Tomorrow 22nd February is the feast of the Chair of St. Peter. Whilst St. Peter’s feast day is the 29th June, the feast of the 22nd February is more directly aimed at celebrating the Petrine Office. This feast is, therefore, as Catholic as they come.
This feast day might be an occasion to explain to some non-Catholic in your circle of acquaintances why you are Catholic. When requested, I proceed more or less in this way:
1) And I say to thee: that Thou are Peter…. Jesus doesn’t say to Simon that he is a nice chap; or that he is very perceptive; or that he himself is surprised that among the apostles Simon was the only one to give the right answer to his question “Who do people say that I am?”. No, he changes his name and calls him a rock.
2) and upon this rock I will build my Church…. Jesus doesn’t say “I will build my first church”, nor does he say “I will build my provisional church”. Jesus picks a rock, and builds upon him One (1, Una, Eine, Une) Church.
3) and the gates of Hell shall not previal against it….. It, that is: the very same Church built on Peter, the “rock”. That one, and no other. Jesus doesn’t say “the Gates of hell shall, in around fifteen centuries, prevail against the Church I built on you”, nor does he say “the Gates of Hell shall prevail against the Church built on you but hey, let us be happy with a generic term of “church” so it can work even when yours goes astray”. He is very specific: he builds one Church upon one man and gives his promise of indefectibility to this – and no other – organisation.
4) And I will give to thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven….. This is also dumb-proof: keys are a very obvious symbol of power and authority and it is clear here that Jesus is speaking with extreme solemnity. He doesn’t say to Peter: “Peter, you keep the key for the moment” or “look mate, gotta go; keep the keys until I find you or yours unworthy, will ya?”. No, this is a solemn promise evidently made for all times, as his just pronounced promise about indefectibility must make clear to the dumbest intellect.
5) ….and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. For those who should at this point still not have gotten what is going on, Jesus becomes even more explicit: Peter has the keys, and the keys mean authority upon the faithful now and forever; an authority given in the most emphatic terms possible.
The meaning of these phrases; the clear solemnity Jesus gives to his words; the crescendo of emphatic declarations of such a broad and clear scope do not leave room for any possible doubt and as a result, Protestants have nowhere to hide. Whoever reads Jesus’ words with a minimum of intellectual honesty cannot avoid to recognise that the Only Church of Peter’s time (and of the following fifteen centuries) is the Only Church of today and that as a result whatever grievance against the men who run the Church does not change a iota concerning the position of authority of the Church. As to the complaint that some Popes were oh-so-bad (not much worse than many a tv-preacher I’d say, but laissons tomber….), Peter wasn’t immaculate either, but his shortcomings didn’t prevent Jesus from promoting him to rock of His Church.
To believe anything different from the fact that the Only Church founded by Jesus is.. the Only Church means to believe one or more of the following:
1) that Jesus made a mistake in founding His Church on Peter;
2) that Jesus was mistakenly persuaded that Peter’s successors would be good chaps, but had his toy ruined by the baddies who succeeded Peter;
3) that Jesus couldn’t count;
4) that Jesus’ words had a sell-by date, or
5) that Jesus made his promise of indefectibility without taking it seriously.
Or perhaps one could decide to read and understand the only possible meaning of such emphatically worded statements, as Jesus repeatedly made.
There is only One Church, folks. It’s the only one founded by Jesus. Simple, really.
“In the Gospel, Jesus does not become angry, but pretends to when the disciples do not understand him,” the Pope explained, adding that at Emmaus Jesus says, “’How foolish and slow of heart.’”
Last time I looked, Jesus made a whip out of cords and used it to drive the money-changers out of the temple. Not much pretending, here. I am sure if Francis had been the recipient of one of Jesus’ whip strokes he would not have talked about pretending, at all. Besides, it is clear that for a single man to drive everyone out nothing less but sheer Divine Fury must have been at work. You don’t make a whip to whip things. You make a whip to whip people. Does Francis know that?
Extremely disquieting is, also, the idea that Jesus would “pretend” with his disciples. There is nothing in the Gospel, or in Christianity, suggesting Jesus was ever less than completely truthful and honest. The idea that he had to “pretend” because the disciples did not understand might or might not be blasphemous, but is stupid at the very least, and extremely dangerous to boot. God cannot deceive, and therefore Jesus cannot pretend. If Jesus had been willing to “pretend”, then everything he said could be put in the same drawer: “he was pretending to mean such and such here, because the Apostles did not get that a proper pasta must not be overcooked”, or the like. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” does mean that He is and speaks the Truth, sempre e comunque. Then there would be the small matter that in the Old Testament God doesn’t seem to be “pretending” much, either, and His anger is very, very real. So either God has “evolved” in a peaceful being who is Buddha-like and never angry, or someone has to go back to the very basics.
Now let us develop this. How is it that Francis expresses himself so easily in a heretical way? Either he does not know what he talks about – not unlikely, though inexcusable in a Pope – or he has just swept the bad news under the carpet, under the fiction that Jesus “didn’t really mean” that particular aspect, and was just “pretending”. Once Francis has jumped on this train it is rather obvious that – to mention at random – atheists can be saved, the covenants with the Jews is still in place, and you don’t have to convert anyone.
This Pope is making a Gospel in his own imagine and resemblance. Because he is so ‘umble. He asks you to believe it. Don’t do it.
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!
My post of yesterday about the “Dawkins’ delusion” has (alas) attracted some comments – most of them kind, a couple of them rather less kind – from agnostics and/or atheists.
Those of you who are acquainted with my moderation policy know that I do not allow my blog to be used as a platform for anti-Catholic activity of whatever kind. Still, if there are interesting comments which I think might help my Catholic reader to better understand the Catholic (or Christian) argument, I do not see why I should not go into the matter.
One of the arguments brought against the Christian argument – nay, Truth – for the existence of God is that:
1) Jesus probably never existed as a historical figure, and
2) If he did, his claims were in part founded on wisdom, and in part on delusion.
I will deal today with these claims. In time ( I want to write my blog, rather than being driven by others about what to write ), I will deal with other arguments I have read. Once again, this is a Catholic blog and not a place for debate, for which I ask those so inclined to look elsewhere. I am not the BBC, my time is limited, and my aim is to defend Catholicism, not to give a platform to its enemies or waste my life trying to explain Truth to those deaf to it (I’ll deal with that, one day, too).
This post, and the others to follow, are not meant for debate. They are only a starting point, an invitation to the sincere seeker to expand and deepen the Truth. Frankly, life’s too short for endless bickering. If anyone wants endless bickering, he is in the wrong place.
To the point.
The belief in Jesus did not spread in some region utterly separated – both in time and place – from the scene of His working on Earth. It may be easy to believe in extraterrestrials having landed in some strange mountain two thousand years ago; much more difficult it is to believe in extraterrestrials landing in Trafalgar Square yesterday afternoon. This new “cult” of the Christians began to spread immediately after Jesus’ death, among the very people who had seen him preaching, walking, eating, drinking, joking, healing. It stands to reason it is simply inconceivable the belief in one person who did not really exist could have spread among people – a rather small community, compared with today’s demographic situation – accustomed to know each other. To this, we must add the Jewish penchant – which we might call obsession – for genealogy, with a sort of “public record” (not written of course; but transmitted orally, like a vast part of the knowledge of the time, sacred as well as profane) of the ascendants of everyone. It would have been utterly impossible not only to deceive the local population into the belief about the existence of someone who did not, in reality, exist; but it would have been similarly impossible to deceive the locals among his descending from exactly those and those ancestors. A small community, obsessively attentive to these facts, would have taken away every credibility from whomever would have tried to “cheat” in this regard. It is a fallacy of modern societies to believe that such legends could be spread then, just because they could much more easily be spread now. In the society of the time, you just couldn’t create a legend of someone who was simply non-existent, and you couldn’t even create a false genealogy. Therefore, we can have no reasonable doubt Jesus was certainly born in Bethlehem, certainly from exactly those parents (one putative, as we know today); certainly moved to Egypt (as one couldn’t have created the “legend” of a year-long disappearance without losing face in front of all the locals, who would remember and say so); certainly grown up in Nazareth, & Co, & Co. The small discrepancies in the Gospels (normal in the oral transmission of wisdom) do not negate the validity of the general construct (which is why oral transmission worked so well for thousands of years).
In the same vein, in those relatively tightly knitted communities it would have been simply impossible to believe in Jesus just “by hearsay”. If there is a man going around and making extraordinary things – like, say, feeding the Five Thousand – these five thousand would allow to have first hand information about what had happened to a non indifferent part of the entire local population. It was not like London, were riots can put entire neighbourhood to war zones and I can only know it from the TV. A huge number of Jews had Jesus not further than a one or two days journey, knew people who knew him or knew him personally, could listen to him regularly in the synagogue, or preaching outside, or just see him strolling around, or eating or drinking, or at social ceremonies (marriages, for example, were big social gatherings). Reading the Gospels, it is plain to see how easy it was to get in contact with Jesus for those who wanted.
The XXI century man, thinking with the logic of the XXI century, asks “where the historical evidence is” (it is there, of course; it is even in Jewish sources, though you’ll have to make your own reasearch about that; but it is, certainly, sporadic). The wise man knows that without historical truth of the underlying facts (not only the physical existence of Jesus and His genealogy, but the facts and events linked to His work on this earth) Christianity would not have gone past the first house court and women’s gossip.
The contemporaries of Jesus knew this very well.The Jewish priests knew it very well, as they never tried to deny Jesus’ existence, not even in own writings or propaganda pamphlets which would then, no doubt, have come to us for self-evident reasons. The common populace knew it very well, as otherwise Christianity could never have spread in the very places where Jesus was told to have walked and talked and healed. And all the others knew it very well, as Christianity initially spread – even before the advent of the Gospels – outside of Judea and Galilee thank to the “authenticity check system” of the time: the transmission from trustworthy eye witnesses to others able to carry on the message with the same authority.
Obviously, legends can also spread very far (the poems of Homer are a wonderful example). But the difference is, that never did the Greek believe in the Truth of the legend they went around transmitting. They didn’t, because they knew there wasn’t any.
Nowadays, too many people make the mistake of believing that if someone wasn’t documented in writing it hasn’t existed, simply because written record is the way we transmit information. This thinking would have seemed most extraordinary, if not brainless, to the contemporaries of Jesus.
The next post will deal with the second part.
I will, of course, not write a book for the sceptical.
For those among the agnostics who may be interested, I suggest Fulton Sheen’s Life of Christ, now available even for Kindle. A true masterpiece of Catholic apologetics in an easy to understand, easy to remember style.
The Internet is ablaze with the last feat of the first Affirmative Action President of the history of the United States.
A man who grew up in a liberal and secular environment firstly, and in a Muslim household – and attending a school for Muslism – later, thinks he can teach us what Jesus would do in matter of taxes. You can read here and in many other places the angry reaction to this pathetic attempt to masquerade Socialism as Christianity, something he might get away with purely because most of his supporters seem not to have more knowledge of Christianity than he does.
His attempt at trying to persuade the Christian electorate of his Christian credentials – or, more probably, his decision to fully embrace the tax and spend gospel irrespective of the consequences and make of this campaign a war of the envious against the hard working – is made even more ridiculous by the other attempt, running in parallel, to force Catholic institutions to pay for contraception and abortion through compulsory medical insurance contributions.
On the always excellent blog domine, da mihi hanc aquam the Adolf Hussein Obama mentality is thus eloquently exposed:
B.O.’s spurious claim that his Big Government grasp at power is somehow akin to “what Jesus would do” is truly beyond ridicule. Does he think that Jesus would also expect us to surgically and chemically render women infertile? Or use scissors and vacuum pumps to remove unborn children from their mother’s womb? Where in scripture does Jesus order his followers to surrender their charitable responsibilities to Caesar’s bureaucrats and tax collectors?
Jesus expects his followers to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and heal the sick (Matt 25). And that is exactly what billions of Catholic dollars and thousands of Catholics do in this country every year through Catholic Charities, Catholic hospitals and hospices, and hundreds of other service organizations operated by the Church. Why is this a problem for statists? Competition. The Church provides free health care to millions but it also operates without the preferred ideological/sexual agenda of the secular Left. With the Church out of the way, those millions join millions more as dependent wards of the state, their liberty as citizens defined and regulated by their Enlightened Betters.
I am not really worried about these pathetic attempts of the President to give himself a varnish of Christianity. Those who care for Christ know he is talking bollocks, and those who don’t or are Christians by hearsay are not going to be shifted on his side by his saying he is the New Messiah (a tendency, by the way, he always had).
Still, I think it fitting to put to my reader’s attention the level of fraud this President is able to perpetrate. This man redefines the concept of “shameless”.
My impression is that he was trained to this since the tenderest age.
I truly hope the choice, come November, will not be between this strange circus article and a flip-flopping Mormon. It might come to this if, as I see it, prudery wins over solid conservative thinking.
If you ask me, it would be a shame.
Another excellent blog post from the “man with no uncertain trumpet”, Monsignor Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington.
This time, Monsignor Pope’s attention is focused on the image of Jesus that was smuggled around in the Seventies, and that still influences the Sixty-Eighters and other pot-smokers today. In those years – and whilst I was a child, I got my share of those years – Jesus was generally portrayed as a kind of a whimp, a girly boy unable to exert or project any form of manliness, a mixture of hare “krishna” follower and Gandhi with, later, the addition of a dollop of Nelson Mandela. Victimised, but as meek as a sheep; bullied, but always answering with a smile, and unable to threat or harm, this is the Jesus we had brought to us as an example. “Peeaace” and “luuuuv” were everywhere, and not a whip in sight.
Well, one only needs to read the Gospel to get a completely different picture of Jesus; a man who never said things half, and never minced words; a man able to openly defy his opponents in public, in times when conflicts were carried out rather less nicely than today, and “being hurt” had a different meaning than today; a man whose followers went around armed with swords, certainly not for aesthetic reasons; a man able to free himself from the grasp of multitudes desirous to apprehend him, which can’t have been accomplished without a towering presence and an extremely commanding, charismatic, utterly manly attitude; a man able, alone, to throw away from the temple an undefined, but certainly not little number of moneychangers out of the sheer fury of his action, and the might of his whip. On this occasion, the contrast between the calm preparation of the whip and the explosion of irresistible physical power gives a wonderful example of the manliness of Jesus’ behaviour.
No, this was no pink-shirted, manicured, anti-wrinkle-lotioned, tubular-jeans-wearing metrosexual; this was a real man, oozing masculinity in everything he did. Try to imagine the scene of St. Matthew’s conversion and tell me whether it is compatible with anything else than the most commanding authority. Then try to imagine how Gandhi or Deepak Chopra would have tried to achieve the same result, and you’ll know the difference.
You see this everywhere in the Gospels, as the words and gestures of Jesus are always accompanied by an undercurrent of sheer authority, a commanding stance, the attitude of one who knows that he will be obeyed everytime he wants. Even scourged almost to death, Jesus talks to Pilate from a position of utter power, and leaves him in no doubt as to who is boss. Make no mistake, this is no Gandhi.
Thankfully, the gently whispering Jesus of my younger years is now slowly being substituted for an image more attuned to the Gospel image, largely – I think – because of the excellent “passion of the Christ” and James Caviezel’s very manly rendition of the Lord. It will take time, though, before the Birkenstock-sandalled, tofu-eating, Cosmo-reading and Oprah-watching Jesus is replaced by, well….. Jesus.
There is an excellent blog post about male priesthood from Jennifer Fulwiler on the National Catholic Register. The blog post is the more interesting, because the now-converted (Deo gratias…) author remembers her reasoning about the male priesthood when an atheist and – as she herself admits – a feminist.
Mrs. Fulwiler brilliantly puts it as follows (emphases always mine):
At the time I had recently become a mother, and there’s nothing like pregnancy and childbirth to hit home the fact that men and women are really, really different. Even outside of the Catholic perspective, there’s no denying that whoever created us—whether you call it God or Nature or Allah or whatever—created men and women with complementary yet entirely separate capabilities. Women can carry new human life within their wombs, men can’t. Women can breastfeed, men can’t. Men are generally stronger; the strongest man in the world is always going to be the stronger than the strongest woman in the world. The list of the innate differences between the genders goes on and on. Assuming that the entire human race was not born into an inherently unfair situation, it would seem that our Creator does not believe that you need to be able to do all the same stuff in order to be equal.
This injection of common sense would do a lot of good to a lot of feminist – be they atheist, or wannabe Christian – out there. But such an injection would require them to sacrifice some holy cows, which is why they choose to remain impervious to logic, and allergic to truth. One of these cows is described by the blog post author as follows:
[…] I had begun to question this pervasive modern idea that what you do is your value. […]. One of the results of this idea is that we, as a society, decided that if women are not invited to do every single thing that men are invited to do, the only possible explanation could be that they are valued less — and being barred from doing certain activities means that their options for reaching complete fulfillment as human beings are limited. The more I considered it, the more this worldview struck me as sadly utilitarian. I started to think that it’s possible to believe that men don’t make good lactation consultants, women don’t make good guerrilla warfare combatants, etc. without it being a commentary about the inherent worth of one gender over another.
I generally explain this concept with my persuasion that feminists want to be men, and therefore feel as a deminutio every instance in which it becomes clear to them – or, alternatively, to the thinking part of the human race – that they cannot. Strangely, you never hear feminists fighting for the abolition of one of the last, blatant bastion of sexual discrimination: the separation of men and women in sport competitions. No need for equality there. Differences must be taken into account. There are structural specificities that would be impossible to ignore.
The next injection of common sense comes regarding the male priesthood itself:
When God took on human flesh, he did so as a man. He could have come down as a woman, as a brother and sister team, or as a genderless being. But he didn’t. If you want to reject Christianity as untrue, that’s one thing; but if you accept Jesus Christ as God incarnate, it seems like you must also accept that God sees the male gender as having a special role to play in the world.
Yes, brilliantly and amusingly true. Once again, the contradiction of accepting Jesus as God Incarnate and refusing what choices this God Incarnate made is clearly absurd. The fact that 100% of the Apostles were men (no female quota there, in a clear show of political incorrectness) actually closes the question.
The best part is for the end: the Blessed Virgin.
Once I discovered Catholicism, one of the many things that rang true about its teachings was the emphasis on Mary. It made perfect sense that God would give a woman a critical role in his plan, someone who could serve as an example of perfect feminine holiness—and it made sense that his true Church would understand and celebrate this fact.
I add to these beautiful words a fact that to me seems extremely relevant: that in the heavenly hierarchy (yes! There is a heavenly hierarchy!) the Blessed Virgin is above every saint, above every Apostle, even above Peter and Paul and St. John the Evangelist and St. John The Baptist; even above every Angel, every one of them! Only the Trinity is higher in glory than the Blessed Virgin!
So let me reassume the brilliant feminist theory: a bunch of chauvinistic traitors manage to utterly ruin the clearly feminist, emancipated message of Jesus; they isolate Mary Magdalen and succeed in cancelling from history every trace of her apostolate; they proceed to create a rigidly man-dominated system, clearly showing which one is the qualitatively better sex………then they proceed to put a woman in the highest place conceivable for a human being, and this in a society that had come to consider women as little more than reproduction instruments.
Explain this, angry feminists….
It is beautiful to see that, when one is ready to apply some elementary logic rather than senseless slogans, a lot of things start to appear very clear, and to make a lot of sense.
Even for an atheist.
You’d think that a soldier who has served (or even died for) his country would have the right of having words like “God” or “Jesus” in his funeral service.
But this doesn’t seem to be the case in the military cemetery in Houston, where you simply can’t say the words.
This is a very interesting development, mainly because it shows all the intolerance and stupidity of its proponents. It goes not only against the most elementary sense of religious liberty, but against liberty tout court.
As such, this exercise in intolerance and dictatorship must certainly come from…. liberals. It is as if they’d say “Jesus must stay outside”, as you’d do with dogs. Even worse than that, it is some cretin telling you what to tell and not to tell when you remember a beloved one. And this cannot be an incident or a misunderstanding as several organisations have reported the news. One would wonder what would be the practice with Allah & Co, but by this level of ideological blindness and pure hatred it would not be surprising to know that the same rules apply.
The Department of Veteran Affairs has already stated that it ““respects every veteran and their family’s right to burial service that honors their faith tradition.” It is therefore an easy prediction not only that this scandal will soon end, but that this might well cause a couple of liberal heads of the Department of Veteran Affairs – the cemetery director being a prime candidate – to silently roll on the green cemetery grounds. Still, this episode goes to show the extent of the intolerance of modern “liberals”, probably the most illiberal people remained on the planet after the North Koreans.
These people are a true menace for freedom and must be stopped until they ban us from pronouncing every word not pleasant to them.
The news about the extraordinary interview given from the Patriarch of Lisbon, Cardinal Policarpo, has already gone around the internet for a couple of days. The news was, I must admit, too incredible to dedicate to it a blog post until further news from a reliable source are available.
Now Rorate Caeli publishes an ample excerpt of his interview. I allow myself to mention here some of the more enlightening parts.
It was not by fortune that Jesus chose men to be apostles and gave women another kind of attention… [sic]
“Another kind of attention”. This is, I have to say, more than vaguely creepy. It sounds as if the Cardinal had given the interview after a good meal, with good wine and a glass of port, or three. Very unfortunate choice of words, for sure.
Once I was here in the Diocese and, when we had a discussion, there was a young women who asked the question: why can’t women be priests? And I decided to risk it. I said: you are right, but, in order that others study this matter, it is necessary to know if there are candidates…[sic]
Besides the extreme lack of intelligence of the argumentation – “would you want to do it?” is certainly not a logical argument; I mean, in Kindergarten perhaps, followed by “nananananananaaa”, but not between adults; and yes, the deluded candidates for such “jobs” are not missing, for sure – the Cardinal dares to answer to the feminists: “you are right”.
This is a man whose tongue is not properly under control, or not well-connected with his brains.
All kept their heads down.
Good Lord. That’s the argument! The women kept their heads down! Even if he had just said that ….. they were right! What a formidable debater we have here. A true Prince of the Church.
Once, in the context of an international meeting on the new evangelization, in Vienna, this question was posed, and I said that there is not, at this moment, any Pope who has the power to do that.
This calls for a tranquilliser. Let us repeat this verbatim: “There is not, at the moment, any Pope who…..”. Is the good Cardinal looking for a suitable one? Has he already advertised to fill the vacancy? “Pope sought. Power to ordain women is an absolute requirement. Send your CV to Card. Policarpo, Lisbon.” Or should there, in fact, be one, but he has missed the train and couldn’t make it to the ordination of priestesses? Or is the good Cardinal waiting for a new Pope from Mars, who will be able to do it? Questions, questions……
You gotta love that Port wine, though.
It goes on.
This would create tensions, and it will happen only when God wants it to happen and, if it is in His plans, it will happen
Ah, now we know it! Male priesthood is not a matter of infallible (in-fal-li-ble; I-N-F-A-L-L-I-B-L-E) Ordinary and universal Magisterium. It is something that God might simply change! God changes His mind pretty regularly, didn’t you know? Just as the Twelve Commandment became Ten and the Sixteen Apostles (at least two of them, very probably, women; we don’t know for certain) were reduced to Twelve we might, one day, have women priests! Simples! Be patient though, will you?
Yes, you know what I’m thinking….
It goes on.
The Holy Father John Paul II, at one point, seemed to settle the matter. I believe that the matter is not settled like this; theologically, there is no fundamental obstacle; there is this tradition, let us say it this way… [sic] it was never different. (Emphases mine)
(Your humble correspondent stops here, because he feels unable to keep composure and write about the matter in a way acceptable for polite ears).
(Well, Wimbledon is good to calm yourself down. Now, where was I….)
Note the words. Pope John Paul “seemed to settle the matter”, but then he apparently forgot to. Or Cardinal Policarpo was just not there. Or he just can’t read. Apparently, then, according to our hero “there is no theological obstacle”. It’s not a theological matter, you know. It’s just that, hey, it just happened to never be otherwise. As they say, “shit happens”! But you never know, one day the Vatican might find a letter from Heaven saying to do it differently! It has happened already, don’t ya know? It’s called the “Ordinary, Universal and Disposable Magisterium”. Yes, a bit like Kleenex. We love that thing here in Lisbon! We use it all the time! No, not the Kleenex…
At this point, I do not even think that Port wine can do this. Not the one I know, at least, unless Portuguese Cardinals have access to some very, very strong stuff.
It goes on….
The problem is on another level, in a strong tradition, which comes from Jesus, and in the ease with which the reformed churches went that way. This did not make the solution of the problem any easier, if this problem has a solution.
So, you know what the Cardinal thinks it has happened? Jesus has created a problem! Instead of doing Cardinal Policarpo the favour of having a couple of token women as every serious, “equality sensitive” multinational would do, he just goes on stubbornly appointing an all-male, chauvinistic team; one where women can’t even find a place as reserves to be inserted in the last fifteen minutes, when you’re winning 3-0 and are playing 11 against 10. Oh well, it is what it is, we’ll have to live with the problem now…. And look, Jesus, we look even worse now, because the Protestant teams ( I’ll call them “churches”, of course; “reformed churches”. I know it sounds heretical, but hey, we can’t say “there’s only one Church”, right?) have inserted women in their teams with such… ease! Good Satan, this is embarrassing! What do we say to the customers now! This is going to give us a serious marketing problem! We need to change the product, Jesus; we truly do!
And now, dear readers, is the time for some serious, sad reflection.
The hypothesis that the Cardinal might have drunk too much, and might have lost control during the interview, is in my eyes not entirely unfounded. If you read the interview, he loses his thread several times, once at the very beginning; he sounds confused and creepy; he seems not to reflect on the huge heresies he goes on spitting. In short, he looks like one surprised at a very bad time, and who didn’t have the presence of spirit to call it a headache and leave the thing for another day. It happens more often than you think, Ken Livingstone is just the last example.
This would be the charitable explanation. Let me stress this: the charitable one; the one which considers human frailties; the one which tries to discount the open heresy and to find an explanation for his inexplicable words, a halfway understandable excuse for his inexcusable blabber.
On the other hand – and sad as it is to have to say so – Rorate Caeli informs us that this is the same man who has overseen the Portuguese church in a time of legalisation of abortion on demand and of same sex marriages without opposing more than some obligatory meowing; the one who has presided over a collapse of church attendance but is still the owner of the very telling privilege of presiding over the only capital in Europe still without a Tridentine Mass.
A coincidence is a coincidence, but….. you know the rest…
Once again, this shows that the Liturgy is so closely intertwined with the theology, that you can’t separate the two. Where you have bad liturgy, this will create bad theology. Where you have stubborn opposition to Catholic liturgical orthodoxy, you will have the ideal ground for the spreading of heresy.
The Liturgy is the Church. When you use violence to the Liturgy, you use violence to the Church. The rest follows automatically.
I truly hope that in the next days the Cardinal will offer to the press a strong refutation of his words. But as this has not yet been the case, I can’t imagine that there is a realistic chance for this and that we must face the reality of an openly heretical Cardinal. Nothing new under the sun of course, but sad nevertheless.
Therefore, unless this man was “tired and emotional” at the moment of giving the interview, the only possible conclusion is that the Patriarch of Lisbon is openly heretical, and has the gut to clearly and openly defy the Pope’s and the Church’s authority in matters clearly pertaining to the Ordinary and universal Magisterium.
When such a challenge to the Church’s teaching authority is moved, and from such an elevated position, it is the duty of the Pope to correct, admonish and if necessary punish the person responsible.
If the Pope lets this provocation pass without correction, his authority and prestige will be irrevocably damaged and after the Patriarch of Lisbon, other heretical senior churchmen will come out of the wood and start expressing their more or less veiled approval for heretical theories. This must be stopped now, as it has already gone far enough.
The days of the Popes who limit themselves to administer some nice words of guidance and counselling should have ended long ago. As Romano Amerio beautifully pointed out, the role of the Pope has traditionally been one of both direction and prescription. If the Holy Father only focuses on the first aspect and neglects the second, heresy, anarchy and schism will be the result. It will be Pope Paul VI all over again!
The Cardinal needs our prayer. But just as surely, he needs to be kicked out, sharpish. There can be no excuse, no reason of opportunity, no fear of schism that can justify the permanence of such openly heretical cardinal at his place. Souls are at stake. Those who have the duty to act will have to anwer for these souls.
The place where to address your righteous indignation are as follows:
Congregation for the Clergy: email@example.com
Congregation for Bishops: Palazzo della Congregazioni, Piazza Pio XII, 10, 00193 Roma, Italy (email address not found)
Holy Father: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please try to be much more moderate than I was here. There’s a time for the sword and a time for the floret. You’ll be addressing Princes of the Church or even – at least officially – the Holy Father himself. I’ll do it as soon as I can.
Frankly, at the moment I can’t.
The Capuchins made the headlines with something authentically Christian, and your humble correspondent can’t avoid reporting on the matter.
This video is a beautiful testimony of the Catholic faith, and particularly fitting in the weeks leading to the Corpus Domini. So much so, that Father Z has made a poll on it, and the conservative readership is, on the whole, delighted (I have voted “5”, too).
Note the reverence of the Capuchin friar/priest (very good arms, by the way), and the way he holds the monstrance all the time and looks at it without pause. The text (read by a second friar) repeatedly invites those present to “come and kneel before Him now“. This some people slowly begin to do, some old and some young, and stay there whilst the Eucharist in front of them reminds them (and the passers-by) of a couple of Catholic truths.
Tim Drake at the page linked above has made the beautiful effort of creating an almost complete transcript of what the second friar says. I’ll repeat the text below for your convenience. There is nothing wishy-washy there, and some very polemic references to new age and “Oprah” are delightful.
My only reservations (not a criticism; just a suggestion of how this excellent idea could be further improved) are as follows:
1) the protection of the Eucharist. OK, England is not a place where people start to mob or assault a priest, and the camera was certainly seen as security enough. But I did have some discomfort.
2) at times, the lack of reverence. Perhaps the text should be modified stressing in several points the absolute reverence due to the Body of Christ. The applause to the friar in front of the Blessed Sacrament was, in my eyes, completely out of line, though the clappers probably didn’t even noticed it. What is next, choirs of approbation in football-stadion style?
All in all, I found this beautiful. I hope this initiative founds imitators among conservative priests and religious orders.
Text. With many thanks to Tim Drake.
“Jesus Christ is in every book of the Bible.
In Genesis, Jesus is the Seed of the Woman.
In Exodus, He is the Passover Lamb.
In Leviticus, He is the Priest, the Altar, and the Lamb of Sacrifice.
In Numbers, He is a Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by Night.
In Deuteronomy, Jesus is the Prophet, like Moses.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Joshua, Jesus is the Captain of Our Salvation.
In Judges, He is our Judge and Lawgiver.
In Ruth, He is our Kinsman and Redeemer.
In 1 and 2 Samuel, He is our Trusted Prophet.
In Kings and Chronicles, He is our Reigning King.
In Ezra, He is the rebuilder of the broken down walls of human life.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Nehemiah, Jesus is our Restorer.
In Tobit, He is the Messenger of New Life.
In Judith, He is Weakness Turned into Victory.
In Esther, He is our Advocate.
In 1 and 2 Maccabees, He is the Leader who dies for God’s law.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Job, Jesus is our Everliving Redeemer.
In Psalms, He is our Shepherd.
In Proverbs, He is our Wisdom.
In Ecclesiastes, He is our Hope of Resurrection.
In the Song of Songs, He is our Loving Bridegroom.
In Wisdom, He is the emanation of God’s thought.
In Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), Jesus is our security.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Isaiah, Jesus is the Suffering Servant.
In Jeremiah, He is the Righteous Branch.
In Lamentations, He is our Weeping Prophet.
In Baruch, He is the Mercy from the Eternal One.
In Ezekiel, He is the One with the Right to Rule.
In Daniel, Jesus is the Fourth Man in the fiery furnace.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Hosea, Jesus is the Faithful Husband forever married to the sinner.
In Joel, He is the One who Baptizes with the Holy Spirit of Fire.
In Amos, He is the Restorer of Justice.
In Obadiah, He is Mighty to Save.
In Jonah, He is our great foreign missionary.
In Micah, He is the feet of one who brings Good News.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Nahum, Jesus is our stronghold in the day of trouble.
In Habakkuk, He is God my Savior.
In Zephaniah, He is the King of Israel.
In Haggai, He is the signet ring.
In Zechariah, He is our Humble King riding on a colt.
In Malachi, Jesus is the Son of Righteousness.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Matthew, Jesus is God with us.
In Mark, He is the Son of God.
In Luke, He is the Son of Mary, feeling what you feel.
In John, He is the Bread of Life.
In Acts, Jesus is the Savior of the World.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Romans, Jesus is the Righteousness of God.
In 1 Corinthians, He is the Resurrection.
In 2 Corinthians, He is the God of all comfort.
In Galatians, He is your liberty. He sets you free.
In Ephesians, Jesus is the Head of the Church.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Philippians, Jesus is your Joy.
In Colossians, He is your Completeness.
In 1 and 2 Thessalonians, He is your Hope.
In 1 Timothy, He is your Faith.
In 2 Timothy, Jesus is your Stability.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Titus, Jesus is Truth.
In Philemon, He is your Benefactor.
In Hebrews, He is your Perfection.
In James, He is the Power behind your Faith.
In 1 Peter, He is your Example.
In 2 Peter, Jesus is your Purity.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In 1 John, Jesus is your Life.
In 2 John, He is your Pattern.
In 3 John, He is your Motivation.
In Jude, He is the Foundation of your Faith.
In Revelation, Jesus is your Coming King.
The First and the Last.
The Beginning and the End.
He is the Keeper of Creation and the Creator of All.
He is the Architect of the Universe and the Manager of All Time.
He Always Was, He Always Is, and He Always Will Be Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and Never Undone.
He was bruised and brought healing.
He was pierced and eased pain.
He was persecuted and brought freedom.
He was dead and brought life.
He is risen and brings power.
He reigns and brings peace.
The world can’t understand Him.
The armys can’t defeat Him.
Schools can’t explain Him and the leaders can’t ignore Him.
Herod couldn’t kill Him.
The Pharisees couldn’t confuse Him.
The people couldn’t hold him. [This is where the clapping begins]
Nero couldn’t crush Him.
Hitler couldn’t silence Him.
The New Age can’t replace Him.
And Oprah can’t explain Him away.
He is Life, Love, Longevity, and Lord.
He is Goodness, Kindness, Gentleness and God.
He is Holy, Righteous, Mighty, Powerful, [missing word]
His Ways our Right, His Words Eternal, His Rules Unchanging, and His
Might [missing phrase]
He is My Redeemer, He is My Savior, He is My God, He is My Priest, He is My Joy, He is My Comfort, He is My Lord, and He rules my life.”
On the Vivificat blog, this beautiful blog post about “Why I oppose same sex marriage”.
It is so pithy, beautiful and charitable (charitable in the right way), that the best thing to do is to reproduce it in its entirety, including the emphases.
There you are:
Why am I strongly opposed to same-sex “marriage”?
Because it is an offense against the institution of marriage? Yes, but not really: that institution has already been demolished by our modern Godless society.
Because it will most likely wind up forcing me, as a citizen of this nation, to in some way participate? Yes, but not really: I am ready and willing to be persecuted for my beliefs.
Because this is a democracy and most Americans oppose same-sex “marriage”? Yes, but not really: I support many things that most Americans oppose and oppose many things that most Americans support.
Because it is a slippery slope that may lead to legalized polygamy, incest, etc.? Yes, but not really: that would be like opposing abortion because it could lead to condom use (Sodomy is the greater evil)
Because it will likely lead to more disease and economic devastation in our nation? Yes, but not really: those are fleabites compared to my real concerns
Rather, I oppose same-sex “marriage” because I love homosexuals. Because I do not want to see just another enticement (which is what this would be: a legal endorsement of that behavior) for them to remain in that wayward lifestyle and for young people to join that lifestyle. It is a lifestyle that tears apart their souls, makes depression rampant, and motivates suicide to an astronomical degree. For the government to bless their unions with same-sex “marriage” is to say “Come and partake of this banquet, for there is nothing wrong with it. Come and appease your passions and give in to your temptations, we will bless your efforts. Come and reap the fruits of your actions, that you may spend eternity with us.” In other words, I oppose same-sex “marriage” because it turns the government into the very mouthpiece of Satan.
Is this “theocratic” of me? In violation of “separation of Church and state”? Label me as you will. My stance here is a stance of love, in obedience to the Almighty through His Church, and it will never change.
As for myself, I don’t give a hoot how many from the glitterati, the elites, Hollywood, government in all three branches give their secular blessing on this so-called same-sex “marriage”. Call me what you wish, I will never set this lie above the Truth.
Congratulations to Teofilo de Jesus and Dan O’Connor, the authors of this beautiful witness of Christian love.
From Father Z’s blog, a barely believable – if we lived in normal times – story about a canadian Catholic school. In said Catholic school the idea of having a crucifix in every classroom was in the past considered – for reasons I do not even want to think about – not really necessary. I know, I know…..
This year, this state of things changed and every classroom was equipped with his crucifix.
Thinking that this would make some explanation necessary (a crucifix: what will then that be, one wonders….), a teacher (and principal of the school) decided to give some “explanations” to every class in the school.
The explanation centered about Jesus not having physically risen from the dead. Not only Easter, but the entire concept of divinity of Christ, and with that of Trinity, goes herewith out of the window as I can’t understand why God would decide that he can resurrect, but prefers not to and tells us a lie about it instead, clearly allowing this lie to be believed for some 20 centuries before a Canadian minus habens comes along.
Because this is, according to one brave girl who immediately challenged him, what is all about: Jesus “never resurrected”, the whole thing is “like a metaphor that you follow” and, you know, “people have taken the Bible too literally”.
In the view of this “enlightened” teacher in a Catholic school, the “moral” that Jesus died is right but hey, “the story is wrong”. The man is, at this point, launched toward the creation of a completely new religion and dutifully delivers: “Because He died in our honour we should be nice to each other,” or if you prefer to put it another way “the crucifix represents helping others” and when the students look at it “that’s all it’s supposed to mean”.
And there, a new religion is born. This new religion, “BeNiceAnity”, has a vague flavour of Christianity and actually can even tolerate a Crucifix, but not without an explanation that says: “hey, don’t take it all too literally with this Christ: the chap is still six feet under (at which Mundabor would have asked: “where’s the body? Who has stolen it? Who has lied about it? Why?”) and you must just relax, be nice to each other and try to be helpful” (and, no doubt, inclusive).
I don’t want to think what private issues a man can have to want to blasphemously offend Christ in this way, in his role as teacher, in a Catholic school, but one doesn’t have to be a genius to see that they must be huge.
One would wish the chap all the best in his chosen new professional path. Whatever that is, I’m sure he’ll be better at that than he was at teaching.
CNA has a beautiful Papal intervention, aimed at stressing the necessity of good evangelisation work.
One must say, this Pope is good at talking. Take for example these two phrases:
“It is important to make them understand that being Christian is not a type of outfit that one wears in private or on special occasions, but something living and totalizing, capable of taking all that is good in modernity.”
“proclaiming Jesus Christ, the sole Savior of the world, is more complex today than in the past, but our task continues to be the same as at the beginning of our history. The mission hasn’t changed, just as the enthusiasm and courage that motivated the apostles and first disciples should not change.”
I see a slight problem, though. To talk the talk is all good and fine, but from a Pope able to talk the talk with such clarity, one would expect the ability to walk the walk with far more energy and determination than this is the case now. It seems to me more and more that Pope Benedict sees himself not as an enforcer of orthodoxy, but as one whose task is to prepare the way for future orthodoxy. He often gives to me the impression that he is working so that his successors may act, but without acting directly with anywhere near the energy that would be required.
Summorum Pontificum was obviously huge, and Universae Ecclesiae provides the priests and faithful (after, if I may say so, too many years of inaction) with valid instruments to improve its implementation. What I miss, though, is the concrete action on the ground, the factual providing for robust evangelisation rather than the talking about it; in short, the walk.
We still are afflicted with bishops like Nourrichard (Benedict’s appointment to his present position) and Fonlupt (whose very recent appointment even sparked a reaction in form of a letter from French priests); we have an Archbishop of Westminster (also a Benedict’s appointment to his present position) openly boasting that he is nuanced about homosexual relationships and doesn’t know whether he will celebrate their “marriages”. If you read around this blog, you’ll find many more examples, but you get my drift: evangelisation is best made by first putting one’s house in order.
The Church is not in order. The number of bishops with either heterodox views or without the guts to defend orthodoxy is staggering. The situation is so bad, that when a bishop dares to do his job properly this makes huge waves, so unexpected it is. Many of these liberal, heterodox or cowardly bishops have been appointed, and continue to be appointed, by Pope Benedict and I am sorry to say so, but as long as this continues every beautiful talk about the need of a new evangelisation will sound little more than verbal decoration.
Make no mistake, I am a big fan of Pope Benedict’s reforms and I think that, as a Pope, he is a huge improvement on his saintly but catastrophic predecessor. Still, I think that he will be remembered rather as a Pope who prepared the ground for concrete action, than as one who acted decisively himself.
Summorum Pontificum is no concrete action if after four years we still have very few Latin Masses, and nice talks about the needs of evangelisation are no concrete action if the evangelisation is then left to the devices of the Nourrichards of this world, whom the Pontiff himself appoints. Concrete action is to take care that the sheep are provided with good shepherds, and that the shepherds take care that the priests are sound.
Evangelisation via television doesn’t work, much less evangelisation via “encouragement speech” to people whose theology and praxis is almost beyond repair. Evangelisation is done from the pulpit; with a reverent celebration at the altar; with a strong defiance of unChristian politicians; with an insisted, frontal assault on secular thinking.
Most of all, evangelisation is done by forcing the Nourrichards of the world to march allineati e coperti like as many soldiers, or by getting rid of them without delay.
The so-called (this is important, “so-called”. He is an usurper. Never forget!) Archbishop of Canterbury clearly is more confused than we thought and I slowly wonder whether some professional help might not be of some use to him.
Believing to be talking in front of a North-Korean audience, our old man first decided that Shakespeare was a Catholic (I know that this has been rumoured for very long; but now that we have the confirmation from him I rather begin to doubt) and then proceeded to please the audience (he thought he was in North Korea, remember!) by saying that the fact that the old and well-off Bard was “hoarding grain and buying up property in Stratford” makes him, in the eyes of Comrade Williams, “not very attractive”. Which is rather easily said when one disposes of lodgings in places like Lambeth Palace, you might say; but we don’t want to be fussy, do we?
I wonder if someone has informed the old man that Joseph of Arimathea was so wealthy that he hoarded I do not say grain and houses, but even superfluities like …….. luxury tombs. And a very expensive one he had there, just in case…. pure capitalistic decadence! Remaining in Gospel times, Zacchaeus and Nicodemus were not entirely poor, either, but I was under the impression that Jesus seemed to find both of them attractive. How very strange…..
Clearly, Our Lord was not as socially advanced as Mr (note here: no holy orders for him I’m afraid) Williams, who just can’t like people who are doing very fine, as in: even better than he.
Possibly because no applause had ensued, he decided to reinforce the concept with the following pearl of wisdom:
“If he was a Christian, he wasn’t a saint.”
Well nor are you, old ….. boy. Nor am I, or most of us. But wait, Joseph of Arimathaea is a canonised saint!? Recognised even by most Anglicans?! How can it be, if he had so much grain on the side? And the rich Nicodemus? He is a Saint too? !You don’t say?! Who’d have thought it?! What is next, the canonisation of people who were rich enough as to have their own private zoo, like…. St. Thomas More? (Oh well, I assume Thomas More doesn’t count for the Anglicans, does he now….).
We need Mister Williams to start working seriously at the remaking of Christianity. We really do. These last two thousand years have clearly been a promising start, but without him we would still be thinking that it isn’t a sin to be rich, and that riches are a grace that must be used properly and administered like a good steward would. We would even think that the Church has been helped to carry her work by countless rich and saintly men and women, who have given generously not only to alleviate the suffering of the poor, but also to help the Church to grow and spread Christ’s word. We wouldn’t even understand that Jesus has clearly said that property is theft, so blind are we! And we would, perhaps, even be so mad as to be thankful to the countless generous donors who have allowed so many works of sacred art to be created ad maiorem dei gloriam!
Where would we be, without this old… boy.
The capture of Ratko Mladic, the notorious bastard of the Bosnian War, once again reminded me of a similar Italian situation, how Italians dealt with it, and why.
The Italy of the post WW I years was extremely explosive, and during the “biennio rosso” (1919-1921) it seemed that an outright civil war was in the cards. As it is well-known, a de-facto alliance of liberals, landowners, industrialists, conservative Catholics and Fascists put an end to this danger.
When it was clear that the Fascists had got the upper hand, they had to deal with the opposition. But they weren’t Serbians, or Spanish commies. In the end, everyone wanted to live peacefully, and leave adversaries alone as much as this could be reasonably done. The most used device to “pacify” the country was typically Italian: castor oil.
In two words, a small troop of Fascist activist would present themselves to the home of the relevant chap (a socialist, or an anti-fascist liberal or Catholic) and invite him to drink the castor oil. The refusal to drink obviously meant open war, but the acceptance of the “medical aid”a sort of token: one would abstain from anti-fascist activity and would, henceforth, be left alone. No blood, no murders, no widows, no orphans. Not even physical violence. You can call this fascist oppression and I won’t say it was pleasant. But given the circumstances I call it absolutely genial, very Italian, and very Catholic.
This praxis, savagely criticised in the following decades, was in my eyes extremely civilised, and I don’t know any other country where such limitless hate was set aside in such a bloodless way. Humiliating as the drinking of the castor oil was, it was a humiliation meant to consolidate Fascism in power without tragedies, and keeping even one’s adversaries totally unscathed.
I must honestly say that, whilst the civil war phase at the end of WW II was much bloodier than the Fascists ever dreamt to be, most anti-Fascists were honest and decent enough to remember the wisdom of the treatment and, when their hour struck, caused many bottles of castor oil to go over the pharmacy counter and, from there, down different throats. Again, I see in this the way of a country where even the strongest hatred very rarely causes people to forget a sense of humanity and Christian piety; not even then, when those now in the commanding position wouldn’t even define themselves as Christians. Such is the power of an all-pervading Catholic attitude.
The most humorous way to describe in very visual terms the difference between the Serbian and the Italian attitude can be seen in this fragment of a Don Camillo/Peppone film, so popular at the time because so adherent to the Italian reality.
Unfortunately there are no subtitles, but the story is easily told.
1) An old fascist (the great Paolo Stoppa, dressed as a Redskin) has profited from the Carnival to come back to his old village; but he has been recognised from Peppone’s commies and is now very afraid something truly bad may happen to him. He takes refuge by Don Camillo.
2) Don Camillo reminds him that he would feel “safer” if it wasn’t for the castor oil the other had made him drink many yeasr before. The other has the usual excuses: come on, we were mere boys then…
3) Don Peppone, the commie mayor, intervenes after having gone in from the window. He carries a bottle of…. castor oil. Doctor’s orders, he says. “It will do you good”. An iron bar strenghtens the doctor’s advice considerably.
4) The Fascist chap makes a first attempt at escaping, but is stopped. He frees himself a second time, reaches for Don Camillo’s gun, threatens Peppone. “Don’t be stupid, it’s loaded”, says Don Camillo.
5) Now it’s iron bar against gun. Peppone must drink.
6) Triumphant, the fascist chap sends him away. “Now go and call your reds. Perhaps it will cost me my skin, but I won’t go to hell alone”.
7) Don Camillo smiles. He fills a glass. He remarks about how good the oil’s quality is. “You’ll like it”, he says. When the chap threatens him, he informs him that the gun is not loaded, and overcomes him with sheer physical strenght. “I’ll count up to three, then I’ll pulverise you by mere force of slaps”. The chap has no choice but to drink. He is then sent away with the advice of “dressing as a hare” before he is found by Peppone’s boys.
8) Everything seems fine, but Jesus now talks to Peppone: he has lied. “If I had told that the gun wasn’t loaded, Peppone would have massacred him”, tries Don Camillo. “You could have spoken when the redskin forced Peppone to drink the oil!”, says Jesus. “But then Peppone wouldn’t have drunk!”, answers the cheeky priest feigning indifference whilst lighting a cigar.
9) Jesus calls this “vengeance”, Camillo replies with “Justice”. When Jesus insists on him having a “profound sense of justice”, his words are clear: “justice demands that violence and lie be punished”. Camillo’s eyes fall on the castor oil bottle. “Ah, you understood me well!”, says Jesus.
10) At this point, resistance is futile. Camillo tries to cheat, but then fills the glass properly. Before he drinks, he movingly says: “in the end, my Lord, this will remind me of my youth”.
I hope that this little, delightful sketch has added some sun to your Sunday, and that it has explained to you the difference between mad fanaticism, and a Catholic approach to the enemy.
Reasonably high turnout in Malta for the divorce referendum.
It would appear, says Times Of Malta, that
a low turnout among younger voters was noted throughout the day, while the elderly and the religious community appeared to be out in numbers, thus potentially giving the ‘no’ vote the upper hand.
This is certainly a reaction to the appeal of the bishops, cleverly made en masse and in force on the last sunday before the vote, about which I have reported here.
I will probably not be able to report about the result of the referendum until tomorrow. What I notice is the fact that one of only two countries still banning divorce allows a referendum on it, and the result is uncertain to say the least. This seems to me a highly relevant result irrespective of the definitive outcome of the referendum. It means that it is possible, even in the middle of Europe, to build a society whose perception of real values is strong enough as to have a real grip on the population’s decisions.
This is not a coincidence of course. You have seen from the previous blog post mentioned above that the Maltese bishops are committed, outspoken shepherds. They show that if the shepherds are good, there will be enough sheep to give the goats a fight for their money. But this doesn’t happen overnight and is, surely, the result of constant work.
Picture now such a referendum in England, where the local hierarchy seems unable to talk about anything else than social and environmental issues and, when they really talk about embarrassing things like Jesus, they do everything possible to let you understand that they do it because they are supposed to, but you shouldn’t feel offended because they are oh so “inclusive”. Imagine what influence can such a cowardly stance have over a Catholic population already surrounded by a secular and protestant influence, and very often needing clear words to recognise the truth.
Whatever the outcome, this battle in Malta (and the one in Italy about euthanasia, I add) shows that if the Church leaders are committed to the fight, a Catholic army will, in time, be formed; disciplined and well-equipped enough to be a danger for every politicians wanting to stop its march.