Tomorrow 22nd February is the feast of the Chair of St. Peter. Whilst St. Peter’s feast day is the 29th June, the feast of the 22nd February is more directly aimed at celebrating the Petrine Office. This feast is, therefore, as Catholic as they come.
This feast day might be an occasion to explain to some non-Catholic in your circle of acquaintances why you are Catholic. When requested, I proceed more or less in this way:
1) And I say to thee: that Thou are Peter…. Jesus doesn’t say to Simon that he is a nice chap; or that he is very perceptive; or that he himself is surprised that among the apostles Simon was the only one to give the right answer to his question “Who do people say that I am?”. No, he changes his name and calls him a rock.
2) and upon this rock I will build my Church…. Jesus doesn’t say “I will build my first church”, nor does he say “I will build my provisional church”. Jesus picks a rock, and builds upon him One (1, Una, Eine, Une) Church.
3) and the gates of Hell shall not previal against it….. It, that is: the very same Church built on Peter, the “rock”. That one, and no other. Jesus doesn’t say “the Gates of hell shall, in around fifteen centuries, prevail against the Church I built on you”, nor does he say “the Gates of Hell shall prevail against the Church built on you but hey, let us be happy with a generic term of “church” so it can work even when yours goes astray”. He is very specific: he builds one Church upon one man and gives his promise of indefectibility to this – and no other – organisation.
4) And I will give to thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven….. This is also dumb-proof: keys are a very obvious symbol of power and authority and it is clear here that Jesus is speaking with extreme solemnity. He doesn’t say to Peter: “Peter, you keep the key for the moment” or “look mate, gotta go; keep the keys until I find you or yours unworthy, will ya?”. No, this is a solemn promise evidently made for all times, as his just pronounced promise about indefectibility must make clear to the dumbest intellect.
5) ….and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. For those who should at this point still not have gotten what is going on, Jesus becomes even more explicit: Peter has the keys, and the keys mean authority upon the faithful now and forever; an authority given in the most emphatic terms possible.
The meaning of these phrases; the clear solemnity Jesus gives to his words; the crescendo of emphatic declarations of such a broad and clear scope do not leave room for any possible doubt and as a result, Protestants have nowhere to hide. Whoever reads Jesus’ words with a minimum of intellectual honesty cannot avoid to recognise that the Only Church of Peter’s time (and of the following fifteen centuries) is the Only Church of today and that as a result whatever grievance against the men who run the Church does not change a iota concerning the position of authority of the Church. As to the complaint that some Popes were oh-so-bad (not much worse than many a tv-preacher I’d say, but laissons tomber….), Peter wasn’t immaculate either, but his shortcomings didn’t prevent Jesus from promoting him to rock of His Church.
To believe anything different from the fact that the Only Church founded by Jesus is.. the Only Church means to believe one or more of the following:
1) that Jesus made a mistake in founding His Church on Peter;
2) that Jesus was mistakenly persuaded that Peter’s successors would be good chaps, but had his toy ruined by the baddies who succeeded Peter;
3) that Jesus couldn’t count;
4) that Jesus’ words had a sell-by date, or
5) that Jesus made his promise of indefectibility without taking it seriously.
Or perhaps one could decide to read and understand the only possible meaning of such emphatically worded statements, as Jesus repeatedly made.
There is only One Church, folks. It’s the only one founded by Jesus. Simple, really.
In the last days, objections have been made to the fact that many of those who write about Catholic matters do so anonymously. As always, there is no scarcity of people who indulge in easy accusations of what they don’t like, and can’t control. Let us examine what this is all about and the many valid reasons for anonymity on the internet.
1) Anonymity is freedom. Unless one lives on Planet Pollyanna, there is no denying (not even by its detractors) that the protection afforded by anonymity allows information to be exchanged and discussed that otherwise would have never reached a wider public. This makes our societies (and more specifically the religious discussion) more free. This is important, as freedom of expression is an extremely important pillar of every democratic society.
2) Anonymity encourages criticisms of what doesn’t work within the Church. As Catholics, we have the duty to react to scandals and abuses we see around us, but we don’t have the duty to seek martyrdom (I mean here in a broader sense, as persecution or discrimination because of our convictions) if we don’t have to. Anonymity on the internet makes therefore not only democratic societies more free, but provides a better system of control for the abuses within the Church. If a Bishop tells you that he feels scrutinised by the anonymous internet bloggers, it’s because he is. This is good for Catholicism, and potentially vital for the salvation of the relevant Bishop’s soul.
3) The accusations of it being “coward” to hide behind anonymity are the most cowardly acts themselves. Repressive political systems are those who try to repress anonymity the hardest. The people asking bloggers to reveal their identity are not much different than, say, Saddam Hussein calling his opponents cowards because they stay hidden. There’s a reason why people hide behind anonymity and only stupid people, or people in utter bad faith, pretend not to understand them.
4) If you look attentively, you noticed that anonymity is one of the most powerful engines of progress. Whistleblowing sites could never exist without the protection afforded by anonymity, and they are a most powerful engine of correct behaviour and have now possibly become the most implacable weapon against criminal behaviour within corporations and public bodies. Why anonymity would be acceptable for them but unacceptable for misbehaviour within the Church (which, notabene, can include child abuse and the like) is beyond me.
5) The accusation of it being very easy to slander people from behind anonymity does not really stand scrutiny. It being very easy to slander from behind a wall of anonymity, the relevant information is heavily discounted. People have always written anonymously on walls, but this has never made what they wrote believed just because it was written. On the contrary, an accusation made from an anonymous person will need to be substantiated to even begin to carry any real credibility. This is exactly what happens on the Internet. Criticism of clergy is accompanied with facts and evidence, or it is easily discarded. This is another of the beauties of the Internet. If, say, a Bishop gives scandal by participating to the “ordination” of a “bishopess” or some Protestant ecclesial community, the information will be there with the facts: day, people present, photos, videos, the whole enchilada. It is obvious to the meanest intelligence what counts here is the fact, the provenance being fully irrelevant in the economy of the scandal.
6) It is undeniable, though, that insisted, repeated slander may – even if unsubstantiated – have some effect in the long-term on the person affected. Voltaire used to say something on the lines of “keep on slandering: something will stick”. There you are, you will say, but the best protection against such slander is, once again, anonymity! Every non addetto ai lavori (as journalist, or priest) who willingly renounces to his own anonymity when he writes on the internet is allowing his ego to play him the most dangerous of tricks. Be assured that there will be a price to pay, as recently seen in the case of a “commenterer” known to many of us.
7) It has always been known to people with some salt in their brains – a minority, I sometimes think – that a wise man picks up his own fights. It is utterly illogical (nay: it is outright stupid) to think that what we write will not have an impact on our future – allowing for countless forms of covert discrimination, never to be proved and impossible to trace or fight against – for decades to come. It is the very freedom of our societies which makes this unavoidable.
This may not be a problem for a journalist (who makes of it his profession, and for whom his own name is a brand and professional tool), but can be a huge problem for everyone else. A wise man will prudently decide himself if and when and under which conditions to face a conflict because of his religious convictions, but a moron will gladly expose himself to every kind of retaliation of which he might even never become aware (lost work opportunities, or business opportunities, or both).
8 ) Even anti-discrimination legislation wisely chooses the same way as Internet bloggers. Information about health, age, religion cannot be asked by a potential employer. There is a reason why, and it is that such information opens huge doors to discrimination. How stupid would it be to legislate against such form of discrimination, whilst demanding that bloggers voluntarily expose themselves to it, irrevocably, for all time to come. Make no mistake, religion is – and always will be – the biggest cause of hatred and conflict. It’s just the way it is and he who doesn’t see it is in serious need of waking up.
9) Stupid commenters were never considered less stupid because they are not anonymous. Intelligent commenters were never considered less intelligent because they are. I – and everyone else – will pick my sites and blogs according to the validity of their content, not according to the degree of anonymity of their writers. Just to make an example, “Splintered Sunrise” is an excellent blog. Is anyone concerned that it is anonymous? Not I.
10) We have recently had another example of how beautiful anonymity is. I do not know whether priests are allowed to blog anonymously (albeit, by definition if they really wanted they’d be able to do it anyway), but had Fr. Mildew written an anonymous blog, he’d have been much more relaxed against the bullying of Mgr. Basil Loftus. His blog is now closed. QED.
This is of course not meant to be a justification of my being strictly anonymous, for which there is no need. Rather a caveat to all those who still haven’t understood the potentially devastating influence of a sustained, prolonged Internet presence with their own names, particularly when the subject matter is not neutral (like photography, dogs, or gardening) but serious, highly emotional issues like politics and, most importantly, religion.
Wake up to the reality of the Internet. The immense freedom it harbours also hides dangers for your own professional future; dangers the more devastating because subtle and able to damage you whilst keeping you fully unaware of what is happening. And if you think that this problem only concerns people with extreme views or roaming the internet with illegal purposes ask everyone who works for reference checking firms, and think again.
As there is such a discussion around, I have decided to inflict my own take on you.
I am a Catholic by God's Grace. A good Lord disposed that I be born in a still seriously – at least at the cultural level – Catholic country. I lapsed, like countless others, out of my own fault, and out of despise for a clergy unable or unwilling – as I see very clearly now, most likely unwilling – to teach the faith, and chiefly worried of showing you that they were your “friends” instead of old, stuffy people resembling your grandma. They were pathetic, cowardly, mostly unmanly figures unable to attract the respect of ordinary people, much less of young boys looking for manly guidance.
I lapsed. No, it wasn't a grace. It was a big disgrace. It was wrong, sinful, and stupid. There can be mitigating circumstances for lapsing, and I was certainly unaware of the significance of the decision, nor was I helped by my environment. But a sin it still remains.
I went back to the fold – meaning, to the Sacramental life; I never ceased to consider myself a Catholic, as millions of other non-practising Italians – after moving to the UK and finding a Country in which Christianity was merely an option, and rather an embarrassment. As so often, when something you always took for granted – a Christian Weltanschauung – is not there, you start to become more curious, because you now more or less unconsciously start to appreciate it more, and feel its absence. It was easy, and mainstream, in Italy you tell yourself a Catholic without practicing. Not only millions did, but no priest hammered into you the difference. Everyone was so modern, you see; but still, all shared an awful lot of values, and there was a strong basis of shared values among Italians.
I started to put my nose into the matter. Slowly but surely, a new awareness began to grow. The Internet, and the London Oratorians, made the rest. “Seek and you shall find”. The Internet opened to me a world so different from the Italian bookstores of old! Instead of the cheap V II, populist, kindergarten, diabetes-inducing rubbish – easily recognisable as fake even when you do not really know what is authentic – I found an endless well of old-fashioned Catholic wisdom. This wisdom was not only so beautiful, but so inexorably logical, coherent, complete, universal and still absolutely monolithic, that it immediately fascinated a man acquainted with philosophy, and (in his own stupid way) in love with Christianity. It was a block of granite, smashing the stale, sugary molasses of Vatican II into non-existence.
Reality itself was staring at me, because Catholicism is the only way to understand reality, and until you manage to grasp Catholicism life itself will remain outside of your grasp. My (always strong) thirst for knowledge of Truth and for God – a thirst that I could never quench with the babbling idiots of my youth – was now satisfied. I could drink at a well so clear, so fresh, so true, that it was a world of wonder. The Truth I always sought was just there, in the very fabric of the society in which I was born, in the very religion that still shaped so much of it. It was in the robust wisdom our grandmothers had often imperfectly, but always faithfully formulated. It was, in the end, all there. But because of my fault, and arrogance, I wasn't able to look below the thick layer of V II mud and recover the old religion of exactly those grandmothers; a religion which, if I had been determined to rediscover it, would have disclosed itself to me, in time, by God's grace, without decades of lapsed Catholicism; because God can never, ever want that you stop living the sacramental life, much less send this to you as a grace.
By my most grievous fault I decided, certainly before I was 14, perhaps before I was 13, that the Church wasn't worth my attendance; and ended up two decades later spending hours on my collections of several Bibles – I had no less than seven different texts – and comparing bible passages, for hours, like a thirsty madman, or reading around in a confused way; always thirsting, always toiling, never satisfied, never knowing whom to turn to, the German priests of my adulthood even worse than the Italian ones of my youth.
When I discovered Catholic wisdom, I felt elated and very stupid at the same time. It was all there, all the time. The most wonderful gourmet meal, already prepared for me by countless saints as God's exquisite chefs. All there for the asking, and reading, and praying. All there, most importantly of all, for my own salvation, if God's grace assist me and I cooperate with it.
The Catholic Church was right. Is right. Always was, always will. The Catholic Church has all the Truth, and she is the only Truth. The Catholic Church is right even when your priest is an idiot. The Catholic Church is right especially when your priest is an idiot, because then Her immutable Truth shines the more in contrast with the sugary blabbering of her unworthy minister. And then, you love Her more. And when an Evil Clown is Pope, you love Her most.
Scratch away the layer of mud, my friend. What you will find below is better than the purest gold.
If you peruse the National Schismatic Reporter today – we all do it every now and then; it keeps you informed about Satan's latest moves – you'll find a piece about the conclave from a female called Maureen Fiedler. Her bio says a lot of fluffy things about her (radio work, “social justice” activism, “gender equality” activism, “peace” activism, PhD in Applied Idiocy (or “Government”; one of the two) and it also informs us that, lesbian or not, she is supposed to be nun (though from the photo you'd never imagine it, of course).
Today, sister reinvents Christianity for the exclusive benefit of her more or less enlightened readers from the Liberal madhouse.
We are, first, informed the Church is not democratic. This shocking revelation, of which she was possibly not aware when she tools her vows of fidelity to… social justice, pacifism and sexual perversion, clearly forces all of us to confront Jesus' shocking lack of democratic sensitivity. It would have been so easy to let the Five Thousand democratically elect their own representatives; but no, Jesus had to decide all by himself, appointing twelve leaders without even the shred of a public consultation. I mean, really? Who does He thinks he is, God?
The Chap (He can't have been God, after all; God is democratic; everyone knows that…) even gave a shameless display of atrocious sex discrimination, appointing – would you believe that – only males for the office! Not even a lesbian among them, let alone a real woman! Really, what was He thinking?!
It gets worse than this. I mean, we can understand Jesus might have wanted to pander to His Roman Masters, who in those times didn't “do” democracy anymore; he might have been afraid (we knew he was often afraid, particularly when he saw “sister's” female ancestors walking around) of the Jewish establishment and thus timorous to appoint lesbians (or even real women) to his Board Of Directresses… But seriously, not even a mention that His Church was supposed to have democratic elections, Wymyn quota and at least one good dozen LGBT members among the Cardinalettes? Seriously? What an amateur…
Thankfully, we are now in 2013, and Sister got it right. We are therefore going to eliminate the construction faults of the Catholic edifice by inserting democracy, pacifism, socialism and sexual perversion into the structure of an obsolete behemoth not even really improved by Vatican II.
Then, and only then, Catholicism will be really authentic, as shown by the champions of Catholic authenticity, those from whom “Sister” says we should learn.
To wit: The Protestants.
One struggles to believe the BBC was once considered a professional broadcaster.
This rubbish has been online since the 28 February, so it has been online for now 8 days undisturbed. It truly beggars belief.
It is difficult to pick where to start, but let us select some of the most outlandish observations:
1) “Two-Pope Problem”.
I though it was Two Popes, but I am not a mother tongue. Still, at the moment there is no Pope, and when one is elected there will be one Pope.
One. Then zero. Then one. Not difficult.
When a BBC Director-General resigns, the BBC does not write any article titled “the Two-General-Director Problem”.
Cue the outlandish “Antipope” theory; not read anywhere else, not picked up by anyone, not taken seriously even by my cat; but apparently good enough for some BBC hack. “Antipope” must sounds good; one of those words of which few people really know the meaning, but of which many more love to hear the sound; like “Antichrist”.
3) “Exploit such ambiguities”.
This confused chap says he is a papal historian, but again he sounds more like an incompetent hack asked to write some rubbish before lunchtime for £25 and a McDonald voucher. The idea there are “ambiguities” as to who is the Pope is just as stupid as the idea the new Pope might introduce such innovations on – how do you get this wrong? – “the role of the women” as to cause some people to, ahem… do what exactly?
In addition, notice the suave “there are those in the Church”. It matches well the “two theologians”, of which one isn’t mentioned. I though this was a professionally run site, paid by the British people with a compulsory licence, with professional writers and professional editors.
The astonished Catholic learns from this supposed “papal historian” the SSPX are “schismatics” and “out of the Church”, which suggests Mr Walsh may smoke very strange substances in the morning. We are also informed the SSPX “have been long on the verge of declaring a sede vacante“, a circumstance of which the SSPX should be informed immediately, or in alternative whatever Mr Walsh is smoking should be taken away from him at once.
The SSPX is also now a “separate church, yet another division within Christianity”. When you stop laughing about the “separate church”, consider the “papal historian” is insinuating the baddy baddy Christians are oh so much divided.
5) “Muddling the waters”, “quasi alternative Pope”.
This man is clearly not a Catholic; still, even a Protestant or an atheist should know better than that. Not even illiterate peasants will be in any doubt as to who is Pope, or will consider the waters “muddled”, or will even imagine the existence of a “quasi alternative Pope”. The BBC’s “papal historian” apparently will. Oh well…
6) “Confusion gets worse” because of Gaenswein.
This is as stupid as the rest, but even more naive. How there should be any “confusion” because Gaenswein remains Benedict’s secretary is beyond me. The new Pope will decide who is his private secretary, and if and what other task he will have. End of.
Wake up, Mr Walsh.
7) “Pope Benedicts was always happier with books (and cats) than with people”.
First blow below the belt line. We are here informed Benedict doesn’t like immortal souls. He prefers cats instead. This airy comment, this miserable hack dares to make about a man called Holy Father the world over, whose very name (Papa) reminds of his function of spiritual father of all of us, seeing in all of us his sons. This remark from our historian hack is, simply, despicable.
Second blow below the belt line. I have not heard anyone accusing the former Pontiff of “pride” because of the title he has kept. Even Mr Walsh should get – on a good day – that in this case he would not have resigned.
Thankfully, this astonishing pack of lies, deceitful hints and veiled accusations at this point comes to an end.
Again: this is a professional site, fed by public money. Don’t they have editors? How can it be that rubbish like that is cleared for publication? Who authorised this? Is there one single person at the BBC who knows something about Catholicism?
The BBC’s incompetence is only equaled by their arrogance. The sooner they get shut down, the better.
I am afraid we’ll need another couple of scandals for that, though, as Jimmy Savile apparently wasn’t enough.
The interview circus – or should I say “beauty contest” – abruptly came to a halt today, with several interviews from prominent Cardinals, mainly American ones, even cancelled after scheduling.
It was very sad to see Princes of the Church behave like children when a TV camera is around, or like reality TV starlettes exploiting the limelight for all it’s worth. Instead of dedicating themselves to their institutional duties or to prayer, many of them have tried to consolidate their “star” status (like Ouellet, I am afraid, or Turkson, or Pell), or get some popularity whilst they may (like Sandri, possibly the most shameless of them all), or play “progressive” for who knows which obscure reason (O’Brien) or talk to journalists because the limelight to them is simply oxygen (Dolan) and they can’t imagine living without. Not pretty.
All this was stopped today, and the interview embargo lets all those Cardinals all too ready to grant interviews (including Ouellet) deservedly appear immature.
The Church is not supposed to care for the opinion and the support of the world, and a Prince of the Church is supposed to, literally, incarnate this principle. What has happened in the last weeks is another indication of the deterioration of the quality of religious personnel precipitated by 50 years of Vatican II-induced collusion with the world.
I am glad this has now stopped. Let the thousands of journalists now converging on Rome play fantasy conclave as much as they like; the Bride Of Christ does not seek the approval of the mob, and those who do are unworthy of the tunic.
It is very recent news that Amazon, together with other worldwide operating companies like Google, have issued a public endorsement of so-called same sex marriage in the vigil of the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States concerning the Defence of Marriage Act.
At the same time, we are informed from Father Z’s blog that his affiliate program with Amazon was terminated without warning or explanation.
I might be a tad paranoid here, but apart from the obvious disgust at Amazon’s unspeakable behaviour I cannot avoid wondering whether the two above mentioned events might not be related, that is: Amazon is targeting those opposed to their homosexualist agenda and quietly eliminating them from their affiliate program to please their own internal Gaystapo.
Again, I might be too suspicious here, and in a normal world one would suppose Amazon is interested in selling books and related products first; but we don’t live in a normal world, and there is no saying whether the Gaystapo at Amazon might not manage to pursue their perverted agenda at the expense of their shareholders.
Perhaps the one or other of the readers, ideally who have shares of the company, might plant a question on the site and enquire whether Christian sites are being specifically targeted.
As for myself, I will seriously consider switching to a different system (say, Sony) when the time comes, and plan to use my Kindle exclusively for free books.
Which, I thinks, serves the faggots right.
I have this from Reuters and I cannot imagine this is a misunderstanding or an unchecked news. The famous explosive report is then destined to remain under key, and for the eyes of the next Pope only. Clearly there is the fear that the most interesting details may be (cough: will be) leaked.
Personally, I think it would have been much better that the Cardinal had been able to have access to the document before the Conclave, and I cannot see the damage from leaking as so big as the damage from not letting the Cardinal know what’s going on before taking such an important decision like the election of a new Pope. As they say, at some point oportet ut scandala eveniant.
In any case, I always thought it wise to think carefully before taking an important decision and then stick to it.
During his last Sunday as a Pope, the Holy Father has indirectly – but clearly enough – defended his decision to abdicate. Once again, he has said he cannot do his job properly any more, and a life of prayer is now both more fitted to him and – which I am sure was the paramount consideration in his decision – more salutary for the Church and faithful.
There are around voices that say this was a mistake (sometimes, a big or catastrophical one) and the Holy Father should have done strange things, like allowing the Church to remain without an effective guide, permit that internal strife of all kind tears the shop apart (a frequent result of weak leadership, as the Vatican itself now more than eloquently shows) and in general see the detetioration of the Church in the West continue.
In the immortal novel I Promessi Sposi, Alessandro Manzoni puts in the mouth of Don Abbondio (the weak and cowardly priest who had consented not to celebrate a marriage because of pressure from a local warlord, animated by the most scandalous motives) the unforgettable words: “Il coraggio, uno non se lo puo’ dare”. It is difficult to translate into a foreign language the particular way Italians stress a point, but a fair translation might be “with courage it is so, that one can’t give it to oneself”; whereas probably the beauty and drama of the original are lost, but the basic message remains.
Don Abbondio has become in Italy the epitome of the weak, self-centred, cowardly priest interested more in living a quiet and -in those times – comfortable and privileged life than in fighting for Christ as a good priest, at the cost of his life if needs be. His words express a simple concept, well clear to us soft and understanding Italians: you can’t ask from people that they just become who they are not. Don Abbondio must choose between a defiance of power that (he thinks, being cowardly) might mean death, and a compliance allowing him to go on – or so he thinks – with his quiet life of comfort and privilege.
Now, whilst I do not want to draw too near a comparison between Pope Benedict and Don Abbondio, it is clear that neither of them is a Horseman of the Apocalypse. Old, peaceful, not cut for war, and unable – like everyone else – to completely change what he is, it simply cannot be asked of Pope Benedict that he jumps over 86 years of his life and starts to live and act according to a freely chosen new persona. It just does not work that way.
With courage – or with the will to be a strong, energetic, willful Pope, leading the Church with a firm hand and expecting to be obeyed – it is so, that one cannot give it to oneself.
Courage, the Holy Father has gathered enough – very probably more than he ever could in his life – when he has decided to abdicate, full knowing the fans of the “dying Pope circus” (so popular only a few years ago, and so beloved by the media, and so obscenely convenient for heterodox Cardinals and Bishops) would be incensed at him depriving them of another year-long media show.
Not only he had courage, but if you ask me he took what is – with Summorum Pontificum – the smartest decision of his reign.
A Pope is, in fact, there to reign, not simply to talk. His duty is to give orders, make unpleasant decisions, displease an awful lot of people and upset many more, defy secular powers whenever necessary, and defy the stupidity of the world every single day. It takes energy and courage to do so. Pope Benedict never had the second, and is rapidly losing the first. Nor could anyone expect of him that he suddenly transforms himself into a different person overnight. God can cause such tranformations, of course, but they are very rare. Normally, weak people won’t be able to give themselves the courage they lack.
Don Abbondio tries to get away with his weakness, and is in serious trouble when his behaviour comes to the ears of his superiors. Pope Benedict, far braver and more honest, realises he can’t be any good for the Church as an even weaker Pope, and draws the consequences. From a weak Pope you can really not expect more than this.
Not only, therefore, I think that His Holiness’ decision should be respected, but I think that the courage necessary for such a step should be recognised and duly appreciated.
The alternative would have been another year-long power vacuum. But as power, like nature, has horror vacui, this vacuum would have been filled by people who have never been elected Pope, and taking all decisions with very little of the (earthly) responsibility.
A Pope is a King, not an exposition item for the joy of the TV channels. We need him strong, alert, and full of energy. Weak Popes of the “harmless great-uncle”-type only benefits the local hierarchies and the Vatican power groups, particularly if they aren’t orthodox.
With courage it is so, that one cannot give it to oneself.
Courtesy of the “Coalition for Marriage”, the full video of Ann Widdecombe’s speech at the “fringe conference” of the Conservative Party.
I will not waste your time pointing out to this or that beautiful phrase, because there are too many of them. This is one quarter of an hour which will really put you in front of the absurdity of the political correct nightmare the stupidity of a minority and the cowardly acquiescence of the majority has plunged the country into.
Widdecombe is witty but sensible, and poses a number of very intelligent questions. Her attack on Cameron is frontal and very effective, and the long applause from an extremely well frequented “fringe” event should make Cameron shudder and think.
Her portrayal of the many ways in which Britain is transforming itself in a totalitarian faggot state is extremely well put, and should make everyone who still does not blog anonymously seriously think of how long he will be allowed to have one without endangering work and freedom.
Cameron is a cancer, and I am being nice. He must be taken down, and with him this entire perversion mania. They must be ridiculed and forgotten like the madness of “man-made global warming”, a national craze in 2006-2008, and now you would have trouble in finding people admitting they believed it.
I think we are slowing getting there in this case too, but it will be a much longer and harder battle.
For now, thank God for the Widdecombes of the world, in a country where the Archbishop of Westminster limits himself to almost inaudible ex officio meowing, and the duty of leading the charge has fallen on the shoulder of the brave Lord Carey, who in the end is a pensioner whilst those in active duty sleep or look the other side.
President Obama’s comments today in support of the redefinition of marriage are deeply saddening. As I stated in my public letter to the President on September 20, 2011, the Catholic Bishops stand ready to affirm every positive measure taken by the President and the Administration to strengthen marriage and the family. However, we cannot be silent in the face of words or actions that would undermine the institution of marriage, the very cornerstone of our society. The people of this country, especially our children, deserve better. Unfortunately, President Obama’s words today are not surprising since they follow upon various actions already taken by his Administration that erode or ignore the unique meaning of marriage. I pray for the President every day, and will continue to pray that he and his Administration act justly to uphold and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. May we all work to promote and protect marriage and by so doing serve the true good of all persons.
This is what Cardinal Dolan has to say about the reason why the Church has lost teeth in the last decades and can’t transmit Catholic values as she used to do (emphases mine):
For this he faults the church leadership. “We have gotten gun-shy . . . in speaking with any amount of cogency on chastity and sexual morality.” He dates this diffidence to “the mid- and late ’60s, when the whole world seemed to be caving in, and where Catholics in general got the impression that what the Second Vatican Council taught, first and foremost, is that we should be chums with the world, and that the best thing the church can do is become more and more like everybody else.”
Very lucidly spoken, one would say. Cardinal Dolan is showing in these last weeks that he is, at least in certain circumstances, not really “gun-shy”.
Still, I would like to add a couple of observations:
1) Cardinal Dolan’s words would carry more weight if he stopped the unspeakable shame of the so-called gay masses in his own diocese. He was certainly more aggressive than our own home disgrace, Vincent “Quisling” Nichols, but the masses are still there, so he still hasn’t delivered. I call this “caving in”.
2) One notices it is so difficult to take V II out of a generation grown in the middle of it, when one reads that the Cardinal comments the problems about conveying the Catholic message about sexuality saying: “that’s a biggie”. That’s a…. what? Does this not give exactly the impression the Cardinal wants to “be chums with the world”?
I am not accusing the cardinal of hypocrisy, as I am sure he is sincere in his work, as the last months abundantly prove. What I am saying is that he himself, like so much of nowadays’ Church, is so imbued with the forma mentis of the post V II generation that he falls – out of habit, probably – in some of the same traps he rightly recognises in V II itself: the desire to appear “connected” and “with it”, and in some – important – occasions the lack of the guts to say the unpleasant things straight.
Again, if cardinal Dolan had acted in an exemplary manner concerning the gay masses in his own diocese some time ago, his word would have carried more weight now, and his opponents in Washington might even have decided to cave in themselves at the first signs of serious conflict rather than allow things to get at this point.
By not acting in the question of the so-called gay masses, Cardinal Dolan has missed a beautiful – if, in itself, sad – occasion to show that he is not one to be trifled with; as a result, Obama & Co. did, in fact, think he could be trifled with. Chum with the world, and all that. They were, apparently, wrong, but this way Dolan has to have his baptism of fire in a confrontation with the President. If he had kept his shop in order before and had not been, well, gun-shy in matters of sexual morality (a “biggie”, as we are told), this might have not been necessary.
Let us hope this battle experience will be the first one of many, and in future the Cardinal will not be so eager to show he is “like everybody else”.
We have been all bored to death in the last days with the fantasy tale about the 98% of the Catholic women apparently using contraceptives. We have, also, been amused by the strange theories according to which this, provided it was true, would be proof that the Church is wrong on the matter.
Theology by democracy. Very funny. What’s next? Elective bishops? Priestesses? Communion to dogs? Homo marriages?
But really, as a person raised up in a Catholic country and then moved here in Blighty, I can clearly see the differences between Catholic and… wrong thinking on this and many other matters.
In Catholic Countries, it is not that people do not behave wrongly. Of course they do. The big difference is that in those Countries people know they are sinning and are intelligent enough not to try to persuade themselves they aren’t.This creates the well-known phenomenon of the Anglo-Saxon speechless at how Southern Europeans get along with their sins, which leads them to believe they just do not care. They do care, my dear boy/girl/transgender Proddie. They care, very probably, much more than you’ll ever do on your saintliest day! They simply accept that they will never stop sinning more than the sun will stop shining. It’s not about being more sinful; its about being wiser.
Different is, it seems to me, the traditional approach in Protestant countries. Here, strong veins of puritanism run through the country, even among those who don’t really care for religion. Sin is, actually, not accepted in the sense that it must be obliterated. Therefore, the puritanical oriented will ruin their lives in the vain – nay, childish – attempt to overcome their sinfulness through a straight jacket of extremely severe prohibition, and general severity of demeanour. The others – nowadays, the vast majority – will solve the problem obliterating the sin, and deciding the Holy Ghost has now told them pretty much everything goes, provided you love Jesus and don’t kick the cat.
The ones likes the others can simply not live with the simple, human, Catholic concept of just knowing that by all our effort we will never stop sinning, because sinfulness is attached to us like breath and the one will only cease when the other does. The first will try to kill their sinfulness killing joy of life and common humanity in the process; the second will act after the motto: If you can’t win it, abolish it.
This being the mentality, it is not entirely surprising – though not less stupid – there should be people around thinking if Catholic women use contraception, it means they think it is right to do so. Please!
The reality is, of course, the opposite of this funny theory. Whilst many Catholic will not be entirely aware of the sinfulness of contraception, vast numbers of them will be aware of it at some level, a level which – due to their dismal catechesis – never becomes more than a discomfort at knowing oneself at variance with the Church, but seldom becomes rebellion because the Church is at variance with them.
We are all sinners, and we are all weak. We continue to do what we know we should not do, and this we do because we are wretched sinners. As we become better instructed, a life of prayer slowly induces us to look with horror today at our failings of yesteryear; but it is a very gradual process, and a process which generally starts in earnest only when people go back to regular Mass attendance and generally ends only at death. Outside of this circle, disobedience to Church teaching is seen with no more than discomfort readily set aside and not really worrying, like the child who steals the marmalade and knows stealing is wrong, but still refuses to see himself as dishonest, and to recognise his act as theft.
Still, most children will say to you it is “somewhat” wrong to steal marmalade, and only a very small minority of Catholics will dare to tell you they are better judges of Catholic rules than the Church.
The Proddies don’t get this, and the liberals don’t get pretty much anything else so I am not surprised. In their world, one can’t be a wretched sinner: either they stop being sinners or the sin must stop being a sin; not in the theological sense of course, but in the way they approach the problem in everyday life. Thus, the abortionist “bishopesses” (Episcopalians), the homo bishops, and the catalogue of assorted madnesses, next in line the so-called homosexual marriages and one day, who knows, euthanasia.
The liberals do not even have the cultural means to understand the Catholic thinking. They apply to Catholic thinking their own utterly flawed reasoning patterns. They can’t conceive someone admitting himself guilty, when they themselves obviously never are. They know nothing of wanting to be strong enough, and failing to do it. They cannot even conceive that a person might do what is wrong, and know it is wrong. Hey, if put in the same situation they would just decide it is not wrong anymore! So there, Catholics think the Church should change Her rules on contraception!
The CNA has an interesting article about some remarks of the 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
First, there is this interesting remark:
“Any leader should seek God’s guidance,” he said. “The teachings of the Church inform my thinking about solving earthly problems.”
I do not know to what extent Gingrich practices what he preaches, but I can’t say he is preaching badly. The idea that a Catholic could be allowed to forget his faith when voting or taking political decisions is certainly being challenged more and more often.
Please also note that Gingrich correctly says “the Church” instead of, say, “my Church”.
The most interesting part is, though, the following one:
Gingrich said that he would “listen” to the concerns of those who feel threatened by his views and values.
“In many cases better communications and clarification will eliminate their worries,” he said.
“In some cases they are right to feel threatened because we have incompatible values and fundamentally different visions of the future.”
It is the first time that I read of a Presidential candidate saying to the anti-Christians fraction such open words, “you are right to feel threatened”. They are right to feel threatened because they are a threat to Christianity and their right to damage Christianity would therefore be taken away.
He is basically saying that there will no namby pamby slogans about everyone not having anything to fear, and a Christian society being able to be Christian and at the same time accommodate everyone’s whims, like, say, your British bishop would do.This kind of open talk is very, very rare in Europe and is probable to have one accused of being an extremist.
If a conservative President is elected, a march toward the curtailing of legal right will be set in motion, either through direct presidential action or through legislative action – if the President disposes of the necessary majorities in Senate and Congress, which I consider rather probable – or more long-term with the attempt to appoint decent Supreme Court judges instead of, say, left-wing lesbians.
It is good and honest that these things are said loud and clear, and become an integral part of the electoral campaign. It is also refreshing that Gingrich doesn’t try to use the usual European tactics of “do not worry, we’ll make everyone happy anyway” and says instead that, legislatively speaking at least, there will be blood.
Please do not use the combox to write your opinion about Mr Gingrich as a candidate, as I think that such discussion belong elsewhere – I might make a poll in future about this -. The matter here is, as I see it, not whether Mr Gingrich is a good candidate or even a good man, but whether the debate is going to go in the direction of frontal assault to anti-Christian legislation. If anyone could provide a parallel statement of other candidates, this could be very interesting.
“values voters see big government and deficit spending as the result of policies that arise “when the natural family is looked down upon” and thereby foster dependency”.
This very intelligent reflection comes from a speech of Mr Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, about the electoral voters of Us-American Evangelicals.
Evangelical voters, he says, tend to link the economic and the social issues that will – hopefully, for the seconds – dominate the 2012 campaign, and the line above is an example.
As an Italian, I can resonate with the phrase chosen by Mr Perkins, as in those societies where the welfare state is rather weak – in Italy it is very weak if you consider it as “welfare state proper”, that is: entitlement – the family is very strong and conversely, you can afford to have an almost non-existent welfare state and survive as a politician only because the family is so strong.
I do not use the word “natural family” because in Italy the absurdities and perversions of the US have not yet gained a foot in the social and legal framework of the country. Long may it last.
I do agree with the statement, particularly after having lived in Germany and the UK and having seen the result of the mentality prevailing in those countries.
Still, I wonder what resonance it would find among the US Catholic voters, as this would seem to be a more specifically Evangelicals-related phenomenon.