CNA has a beautiful Papal intervention, aimed at stressing the necessity of good evangelisation work.
One must say, this Pope is good at talking. Take for example these two phrases:
“It is important to make them understand that being Christian is not a type of outfit that one wears in private or on special occasions, but something living and totalizing, capable of taking all that is good in modernity.”
“proclaiming Jesus Christ, the sole Savior of the world, is more complex today than in the past, but our task continues to be the same as at the beginning of our history. The mission hasn’t changed, just as the enthusiasm and courage that motivated the apostles and first disciples should not change.”
I see a slight problem, though. To talk the talk is all good and fine, but from a Pope able to talk the talk with such clarity, one would expect the ability to walk the walk with far more energy and determination than this is the case now. It seems to me more and more that Pope Benedict sees himself not as an enforcer of orthodoxy, but as one whose task is to prepare the way for future orthodoxy. He often gives to me the impression that he is working so that his successors may act, but without acting directly with anywhere near the energy that would be required.
Summorum Pontificum was obviously huge, and Universae Ecclesiae provides the priests and faithful (after, if I may say so, too many years of inaction) with valid instruments to improve its implementation. What I miss, though, is the concrete action on the ground, the factual providing for robust evangelisation rather than the talking about it; in short, the walk.
We still are afflicted with bishops like Nourrichard (Benedict’s appointment to his present position) and Fonlupt (whose very recent appointment even sparked a reaction in form of a letter from French priests); we have an Archbishop of Westminster (also a Benedict’s appointment to his present position) openly boasting that he is nuanced about homosexual relationships and doesn’t know whether he will celebrate their “marriages”. If you read around this blog, you’ll find many more examples, but you get my drift: evangelisation is best made by first putting one’s house in order.
The Church is not in order. The number of bishops with either heterodox views or without the guts to defend orthodoxy is staggering. The situation is so bad, that when a bishop dares to do his job properly this makes huge waves, so unexpected it is. Many of these liberal, heterodox or cowardly bishops have been appointed, and continue to be appointed, by Pope Benedict and I am sorry to say so, but as long as this continues every beautiful talk about the need of a new evangelisation will sound little more than verbal decoration.
Make no mistake, I am a big fan of Pope Benedict’s reforms and I think that, as a Pope, he is a huge improvement on his saintly but catastrophic predecessor. Still, I think that he will be remembered rather as a Pope who prepared the ground for concrete action, than as one who acted decisively himself.
Summorum Pontificum is no concrete action if after four years we still have very few Latin Masses, and nice talks about the needs of evangelisation are no concrete action if the evangelisation is then left to the devices of the Nourrichards of this world, whom the Pontiff himself appoints. Concrete action is to take care that the sheep are provided with good shepherds, and that the shepherds take care that the priests are sound.
Evangelisation via television doesn’t work, much less evangelisation via “encouragement speech” to people whose theology and praxis is almost beyond repair. Evangelisation is done from the pulpit; with a reverent celebration at the altar; with a strong defiance of unChristian politicians; with an insisted, frontal assault on secular thinking.
Most of all, evangelisation is done by forcing the Nourrichards of the world to march allineati e coperti like as many soldiers, or by getting rid of them without delay.
I have never written about a beautiful Catholic publication and Internet presence, Christian Order, so it is a particular pleasure to do it today.
Apart from the extremely orthodox views reflected in the editorials (which you can all read online), what I find particularly enjoyable is the very clear, wonderfully politically incorrect, no-holds-barred way of presenting the argument. If you think that this blog is too harsh, you may want to pay a visit.
Christian Order’s January 2011 editorial is one of those pearls. It is very long and deals with several issues, but if your time is counted I’d ask you to focus your attention on the second part, “Tragedy”, because there is really no other way to describe the present situation in Arundel and Brighton’s, and in Westminster’s diocese.
Tragedy, Part One: Bishop (alas!) Conry declares, before the Papal visit, that Pope Benedict
May well be relieved to be coming to a place where, unlike some of his other recent trips, there are no big problems for him to sort out.
One is speechless at the disingenuousness (that my grandmother, God bless her soul, would have called “dishonesty” and “bad faith”) of such affirmations. A country where abortions hover around 200,000 a year; divorce and cohabitation are widespread; perverts “marry” perverts with the blessing of the government; drug use is on the rise; wiccans get recognised as members of a “religion”; loss of orientation is everywhere and shallow TV programmes seem to be the new unifying faith is to bishop Conry a country with “no big problems to sort out”.
Either for bishop Conry 200,000 abortions a year are not a big problem and the fact that perverts can “marry” is a fully normal and democratic occurrence, or the man has obviously lost his marbles. Unfortunately for us and for his soul, the first hypothesis is by far the more probable.
The scandal of such an ideological blindness was too much for a good man answering to the name of Edmund Adamus, aid to Archbishop Nichols. Adamus gave a well-publicised interview in which he described the United Kingdom as “a selfish, hedonistic wasteland” and “the geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death”, which actually pretty much hits the bull’s-eye. Punctually, Archbishop Vincent “Quisling” Nichols felt the need to let us know that Adamus’ opinion “did not reflect his own”. I have blogged about Adamus’ courageous interview here.
This was probably too much of an invitation for BBC lefties, and here the tragedy’s second part took its course. Asked by a BBC journalist about how he sees Adamus’ comments and whether he sees the UK society as “extremely secular”, Nichols answers:
“Well it’s not how I would describe our society at all actually. I think our society is characterised as much by generosity and by genuine concern one for another, and I think religious faith is taken quite seriously by probably a majority of people in this country.”
A roar of laughter would be here the most appropriate answer, if the person making such an ass of himself were not the most prestigious Catholic of the Realm. I know that an Archbishop of Westminster must live a rather sheltered life, but only an extraordinary amount of self-inflicted blindness (which my grandmother, God bless her soul, would have called “dishonesty” and “bad faith”) can move one to even think of making such extraordinary utterances.
John Smeaton, the intrepid blogger and head of the society for the protection of the unborn children, said it very aptly:
I can’t think of anyone, Catholic or non-Catholic, religious or non-believer, who believes that “religious faith is taken quite seriously by probably a majority of people in this country.”And with 570 babies killed daily in Britain and with well over two million embryos discarded, or frozen, or selectively aborted, or miscarried or used in destructive experiments since the birth of the first IVF child was born over thirty years ago, how can the Archbishop blithely dismiss the culture of death without having his head kept, deliberately, buried in the sand?
Deliberately is the operative word here. Meaning with cynical disregard for Catholicism, for countless murdered babies, for the way the country is morally going down the drain. Provided that stupid, sugary songs continue to be sung in front of a greying audience slowly not even remembering what rebellion to the Pre-Vatican church was like but liking the idea anyway, Nichols and Conry think that the world is in good order. They’ll just have to ignore the irrelevant details of the 200,000 abortions a year, of the institutionalised sexual perversion and of the galloping de-christianisation of the country at all levels (are they aware of a drive to legalise euthanasia in this country? No? Shouldn’t they be informed?) and occupy themselves with the next statement that says nothing, sounds good and lets one appear oh so good.
Mala tempora currunt.
Truly beautiful contribution (on the Archdiocese of Washington’s internet site) of Msgr. Charles Pope. The contribution comes in two forms: the excerpt from the funeral sermon held by himself and the very insightful, crystal-clear reflections posted on the Internet site of the Archdiocese.
I allow myself to suggest that you listen to the sermon first. It is nothing shocking for those accustomed to this blog but certainly unusually clear for those who are not. For people not even accustomed to darken the doors of a church on Sundays – and told all the time that “their heart is in the right place” and therefore everything is fine – it must be outright shocking.
Msgr. Pope delivers truth in copious quantity and without any meaningful dilution. I will mention here only some of the many brilliant statements he makes:
[..] the usual approach at funerals has been to be “nice” and if sin, or purgatory, or judgment (or, God forbid, Hell), are mentioned at all it should be subtle, so subtle as to barely be noticed. Vague attestations of ”we at the parish will surely pray for Joe’s happy repose and for you the family.” Somewhere the doctrine of purgatory is lurking in the saying but only a trained theologian could really see it.
I had tried the more subtle approach for years. It didn’t really work and no one really took it seriously, if they even understood what I was “getting at.”
I think prophecy needs to be clear, strong and unambiguous. I get a much better result that way. I can surely attest to the fact that more have returned to Mass on a regular basis as a result of strong words than ever happened in the years when the usual reaction to my ministration was, “Oh Father, you’re such a dear. What a heart-warming and consoling message!
I have over 50 funerals a year. And for most of them the Church is packed with people I will only see once, or perhaps not until the next family funeral. I cannot wait for a “less delicate” time
Preaching is about saving before it is about consoling
A lot of times powerful preaching takes people through a cycle of: mad, to sad, to glad.
I think we have long enough tried the “nice guy” preaching that is extolled by many, as the model. But all through these past 40 years with that model largely operative, Mass attendance has steadily dropped.
Fr. Bill Casey defines superficial preaching as: “watered-down, filled with generalities and abstractions, devoid of doctrinal content and moral teaching, more akin to pop-psychology than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not scriptural, it does not move, it does not inspire, it generates no enthusiasm for Jesus Christ, his Church or the Gospel and it has got to change”.
The fact is, I think there is a general hunger for a return to vivid and strong preaching. I think this is more common among younger people, many of whom have had enough of polite but abstract sermons that preach ideas more than unvarnished Catholic and Biblical truth.
Mgr. Pope hits the bull’s head so many times that there’s no space for the darts left. Not only does he get the nature of the problem (as, I am sure, many others do), but he has the nerve to speak it out, and to do so when the majority of lukewarm priests with oversized political antennae would not dare to do it. He reports (and chastises) the thinking of colleagues of him who say that they wouldn’t be able to get away with talking as he does.
Get…. what?! Since when has a priest been ordained to reflect about what he can “get away with”? Since when has a priest seen it as his job to avoid saying what his parishioners don’t want to hear? What kind of priesthood is this? These questions seem to escape Mgr. Pope’s colleagues: you picture them smiling and saying “aahhh, I could not do that…”
If the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle? In the modern age what we see is that many shepherds (often Bishops or Archbishops) are very well aware that their trumpet is barely audible. But you know what? They just don’t care! They’d never allow the Truth to come in the way of their popularity among the crowds, making them acceptable to vast cohorts of, often, non-Catholics or even non-Christians.
What a difference between Mgr. Pope and many of our shepherds.
I wish he were Archbishop of Westminster.
Some of you might remember a Michael Voris video posted some weeks ago about two bishops rebuking one of their own priests, one for being a heretic and the other for being a … Catholic.
The same has happened now in England, where none less than the Homo Mass Supremo, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, has distanced himself from declarations made from Mr. Edmund Adamus, one of his own aides.
Let us see the content of Mr. Adamus’ declarations:
1) “Gay rights” and the commercialisation of sex have turned Britain into a “selfish, hedonistic wasteland” and “the geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death”
Fair enough, says I. As far as the hedonism is concerned, this is actually the same stuff people like Nichols go around saying all the time, though they’d never dare to say it in a way that offends perverts. What is different here is that whilst Archbishop Nichols and his ilk always formulate their criticisms in a way that makes clear that they do not want to pick a fight with anyone and are perfectly happy with not being heard, Adamus actually cares for Catholic values and for human life and therefore expresses himself with great charity. It is not surprising that this charity be not liked by Nichols. Archbishop Nichols does niceness a lot, but charity is not one of his strenghts.
2) There is an “aggressive anti-Catholic bias towards the church and the pontiff”
In general, this is as clear as the sun and everyone with a bit of understanding can easily realise that the English Bishops not only don’t do anything to counter the bias, but are rather happy to leave the Pontiff alone when the rabid feminists and homo groups at the BBC and elsewhere fire from all cannons. It is rather fair to say that large sectors of the Catholic hierarchy look with pleasure at criticisms to the Pope, seen as an ally of the traditionalists/conservatives.
As to the matter itself, I’d say the bias in the country is primarily anti-Christian rather than specifically anti-Catholic. The attacks against the Catholic Church are particularly virulent because the Catholic Church still has a much better grip on his faithful than the Anglicans & Co. and because the forces of secularism clearly recognise in Her the biggest enemy. Therefore whatever anti-Catholicism there is, is in my eyes rather a reflection of Catholics being Christians than – as in the past – of their being Catholic. The Anglicans themselves are able to largely escape criticism because they largely shun Christian values.
3) He urges Catholics to “exhibit counter-cultural signals against the selfish, hedonistic wasteland”
Please help me because I am lost here. To spread such a message should be the job of the bishops from the Angelus in the morning to the Compline in the evening and in every moment in between. This is the reason Mr. Nichols’ exalted (and, let us not forget, rather privileged) job exists in the first place. This is what the English clergy should be shouting from the pulpits Sunday in and Sunday out. Unless I am missing something and the Church’s task is not to upset the world. Or where does the Archbishop thinks abortions, broken families and neglected children come from?
Still, we are informed from a spokesman of the Archbishop that Adamus’ comments “do not reflect his opinion”. From a sponsor of homo masses, one is not surprised at all.
If we want to fight against the culture of death and of sexual perversion, a good start would be to have bishops who are truly Catholic and truly charitable instead of being cowardly “diplomatic” and relentlessly “nice” as the present Archbishop of Westminster.