On The Death Of Tony Palmer
The sad news reached me yesterday via “Harvesting the Fruits” that Tony Palmer, the wannabe bishop friend of the Pope, has died in a motorbike accident during the weekend. Palmer is the one who was at lunch with Francis when the man, who if you ask me was rather tipsy, had the idea of making the infamous “brother bishop” video.
Just two reflections here, because time is a tyrant.
1. Pope Francis does not seem to bring much luck. He calls the heathen to pray for peace in the Vatican gardens, and the two camps opposing each other in Palestine start massacring each other (actually, Hamas only tries; but that’s par with how stupid they are) within just a few weeks. He calls a perfectly not ordained proddie “brother bishop” and the latter dies in a motorbike accident. We must not be superstitious, but it does not seem to me that God is exactly smiling on this Pope’s endeavours.
2. Poor Palmer might have saved his soul. We cannot know for certain that he is damned. He might have repented. He might have been seriously thinking of conversion in the weeks preceding the accident. Perhaps he had, just before the accident, resolved to convert. Perhaps he had realised the errors of his ways. We do not know the state of his soul when he died, and we can only hope and pray (yes, we pray for deceased Proddies; and wish them all the best with all our hearts) that he saved his soul in the end. Nothing is impossible to God, and I have always been taught that just before death the effort of Heaven is strongest. Despair is not the answer. We pray for all the deceased because we know this massive effort did take place.
What we also know, though, is that the man was a public heretic, and that it seems very strange to start invoking “invincible ignorance” for a man who must have had a rather precise knowledge of what the teaching of the Church is, and what extra ecclesiam nulla salus means. A man, also, who was in a way “nearer” to the Church than most Protestants, and there was nothing in him of that “whore of Babylon”-mentality which might lead one to think invincible ignorance was possibly at play. We must, therefore, drily acknowledge that this possibility of salvation is linked not to his public activity – which, the Church says, would clearly suffice to damn him, whatever Francis may think in each of his various stages of sobriety – but to a combination of circumstances in his internal forum: either the clearly improbable invincible ignorance, or an internal motus of the soul toward the Church before he died. This may appear difficult to us but, as already said, for the Lord nothing is impossible.
Does this mean that we must now run to proclaim that Mr (Mister; Herr; Monsieur; Signor) Palmer is probably saved, or even (heavens!) in Paradise, because he was “such a good chap”, and “a friend of Pope Francis”?
Of course not. This would be heretical. The thinking that
“Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ”
is condemned in the syllabus of errors, emphatically meaning that good hope is not to be entertained. Why? Because Mr (Mister; Herr; Monsieur; Signor) Palmer was, at the moment of death, outwardly not in the true Church of Christ. So it is, again very drily said, obviously more probable that he is in hell than in purgatory; which is what happens if one dies a Protestant (how some people think invincible ignorance or repentance may send a heretic straight to heaven is beyond me…).
That’s how it is. That’s how important it is to belong to the Only Church. That’s how vital it is that we – with due prudence, but without undue cowardice – make this very simple fact known to the people we love, to those in our circle of family and acquaintance who are, objectively speaking, in clear danger of damnation.
How, then, completely ignoring the issue will contribute to the salvation of one, like Francis, who seems to do his best to positively dissuade people from conversion, I leave to your own reflection.