Why are conservative Catholics so intent in bashing everything that is Un-Catholic? Why are they unable to just let people be, and embrace “tolerance”? Do they really need to show all the others how good they are? These questions fly around, more or less directly, in this or that blog post.
Perhaps yours truly should say a word or two.
The modern world – who doesn’t learn anything by heart, because it feels too smart for that – has forgotten that to admonish the sinner is not only acceptable, but highly desirable. It is, in fact, one of the spiritual works of mercy. The one who helps the other to understand the consequences of wrong behaviour truly is the one who often helps the wretched creature more than all others around him, and claiming to love him and to want his good, are doing. Lucky is the sinner who has someone with the gut to tell him what is what, and who might perhaps remember the lesson before it’s too late. Of course, a dose of prudence and intelligence will go a long way in lending more effectiveness to one’s merciful work, but the clumsy helper will always be preferable to the sleek accomplice in another’s sin.
What is true in the private sphere is more so in the public one. All those wannabe Catholics, or wannabe Christians, or wannabe nice people who give scandal and sabotage Catholicism in various ways cause a strong reaction from conservative Catholics. Why? Because generally speaking, conservative Catholics truly care. They care that others be not led astray by the false prophets and the fake slogans of our times, and they care that the evil spirits, who roam through the world seeking the ruin of souls, may have as difficult a job as possible. The world will hate these good souls, and the usual suspects – the ones who say they are tolerant and inclusive – will hate them most; but you see, in being so hated, these good souls are doing works of mercy.
As to the being good, my impression is that sound Catholicism works. Good conservative Catholic families tend to be happy and intacts, without drug or drink problems, no or far less divorces, no sluttish girls, and no tattoos. Families with a permissive attitude are, generally, those who have these problems, and their members – particularly the parents – must strain their tolerance and progressive attitude to show the world they haven’t failed after all. At some point, looking tolerant is better than looking plain stupid.
Come on now, call me a bigot. But you know I am right.
Let us pray for a world with more people like the Christians of old, to whom souls were more important than trees, and truth than niceness.
I have not written about the Gosnell affair yet, because time is a tyrant. Still, I have followed regularly not only the flow of atrocious details from the Catholic and the conservative press, but the other scandal of the main (read: liberal) media making the impossible to ignore the matter; a very stupid endeavour in a free society, which predictably led to back pedalling.
For those who want to read more (attention: this is atrocious stuff to be kept absolutely out of children’s reach) ” The Pulpit” has a “Gosnell Special”. If you feel like delving into the atrocious details of the matter and the scandalous treatment given (or not given) to it by the media you can do worse than start from there.
To think that in Ireland a huge mess was started for the death of a pregnant woman in a hospital, and now many feel (idiots don’t think; they feel; less work, and one can “feel good”) abortion laws should be changed because of one death that was most certainly not a murder.
Mala Tempora currunt
Those who follow this blog already know that I fully subscribe to the Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi saying. The Liturgy is, if you ask me, the key that opens all the doors necessary to the recovery of the Church after the devastation – not coincidentally: also a liturgical devastation – of the Second Vatican Council.
Consequently, I also fully subscribe to the “save the liturgy, save the world” motto. The result of this is that I must be equally persuaded that as long as the liturgy isn't saved, the world as such will not improve a bit.
From this derives, with elegant inevitability, that whatever a Pope does will ultimately not be worth much, until and unless said Pope improves the liturgical habit of the Church.
This we have seen brutally at work in the last 50 years: a string of Popes who were generally considered very pious or at least good-intentioned; world travelling like it's going out of fashion; full airports and media frenzy. At the end of all this, sodomy is being legislated for, the number of European and South American churchgoers decreases, and the very concept of what makes one a Catholic is very blurred in most.
This will, of course, continue with Pope Francis. Unless the Holy Father continues the slow work of repair of the Liturgy started by his predecessor, his Papacy will be ultimately ineffective at the very best.
We must keep this in mind when we observe Pope Francis' pontificate, and avoid the easy – and cheesy – enthusiasm of the usual cheerleaders; cheerleaders who get excited like girls waiting for the rock star when the Pope forces the Swiss Guard to disobey his captain's orders and to sit on a chair, and in his moving goodness brings him something to eat, poor starving creature…
Still, it has been traditionally believed that the ability to bear adversities patiently is a sign of predestination. We can, therefore, try to do our best to let this papacy works for us, no matter what. One day, the Liturgy will be repaired and with it, in time, the world.
At the end of the story, though, there will be no saving the world until the Liturgy is saved first. I can't imagine it will start with Pope Francis.
The infamous so-called same-sex marriage legislation has passed the last significant hurdle in France, and now only the ancillary legislation – whose approval can sadly be seen as assured – is required before the glorification of satanical sexual abomination becomes the law of the land.
Some of the French clergy have made a valid resistance to this, though – as always in the Vatican II Church – cowardice and doublespeak were everywhere. This particular battle was, then, fought and lost.
Or… was it?
It grates me no end that there is a mentality – both among the clergy and the laity – of despondency and resignation after their democracy has approved the last abominable measure; as if democracies were unable to reform themselves, or were able to survive if they don’t. This resignation takes several forms, from the loss of interest in the issue because “it is already decided” to more sanctimonious forms of passivity like the convenient “we must pray” (which we must do anyway, and won’t scare your MP in any meaningful way) or the apocalyptic thinking in the style of “the end is near”, another convenient way of doing nothing in the meantime.
On the contrary, the only way to face situations like this is to see this battle not as ended, but as just begun. From the pressure put on your MP to the active work among friends, relatives and acquaintances, to the active decision not to give financial support to initiatives even remotely linked to approval for abomination, (and possibly, to no other initiatives than those directly linked to the defence of true Christian values) to the boycott of those companies – like Starfags, erm, Starbucks – who support such abominations. The ways are endless, if the commitment is there.
As always, there will be a price to pay. You might well be required to not vote the stupid Conservative candidate, thus helping the outright idiot from Labour or Lib-Dem to be returned. This you do so that the stupid Conservative party understands they’ll not be able to get your vote by just being “least worst”, and you will screw them no matter the cost, because in battle nothing is so important as to punish the traitors on your side of the trench.
Similarly, the ridicule or outright hostility from your acquaintances will accompany you all the days of your life, and you will soon notice there will be those who prefer to avoid your company – though others will esteem you more, and start to think – and your openness will not make you very many friends. He who sees everything will reward you for his when the time comes.
Still, it is fair to say the laity are just the troops: the officers are supposed to be the clergy.
The clergy should be those who organise and direct the battle, not just in the vigil of legislative measures, but forever after. They should be those who gather the immense energy of the angry Christian laity and direct it like an arrow straight to the heart of the democratic system. Democracies are steered by organised minorities, with most voters only being a huge dumb ox no one pays attention to.
The Clergy must stop putting up a half-hearted fight until a decision is taken, and shut up or waffle about “pastoral work” afterwards. Catholics are born for combat. Perversion must be called perversion before, during and after a legislative process aimed at glorifying it. The life of the politicians supporting such measures must be made a living hell not only during the relevant debate, but forever after. The opposition to them must go on until their utter political destruction, and their approval of abomination must tar them in front of all Christians as long as they are in politics, or repent in a credible and very public manner. Every politician must know if he chooses the wrong side he will be made an example of, irrespective of the price to pay. The best deterrent against such policies is not a short fight that ends after six months, but a guerrilla warfare aimed straight at the genitals of the culprits, and going on without cease.
There was a left-wing political movement in Italy, well-known both for being rather extreme and, at the top, largely a product of well-educated sons of the upper middle class. The name of the organisation was Lotta Continua, “uninterrupted fight”. Their motto was “nulla restera’ impunito”, “nothing will remain unpunished”, the Italian translation of the nil inultum remanebit of the Dies Irae.
Whilst I could not disagree more with the political aims of Lotta Continua, I and many others like me always liked the determination and focus of their leadership. We – and our clergy – should really learn from these people, or better said remember what we and they should have known all along.
Is this happening? Not really. After a more or less spirited opposition, our well-fed clergy revert to business as usual and focus on what they love most: popular issues.
Pope Francis is widely reported to have harshly criticised the Argentinian government when they passed perverted legislation, but I have not yet read of a single word he said to make their life difficult after the legislation passed, that is, after the real battle began. How can a politician be afraid – let alone, terrified – of going against Christian values when he knows the end of the vote is very largely the end of the problem?
We must avoid this at all cost, then when we stop to oppose we start to be accomplices, and accessories through silence.
If the trumpet is silent, it is so much more difficult for the troops to regroup and prepare the next assault.
Stimulated (or you might say: terrified) by the recent appointment of a Jesuit as, erm, bishop of Rome, I have decided to visit more in detail the site of one of their provinces. Not being very good at Spanish, I decided to focus on the site of the British Province.
The “who we are” site tells us there are 20,000 Jesuits around, but doesn’t tell us anything about their age. Strange, say I…
But then it gets scary: on the same page our heroes describe their mission as the promotion in society of “that justice of the Gospel which is the embodiment of God’s love and saving mercy’.” What? The “justice of the Gospel”? What is this, a new religion? It is as if Christianity were turned upside down, and would keep its eyes away from heaven to make of earthly justice the true centre of its concerns.
You see this pattern again in the very revealing heading “faith and justice”. Again, it can only be a new religion that dares to put the faith and earthly cares in the same breath. I thought Faith is “the virtue by which we firmly believe all the truths God has revealed, on the word of God revealing them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived”. To mention “justice” in the same breath sounds like obsession and complete loss of perspective. Again, it truly sounds like a new religion, with a secular deity, the Goddess Social Justice, not only put near the God of the Christian, but with the second put at the service of the first.
On the relevant page, more scares await. We are informed that
“Our mission today is the service of faith, of which the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement”.
Read it again: promotion of justice is an absolute requirement of the service of faith. Heavens, the Blessed Virgin’s service of faith must have been a disaster! Jesus Himself falls tragically short of the mark of these people! Unless, of course, they want to dream of a Jesus as Messiah of The Good News Of Social Justice that mysteriously escaped the attention of two thousand years of Christian faith. The rest of the page sings the same song, which the popular opinion would express with the well-known expression that social justice “is their religion”; and truly, it seems they do not want to leave anyone in doubt about that. Unsurprisingly, their Jesus is an angry communist struggling – and perhaps, who knows, even dying – for social justice.
But let us not despair, and let us see whether at the bottom of all this there is a sincere desire to convert souls to Christ, and be it the extremely earthly Christ they seem to have in mind; then, social justice this or social justice that, Christ must come first, surely?
Hhhmmm… Let me see if there is an “evangelisation” header…. Hhhmmm… no, there isn’t…. so, “evangelisation” doesn’t have the rank of “social justice”…. strange….. But wait, what do I have here?
“Inter-faith”? Let’s click it.
“Inter-religious dialogue is not about conversion; it is about understanding. The aim is to encounter people of different faiths with sensitivity and respect in order to discern in the meeting the movement of God’s Spirit which ‘blows where it wills’. For Jesuits, dialogue with people of other faiths is a major dimension of their commitment to be companions of Jesus and servants of his mission”
To think this is the order St Francis Xavier co-founded. To think this is the order that regained Poland to Catholicism. To think this is the order that carries Jesus in its very name.
Not only is the statement above a complete renunciation of every evangelisation work (tellingly absent from the site, and with “dialogue” being a “major dimension” of their work) but the accent on the “movement of God’s Spirit” which “blows where it wills” clearly point out to the appreciation of non-Christian religion as “willed” expressions of “God’s Spirit”, expressions which must therefore be “respected” as perfectly legitimate as we “discern” the way “God’s Spirit” “willed” in them. Notice they say they are “companions of Jesus”, but this is a Jesus meant to remain strictly on their side whilst heathen remain such.
This is new age crap all right. I struggle to even see Christianity in this, as if you take evangelisation away from Christianity the entire edifice must surely crumble.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
How can one take all this away from the Christian message and still call himself a Christian? How can one think that this is not an “absolute requirement” of the “service of faith”, but “social justice” is?
I might browse the site of these old deluded nincompoops – or outright minions of Satan; one of the two – further, but frankly I have enough and I think you have enough of this nonsense, too.
Again, the mildest one can say is that these people have forgotten what Christ is about, which in people calling themselves Jesuits is truly beyond the pale. I haven’t found in my browsing one word about Salvation, Heaven, or Hell; they will be there if one looks long enough, but it is clear in these people’s mind there is no attention for the after life whatever; instead, there is a shocking obsession with trying to build a social paradise on this earth, as if this were the real essence and greatest value of the message of Christ. This is Liberation Theology without the Kalashnikov.
Please also consider this is the site of the English Province; unless there is a centralised structure, I can imagine there might be even worse statements in the Internet presence of other provinces, particularly the South-American ones.
I cannot imagine anyone being a Jesuit for a lifetime and not being influenced by having this utter crap around him all the days of his life. I cannot imagine any Seminary of the the Jesuits -particularly a South-American one – not having spread more or less this same rubbish for decades. I cannot imagine any of the people who have lived in such an environment being sincerely concerned with evangelisation rather than the un-Christian “dialogue” as expressed above. For proper liturgy the Jesuits haven’t cared in their best years, so you can forget that, too.
I could never have imagined that one of them; one who led them as a head of a Province, and formed them as head of a seminary, and even comes from the worst place for a Jesuit of them all, would have become… bishop of Rome.
Pope Francis has now the opportunity to fight this cancer. If he even recognises the disease, that is.
I was reading around on the Internet about the usual rubbish of the usual wannabe “priestesses”, demanding Christianity be reshaped in their own image.
I started to wonder. I am no expert of mad feminists, but do these wannabe priestesses support… priest celibacy? Would they be ready – in the logically absurd case they were allowed to become priestesses, and cats to bark – to be celibate priestesses? Again, without being an expert of the madhouse one can comfortably say most of them wouldn't, and those who would “would not want to impose their view on others”.
Therefore, we can safely assume the aspiring wymyn priest would want to be priest, but not celibate; or better said, they would clamour the Church is wrong on both male priesthood and priest celibacy. Hhmmm…
Then one wonders how many of those females believe in Transubstantiation. Again, I do not work in a psychiatric hospital, but it seems self-evident to me that if they do not believe in male priesthood, which is clearly infallible teaching but is also common to other religions (Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism), they will have the biggest problems in believing in something so apparently outlandish like Transubstantiation, something absolutely unique to Catholicism and only supported by people determined to parrot them. Hmmm…
What the wymyn think of Papal infallibility, I do not even want to mention: they think you can improve on Jesus; therefore, the only logical consequence is they must think Popes must also never be infallible…
So there we are, and we have:
1. A rabid feminist
2. Who doesn't believe in male priesthood
3. Or in Transubstatiation,
4. And thinks Jesus caved in to social pressure
5. And the Pope is never infallible.
I know who this is…
This is an Episcopalian Witch!
It has now transpired both Pelosi and Biden (attempted to) receive communion during the inauguration Mass.
Whilst the ceremony was transformed in the usual mass-exercise of the V II era (apparently more than 500 people, many of them certainly priests, distributing communion) and we do not know the exact modality of what has happened, it seems clear to me this grave scandal was at least made possible by the Holy Father, who was accessory of their grave sin at the very least by silence.
Pope Francis is certainly aware of the atrocious work of the two Catholic Pharisees in matter of abortion. If he himself gave communion to them, he did so in full knowledge of the grave scandal they continuously give, and can certainly not hide himself behind the finger of the two perhaps having reached perfect contrition in the minutes preceding the reception of the consecrated host. The scandal given by the two being very public, their being allowed to receive in itself gives scandal.
Even if the Pontiff did not give communion to the two himself (which I find improbable, both because of the rank of the hosts and for security reasons) and the two slipped among the crowd to receive from some other priest or “Eucharistic minister” unaware of who they are or too scared to refuse communion to them, the Pontiff is responsible for it because he made it possible through his silence.
It would have been sufficient to address a warning during the homily, impersonal but clear, on the lines of “those who directly or indirectly support abortion in full knowledge of the gravity of their sin are not allowed to receive communion, and are therefore invited not to present themselves in front of me to receive” to keep both Biden and Pelosi solidly anchored to their pews without any names being made; none of the two would have dared to stand up in line and be publicly refused communion by the Pontiff, or simply ask for a benediction acknowledging they are unworthy to receive; nor would they have dared to (attempt to) receive from some other person, lest they are exposed in front of all the planet like the con tricksters they actually are.
Someone may say that this was a diplomatic exercise, and therefore had to be conducted according to the usual rules of diplomacy. Fine, and no one asks the Pope should have refused to have Biden and Pelosi at the Mass and should have asked Obama to send him presentable representatives instead. Still, when the rules of diplomacy impinge on the Sacraments, a line too much has clearly been crossed.
Nor can it be said this is not the first time such scandals happen (Pope Benedict apparently did exactly the same when he visited the US, and he certainly gave communion in Germany to “Catholic” politicians of whom he knew they gave scandal) and therefore the matter should be looked at with more leniency. Scandals committed in the past by past Popes do not justify scandals committed in the present by the present one, and no one is ever obliged to receive, or ever forced to give, Holy Communion.
The result of the Inauguration Mass is that Pelosi and Biden will now be able to continue their work undisturbed, and brag with everyone they have even received Communion at a Mass celebrated by the Pope – and very probably from his own hands – so they must be fine Catholics after all.
It is utterly irrelevant whether this is how things really stand, or not; that is, whether the two have validly received. This is how the two will be perceived by the huge number of ill-instructed and ill-informed Catholics in the US, and the Pope enabled them to continue to do so.
This Papacy claims to be on the side of the weak and unprotected. Posed in front of the choice between the hundreds of thousand of babies slaughtered every year in the United Stares alone and the prospect of seriously angering powerful people – and their President – by clearly upholding Catholic values for all the world to see, the Pope chose to please the second rather than defend the first; but he was not shy in making popular gestures in front of the world cameras, like stopping the car and go to the disabled man in the wheelchair.
Up to now, the “defence of the week” seem to be all right when a world audience is there and there’s nothing to be feared, but to stop when it becomes inconvenient; but the Holy Father wears a metal cross and used to travel by bus, so he must be a friend of the oppressed. At least of those who have not been butchered because of Biden and Pelosi.
Whenever I am in Rome, I get inebriated at the richness of our Catholic heritage, which is not only the Vatican Museums and the glorious palaces linked to the Church's history but, largely, churches.
These churches can be entered by everyone – provided he is dressed, and behaves, decently – without any expense. This is a very nice contrast to England, where the oh so inclusive so-called CoE asks you a variable but never symbolic amount if you want to see any decent Cathedral, topped by the – if memory serves – 15 pounds for Canterbury Cathedral, one of the many buildings they, by the way, stole from us.
If you enter any one of those beautiful Roman churches, you will often find people praying there alone or in little groups (saying the Rosing, for example). You will easily see these people are largely popolani, the Roman word for “working class”. Simple people of faith, caring for their salvation like Samantha Cameron would never even believe, and accumulating treasuries in heaven whilst she cocktails and fundraises herself to hell.
Traditionally, this has been the “audience” of a church: the popolani who made the vast part of the population, and of those attending Mass and the other functions and devotions.
It is, of course, true that the extreme richness of many Roman churches is lavished ad majorem Dei gloriam, but it is also undeniable the main earthly beneficiaries of such magnificence are the vast number of simple people frequenting the churches.
As every properly instructed Catholic will tell a Protestant, a Catholic church is meant to transport those who enter it into another world. The thick walls will keep the hustle and bustle of daily cares outside; the silence or the practising organist will immerse them in an atmosphere of deep spirituality, and the utter magnificence of what they see around them will immediately remind them of the unimaginable treasures waiting for them, one day, after their earthly toil.
It is impossible for a Catholic to conceive that a poor pewsitter could resent, or even question this splendour. Poor may he be, but he will never dare to think “if this Madonna were sold, some of the proceed may help my family”. It would be like stealing from the hand of Christ Himself.
This, every poor man or woman understands without difficulties, and not even the Communists have ever tried to promote laws allowing the sale of the inestimable treasures contained in churches all over the Country (belonging, many of them, to the State, which pays for their upkeep). Such a thinking would be not even the mark of the Philistine, but rather of the Barbarian.
As so often in our life, though, it is the champagne-sipping, gay-marrying, hell bound upper middle class who pose as the protectors of the poor, feeling very holy as they do so. Their stupidity is so vast – or their disingenuousness so false – that they do not think how actually cheap all this beauty is. Firstly, it was largely paid either by the rich (the initial expense) or the ordinary taxpayer, and therefore emphatically not the poor (the upkeep). Secondly, it has nourished with beauty and spirituality a vast number of people; so vast in fact, that if you wanted to distribute the proceeds among the fifteen or twenty generations of pewsitters since construction – not to mention the many ones, God willing, to come – you would discover that the proceeds wouldn't change the life of everyone, but the loss of such beauty would make everybody miserable. Unless, of course, you were to allow one generation to appropriate for themselves the beauty rightly enjoyed by all the future ones, thus proving once again that socialism is never more than two inches away from robbery.
Whenever possible, Catholic churches must be splendid. Let Catholic shows how much they love Christ without any shame and fake “social” prejudices.
Let the Calvinists congregate in squalid barns. We Catholics will continue to delight in our wonderful churches; not only because of the symbolic spiritual value of all the wealth, but because where Christ is present in the Eucharist, no splendour can be too much.
Almost one week after the fateful decision to elect Meisner’s and Mahony’s candidate to the Papacy (though one suspects the latter would have voted for St. Pius X if he had thought this brings him some advantage) it might be worth spending some words about The attitude of the secular, liberal press toward the Holy Father up to now.
It seems to me the secular press has the same problems we traddies have: we know this Pope is more or less influenced by Modernism, and they know this Pope will be, broadly speaking, Catholic. But on the respective good side, we hope he will be a very robust defender of life, marriage and Catholic sexual morality, and they hope he will be a useful Mini-Chavez, propelling them into a sort of Obama stratosphere where illegal immigration, increased taxation and general socialist whining become the new Vatican currency, generously distributed to leftist governments all over the planet.
Not knowing whether thePontiff is to be counted among the useful instruments of their ideology or a threat to it, they choose a cautious middle. They can’t praise him up to the sky, because they’ll be in trouble if he start to seriously bite, but at the same time they can’t attack him too harshly, because they risk losing what could become their best ally by some measure.
Notice, therefore, the cautious attitude not rabidly criticising the Pope for being Catholic, but merely shooting some salvo about his work at the time of the Argentinian dictatorship and the “dirty war”. The rumours – or slander – being largely base on a former guerrillero, it will be easy to dismiss him as an unreliable source should the necessity arise; but if it should become clear that the Pope is to be considered an enemy, the early “dirty war” accusations will allow he Guardian, the New York Times and the others to say “we told you so”.
For leftists this Pope is a bit of an eel, and they seem to wait to see how much political capital can be harvested from him. If the harvest proves plentiful, expect the past to be examined in light of the Pope’s “struggle against economic oppression” and the Pontiff to be praised as a Great Revolutionary. If, however, the harvest fails, expect a torrent of mud like you’ve never seen in your life.
The leftists’ cannons are already in place, and are ready to fight. I hope Pope Francis will accept battle, and relish in it.
When the news of the election of Pope Francis was announced, among the many dismayed commenters on Rorate Caeli and elsewhere there were one or two Anglicans reasoning along the lines of “I was thinking about conversion, but now that (put here your favourite peeve) I cannot see any reason for that”.
Well I cannot, either, then such a conversion would have been a very wrong one indeed. What some Protestants seem not to understand is that the conversion to Catholicism is not just like one of those change of denominations many Protestants seem not to have any problem with; rather, it is a definitive choice, and a choice dealing with absolutes that do not change with the Pope of the day.
To choose Catholicism means to believe and profess that there is only one Church, the one Christ founded on Peter and over which the gates of Hell will never prevail. It is a fundamental choice between Truth and Lie, Orthodoxy and Heresy, Right and Wrong. Whether the Pope is good or bad, liturgically savvy or challenged, a lover of beauty and tradition or a shocking philistine, or even orthodox or heretic is neither here nor there.
When a new Pope is elected, Catholics do not make a new decision whether they want to continue to be Catholic. They believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, not in one, pious, orthodox, and intelligent Pope. Popes come in the most various flavours; some of the flavours historically smelled awfully, and will undoubtedly continue to do so.
When one joins the Church he gets a deal for eternity, not a time contract valid until further notice. What is required from him is a commitment for life, not an approval based on contingent circumstances.
Popes come and go. The Church will stay forever.
Browsing the newspapers this morning, one cannot but have depressing thoughts about how deep we have sunk. Since yesterday evening it would appear bus riding in itself qualifies one to be a good Pope, and Popes who didn’t cook themselves will forever be seen as backward. The new frontier is now a Pope who does his own domestic cleaning, floor scrubbing and toilets obviously included. The bus seems, in fact, elevated to the rank of Great Elector, and the debate whether a proper carbonara is made with or without the albumen of the egg will now be, Deo Volente, answered by the Pope himself.
On the same vein, the number of supposed pundits is multiplying, who after the fact are all eager to tell us why this is such a genial move, conveniently forgetting to tell us why they didn’t think about it before. “Me too, me too!” is the war cry of the day….
Then there are the prophets of the Holy Ghost, explaining to us peasants a reality which would otherwise remain inaccessible to our simple intelligence: the seagull was obviously remote-controlled by Providence, because hey, I have to write something original before someone else does. Yours truly remembers seeing the seagull from the webcam, but neglected to think: “look, a seagull on the chimney! The Holy Ghost is clearly doing overtime! It can only be Bergoglio then, or at the very least a cyclist!”. Very stupid of me, I admit.
In all this, I miss the hard facts: the number of vocations in the Holy Father’s archdiocese during his tenure; how the Argentinian Jesuits fared during his tenure; how the seminary he ran fared during his tenure. They will be published somewhere, I am sure; but it seems no one of those whose profession it is to give us this kind of really useful information, and who have at their disposal extensive research resources, care two straws for it.
We are fed with the bus, the cooking, and the seagull instead.
Today marks the beginning of the Conclave, and the one or other Cardinal still manages, through friendly journalists, to get his name mentioned in the press, together with the one or other easy slogan making his name look so beautiful.
This morning, two of them have attracted my still sleepy attention: the Church is, says one Cardinal, supposed to bring “joy” to the world. If you ask another, the Church must “accompany” it.
This is the kind of Tofu Catholicism with which two generations of unfortunate faithful have now been fed. It tastes of nothing, but it is fashionable, and apparently considered healthier than the traditional fare.
Now, I have nothing against joy. If David Cameron were to be ousted today, I would experience a heavy dose of it. I also like Hope as a theological virtue, and try to practice it as good as I can. But when Catholicism – nay; the role itself of the Church – is reduced to “joy” something is going very, very wrong.
Tofu Catholicism does not confront one with the harsh realities of life, but rather sweeps the unpleasant news under the carpet or, if we want to remain by the culinary metaphor, neglects the possibility of death out of lack of vitamins. “Joy” becomes, for the clergy and the laity of the V II generation, an easy escapism which refuses to even consider the extremely harsh, but extremely real, threat of Hell. This Catholicism is like a Brothers Grimm's tale where the wolf is automatically neutralised, grandma is taken out of his belly amidst the applause of the crowds, and the happy end is simply taken for granted whilst everyone feels so good and holy. Whatever this is, this is not Catholicism. Let's hope we are spared a Pope of the “joyous” type.
The other easy slogan is the “accompanying”. How beautifully ambiguous! How wonderfully uncommitted! One can “accompany” pretty much anyone on this planet without doing the least for their salvation. One can “accompany” them through their divorcing and remarrying, their contracepting, their morning-after-pill taking, their “gay friends” boasting, without ever having to say one word about the grave dangers their walk leads into. Still, how good it sounds. Gentle. Caring. Full of understanding.
It is a clear indication of the V II clergyman that he tries not to mention Christ. If he does, he'll present a kindergarten version of Him, lest the sheep be scared. He'll rather “accompany” them, babbling tofu-tasting waffle about “joy”, and “accompanying” them all the way to hell.
Today marks the beginning of the Conclave.
O Lord, please give us a strong Pope.
Good morning, dearest ones. I am Cardinal Baddy, but you can simply call me “baddy”. I am very modern and in touch with the times, you know…
Let me tell you first that I am a bad cardinal. My priests do what they please, some are homosexual, some have a mistress, many don’t believe in God, Mass is generally an irreverent mess. But I am very popular with the press, and a darling among the rich and powerful; I lead a pampered, privileged life, so why should I care; I don’t believe in God anyway…
I will soon be locked in the Sistine Chapel, so before I do let me tell you what my plans are.
My buddies and I want, at all costs, avoid a Pope really intentioned to be Pope. One of those chaps believing they can tell us what to do, and the like. This would be disastrous. Not only would it mean the end of my tranquil life, but it could even mean the end of my privileges. If the new chap started to look at the state of my archdiocese, I could end up as Nuncio in some country plagued by flies in no time! I have also, ahem, covered for one or two of my buddies who had a weakness for young boys; a friend in need, and all that. In retrospect, this was not a good move. It must never come out.
No, what my friends and I (plenty of us in the Conclave) need is someone who leaves us alone, and allows the party to go on undisturbed. A weak, harmless, peaceful guy, who does not even understand what is going on. We won’t say it openly, of course. We will push for a “pastoral” man, a man able to “connect”, and bring to the world the “gentleness” of the Church. In short, a puppet.
We would love to have one from the Third World; erm, excuse me: a developing country, then they are the most usable puppets. South America doesn’t exactly fit, but will do admirably anyway. Either way, we’d love some socialism and some anti-capitalist rhetoric. Very popular, keeps you at peace with populist governments and it is just the ticket at my cocktail parties.
Ideally, he should be a very prayerful man. Gentle, kind. The one the newspapers would love to have on the first page. Also, no managerial experience, and a history of letting other people do what they want. We need a poster boy, not a leader.
When we have persuaded the planet the Church has chosen a holy man of God, we will be able to get to work seriously. Our men in the Vatican will have him trained in no time, because not knowing the machinery of the Vatican – or any machinery, comes to that – he will follow whatever they “suggest” with great docility. They will stress with him how complex and multi-faceted the Church is; the need to leave great autonomy to the local bishops; the importance and modernity of a non-authoritative style; the necessity to be “inclusive”.
We will, in the meantime, continue to arrange matters our own way. We will allude to “reforms” whenever we think we need a popularity boost; we will talk endlessly of women, peace, and social justice; we’ll give the lapsed, contracepting, divorcing, remarrying, buggering Catholics to understand we’d love to be on their side, but alas, the duties of the office… They can continue to pay, though, because they know our hearts are on their side…
We will also push for a hard stance towards traditionalists, particularly the SSPX, because they are of the greatest danger to us. We’ll try to get rid of Summorum Pontificum if we can, or continue to ignore it if we must, then these conservatives will be our undoing if we allow them to continue to grow undisturbed.
So, I hope I have explained my objective: a weak, popular, prayerful man; harmless with us, but popular with the masses; not too smart, or he will see through our little game; clueless, and ready to be guided by our men in all important matters; from a far away and poor country, so we can play the populist card; flexible with words, so we can arrange the needs of the spenders without becoming openly heretical.
Yes, the Church in the West will continue to shrink; but frankly, who cares? Do I believe in God, that I should be worried about the next centuries? When I’m gone, I’m gone, but as long as I am here I want to make the most of it. If must be, I’ll close some churches, then some more. I’ll die a Cardinal Archbishop anyway.
Awfully sorry now, I must make the last preparations.
Wish us good luck.
You won’t be surprised to know that I don’t like the SNAP.
The so-called “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests” (most of the victims are obviously killed, you know; hence “survivors”…) pretends to provide “support” for the victims of abuse by (mostly: homosexuals like this one) pedophile priests, but in fact promote the usual disgusting anti-Catholic, leftist, “liberal Catholics, dissenting, contraceptive, satanic agenda.
Now, the SNAP would obviously not let the Conclave go without making asses of themselves. This time, they have done it in two press releases: with the first they have informed us of which twelve Cardinals they truly do not want to see as Pope (Scola, Ouellet, and Turkson among them). With the second, they have informed us of which candidates they consider their favourites…
No wait! these people truly hate the Church! So they have called them “least worst”, as the idea of someone being a “good” candidate according to their standards is truly beyond the pale.
This time, I will give you the name: they are two Cardinals, Tagle** and Schoenborn, and one Archbishop, Martin of Dublin. I personally do not think Schoenborn has any chance (unless the Cardinal want a revolt of heretic priests on a planetary scale), Tagle I never liked and has even less chances, and Steve Martin is probably more likely to be elected than Diarmuid Martin.
Notice the following, though:
1) Three Cardinals among 115 were, evidently, not to be found.
2) SNAP think the world revolves around their gripe: they decide those who want and do not want to see as Pope merely based on their own whining attitude, with utter disregard of the countless other qualities a Pope should have, and challenges he will have to face. Me, Myself and I. The True Obama Spirit.
3) They think a Pope can only be bad. No escape from that. If they get their own dream candidate among the available ones (including all archbishops, it appears), then it will only be “least worst”. Gosh, that’s… that’s… insensitive!
SNAP might well be disappointed, as between them Scola and Ouellet account for a good percentage of the probabilities. I actually suspect our whining heroes have inserted in their black list a couple of the favourites, so they can cry very loud and get further publicity if one of them is elected.
If Ouellet or Scola make it, this will be good for some fun…
* stupid comments on the lines of “you condone abuses by priests” will be deleted faster than their authors can say “I am an idiot”.
** Errata Corrige: Tagle, not Ranjith. My apologies, post written several hours after reading the article and I got confused after answering a comment about Ranjith.
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.