I am a very traditionally minded person – not only in religious matters – and to me authority has always had not only the right, but the duty to show itself. It is, therefore, rather natural to me that, say, the President of the Italian Republic would live in possibly the most stunning of all stunning Italian palaces; a dwelling once considered, ahem, fit for a Pope (before the Age Of The Bus, that is).
The same reasoning I apply, naturally as it seems to me, to a bishop. A successor of the Apostles and with the same formal rank as a Pope, a Bishop should live in a place – and, in certain matters, in a way – fitting his rank, and immediately conveying the importance of the position he holds.
A Bishop should, if you ask me, be immediately recognisable as a personage of absolute preeminence, and unquestionable rank. Even by heathens, atheist, and children. Let him live in a splendid palace, then, whenever the condition of the diocese affords (in the West, it generally does unless the money is squandered in stupid committees), and let us ask wealthy Catholics to give a sound contribution to a visible presence of the Bishop in the middle of his sheep.
This requires, though, a couple of distinctions and reflections:
1. There should be, in principle, only one bishop for every diocese. Diocese with multiple bishops, of whom de facto only one runs the diocese, diminish the importance of the role and confuse the faithful about what a bishop is. I do not know when this fashion of the multiple bishops began, but it seems wrong to me.
2. A bishop should be a man who accepts what comes with his role. If he'd rather be a country curate, let him be a country curate by all means, whilst another is the bishop; or let him be the bishop, and suffer in silence the loss of his little cottage. A bishop should have, if you ask me, as little right to play “one of us” than a Pope. A bishop living in a three bedroom flat, or even in a suburban house, is sending exactly the wrong message, because he is cheapening the office. People understand power and influence at an instinctive, not rational level. If the King lives in a cottage, he has no place being a King.
3. Such a bishop will have a far greater attention on him than the modern eunuchs in black. He will be located square in the middle of the community, with his persona as well as with his palace. With all eyes on him, the pressure will grow to behave like a leader of men should. Exactly as simplicity deprives of influence, Pomp has this beautiful side effect, that it reminds everyone that one person, that one and no other, is in charge.
4. The luxury of a bishop should be luxury that defies the centuries, not the result of his particular taste. A bishop building a splendid palace with an imposing stone facade has put Christ square in the middle of the community; a bishop spending vast amounts of money on his caprices (say: senseless modern art, or architectonical extravagances) is justly chastised. But again, a man of God will always have a clear perception of whether he is erecting a monument to the greatness of the Church, or to his own vanity. Similarly, the preeminence of the bishop should make clear to everyone the power of the Church, and Her demand to count, and to lead the lives of men. This palace, and this presence, must be as public as the Bishop is, as central as Christ has the right to be. The splendid palace near the Cathedral is one thing, the big villa in the leafy suburbs for the private enjoyment of the bishop quite another.
Well, these are my personal reflections on the matter. I am sick and tired of all these example of humble prelates living in humble dwellings, and of this proto-Socialist thinking according to which the humbler, the better. In most cases, the office will be damaged as his holder gets exalted for devaluing his role. It can't be right.
A bishop has a public role and the duty to carry it out in a fitting way, just like a king.
Let him be a king in his diocese, then; smack dab in the middle of the community, but knowing that the entire community watches him.
Methinks we would have not only splendid palaces but better bishops, too.
This Michael Voris video is, I must say, rather harsh even for his standards. Which is not bad, actually, as the present situation justifies in my eyes a good dose of harshness, and then some.
The basis of Voris’ message is that the bishops can’t pass the buck and blame the modern times, or the media, or the situation they have found for the lack of orthodoxy we see all too often in Catholic parishes. It is exactly the duty of the bishop to react to modern times (times have never been “old”, in fact, and every age has always had its own challenges and difficulties), to pay attention that his priests behave orthodoxy, to take care that Catholic teaching is correctly – and actively – represented in the media however possible, and in general to take care of the souls of his diocese.
It is true that, as Voris points out, things are not so extreme as they used to be and one must admit that there is no Liberation Theology around, neither has Pope Benedict to confront a bishops’ rebellion remotely comparable to the Dutch Schism, or to the Winnipeg Statement. Still, there is a lot of nonsensical waffling around, convenient espousing of fashionable ideologies and, most importantly, almost complete blindness towards heterodox priests, heretical theologians and politicians who are Catholics in name only.Voris makes two concrete examples regarding “homo masses”, but the same complaint can be made regarding, to name just two, abortion or contraception.We will not have any meaningful resurgence of Catholic thinking in the West, until the Bishops start to do their job properly collectively and not only with the courageous initiative of a small number of brave men not fearing unpopularity.
The only integration of Voris’ thought that I would like to make is that if it is undoubtedly true that the bishops are responsible for what happens in their own dioceses, it is equally honest to admit that the Popes are responsible for the quality of the bishops. It is not that those appointed were noted for their own courage and/or orthodoxy and then magically became cowardly and/or heretical after the fact. Rather, the bad quality of many of today’s bishop can be directly attributed of the bad quality of the appointments. This simple fact must – unpleasant as it is – be brought at the very centre of the debate if we want to avoid the situation in which Popes ask their bishop to behave well, whilst appointing people predisposed to behave badly. In this respect, it is i my eyes cleat that an awful lot must be accomplished still, and that Pope Benedict’s papacy can be – again, in this respect – archived as a missed opportunity.
I’d have to ask a theologian whether it is ok to call very bad bishops – as I seem to understand the word from the video – “bums”; but frankly, I wouldn’t say that they haven’t deserved to some clear words anyway.
“In the Dioceses of England and Wales Holy Communion is to be received standing, though individual members of the faithful may choose to receive Communion while kneeling. However, when they communicate standing, it is recommended that the faithful bow in reverence before receiving the sacrament.”
This is the answer that the Congregation for Divine Worship gave to the Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales regarding the reception of Holy Communion.
I fail to see how the answer could have been any different. It is entirely obvious that the CDW would not have said “communion can only be received standing”, thus going against 2000 years of reverent Catholic praxis. It is also evident that the CDW would not have answered “communion can only be received kneeling”, thus fully discrediting what has been the (unfortunate) praxis of many decades. The answer could, therefore, have fallen only in the sense that it did: both ways are allowed.
You will not be surprised to know that the Archdiocese of Westminster has now taken this answer as an excuse to decide that there is no ground for the re-introduction of altar rails in the entire Diocese.
One must love the logic: after it has been repeated what everyone already knew, they profit of this to make it as difficult as possible to receive kneeling.
I truly hope that this disgraceful attitude doesn’t get many followers among the bishops in England & Wales, but it is only natural that many others who were just dying to put as many obstacle as they can to a reverent, old-style reception will now be only too pleased to hide behind Westminster’s decision and do the same.
Westminster Diocese is giving, once again, a beautiful example of how not to do it.
Some time ago I wrote a blog post about the desperate gesture of twenty-five French priests writing to Cardinal Ouellet and asking him to the help the Holy Father to select better bishops
I do not know whether the letter had a direct effect on this appointment (and it might, in fact, well be that the decision had been taken before the letter being received), but one can certainly say that the new appointment for Aberdeen will not cause any such letter to be written.
Abbot Hugh Gilbert, OSB is known to be a holy and very orthodox man. He had been openly rumoured as a successor for the unspeakable Archbishop Murphy O’Connor (so openly, in fact, that it moved the Spectator to write an article about him) and with the benefit of hindsight it is no less than a tragedy that instead of him the almost-as-unspeakable Vincent “Quisling” Nichols was the chosen one.
Perhaps the key to this appointment’s interpretation lies in the clear perception that Nichols’ appointment was a serious mistake, and that the best thing to do now is to react by injecting a good dose of holiness and orthodoxy in the clergy of the British Isles, clearly in dire need of it.
Pluscarden is a success story not only because of the prestige of the institution and the reputation acquired by its Abbott, but because it thrives. Once again, it is plain to see that seriously intended Catholicism – not trendy waffling around – is what is needed.
I am not as deluded as to think that the new Bishop will now avoid some political adjustment to the new situation and in fairness, being a bishop is not the same as being an abbot; still, it is fair to say that one can have the highest hopes of his becoming an exemplary bishop and to shame Vincent “Quisling” Nichols just by way of contrast.
Congratulations to the Abbot for his new appointment and best wishes for his, no doubt, excellent work as Bishop.
From the Deacon’s Bench, a barely believable story about a priest suspected of pedophile behaviour and, subsequently, the object of a letter written by the school’s principal to the bishop.
Apparently, Bishop Finn never read the letter. Instead, he appears to have received a “brief verbal summary” about it from his vicar general.
Following questions arise:
1) How can the vicar general have given the bishop a “brief verbal summary” without mentioning words related to the word a bishop must dread most: pedophilia. The details mentioned on the letters are from alarming to sickening (and certainly so in the big picture that emerges from all of them together) and would have put every sensible man, let alone a priest (or a bishop, see below) in a state of maximum alert.
2) Who is this vicar general: a priest (in this case, appointed by the bishop himself) or an auxiliary bishop (possibly not appointed by the bishop; at least not freely so). In the first case, bishop Finn must still be considered accountable in certain measure for the people he puts in position of great responsibility; in the second, we still have a bishop – though not bishop Finn – directly responsible for the blunder.
3) How can a clergyman (whether bishop, or not) not have all alarms bell ringing when he reads or hears something even remotely similar to the word mentioned above. We are in 2011, not 1951.
This seems to me a history of extraordinary incompetence, or laziness, or bad faith at some – not yet entirely clear – level. Which is a double pity, as bishop Finn seems to have his theology in order and not to be one of the progressive and cowardly shepherds. A short google search has given this, the like of which I have never read from any English bishop, (whether reading his letters or not) and will probably not read in my lifetime.
Still and as much as it pains me to say this, it beggars belief that in 2011 we must still read such stories of utter failure of most elementary control mechanisms.
Being so vast, the US are a country full of contrasts, where you find some of the most orthodox Catholics and some of the most desperate cases of insanity.
One of the latter has been divulged in the last days: a booklet from a self-professing “Catholic” group seriously (I think; ready to stand corrected) maintaining that a “full Catholic” position on certain marriage can be different from the one doctrinally prescribed by the Church. You couldn’t make it up, could you now?
In this matter, the “heretic but still fully Catholic” chaps and chapettes have decided for the righteousness of “marriage equality”. This, mind, doesn’t mean anything concerning the position or the dignity of husband and wife within the marriage (as I had, very stupidly and in my innocence, initially believed), but it is basically meant to mean that marriages between man and man, or between woman and woman, are “fully Catholic”. I don’t think it squares with the English language, but there you are; I suppose that everyone must throw in some “equality” nowadays as it lets one feel oh so good.
The US Bishops have punctually reacted. Now, do you think that they have said that these ideas are absurdly and openly heretical? Do you think that they have invited the people clearly responsible for such beastly ideas to backpedal or be excommunicated? Do you think that they have profited from the occasion to sound from all trumpets what marriage is?
Wrong. They have “emphasised” (ok: they actually “emphasized”) that the beastly booklet is “not in conformity” with Catholic teaching and have invited those responsible for the publication to not identify themselves as “Catholic”.
This reaction is typical of the half-diplomatic, half-cowardly approach of so many bishops everywhere in the West. They see HERESY written all over the place and they limit themselves to some polite remark, putting some dots on the “i” and hoping not to upset anyone.
Do you want evidence of ths? This group is clearly identifiable with a religious sister and a priest (I won’t do them the favour of mentioning them; well, no really, I can’t be bothered to cut and paste their names) and the US ecclesiastical authorities have needed several years of pro-homo madness (seven, to be precise) of the two before barring them from working for the Archdiocese of Washington as they were happily doing. When the two stopped working for the archdiocese but continued their evil work, the vatican needed another (get this) fifteen years before barring the two from any work with homosexuals. What has become of this ban is not entirely clear to me as it is obvious that the two – pastoral work or no pastoral work – continue to try to influence as many homosexuals as they can.
We are now informed that “serious questions” have been raised about the adherence of this bunch of nutcases to catholic teaching, thirty-three years after the group was founded.
Serious questions? You don’t say!
Notice here that Fr whatshisname and sister couldntcareless are still – at least from what transpires from the CNA article – in possession of their respective religious dress.
One truly wonders.
I have already written about Bishop Athanasius Schneider here and if you read the blog post you’ll see that Bishop Schneider is not one who takes his role lightly.
Thanks to another excellent comment of Schmenz, I was alerted to this great video from the “Athanasius Contra Mundum” Blog, in which this excellent bishop speaks about communion in the hand.
Many are the interesting issues touched in this fragment of TV interview. The parts which most impressed me are the initial ones, where a young boy (being raised up in a communist regime) is shocked at being informed that in Germany Holy Communion can be received in the hand as if it was a piece of cake. More moving still is the part when the bishop remembers his mother searching for a church distributing communion on the tongue and – after failing to do so – giving in to tears. May God bless these beautiful souls and give them back one thousand times in glory what they had to endure in suffering and persecution.
Imagine for a second a persecuted Catholic family in a communist country – people ready to suffer daily humiliations and discrimination for the Lord – at seeing the Body of Christ casually distributed and superficially received (or I should say: eaten) in a way that to these poor family must have seemed a perfect absurdity and the epitome of shallow and desecrating behaviour. This was in 1973, an age when the older generation had still been properly instructed and had to witness the crumbling of a liturgical world made of reverence and sacredness.
At the same time, the perfect shock of these pious and persecuted people at what they were forced to witness gives the full measure of tragedy of the drunken years following Vatican II, an unforgivable liturgical booze-up whose after-effect is still felt within the Church.
Bishop Schneider gives hope that a new generation of bishops will put things right but at the same time exposes the betrayal of the most elementary sense of the sacred incited, permitted or tolerated by most Western bishops.
Once again, Kudos to Bishop Schneider for his beautiful and moving words. We do need more like him, but why must we go as far as Kazakhstan to hear a bishop talking with such reverence?
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.
I have posted today about a beautiful blog post from Gerald Warner, the intrepid “Telegraph” blogger.
In two words, Warner lucidly recognises in the mess of Vatican II the origin of the properly called homosexual paedophile priest scandal. As he very fittingly puts it,
“once you have debauched the Mystical Body of Christ, defiling altar boys comes easily”.
Warner is also of the opinion that 95% of Catholic bishops worldwide deserve the sack and when you read here you’ll soon know why.
This contribution of another excellent Catholic blogger, Chris Gillibrand, points our attention to a recent homily from the Bishop of Menevia, Tom Burns.
Bishop Burns must deal with the very uncomfortable reality of the homosexual paedophile priest scandal. Besides being his job, the starting point is not different from Gerald Warner’s one. But Bishop Burns is a bishop interested in talking Vatican-II-ese and he can therefore not afford the luxury to look at reality as it is. He reacts by denying reality and apportioning the blame somewhere else, namely where it is convenient to him. I think this is what is called “cognitive dissonance”, but I might be wrong.
In Bishop’s Burns widely warped world, the (homosexual, though he obviously wouldn’t say so) paedophile priest scandal has been caused by clericalism; this is, says the Webster’s dictionary, “a policy of maintaining or increasing the power of a religious hierarchy”.
You won’t be criticised by me for maintaining that this already shows a remarkable degree of blindness, but it gets better than this. Bishop Burns’ target is not a generic clericalism, but is alarmingly similar to Catholic conservatism. In his own words,
Some want to put the priest on a pedestal, whilst the people are consigned to be privileged spectators outside the rails. Flamboyant modes of liturgical vestments and rubrical gestures abound. Women are denied all ministries at Mass: doing the Readings, the serving, the Bidding Prayers, and taking Communion to the Sick. To many in our Church and beyond, this comes across as triumphalism and male domination. This clericalism conceals the fact that the Church as an institution has often acted in collusion with what I can only regard as structural sinfulness. It has paid dearly for it and is untrue to its humble Founder, Jesus Christ.
Make no mistake: “flamboyant vestments” here are the traditional ones, not the clown mass ones and the entire statement is a clear linking of conservative Catholicism and (homosexual) paedophile scandal. In Bishop Burn’s vision, the respect traditionally associated with the figure of the priest and the pomp and circumstance linked with traditional Catholic practice has been the enabler of the scandal. He sees in this a structural problem and in those who want to restore these traditional element people who collude with the relevant abuses.
I will refrain, out of respect for the habit, from saying what I think of the man as a Bishop. I will limit myself to say that the poor man sees an elephant in the porcelain shop making a mess of everything and says that the culprits are the porcelain makers.
This Bishop is a serious candidate for what in Italy would be jokingly called “Mongolino d’Oro 2010”. I won’t translate what it means because, as so many Italian expressions, it is deliciously politically incorrect and, as such, not fitting for delicate Anglo-Saxon ears.
The case of Sister Margaret McBride, who was excommunicated By Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix after permitting an abortion taking place in the Catholic Hospital of St. Joseph, Phoenix, Arizona, is well-known and the issue of Sr. McBride’s excommunication has been widely discussed on the blogosphere in the past. This hospital is part of a series of structures called Catholic Healthcare West (CHW).
In the last days, a new element of the controversy has appeared as the Bishop has now revoked the right of the entire system of medical structures CHW to call itself “Catholic”. This is therefore not a single hospital being singled out, but an entire net of structures found so deficient that the adjective “catholic” cannot be applied to anyone of its components anymore.
You find the statement of the Bishop here. I assure you it is worth the reading. I limit myself to comment as follows:
1) The action of the Bishop is highly commendable. Still, one remains with the uncomfortable impression that in this day and age a Bishop can be ignored for seven long years before action being taken. Years, not months. One understands the need to be somewhat gentle, but if gentleness is perceived as indecisiveness it is no surprise that the bishop’s admonitions are ignored.
2) Bishop’s Olmsted action has, as it appear from the statement, been precipitated by the information about an abortion having taken place. I don’t want to think how long it would have taken for the Bishop to take decisive action if the news of the abortion hadn’t reached him.
3) From the statement it would also appear that on closer scrutiny a series of further infractions have been discovered, which had gone on unchallenged for years. In particular, sterilisations and even abortions have been practised with regularity under the very nose of the diocese, whose ability to know what was happening appears to have been rather impaired. One reads such news and shivers at the thought at what happens every day in the “Catholic” institutions of the rest of the country.
4) By all the justified criticism of the slowness and softness of the Bishop’s past action, what is evident here is the extremely clear tone of the communication. By reading it – particularly if accustomed to the exercises of our local bad shepherds like Archbishop Vincent “Quisling” Nichols – I could scarcely believe that this was an official statement of a Bishop. This is a man who has understood that his inaction led to the loss of human lives and has decided to put an end to it – as far as he can – in the most decisive way. You can read here a further statement released two days after and which is a further example of a brutally frank communication style.
Kudos, then, to Bishop Olmsted for his certainly belated, but nevertheless courageous action. Let us hope that his example will soon be followed by his colleagues and the adjective “Catholic” before a hospital’s (or university’s) name will soon mean something again.
Browsing around the net I already in the past found this theologian, Ronald L. Conte, to be one of the very good ones.
Besides strict orthodoxy, the man has the rare gift of expressing himself in an extremely clear and concise way; never becoming boring or convoluted but always sticking to the point and bringing it to his readers with great clarity. He is a bit like the GAU-8 Avenger of Catholic doctrine, aiming straight at error and secular folly.
I stumbled upon an article of him about homosexuality which – as it seems to me – goes straight to the heart of the problem without sweetening of the pill, but also without apocalyptic visions of collective destruction.
His approach is – again, as it seems to me – highly sensible. He looks at the most frequent questions arising in these disturbing times and gives to all of them a straight, but never uncharitable answer. His words are far more pungent than the more subtle, but still extremely clear Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the pastoral care of homosexual persons; he goes beyond the Vatican document by addressing the problem of homosexual clergy (in those very months addressed by the new Pope Benedict in the sense expressed by him) and he clearly addresses the issue of the different degrees of sexual sins (something actually clear to every Southern European from the cradle, but apparently less clearly perceived in colder climates). His radical words seem to me to echo St. Pius X’s very clear stance (though in a slightly different context) in Horrendum Illud Scelus.
At the same time, Conte’s approach is – again, following that mercifully supple approach so typical of traditional Southern European Catholic understanding – not such that he leaves the homosexual – even the one still struggling with his problem – without hope. Only final impenitence is what will lead him to Hell. Prayer, and hope, and a serious struggle are the way. This should be repeated to every rebellious homo, perhaps hiding under the excuse that he “cannot change”. Firstly he can, and secondly he is supposed to try anyway.
We want to hope and pray that many of those who today claim a right to abomination as if it were a “human right” will end up, in time, seeing the light. Unfortunately, they are not helped much by a society which condones abominations as if it were something normal or even just. In the end, full awareness of the extent of the problem is the key to an approach which, to be crowned with success, must be so radical as to be, literally, life changing.
If I had been asked as an adolescent which one among homosexuality, bestiality, child rape, incest or euthanasia would one day have been considered normal by an awful lot of people, I’d have laughed out loud. The absurdity of that!
Thirty years later, homosexuality has been delivered to secular mainstream consciousness as a “choice”. Euthanasia might well be on its way. Bestiality and incest might well follow (just wait that the perverts discover their “human rights”, how “oppressed” they are and that they are denied the “freedom” to marry their brother, or sister) and probably only child rape will (if the child is very small; otherwise Tatchell & Co. are already waiting to get their hands at them) have to remain in the realm of the abominations. In the new world, abomination will probably be saying the truth out loud; or not driving a Prius.
It is therefore always refreshing when someone writes in a way which lets your humble correspondent ask himself: “this is what has always been considered common sense and common knowledge in the past; how on earth have we come to the point that one has to expressly point out to this?”.
Please join me in a prayer for the unrepentant homosexual of the world (that they may see the truth) and for those who begin to understand the scale of the problem but are still too weak to either see the truth in all its tragic reality or to radically change (that they may find the strenght to win their battle, or at least persevere until the end in fighting it).
The American Papist has an interesting article about the NYT’s prediction of the Catholic vote in the coming Mid-Term elections. It would appear that – among the electorate generically defining itself as “Catholic” – the swing from the Democrats to the Republican is a barely believable 34 percent.
Beside reading such forecasts cum grano salis (it’s only a forecast; Obama was an oh so fashionable candidate two years ago; Catholics have already rather liked Republicans in the past, with George W Bush being the most recent example), we must consider that such a swing is unprecedented. Might it well be that the decline in popularity of Obama has few precedents, too, the fact still remain that when it has become clear and it has been insistently repeated that this President is nothing to do with Christian values, Christians have begun abandoning him in drove. Which drives me nicely to my point.
It is undeniable that the American Bishops, as a body, do not do enough to protect Catholic values among their sheep. Still, there are a handful of courageous Bishops who are never afraid of an “unpopular” headline and the general climate is much, much more Catholic than in the UK.
Take Archbishop Chaput for example, or the future Cardinal Burke before he moved to Rome, or the sadly soon-to-retire Bruskewitz. They are/were all people who can make national headlines; people willing to stir the placid waters of political correctness and rampant secularism by throwing the one or other Catholic stone in the stinking pond of secularist anti-Christian values.
I cannot imagine that this hasn’t made a difference. Not a 34-point difference for sure, but a difference in the cultural climate in which Catholic are called to operate and, importantly, vote. In two words, people are starting to open their eyes and in time, even a handful of brave Bishops will not fail to awaken a growing number of up to now not properly informed or soundly asleep Catholics.
This is, clearly, not what is happening in England and Wales, where the Bishops are the best allies of the secular leftist society and they either actively helped Labour to push its secular agenda (say: “sex education” for children; so-called “homo marriages”; neglect of proper Catholic teaching in Catholic schools; nice jobs given to Labour MPs in need of a perk) or gave an opposition which was not strong enough and determined not to offend anyone (say: adoption agencies). All this whilst Summorum Pontificum is eagerly boycotted, and Anglicanorum Coetibus at best ignored.
The situation in the US shows us that when good shepherds start doing their job, sheep start following them. It must be so, then once the Catholic message is insistently repeated, there is no way Catholics can – giving them sufficient space to come to term with uneasy truths never told to them before – avoid being affected by it. The beauty of Catholicism is that by its very nature every sustained, repeated call to orthodoxy will always fall on attentive ears, then in Catholicism’s case there is no need to define what “orthodoxy” is, merely to know that it exists and that it demands observance. This is a much easier exercise than to, say, define “Tea Party ideals” or “Republican values”.
If our Bishops started doing their job instead of limiting themselves to be automatic distributors of platitudes and convenient soundbites, things would start changing in Blighty too. Not today and not tomorrow of course; but in time, the effect would be felt.
Today, Cameron is scared senseless from a couple of hundred thousand homosexuals who don’t even vote for him. Let him confront, say, one million angry Catholics and see how he’ll react. Methinks, he’ll become a fan of the Tridentine Mass and tell us that he has always felt that way.
The Hierarchy of E&W betrays his sheep every day. None of them, not one, is worthy of his office. What is happening in the US exposes once more all their inadequacy, incompetence, corruption or very simply loss of faith.
Let us hope that this disgraceful generation of bad shepherds will soon be reformed or, rather less unrealistically, removed. Up to that point, we can only look at the US and sigh.
Interesting article of the Catholic Herald about the Pope’s message to Brasilian bishops, who are now visiting him for their ad limina.
The Pope’s message is very interesting for a number of reasons:
1) It comes in the immediate vigil of an important election day in Brasil. It doesn’t happen very often that a Pope has the not very diplomatic, but welcome courage to remind Catholics of their duties as voters just before an election. This will probably cause criticism by the anti-Catholic faction but hey, this can only be a good sign. By the way, next week is the US’s turn. I can easily imagine that the Holy Father was – as they say in Italy – “talking to the wife so that the mother-in-law may understand”.
2) Once again, the Pope profits to remind the Bishops and priests of their duties. In a world where all too often the clergy merely panders to the prejudices of the secular mob (see our ineffable Vincent “Quisling” Nichols, explaining that no, the Church in England doesn’t oppose so-called “civil partnerships”; may he repent before Satan takes him) it is good to see that the Pope continues to send a clear a message that not only they can, but they must fight the good fight. One merely notices that if the Holy Father were as clear-cut in his bishops’ appointments as he is in talking to them, we would be far more advanced on this worthy road.
3) The third message is very important, and must not be undervalued. Un-Christian values are a betrayal of democracy. When a democracy is used to de-christianise a Country, its scope has been perverted and its legitimacy starts to vanish.
Too often, democracy is considered an absolute value, a received truth, a golden calf. For a Christian, this must simply not be the case. Democracy is fine (is, actually, very fine as a political system and I do not know of any other which brings peace and prosperity in the same measure) when it is informed by Christian values and meant to respect and protect them. But for a Christian democracy is not the ultimate end, salvation is. Our civil and political institutions derive their values from the fact that they are not in contrast with the Christian message, or positively help to further it. This is – for a Christian – always the case irrespective of what his constitution says, as it is inconceivable that a Christian may put anything at all before his duties to God.
Democracies are there not only so that Christian countries may progress in peace and prosperity, but may do so in a Christian way. This has been so everywhere until the Sixties and all Western democracies used to be very much pervaded by Christian values in the way their societies were organised. When, though, a democracy starts to de-Christianise itself (eg embracing values typical of Nazism and Communism like abortion, or widely approved during Nazism like euthanasia), this democracy progressively loses its legitimacy before God and as such, in front of every Christian.
Democracies are not eternal, nor are they an absolute good. They can perish out of their people’s cowardice and indifference, or can deserve to be dissolved because they have turned against God. General Franco’s decision was not the delirious outburst of a Christian nutcase, but a lucid setting of the right priorities. What many lukewarm Christians do not understand (not because of rebellion to God, I think; rather because they don’t think this matter to its end) is that for a Christian every Nation is under God, whether it says so or not. There is no way one who calls himself a Christian can, once he reflects on this, reach any other conclusion.
Democracies are betraying their own scope and reason of existence. The separation of church and state is more and more interpreted as the elimination of the religious phenomenon from every aspect of public life and the creation of a society which is completely disconnected from Christian values. How absurd this is, how an utter perversion of what our ancestors would have thought the most elementary common sense, is showed by the fact that the first great nation who sanctioned the separation between church and state found it natural to write its allegiance to God even on its banknotes!
We are now rapidly reaching the point where Christian values can’t be even written in elementary school books, let alone banknotes. We are reaching the point where sacraments are seen as pure human conventions and agreements. We are reaching the point where even the sanctity of life is seen merely as a mean to an end and is seen as disposable whenever a society more or less democratically (through election or referendum or even judicial activism) decides that it is fitting so to do.
These behaviours hollow democracy from the inside; they eat it like a cancer; and like a cancer they will lead, unless stopped, to its own demise.
God is not fooled by secular slogans. The price for rebellion is corruption, the consequence of corruption is decline and the end result of decline is the death of political systems. It is the duty of every Christian to start thinking more like Thomas More and to say to himself: “my democracy’s good servant, but God’s first”.
You wouldn’t believe it, but every now and then some Catholic Bishop here and there actually starts doing his job.
This time it happened in San Antonio, where the interim head of the Archiocese, the auxiliary bishop Oscar Cantu’, decided that Homo Masses are not a sign of “chariteeee”, but Homo propaganda. One would have to say a word or two about the fact that the local faithful had protested against this abomination for fifteen years and the hierarchy had not reacted, but today I’ll limit myself to registering the fact that someone has finally done what is right.
As they say, better late than Nichols.
Let us read what Bishop Oscar Cantu’ has written about the matter:
“The Mass … continues to send conflicting messages about the Church’s official teaching concerning the proper celebration of the Eucharist and living an active homosexual lifestyle,”
This short but rather damning statement contains three important points: 1) there are “conflicting messages”, meaning: you avoid open heresy but in fact undermine Catholic teaching on the matter; 2) the celebration of the eucharist is not properly made, if it is made for a “special interest group”. Catholic means universal. You are Catholic, you go to Mass. You are a homosexual Catholic, you go to exactly the same Mass; 3) Homo Masses end up being propaganda for the acceptance of “an active homosexual lifestyle”. This point is so obvious than in order not to see it one must have the shameless, arrogant cheek of a Vincent Nichols.
In this particular case, the scandal was (if possible) even bigger because the Masses were “offered” for a so-called “gay advocacy group” called “Dignity”. This group openly advocates the acceptance of so-called homosexual lifestyle* and is therefore not in the least compatible with Catholic Teaching on the matter. Basically, homo activists openly in contrast with the Church have been allowed to confuse the faithful and give scandal for fifteen years, under the very nose of the Bishop and notwithstanding the repeated complaints of the clergy. The interim Bishop has now put an end to this after the old one – the allegedly very conservative Gomez, Opus Dei and now in Los Angeles – evidently never found the courage to grow a pair and tell things as they are.
Bishop Cantu’ is only 44 years old. He is “merely” the interim Head of the Archdiocese, with the new Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller taking over next month. It will be very interesting to see what Garcia-Siller does once installed, Cantu’s move certainly will not make it easy to come back to the old homo-friendly practices.
A very promising young shepherd, this Bishop Cantu’. Kudos to him and let us hope that this will become a fashion.
* That’s what they call it. For Heaven’s sake, would you call incest, bestiality, pedophilia a “lifestyle”? The world has become mad if we allow anyone to define themselves as they please and demand that we all call them as they wish.
“Perverts” is the word.
Why, oh why have we to cope with a joke called Vincent “Quisling” Nichols when the US have so many Bishops who could be sent here to relieve us of our misery?
You can read here what has happened in Minnesota, where Bishop Nienstedt has refused to give communion to a group of militant homos wanting not only to receive communion notwithstanding their open rebellion to the Church, but even do so wearing a visible sign of their revolt, rainbow buttons and sashes.
The decision of Bishop Nierstedt would be to commend unconditionally, and a rare good news worthy of being shouted out loud, if the fact had not been tainted by a grave episode of scandal after the mass, when a priest obviously squarely on the pro-Homo side has hastily celebrated a Mass for the homosexualists, during which they were allowed to (try to) receive communion by the same priest.
It is now the clear duty of Bishop Nienstedt to bring his disobedient priest rapidly and clearly into line, then isolated episodes of orthodoxy are – whilst always commendable in themselves – much diminished in their importance and in their teaching value if dissent is allowed to flourish among the very priests of an orthodox Bishop.
One never ceases to learn. Also, one never ceases to see how the faithful’s money are squandered and responsibility avoided by the Bishops.
The first bad news: believe it or not, there is a Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community. I kid you not. It exists and it has the obligatory abbreviation (COMECE). It “organises” things. One foresees all too easily further delegations of responsibility from our bishops (“abortion legislation is a COMECE competence as it is a european phenomenon”) to this new conference-organising organ.
The second bad news: Christians are the most persecuted in the world, both in absolute and percentage terms. Roughly one-third of the planet’s inhabitants, but roughly three-quarters of the planet’s religiously persecuted are Christians. I’m sure that a detailed study about where the persecutions come from would also reveal some surprising facts. Or perhaps some unsurprising ones…
The good news: at least this new european absurdity organises something to try to put the problem at the attention of the West. But hey, wait a minute: without COMECE it would be the responsibility of the single Bishops’ Conference to move and actually it is responsibility of every single Bishop to tackle these issues out loud. Do they do it? No, they leave it to the COMECE (please forgive me: can’t be bothered to copy and paste the entire name again) to organise a conference. Gives one a beautiful excuse to shut up before and after – and even during – the conference.
So it’s three bad news after all…..
The so-called bishop Schori (a so-called “woman bishop” from the Episcopalian so-called church in the USA) is visiting England. On occasion of her stop by the Southwark Cathedral – where she was allowed to preach the new gospel of political correctness to the usual “inclusive” audience – she was, as reported among others by Father Z, not allowed to wear her mitre but forced to carry it instead. This is because whilst she sees herself as a full-fledged “bishopess” the so-called church of England – belonging, mind, to the same Anglican Community – apparently doesn’t. This episode is a beautiful reminder of what happens when a so-called church is, not being the Only Church, consequently not helped by the Holy Ghost.
In the wonderful world of Anglicanism – where everyone believes what he pleases whilst at the same time maintaining that they are one, ehem, church and calling this “broadmindedness” or better still, “diversity” – Ms Schori is so many things to so many people that one almost becomes vertiginous. For the more conservative Anglicans of Catholic sympathies she is neither a priest nor a deacon; for others she is not a priest, but merely a deacon; others still think that she is a priest but, alas, not a bishop; and for a last group of very “inclusive” members she is a bishop, even if their spiritual head disagrees with that.
And all this, believe it or not, within the same soi-disant “church”. Funny, isn’t it?
Anglicanism is the most similar thing I have ever seen to a Pizza Express menu, where everyone can not only pick and choose the basic variant of his faith but also add those particular toppings he thinks most appropriate and savoury for himself. In the meantime, this so-called church sinks in an ocean of highly publicised controversies at various levels. It appears that the various so-called churches of the Anglican Communion are trying to react to the declining number of faithful by becoming less Christian, more politically correct, more secular in their outlook and as a result more controversial, more divisive and yes, more ridiculous. A pure marketing exercise, and a very short-sighted one at that.
The moral and theological bankruptcy of Anglicanism (in his numerous flavours) is under everyone’s eyes. It will get worse as the number of adherents continues to head south as it has done in the past several decades. The attempt to save themselves by embracing secular ideology will only accelerate the decay. This is what happens when the Holy Ghost does not help a community of faithful: they will split in countless conflicting and purely personal interpretations of the Only Truth. Tot capita, tot sententiae. This is the destiny – and in fact the reality – of all protestant ecclesial communities, without exceptions.
There is only One Church. She has been founded by Christ. Accept no substitutes.