North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple has signed the strongest bill limiting abortion after the tragedy of Roe vs Wade. The new bill bans abortion once the baby's heart is “detectable”, which is at around 6 weeks.
Make no mistake, this measure does not ban abortion in the least; it is well possible to be sure of pregnancy within this time, and of course abortifacients like the “morning after pill” are not touched by the law.
Still, this is clearly a most courageous step towards the return to sanity. I do not doubt this Law will be challenged and will end up in front of the ugly fat lesbian and the other people already mentioned in a very recent post; but however the outcome of the legal challenge, it is clear the pressure on Roe vs Wade is mounting.
This legislative measure is also, if you ask me, a good way to put a probable decision of the US Supreme Court in favour of sodomy in perspective. Would a single judge of the Supreme Court have thought in 1973 that in 2013 Roe vs Wade would be more controversial than ever? I doubt it. Much more probably, they thought their decision would end the debate once and for all. Big mistake.
The same will, very probably, happen if the Supreme Court tries to shovel abominations down the throat of the Christians: it is going to start a decade-long fight that, in time, will lead to the recovery of traditional Christian values, exactly in the same way as abortion is now challenged in a way certainly not hoped by many in the years following Roe vs Wade.
The lot of our generation is to see Christianity massively challenged. The day we die, let it not be said of us we have not been able to raise to this challenge.
God bless the voters, the lawmakers and the Governor of North Dakota.
Magdi Cristiano Allam has now announced he considers his conversion to Catholicism “finished”
If you browse the Italian press you will see Allam – a popular, if controversial journalist; convert from his cradle Islam, and its sworn enemy – has a long litany of grievances: the impering buonismo, or “good-ism”, the stance of too many among the clergy towards illegal immigration, the shock of what he calls the “two Popes”, and the orgy of “papolatry” after Pope Francis' election. His main grievance and “last straw” is, though, the soft stance taken by Pope Francis towards Muslims. Allam even goes as far as to say that Francis has offered a legitimation to the god of the Muslims, and to the Koran and the worship in mosques as authentic expressions of worship of God.
One does not even know where to start.
The stance of some of the clergy concerning immigration can be as wrong as Allam pleases, but it doesn't change a iota in Church doctrine. The doctrine of the Church comes from God, not from the one or other priest or bishop. Certainly, buonismo has afflicted the Church since the dawn of Vatican II, but Allam can surely not say he wasn't aware of it. Like the Fatherland, the Church will have a lot of problems, and plenty of wrong people in key positions; but even more than the Fatherland, the Church is loved for what it is, not for the people who act on its behalf.
This remark applies very fittingly to the most grave reproach moved to Pope Francis: giving a passport to Islam. Granted, Pope Francis' recent words have all the sugary ambiguity of Vatican II, and can – as it is typical for VII waffle – be interpreted by pretty much everyone as he likes. Still, there is a huge difference between saying that Pope Francis doesn't have the gut to talk straight about Islam and saying that he considers allah worshiping a legitimate form of God worship.
The question is, really, not even this one; the real key to all Catholic understanding is that what a Pope says concerning any matter concerned with the foundations of Catholic doctrine can never cause any deviation from it. A Pope cannot change infallible doctrine more than he can the course of the planets, or God himself. As a result, for a Catholic what the Pope says can be useful in gauging how orthodox this Pope is (and the Pope could be a heretic, as already happened in the past), but is perfectly irrelevant to his belonging to the Catholic Church.
Do you want it put more bluntly? Even if the Pope were to officiate a mixed ritual with a Hindu priest, a Rabbi and a Muezzin, this wouldn't change a iota in what the Truth is, what the Church stands for and my proud belonging to it; though of course it would have consequences on my assessment of the Pope and, in extreme cases, of his legitimacy in the office.
But you see, Allam doesn't say even that. He does not denounce the Pope as illegitimate, but the Church as wrong! He has, like many Protestant fake converts, made his own Bespoke church, and his allegiance to the Catholic Church only lasted as long as he considered the Church compatible with his own made-to-measure set of beliefs.
This is the more disappointing because Allam is an intelligent man, and Pope Benedict had in 2008 clearly accepted to officiate his conversion mass – a favour he refused to Tony Blair – exactly because he though Allam more committed and sincere than Blair.
We must not blame Benedict for Allam's voltafaccia. Allam is clearly the only one to blame; but this should be a cautionary tale for everyone – and I think here particularly of Anglicans – who think they can tailor Catholicism to the preferences and set of beliefs they already have, and discard their conversion once the new shop does not pay enough reverence to their own personal preferences.
What the Pope says has no bearing on Truth. Truth remains exactly the same whatever the Pope says. If the Pope defends the Truth well, he is a good Pope; if he does it badly or very badly, he is a bad or very bad Pope; if he spreads heretical thinking, he is an heretical Pope; and if he tries to spread his heretical thinking ex cathedra, then he – if he hasn't been killed by the Holy Ghost before doing it – loses his legitimacy and isn't Pope anymore.
But in all of this, a Catholic is true to the Church till death; lest, like Magdi Allam, he gravely endangers his soul in the pursue of his own prideful, home-made religion.
Allam has not said to what he wants to “convert” (unless to his own religion, of course) and I am not interested into the details of whether he is in formal apostasy. He has publicly distanced himself from the Church that embraced him just a few years ago, and has insulted Her as institution. I think this is bad enough.
It would appear that in the Netherlands orphanages are not an option.
We know this because the Dutch head of Government has justified giving a child in adoption to a so-called “couple” of perverts with the remark that there weren't other candidates.
One wonders what has happened to common sense, though one could attempt the answer that in the Netherlands common sense was smoked up in weed a long time ago.
For countless generations, orphanages were the places where children without parents – or whose parents were alive but not in a position to raise them – could grow up in a protected environment and be raised with Christian values. Christian charity has taken care that the money for such establishments was available, and Christian feelings would not have allowed the children to be raised without a proper Christian education. I cannot imagine even Calvinists would, in the past, have reasoned any differently.
Not anymore, it appears. Firstly, the supposed “right” of a child to have “parents” prevails over basic common sense. Add to this the immense stupidity of considering two perverts a “couple” and you have all the ingredients for what is happening now.
One would hope this episode would now spark a great controversy, but this is truly not to be expected. For decades now, the Netherlands have been one of the most Godless countries on the planet, and there is no sign of this changing any time soon. In almost three years of intensive news reading on Catholic issue I also do not remember, off the cuff, a single time when a senior member of the Dutch Catholic clergy has taken a strong stance against evils considered normal in his own country. The Netherlands have reached such a degree of degeneration that only a very insistent, very vocal battle for Christian values would, after a number of years, put Christian issues in the public debate.
As the traditional Protestant countries experience the collapse of Christianity following the advanced state of decomposition of their Ecclesial communities, it should be the Church's role to pick up up the fight and build on the ruins of the Protestant suicidal madness.
Not happening, I am afraid.
I think I know how the average local Mass looks like.
Sometimes I think professional journalists have their boss telling them “give me something new within 4pm!”, and that's that; then it is the poor devils' job to deliver some rubbish with pretence of originality within the given time, or else…
I can, frankly, not find many other reasons why a piece would be published like the one to be found in the Catholic Herald, signed by one Jose Maria Poirier about the Pope who “enters the fray” but, erm, also exits it.
Mr Poirier has figured everything out, and one can only envy his sureness of touch whilst the rest of us are rather in the dark as to what kind of Papacy we are going to get.
After the usual introduction, the author informs us the fact the Pope “addressed himself to Rome” (that was a surprise, I must say…) “might also appear to be an ecumenical gesture that embraces the Anglican, Lutheran and even Orthodox faiths”. What? How does the one lead to the other? Besides, are not the Orthodox far nearer to us (theologically,liturgically, and in matters of Faith and Morals) than the Lutherans and, good Lord, the Anglicans? If the Pope sneezes, will this be taken to signify an ecumenical gesture that embraces the Wiccans?
After more blabla (” a change that is as impossible as it is necessary”: logic clearly isn't the author's forte, but hey, it sounds daring) we are told about the Pope's “diplomacy across the religions”, and we know diplomacy is the new evangelisation. Enter Abraham Skorka, widely reported on the net as a vocal supporter of “homosexual unions”, and together with whom the Pontiff authored a book. How bloody ecumenical, and how little evangelical. Skorka is also on record with saying the new Pontiff will “search the Truth”, which says you a lot about the intellectual depth of the man.
But the most interesting part hasn't arrived yet. Apparently, the Church now has a “central problem: how to combine centuries-old tradition with the 2013 generation and current cultural sensitivities”. It may seem the usual peace and love waffle, but it isn't: “combine” here clearly means “make compromises with”, “make people happy”, “be popular and attractive”. This Church changes, “evolves”, “becomes”.
Do you want proof? We are informed that the Church seems “out of touch” and “unattractive”, and someone should tell the man the Church is supposed to be so, then if you are “in touch” and “attractive” for the world you are most certainly doing things the wrong way. But hey, the man clearly lives in the Seventies, so don't wake him up.
Dulcis in fundo, the prophecy. After telling us pretty much exactly what the Pope will do and how, the man proceeds to tell us it wouldn't be too bold to presume Pope Francis will, “after a few years”, resign!
The poor Pontiff almost hasn't started, and the conciliarist troops already dream of the CoE Pope: a stint at the top, and then please be considerate and make place for someone else, so we can continue to become more “attractive” and “in touch” with the next one, and in tune with the “2018 generation”.
Heavens, if these are his friends, Pope Francis certainly does not need enemies.
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.
It might be, perhaps, useful to explain to my readers how I intend to report and comment the issues – which I fear will be numerous – concerning the new Pope.
Good or bad (or very bad; or awful; or outright heretical) the Pope is my Pope, and he will be until he proclaims an error as dogma. This means that before I criticise, I will do my best to examine what he says without any animosity or preconceived criticism.
If I find what he says or does is objectively wrong (a Pinocchio Mass has simply no excuse, none whatsoever) or highly questionable (the “poverty drive” and the awful whiff of populism) then I will express my criticism in terms which I see as respectful, but very open; and I will continue to go back on them as long as the issues themselves continue to exist.
I can safely say no one will ever suspect me of acquiescence to all the Pope says merely because it was said by the Pope; at the same time, cries of impending doom seem wildly inappropriate to me, and I have no intention whatever of starting my own little personal war against Pope Francis qua Pope Francis.
Instead, I will try to examine the single facts as they are presented to me, and do my best to provide a comment of which I hope Padre Pio would – taking account of my human shortcomings and of my rather emotional nature – not disapprove; and in doing so, I will try to say it straight – and try to inject some humour here or there – without, I hope, becoming all too heated.
If, therefore, you are hoping that this blog becomes an outlet of anti-Francis propaganda and resentment you will be disappointed, because I will endeavour to report what I think is good with the same zeal I report what I think is going wrong. Please also consider the good, gentle, and liturgically (somewhat) conservative Benedict was largely unable to be effective, but a strong-willed Pope will be able to do a lot of good at least in what concerns particular issues; though I am persuaded that if a Pope's theology is polluted by neo-Modernism – an issue from which none of the VII Popes are totally exempt anyway – this Pope will never be what is expected from him, and error will accompany him every day of his life.
Neither a Pollyanna nor a Grumpy old man, this is what I would like to be when I write on this blog. If you are looking for militant anti-papacy or sugary “who are we to judge” rubbish, your time is better employed away from this blog.
Pope Francis was elected only some days ago, and the most savage rumours have begun to circulate.
First there was the Anglican chap reporting the then Cardinal told him “we need you as Anglican”, a senseless drivel that can only come from, erm, an Anglican.
Then there was the rumour that the newly elected Pope had given instruction to look for accommodation in a monastery for Cardinal Law. A prelate of the Church being involved, the Vatican has made officially known this is rubbish.
Thirdly, Cardinal Hummes has expressed his opinion that the Mass must be “changed”, in which way we are not told, and the Internet is aflame with fears of the upcoming Apocalypse. Last time I looked, the Pope’s family name was Bergoglio, not Hummes, and he seems a rather strong-willed man; a man of the type that is not so easily influenced as a more wavering man (like Benedict) would.
Lastly, the dreamers and nutcases are in full delusion mode, with Leonardo Boff (yes, he is still alive) abandoning himself to the most absurd heretic’s wet dreams because Bergoglio is now Pope and can, or so Boff thinks, “do what he wants”.
My suggestion is that we do not lose perspective and, in the evaluation of the Pope’s intentions, stick either to what the new Pope has demonstrably said and done, or to what appears reasonable interpretation from people who have earned a reputation of seriousness and credibility. The Pinocchio Mass is documented in video, as are the black shoes and the refusal to wear the Mozzetta. Cardinal Pell’s indication we would have “little to fear” are worth reporting as a reasonable forecast from a reasonable man. Savage fantasies about impending revolutions should not be cause of any worry.
After the events of the last days, it might be good to refresh an elementary principle of logic that is, if you ask me, all too often forgotten: the principle of non-contradiction. The principle states that contradictory principles cannot be true in the same sense at the same time. It seems obvious, and it is, but one would be surprised at reflecting how often it is neglected.
Pope Francis, as we all know, refused to wear the Mozzetta and the golden cross. His new attitude found, we are informed, many friends among Catholics, to whom “simplicity” is suddenly so appealing, particularly now that a phenomenon completely unknown during the history of the Papacy (I am obviously referring to the poor) has appeared. Perhaps we should stop a moment and reflect on what is happening here.
As you all know, Catholicism is very rich in symbolism. It is, in fact, so densely populated with it, that a typical trait of Protestant denominations is either the toning down or the outright abandonment of the extremely rich Catholic traditions.
The sedia gestatoria wasn't the way the Church prevented a Pope from muddling his shoes. The Tiara wasn't conceived so that he Had to keep his head straight. The ermine Mozzetta isn't there because Popes are old and need to keep warm. They are symbols of Papal authority, a sensorial way (visual, in this case) to remind one in a simple but effective manner of a supernatural reality. Of course, it is not the Tiara that count, it's the Papacy; but every attack to the symbols of power symbolises, nay, it literally invites, a weakening of this power.
In past ages, everyone understood this, and this symbolism found application everywhere. When Kings had real power, they had real crowns, and real sceptres, symbolising their position; symbols of power whose use in real life has almost disappeared, together with their power. Similarly, when Priests wanted to be recognised as such they wore a cassock; when they started to be “one of us”, they started to wear priestly suits; and when they started to be ashamed of being priests, they started to wear plain clothes. You can think of further thirty examples of this elementary logic for yourselves. Symbols are powerful.
Some of the symbols of Papal authority are now – if we are honest with ourselves – under attack. After the sedia gestatoria and the mitra, the Mozzetta, golden cross and red shoes are now supposed to go. Make no mistake, this attack to the symbols of the Papacy is, whether willingly or not, a weakening and banalisation of the majesty of the Petrine Office.
Which leads us nicely to the initial argument: this abandonment of the traditional symbolism of the Papacy can find you in agreement or not, but not both at the same time.
It can't be that Benedict was right in recovering aspects of Catholic tradition, and Francis is right in demolishing them. One of them must be wrong, because they are at opposite poles of the way to understand the art the Papacy must be perceived. Again, this here is not about not liking red shoes, or thinking the Mozzetta is too warm; it is about wanting that the authority of the Papacy is clearly, immediately, unmistakably perceived. This desire, cultivated for centuries and so very typical of Catholicism, cannot be right and wrong at the same time. You either are with with Benedict and his predecessors, or with Francis.
Why, then, so many commenters around many blogs, who were all in favour of Benedict's red shoes, are now enthusiastic fans of Francis' black ones? Because they aren't thinking, they are merely emoting; which latter also avoids the embarrassment of having to think “the Pope is wrong”, apparently a taboo among so many that I begin to think the Protestant mockery of “Papolatry” certainly applies to a good many simple Catholics.
Imagine a new, young queen appearing in low-cut jeans and t-shirt, and the crowd saying “how beautiful! How simple! How humble! So long, useless pomp of the past! She is one of us, why shouldn't she dress like one of us?”. The answer obviously is that she shouldn't, because she isn't. But if she starts to dress like one, at some point she'll certainly be.
Thinking of which, why is the red Mozzetta not in order, but the white cassock is? Why should the “bishop of Rome” not dress like every other bishop? Everyone knows he is the Pope, right? And why a cassock? How many priests wear cassocks? Would not be more “humble” and “simple” to wear a simple priestly suit? What about trousers and sweaters? Why not jeans? He is one of us, right?
So long, shoes! Welcome, sandals!
“But, no, Mundabor, he isn't! He is the Pope! Successor of Peter! Vicar of Christ!”.
Exactly. He is the Pope, Successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ, and out of respect for the Holy Office with which he was entrusted he should have the humility to dress accordingly and appropriately, whether he likes it or not.
I'd say this respect for one's office is fitting for everyone, but most of all for a Pope.
I am not one of those people happy to have problems come to them before they deal with it. I always want to know how to cross the bridge before coming to it. As a result, I cannot avoid thinking what will happen in the troubled relationship between the Vatican (make no mistake, they are the ones who are troubled) and the SSPX.
You only need to look at the then Cardinal Bergoglio’s “Pinocchio Mass” (provided it was a validly celebrated Mass, about which I have my doubts) to understand that an almost sidereal distance separates, at least as per yesterday afternoon, the Society from the new Pope. At the same time, the Pinocchio Mass very well explains why the SSPX will never renounce to speak out loud against such liturgical abominations, and could never be persuaded – much less threatened – to an arrangement which in the end would mean to abandon and betray the very mission of the Society. It can, therefore, be excluded the SSPX will “approve” or “renounce to disapprove” of such irreverent, impious antics.
A different matter altogether is, as I see it, the posture the Vatican will take towards the Society. As per today I think it might be one of the following:
1. Business as usual.
The Society remains in what the Vatican calls “imperfect communion”. No rapprochement, no open conflict, things remain as they are waiting for better times or, rather, better Popes.
2. Nuclear Conflict
In this scenario, the Pope will let the Society know that unless they like his Pinocchio Mass – or renounce to state they don’t – terrible things will happen to them, like for example 2000 years of Christian liturgical tradition being declared “schismatic”. Should such an unthinkable event take place, Pope Francis will take the place of honour near Pope Liberius amidst heretical Popes, the SSPX will happily ignore his diktat and carry on as usual, and their prestige as beacons of orthodox Catholicism will be immensely increased.
3. Guerrilla warfare
In this case, the Vatican would try to weaken the Society according to the Ratzinger/Mueller schema already observed in 1988 and 2012: stick and carrot, with no open war but insisted criticism of the Society’s position, perhaps a re-excommunication, and a prolonged attempt to divide them luring away some of their elements with the promise of a kind of “FSSP status”, perhaps with some privileges added. Predictably, this strategy wouldn’t work more now than it did in 1988 and 2012. Every SSPX priest is aware he could defect to the FSSP, if he so wished, anytime, so if they stay it is for well pondered reasons. Therefore, in this case I see another “business as usual” scenario, though rather more heated at times.
In all cases, I confess myself unable to see what damage the new Pope could do – if he wanted, which we don’t know and I don’t think – to the Society. Besides having a liturgical credibility slightly below zero, the new Pope is certainly smart enough to understand every attack on the SSPX would be nothing else than further justification for the Society’s existence.
The SSPX exists for one reason only: because the Vatican is drunk with Neo-Modernism. The idea they should be wiped out if the Vatican becomes even more Neo-Modernist is totally unrealistic, completely illogical and fails to recognise the society’s very raison d’être, their way of thinking, their motivation, their loyalty to Christ.
I think it’s fair to say scenario 2 is improbable, and we will rather have a mixture of 1 and 3.
But even if it should be open war, I can’t see why the SSPX should be scared.
The morning after, and conservative Catholics are trying to come to terms with what has happened. I have been around on the Internet, and I see a despondency almost pleased of itself. “We are doomed!”; “Lord, have mercy!” and similar expressions are very easy to be found. Do you want my take?
Get a grip.
The world has not ended, and it is not as if Schoenborn or Meisner had been made Pope. This Pope might be bad or very bad as the case may be (I have almost abandoned hope that he might be only mildly bad, though you never know), but he will not be the undoing of anything, least of all our Holy Mother Church.
The Church who survived Liberius and Benedict IX, John XXII and Alexander VI, Leo X and Paul VI will also survive Francis, no matter how bad or how long his pontificate. Countless souls may be lost, but we must see in this a deserved punishment for the folly of the past 50 years, a folly possibly far away from being terminated.
In the end, I dare to say my own salvation and the salvation of the ones I love is a more pressing need to me than the Cardinals electing the right Pope. Everyone reading this blog is either properly instructed himself or on its way to be it; perhaps on his way to conversion to the Faith, or to the Only Church. This is what counts most in our individual lives.
Be brave. Continue what you are doing. Try to pray more, or better, or both. Nurture yourself from the endless resources of traditional Catholicism now luckily available on the Internet, particularly for those able to read in English. No Pope Francis will ever be able to block your way to salvation, or to change a iota in the way you interact with your loved ones.
The Church – and the life of all of us – is a rich tapestry whose beauty is made of contrast. The folly of the past caused a re-awakening in so many souls; even out of a great tragedy like Vatican II, God can make good fruits. You, my dear reader, are probably one of them.
At my age, I must accept the possibility that I will die without seeing the return to liturgical and pastoral (real, not fake) sanity. So be it, then. I will endeavour to walk in faith all the days the Lord has allotted to me, knowing that if I manage to escape the worst – which I do hope I will – the problems of the Church will have been for me an incentive to think, and do, better; and the day I die, I hope to be able, wretched sinner as I am, to at least say the words: tradidi quod et accepi.
Strive to learn more. Take refuge in the wisdom of the ages. Resolve to improve your knowledge of sound Catholicism as the world around you drowns in easy sound bites who could have been said by the Pope, or John Lennon, or Bono. Never lose hope, and never lose faith.
Don’t despair. Pray more. Be brave.
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.
Among the many names circulating in the press concerning the future Pope (it would be, in fact, interesting to know whether there are Cardinals to whom no newspaper has attributed any chance; even the old heretic Meisner got his mention, which now practically leaves only Hans Kueng out) one who offers some interesting reflection is Cardinal Piacenza.
Piacenza is clearly in favour of Summorum Pontificum, though he appears not to have celebrated the Traditional Mass after it. He has scandalised the Italian journalists with his “interpretations” of Vatican II, apparently consisting – or so they say – in keeping the name and killing the rest. He appears to have the forma mentis of a “doer” rather than of a dreamer, a writer, or a traveler.
It is no more possible for me than for everyone else – including the 5,000 Journalists now enjoying the incipient Roman spring – to gauge the real chances of the man. What I would like to point out is that even if we do not get him, we should certainly hope in one like him.
Our dream – and certainly mine – of a Pope in Sixtus V-style, who starts an extremely vigorous politics of reform as soon as he has finished with the Te Deum and walks away from the Sistine Chapel at the sound of Star Wars' “Imperial March” is simply not going to happen. There would never be a two-thirds majority for such a man. Such a man is, probably, not there in the first place.
What is, with God's help, feasible, is a Pope able and willing to lead the Church out of the Vatican II quagmire without causing the Church or the Cardinals – most of them compromised with that rubbish anyway – to lose face.
The “hawks” have certainly understood Vatican II must die, and the “doves” will never vote for one like Piacenza anyway; but if there is a big enough number of “mainstream” Cardinals able to quietly accept that Vatican II is beyond healing and should be put to sleep we might get such a Pope. The counter-Aggiornamento would then happen in a face-saving, but still effective way, with – just to make an example – a counter-Syllabus of errors like the one proposed by the great Athanasius Schneider – Cardinale subito! – and other measures effectively killing the aggiornamento at its very root without too much noise.
I do not know how many Piacenzas will be sitting in the Sistine Chapel tomorrow afternoon, nor how much support they can gather; but my suspicion is that there are many more of those than the liberal leaning Press would want us to believe; Cardinals, I mean, who have realised Vatican II is an unmitigated disaster, but do not want to be made responsible for its failure, and would gladly welcome a Pope able to remove the cancer without causing too much suffering for the patient.
I doubt Ouellet can be this kind of man, as he is consistently portrayed as a timid and gentle man in the mould of the Pontiff Emeritus, and therefore in all likelihood without the energy necessary for such a work of quiet but effective demolition. I think it more probable that people like Scola would be right for the job, as he is never depicted as “shy” and is a man not compromised from a strong connection with the Curia, a circumstance which would offer the Cardinals more guarantees concerning the other big issue of governance.
We will know, possibly, as early as tomorrow evening. After days of sudden alarm every time I read of impresentabili touted as possible Cardinals, I have now come to the more tranquil conclusion that Cardinals tend to be, by all their shortcomings, prudent people, very unlikely to pick a Meisner or Schoenborn or other shameful candidates for whom the two-third hurdle should well prove insuperable.
We will, I think, rather have one of these two: a gentle, kind, timid Pope, inoffensive for the Cardinals and local hierarchy and continuing with the collegial leading style, or a more assertive, muscular, decisive Pope able to tackle problems rather than merely look at them. In the first case they will have a business as usual scenario, with the bill coming in form of continued erosion of Christianity in the West. In the second they will have a reform scenario, but with all the dangers a strong Pope represents for the local hierarchies, particularly when they are inefficient, corrupt, or both.
We will soon know.
O Lord, please give us a strong Pope.
God forbid, this Conclave might – say some – be a long one. I already see the headline of the secular rubbish press, “Church divided” and the like. If we still don't have a new Pope come Wednesday evening, be assured the usual falsehoods will be spread again, and the new Pope will be described as a “lame duck” before even talking of sexual scandals…
Now, it might be good if you would remind your friends, colleagues and acquaintances that the duration of a Conclave is nothing to do with the strength or authority of the Papacy that follows it.
Pope Ratzinger was elected rather fast, but not even his most fanatical supporters would call his a strong Papacy. St. Pius X, on the other hand, was elected after a rather prolonged conclave, but not even his worst enemies would have denied his was a very strong Papacy.
The Press must write something, because newspapers must be sold every day. This morning I have read an article that managed to give chances to 22 Cardinals, as if its author were terrified at the thought of not having the name of the chosen one mentioned in the article; therefore, his idea of avoiding it was to make the article useless.
(As we are there, I'd like to know how big parties can stage elaborate election procedures going on for weeks before electing their boss, but a Pope must be found in a handful of ballots…).
We should, however, not be influenced by the press, and try to avoid as far as we can that the uninformed, the simple and the outright stupid parrot the rubbish they see on TV.
A long Conclave may well produce a strong Pope because a Pope is not like a party leader, who is weakened if he elected with a tiny majority or after a prolonged process. Ed Milliband made it with a very slim majority, and everyone knew he could be easily ousted and was basically on probation (still is, I'd say). The Pope must not win general elections, cannot be ousted, does not need the approval of the party basis and can, if he so wishes, even ignore internal opposition. Once he is Pope, he is in charge exactly in the same way whether it took three or eighty-tree ballots to elect him.
Please let us be fast in pointing out to this in the office etc. should the need arise. If we are going towards a long conclave, we should at least fight the prejudice with energy.
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.
The strange almost human-looking chap above is, very probably, what will give the Pro-Life Army final victory in the battle against abortion. It is an ultra-sound machine, and it allows to see a baby in the womb with a clearness never experienced before by the vast public.
In societies like the Western ones, where technological innovations are massively applied to the field of medicine and rapidly spread to everyday life, it is unavoidable that this machine will, in time, make more and more mothers truly, emotionally aware of what happens when they abort.
Every blathering of “reproduction rights” must surely pale, when a small human being is visible on a screen not three feet away from you. Every argument of “right to choose” must surely be exposed as cruelly selfish, when it is clear that this supposed right is to choose to kill a human life clearly, indisputably existent.
This is why, says here, even Gallup recognises the rapid shift in American public opinion; a shift that, in time and much more slowly, will certainly pave its way on the other side of the Pond too; not because of a newly acquired Christian sensitivity, but because of the sheer force of the ultrasound images.
It would be a delicious paradox if the gravest controversy of the last decades were to be decided through technology coming to the help of the Conservative side, and reinforcing religious ideas previously seen as the epitome of backward thinking.
Besides, technology won’t stop. In five years’ time the images obtained by ultrasound machines will be even better than the ones visible today; in ten years’ time, resistance to abortion ban on some strangely construed “moral ground” will be futile.
Better days ahead.