Brilliant post of Michael Voris about a strange, but probably not so unusual experience in Ireland. In this once most Catholic of countries, a non-baptised non-believer starts to see the light and to have a vague idea that the Church might be right. But in his understandable desire to deepen the matter he is confronted with a solid wall of common places, rather meaningless truisms and desire not to offend anyone (in Italy we call it buonismo, “good-ism”). Even his Catholic friends can’t really help him, because whilst their intention are good, their instruction is bad and they are therefore unable to adequately articulate and explain their faith.
We have here so much of what is going on all over the West: a great desire of spirituality, to which the Church’s shepherds react with such a load of politically correct platitudes that this desire is, to all intents and purposes, negated.
I smile when I hear that the troubles of the Church are due to the fact that society has grown “materialistic”. This utterly ignores the army of people now looking at oriental religions, or at other strange spiritual movements. They do so because the kindergarten, “Dalai Lama-cum-Mandela” Christianity that has been imparted to them was of such self-defeating stupidity that they do not even imagine what beauty and greatness real Christianity has. When your local priest or vicar goes on all day saying the same shallow platitudes you simply lose faith in the ability of the shop to teach anything meaningful to you. When the only value a priest or vicar can impart is the one of “tolerance” and/or “niceness” it is obvious that this person has absolutely nothing to say, and the BBC can easily take his place.
The Church has filled her ranks with inept shepherds unable to transmit the message and meaning of Christianity and, in many cases, probably not even aware of them anymore themselves; the Anglicans and Methodists have done much worse and I doubt whether others, like some Episcopalians, can still be called Christians. As a result, the need for spirituality – which has always been there, and will always be there; even when not properly fostered – has lost itself in a myriad of small creeks rather than finding rest where the Truth lies.
For the last fifty years, the Catholic clergy have done everything possible to blabber the Church out of existence whilst they felt so “hip” and “with it”. The attempt has, predictably, failed, but not without leaving a huge trail of destruction. It is now time to start reconstructing what has been destroyed, and in my eyes the reconstruction must start whence the decadence started: the bishops.
P.s. on a lighter note: the clear attempt of the street cleaner to stop the advancement of Catholicism at 5:00 has been valiantly stopped…
Please imagine (I won’t show you the video, and you’re welcome) a so-called work of art depicting the Last Supper as a homosexual orgy. Not something highly symbolic and abstract, mind; no, I am talking of shocking realism here; with nude bodies, penises dangling around and all the rest you can, at least in part, imagine.
I can’t express with words the disgust that I prove for people who are able to even conceive such kind of blasphemy. The fact that I chose not to link to the video is, I believe, evidence enough that this is truly strong tobacco; but if any of you really, really want to see it, gloria.tv has the story and more than one video.
It turns out that the author of such (never word was more appropriate) entartete Kunst, or degenerate art, is Alfred Hrdlicka, a self-confessed (gloria tv again) “Atheist, Communist and Stalinist” but evidently friend of the Archbishop and/or some of his friends. Mr Hrdlicka, a true man of the Enemy, died some time ago without any public trace of repentance, so that it is rather reasonable – and in conformity to the user’s manual – to assume that the scenes of perversion he produced are much more real to him now than they were at the moment of his, erm, creative effort.
You would obviously assume that never would a believer even think of giving his own exhibition space to give publicity to such blasphemous excrements as the ones copiously produced by Mr Hrdlicka, as every consideration about the (assumed) artistic value of the work must certainly be completely wiped out by the obvious reflection that there can be no excuse whatsoever for blasphemy.
On the other hand, you would also – I think – conceive that in these disturbing days, when anti-Christian feelings are very much à la page, some atheists without any consideration for propriety and decency and without any fear of the Lord could well conceive of such vulgar display of blasphemous atheism as the one I did not show. Perhaps, someone like Stephen Fry would condone such vulgarity and aggressive atheism; but I’m not so sure that even Stephen Fry, an avowed enemy of Catholic values, would want to link his name to such overt attack to Christianity; to such vulgarity; to such outright indecency.
You would, I think, be right on both accounts.
And this is why the exhibition was organised by the Museum of the Cathedral of Vienna, which is very near the Cathedral itself. This is also why cardinal Schoenborn waited for the exhibition to become an international scandal (again, as reported by Gloria tv; there are several videos on the matter; they all show the “work”, though) before arranging for the removal of the blasphemous excrement.
When a Cathedral museum shows work of such blasphemy that just a couple of decades ago not even the most obdurate satanist would have dared to show in public; and when an Archbishop and Cardinal waits for the matter to become an international scandal before acting, one can certainly be forgiven for thinking that from many extremely wide openings (say: all windows, and all doors) the smoke of Satan has entered into the Archbishop’s offices and surrounding buildings, has made a barbecue, organised a bonfire, smoked the entire place pitch black, then proceeded to call Satan and invited him to make himself comfortable in the premises for as long as he wants, and to organise exhibitions in the nearby museum as he pleases.
Quo usque tandem…
Is there one area, just one area of the faith that the modernist, hippie, liberal, progressive, watered-down-the-faith, bongo-pounding, liturgy-destroying, church-wreckovation modernist crowd has not destroyed?
This asks Michael Voris in this brilliant video and I’m afraid that – if we consider “destroyed” in a sociological rather than sacramental meaning – we know the answer.
This video is not about the travesty in drags proposed by our pervert community, but about the real thing. The dramatic drop in marriages is – as the Catholics in the United States clearly haven’t developed a sudden desire for collective bachelorhood – obviously linked to the downplaying of this sacrament by the liberal clergy . Voris actually puts it stronger than that, defining such shepherds as “liberal or gay* or modernist priests” and pointing out to an issue that should be discussed more often, that is: priests who are liberal because they’re homosexual.
Homosexual or not homosexual, many a priest has a very comfortable “let’s wait” attitude, which is in the best case similar to a “can’t be bothered” attitude, and in the worst to a “I agree with you” attitude. The idea is that, given time, everything adjusts itself and the prodigal (but oh so nice; and with the heart in the right place; and certainly environmentally friendly) sons and daughters will come back to marriage and sacramental life once they are settled.
“Are you mental!? No they do not come back!”,, is Voris’ emphatic answer. And in fact you must ask yourselves how would parents be considered who, seeing their children taking drugs and drifting toward alcoholism, reacts by saying “hey, no big deal; they’ll stop in due time”, and how many of those unfortunate teenagers would grow up to be responsible adults rather than, alas (can I say that without anyone being “hurt”?) junkies and drunkards. There’s a reason why a priest is called “father” instead of, say, “favourite, all-forgiving grand-grandmother”: his duty is to give guidance, to reproach when it is suitable, and to be able of showing some tough love when necessary.
The protestantisation of the liturgy has led us to this, because the protestantisation of the liturgy unavoidably leads to the protestantisation of the theology.
This unless even worse – like a homosexual priest pursuing his own diabolical agenda – is at play. Voris again refers to the problem when he invites his listeners to check that his priest is not a “less than ideal model of masculinity-priest” and he once again makes a connection with this and the “social justice”, “inclusiveness” mania.
The last remark is a rather general one, but valid nonetheless: in a very general sense, liberal priests are sawing off the branch they’re sitting on, as those “modern couples” who never came back are unlikely to fund their retirement.
A brilliant video, and one which in my eyes denotes Voris’ new, rather stronger stance about homosexuality both inside and outside the clergy.
* “gay” means here, strangely enough, “homosexual”.
This is another fruit of the genius of Mitchell & Webb, though not in the way they intended.
This man needs some little re-orientation, and adjustment of coordinates.
He might do with becoming a little more polished, and revising his theology here and there.
After that he’ll make, no doubt, an excellent Catholic priest.
You understand that conservative Catholicism is on the rise when you read news like this one.
There was a liberal Catholic parish in Berkeley, California (yes, that Berkeley). Their “social activities” included not only interfaith meetings (we know what kind of ecumenism is that, particularly coming from the lefties), but anti-war protests to boot. You can imagine from this the rest of the parish life.
Two years ago a new priest arrives, Fr Direen, and he is not a retiring wallflower. The parish council is disbanded (shock!), the finance council too (Horror!), even their spanish counterpart, the Consejo Latino *, meets the same destiny (Racism! Fascism!). Furthermore, the “meeting space” is put to some use with the installation of a religious gift store (also good for personal devotion and piety, and an excellent way to raise funds), and Fr Direen obtains the removal of a “respected” (read: very liberal) priest.
This is not all: the parish website now links to “courage” and other conservative, orthodox Catholic organisations. This is, clearly, too much.
Therefore, when Bishop Cordileone arrived to celebrate Mass, there was the predictable group of hippies ready to protest. Fat chance they have, as Cordileone is pretty much of a tough guy.
It is now clear that Catholic restoration is now advancing in the very heartland of liberal madness.
One needs news like this one, every now and then. They allow him to keep his sight on the big picture.
* In Europe, we have official languages everywhere. One of the reasons why we have them is to make clear that the immigrants must adopt the ways of the locals. I live in England and speak – and work, and deal – in English. When I lived in Germany, I did the same in German.
The concept should be introduced, methinks, to the Unites States.
This is a delicious piece of Italian cinema of the Seventies, an excerpt of the episode of a famous comedy (“The New Monsters”, the remake of the extremely fortunate “The Monsters”), called “Tantum Ergo”. This episode is the more savoury, because it shows how the times have changed and how this sketch is, today, read in a completely different way that it was at the time. The lead actor is the great, late Vittorio Gassman.
The facts: a Cardinal has a car breakdown in the middle of a “borgata”, one of those heavily working-class neighbourhoods in Rome. He finds a nearby parish church. This parish is a “modern” parish, led by a “modern” priest.
The priest is holding a meeting of the “collective” (oh, those years!) of the parish, regarding the use of certain public spaces now in danger of being taken away from them to build a supermarket. In the very church, in front of the Blessed Sacrament, unbelievable things happen: loud screaming, very strong profanities, almost a row. The modern priest clearly doesn’t give a straw, so obsessed with “social justice” he is.
The Cardinal enters and when the priest, “Don Paolo Arnoldi”, introduces himself (“what is your name, my son?” asks the cardinal in a suavely threatening tone; the delicious non-verbal communication can be understood without understanding the language!) the Cardinal tells him : “I have already heard of you, my friend Paolo”, and the message is clear enough. He then sits, and listens.
Slowly, the dynamic begins to change: the Cardinal observes the mess, the screaming mob, the priest also screaming and obsessed with “votations” and “democracy”, the most unruly elements calling for violence. Annamo e menamo, says the most colourful and worst of them; this is Roman dialect for “let’s go and let’s thrash (them)”.
The Cardinal then has the word. He targets the very colourful hothead; repeats his words; then slaps him heavily in the face, pointing out that his violence hasn’t really achieved anything, and has only increased his rancor… (this episode became an extremely fortunate one and it is fair to say that still today there’s probably no Italian who doesn’t know it… )
Now fully in control, he goes on the pulpit, and things soon become rather explicit. He openly blames the obsessive search for earthly justice; the justice “of a priest who doesn’t feel the duty of carrying the sacred habit with dignity”, and points out to the necessity to focus first on heavenly rewards.
The mob is slowly persuaded. They listen in reverent silence now, as the Cardinal points out that “a church is not a place for strife and rows”, then restores some Catholic sacredness and reverence by lighting the place and having the bells sing, and the organist play.
He is now triumphing, the mob kneels, they cross themselves, even the violent boor is in tears of redemption. “Make yourselves heard up to St. Peter!”, says the Cardinal. He fully ignores the now openly angry “worker priest”, blesses the mob and goes away, the car being repaired in the meantime. The watcher clearly understands that this is a man of action, and there will be consequences for the priest.
Apart from the delightful sketch of the Italy of the Seventies, an element must be noted: in the intentions of the director, the Cardinal is the villain, and the priest the hero. This is clear from several ironic remarks (the young priest of dubious virility but unquestioning loyalty; the fake quotation from the Gospel; the in those times negatively charged authority of the Cardinal; his use of simple effect to impress the mob; his rhetoric, “manipulative” skills). In the director’s intentions the priest is the future, and the Cardinal the past still in power but destined to fade; the priest wants social justice, the Cardinal the preservation of the status quo, and so on.
The times have changed. As one Italian commenter points out,
the “working priest” has [….] in the end failed both in his aim of being a priest and in the one of being a paladin of the poor.
We see this short piece today and we understand that the “villain” was absolutely right, and the “hero” a complete ass, and a sacrilegious one to boot.
How the times have changed!
The feast of Corpus Domini (officially in English Speaking countries the “Solemnity of the Most Holy Body And Blood Of The Lord”) is a traditional Catholic solemnity instituted to celebrate the Real Presence consecrated in the Eucharist and celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, that is: tomorrow. Corpus Domini is simply the Latin for “Lord’s Body”.
The origin of the feast lies in the vision of an Augustinian Nun, Juliana of Liege. This nun had always had a special veneration for the Blessed Sacrament, desiring to be in His presence for as long as possible. According to Wikipedia:
This desire is said to have been increased by a vision of the Church under the appearance of the full moon having one dark spot, which signified the absence of such a solemnity. In 1208 she reported her first vision of Christ in which she was instructed to plead for the institution of the feast of Corpus Christi. The vision was repeated for the next 20 years but she kept it a secret. When she eventually relayed it to her confessor, he relayed it to the bishop. Juliana also petitioned the learned Dominican Hugh of St-Cher, Jacques Pantaléon (Archdeacon of Liège who later became Pope Urban IV) and Robert de Thorete, Bishop of Liège. At that time bishops could order feasts in their dioceses, so in 1246 Bishop Robert convened a synod and ordered a celebration of Corpus Christi to be held each year thereafter.
It is interesting to note that when the Church made of this a universal feast, St. Thomas Aquinas composed an ad hoc hymn, the Pange Lingua, which became one of the most famous hymns of the Church. The last two verses of the hymn gave origin to another famous hymn, the Tantum Ergo.
There is no doubt that this feast reached a high degree of popular participation in the centuries before the Heresies of Luther & Co., as proved by the lengthy controversy in Florence about whether the Corpus Domini procession should start from the newly erected Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, or rather from its traditional location of the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella. We also know that when the heresy of Calvin started to spread, particular caution had to be exercised to ensure adequate protection for the Precious Body, traditionally led in procession in a monstrance and now at risk of desecration through the heretical mob.
I also read several years ago in Germany – and have no ground to doubt – that this feast received additional impulse during the Counter-reformation, as the fact that the feast so obviously stresses the Real Presence and the miracle of Consecration made it very apt to be used as a vehicle of sound Catholic doctrine amidst the heretical impulses of those times.
The feast is not a holy day of obligation in the United Kingdom and has been moved to the following Sunday. Still, it would be good to try to go to Mass tomorrow if you can, or at least to find some time to stay in the presence of the Corpus Domini on the day of this beautiful, so intrinsically Catholic feast.
From my little collection of sayings under “the Quotable Catholic”, some intelligent quotes that would, I think, be very useful for Father Corapi.
Here they are.
When you crash against the rock, you will not damage the rock but you will hurt yourself.
My grandmother, who had only an eighth grade education, knew more than many theologians because she knew the truth.
Our arms are too short to box with God.
The definition of heresy is, ‘pick and choose’.
It is easy to praise the Lord when everything is going alright. Just let us stub our toe and see if the praise still continues.
If He went through torture and crucifixion, then how could we not put up with criticism.
Don’t mess with a strong man’s bride.
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 video above relates to the procession in honour of Saint Anthony which took place in Padua a couple of days ago on occasion of the Feast.
This is another indication of how, slowly and softly but in a way that can’t be ignored anymore, Catholicism is coming back to the main stage of Italian public – and in time, make no mistake, political – life.
Padua has something more than 200,000 inhabitants, and the 100,000 people who attended this procession gave, even considering the traditionally Catholic region, a powerful message of what is happening in the country.
Yours truly has often expressed the opinion that Catholicism is something that goes very deep in the conscience of the faithful; a very strong bond, a home everyone feels linked to, something not even deluded, delirious barking cats want to abandon.
It suffices, therefore, that the Catholic hierarchy starts again to forcefully defend the Catholic message and the traditional Catholic values to cause, in time, a recovery of what is, for a Catholic, never really lost, but rather pushed in the background for lack of proper reflection and, more often, proper guidance.
If you look at this video, you’ll think yourself transported into another era: the identification of the City of Padua with his Saint is total. Associations of all kinds, religious and lay ones, are represented; the popular participation is, as already stated, massive; the symbiosis with the Institutions is evident (you will notice that the Carabinieri around the statue of the Saint are in dress uniform, and please also notice that the Carabinieri are not a local police but depend directly from Rome).
What you are seeing here is a desire to come back to old values, to a way of living that might have seemed to be constrictive at times, but whose advantages – temporal as well as spiritual – are now being slowly rediscovered.
It will take time before this resurgence of Catholic values translates in a clearly identifiable, more assertive political action; it will take time and, let me stress this, good bishops able to provide the faithful with the guidance they need.
But it’s happening, it’s happening already. The recent controversies in Italy (from the atheist advertisements on the buses, to the euthanasia battle, to the crucifix issue) have certainly contributed to a reawakening, to a recovery of one’s own values.
We never understand so well what we are, as when we are confronted with what we are not. Italian Catholicism, for a long time taken as a given, has been challenged, forcing millions to ask themselves what values they stand for; and helped in this, thank Goodness, from a Church establishment increasingly more able and willing to show some teeth and to man up to the challenges of our times.
Multa renascentur, quae iam cecidere
You may think that “Litany of Lament” is an invention of mine to mock the deluded geriatric potheads recently responsible for the heresy fest in Detroit. Well this is not the case and the “Litany of Lament” was, in fact, an official part of the proceedings.
Without repeating this piece of comedy in its entirety, let me explain for you some revealing points:
“2. Angered by church leaders who protect pedophiles and persecute prophets, we cry…”
It is, of course, not forbidden to be angry at bad shepherds. But it is decidedly forbidden to aspire to so-called female priesthood. Now make no mistake, when they say “persecute prophets”, they mean “punish women stupid enough to think they can be priests”. They even had huge posters about this at the conference. What claim these ladies have to be “prophetic” is not clear to me; neither it is, I think, to them….
“3 Denied Eucharist because of the failure to address the priest shortage, we cry.”
This is very, very funny. I mean, if they were in the middle of the Australian Outback one would understand a certain difficulty in finding a Catholic church; but what the old potheads are saying is “we must have wymmyn priest because now they are so rare we can’t find a church”. Beside the obvious heresy of wanting wymmyn priest, this is just plain stupid.
“4. Aching for the Eucharist to be celebrated as nourishment for sinners, not a reward for good behavior, we cry…”
This is rather difficult to understand. I never thought (and was never taught) that I can get communion only if I have been oh such a good boy. Being free of mortal sin and well disposed to receive the Eucharist is, in fact, all that is required. On the contrary, it is receiving a good communion that will wash out my sins, provided they are not mortal.
Moreover, the distinction between “people who behave well” on the one side and “sinners” on the other is wrong. We are all sinners of course, so the expression doesn’t make sense. But substitute with “aching for the eucharist to be given to everyone even if an unrepentant pervert” and I think you’ll get at the root of what they meant….
“5. Wondering why we are closing parishes rather than opening ordination, we cry…”
Heresy again. “Opening ordination” (to wymyn, it is meant here) is just not allowed. It is Church doctrine. Even if there’d be only, say, twelve priest left on the face of earth, Church doctrine would not change. “Closing parishes” is, therefore, neither here nor there and oh, have I said that asking for wymyn priest is heretical?
“6. Longing to celebrate creative theologians rather than mourn their marginalization, we cry…”
Buzzword alert: “celebrate”. The “creative” theologian is the heretical Hans Kueng, not allowed to teach anymore and not defrocked merely to avoid doing him a favour, but applauded by the marijuana-crowd.
“7. Oppressed by rigid structures of racism, we cry…”
Buzzword alert: racism. This is very, very funny. The Church who sets black men very high in the hierarchy (think of Cardinal Arinze) and has priests and bishops of every possible skin colour or shade would be “racist”. I think the word just had to be there. The old fools are so accustomed to using it….
“8. Blind to the beauty of God’s image in gay and lesbian people we cry…”
This is outright blasphemous. The beauty of God’s image is in the person, not in his being a pervert.
God doesn’t do perversion, God doesn’t create perverts, God doesn’t want one to be a pervert.
“12. Amidst the shattered images of godliness and ministry, we cry…”
It is difficult to understand what was meant here as probably the joint had already gone around for long enough. What I think this might mean is that without wymmyn priest the ministry of priesthood is “shattered” (read: God was fooled by a bunch of chauvis, these two thousand years) and that – I think; bear with me though, I am just trying to give some meaning to the words – therefore the Church is not reflective of, or representative of, any “godliness”.
Fun reading, I know.
It reminds me of those liberal teachers asking the young pupils at elementary schools “how they imagine God”.
These are the typical old people acting like children.
With the added brain damage from the drugs.
Next time you hear someone complaining that in the Tridentine Mass the priests gives his back to the faithful, you may want to ask him the following questions:
1) Is he offended that the people sitting in front of them in the pews turn their back to him?
2) Shouldn’t the Mass, then, be held with the faithful in a nice half circle of one row only?
3) Does he know what a Tabernacle really is? You might have to explain this I’m afraid. When you have explained, you may ask:
4) Has he noticed how the priest is placed relative to the Tabernacle during the New Mass?
5) So who should the priest face: God or the faithful?
Of course you always run the chance of someone answering “the faithful, as God is not offended but the faithful are”.
But at least you’ll know whom you are talking to.
Dear readers, you often read me complaining that the “reform of the reform” (namely: the recovery of liturgical and theological sobriety after the drunkenness of the post-Vatican II years) is far too slow, and that whilst a new orthodoxy opens its way into the heart of the Church (both in the liturgical sense and as a new assertiveness in making clear again what too often had been obfuscated, played down or, rather often, dumbed down), at the periphery, in the many dioceses where the faithful live, the reform is far too slow and most Western Catholics are still afflicted by fully inadequate but, alas, not really old shepherds.
It is true that yours truly was not born with the vocation of the diplomat, and I am the first to admit that I am, erm, somewhat right of centre in most things. Still, I must confess my scepticism whenever I read of supposed “schisms” that would loom if the Holy Father decided – as is wildly desired among devout Catholics of all tendencies – to put a heavier foot on the gas pedal.
Against this argument I have following objections:
1) It seems to me a contradiction in terms. It is difficult to say that heterodox tendencies should be tolerated in order to avoid schisms. A schism is not an evil in itself. It is an evil because it shows that there are heterodox tendencies. To say that to have a schism is worse than to live with schismatic thinking doesn’t make really sense to me. It is like saying that by abolishing jails you at least avoid the evil of criminality; but jails are merely the result of criminality, and by refusing to build jails one only achieves the free-flowing of criminal energy within the veins of society.
2) It seems to me that it vastly understates the strenght of the Church. The modernist and feminist drunkenness we are living now is, once seen within the great picture of Church history, certainly not the greatest threat to her survival. Nestorianism, Gnosticism, Lutheranism at least can be considered threats of vaster proportions. If no fear of schism has refrained the Church leaders of past times from seeking a clear path to Truth whatever the cost, I can’t see why the same shouldn’t be done now. The Church that has survived the hurricane of Lutheranism will certainly survive the storm of neo-modernism and V II-worship.
3) It seems to me that it puts the interest of the schismatics before the interest of the Catholics. It is as if one should refrain from demanding orthodoxy, for fear of the people who are not orthodox openly choosing heresy. Well they should choose truth then, or accept the consequences. It can’t be that truth accommodates lie in order for lie not to be upset at its own falseness.
4) It seems to me that it ignores the workings of human nature. Whatever the rhetoric, in real life most people tend to refrain from extreme gestures, and from revolutionary behaviour, even in more profane circumstances. Much more so for Catholics. The bond of a Catholic to the Church is much stronger than, say, the bond of a Baptist to his local church, or pastor, or the bond of a political activist to his party of choice. The bond of a Catholic is so strong in fact, that even the most deluded nutcases go to unbelievable lenghts to persuade themselves that they are still Catholics. The expression “mother church” has, for most Catholics, a very real meaning. In a world where not even the Tories defeat en masse after being served Cameronism, I truly can’t imagine Catholics defeating en masse after being served.. Catholicism.
We live in times where one can’t avoid wondering how many of our priests believe in the Real presence, or in God in the first place. The frequency with which even bishops openly embrace heterodoxy (from the one wondering whether he will perform same-sex marriages; to the one expressing himself in favour of the building of a mosque; to the one saying that female priesthood will not happen “yet”, and so on) leaves much to be feared as to how many embrace it more quietly, but still undermining Catholicism with their total refusal to defend it.
I do not think that such threats can be underestimated. It is true that the “biological solution” (that is: the undertaker) will in time very probably solve the problem and it is also true that the Church is indefectible. But in the meantime an entire generation of Catholics will have been exposed to great danger for their souls, and many more will lose the opportunity to experience and get in contact with a Truth now unknown to them. Besides, to allow the spreading of heterodox thinking will probably cause a sizeable minority to continue in their errors for generations to come.
The solution is, in my eyes, twofold:
1) generous use of the rod and staff. Heterodox bishops should be not only removed, but excommunicated pour encourager les autres. Bishops are, as a category, not what you’d call professional agitprops (particularly the crop of weak, popularity-seeking cowards we are afflicted with today), and it is therefore not reasonable to suppose that they will choose to lose rank, prestige and livelihood in great numbers. Methinks, most of them will shut up all right, and do what they’re told.
2) Total absence of compromise in the appointment of new bishops. Young, absolutely orthodox bishops with a fighting spirit will revitalise the Church in just a few years. If they refuse and there is no better alternative, they must be required to obey and take responsibility. Karol Wojtyla became bishop at 38, and it is clear that a young, brave bishop was what Pius XII wanted for communist Poland. Difficult situations require determined and energetic shepherds.
Revolt is easier said than done. Particularly among Catholics.
If you live in England, you may occasionally wonder when it was the last time that you heard a bishop say that Protestantism is a heresy.
You would also be very much embarrassed at having to answer to the question of when has your bishop last told that every effort to minimise major differences with the Protestants is like unleashing a wrecking ball against the edifice of the Catholic faith.
I also can’t remember any English bishop ever saying that the difference between Catholicism and protestant is huge, that no other religion was founded by Christ, and that Catholicism is the only way to salvation.
Finally, I do not recall ever knowing of an English Bishop posing Catholic Truth as the basis of every exercise in ecumenism, and that this truth will, like it or not, forcibly require sacrifices in matters of unity.
Obvious concepts, all of them. You just don’t hear them. Instead, you hear the usual convenient social(ist) waffle about social justice, or the even more populist bollocks about global warming.
This is why it is always good to listen to Michael Voris.
This is not really new anymore, but in my eyes it touches themes and a way of seeing religion that is at the same time still actual and very well argued. The comparison with the “gigantic german mouse” is powerful, the one with the carmelite nuns even more so.
Enjoy this brilliant video of Andrew Klavan.
Malta is a Catholic fortress.
No divorce, no abortion, no cremation, no condoms in grocery stores.
This tiny country in the middle of the Mediterranean is now voting about divorce. It is one of only two countries which still get it right.
The vote seemed to assure victory to the divorce faction; but in the last days, the Catholic front has been advancing. The three Maltese bishops are – God bless them – firing from all cannons. Of the three, the most warly seems to be Mario Grech.
Beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. And the wolf is now saying he is Catholic. This is a falsity, this is deceit
You cannot not be loyal to Christ and say you are a Christian or a Catholic
If you are not in communion with Christ’s teachings, you are not in communion with the Church and you cannot receive communion
to be politically correct and not tell things as they are will lead us to be sorry. There are the brigands among us who are utilizing every means possible to lead the flock astray. They are going after marriage and then other things will follow.
The vote is now too close to call. But if the catholic side loses it will certainly not have been for lack of action of these bishops, fighting with such energy in the last days before the vote.
Oh for English bishops with one tenth of the faith of these brave men!
It is obviously very good that a heretical bishop (William Morris, of the Diocese of Toowoomba) is removed from office, albeit one can certainly lament the slowness of the process, with the chap given more than four years time to retract and not even managing to do it.
Still, the occasional punishment will remain ineffective, if the same standard (or preferably a harder one, without waiting another four years) is not used when other bishops do exactly the same as our Morris dancer.
Read here (linked to from the German site Summorum Pontificum, and kudos to wk1999 for pointing out to it) the interview of the German bishop Gebhard Fuerst, of Stuttgart and Rottenburg, given to a local newspaper, the Ludwigsburger Kreiszeitung. This is a good instruction in the workings of a heretical bishop.
Already the headline (“There will be no women priests for the time being”) tells you a lot about where the interview is headed. The interview proper starts on a very anti-Catholic note, claiming that no one wants to become a Catholic priest anymore, Catholics leave Church en masse, etc. Thus, the ground for the readership (probably Protestant oriented, as the region around Stuttgart is prevalently Proddie) is prepared. This is all bollocks of course, as vocations have been on the increase for many years now (though this will very probably not be the case where heretical geniuses like bishop Fuerst are allowed to damage the Only Church) and for “Austritt” they mean the refusal of more and more people to pay the “Kirchensteuer”; which, as the name says, is a tax that is nothing to do with Catholic baptism and also nothing to do with Catholic charity, but allows German priests to be very probably the best paid Catholic priests of the planet. I also think the phenomenon is much stronger among Protestants. But I digress.
What is relevant here is that Bishop Fuerst plays Vincent Nichols, in that as Nichols considers it thinkable to have homosexual marriages, this chap considers it thinkable to have Catholic priestesses. Firstly, he justifies the Church position from a purely sociological point, by mentioning the “understanding of reality of the first Christians”. This way, he has already attacked the Christian doctrine about male priesthood. Following, he proceeds to say that priestesses are “thinkable in advanced countries like the USA and Germany”. Note here that after he has posed male priesthood as a purely sociologically based position, he moves on to consider “advanced” to want to remove it.
His heretical engine now brutally revved, the bishop goes on to say that he has “understanding” that the women would feel “excluded”. He adds, though, that they should be good and put up with the abuse, in order not to compromise the “unity of the Catholics” (of which, we have already been informed, many live in backward countries and are, well, not as “advanced” as the German “Ueberkatholiken”, the product of the superior German Catholic breeding….). Still, he gives the thus “excluded” wymmyn some hope, in that he says that “he cannot totally exclude that one day there will be women priests”; but hey, this will not be in his lifetime…….
The only possible, partial, barely believable excuses for such serial heresy and open defiance of the teaching of the Church can lie in the following:
1) This newspaper is a “Kreiszeitung”, that is, a “district newspaper”. These are the local newspapers where young journalists pay their dues before trying to land a serious job by a regional or national newspapers. It might have happened that here not everything has gone the right way, particularly because:
2) the utterances of the bishop are all given in the third person, though with inverted commas; this cause further room for confusion and/or misrepresentation.
Still, when a bishop talks even with a 19-years-old boy (and it is questionable whether the interview with the bishop would be given to such an inexperienced boy) he should ask to receive the text before and check that nothing has gone wrong, even if it is only an interview for the district newspaper. He has either clearly failed to do so, or has done it and was pleased with the result. He must, therefore, be held responsible for what the newspaper reports until he issues a strong dementi.
I do not know what the history of this man is. Being a German bishop certainly doesn’t inspire confidence, and having been appointed eleven years ago adds to the problem.
I do have a suspicion, though, that he wasn’t born with a brilliant mind, much less a solid faith.
I read from Father Z’s blog that a priest in England would be planning a TLM with…….. female servers. Why am I thinking “spare ribs with ice cream on top”……..?
I can think only of the following:
1) Priest is not as intelligent as he should. It happens in the best dioceses.
2) Priest is one of those who always want to make everyone happy, and ends up angering everyone.
3) Priest has recognised that the advance of the Tridentine cannot be stopped, and wants to apply a sort of “Bugnini treatment” to it. If I can’t stop it, I’ll ruin it.
4) Priest doesn’t understand what a Tridentine Mass is: a traditional mass. It is like wanting to celebrate a traditional Requiem mass, and asking Eminem to compose the music.
5) Priest loves publicity. And praise from the wymyn.
6) Priest is Archbishop Vincent Nichols.
I am curious to see how said priest imagines the rest: How about communion standing and on the hand (and Cardinal Burke be damned)? Will there be a launch of M&M’s among the pews after communion? How about liturgical dancers after the introductory rites? Or letting the faithful sing “We Are The Champions” in answer to “Ite, Missa est”?
I really can’t think what moves people to this kind of rather childish, kitsch, counterproductive initiative. The Tridentine Mass is a Weltanschauung, not a matter of regulations. You can’t have Eminem setting it in music just because, say, no one has expressly forbidden it. You celebrate the Tridentine Mass because you honour tradition, not because you want to demolish it.
These events always remind me of those old people dressing ridiculously in order not to appear “outdated” by the young generations; as a result they look even older than they are, stupid to boot, and get no respect from anyone.
Methinks, exactly what is going to happen to the above mentioned priest.
Know Your Mass (that you can also buy at amazon, but I wanted to break a lance for the “Angelus Press”) is a beautiful “cartoon” explaining the Traditional Mass to children of a certain age (probably nine or ten, I would say).
The reasons why its reading is, in my eyes, beneficial to everyone are as follows:
1) this is not a children’s book. This is a book explaining a complicated thing like the Tridentine Mass in a way that can be followed by an alert child.
2) The cartoon form is extremely well suited to the explanation of the gestures and the rhythm of the Mass.
3) The book was published in 1954, in times above every suspicion.
4) It is fully illustrated, not partially illustrated. It doesn’t stop here and then to explain with images, it translates the entire Mass in images.
5) It reports every word of the liturgy. Nothing is left out or jumped out of convenience.
6) It has useful explanations as to the structure of the Mass, e.g. why certain parts of the Mass recur twice.
7) It can be read a bit at a time, and through the fiction of the “cartoon” allows a better explanation of every gesture of the priest than even a DVD would allow.
I also have “The most beautiful thing this side of heaven”, the DVD about the Tridentine Mass with the attached explanatory booklet. Trust me, this is better.
Through its format, accessible to young people as well as adults, this book is perfectly suited to unite the entire family around the Tridentine Mass. If you are interested in the liturgy (and you are, otherwise you’d be singing silly song in church instead of reading this) you cannot do better than to buy this.
Those who have read me for some times know that whilst my attitude toward salvation is probably – in line with my Mediterranean upbringing – more relaxed than the apocalyptic concept of some, particularly Northern European, hard-liners, I still do not indulge in complacency as far as salvation is concerned.
I obviously do not subscribe to any of the childish heresies of Medjugorje (not recognised by the Church as worthy of belief), but I am not a fan of the devotion of the Divine Mercy (recognised as worthy of belief) either. I love to think that the faciloneria of so much post V-II thinking (= the departed was such a fun chap, therefore God certainly called him to Himself to enjoy the jokes and it is well-known that in Hell Stalin, Hitler and Pol-Pot need Satan if they want to play a hand of poker) has not polluted me.
Still, in order to avoid you thinking me too harsh or tinged with unforgiving puritanism I’d like to spend some words about something that might be of interest for some reader: what I personally see the proper understanding of the Rosary in the economy of salvation in the light of the Marian promises. In doing so, I will remain (as far as I know) within the path of the strictest traditional (that is: pre-VII) understanding of them.
It is well-known that the Blessed Virgin appeared to St Dominic and Blessed Alan de la Roche giving (or confirming) the famous fifteen promises to those who faithfully and devoutly pray the rosary. It is not my intent to examine in detail the circumstances of such revelations, as the fact that they have been traditionally considered perfectly in line with Catholic teaching is sufficient to me. What is important to note here is that the Blessed Virgin clearly wanted to point out to the great advantages that faithful, devout, daily (as we know beyond doubt from the Fatima apparition) recitation of the Rosary carry with them.
I will here examine only those among the promises which I consider most strictly linked to the only real aim we have in life: salvation. I invite the reader to – if they feel so inclined – give their alternative interpretation and explain why they would give a more restrictive (or more lenient) interpretation than the one I give.
a) Promise #5:
The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.
This is very strong, and the presence of such a limited number of words in the phrase doesn’t leave much space for alternative interpretations: if you recommend yourself to the Blessed Virgin by your daily effort, you are going to make it. This clearly requires that the rosary is prayed well. This also requires a contrition and consciousness of one’s own sinfulness implicit in the perceived necessity of recommending one’s soul to the Blessed Virgin. Therefore, the promise doesn’t apply to people like:
1) those who pray a distracted, shallow, rushed Rosary, whose main aim is to “get done with it”.
2) those who are not faithful in their recitation (“oh well, I pray the rosary in principle every day, but in the last months I had (fill here excuse) to do and therefore it was perhaps three times a month” would, methinks, not qualify).
3) those who do not see that they are in need of any recommendation because they are so “inclusive”, “modern” and otherwise “tolerant” and “non violent”.
Still, promise #5 is a very powerful promise and I am very glad that it was given, and in such powerful terms.
b) Promise #6:
Whosoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its Sacred Mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of Eternal Life.
This I interpret in the sense that those who pray the Rosary well (you will notice the insistence on this point) will: 1) not be driven to despair and in the end to the ultimate blasphemy, suicide, by the difficulties and crosses of life, 2) nor will they, as the saying once went, be surprised by death by being caught by the Reaper in the state of mortal sin.
This obviously doesn’t mean that the one who prays the rosary will not sin mortally – as the “if” of the last sentence makes abundantly clear – . This merely means that the sincere intention to obtain a happy death will, in this case, be helped by the Blessed Virgin with such a powerful intercession, that she will obtain for the faithful who perseveres in devoutly praying the Rosary the grace of a happy death.
c) promise #7:
Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
This echoes what has been said before. “Sacraments” here doesn’t mean “Last Rites”, and therefore the meaning is not that, a contrario, if one is knocked by a bus and dies instantly he hasn’t been praying the rosary faithfully. Confession and communion are, I think, rather meant here.
d) Promise #8:
Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary […….] at the moment of death […] shall participate in the Merits of the Saints in Paradise.
Note once again: 1) the Rosary must be recited faithfully, and 2) the promise only applies to the moment of death.
e) Promise #15:
Devotion to my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.
This is a bit complicated.
“Predestination” means, for a Catholic, that whilst every human being is perfectly free to make his own choices, God already knows what choices each and everyone of us will make. This, mind, does not limit our freedom more than the freedom of the football players is limited just because I happen to know, after the fact, how their match ended.
Therefore, God already knows whether each one of us is going to achieve salvation or not; but this doesn’t make us any less free in every decision we make. This promise is therefore there to give the faithful great comfort in the fact that his devotion makes it pretty likely (but not certain!) that he will, in fact, persevere in his faith, obtain a happy death and be among those whose salvation had been foreseen by God from all eternity.
These are the promises. Let us now try to put them into a practical, everyday context.
1) A person prays the rosary without devotion, just as a habit.
The promise of Mary doesn’t apply to him, because the point of praying devotedly, faithfully etc. is stressed on several occasions. Let’s not try to cheat here, as we’ll not get away with it.
2) A person prays the rosary every day, but is manifestly evil or a great sinner.
This is not in contradiction with the promises as they do not refer to saintliness in life, but to salvation at the end of it. Whilst the Rosary will be a great help (if recited properly) to one’s spiritual improvement, the recitation of the rosary is no automatic means to saintly behaviour in life.
Such a person will, therefore: a) stop praying the rosary, or b) stop praying it devoutly, thus losing the protection afforded by the heavenly promises, or c) insist in his devout recitation and in the end – and I am sorry here for you, puritan supporter of the fire and brimstone faction 😉 – still manage to get a happy death by the special intercession of Mary.
Notice here that the Blessed virgin doesn’t even promise that those who devoutly pray the rosary will refrain from evil doings. The rosary works slowly, imperceptibly as Pius XII says in his encyclical letter on the matter. It doesn’t create an immediate either/or situation; on the contrary, the either/or only applies at death.
Please also notice that this doesn’t mean that a person can plan on praying the rosary, so to speak, as one pays an insurance premium and think that he can, after paying his dues, willfully go on living an evil life with the certainty of final salvation. It is obvious that such an evil intention is not compatible with the devout and faithful recitation of the rosary.
3) A person prays the rosary every day as devoutly as he can, but he is assailed by recurring doubts as the whether he will be saved, and the fact that God already knows whether he will be saved or not is, to him, not in the least reassuring.
This person can greatly benefit by the recitation of the rosary because he will know that he can have a tangible sign of his working toward his salvation one day at a time. In other words, he knows a) that as long as he perseveres there is no cause for scruples, and b) that he only has to persevere to avoid the scruples assailing him. If you suffer from scrupulosity, I doubt that there is a better cure around than your daily medicine, the Rosary.
In my eyes, this is pretty much the interpretation of the effect of praying the rosary that would have been given to a quisque de populo in – as the Italians love to say – tempi non sospetti. It seems to me that it adheres strictly to the tenor of the promises without indulging in dangerous complacency, but without losing sight of the wonderful weapon that has been put in our hands.
I can’t stress enough (and will regularly insist on this point as long as I blog) how important the Rosary is in the life of the Catholic. So much so, that it seems to me that the faithful who willingly decides not to take the habit of the daily recitation of the rosary is like the stuntman offered helmet and body protection and refusing them on the ground that he believes himself to be professional enough to escape harm.
In view of tomorrow’s beatification, I re-post what I wrote in January.
And so it is out: the beatification of JP II will take place on the 1st May.
I am, as no reader of this blog can avoid noticing, no great fan of the man as a Pope. I think that his contribution to the fall of Communism is vastly, vastly exaggerated (the one who did it for communism was clearly the Gipper; George Walker Bush and Pope John Paul II only reaped the benefits afterwards and the liberal press would commit suicide rather than give Reagan his due) and I find it frankly extraordinary that a Pope should be praised for…. being opposed to Communism.
As far as his work as Pope is concerned, I personally think that the only redeeming feature of his too long Pontificate is the fact that he came (excluding the short weeks of what could have been a wonderful Pope, Albino Luciani) after Paul VI, the undisputed Jimmy Carter of the Church. JP II’s actions against the problems of his time (say: the Dutch Schism, Liberation Theology, the rampant “spirit of Vatican II”-mentality) can be considered in a halfway positive manner only in the light of Paul VI’s tragic impotence, but were slow and contributing to the confusion of Catholics by every other modern standard. In his appointment of Bishops, JP II will probably prove one of the most disastrous Popes of all times as he is the main responsible for the appointment of an entire generation of bad shepherds, who have almost completely given away Catholicism and will now continue to afflict the Church for a couple of decades to come.
A further problems of JP II’s pontificate is, in my eyes, the stubborn refusal to deal in an exemplary manner with people clearly responsible for grave misconduct. Cardinal Law’s treatment, or Cardinal Groer’s, are in my eyes great stains on his pontificate as they show an attitude towards grave problems by which the desire to avoid scandal and public admission of fault comes before the desire to send clear signals as to how the Church is led and what behaviour is expected from the men at the top.
And then there’s the media orgy. JP II’s pontificate can be remembered as the age of the dumbing down of everything Catholic, the search for popularity at all costs, the media circus, the desire to sink towards common people aspirations and conveniences instead of drawing them to aspire higher to Christ. From the unspeakable rock concerts (in which Catholicism had to witness the head of Catholicism being publicly scolded by rock singers; Pope Pius XII must have cried from Heaven), to the interconfessional/ecumenical/heretical events in Assisi, Fatima and elsewhere, to the in itself obviously heretical kissing of the Koran, to the relentless seeking for TV time in his pursuit to travel in the furthest corners of the globe whilst Vatican work was clearly neglected (cue the inefficiency and indecisiveness in tackling the problems of the Church, like the evident issue of rampant homosexuality in the seminaries), John Paul II’s years have diluted and banalised the Catholic message. The most dramatic example of this sad development was seen in his last days, with a huge media happening and a vast attention from a mass of individuals obviously not caring in the least for Catholicism and merely attracted by the next media-pumped collective hysteria in purest Lady Diana style. When he died, JP II had successfully transformed himself in the Che Guevara of our times, a man whose face is on millions of t-shirts carried by people who don’t even know who he was and what he wanted, but find the projected image someway cool. In the meantime, a generation of Catholics was raised without even the basis of proper Catholic instruction but hey, there were 500,000 people when he went out of the aeroplane so we are doing fine.
One of the least palatable aspects of this attitude was the late Pope’s desire to please the masses by sending ambiguous messages which, whilst not openly contradicting the Church’s teaching, were meant to give them a varnish of political correctness and make their distorted perception popular when the real ones clearly aren’t. He formally abolished the capital punishment in the Vatican, but conveniently forgot to remind the faithful that the legitimacy of capital punishment is integral part of Catholic doctrine and as such not modifiable and not negotiable. He asked for forgiveness for the atrocities committed during the Crusades, but conveniently forgot to remind the faithful of the saintliness of their cause and of the glorious page represented by the Crusades themselves. He was personally contrary to every conflict happening in his time, but conveniently forgot to remind the faithful that the Doctrine of War is also integral part of Catholic teaching. As a result of this, Pope John Paul was vastly perceived – particularly by poorly instructed Catholics, let alone by non-catholics – as a white-clothed pacifist opposed to capital punishment and ashamed for the Crusades. I am not aware of any effort he made to counter this widespread popular impression and no, this is not good.
Allow me here to also remind my readers of the Lefebvre affair. From the information I have found and read, it seems to me that a clash of egos (it happens among the saintliest men; it’s human nature) played a more than secondary role in the events but that at the root of the mess was JP II’s refusal to understand when things have gone too far and it is time to stop being stubborn and to start being reasonable. Hand on heart, I thank God for Lefebvre’s courage and determination on that occasion. To use an admittedly strong image, when the father is drunk the son who refuses to obey him is not going against the family and his father’s authority, but respecting and upholding them and the values they represent. The SSPX’s affair is, if you ask me, just another of the many avoidable blunders of John Paul II’s pontificate.
Still, behind the Pope there was the man. A deeply religious, pious, spiritual, sincere, kind man of God. A man whose mistakes were certainly never made in bad faith and whose first desire was to protect the Church and to win new souls to Christ. A man in front of whose deep spirituality and pious nature most of us (and certainly yours truly) must hang their head in shame. A man of whom you can criticise everything, but not the pure heart and the honesty of his intentions.
Whenever Catholics criticise the many mistakes of his pontificate (as they, if you ask me, should do far more often and much more vocally in order to avoid another pontificate like his to be ever repeated), they should remember – and should remind the enemies of the Church – of the purest of hearts behind those mistakes and of the example which John Paul II continues to give as a saintly man.
A saintly man is not necessarily a good Pope and a good Pope is not necessarily a saintly man. Much as we would like to see both qualities together, this is by far not always the case.
When we are blessed with a saintly Pope, I can’t see why we shouldn’t – whatever the shortcomings of his Pontificate – draw strength and inspiration from his saintliness.
Blessed John Paul II, pray for us.
This – as always – excellent Michael Voris video* points out to a very important aspect of the current crisis: the fact that vast parts of the Church (among both the clergy and the laity) simply refuse to see it.
This is largely due, I think, to the increasing influence the media have on the easily impressionable. A Pope gathering extremely large crowds can give the impression that Catholicism is prospering, but this is only a very superficial impression. Catholicism is certainly on the increase, but in vast part of the West its shallowness – and in the worst cases a quiet abandonment of catholic orthodoxy – has been if not actively promoted, certainly tolerated through silence.
When 75% of Catholics don’t go to Mass and almost as big a percentage doesn’ t even believe in the Real Presence, the crisis is there irrespective of how many airports you may fill.
I disagree with Voris’ only in one point: that in this crisis the heresy is not a deliberate choice, but largely a matter of astonishing ignorance of the faithful, ignorance carefully built in 45 years of relentless dumbing down of everything Catholic.
My personal experience is that most non-churchgoing Catholics haven’t any meaningful idea of what offence it is to be a Catholic and not to go to Mass; and as they perfectly well know that many priests wouldn’t insist on it, they are not really going to change their mind when the occasional Mundabor explains the facts to them: when the rules conflict with the reality they see at work every day, a reality amply tolerated by the clergy, how can this be differently?
The same goes for abortion, contraception and the like. In a world where it is rather difficult to find priests who have the gut to say to the parishioners in their face that it is not about what they consider right, but what the Church says it’s right, how do you want to avoid even churchgoers going around picking and choosing? If their priest never tells them so much as a half uncomfortable word, and reduces everything to “celebrating” and “accepting” and being “tolerant”, how can we expect that this rubbish is not going to influence them in their daily lives?
And I am talking of the churchgoers here, let alone the lapsed Catholics.
In the last months I have taken the habit of asking those who say “I am a Christian, but….” (followed by a heresy of their choice) whether they can recite the ten commandments to me.
Of the supposed Catholics, no one can.
The “heresy” of our days is fed by people who don’t even know the ten commandments but have persuaded themselves that they can call themselves “Christians”; a concept that not more than two generations ago would have seemed absurd I do not say to every theologian, but to every child of ten years of age.
The consequence of this is, in my eyes, that one or two generations of committed instruction of Catholics through both the clergy and an aggressive work of propaganda through the media would let the heresy naturally recede; because in the crisis we are living the heresy is not due to a willed, deliberately chosen frontal conflict with the Church, but to the sheer ignorance of what being a Catholic implies.
The way to this goes, in my eyes, through the recovery:
1) of the Liturgy (how do you want people to believe in the Real presence, if you feed them the dumbed down, protestantised New Mass?);
2) of proper Catholic instruction; and
3) of an assertive mentality and media behaviour replacing “social justice” rhetoric with true evangelisation.
The crisis is vast, but it is not such a deep ideological hiatus as, say, the Heresies of Luther, Calvin and Zwingli were.
Bring proper instruction to the sheep, and they will naturally come back to the fold.
Let me say beforehand – though those who have been reading me for some time, if any, know it already – that I do not have any problem with the sacramental validity of the Novus Ordo mass. None whatsoever.
I believe that there is only One Church and that Ubi Petrus, Ibi Ecclesia. It follows that I cannot believe that the consecration of this only Church has become a fraud.
This doesn’t mean, however, that I consider everything happening within this Only Church to be right. If we look at the past, we see various ages in which the Church has gravely failed to properly instruct the faithful and, in general, do a halfway decent job of things. The extreme corruption of pretty much everything regarding the Church in the IX and X Century is an example; the decadent, irreverent splendour of the Church of the XVI century is another; the rather laissez-faire style of the XVIII century another still. In spite of all that, we know that Communion, Confession & co were as valid during these dark times as they always were, and that the consecration effected by a priest remains valid even should the priest be in mortal sin.
Similarly, periods in which the Mass was ill-treated are clearly recognisable: the notorious fast masses – or the “bespoke” masses – of the XVI century (some of them done with in 15 minutes, it seems), with the priests deciding what is “in” and what is “out” of the traditional liturgy are a clear example, and one with many parallels to what happens today. The Tridentine Council adjusted things then, and we are waiting for a similar repair work today.
What has been happening in the last half century is, therefore, not new in itself. What is different today is that in the present situation the liturgical and theological corruption has reached the very heart of the Church, in a measure and with a virulence that we cannot find in the past.
Some Popes of the past knew how to be assassins, gluttons, womanizers or, in general, first-class greedy bastards. But they never even conceived of tampering with the liturgy. The private lusts of an Alexander VI didn’t impinge the daily spiritual life of millions of Catholics anywhere near as the experiments of a John XXIII, or the stupefying weakness of a Paul VI, did.
What we have today is, therefore, nothing new on one hand, but alarmingly novel on the other. The Smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God not through the private vices and weaknesses of his leaders, but through a direct attack to the very centre of Her life, the Liturgy.
This is why the New Mass must die.
When the “fast-food” masses of the XVI century were critically examined their sacramental validity was (apart from very extreme cases) not put into question, but it was nevertheless decided that such way of celebrating Mass had to be stopped. When a vast series of regional or local “usages” was deemed to be detrimental to Church life, the thus celebrated masses were not declared invalid, only it was wisely considered that only traditional usages should be allowed to survive. Every cleaning carries with himself the necessity of eliminating poor practice, irrespective of its sacramental validity.
A strong, universally applied “best practice” policy is what is needed, as it was – very wisely! – done in the past by similar cleaning-up operations. There can be no doubt that the best practice is the Mass of the Ages. There can be no doubt that the recovery of integrity in the Liturgy goes through the recovery of the Liturgy in its most traditional, purest form. This is what has been – very wisely – done in the past. It stands to reason that it is what must be done today.
Whilst this is – intellectually speaking – clear enough, it never fails to slap me in the face every time that I – as I do every now and then – go around assisting to some Novus Ordo Mass around London and its immediate vicinity. The return to the proper Mass is always – and I repeat this – like a slap in the face; every single time, it is impossible not to notice the sheer inadequacy of the Novus Ordo to convey the sacredness of the Mass.
It’s like going to a concert of some cretinous rapper and then go back to a Schubert piano recital. “What was they thinking” is the thought that always comes to my mind; a bit the same as when you look at those iron and concrete monsters of the Sixties and wonder what everyone (architects; city planners; citizens) were doing with their brains in those fateful years.
The Novus Ordo must die. It must end up in the same dustbin where the old fast masses, and the vast number of regional and local uses of the past, have ended up.
Not because it is invalid, but because once you have known the Tridentine Mass, the Novus ordo is so woefully inadequate that it is a sheer embarrassment to attend to.
In keeping with the spirit of pacifist co-existence and tolerance of every abomination, every fanaticism and every attempt to undermine or destroy Christian values that is proving so beneficial to all of us, this Andrew Klavan video helps us to reach towards the more lively among our Muslim friends; through a series of easy-to-understand steps we are guided to embrace their different values and cultural climate and are therefore effectively helped to be better prepared for a peaceful outcome of our small disagreements.
Isn’t this beautiful?
Take this as Mundabor’s little contribution to the cause of peace in this days of Holy Week 2011.
I always thought that Pontius Pilate is treated too harshly by many Christians. People who don’t even dare to contradict their neighbour when he talks astonishing bollocks in some religious matter are instantly ready to demand that Pilatus be ready to risk a revolution to save their hero. They talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.
The reality on the ground is that the vast majority of the people in his position would have behaved like he did; nay, worse than he did. In fact, it can be easily said that Pilatus did for Jesus more than most would have done in his position and only receded when he saw that the Jewish leaders would give him no other alternative than acquiescence to their demand or all out fall out.
Still, the fact remain that Pilatus clearly sees that justice demands one behaviour, and politics suggests another. Put in front of the choice and being, well, a politician, he makes a politician’s choice; a shrewd move from a political point of view, but a catastrophic one from a moral one. He is, therefore, certainly guilty to an extent – and Jesus tells him so in his face – but clearly not evil, or cowardly.
Pilatus is remarkable for another revealing expression: when Jesus confronts him with the Truth, he replies with the famous: “What is truth”? Little he knew that two thousand years later, the same expression would still be used by all those who, like him, see the Truth in front of them but refuse to accept it, because the acceptance means a price they are not ready to pay.
Pilatus is, then, not evil, but rather a mix of good intentions, political calculations, and less than steely moral standards. He perceives himself as doing “what he can” to help Jesus, but what he can is determined by the way he thinks. At the same time, he is acted as well as acting, as it is abundantly clear from historical sources that Rome truly didn’t want to see further troubles in Palestine. If Pilatus had started an all out confrontation, the first victim would have been himself and I wonder how many of us would, in the same situation, choose the heroic option: to throw to the dogs career and privilege – or worse – in order to make a point about a person he had never seen before – though he had heard about him -, who was unpopular among his own, and not even a Roman citizen.
Pilatus could, of course, have called the bluff and invited the Jews to the homicide-suicide: open revolt, Roman representative deposed or even punished, but Jewish hierarchy massacred by that time. Still, this is more easily said than done, as such a radical option can only be chosen by someone who has made a radical choice for truth. This was clearly neither the case in the concrete situation, nor part of the job description in general.
Pilatus chooses, therefore, to do not what is moral, but what is rational. Clearly, if he had chosen to accept the risk of a revolt over an individual case of such small (we would say today) geopolitical relevance for Rome, the accusations of having been utterly emotional and of having started a mess for the sake of his pal’s skin would have been, in the Roman perspective, clearly impossible to refute. Pilatus’ drama is, therefore, a dilemma that continues to be fascinating to this day and only the most stupid must tell themselves “If I had been in his place I’d have saved Jesus, of course!” Well, firstly with such a mentality you wouldn’t have been in his place in the first place and secondly no, you don’t even have the cojones to criticise the scandalous behaviour around you, so the jewish mob would have scared the crap out of you and no mistake.
Pilatus has become the epitome of cowardice, and I do not think it is fair. He behaves with consideration and humanity *; he goes to great lengths to save Jesus; he extensively tests the waters and leans himself out of the window more than most politicians of today would think of doing; but he recoils when he sees that no half solution is possible and that he is put in front of the fundamental choice and asked to decide whether justice or ragion di Stato should carry the day.
There is, I am afraid, a Pilatus in every one of us. His dilemma is our dilemma in our everyday fight to be coherent Christians; his ultimate moral defeat is, very clearly, ours.
I love to think that he has been forgiven and is now safely in Paradise. For obvious reasons, I like the “Good Romans” mentioned in the Gospels (say: the Roman centurion with the ill servant; or the other centurion under the Cross, Longinus, who – if memory serves – went on to convert and, some say, become a bishop). Pilatus doesn’t match them, but I don’t think he is the worst, either.
Tomorrow, I’ll hear the whole story again. Once again, I’ll be confronted with Pilatus’ dilemma. Once again, I’ll as myself what I would have done in his shoes (I mean really done, not as an armchair general safely talking with the benefit of hindsight, and of two thousand years of Christianity). And once again, I’ll bow my head in shame.
A prayer for Pilatus is, I think, fully in order.
* note that even his order to have Jesus flogged is from the background of the hope that after the flogging the Jews might renounce to have him executed.
Astonishingly, the Michael Voris video you see above has caused criticisms from, of all people, devout Catholics. This happens, I think, because – as so often – his words are taken emotionally, without even listening to what the man says.
Please watch the video above. Voris is not inviting anyone to any schism. He is not even inviting the faithful to throw out of the window mediocre, but still honestly Catholic priests.
What he is simply saying is that, if in your church things have gone so far that you realise that your allegedly Catholic priest is nothing more than a Pagan, you must draw the consequence and leave that parish. This point is so important that he managed to make the point repeatedly in a message only a handful of minutes long. I truly can’t see how this can be misunderstood without being either rather inattentive, or rather obtuse.
It is also astonishing that the reaction would focus on the simple truths Voris has the honesty to present, rather than on the scandalous fact that within the Catholic church, some very confused people would even think of abandoning themselves to the kind of feel-good pagan nonsense we have already seen in Protestant circles.
Michael Voris is spot on. The kind of Neo-pagan, environ-Mentalist so-called Catholicism we see here and there must be eradicated from the very roots, by encouraging sincere Catholics to understand when it is clear that their own priest is not a Catholic anymore.
Even if the vatican were as effective and courageous as, well, it isn’t, it would be impossible to prevent every insurgence of heretical thinking among the worst shepherds. But whilst some centuries ago the relative ignorance of the people in the pews made it more difficult to discern when the priest was becoming heretic, nowadays such a decision is easily possible for a much bigger number of people.
This without even considering that for around 98% of the history of Christianity, a priest devoting the homily to environmental issues on Good Friday, Easter Day or Divine Mercy Sunday (or call it dominica in albis if you are old-fashioned or if you are not a great fan of the Divine Mercy; I ain’t, either) would have been disposed of in a more or less environmentally friendly way in a very short time, without the need for any discussion.
It is time to call things as they are. The habit doesn’t make a heretic less heretic, nor a pagan less pagan.
It sometimes happens that I attend the 12:30 mass instead of the 11:00 Mass. What always strikes me on those occasions is, on entering the church, a strong smell of incense. The fact is, that the 10:00 Mass doesn’t have the massive use of incense of the solemn mass at 11:00; therefore, coming in after the end of the 11:00 mass you immediately notice the difference.
Every time that this happens I can’t avoid noticing what the Protestants (most of them, at least) miss not only from a theological point of view (because they are heretics) but from a more practical, eminently human one.
Catholicism is so complete, so wise, so beautifully constructed in all its details. The little gestures and smells and rituals that are so closely identified with Catholic tradition are a help to the faithful rather than a show of pomp or an ungodly fondness for rituals. At the same time, they connect him with his deeper nature rather than creating a separation between what he thinks and what he is.
When you get into a Catholic church, you are supposed to enter a different world. A world which in its isolation from the outside environment wants to be a prefiguration of the world to come. Walls will be as thick as affordable. Doors will isolate you from the outside as much as practicable. Once inside, you will notice the smell of incense and this will immediately – in an automatic, unconscious reflex similar to the one of Pavlov’s dogs – tell you on a more profound level than the intellectual one that you are now in a sacred place. You look for the stoop and again something happens that is unique to the church: the contact of your forehead with the cold holy water. Around you, the environment is also unique: the building is more or less ornate, generally as much as economic possibilities allow. This is different from everything you see outside and not only does remind you of Christianity at every turn and in every inch (the paintings, the painted glass, the statues, the stations of the cross, the pulpit, the sanctuary with the altar and the Tabernacle, and so on), but it literally leads you to a world you won’t find anywhere else.
It goes on. Silence – a typical trait of every church not defiled by post Vatican-II madness and postmodern ignorance and rudeness – is your almost constant companion. Even tourists go around exchanging, if at all, merely short whispers. This is very natural to them, as the silence is overwhelming and everything they see and smell around them tells them that….. they are now in another world. If the church is not immersed in its solemn silence, an organ might be playing and here again, the assault on your senses is overwhelming.
You see here how a properly made Catholic church embraces all of you at an emotional, elementary level. Sight (the decoration), smell (the incense), hearing (the music, or the silence), touch (the holy water) are involved in a unique way, a way immediately predisposing you to prayer and meditation.
This may seem unnecessary frill and unholy complication to a Protestant mind, but in reality only shows one of the typical traits of Catholic mentality: their connection with the entire being as opposed to the cold cerebral approach so typical of many Protestants. In turn, this natural desire to let all their senses participate to their devotion is – and I can say this with full, first-hand knowledge, having extensively lived in both worlds – so typical of the mediterranean culture, which without any doubt is much more in touch with their inner being than the Peoples of the colder Protestant regions. And one would be tempted to wonder whether it is their connection with their emotions that makes of southern Europeans “natural Catholics”, or whether they are so well-connected to their emotions because they have been raised, for countless generations, as Catholics. If you look at the Germans – a people who, by all their differences and cultural nuances, still are pretty much identifiable as a cultural homogeneous region – you can’t avoid noticing the differences in the most minute details (up to the way they walk, talk, move their facial muscles, laugh!) between the Catholic regions (the Rhineland and, most notably, Bavaria) and the traditionally Protestant regions in the North and East.
When I first went to Munich, I felt like in Italy. When I first went to Berlin, I felt as if half the people around me were thinking about suicide.
Tutto si tiene, Cavour used to say and as an Italian abroad you see the way everything is tied together. Catholicism talks to your senses, and involves them; it does so with the same unspoiled, unadulterated naturalness and relaxedness Northern European Peoples invariably notice in Southern European ones (and yes: Southern Europeans invariably notice the underlying stiffness, the subtle “woodenness” of their North European counterparts).
Southern Europeans do not spend time asking whether incense has a place in church. They know it has, and that there’s no reason to be cerebral about it. The mere posing of the question would seem extraordinary to them. They are like Catholicism, probably because Catholicism made them that way: naturally embracing the truth rather than letting their own little neuroses and ego-driven exercises having the best of themselves. They naturally embrace their entire being (not only their mind, but their body and feelings) and let them participate of whatever they do (ever noticed how often Southern Europeans touch each other? Try that in Mecklemburg-Vorpommern!). And they are, in general, more at peace with themselves, which is what creates that sense of naturalness foreigners seem to love so much of us Italians (and that Italians invariably never notice in themselves, until they start living among Northern Europeans).
You see, then, how authentic Catholicism helps to create more – hoping not to be offensive, but using an expression that I have often heard from foreigners – “authentic” people. People more in touch with their own nature, instead of constantly wondering what is wrong with it or even trying to change it.
Next time you smell the incense in your church, breathe it fully and let yourself immerse in the beautifully spiritual atmosphere it creates; let the surrounding walls with their tales of faith and hope embrace you with the loving embrace of Christ; let the cold impact of the holy water on your forehead remind you – on a physical level – that you are now in a very special place; let all your senses participate of your experience; leave behind you all the puritan rigidity and coldness that you have so often experienced in your Anglo-Saxon climate; accept what the wisdom of countless generations has naturally accepted as a natural way of worship – the splendour of the decoration, the sacredness of the incense, the beauty of the organ or the solemnity of the silence – and let your heart and your entire being feel that you are in a sacred place.
The Catholic enters his splendidly decorated church, and knows – without even thinking about it – that this is just right. The Protestant enters the very same church, and starts questioning why the money hasn’t been spent on social causes. The first is a whole person, the second a victim of his belaboring brain.
I have already written about Father Corapi. I truly like the man. I think he is one of the finest preachers around. In my “The Quotable Catholic” section he is rather well represented, though probably much less than he deserves.
Father Corapi has now been put on administrative leave. At this point (and this is what makes it rather difficult to write about it) we don’t know much about the exact circumstances. What we know, though, from Father Corapi himself is that a former employee has written a letter to several bishops accusing him of misconduct on a vast series of accounts (drugs and women seem to be prominent, though) and that as a result he has been suspended pending investigation.
Just for the record, please note that:
1) No misconduct on minor is involved in any way and 2) no criminal offences are involved in any way (which sound strange to me, considering that drug use from the former drug addict Corapi would seem to be part of the accusations).
I would like to point out, here, a very important concept that, it seems to me, is too often lost when such events are discussed. A man is a good Catholic preacher when he succeeds in properly communicating the Catholic Truth and thus helps others on their way to God. Whether he is a saint or a sinner (better said: in what degree he is a sinner, as we all are) is something which will impact his own soul at the moment of death, but certainly does not impact the Truth he goes around preaching, nor the good he spreads around by doing it.
I don’t need to believe that a person is a saint to feel encouraged to do as he says. If he is able to encourage and motivate me, this is enough. If he is also a saint, good for him, but this doesn’t make the truths he says any more true.
Corapi is – as a preacher – a fine pearl of Catholicism. Besides his life being a beautiful witness of Catholic courage (a fact that, as I have said, is not in the first line here), his way of explaining the Catholic teaching is what makes him so rare and such an effective help to Catholic evangelisation.
We must always separate the Truths a preacher talks about, from the degree in which he is able to adhere to them. First of all no one will ever be able to completely adhere to them, and secondly the truths would become not one iota less true even if the preacher should, say, turn out to be a homosexual child rapist who earned a second income in a brothel whilst selling crack to fund his alcoholism.
If your excellent history teacher at school turned out to be an alcoholic, this didn’t make him any less good at teaching history, nor history any less true because he drank.
Having said that, we don’t know and pending an investigation, I think that even Father Corapi wouldn’t be angry at us for saying “I like you a lot but as I don’t know you personally, I can’t start screaming your innocence right now”.
Others have made a comparison with Maciel, but as I like Corapi a lot I prefer to make a comparison with Padre Pio, more or less horribly slandered (and certainly seriously damaged in his reputation) not for days or months, but for years. A famous episode concerned his being accused of profiting of his role as confessor to get sexual favours from a certain woman; it turned out that the accusation had been motivated by the jealousy of another lady, who subsequently confessed her grievous sin.
Frankly, I do see some parallels here, but again: I wasn’t there.
Corapi might be more Padre Pio or more Maciel (come on, we know the first hypothesis is by far the more probable and he is innocent until proven guilty anyway). Still, my admiration for Corapi (whose sincere inspiration I do not doubt for an instant, however little or however big his faults and private sins may be) as a fine preacher is undiminished whatever the outcome of this affair.
I didn’t want to write about Father Corapi as I don’t like to use this blog to speculate about things I don’t know, but I have read things whose general tone (and possibly general spirit) I didn’t like and thought it fitting to express my admiration for the man’s sincerity and ability once again.
Here is wishing him all the best; he is in my prayers and, I do hope, in yours.
I hope to see him roaring from the pulpit again very soon.
In a Father Z’s post, a very perceptive Bishop (outside of Europe, of course) makes a lot of intelligent observations about why the Novus Ordo is woefully inadequate and how the return to the Vetus Ordo will be the “saving grace” of the Church.
Of his many points, one struck me light a lightning: what if EWTN would start transmitting its daily mass ad orientem.
Think of it: the biggest Catholic sender on earth broadcasts its daily Mass with the Tridentine use. Very rapidly (after some weeks of feeble protest, perhaps; perhaps with a keen curiosity from the start) the Tridentine would become familiar to millions who never had the opportunity to assist to one before; nay, who didn’t even know that there was the possibility of attending to such a Mass!
In a matter of a few months, perhaps a few weeks, a huge number of them would not only become accustomed to it, but start to cherish the sobriety, the atmosphere, the solemnity, the sense of sacredness that the Tridentine conveys so well to all those who take the time and make the effort to understand it. Soon, these very people would start asking their own priest what about that beautiful, spiritual Mass they see on EWTN. What will the priest answer then, “we don’t do this”? “You are 45, but not a stable community?”.
In a world more and more made global by mass communication media, a single decision could have a planetary impact.
I do hope they’ll think seriously about it.