The Eponymous Flower translates an article from the Italian Il Timone, which reports that mass attendance in Poland rose 0.7% in one year only.
This may not seem much, but it is double good news: firstly because in my book 0.7% in only one year is an awful lot anyway, and secondly because this goes against the tide of a progressively de-Christianised Western Europe, starting from Italy (which should lead the pack) but involving even more massively countries like France and Spain.
It also tells the lie about the well-spread legend that religious feeling decreases as wealth increases. Poppycock, as Russia and Poland once again (I mean: for those who still don’t get that the richest country on the Planet is also pretty much the most religious) abundantly demonstrate.
This is not a miracle. This is not the deceased Not-So-Great Polish Pope suddenly throwing faith bombs on the Country. This is the result of something very banal, and very obvious:
even a little orthodoxy goes a long way.
Crap Magazine (no link!) has a Q & A “corner”, where the level of dirt reaches standards of dirtiness worrying even for them.
A reader “fights being judgmental”, but actually can't resist showing her supposed liberal superiority to the man who insists on receiving from the priest. She (or him, or it) asks what to do. She had not seen an abomination like this is 30 years (imagine the parish… or the liar…). She doesn't know what to do! To want to receive from the priest! Well, I never…
The answer, coming from a “Reverend”, is a mixture of contempt and patronising. The Rev symphatises with the reader, and assures him or her or it that his experience is more recent than thirty years. He tries to be a good Catholic, though, and shows tolerance to these poor deluded people, without trying to correct him. But then he observes how vaguely dangerous this people are, there was one who even knelt, and there's the risk of all the others tumbling over him!
These devout Catholics are a latent health hazard! But let's suffer them for the sake of inclusiveness. How good, how good we are!
I started noticing it some time ago. At Mass in Rome – undisclosed time and location; wonderful church, but there are thousands of them there only in the Centro Storico, so I have not revealed anything 😉 – the homily was entirely, and I mean entirely, devoted to the simple fact that there is no salvation outside of the Church. Which doesn’t mean one who dies a Protestant is ipso facto damned, etc. You know, the whole enchilada.
Whilst the priest refrained from saying that, therefore, Proselitysm is the contrary of solemn nonsense, there can be no doubt the watchful pewsitter perfectly understood the message.
It has happened, in the meantime, on several other occasions. In England, Germany, and Italy. Even in Belgium. Yes, even in Belgium!
It happens now with beautiful regularity, and I start to wonder. Does it happen because the Pope has expressed himself in a heretical way on so many subjects, that it is difficult to listen to a homily and not notice the difference with what Francis says? Or is it because more and more priests – even V II priests, but sound ones – have decided that their duty now consist in guerrilla warfare or, if you prefer, counter-insurgency operations from the pulpit, but without mentioning the main culprit?
I have now lost count of the homilies where some anti-Francis point was made very clearly. It even seems to me – but I might be biased – that the number of anodyne “do not kick the cat”-homilies is decreasing, as a number of priests who were given to such an exercise now feel a duty to say a couple of things straight, implicitly – alas, very seldom openly – making clear who the target of the criticism is.
A silent counteroffensive is, I think, forming. The Pope confuses the faithful, therefore the priest must drive home a point or two. They are no lions, mind. It is very seldom they even mention the man. But this is, if you will, exactly the point. They are saying to the wise: “ignore him; and please understand I cannot say more”.
I do not know to what extent a priest cannot “say more”. But we, the laity, surely can.
Not encumbered with a nasty bishop as our superior, and in no risk of being transferred to some elephant cemetery for being Catholic, we can say it as it is, carrying on and amplifying the message of the priest. And the message is very simple: do not listen to the old man. Stick to sound Catholicism instead.
If anyone of you could briefly report of what happens in his own neck of the wood and whether he also notices the trend I have described, I would be very grateful for two lines in the comment box.
It might be just me. It might be that I read all the bollocks of the man and am therefore more easily led to comparisons between that and a sound homily. Or it can be that the message is being sent increasingly more forcefully to the faithful: don’t listen to Francis, he does not speak for us.
The news has been widely publicised that Archbishop Martin of Dublin has criticised those young Irish priests who, uncaring of the new Age Of Catholic Protestantism, insist with such an obnoxious and uncharitable nuisance as Catholic teaching.
The way the Archbishop criticises the young orthodox priests is very telling: they would be, we are informed, “conformist”, and “closed”.
Well I never…
Last time I looked, the first duty of a priest was to espouse conformism; to be, in fact, the very epitome of it. Or since when has anti conformism become a positive trait in a priest? Who is a good priest for Archbishop Martin? One who teaches his sheep that it is not necessary to convert anyone to Catholicism?
The same goes, of course, with the “closed” thing; a word which means nothing (the bishop himself is “closed” to pedophilia, surely?) but clearly conveys a clear message that orthodoxy itself must now be seen as narrow-minded. Which explains what “closed” means in this context: Catholic.
One seems to understand how Father Martin made a career, does one not?
Still: it is a consolation to know that in this vast lake of mud, Catholic nymphaeas in the form of orthodox priests are still growing here and there; so much so, that the Bishop must intervene, lest one day Ireland should become Catholic again.
You see: certainly, Francis is a huge problem, because before him the Popes were at least presentable. But the other and vaster problem is the very many little Francis running countless dioceses; they have been left, in essentials, unpunished and even undisturbed by those very same presentable Popes now so fondly remembered, and they were allowed to slowly infiltrate the ranks of the Cardinals. The accident of the election of one like Francis to the Papacy was therefore, given time, unavoidable given the mentality with which the former Popes have made their appointments.
No, I do not think the Cardinals – most of them anyway – really knew what they were doing. But when you have so many rotten apples in the Sistine Chapel, it is unavoidable that at some point one be given a Mozzetta. Which he will then, rather coherently with his rotten thinking, refuse to wear.
My prayers are with the young orthodox priests in Ireland, whose Catholicism so much alarms the Archbishop; and with all young and less young priests who take their vocation seriously, and believe they will have to give an account for it one day.
Frankly, I very much doubt Archbishop Martin has the same belief as them.
A clear sign of the degradation of Catholic thinking was given recently by a Father Blogger, who thought he would make the smart observation that many of those those who criticised the dissenters and the enemies of Benedict now are very ready to criticise the Pope themselves. As if, in all this, there were some contradiction, or hypocrisy.
Of course there isn’t. If Catholicism is to make sense the metre of right and wrong must be given by orthodoxy, not rank. When dissenters go against the teaching of the Church they will be criticised because of that; and the same will happen, must happen, to bishops, cardinals, and Popes. This Pope being openly and shamelessly heretical – albeit in that typical “off-the-cuff”, “who cares what Catholics think” way of his – it is only natural, coherent, and very orthodox that he be criticised himself.
The writing and faulty thinking of the blogger priest shows an alarming degree of Papolatry, in that it equates dissenting from the Pope and dissenting from the Truth; as if the Pope were the bearer, qua Pope, of an authority that can be compared with Truth. Truly alarming, but not so unusual among former Protestant converts who, at times, give one the impression they have converted not to the Truth, but to a Pope. Albeit in this case I suspect the desire not to alienate a mediocre and ill-instructed readership must play a role.
The mediocre priest blogger goes on to criticise what he perceives as personal animosity against Francis. Again, one wonders. I am rather sure not many bloggers and commenters have met Francis personally, and – unless perhaps they sit on a wheelchair, or are Protestants – their probability to do so is exceedingly small. The reason why they despise Francis can, therefore, mostly be traced back to this: that as Popes (or priests) go, Francis is utterly despicable, and it becomes very difficult to be appreciative of the very occasional bout of humour of a Pope who walks over Catholicism every day that God sends on earth. This, If you love Truth, and the Church Francis so continuously attacks. If you don’t care, well of course you can relax…
Life is a simple thing, and it works according to simple rules: if you sabotage the Truth, those who love it will not like you very much. Because they love Truth, you see.
But again, at times there are blog posts that truly show one to what level of functional illiteracy most readers have sunk: utter non-arguments are given to them as if they made sense, and they uncritically accept whatever rubbish they are dished simply because Father (holy, or not) said it.
We are, truly, surrounded by rubbish.
I read in one of those “small c” catholic blogs about a priest who would have been so unspeakably bad as to berate the mother of the child he was baptising, in front of all her relatives, for being an unwed mother.
The small c author then proceeds to mention the preparatory document of the upcoming Synod; in which, with usual prostituted hypocrisy, what 2000 years of Christianity have considered a shame has now become praiseworthy, because something even worse (abortion) has not happened. Which is as logical as praising a marijuana smoker for not being a heroin addict; but hey, who are we to judge?
Now, of course issues of prudence play a role here, but it seems to me that the same prudence should not lead us to condemn (or in Francis' parlance, “judge”) the priest. He is the one in charge of souls, he is the one who will answer of how he has taught them, and he should be considered the one who knows how to do it; unless we think that priests have fun in humiliating unwed mother in front of all her relatives.
If I were in the priests' shoes, in such situations I would say – provided I have decided the condition for baptism are given; and no, the child has no right to infant baptism – that a private ceremony is far more fitting, because there is an objectively scandalous situation; and that if the woman insists on the full-scale, bells-and-whistles ceremony I will comply, but also adress the full-blown scandal of a birth outside of marriage, and of a child who is, as 2000 years of Christianity have told us, a soul loved by God, but also the fruit of sin. This, I would do so that no one thinks Father is fine – as the preparatory document of the Synod and the small c “catholic” bloggers both are – with a baptism in which the scandalous circumstances of birth are either not addressed, or even glorified.
We do not know what has happened in this case. What surprises me – or perhaps not – is that everyone should be so ready to attack a priest upholding Christian values, in the name of a false charity that achieves nothing else than encouraging sinful behaviour; apart, of course, from letting everyone feel good with themselves. And in fact, here as in many other cases the priest who teaches Christianity is the automatic guilty party, condemned of all people by – you knew it – the “who am I to judge”-crowd.
Christianity is harsh. It has an awful lot of unpleasant rules, and it promises a lot of suffering – even for their descendants – to those who refuse to follow them. This is the reality on the ground, and no boot licking of the secular world will ever change a iota in that. Our grandmothers knew it very well, and were very vocal in telling the truth in season and out of season, lest the young mother without a wedding were, one day, to be their own granddaughter. They were, in this, helped by priests who taught things properly, like the good priest undoubtedly did on this occasion.
Nowadays, Christianity is supposed to celebrate everything and not condemn anyone; after which we complain – at least those among us who are honest enough to see it – that Christianity is vanishing from “feel-good” Countries.
In my eyes, those who have such a problem with Christian rules should be honest with themselves and admit that they have a problem with Christ, who gave us 2000 years of the very hard, and very “judgmental” religion Christianity has always been before this time.
But they don't.
They shoot the messenger instead.
I have posted a short while ago – after my adrenaline level has stabilised, albeit to a very dangerous level – a blog post about Pope Francis’ endorsement of and encouragement to sodomy.
Reading around on the Internet, you find the various comments: with the professional blind, the closet homosexuals talking of “mercy”, and the “I don’t know how, but this must all make sense in some way” types.
Some commenters, though, seem to make a very dangerous mistake: they choose orthodoxy by half, thinking that this is a kind of “golden mean”, or a way to protect orthodoxy whilst remaining “charitable”. It isn’t orthodox, and it isn’t charitable.
A clear example is in the approval of the so-called “third way” concerning homosexuality. From what I could read around, this “third way” would consist in declaring oneself openly and proudly homosexual, whilst choosing chastity because… Christianity says so.
This is a clear example of senseless bollocks, invented by someone who wanted to bend over backwards to appease the culture of the times, or wanted to promote homosexuality profiting of the culture of the times.
Homosexuality is a perversion. There’s nothing good in homosexuality. Nothing whatever. Homosexuality is not to 98%, or to 99%, but to 100% of the devil. It is, therefore, utterly impossible to be afflicted by such a perversion and be “proud” of it, in the same way as it is impossible to openly declare oneself a pervert without giving scandal.
Thinking logically, the entire concept defies its purpose. To make something public already means to imply a search for approval; an approval that is then forcefully imposed on the community by the very assertion that there should be any “pride” in it.
One truly wonders what the purpose of this “third way” is: to lead homosexuals to accepts chastity, or to lead Christians to accepts homosexuality of something to be openly proclaimed, and to be proud of. Tellingly, no one of the promoters of this strange “way” seem to ask himself why there was never any need of it before. Was Christianity unmerciful these last 2000 years?
Beware of this kind of “moderate” positions. They aren’t Christian, at all.
The same happens with some Catholics who say that they are contrary to so-called same-sex marriage, but are not against so-called civil partnerships. They do not understand that if Christianity has done without civil partnership for 2,000 years it was because of … basic Christianity.
Unfortunately, nowadays the very concept of scandal has disappeared. Accommodating people’s real or perceived need is the real priority, and people therefore start to think, in all seriousness and without seeing any problem, how Christianity can be bent to do it.
The idea that it should be a problem at all that a faggot living with his “partner” would not have his “relationship” with him legally regulated, or would not be able to visit him in the hospital, or would not have any right to his “pension pot” by “divorce” would have caused justified scandal, mixed with amused irony and salacious comments, in every generation before ours. Nowadays, people very seriously think about them, and think them a societal issue. This is how de-Christianised our societies have become.
These are merely two example. There are many others.
Be always vigilant, and reflect whether what you are reading on the internet would have been considered sound by your grand-grandmother.
Truth never changes. It’s as simple as that.
One reads, every now and then, criticism of those who criticise the Pope. At times, this criticism is not only based on consideration of opportunity, but is linked to an attack of the character of the critics: you criticise the Pope, because you are bad and want to make yourself important by playing holier than thou with the oh so good Holy Father.
This kind of thinking neglects a fundamental consideration: that for a Catholic it is not easy to criticise a Pope, and if one wants to play holier than thou the Pope is the last person with whom to play such a play. In fact, it can easily be said not only a blogger, but every Catholic talking with his friends cannot criticise the Pope without putting his own credibility on the line. He must, therefore, very much pay attention to what he says.
Another extremely banal consideration is that no one likes to criticise the Pope. As the successor of Peter, the Pontiff is met with a natural desire to like him and approve of him. The idea that there would be an army of Catholic bloggers just enjoying their criticism of the Pope is evident nonsense. How such people would then be taken seriously by other Catholics is not said. How this behaviour would now have come suddenly in fashion, is also not explained.
These critics talk without looking at reality, without considering the facts.
The criticism of the Pope is based on objective reality, observable by everyone. A reality that has been observed not once or twice, but dozen of times, with a repeatedly scandalous behaviour the Pontiff always refused to correct. Similarly, the sound criticism of the Bishop of Rome you read around is never based on the kind of emotional sweeping generalisations people may use with, say, politicians – you know the type: “all politicians are thieves”, & Co. – but is constantly based on undeniable facts.
Now, Catholicism is not based on whims, or on easy emotionalism. It is based on hard Truths of Faith to which everyone is bound, and which bind the Pope first as he is the first of God's servants.
What shall we do, then: ignore reality? When has it become a Christian precept that Popes are not a legitimate object of well-deserved criticism? Since when it is Christian to allow scandal to go unchecked, when the one who gives scandal happens to be the Pope? Is the Pope not bound by the rules? Are we not accessory in his son by silence, when we are silent concerning the scandal given by the Pope? What kind of delusion is that?
I believe in God, the Father Almighty. I believe all that the Church believes, and profess all that the Church professes. I simply cannot become suddenly blind, when the most elementary tenets of the Church of Christ, and with them the obedience to God, are put into question. I cannot suspend my duty to react to scandal exactly when the scandal comes from the most dangerous of places. This would be not only blindness, but wilful sinful neglect of my own duties as a Catholic. This would mean to decide that Christ should take a place in the second row when the Pope has put himself in the first; nay, that I should simply ignore Christ everytime the Pope is at variance with him. How can I, or everyone else, blind myself to reality without becoming an accessory to Francis' sins?
There there is the objective dimension of the scandal. When the Pope gives scandal, the damage is bigger than when even several Cardinals together do it. No one on earth can give as much scandal, and confuse so many faithful, as the Pope. Therefore, the problem of a Pope giving scandal simply puts in the shadow the antics of every other Cardinal or Bishop or Priest. We cannot ignore this self-evident reality, that a child of five can easily grasp.
Besides, we are not talking of personal interpretations here. Francis' trespasses are many, richly documented, made under the sun without any shame. He even goes to the extraordinary length of documenting them in spontaneous home made videos! And we are supposed to shut up in front of such scandal? Really? What kind of Christianity is that, that orders one to forget Christ?
I refuse to do so. I refuse to do so as a blogger, as a friend, as a relative, as a colleague. I will not ignore the simple reality on the ground and take refuge in a delusion of normality that is just not there. I cannot ignore the Pope more than I can ignore the reality of Church teaching; and if I do the first, I unavoidably do the second. There is simply nowhere to hide. Christ and Francis can't be both right, it's as simple as that.
Now, one can understand that a priest may, out of his hierarchical loyalty to the Church, be nuanced in his criticism of the Pope. But when a priest accuses the critics of the Pope of having issues of their own merely because they look at reality for what it is, he is being disingenuous. What he is asking us to do, is to become deaf to every stupid statement coming from the Pope – very many of those, unfortunately – in a sort of “Pope before Christ” slogan that is simply unacceptable, and it is very sinful in his demand that we all become accessory to Francis' sin.
Delude yourself if you want to. I refuse to do so.
The Pope's good servant, but Christ's first.
Decidedly, breathtaking hypocrisy is another mark of the Bishop of Rome.
Having decided it is now time to give some bird food to the Neocon pigeons, Francis has looked for something orthodox in Pope Paul VI's archives and has come out with very fitting words about the necessity of being faithful to the Church, and uphold her doctrine. He has also told the Notre Shame people one can't do what he wants with doctrine. Fitting words, indeed.
Only problem is that his entire papacy is in blatant contradiction to his words. Let me state this once again, so that it does not look like it was a slip of the keyboard: this man's hypocrisy is breathtaking.
This blog could consist entirely of refutations of the infinite, almost daily ways in which this man either denies Christ, or insults the Blessed Virgin, or sabotages Church teaching, or expresses himself in a confused and at times outright creepy way. The last post was just yesterday evening, and it would shame every Papacy alone. Please note I try to write about other issues too; but by the barrage of nonsense we get from the man it gets rather difficult at times.
This is the same man who now has the insolence of telling us that we must be faithful to what the Church teaches.
Is the Pope a Jesuit?
Yes. Quite the Jesuit.
We are invited from sources above suspicion to support Francis when he says something orthodox, lest the cheering liberal crowd highjacks the “narrative” concerning the Pope.
I am not sure I agree.
I support Orthodoxy, not a Pope. If the Pope is orthodox, then it's normal. If he is particularly good at being orthodox, then he will be worthy of praise. If he isn't orthodox, he is a disgrace.
What Liberals do and say about Francis is, in this context, fully irrelevant. We can't enter a shouting context over who praises Francis more and hope anything good will come out of that. On the contrary, much bad would come out of that, because we have been praising the person whose character we will be criticising the next day.
By all means: when Francis happens to do something right – which at times he does – let us note that he has done it right, and a “well done” might also be in order. But let us not think we will in any way do things better for the Church by supporting a Pope who is damaging her so much, until we find very robust evidence of a definitive return to orthodox Popes.
The Pope's good subject, but God's first.
Once again, the “Eye of the Tiber” has a shocking revelation that will not fail to alarm us: the good old (particularly: old) V II, accepting, welcoming crowd.
I am told episodes like the one mentioned are getting more and more frequent, albeit with the change at the top this might grind to a halt very soon. I am dreaming of a Jesuit Renaissance just now.
It is worrying, really. To see the Church coming back to the old intolerance and homophobia of Jesus' times would be very sad indeed. It would be like saying the Holy Ghost is not anymore in favour of V II and has… changed His mind!
(No, wait… there's something illogical going on there….
Let us pray with soprano voices – the men too – that all those may soon end.
The Church must stop obsessing about the old things and focus on the real emegencies: youth unemployment, the loneliness of the old people and the buses coming two at a time.
This time, we have an added fun factor as our Mr. Nutting debates against… GK Chesterton, who at least to these foreign ears has been even provided with an admirable, very posh English accent.
Mr. Nutting is, as always, pure Nutting and Mr. Chesterton is, well …… 100% authentic GK Chesterton.
Enjoy this short video and let us hope that others, hopefully on the GK theme, will follow.