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“Cultural Catholicism”

If one thing should become clear to our inept hierarchy in the dramatic times we are living, it is that “cultural Catholicism” has a limited shelf life of one generation, one and a half at most.

Grandma, born in 1920, was deeply rooted in Catholicism. Catholicism shaped her entire life. Daughter, born in 1950, was much different, but you might not seen very much of it in daily life. There were big differences on several issues, but even Grandma would have called Daughter a Christian, albeit a bad one.

Granddaughter was born in 1980. The values her mother shared never meant much to her. Her mother had a vague feeling that they were good, but she could never really articulate why. She was, herself, not entirely in agreement with her mother on a number of issues; therefore, the granddaughter thought it perfectly legitimate that she also does the same.

Daughter's “cultural Catholicism” consisted in receiving what is comfortable and understood and rejecting what is seriously inconvenient; but granddaughter does not understand why she should accept positions her mother cannot defend herself, and to her everything that causes the slightest riff with her girlfriends is highly inconvenient. The mini m common denomitor is her religion, a vague “goodness” that murders children, but feels very holy.

Grandmothher managed to get to Purgatory. Daughter's fate is far more uncertain. Granddaughter's cards are frankly – unless there is radical change – horrible.

Cultural Catholicism survives for some decades as a fallout of saner times. For one generation or so you will have an army of people who still share much of the building of Catholic values, but do not understand why the building stands in the first place. The following generation will find it more practical, or even moral, to tear the whole building down. It can be as fast as that.

Old people die, young people reach voting age. Your bishop may think the fundamental fabric of Catholicism will remain, but he is a fool. As the old people die, the “why” of things get lost, because the priest prefers to speak like a politician or a social worker, rather than a priest. One generation will do a lot of what was traditionally done without really knowing why; the following one will refuse the doing altogether.

An astonishingly inept (or worse!) clergy thought, all over Southern Europe, that cultural traditions would do for them the work they never had the guts to do. But cultural traditions die in the end, if no one can articulate why they are cherished. The funerals of the old people bury them too, slowly but irresistibly. Unless things change radically, it is only a matter of time before Italy goes to way of Ireland.

In this utter squalor, and in this climate of bankruptcy in many European Countries, we are waiting for the next encyclical of the Evil Clown.

Dedicated to… the environment.



This Side, Or That Side

Good for your health: the humble carrot, or carota in Italian.

Father Carota has a beautifully suffering post about the drawbacks of being a good priest. Modern society being what it is, it is nowadays almost impossible to be a good priest without incurring the ire of the self-righteous semi-secular (but entirely arrogant) society; a society full of people expecting their every whim to be complied with, and ready to attack everyone refusing to play the game with the accusation of having “hurt” them. Such a priest will therefore, just for his willingness to be a good priest, accused of being “uncharitable”, variously “judgmental”, and most certainly “hurtful”.

In this case, it seems one or more rather wordly women used their Facebook account to smear the priest, guilty of the horrible crime of – inviting them to dress decently in the Church.

Shocking! I mean, shocking that there are still priests willing to do their job! Not many of those nowadays, I am sure…

Thirty years ago, the woman so addressed might have disagreed with Father's assessment of what is “appropriate dress”, but would then have very probably understood that, well, he is the priest, so that's that.

Not now. Now, a remark or a correction – or in extreme cases, a refusal to enter the Church – gives rise to a Facebook campaign, the idea that in such matters one simply accepts what the priest says being slowly inconceivable.

This is not Father Carota's fault, obviously, but I think the clergy as a category have much to answer for such a mentality. Decades of self-effacing pussyfooting, of non-authoritarian “pastoral” approach, and of ceaseless desire to be the “nice guy” have both emasculated and ridiculed the figure of the priest in the eyes of the populace. The Priest is not seen anymore as a person of authority, but as a low-paid (Germany-speaking Countries excepted) social worker whose only hope of being tolerated is to mingle with the world as much as he can. Therefore, if he tries to tell someone what to do – in matters strictly related to his own authority and sphere of competence, of course – all hell will break loose. Such behaviour must make on the ” occasional” folks (the “marriage and perhaps funeral” types) the same impression as the cleaning lady suddenly lecturing them about the Impending Revolt Of The Oppressed.

The figure of the priest has lost much in authority and, I would say, in manliness. This goes hand in hand with the loss of their function: being a priest, saving souls, admonishing and, when necessary, forbidding and reproaching. Nowadays, many priest go around bearing on their face a big inscription stating: “I apologise for being a Catholic priest and will try to keep your inconvenience to a minimum”. Is it a great surprise, then, that even public dykes feel it appropriate to stage a very public m circus upon being denied communion?

Still, the duties of the priest remain the same even after the category has brought so much harm on itself, though the prevailing winds will take care that many of them accurately avoid to do a proper job. The more grateful must we be to those, fairly rare, priests who tell it like it is and, faced with the choice between Christ or a quiet life, invariably choose Christ.

In the end, it's always this side, or their side.



Sensitive Blindness

The older I get, the more I am persuaded that Catholicism's problems are to be looked exclusively among Catholics; then if the latter had not become afflicted by bad clergy and the dreaded aggiornamento disease, they would still be so powerful that no homo lobby, no Nazi prosecutor, no Merkel, no Cameron and no Obama would dare to go head on against them.

The last example of the advanced state of decomposition of Catholic thinking in the head of people who define themselves as Catholics comes from a well-known forum, where a commenter seriously asks what is the problem if a couple of wannabe “married” sodomites want to receive communion.

The commenter opines that the two wannabe “married” fags might live a oh perfectly oh chaste oh life, and why should we, therefore, conclude that they are doing anything wrong?

There are people for which even public scandal isn't enough to deviate from their usual “who am I to judge” mentality, and who would probably need for the very sin of the sodomites to take place under their very eyes before contemplating the possibility that something fishy is happening.

The very fact that scandal is happening is nothing to them. Even the fact that these two people choose to add to the scandal the further attack to Christianity of their mock “marriage” isn't a problem. They will insist in being blind, and stupid.

You might say that such a one is probably an homosexual troll trying to infiltrate a Catholic blog with a fake “charitable” attitude meant to confuse the poorly instructed, but I doubt this is the case. It is far more likely that comments like the one mentioned are more obvious cases of the same effeminate, brainless, and utterly uninstructed mentality that has taken hold in so many Catholic heads in the last decades.

When Catholicism is reduced to soppy sentimentality, the desire not to see the evil becomes a very comfortable way to avoid having to confront it, and to “feel good” in the process. This mentality is obviously encouraged and amplified by the “do not judge” crowd, of whom Francis, disgracefully reigning, has now become the undisputed leader.

It's not the Obama and the Cameron that will, ultimately, cause the persecution of the Church.

It's the stupid Catholic clergy, and their even more stupid sheep.



Finding Excuses

At times I am tempted to think there are some Catholics who measure their faith from the amount of self-delusion and utter blindness they display concerning the actions of Popes.

Apparently in the Vatican there are so many wolves you would think it is a forest in Abruzzo, but who put the alleged wolves there is obviously not worth the thinking. Until it turns out one particular wolf actually luncheswith the Bishop of Rome, who partout does not want to get rid of him. The Pope has also routinely been “badly advised”, as if the advisers were the ones with the responsibility of picking good advisers. The last one, I have read this morning in my comment box: the Bishop of Rome is now concentrating on the WYD, so he can't deal with Monsignor Ricca.

Look, the Pope is not a moron. He can choose for himself. Making decisions is, actually, the most important part of his job. Important decisions aren't so terribly frequent, particularly if one has good advisers and is not a compulsive control freak. This is why the most powerful people are in the end the ones who work the least; this is also why one can be a ninety years old leader, and a force of nature like Enrico Dandolo.

The Pope always has the time, because he does not have to do the preparatory work. Also, he always must have the brains, because otherwise he should not have accepted the offer, or should resign if he can't lead the Barque anymore; so the “he is old and weak” meme doesn't work, either. Ask Enrico Dandolo about that.

The Pope is in charge. To be in charge means not only to have the power to make decisions, but to bear the responsibility for the decisions one makes. Those who think the Pope is being inadequate criticise him, but those who think he is an old nincompoop led by the hand by his advisers positively insult him.

Nor is having a bad Pope something that denies Catholicism in any way. Having a good Pope is not part of the deal one gets as a Catholic. In fact, it is revealing that as V II promotes indifferentism and general ignorance of sound Catholicism, it also subtly but forcefully promotes Clericalism. Those who aren't instructed will rely the more on what the priest tells them, and will in time naturally believe that if the priest – more so, the bishop; more so, the cardinal; most of all, the Pope – did something, then it must be right.

In this blog I insist on the readers to make for themselves a sound foundation of Catholic doctrine, using sources after V II only if they are 100% above suspicion (say: the excellent SSPX books). This is very important now, but might become it more and more in the future as the foreseeable Papacies feed us with nothing more than easy, non controversial platitudes.

Part of this solid foundation is to know that a Pope is infallible only in extremely rare cases; that he is not picked by the Holy Ghost, but by the Cardinals; that he does not have to be a living saint and can well be a great sinner; and that he can well go to hell, where several of them very probably are.

Please stop making excuses for a Pope, because if you see the sin and bend over backwards to justify it you aren't being pious, but merely an accessory in this Pope's sin.

And don't worry: the Church eats bad Popes for breakfast, and she will bury the current Bishop of Rome as she has buried many bad, very bad or utterly rotten Popes in the past. The Church who survived every Empire and will stand when the United States are a footnote in the history books does not need for Bishop Francis to be a saintly man to keep existing, or to justify Christ's Truth. You believe what the Church believes because it is the Church of Christ, not because the Pope of the day is a saintly man.

Don't make excuses for the Pope as if he were the dumb child in the family. He is not a child, and he is most certainly not dumb. Look at his actions with the purest heart you can muster, and if you think he gives scandal, with the hand on your heart have the courage to say so; in charity as much as you can, but in truth all the time.

Catholicism always, Papolatry never.



Father Ray Blake has, as so often, perceptive considerations about careerism in the Church; careerism fuelled by the “expectation” of a red hat for certain prestigious dioceses, and the custom to move bishops from A to B to C as their, erm, career proceeds.

If the system were to be frozen, a bishop would know that it is highly probable he will remain in his diocese for a long time; this would in turn allow him to start a long-term work of re-shaping of his own diocese. He wouldn't be allowed to see his diocese as a “station” towards more prestigious appointments, and would not be motivated to ingratiate himself to the press or the powers that be and appear just the ticket for the next big diocese in need of an appointment. Incidentally, if he is bad this would undoubtedly be seen in the figures concerning vocations, conversion and co. and said bishop wouldn't have anywhere to hide, nor would he be allowed to move elsewhere and endanger a bigger or more prestigious diocese (Peter Smith comes to mind; or our own Vincent “Quisling” Nichols). The contrast in results between the good bishops, those who make an excellent work in their diocese, and the Nichols would be brutal. Then, the one or other bishop could be gently pushed elsewhere for manifest incapacity; but ending down, not up.

The problem with this system is, I think, that it would work. No more easy favours for the friends of the friends; no more opportunities to hide one own's incompetence claiming lack of time to do a proper job; no more trendy prelates guffawing around in desperate search of a camera. Bad times all around.

Plus, as the conservative dioceses tend to regularly fare better than the trendy ones in vocations etc, this system would lead to conservative bishops systematically rising to preeminence; a preeminence earned by good and hard work and not by networking and by appointment.

Meritocracy? God forbid! What would happen of the trendy crowd? That would, one day, be the end of…. gasp…. Vatican II! No, this certainly can't be allowed, will our men in black, purple and red think; let us rather build fully unrecognisable “trendy” churches; let us follow the crowd on social and environmental issues; let us waste money in stupid modern art exercises; and let's be overtly or covertly approving of same-sex unions, even those of us who don't wear stilettos in private. The Church will be damaged and countless souls will get lost, but who cares…

We'll be so popular; and if you, my dear Father Smart, can say the right things and mix with the right crowd, one day the diocese will arrive for you, too.




Bitter Reflections On Todays’ Reading

St. Peter clearly encouraged the use of guitars at Mass… erm, no, wait…

From today’s (Novus Ordo) first reading, Jeremiah 23:1-6

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” says the Lord.


“You have scattered the flock, driven them away, and you have not attended them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord”


hhhmmm… let us see…

The vast part of the Catholic world could not recite the ten commandments. They have no idea what a rosary is, or a work of mercy; their knowledge of prayers probably stops at Hail Mary and Lord’s prayer. In their vast majority, they do not even know mass attendance is a duty. They consider, in great numbers, contraception pretty much OK. They aren’t very shocked at abortion. They have a vague idea of what sacraments are, and why they are there. Most do not believe in transubstantiation. In their vast number, they have never been explained anything of this: not about their sunday mass obligation, not about their need for confession. Transubstantiation has never been hammered to them more than, say, the sins crying to heaven for vengeance. if asked, they would find it very difficult to tell you what is that characterises a Catholic as opposed to other Christians. They know nothing about the meaning of basic words like “charity”, or “faith”. If they have heard of theological virtues, it must have been because of some fantasy book, or video game .

There are masses not even a Pentecostal would consider decent, with the long-haired priest singing like an idiot to the tune of electric guitars. Or with lasers. Or with the priest dancing like an Hindu. Or with some other stupid form of show meant to make you understand how modern, cool, and utterly innovative the priest is. Masses celebrated even in Cathedrals, with the obvious approval of the local (bad) shepherd.

There are priests and bishops trying every day to undermine Catholic teaching,and Cardinals either helping them, or doing nothing whilst the former massacre our Catholic identity.

There is a Pope writing books whilst Rome burns; unwilling to stop the subversive prelates, and appointing scores of them to episcopal dignity time and again, where they will savage everything Catholic for decades to come; promoting them to highest positions, when they happen to be his own friends; clearly more interested in his legacy as a theologian than as a Pope, and seemingly uninterested in the countless souls going lost in the present climate; but very attentive that the SSPX should recognise the righteousness of V II, that is: of his life work as a theologian and Pope.

In the meantime, Catholicism becomes more and more a religion by hearsay. A growing number of Catholics do not baptise their children, and the grandparents can’t find the gut to say anything even when they care. But the priest smiles and tells them to rejoice in the Lord, so everything must be fine. Joy is everywhere in nuChurch, whence fire and brimstone have all but disappeared. Catholicism tries to joyfully extinguish himself away (hint: it won’t happen) whilst old people sing horrible songs and rejoice about their unbaptised grandchildren, who are under the all-joyful protection of the Spirit, surely?

I could go on, and everyone of you could add to this list.

I wonder whether Jeremiah’ passage might relate to the present times?

Oh, apologies, I had forgotten once again…

How can this be so, if all the wonderful achievements of the past 50 years were a joyous creation of the “Spirit?”

How very un-Catholic of me to even think so…

Still, there is also something else I Know…

“Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall be any missing, says the Lord.”

One day, the fold will be driven back and this senseless massacre of everything Catholic will cease. One day, the Church will re-emerge from the present crisis, from this state of drunkenness and mad search for popularity and friendship with the world, and will surge once again upon the ruins of Western moral civilisation. One day, the present cowardly dwarfs of the Church will make place to real Princes, able and willing to fight once again for unpopular truths. 

One day, common sense will be recovered, and “Virgin” will mean “Virgin” again.

I doubt many of us will see that day. But I know it will come, and if we die first it is the more important that we remain alert and vigilant all our life, so that the bad shepherds do not enchant us with their easy modernist gospel, or even induce us to consider halfway acceptable that a priestly ass should sing with electric guitars in a church, and his bishop allow him to do so, and his pope not do anything about it.


Cardinal Burke on Summorum Pontificum

You can't see them, but the teeth are there: Cardinal Burke.

Cardinal Burke has given an interview to the French magazine La Nef (source: Rorate Caeli). In it, the Cardinal rather vigorously defends Summorum Pontificum, declares that the Tridentine has been of great inspiration to him personally and, in general, leaves not many excuses to the enemies of Summorum Pontificum.

You can see an example of his rather direct style in this statement (emphases mine):

To those who claim not to understand the intentions of Summorum Pontificum, I suggest a re-reading of the Letter to the Bishops, written by our Holy Father when it was promulgated, as well as the numerous writings of the Holy Father on sacred liturgy, published before and after his election to the Chair of Peter.

Note the expression “claim” not to understand, followed by the encouragement to, well, just do one’s homework. The reference to the “numerous writings” also makes clear enough that the boycott of Summorum Pontificum can only be attributed to the bad faith of its enemies.

This would be, methinks, a very fitting Pope.

The only element that personally leaves me a bit perplexed is his statement (we do not know whether sincerely felt, or due to reasons of diplomatic expediency) that V II had good intentions, but these intentions have been “betrayed” successively.

How can this be, one asks, when it is crystal clear that this betrayal has been so widely spread, and looked at in the perfect inaction by the same bishops who were at the Council? Has there a nuclear war or a genocide intervened, so that the bishops presiding over the horrible post-conciliar years were different ones than the oh so well-intentioned ones giving us the V II masterworks in circiterism and double entendre? Thought not….

Should Cardinal Burke become our next Pontiff, I hope that he will, profiting from a degree of liberty he cannot enjoy now – start the work of demolition of the mentality that gave us V II in the first place without sparing the holy cow of the “good intentions”, a tale whose utter falseness has been abundantly proved by the facts of the post-conciliar years.

V II was merely a pastoral council. It is now – after the great drunkenness of the Sixties and Seventies – abundantly clear that it was inspired, informed and executed in the worst pastoral spirit one can imagine. V II can be put in the garbage can in its entirety without any doctrinal compromise with the doctrinal Truth of the Church.

The sooner, the better.


Cardinal Pell Vs Archbishop Nichols

True Shepherd: Cardinal Pell

I am pretty sure that the readers of this blog like Cardinal Pell. It will therefore please them to know that our valiant soldier has taken Christ’s Sword in his hands and is, once again, vigorously whirling it around.

His very effective communication style is miles away from the mellifluous and innocuous  tone of our Bishops here in Blighty. His sentences are rather short and rather clear. They are rather uncomfortable, too.

Apparently, in Australia the year 2011 will see parliamentary debates about two issues directly involving Catholic teaching: so-called homo “marriages” and euthanasia. As it happens so often, many local Catholic politicians are bravely deciding to shut up in the hope that no one notices that they’re supposed to be good Catholic when it’s uncomfortable, too.

Cardinal Pell has noticed.

Some snippets of a true Shepherd’s prose:

“If a person says, ‘Look, I’m not a Christian, I’ve a different set of perspectives,’ I disagree but I understand,”

If a person says to me, ‘Look, I’m nominally a Christian but it sits lightly with me,’ I understand that.”

“But it’s incongruous for somebody to be a Captain Catholic one minute, saying they’re as good a Catholic as the Pope, then regularly voting against the established Christian traditions.”

Cardinal Pell doesn’t make any discount to Catholic politicians trying to draw political capital from their religious affiliation and clearly tells them what this entails. He says that

“If you’re espousing something that’s not a Christian position, don’t claim Christian backing for that.”

He is totally unapologetic about his position, too. Try this (emphasis mine):

“I’m not telling people how to vote,” […] “I’m telling people how I think they should vote. I’m an Australian citizen and I have as much right to do that as any other citizen.”

“I’m telling people how I think they should vote”. When was this last heard in England or Wales? Alas, such clarity of Catholic message is unheard-of among those who have the task of proclaiming and defending it among us.
Do you want proof? Look no further than here.

I rest my case.


Will Catholics come Home?

Father Z informs us of an initiative of two US (Arch)Dioceses, meant to encourage Catholics who have stopped practicing to come back to the Sacramental life.

Whilst one can only be appreciative of every effort to get lost sheep back to the fold, I allow myself to point out to the fact that just to say “please, please come back!” will not yield a great dividend unless a ruthless analysis of why the sheep have gone away in the first place does not precede the initiative.

The sheep have gone away because the shepherd has become rather weak, rather superficial, rather cowardly and rather stupid. The sheep have gone away because the shepherd has become even too weak to tell them that they are supposed to stay within the fold rather than being scattered everywhere.

If the shepherd starts telling the sheep “what do you want to do today?”; or to appoint a sheep comittee to tell him how to make his work; or to substitute his daily job of being a shepherd with that of being a “friend” of the sheep; or to talk to the sheep about social justice rather than caring for their welfare and security or, in general, to tell them that in these enlightened times the sheep have become so evolved that they don’t need shepherding anymore, it is really no surprise that the sheep become less and less.

Nor will the sheep come back just because the shepherd starts telling them what a good company he is, or what fun, or how socially aware they’ll become if they start being near him (being “led by him” is a word he would, obviously, never use) again.

The way to attract the sheep to the fold is always the same one: to be a good shepherd. The is what the shepherd should never have stopped doing. If the shepherd starts recovering the notion of the importance and dignity of his role, the sheep will slowly but surely start gatherng around him, because they see in him a refuge and protection, and indispensable help on their journey through life. Then, and only then, will the shepherd be able to lead them effectively and to let them feel protected and cared for.

Too many within the Church have renounced their role (particularly when unpleasant) and refused to do their job. This comes at a price and my impression is that the bad shepherds who did so will be punished far more severely than the careless sheep unable to see any use in them.

The recovery of church attendance goes through a recovery of the role of the Church, of the role of the priest sunday after sunday, homily after homily and controversy after controversy, of the basic understanding of what the Church is.

As long as this analysis is not done and the painful (for those looking for popularity and, ohh that word, relevance) consequences consequences of the choices to be made are not clear, there’ll never be any increase in church attendance.


The Catholic Internet Revolution: a take.

Destroyer of Lies

The role of new media and evolving technology has been discussed for some years already. It is now clear that the Internet has revolutionised the world of information, transforming the oligopoly of a limited number of news outlets in a fragmented universe of countless sources of information.

This Michael Voris video examines the difference this made in our specific Catholic world. The following points seem to me particularly important:

1) Information control through a limited number of sources of conventional Catholic wisdom has been broken. The socialist, liberal wave of post – V II lies cannot be freely imparted to the faithful without opposition anymore. The Internet will provide that lies and heresies are exposed. If the shepherd is a bad shepherd, confused or relatively uneducated sheep will nowadays realise it faster and with more certainty than ever before.

2) The Catholic internet revolution (and reform) has been up to now mainly driven by the laity. Whilst some members of the clergy do make a wonderful effort, it is clear that the vast majority of serious Catholic blogs is run by laymen simply fed up with the misinformation, the half truths and the outright lies they have been served with for too long. The revolt against heterodoxy didn’t come from the clergy, but from the pews.

Voris doesn’t say it explicitly, but I think that a further point can be added: Catholic tradition is so strong, its message so powerful, beautiful and immutable that not even 40+ years of systematic neglect or outright attack from the inside could do anything to change it. The Truth will come out, no matter how big the efforts to reshape it to a politically correct lie. The Holy Ghost wants so. Through the Internet, the Truth can easily enter every household. The Internet is therefore a powerful evangelisation tool in a time of almost total failure of those meant to care for it.

You all are, dear readers, part of this. In the next years, the inevitable advance of the internet and of all the applications the Internet makes it possible to utilise will certainly increase the possibility for every serious Catholic to obtain good information and to expose the wolves in sheep’s clothing.

For this reason alone, there would be every reason to be optimistic regarding the quality of Catholic teaching available to the generations to come.


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