard! Therefore, I can criticise the Pope!”.
7. CMTV will not do anything that has potential to cause people to leave the Church. Therefore they will not criticise the Pope. Not going to happen.
With the same metre, all those who are persuaded that Mr Voris’ stance will cause the loss of infinitely more souls must feel bound in conscience to cease every form of support to his initiative. Because he will continue to watch as Francis leads countless souls to perdition.
8 (various warnings of the dangers of damnation of those who criticise the Pope).
Everyone can quote the Gospel, from the Devil down. The real question here is whether we are supposed to shut up whilst a Pope leads countless souls to confusion and possibly hell, or not.
I care very, very much for my salvation. Actually, there’s nothing else about which I care so much. There is no doubt in my mind the answer to the above question is an emphatic: not! If I were to be struck down today, I would infinitely prefer to die on my side of the barricade, than on Mr Voris’. I am, though, not saying he is being malicious. I believe in his good faith. It’s the reasoning that it’s flawed.
9. The matter of degrees.
We all know Popes are far more widely read and listened to than Cardinals or Bishops. We all know the public effect of Francis’ statements absolutely dwarfs the effect of every declaration made by a priest, a bishop or a Cardinal.
Therefore, Mr Voris’ work is absolutely dwarfed by Francis’ public scandal, and is therefore – as it is now – perfectly useless. If Mr Voris is of the opinion that when a Pope makes such a mess he feels bound not to react, in my eyes he should fold and wait for the next orthodox Pope, at which times his work might still make some sense. As it is, his criticism of, say, Cardinal Dolan whilst Francis has an infinitely wider audience makes as much sense as a child trying to chase away the coming tide with a small bucket.
Believe it or not, these words come from a Pope:
The Gospel does not tell us anything: if she spoke a word or not… She was silent, but in her heart, how many things told the Lord! ‘You, that day, this and the other that we read, you had told me that he would be great, you had told me that you would have given him the throne of David, his forefather, that he would have reigned forever and now I see him there!’ Our Lady was human! And perhaps she even had the desire to say: ‘Lies! I was deceived!’
We are being punished with a Pope who does not read the Gospel, does not recite memorised prayers, and does not believe in what has been handed down to him. In fact, one can make a rather convincing case that we have a Pope who does not…
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The matter of the “Protect the Pope” blog is making waves, and one can be confident the one or other will learn a thing or two from this.
What I have learnt (up to now) is this:
1. It is very easy to silence an ordained blogger, if he is a priest or deacon. A phone call or meeting or even a letter should be enough. The casus belli will always be easily found, as a good Catholic blog will be controversial, and someone will always complain by the bishop; and the bishop will not need anything more. He will then smugly invite the blogger in question to “enter into a period of prayer and reflection on the duties involved for ordained bloggers/website administrators to truth, charity and unity in the Church”.
2. It might soon become fashionable to silence an ordained blogger. True, Pope Benedict has encouraged priests and deacons to blog; but that was then, and this is … Francis. Francis is a man who has already expressed his fear that the TLM might be “divisive”. It would be very easy for him to state, when he finds the time is ripe, to say that priests and deacons should just stop blogging and spend more time in the favela, or traveling with the bus, or embracing wheelchairs, or making phone calls around, or doing all other edifying things he does. Just not blogging, because blogging is divisive, and can easily be uncharitable, and this, and that, and the other, no? At this point, cue the regular purge starting, as a great number of bishops will protect their chances of advancement by just doing what the powers that be wish that they do.
3. Things are, though, not so easy. “Protect the Pope” has never been so linked to, and Bishop Campbell (the blog’s censor) has never looked so bad. The blog is alive and kicking and it will continue to be so; it will, probably, become a beacon of, so to speak, blogging resistance. This will put the bishop in an even worse soup than he is now, then the order to the deacon to make the wife stop the blog would not look very good, or modern, or Francis-like; and very probably the blog wouldn’t stop, either.
4. Other priest bloggers have intervened: Father Z and Father Finigan make no mystery as to whether they like the Campbell soup, and Rorate Caeli predictably finds it inedible. Countless others blog, smaller taken individually but not insignificant if taken together, also deal with the issue. So let us make some calculations here: you close one blog, one hundred blogger criticise you, and they will take care you are not forgotten. As a strategy, it doesn’t seem very brilliant to me. There will always be so many blogs run by Catholic laymen, that even the suppression of all the clerical ones will have pretty much a zero effect. People go on the internet to look for information, and they shall find it. Whether from moderate priests or from less moderate laymen, it depends from the soup the clerical bloggers are made to eat.
So, as I write the 17 March the situation is as follows: the blog has never been so read, and even if it were to be silenced one day it would still be like wanting to stop the tide with a sand barrier, as we did as children at the seaside.Only, as children we knew we could not stop the tide, we just had fun trying. In this case, I have the impression there is all of the trying, but there will be none of the fun.
No. I don’t think it’s smart. Unless the bishop wants those who look for information to be more likely to land on my blog, that is.
Well, Your Excellency, what shall it be? Chicken, or chilli soup?