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.
Another beautiful blog post of Mgr Charles Pope (this is the Monsignor with no uncertain trumpet, or talking about locks and keys: when are they going to make him a bishop?), reminiscing of a country in which Christianity was not the enemy, but a deeply felt part of the everyday – and national – consciousness.
I could very well relate to his situation because, on a slightly different plane, I had analogous experiences and I saw the Italian society change in the meantime, though not in such a dramatic way. We had the “Hail Mary” and “Our Father” every morning at school before beginning lessons; religion (that is: Catholicism) was part of the curriculum from kindergarten on, and at school we had religion one hour a week. The country lived at the rhythm of the Christian clock; Christmas was very keenly felt, and the music above one of the most popular Christmas jingles, back in every home year after year. Sunday was the day of rest, Mass and football; the Crucifix was in every classroom, the Pope unceasingly on TV, the mass televised in its entirety at twelve every Sunday. There was a very fortunate radio program every evening and replied every morning: “ascolta, si fa sera”. Millions of children have listened to it whilst having breakfast, for sure, with Handel’s music the same year after year.
Many things have changed now. Sunday is not such a Christian day as it used to be, as the necessity to stress oneself seems to have extended to the seventh day; come to that, Sunday football has also been massacred on the altar of television, and a generation of Italians has grown up without knowing the incredible emotion of “tutto il calcio minuto per minuto”, the most beloved (from men) and most hated (from women) radio program of all times, with a soundtrack and emotions every Italian knew. No TV could ever equal it, I never felt the same emotion again.
Technology has made us stupid, the relentless quest for televised excitement has taken the best emotions away from us. We just pay much more for them; but I digress…
Crucifixes are still in every classroom, and in a healthy reaction to the attack of mad atheists and subversive Muslims the country has successfully fought to keep them where they are supposed to be. But you see that the country has changed; if not dramatically so, certainly worryingly so. “Ascolta, si fa sera” and “tutto il calcio minuto per minuto” are both still there, but the first now hosts Evangelicals and Jews, the second is mutilated by the TV-dictated match schedule.
In all this, the country is being rather admirable at keeping its Catholic roots. Not because of the generally disgraceful clergy (this is the country where some member of the clergy has the nerve of supporting the building of mosques, and others lend churches to Muslims; I hope they repent before they kick the bucket), but because Catholicism is surprisingly resilient, is in the very bone marrow of the country. In Italy, what Catholicism you still have you owe it to the wisdom and resilience of the people, not to the courage of the priests.
Like Monsignor Pope (I always smile at the name…), I see changes around me, and a society certainly less Christian. But I also see a huge untapped reservoir of Christian resources all over the West. It seems to me that Christianity is not dying at all, rather a bit of a sleeping giant; that when the Christian leaders (and most importantly, the Catholic ones) wake up and start to blow the battle horn, the soldiers will not be slow in rallying. In Italy, euthanasia and crucifixes have been clear Christian victories, and after four decades of clerical silence (meaning with this: clerical silence) opposition to abortion is probably not far from 40%. In England, a Pope whose attempted arrest had been feared has drawn crowds unthinkable just the week before; always in England, the virulent anti-Catholic media attack of Easter 2010 has caused a spectacular run of faithful to the churches in the Holy Week in what was clearly a massive popular reaction to the media attacks.
The troops are there. Even in England! Yes, they must be mobilised and trained. But the real problem is not the absence of troops. It’s the lack of willing generals.
Pope Benedict XVI has launched today News.va, the all-new portal of the Vatican created to integrate various Vatican communication activities. A link has been already provided for your convenience under Links (Catholic).
By clicking you’ll find easy access to news from the Osservatore Romano (this is very impressive: it is now 7pm in the UK and there is a beautiful .pdf version of Tomorrow’s “Osservatore” that you can read online, for free), from the news agency Fides, from the Press Office of the Vatican and from other media and information sources. You can even click and listen directly to the Vatican radio, in several languages.
Even a layman like me notices that this is not something patched together in an approximate way. Wherever you click, the format remains the same, the information seamlessly integrated in the site whilst at the same time giving you the possibility to access the relevant media (to listen to the radio, to read the newspaper, to go to the “Osservatore Romano”‘s site instead of reading from the news.va platform).
You can share everything at your heart’s content of course, and in a sign of the times the Pope has sent the news of the start of the service with a tweet (another sign of the times being that he has done so from an iPad; Steve Jobs sends his greetings and if I were him, the relevant image would go in the ads planetwide… ).
It all works fine, and makes a good impression to this layman. It is easy to use and very convenient in the possibilities it opens. For example, I had never thought of listening to the Vatican Radio on the internet; but now it is only a couple of clicks away, in my language of choice.
If Pope Benedict wanted to give himself some nice toy for his sixtieth anniversary of ordination, I must say he has chosen a beautiful and perfectly useful one.
Ad multos annos!
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.
It would appear that a new consistory is rather probable within the end of the year.
This is not entirely surprising as the vacancies are now numerous. By the end of the year there will be the possibility of appointing 15 Cardinals (if Pope Benedict wants to remain by the number of 120 elettori, that is). Now, this is at least one eighth of the next conclave, probably more – due to the system which sees Cardinals continuously losing electorate – and it is clear enough that every consistory can, in and of itself, radically change the situation at the next Conclave.
Pope Benedict is still in rather good health, but at 84 and with a past of heart problems I’m sure he is not planning for a reign of JP II’s duration. It is therefore rather important that this consistory injects the right energies into the next conclave.
Much is at stake, as both Summorum Pontificum and the relationship with the SSPX and the other traditionalist groups could be seriously compromised in case the next conclave results in a serious mistake. On the other hand, a careful but noticeable shifting of the centre of gravity towards the right wing would give everyone the serenity necessary for long-term hopes.
Ideally – if you ask me – Pope Benedict would appoint only one or two of the liberals to appease them (Nichols’ appointment is this time, alas, very probable) and choose for all other places men of undoubted liturgical and theological orthodoxy, possibly rather young so that they stay around for a long time.
I wish the Holy Father a long and healthy reign of course, but the demographic reality is what it is and it must be clear to us that this might be the last consistory of this pontificate.
Ad multos annos, Papa! But please, please conservative appointments!
Strange things happen these days at the FSSPX. I have already written about the potential offer of a worldwide ordinariate for Traditionalists, and of the subsequent clarification from Bishop Fellay that no formal offer has been made. On this second occasion, the Italian blog Messa In Latino insisted that the news (Ordinariate on its way of being offered; formal document not ready yet) are authentic and from credible source.
We now have, from the same blog, two pieces of news; the first rather, the second very interesting.
The first is that Bishop Williamson has criticised the offer of Ordinariate (which was clearly expected), at the same time confirming that he has a source of information directly inside of Ecclesia Dei. He adds the definition “Apostolic Ordinariate“, with the adjective not mentioned by Messa in Latino. This sounds like one with one ear inside Ecclesia Dei, and not particularly pleased at what he hears.
The second is that Bishop Fellay has been summoned to Rome, together with his two assistants, for the 14th September, 4th anniversary of the day Summorum Pontificum came into force.
Fellay is supposed to deposit the SSPX’s final relation about the doctrinal talks, but the date is a sensitive, directly relevant and historical one and it is not difficult to imagine that something might be in the making here. What day would be more apt for this second historical step, than the anniversary of when the first came into force…
Against this datum of 14th of September would, on the other hand, speak the fact that in October we will have the questionable “Assisi III” gathering, and it is easy to imagine that the spirits at the SSPX will be rather excited. If, therefore, a formal offer is presented mid-September, the discussion within the SSPX will develop in the weeks leading to the Assisi gathering. Not good for them, and not good for Rome. Good, actually, only for Williamson and the other opposers of full reconciliation.
We will see out this pans out. In the meantime, the clear nervousness of Bishop Williamson and the symbolic date for Bishop Fellay’s meeting with the Pope do give some reason to hope.
The Italian blog Messa In Latino – which had published the original rumour – today informs us that Bishop Fellay has denied the existence of a document outlining the proposal of an Ordinariate for the FSSPX and other traditionalist groups.
Messa In Latino confirms that such a solution has been (tentatively) outlined to the FSSPX. The explanations given by the blog as to how reconcile this with Fellay’s words are as follows:
1) Bishop Fellay has denied the existence of a “concrete project” (say: a definitive document of proposal), not the existence of a verbal, in principle proposal to proceed in this way.
2) It would appear that the announcement has caused some discontent within the FSSPX, with the least moderate part predictably opposed to any solution which doesn’t represent a complete backpedaling from Rome.
3) It would appear possible that in light of this situation, Fellay himself may have wished the postponement of the official proposal to a later time, in the meantime hoping to consolidate the approval for such a solution.
4) The proposed Assisi meeting in October is not going to make things easier; again, this might speak for an official proposal after the sandstorm to be caused by the Assisi gathering has settled.
It all makes much sense to me and I do not think that the Italian translation will reveal fundamental changes. Whilst it is predictable that the intransigent fraction will not be happy with the solution, I frankly can’t see why the vast part of the SSPX clergy should refuse it, provided that the ability for the SSPX to continue to operate in complete autonomy (which means: to continue to criticise V II documents ad libitum) would not be compromised. It is not that Lefebvre was any softer regarding V II before his excommunication, so there is no need to fear that return to full communion will mean the necessity to accept the V II documents as pure gold.
What is important to notice is that Messa In Latino boldly confirms the rumours. In this respect, the presence of a written document is in my eyes not really decisive, as after so many years of disagreements there is no real hurry and the idea of waiting until, say, Advent does make sense.
I will keep you posted if further news appear.
This Michael Voris video is, I must say, rather harsh even for his standards. Which is not bad, actually, as the present situation justifies in my eyes a good dose of harshness, and then some.
The basis of Voris’ message is that the bishops can’t pass the buck and blame the modern times, or the media, or the situation they have found for the lack of orthodoxy we see all too often in Catholic parishes. It is exactly the duty of the bishop to react to modern times (times have never been “old”, in fact, and every age has always had its own challenges and difficulties), to pay attention that his priests behave orthodoxy, to take care that Catholic teaching is correctly – and actively – represented in the media however possible, and in general to take care of the souls of his diocese.
It is true that, as Voris points out, things are not so extreme as they used to be and one must admit that there is no Liberation Theology around, neither has Pope Benedict to confront a bishops’ rebellion remotely comparable to the Dutch Schism, or to the Winnipeg Statement. Still, there is a lot of nonsensical waffling around, convenient espousing of fashionable ideologies and, most importantly, almost complete blindness towards heterodox priests, heretical theologians and politicians who are Catholics in name only.Voris makes two concrete examples regarding “homo masses”, but the same complaint can be made regarding, to name just two, abortion or contraception.We will not have any meaningful resurgence of Catholic thinking in the West, until the Bishops start to do their job properly collectively and not only with the courageous initiative of a small number of brave men not fearing unpopularity.
The only integration of Voris’ thought that I would like to make is that if it is undoubtedly true that the bishops are responsible for what happens in their own dioceses, it is equally honest to admit that the Popes are responsible for the quality of the bishops. It is not that those appointed were noted for their own courage and/or orthodoxy and then magically became cowardly and/or heretical after the fact. Rather, the bad quality of many of today’s bishop can be directly attributed of the bad quality of the appointments. This simple fact must – unpleasant as it is – be brought at the very centre of the debate if we want to avoid the situation in which Popes ask their bishop to behave well, whilst appointing people predisposed to behave badly. In this respect, it is i my eyes cleat that an awful lot must be accomplished still, and that Pope Benedict’s papacy can be – again, in this respect – archived as a missed opportunity.
I’d have to ask a theologian whether it is ok to call very bad bishops – as I seem to understand the word from the video – “bums”; but frankly, I wouldn’t say that they haven’t deserved to some clear words anyway.
The Daily Telegraph (you will remember, this is the newspaper which calls itself “conservative” but calls homosexuals and sodomites “gay” and puts obscene photos of homos kissing on their internet page, for every child to see) gives us just another example of how not to be a journalist.
As you can see in the link, there are several anti-Catholic messages in this article:
1) the reference to the Nazi-built stadium. Now, not even the “Telegraph”‘s most astonishingly leftist journalist would, I hope, suggest that all public buildings and structures erected by the Nazis (and an awful lot of them there were; if you ask me, mostly extremely beautiful; many survived the war) be destroyed because hey, “they were built by the Nazis”. If this is a logical statement (which it is), it follows that the Olympic Stadium is simply… the Olympic stadium and the fact that it was built by Hitler is, subsequently, neither here nor there. Clearly, though, the desire to put the Pope in contact with whatever smell of Nazism could be found was clearly irresistible.
2) The journalist is good enough to mention the fact that Pope Benedict’s membership of the Hitlerjugend was compulsory, but one wonders what relevance the Pope being drafted (that’s just what it was: you got drafted and you became a member of the Hitlerjugend, there was no other organisation where you could have landed) as millions of Germans of his age has to his travelling to Germany. Once again, the desire to put the Pope in contact with whatever smell of Nazism could be found was clearly irresistible.
3) Just in case you didn’t get the message, among the hundreds of articles about Pope Benedict the “Telegraph” could have linked to, what do our pink heroes choose? But of course! They choose an article with the following title: “Vatican: don’t mention the Pope’s Hitler Youth past”. Think of this, this is a historical papacy which gave us Summorum Pontificum; a visit to England is not many months old, which visit stunned the country for its success and the amount of public participation; also directly related to the British Isles, Anglicanorum Coetibus is another historical step with potentially vast long-term repercussions on the future of Anglicanism. But what do you think the “Daily Homograph” considers worthy of being “related” to the papal visit? Ah, the fact that the Vatican tries to influence journalists about the Pope’s past, of course! Once again, the desire to put the Pope in contact with whatever smell of Nazism could be found was clearly irresistible. , and here a dab of “oppressive and manipulative Vatican” is added for good measure.
4) Then there’s the matter of the Catholics “leaving the Church” in record numbers, which is clearly bollocks. What all these people do is very clearly not stop going to Mass – at least, not because they stop paying – but simply stop paying the “Kirchensteuer”, the infamous “church tax” in place in Germany and in a couple of other countries. This is a typical Protestant construct, a (voluntary but in the past, more or less socially expected) tithe paid directly from one’s wage which leaves the faithful with no control whatsoever as to how much he wants to give, and to whom. This is Castrism, not Christian charity. The result is that Germany has a clergy both extremely well off, and extremely tepidly Catholic. Why should they care? They can abandon themselves to every sort of circus and liberal tomfoolery and the money is there, guaranteed and aplenty….
The system of the “Kirchensteuer” is now clearly going down in flames, as it should. But this doesn’t mean that interest in Catholicism is diminishing, let alone that people are leaving the Church in record numbers. It just means that they are fed up with having to pay a “church tax”, which can only be good for the local church and might, who knows, force some of their priests to convert to Catholicism.
5) Dulcis in fundo, the entire article is, actually, wrong. The news here is that a big venue had been booked for the Papal visit, but this venue had to be abandoned because…. it is not big enough. This means that the attraction of the Pope is beyond the previsions, even considering that this is the travel of a German Pope to his own country.
What about, then, a headline like: “Success of Papal Visit forces change in venue”, or: “Crowds wanting to see Pope Benedict force use of Olympic Stadium”, or: “Papal visit: 40,000 places not enough for Berlin”. Note here that Berlin is historically Protestant and nowadays largely atheist, which makes the news even more noteworthy.
Well, it wasn’t to be. Something had to be found to smear the Holy Father with a dash of Nazism, and downplay the success his visit is very clearly heading to. You can’t tell your readers that this Pope awakens great sympathy even in uber-Liberal Germany so that a big stadium must be used, can you now? No, let us build the article on the “crisis of Catholicism” in Germany and let us paint the Pope with a broad Nazi brush. Let me see, what headline could we use? hmm, yes: “Pope’s Berlin Mass moved to Nazi Olympic Site” will do…
The “Daily Telegraph” is a nest of anti-Catholic hacks, in part motivated by the clear homosexuality to be found among their ranks. It is just that the newspaper being officially “conservative” doesn’t allow them to make an overt anti-Catholic and pro-homo propaganda, and more subtle messages must be sent.
Please don’t buy this rag.
I have written last year about the scandalous Mass allowed every year by the every inch as scandalous Archbishop of Vienna, Cristoph Cardinal Schoenborn.
The event might happen – and is, in fact, scheduled to happen – again this year, unless sincere Catholics the world over manage to let Cardinal Schoenborn either see the light, or get a well-deserved slap from Rome.
Click on the link for the details. Mind, though, that this is rather strong stuff.
You can sign Gloria.tv’s petition here
If you feel like wasting some time, you can politely complain (in English too) by the Archbishop at email@example.com
You can write to the Congregation for the Clergy denouncing these scandalous shepherds at firstname.lastname@example.org
The email of the Papal Nuncio in Austria is: email@example.com
Or you can write to the Holy Father himself at firstname.lastname@example.org
Come on folks, let’s do this. The mass will be stopped or not as the case may be, but the stronger the uproar, the more difficult it will be to go on with such scandals.
In addition, please consider that Schoenborn is, in theory at least, papabile and the public uproar will certainly not help him when the time comes.
I have written two days ago about the interviews of Mgr Pozzo and Bishop Fellay.
As you can read here, my impression was that the distance between the two sides was greatly reduced and that particularly Fellay seemed to indicate that now only a decision from the Vatican was waited for, though I thought that the Vatican would prefer to wait for the funeral of the V-II generation before taking action.
If the generally very well informed Messa In Latino blog is right, this might not be the case.
First the text in Italian:
Il Papa sta per proporre a mons. Fellay la costituzione di un Ordinariato, per regolarizzare la situazione della FSSPX e delle sue comunità alleate, lasciandogli la piena (e indispensabile, visti certi epìscopi in circolazione) autonomia nei confronti dei vescovi diocesani. Alcuni membri di una comunità Ecclesia Dei hanno potuto precisare che questa proposta canonica sarà fatta nel corso del presente mese di giugno a mons. Fellay.
My unworthy translation:
The Pope is going to propose to Mons. Fellay the constitution of an Ordinariate to regolarise the situation of the FSSPX and of the communities allied to it, by leaving to the SPPX the full (and, given certain bishops going around, indispensable) autonomy towards the diocesan bishops. Some members of an Ecclesia Dei community were in a position to confirm that this canonical proposal will be made to Mons. Fellay during the present month of June.
If confirmed, this would be huge. It would mean that in one fell swoop not only the FSSPX would be given full communion again, but there would be a ready platform for all those desirous to attend Mass, and to live the Church, in the old way.
Again a commentary of Messa In Latino:
E’ una soluzione win-win, in cui tutti avrebbero moltissimo da guadagnare: da un lato Roma ricucirebbe una dolorosa rottura e troverebbe truppe fresche e determinate per condurre la battaglia del recupero di quanto gli ultimi decenni hanno dissipato; dall’altro la FSSPX si laverebbe dello stigma di ribellione e di ‘scisma’, potendo così svolgere un apostolato ben più efficace e senza subire i mille pregiudizi che l’accompagnano nella mente del cattolico medio, pur conservando appieno l’attuale libertà di movimento e di azione.
Again, my unworthy translation:
This is a win-win situation, by which everyone would have an awful lot to gain: on the one hand, Rome would heal a painful fracture and would find fresh and determined troops to carry the battle of the recovery of what the last decades have squandered; on the other hand, the FSSPX would wash itself from the stigma of rebellion and “scism”, thus being able to carry on a much more effective apostolate, without having to suffer the thousand prejudices associated to it in the mind of the average Catholic, but still keeping the actual freedom of movement and action in full.
If confirmed, this would be in my eyes as big as Summorum Pontificum.
Please, Please God make this come true…
Rorate Caeli has a very interesting double post, in which a recent interview of Bishop Fellay is linked to an interview given by Mgr Pozzo of Ecclesia Dei. Both interviews contain what in my eyes are very interesting points.
Looking first at the interview with Pozzo, there is an expression that will probably make some waves (emphasis mine):
It does not seem conceivable that a call into question of the Second Vatican Council may happen. Therefore, where do these discussions might lead? To a better understanding of this?
Mgr Pozzo’s Answer:
They concern a clarification of points that detail the exact meaning of the teaching of the Council. It is what the Holy Father started to do on December 22, 2005, by interpreting the Council within a hermeneutic of renewal in continuity. Nevertheless, there are certain objections of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X that do make sense, because there has been an interpretation of rupture. The goal is to show that it is necessary to interpret the Council in the continuity of the Tradition of the Church.
Note that Mgr Pozzo says that SSPX and CDF are working together at seeing whether a shared understanding of V II can be achieved. It will not be a dismissal of V II as a cretinous thing to do in itself (shame, ndr), but it might lead to the same thing, that is: the rigorous exam of V II so that every interpretation not in rigorous continuity with the pre-V II Church is clearly and unequivocally rejected. This would lead, in a word, not to a formal dismissal of the V II documents, but to their thorough re-interpretation in light of Catholic orthodoxy. Basically, it means exposing all their shortcomings, misleading formulations and wrong interpretations by still saying that, apart from the shortcomings and the misleading formulations, they were never meant to be interpreted wrongly in the first place.
This seems to me a clear indication that the distances are reducing, as the explicit words of Mgr Pozzo about the SSPX’s objections “making sense” further underscore. In a situation where no word is said casually, I think this is worth noticing.
Even more worth noticing is the interview given some days ago by Bishop Fellay, which Rorate Caeli reports under the same link. Fellay allows himself very interesting words (emphasis mine):
I believe that, at some level, the Good Lord linked us with this crisis, because we work for the restoration of the Church, but this may still last for a decade, maybe two. It is necessary to have lots of courage and perseverance. This can be resolved tomorrow, this may be resolved the day after tomorrow. All is in the hands of the Good Lord.
Unless I am totally mistaken, there are two important points here:
1) Fellay sees something like one or two papacies as the maximum wait before a full reconciliation. He talks like one who can see from the development of the talks that time is on his side. Basically, he seems to imply that there are some toads that have been clearly recognised, but that the Vatican will not be ready to swallow until the Council has been pushed further into a historic (and less emotional) dimension and the generation who has lived it has proceeded to – hopefully – greener pastures.
2) The first point seems to me further stressed by the revealing words that I have emphasised. I do not know about you, but to me these words seem an extremely emphatic assertion that the distance has now become very small, and the Vatican must decide not the if, but merely the when of the formal steps leading to a full reconciliation. At any rate, I can’t imagine Fellay using such words unless he is persuaded that every big obstacle has been removed from the way.
Not for the first time, I get the impression that the only thing now necessary before the SSPX is in full communion again is the death of the generation who has lived the Second Vatican Council, and the possibility to put things straight from a more relaxed, less controversial historical perspective.
Some time ago I wrote a blog post about the desperate gesture of twenty-five French priests writing to Cardinal Ouellet and asking him to the help the Holy Father to select better bishops
I do not know whether the letter had a direct effect on this appointment (and it might, in fact, well be that the decision had been taken before the letter being received), but one can certainly say that the new appointment for Aberdeen will not cause any such letter to be written.
Abbot Hugh Gilbert, OSB is known to be a holy and very orthodox man. He had been openly rumoured as a successor for the unspeakable Archbishop Murphy O’Connor (so openly, in fact, that it moved the Spectator to write an article about him) and with the benefit of hindsight it is no less than a tragedy that instead of him the almost-as-unspeakable Vincent “Quisling” Nichols was the chosen one.
Perhaps the key to this appointment’s interpretation lies in the clear perception that Nichols’ appointment was a serious mistake, and that the best thing to do now is to react by injecting a good dose of holiness and orthodoxy in the clergy of the British Isles, clearly in dire need of it.
Pluscarden is a success story not only because of the prestige of the institution and the reputation acquired by its Abbott, but because it thrives. Once again, it is plain to see that seriously intended Catholicism – not trendy waffling around – is what is needed.
I am not as deluded as to think that the new Bishop will now avoid some political adjustment to the new situation and in fairness, being a bishop is not the same as being an abbot; still, it is fair to say that one can have the highest hopes of his becoming an exemplary bishop and to shame Vincent “Quisling” Nichols just by way of contrast.
Congratulations to the Abbot for his new appointment and best wishes for his, no doubt, excellent work as Bishop.
Joe Biden met the Pope yesterday. We do not know what the Pope said to him (I hope he slapped him; someway I doubt it), but we do know what Joe Biden, the highest-ranking Catholic in name only in the land, thinks of his being Catholic. The man suffers, like many of his Catholic colleagues, of a strange form of schizophrenia. At home, Mr. Biden thinks that life begins at conception. But as soon as he goes out of the door of his house another Joe Biden takes over. This one “cannot impose his personal convictions in the legislative arena” and therefore (!) backs abortion.
I thought being a politician was about having personal convictions, but I must be gravely mistaken here: being a politician is obviously about saying what people want one to say and make a living out of it. Brilliant.
More brilliant (this time, though, seriously) is the answer given to him – some time ago, but CNA rightly reports it – from his bishop:
“No one today would accept this statement from any public servant: ‘I am personally opposed to human slavery and racism but will not impose my personal conviction in the legislative arena.’ Likewise, none of us should accept this statement from any public servant: ‘I am personally opposed to abortion but will not impose my personal conviction in the legislative arena.’”
Brilliant here is not the concept (which is rather banal, and should actually be understood by every person with a bit of sense in his head), but the fact that a bishop openly exposes the hypocrisy of such cowardly – or, worse, purely fake – Catholic politicians.
One could hope – if he is in a really, really good mood – that this meeting with the Pope will lead to a change of Biden’s stance about, at least, abortion. Unfortunately and not being in such a really, really good mood I am more inclined to think that Mr. Biden is merely trying to get some headlines and polish his image among Catholics on the cheap.
Feast your eyes (and ears!) with this Catholic pearl.
Not only you find here a beautiful Tridentine Solemn Mass almost in its entirety, but you also have the commentary of no less than Fulton Sheen, both explaining details of the Mass and providing a short translation of the Latin text as it is sung. This is the Easter Mass of 1941 in the church of Our Lady Of Sorrows, Chicago.
The beauty and solemnity of this Easter Mass, the reverence, the accuracy of every detail (beautifully explained by Fulton Sheen) put to shame the very thought of getting rid of such breathtaking splendour.
Seriously, what the Conciliar Father were thinking – and in the years immediately after the Council, figuratively speaking, smoking – will always be beyond my simple understanding.