And it came to pass your humble correspondent was at Mass today, and the church was packed. Not “more people than expected” packed; rather “no space to go back to your pew after Communion” packed.
Your humble correspondent, sitting there in the middle of that mass of people, rejoiced, and did not even wonder – as his cynical nature forces him to do everytime he is at your garden variety V II Mass – how many of the present were against, say, abortion or sodomy, much less contraception and premarital sex. What I found striking is that so many people had found the time, in the middle of their busy day, and had decided that God comes first, and all the rest second.
I also wondered how many of your garden variety V II priest have reminded the faithful, last Sunday, that today is a day of obligation in the UK. I do not think they are many. Where I attended last Sunday – a very sad experience, of which I chose not to write – there was no such reminder, though the priest was noted for his high-pitched, vaguely disquieting voice and general demeanour.
But let us go back to today. Your humble correspondent sits there, in the middle of that packed church; and cannot avoid thinking that come rain or shine, Evil Clowns or Angelic Shepherds, a merciful Lord will move the Elect to the right behaviour, and to a good death when their time comes. The times we are living must have, in fact, another phenomenon in place: that God sends on earth an awful lot of Reprobates, who of their own will – and still in accordance with the plans of an Omnipotent God – will merit damnation.
Who knows, perhaps there is a secondary FrancisEffect in this: that some people – perhaps tepid Catholics, perhaps lapsed ones – will be encouraged to rediscover the religion of their fathers; not because of any non-existing orthodoxy of the man, but exactly because they hear what Francis goes spitting around and immediately think: “this is not what I was told!”, thus setting in motion a process of rediscovery.
Perhaps so. Perhaps I am bring my usual optimistic self. Perhaps I am, in fact, clutching at straws.
But it was beautiful, today, to sit in front of a church that reminded me of the masses of my childhood.
For countless generations, Catholics have expressed in words their devotion to the Blessed Virgin; calling her, among other things, Virgin of Virgins, most pure, most chaste, inviolate, undefiled, and most faithful.
On the day following the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I struggle to remember one occasion in which the Unholy Father has encouraged girls and young women to take inspiration and strength from the Blessed Virgin to lead a life of chastity and purity. She who is, and has always been considered, the highest of her sex must, on reflection, stand for everything that the Pope hates.
On countless occasions Francis has shown what he thinks of those who lead an obvious Christian life. He has famously spoken against “excessive doctrinal security”. He has expressed his suspicion that those who are married in church and lead a good Chridtian life are “dead inside”.
One can reach, from all this, only one conclusion: that had Francis lived in the time of the Blessed Virgin he would have considered her a hypocrite, an insufferable bigot and, most probably, an outright fraud.
This without considering the “excessive doctrinal security”, which the Blessed Virgin possessed in the highest measure. How Francis would have hated, if he had lived in the same village, this most angelic woman, this very embodiment of purity and unshakeable Faith! He would have called her “dead inside”, for sure, and he would have thrown at her many of the vast collection of insults this man has directed at good Catholics; only with much more energy, because this particular “good Catholic” was so astonishingly good.
Dirty minds do not get purity. Sanctity is, to them, hypocrisy. The Unholy Father, who evidently has not recited the Litany of Loreto for very long and has long forgotten everything he might have learned about the Blessed Virgin, went so far as to even opine that the Blessed Virgin might have felt betrayed and deceived at the foot of the Cross.
“Virgin most faithful”? Not to Francis, for sure.
This Pope has a dirty mind. He lives in the middle of dirt, under the very roof of a notorious, scandalous homosexual. All his thoughts – and all his praise – go in that direction. The slum is his natural habitat; not, mind, because he wants to elevate the soul out of it; but because he enjoys the way the slum works and thinks. This is why he allows (or instructs) his priests to give communion to unmarried, adulterous slum dwellers, as if it was just bread. This is why he despises so much the orderly, prayerful, quietly Christian life of so many good Catholics.
This is why, make no mistake about that, one like him can only despise the Blessed Virgin, or consider her a hypocrite and a fraud; and also the reason why he tries to knock her down of her heavenly throne by making of her just an angry mother with a rebellious mind. The devil, when confronted with holy water, will instinctively and viscerally hate it, and he will tell you that it contains germs.
Dirty minds don't get sanctity and purity; when confronted with them, their reaction is indifference, slander, or contempt. Francis does not even begin to understand the Blessed Virgin. His dirty mind is of that kind that does not aspire to purity, but rather wants to dirty it.
I wonder if he ever recited once the Litany of Loreto, believing in what he was saying.
Look no further than the excellent Father Z’s blog to read what happens when conversions go wrong.
The chap making such a spectacle of himself is certainly representative of the many former Anglicans who converted to Catholicism in the Nineties and then apostatised. The non irrelevant frequency of the phenomenon should – now that with the Ordinariates a new attempt is being made – cause all alarm bells to go off. Similarly, the amount of errors believed by many Anglicans (a priceless pearl, given only as an example, is one comment on the apostate’s blog: “There is no contradiction between being Catholic and being evangelical; the two are synonymous”) should make all of us well aware of the forma mentis with which many Anglicans (hopefully a minority) might approach their “conversion”.
Let us see some of the elements emerging from this disastrous example of fake conversion. But before we do it, let us call to mind a couple of very important considerations:
1) Conversion to Catholicism is not the start of a journey, but its end. Conversion presupposes than one already “got it”. That the convert will grow in faith and in his knowledge of the very complex Catholic world does not mean that he is authorised not to believe in the whole corpus of Catholic doctrine, even in what he doesn’t know or can’t fully understand yet. Catholicism is acceptance of Truth, not selective acceptance of Truth after the examination of one’s own conscience.
Similarly, In Catholic parlance belief is the acceptance of Truth because of the authority this Truth comes from, (emphatically) not the declaration that Truth has, say, passed the exam of one’s own conscience and got the relevant seal of approval.
2) This is made, by the Church, most evident in the fact (witnessed by everyone who has assisted to a Mass with a ceremony of conversion) that the convert is required to stand up in front of the entire community and solemnly declare that he believes everything that the Church believes and professes everything that the Church professes. To say these words without believing them is sacrilege. A man is, as they say, only as good as his word but many Anglicans seem to be – even in matters pertaining to their eternal salvation – blissfully unaware of the fact. The sad truth is that whilst there are still many sincere seekers among the Anglicans, Anglicanism as a religious organisation is rotten to the core and this must be considered when examining the Ordinariate’s scope and the obstacles to their success.
Let us see, then, what our apostate was able to say after having solemnly declared his acceptance of the entire corpus of Catholic Truth.
1) Papal Infallibility is not believed in.
How a man can convert to Catholicism and not believe in Papal Infallibility is beyond me. Again, Anglicans seem able to produce such a feat and even say it out loud. “Doublethink, double tongue and double face” well describes the attitude of Anglicans of this type.
2) Papal Infallibility is believed to be a dogma.
This is, initially, rather a matter of ignorance and it would be excusable, if it were not for the fact that this ignorance is used to attack the Church.
3) Transubstantiation is a) fully misunderstood and b) attacked
This is worse than not knowing what is dogma and what isn’t, because Transubstantiation is at the very core of Catholicism. Once again, how on Earth could this man make the profession of Catholic faith described above is beyond me.
4) The Immaculate Conception, a dogma of the Church, is described as: “an unnecessary and unverifiable belief, if ever there was one”).
Astonishing show of homemade catholicism. Note the typical Anglican mentality that a dogma should be: a) “verifiable” and/or b) deemed “necessary”. Priceless.
5) Assumption of Mary:
Same as point 4)
6) Affirmation that Catholicism is not doctrinally sound, whilst Anglicanism is.
This is good for comic relief. If there is a shop ready to believe in everything and the contrary of everything, this is the Anglican one. I suppose, though, that this matches Mr. Hart’s definition of “soundness”.
Very rightly, Father Z points out to the fact that this is heresy leading to apostacy. The heresy has been brought within the Church as the Catholic Truth has never been believed in the first place, and the apostacy is in time its unavoidable consequence. In fact, our apostate was merely being Anglican, that is: acting like one who thinks that he can believe the way he pleases.
Dear readers, some of you probably think that concerns about the orthodoxy of Anglican converts are exaggerated. Sadly, they aren’t. The evidence of this is in the “conversion from the conversion” already put in place by many of the Anglican clergy who swam the Tiber in the Nineties; in the astonishing Anglican inability – evident at both individual and collective level – to accept any kind of belief without changing it whenever convenient; and in the extraordinary confusion reigning in the minds of many Anglicans (see example above, only one of the many. My favourite is the Doublethink masterpiece “I don’t have a problem in becoming a Catholic, as I always was one”).
Sadly, Internet discussion platforms are full of such involuntary humour. They indicate a tragic deficiency in the basic understanding of what Catholicism is as they make clear a determined will to “show it” to the Anglican hierarchy. In this lies the real problem: thinking that Catholicism is just another shade of what they already are.
The Ordinariates are a great chance, and a great risk. If properly done, they can be a source of great blessing for all those sincere seekers ready to authentically convert, to change their system of values and their point of reference of what is True. If made sloppily as it was obviously done in the Nineties, or with the “tolerant” attitude of those who think that the important thing is to “get them in” and they’ll learn in time, this will – beside being contrary to what the Church demands from a convert – cause a huge amount of discord and confusion among Catholics. Besides, it will cause the total loss of the Ordinariate’s reputation and perhaps its demise within a couple of generations.
The Church has already gone through disgraceful phases of “circiterism”, shallowness and naive belief that everything wrong will magically adjust itself by just doing nothing. I do want to think that the Ordinariates will not become another example of this mentality; but only if vigilance is exercised, and strictest orthodoxy required.