This is another fruit of the genius of Mitchell & Webb, though not in the way they intended.
This man needs some little re-orientation, and adjustment of coordinates.
He might do with becoming a little more polished, and revising his theology here and there.
After that he’ll make, no doubt, an excellent Catholic priest.
This – as always – excellent Michael Voris video* points out to a very important aspect of the current crisis: the fact that vast parts of the Church (among both the clergy and the laity) simply refuse to see it.
This is largely due, I think, to the increasing influence the media have on the easily impressionable. A Pope gathering extremely large crowds can give the impression that Catholicism is prospering, but this is only a very superficial impression. Catholicism is certainly on the increase, but in vast part of the West its shallowness – and in the worst cases a quiet abandonment of catholic orthodoxy – has been if not actively promoted, certainly tolerated through silence.
When 75% of Catholics don’t go to Mass and almost as big a percentage doesn’ t even believe in the Real Presence, the crisis is there irrespective of how many airports you may fill.
I disagree with Voris’ only in one point: that in this crisis the heresy is not a deliberate choice, but largely a matter of astonishing ignorance of the faithful, ignorance carefully built in 45 years of relentless dumbing down of everything Catholic.
My personal experience is that most non-churchgoing Catholics haven’t any meaningful idea of what offence it is to be a Catholic and not to go to Mass; and as they perfectly well know that many priests wouldn’t insist on it, they are not really going to change their mind when the occasional Mundabor explains the facts to them: when the rules conflict with the reality they see at work every day, a reality amply tolerated by the clergy, how can this be differently?
The same goes for abortion, contraception and the like. In a world where it is rather difficult to find priests who have the gut to say to the parishioners in their face that it is not about what they consider right, but what the Church says it’s right, how do you want to avoid even churchgoers going around picking and choosing? If their priest never tells them so much as a half uncomfortable word, and reduces everything to “celebrating” and “accepting” and being “tolerant”, how can we expect that this rubbish is not going to influence them in their daily lives?
And I am talking of the churchgoers here, let alone the lapsed Catholics.
In the last months I have taken the habit of asking those who say “I am a Christian, but….” (followed by a heresy of their choice) whether they can recite the ten commandments to me.
Of the supposed Catholics, no one can.
The “heresy” of our days is fed by people who don’t even know the ten commandments but have persuaded themselves that they can call themselves “Christians”; a concept that not more than two generations ago would have seemed absurd I do not say to every theologian, but to every child of ten years of age.
The consequence of this is, in my eyes, that one or two generations of committed instruction of Catholics through both the clergy and an aggressive work of propaganda through the media would let the heresy naturally recede; because in the crisis we are living the heresy is not due to a willed, deliberately chosen frontal conflict with the Church, but to the sheer ignorance of what being a Catholic implies.
The way to this goes, in my eyes, through the recovery:
1) of the Liturgy (how do you want people to believe in the Real presence, if you feed them the dumbed down, protestantised New Mass?);
2) of proper Catholic instruction; and
3) of an assertive mentality and media behaviour replacing “social justice” rhetoric with true evangelisation.
The crisis is vast, but it is not such a deep ideological hiatus as, say, the Heresies of Luther, Calvin and Zwingli were.
Bring proper instruction to the sheep, and they will naturally come back to the fold.
Another excellent blog post from Fr Longenecker, “The Collapse Of Cultural Catholicism”..
Fr Longenecker explains the roots of the problem in very clear terms:
“[…]for the last forty years Catholics themselves have not taught Catholicism to their children. They’ve taught ‘American Catholicism’ which is a watered down blend of sentimentalism, political correctness, community activism and utilitarianism. In other words, “Catholicism is about feeling good about yourself, being just to others and trying to change the world.”
As a result of this,
The next generation has drawn the obvious conclusion that you don’t need to go to Mass to do all that. You can feel good about yourself much more effectively with a good book from the self-help shelf, or by attending a personal development seminar. You can be involved in making the world a better place without going to church.
According to the author,
The solution is simple: we must return to the supernatural realities of the historic faith and evangelize like the Apostles of old.
This implies the overcoming of a major difficulty of our times (expressed here in terms so crude as to be, well, Mundaborian): nowadays there are a lot of people who, to all intents and purposes, are pagans believing themselves Christians and this makes the evangelisation work more difficult.
To these excellent observations I allow myself to add my own as in my eyes Fr Longenecker is absolutely right in his analysis of what happens within Catholic families, but in doing so addresses not the first, but second cause of the mess we are in.
In my eyes, cultural Catholicism is the result of assertive Catholic propaganda from the Church hierarchy and the clergy. In countries like Italy and France, cultural Catholicism is (albeit now clearly under attack) still an important part of the thinking of the common man, because it has been aggressively hammered into people’s head for generations.
Or allow me to put it in different terms: the more the Catholic hierarchy is assertively Catholic, the more Her teaching will filter through those strata of the Catholic population who may not be so observant, but still know very well where the Truth lies. Again, traditionally Catholic countries are the best example, with a diffuse Catholic thinking going far beyond the number of the practising Catholics. Still, when the Church limits herself to platitudes, easy slogans and easy-to-digest social issues the devout churchgoers will still continue to attend mass, but in time the message will be utterly lost in the outer circles.
You can see this as an onion, with the core formed by the churchgoers and successive layers formed by less and less aware Catholics. If the Catholic Truth is not assertively propagated, the onion will start to go off from the outer layers. This is exactly what has happened since Vatican II: the onion has lost its flavour because it was considered too pungent and whilst the core is still there and is reasonably healthy, the rest of the onion is decomposing rapidly.
In my eyes, the biggest problem of our time is not the (undeniable) inaction of the parents, but their neglect from the Clergy at all levels from the Popes down. The parents who neglect to properly instruct their children do so because they are left without proper guidance themselves whilst those who had been properly instructed have been, during the Sixties, cowed by the Church herself into thinking that their knowledge had been somewhat badly presented or poorly interpreted and was in dire need of a new, fresh approach.
Il pesce puzza dalla testa, “the fish stinks from the head down”. When the Popes appoint cowardly or heretical bishops, these will sabotage the activity of their priests; when bad priests are allowed to confuse the faithful, confusion will trickle through the next generation and become worse.
At the root of the loss of cultural Catholicism is the Church’s loss of a clear vision of Her identity and purpose, the abandoning of hard truths for easy-to-listen platitudes, the quest for popularity instead of the quest for souls, the abandonment of reverent liturgy for a mediocre, shallow, emasculated attempt at entertainment.
One day we will look in shame at a time where the Church was filling airports and holding mega-masses whilst Catholic identity was going lost. It is not difficult to fill an airport if people come to be told how good they are, nor it is difficult to be a popular Pope if you give people the “peace’n’love” platitudes they so desperately need as an ego fix.
At the root of the loss of Catholic identity is the massive failure of the Church, at all levels and starting from the very top, to properly do Her job. This failure started with Vatican II and was allowed to worsen in the following decades. The attempts at repair that followed have been – in striking contrast with the devastating Sturm und Drang of the Sixties – excessively prudent within the Vatican and almost non-existent at the local level, where sad travesties of bishops a’ la Nichols, Mahony and Nourrichard have been appointed for too long and continue to be appointed. Look no further than Southwark to have the last example, though luckily we are getting beautiful exceptions here and there.
The renewal of Catholic identity must start from the renewal of the Church, from the full recovery of the consciousness of her mission and identity. The rest will follow as the message trickles through increasingly wider strata of society.
Il pesce puzza dalla testa.
I stumbled upon another Rosary site. Well, not only a Rosary site, really. This is a kind of one-stop-shop for many of the needs of the modern Cyber-Catholic. Modestly, there is no emphasis about who are the authors of this site but by clicking around it would appear that it is the brainchild of an association called Auxilium Christianorum. Massive kudos to them.
The site is divided in sections.
There is a Rosary section which very focused on the actual way of praying the rosary. Half a dozen of different traditions and methods of Rosary praying are described in detail. The influence of Simon of Montfort is particularly evident. The entire Rosary section is entirely built upon the pre-Conciliar Rosary structure. The “luminous” mysteries are completely ignored and whilst not less than eleven Papal encyclicals are reported, JP II’s Rosarium Virginis Mariae is spectacularly absent. I begin to think that there may be a message behind that, but I’m not sure which 😉 .
Basically, the entire section is vastly Vatican II-free, and so much better for it. Still, who has written this is well endowed with common sense, and very modern in approach. The “helpful suggestions” include to pray simplified versions of the rosary if one hasn’t time or is too lazy for the full five decades with all the trimming; to not neglect, in case, also to pray the rosary whilst driving (very easy, this, and can be done vocally; in the end a lot of people talk by driving all the time); or, as regards the new-ish and not uncontroversial fashion of wearing a rosary, to not have a problem in wearing is, but by taking it out to use it, in a bold public display of Catholicism. Also please note that these people are traditionalists, but not sedevacantists. The beautiful audio version in Latin (one of the many versions of the Rosary of this excellent site) is recited by none other than… Pope John Paul II! Still no “luminous” mysteries, though…. .
A second section of the site is dedicated to the “Little Office of the Blessed Virgin”, a simplified version of the Divine Office for the use of the laity. This version seems to be further simplifies inasmuch as the first two hours (matins and lauds) are supposed to change daily, which here seems to have been substituted for a standard version. Still, the material is considerable, well presented and available in both English and Latin. This is an excellent resource for all those who want to try to see whether the little office is a devotion for them, and the latin text is a welcome addition.
The third section is very modestly (and inappropriately, I would add) called Catholic Calendar, but it is so much more than that. It is a complete Catholic Almanac with a wealth of resources: saint of the day, daily reading of the Mass; daily reading from the rule of St. Benedict; Martirology; daily reading from the Imitation of Christ; daily reading from the “secret of Mary” (link to full version available); a beautiful “saint picture of the day” with reflections (today, 1st November, it seems to be from Gustave Dore’s “Paradise” after Dante, it is very beautiful), and a lesson of the Catechism of.. Trent (today, All Saints, unavailable and with other reflections instead). This is a source of massive Catholic wisdom and prayer, changing every day and made conveniently available within the same site.
The following section is the “Total Consecration to Mary” after the fashion of Simon of Montfort. The devotion and procedure for the consecration are explained in detail.
The last section is, like a jewel on the crown, the most complete and best presented description of the Fatima apparitions (and more: see Immaculate Heart of Mary part) I have ever read. The material is vast, but still very easy to read. Like all the others, this section too is extremely orthodox and you won’t find any trace of modern imbecility a’ la Vincent Nichols here. Statements like “War, disease, and natural disasters are punishments for sin” are prominently and unapologetically displayed. This site deals with Truth, not with popularity.
Summa summarum, this site deserves to become one of your standard Catholic links from today. Everything here is accurate, from the theology to the attention to practical matters to the very accurate (and I would say: professional) layout and presentation. It is joy to use and explore.
I look forward to many happy (and some less happy, but prayerful) hours in the company of this beautiful site.
A prayer for those who have created such beauty is more than in order.
Mark O’Shea has an article about the canonisation of Non-Catholics, whereby a reader asks him whether the Church should not canonise C.S. Lewis (not a Catholic but a valiant fighter for Christianity throughout).
O’Shea’s answer is basically that the Church should not canonise non-Catholics because this would – irrespectively of the good life and intention of the person in question – downplay the very important difference between those who have the Truth and those who haven’t.
In my eyes, there is another important observation which should be made: in order to canonise someone, the Church needs miracles. Unless I am mistaken, She needs two of them for a non martyr and one for a martyr. Miracles show the will of God in the matter. No miracles, no will of God, no canonisation even if one went to Paradise with the limo.
Now this should introduce an important consideration: how is it that there are no miracles attributed to obviously saintly Protestants? Please let us again remember what the Church says about miracles, that they occur so that God may give us certainty that the person in question is in Heaven. Now, it would appear that God wants to give us proof that a lot of Catholics went to Heaven, but doesn’t want to give us the same guarantee about Protestants.
If he wanted, he would inspire Christians (not necessarily Catholics) to pray for a saintly person’s intercession (some Anglicans do it; Episcopalians might do it) and then He would allow miracles linked with this person to happen. And then the Episcopalians or Anglicans would be able to boast of their own great saints, of the Anglican Padre Pios so to speak and claim that evidently one way is as good to arrive at destination as the other. This just doesn’t happen and whilst I do not doubt that the Anglicans have their own catalogue of “saints”, I doubt that anyone of them would pass the standard demanded of the Catholic ones.
This doesn’t mean that many Protestant are not in Heaven of course; but it certainly means that entrance into Paradise through the window (or the back door) is something God doesn’t want to put a great stress on.
There is only one Church. It is the one of St. Francis, of St. Dominic, of St. Teresa of Avila, of St. Catherine of Sienna, of Padre Pio, of all Her great heroes.
God has shown to us that those great man to whom inexplicable events are linked are invariably Catholic. This happens for a reason and if you ask me it is nothing to do with what the Church should or should not do, because the Church doesn’t create the process.
It has to do with what God wants.
God wants you to be a Catholic.
One never ceases to learn. Also, one never ceases to see how the faithful’s money are squandered and responsibility avoided by the Bishops.
The first bad news: believe it or not, there is a Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community. I kid you not. It exists and it has the obligatory abbreviation (COMECE). It “organises” things. One foresees all too easily further delegations of responsibility from our bishops (“abortion legislation is a COMECE competence as it is a european phenomenon”) to this new conference-organising organ.
The second bad news: Christians are the most persecuted in the world, both in absolute and percentage terms. Roughly one-third of the planet’s inhabitants, but roughly three-quarters of the planet’s religiously persecuted are Christians. I’m sure that a detailed study about where the persecutions come from would also reveal some surprising facts. Or perhaps some unsurprising ones…
The good news: at least this new european absurdity organises something to try to put the problem at the attention of the West. But hey, wait a minute: without COMECE it would be the responsibility of the single Bishops’ Conference to move and actually it is responsibility of every single Bishop to tackle these issues out loud. Do they do it? No, they leave it to the COMECE (please forgive me: can’t be bothered to copy and paste the entire name again) to organise a conference. Gives one a beautiful excuse to shut up before and after – and even during – the conference.
So it’s three bad news after all…..
Beautiful entry from Patrick Madrid’s blog, linking to the video of the homily of a young Franciscan Friar talking about the theme of “do not judge”.
Father Ignatius Manfredonia of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Friary is surprisingly young, but he covers all the bases. He starts pointing out to the eminently devilish nature of the “who are you to judge” cry so often heard nowadays, goes on with the brilliant saying that “saintliness is not silliness”, examines critically the also well-known saying of the Church who “loves the sinner and hates the sin” (very perceptive part, this) and in general gives a brilliant picture of what we can and should judge (the scandal, the open heresy, what is evidently wrong) and when we should refrain from talking about (what is motivated from personal hatred, or things we do not know). He mentions St. Augustine with a clear remark about “open and public evil” (which can and should be judged) but does not forget the parallel call of the Saint to “charity and love”.
Eight minutes well spent. It is very reassuring to see that there are young Franciscans able to thread a path of clear orthodoxy, and in such a brilliant way.