Faithful French bishop punished for being……..Catholic March 31, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, awesomeness, Basics, contraception, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, paganism, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, Society, true leadership.
The Revolution is in an uproar in France, since Bishop Luc Ravel said somethings that are markedly Catholic. Can’t have that. Via Tancred at Eponymous Fowler:
His Excellency, Bishop Luc Ravel,a Catholic bishops in the French Military Ordinariate is to be “punished” by the French Ministry of Defense, for his writings. He has also been told to cease using any emblems identifying himself with the army. The bishop apparently in his words and actions, contradicts “republican values”. No doubt, as a good Catholic he does. But then, so did the thousands who were slaughtered by the Revolution…
The bishop wrote:
“...Christians feel shackled between two ideologies. On the one hand an ideology that is a caricature of God, which has contempt for man. [That would be islam] On the other hand, an ideology that manipulates man, despising God. [That would be leftism] On the one hand, we have those who are declared and known: the terrorists of the bomb, the Prophet’s avengers. On the other hand, we have terrorists of thought, the proponents of secularism, the admirers of the Republic. In what camp is a Christian to find himself”?
“We do not want to be held hostage by Islamists, but we also do not want to be slaves of correct thought. Islamic ideology has led to 17 victims in France, but the ideology of thinking correctly [political correctness] creates annually two hundred thousand victims in the womb of the mother. Abortion has become a fundamental right and a weapon of mass destruction “
I don’t know much about Bishop Ravel, but it sounds like he’s figured out the cultural predicament facing Catholics at the moment, squeezed more and more tightly between the vise of leftism and the immovable object in islam. He also rightly understands that abortion is absolutely vital, it is the keystone of the Republican war to return our culture to the days of pagan hedonism and barbarism. Without abortion as the backstop, the great left-wing trade (we give you sexual hedonism, we take everything else) falls apart. They know that only too well, which is why they will trade virtually anything and everything before giving up abortion. With abortion, they maintain control.
But I think leftism does reveal its grave weakness in that it cannot tolerate any competing or contradictory thought. So rather than argue the point on the merits (such as they are), they choose to shoot the messenger. That’s been a dominant characteristic of the revolution since it burst on the scene in 1789. Political opponents are not to be out-argued or even out-maneuvered, they are simply to be done away with.
But, remember, it’s we Catholics and other Christians who are the real extremists to worry about. Goebbels would be proud.
Fr. Nicholson: Pope Francis ushering in an era of upheaval, could lead to a new rash of priest sex abuse (fixed) March 30, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, catachesis, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, persecution, priests, scandals, secularism, Society, SOD, the struggle for the Church, unity.
Yowzer. That’s a pretty hot take, but I think as he goes through the argument, he’s got a pretty good point. He ties in the doctrinal chaos and exaggerated expectations for massive change in the Church that existed in the late 50s and early 60s – when the priest boy rape became epidemic – with similar expectations today. He forecasts a similar explosion in sex abuse cases if the doctrinal chaos reigning over the past two years, and the concomitant build up in expectations for change in the Church’s immutable Dogmas, will lead to a similar epidemic.
I don’t agree with everything said below, and I’ve certainly disagreed with some of Fr. Nicholson’s takes in the past, but I think he makes an interesting point that is worthy of consideration. I’m glad he did note that while Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope will probably never be a Saint Benedict XVI did help re-establish some greater doctrinal certainty, at least in the Petrine office, they certainly didn’t fully restore the doctrinal integrity that has existed in happier days in the Church’s existence:
Sorry, coded the video wrong!
I do like his summation, that in these times faithful Catholics must unite to support and defend each other and the sacred deposit of the Faith handed onto us, whether that means helping out those being persecuted monetarily or through moral support, calling out doctrinal error, supporting faithful bishops and priests, and the like. That is certainly a key point with me. I do find a bit of irony in this, however, given the source, and what he has said in some other videos. But I’ll just scoot right past that and echo the call for all faithful Catholics of good will to desist from the circular firing squad, turn around, and direct our fire at the encroaching enemies of the Faith who surround us.
It’s always been something of a point of fascination to me, how a Church that was by so many measures robust and doctrinally cohesive in the 50s timeframe was at the same time so ripe for revolution. I do think those of us who did not live through it can never quite imagine what a tumultuous, even earth-shattering time the 60s was. Outside the Church or within, so many things, from TV to jet travel to new music to fashion to advertising to what name you, everything changed radically over that period. People became convinced that mankind really was entering some new technological golden age and that all the old rules, the societal compact, if you will, of all preceding times, could simply be chucked with abandon. That thinking, almost a virus in its effects, certainly penetrated the Church and caused largely unexpected upheaval. At the same time, we also know that by the mid-50s there were many modernists inside the Church who were stealthily, and as the decade went on, more and more openly working towards a revolution. By 1958 they were simply looking for an advantageous opportunity to strike, and Vatican II gave them that opportunity. I think the two events, an ambitious, united, and strongly networked modernist cabal, and a society expecting flying cars, all manner of wonder drugs (medicinal and otherwise) and round-trip tickets to Mars within a few years produced a perfect storm that struck a Church perhaps somewhat complacent and a bit full of itself. The result was a veritable French Revolution, which nobody really expected or saw coming, either, by the way.
As for our current revolution, times are different. We have direct evidence of the disaster that will follow in the wake of doctrinal uncertainty and expectations-building. But I don’t know if that will be enough to deter the aged modernists in their ambitions to show themselves right, lo after all these years, that the revolution of the 60s was an inevitable organic event that simply had to happen, and not a top-down betrayal by elites who foisted a hostile and competing construct on the 2000 year old institution Christ founded. I think the rampant perversion and gross immorality Fr. Nicholson laments answers that question irrefutably, but intellectual pride is, as the Angelic Doctor said, the most difficult form of pride to overcome. And few men in their 70s or 80s are very open to a total reversal from a lifetime of belief, no matter how destructive and contrary they can be shown to be.
As a final aside, and a recommendation to you, I picked up this video on Bones’ site. He has a post where you can sign your name to indicate your support for the nearly 500 English priests who reject the attempts to change sacred belief regarding marriage, divorce, the Blessed Sacrament…….you know what I mean. The whole modernist Kasperite gambit. I signed. You can find my name, Fredo Corleone, bottom of Lake Tahoe, NV.
More garbage from Kasper the modernist paramour March 30, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, Papa, persecution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, SOD, the return, the struggle for the Church.
Reading some more quotes below from Cardinal Kasper, which reveal in stark clarity precisely why he is viewed as the arch-heretic Kung’s prize pupil and also why he is the current paramour of the modernists, I am struck by the question – who with a Catholic heart could not read this man’s work (filth might be a better word) and not react with revulsion? Who would find in this stuff “serenity?” Via Vox Cantoris:
In 1967, this same German Kasper said:
“The God who is enthroned over the world and history as a changeless being is an offence to man. One must deny him for man’s sake, because he claims for himself the dignity and honour that belong by right to man…. We must resist this God, however, not only for man’s sake, but also for God’s sake. He is not the true God at all, but rather a wretched idol. For a God who is only alongside of and above history, who is not himself history, is a finite God. If we call such a being God, then for the sake of the Absolute we must become absolute atheists. Such a God springs from a rigid worldview; he is the guarantor of the status quo and the enemy of the new.”
Cardinal Kasper explicitly rejects a dozen defined Dogmas I can think of off the top of my head right now. This is nothing but modernist immanentism, “we create ‘god’ by our thoughts and loves and desires” horse hockey. We must deny a transcendent, omniscient all-powerful God because……no, not because He claims some dignity or honor that belongs to “man,” but because He claims dignity and honor that offends the monumental hubris of the modernist intellectual. The modernist is offended by this God because the modernist sees himself as god. It works this way: modernists do believe we humans somehow create God out of our spiritual needs, desires, loves, etc., and since no one understands those needs and loves as well as the highly trained modernist intellectual, those modernists embody ‘god’ better than anyone else. This is not ascribing base motives to ideological opponents, this is what these guys really believe!!! No wonder they fight with such passion and have no qualms using unscrupulous machinations, opponents of modernism offend against the dread god Kasper and must be crushed.
This man has to either hate or butcher everything that predates 1870. Tradition for him is nothing but an obstacle to be not just overcome, but obliterated.
Another quote, from a much more recent Kasper book:
In this same book that the Pope has praised, Kasper writes more carefully [the serene theology on the knees book]:
“On the basis of its metaphysical starting point, dogmatic theology has difficulty speaking of a compassionate God. It has to exclude the possibility that God suffers with his creatures in a passive sense; it can only speak of pity and mercy, in the active sense that God opposes the suffering of his creatures and provides them assistance. The question that remains is whether this satisfactorily corresponds to the biblical understanding of God, who suffers with his creatures, who as misericors has a heart with the poor and for the poor. Can a God who is conceived so apathetically be really sympathetic? Pastorally, this conception of God is a catastrophe. For a so abstractly conceived God appears to most people to be very distant from their personal situation.” [Walter Kasper, Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life, trans. William Madges (New York, 2014), p11]
Yes, this is much more careful, the code speak of the modernist warhorse after 40 years of political machinations. It’s still utter garbage from the top. Dogmatic theology has no difficulty “speaking” of a compassionate God – and see how he once again sets Tradition, or the preceding Magisterium, up as an obstacle to be overcome. In fact, in terms of a right understanding of such concepts as true mercy, justice, compassion, etc, the dogmatic beliefs of the Church form the most beautiful, transcendent, and cohesive whole the Church has ever seen. But since that traditional understanding poses a natural barrier to Kasper’s still pressing modernist sensibilities, it has to be construed as somehow wanting. That is to say, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Church’s 2000 year conception of God, it is in fact the best conception human possible, the problem for Kasper lies in the fact that he and his cabal do not share it, an dare in fact violently opposed to it as being an obstacle to their revolutionary goals. It should be clear, then, why Kasper and those like him constantly speak of the Church’s belief and practice as being some terrible old decrepit thing that must finally be put down.
I would remind that Kasper has already been shown to have misquoted Church Councils, made up quotes from Church Fathers allegedly supporting his position, and completely butchered the plain meaning of others in order to pursue his ends. He has proposed false conundrums and used heavy-handed pressure tactics to influence prelates to support his side.
IOW, everything Pope Saint Pius X said about modernists and their reptelian nature is completely, 100% true.
That’s the argument Patrick Archbold lays out below, and I he’s got more than a slight point. While some people forecast that faithful Catholics might freak out or even “schism” over some outlandish pronouncement by the Synod, the progressive faction, including the German episcopate, sure seems schismatic by their novel, even heretical, beliefs and actions:
Ever since the announcement of the Synod on the Family and Cardinal Kasper’s infamous kickoff speech, people have been predicting that traditionalists might schism because, like Inspector Javert, they just can’t handle all that awesome mercy……..
……In all the speculation, whether you think it is a disaster or the awesomest thing since communion in the hand, there is one common thread. Everyone expects that the progressives will get what they want. The deck is stacked after all.
But what if that single presumption is wrong? What happens if, by the protection of the Holy Spirit, the Pope does what Popes are supposed to do and he says, “No!” What happens if the Pope says, “Sorry, Jesus was pretty unequivocal about this and you can’t separate the pastoral from the doctrinal, you can’t separate truth and mercy?” What happens then?
Well, to find that answer, we don’t have to look very far. We just need to look at the words of Cardinal Marx, the president of the German bishops’ conference, and a leading proponent of mercy-palooza:
……..“the synod cannot prescribe in detail what we have to do in Germany.”The German bishops want to publish their own pastoral letter on marriage and family after the synod, the article said.“We are not just a subsidiary of Rome,” Cardinal Marx said. “Each episcopal conference is responsible for the pastoral care in their culture and has to proclaim the Gospel in its own unique way. We cannot wait until a synod states something, as we have to carry out marriage and family ministry here.”
I can’t translate German, but I am pretty good at translating Progressive. The closest translation is “You better do it, Rome, or we will.”
Remember, one of the reasons that Pope Francis even called a Synod on this topic was because the German Episcopate was threatening unilateral action on this front.
Smells like schism to me.
Well that’s pretty much the argument I’ve been making on this blog for at least a year and a half. While schism as a state does have a precise theological meaning, in practical terms those who reject Dogma are placing themselves outside the Church. The German bishops threatening to publicly and formally deviate from the Doctrine of the Faith and establish their own micro-Magisterium in competition with that established by Jesus Christ are plainly threatening a schismatic act, and to even make the threat is to reveal a seriously schismatic attitude. That is to say, we already have a schism in practical terms, in being, if you will, if not in formal definition. This is exactly the same situation that existed in the early 70s with the Dutch episcopate, who threatened schism over several matters, including, most infamously, Communion in the hand. It seems threats of schism have worked to the modernist’s advantage in the past.
As for whether faithful/orthodox/traditional Catholics – that is, those deserving of the name – will “go into schism,” I’ve always found such arguments leading and unfair. If the Synod makes some abominable claim that simply cannot be accepted (and I have no idea how, but, then again, the level of authority of a small subset of bishops, even one meeting under the aegis of the Holy Father, is highly questionable. However, the encylical that typically follows would be another matter entirely) it will not be faithful Catholics who are in schism. It will be those who accepted and promulgated the unacceptable. Some might try to argue otherwise, but if those who simply believe and practice what the Church has always believed just keep on doing that, and if there is no concrete action taken to “separate themselves from Rome,” then there would be no schism. We can oppose the error without changing a thing, without taking any concrete step from which the only consequence would be to seriously harm, if not destroy, our collective credibility as those remaining true, or truest, to the Church Christ founded.
I have no idea how this second session will play out. I am maintaining a watchful vigilance. Some people are arguing Pope Francis is distancing himself from the Kasperite cabal, while others indicate the Ordinary Synod is being “stacked” with progressives.
Tradition-supporting Italian Bishop stripped of power? March 30, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, persecution, pr stunts, sadness, scandals, secularism, Society, the return, the struggle for the Church.
Rorate has a post regarding Bishop Oliveri of Albenga-Imperia in Italy, a bishop known for his strong support for the Traditional Latin Mass and the traditional practice of the Faith. There have been some (relatively speaking) minor allegations regarding problems handling abuse and some other matters in the Diocese, so last year a coadjutor bishop was appointed. At the time, it was not clear what role the coadjutor would have. Rorate is reporting, based on recent revelations in the Italian press, that Bishop Oliveri will be replaced in all but name as the functional head of the Diocese, with Coadjutor Borghetti taking over all administrative and disciplinary functions:
What was predicted by Italian media in October last year, as reported by Rorate at the time, has taken place exactly as foretold: Msgr. Mario Oliveri, 71, the exceptionally Traditionalist-friendly Bishop of Albenga-Imperia, has been stripped of all powers and is now Ordinary of the diocese in name only.
The appointment of his Coadjutor Bishop, Guglielmo Borghetti, was announced on January 10, but the full extent of the powers given to him was not reported at that time. This has now been publicized thanks to a series of articles in the Italian media and blogosphere in the last few days. The full text of the bull appointing Msgr. Borghetti was read out to the Consultors of the Diocese on March 25, and published on the diocesan website (h/t Messa in Latino). The bull specifies that he is nominated Coadjutor Bishop “with special faculties” consisting of no less than the same jurisdiction that a diocesan bishop has according to Canon 381 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law.
The new Coadjutor Bishop himself confirmed to the Italian news agency ANSA that he now has full powers. ANSA also mentions that “the priests who attended his first celebration in the seminary have expressly said that for the Diocese of Albenga ‘begins a Copernican revolution.'”
It must be kept in mind that even when a Bishop receives a Coadjutor, the former does not necessarily lose his normal powers as ruling bishop until he steps down. The current situation in Albenga-Imperia is therefore exceptional, and can only be the result of the express will of Pope Francis.
As our readers will certainly realize, this humiliation of yet another Traditional-friendly Bishop stands in dramatic contrast to the Pope’s inaction over the crisis enveloping his scandalous appointment of Juan Barros as Bishop of Osorno in Chile, despite credible and multiple allegations linking him to the sexual abuse of minors.
All the supporting links are in Italian, so it is difficult to understand, specifically, how this assigning of roles to the coadjutor is more expansive and different qualitatively than such appointments normally are.
This matter may bring back unhappy memories for Dallas Catholics, who recall that in 2000, Joseph Galante was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Dallas in the wake of Bishop Grahman’s disastrous handling of several priest boy-rape cases, especially that of Rudy Kos, which at the time resulted in a historic civil judgment against the Diocese. Scandalously, in spite of the fact that his credibility had been shattered, Bishop Grahman refused to step down and turn over significant areas of diocesan administration to Bishop Galante. There followed a very public row that divided the clergy and laity and led to Bishop Galante’s eventual stormy departure in 2003.
I am not certain if Bishop Galante was given similar “special faculties” to more or less forcibly take over administration of the Diocese of Dallas, as apparently this Bishop Borghetti has. Certainly, it was expected that Bishop Grahman would retire within 18 months of Galante’s appointment, something Bishop Grahman steadfastly refused to do (which brings up rather significant questions regarding obedience, since Pope Saint John Paul II had very clearly conveyed his express desire that Bishop Grahman retire early and give up the reins to Galante- apparently, arch-liberals like Grahman are allowed to obey if they want and disobey when they feel like it – pretty rich coming from a man who demanded absolute unquestioning obedience from all this priests). So could Oliveri “pull a Grahman” and simply refuse to leave, refuse to give up an administrative role, and work with those priests loyal to him to maintain a power base? Unlikely, as it seems only modernists/progressives are allowed to get away with such disobedience. Those friendly to to Tradition generally have qualms of conscience that would prevent them from acting in a way so contrary to the express will of the Sovereign Pontiff. But double standards in treatment can tend to erode that tendency towards obedience, a trend that could have unfortunate consequences for the future of the Church.
As a final footnote, after the ambitious Bishop Galante finally got his diocese (Camden, NJ), he turned out to be at least as dogmatically liberal as Grahman. His administration of the Diocese of Camden was filled with church closures and unhappy laity. Galante revealed himself to be very strongly on the side of the hermeneutic of rupture, you could say. He was no fan of Tradition, and sought to sack priests who were too tradition-friendly. There was also a financial scandal. At least one good local priest indicated “we dodged a bullet” in not getting Galante as our bishop.
So perhaps all’s well that end’s well. But not for Bishop Oliveri.
YES! Cardinal Muller, head of CDF: “Episcopal Conference….not linked to any specific teaching authority” March 27, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, Society, SOD, the struggle for the Church.
Dang straight. Good, clear catechesis from the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Muller:
The claim that a Bishop’s Conference was “not a branch of Rome”, “gives me the cue to remind you that the dioceses are not branches of the Secretariat of the Episcopal Conference or [branches of] the diocese, whose bishop President of the Bishops’ Conference is.” This was Gerhard Müller Cardinal, Prefect of the Congregation for Doctrine and the Faith, for the Catholic French magazine, Famille Chrétienne. He had been previously asked what he thought of a statement “where a German bishop had stated that the Bishops’ Conference, which he was presiding, was no “branch of Rome,” he was referring to remarks by Reinhard Cardinal Marx, President of the German Bishops’ Conference. Müller explained further: “A Bishops’ Conference is not a Particular Council, [it is] a lot less than an Ecumenical Council. The President of the Episcopal Conference is no more than a technical presenter, there is no special teaching authority linked with this title. “The attitude that a Bishops’ Conference is not a branch of Rome,” brings with it the danger to revive a certain polarization between the local Churches and the Universal Church which had come rest in the First and the Second Vatican Councils. The Church is not the sum of national churches whose presidents would choose a boss on a universal level.” [Very true. One of the reason I deplore the modern national episcopal conferences, among many, is that they frequently present views masquerading as doctrinal decisions or “rulings” that are nothing of the sort. Episcopal conferences are great novelties and their only “authority,” to the extent they have any, flows from the voluntary and unanimous judgment of the individual ordinaries who constitute them. They also represent a great temptation to use groupthink to exert pressure on individual bishops either to accept the dominant, often erroneous point of view, or to inhibit faithful prelates like Burke from speaking out on issues when they are ordinary. The USCCB leadership has been furious with Burke in the past, when he was still in the US, for violating their silent, secretive rule not to deny Communion to pro-abort or other heretical katholyc politicians. As I see it, national conferences have become self-interested bureaucracies staffed largely with left-leaning (or full-on revolutionary) apparatchiks who often undermine the Church’s Doctrine and Her mission to save souls in pursuit of a broader left-wing agenda. Harsh, but how many scandals at CRS, Catholic Charities, CCHD, etc., do we have to see? And those are just the tip of the iceberg]
On the question of whether some teaching or disciplinary decisions about marriage and the family could be delegated to the Bishops’ Conferences, the Prefect of the CDF replied: “This is an absolutely anti-Catholic idea that does not respect the catholicity of the Church. Bishops’ Conferences have authority in certain topics, but they possess no magisterium against the magisterium without a pope and without communion with all the bishops.” [Nice slap down of Cardinal Marx]
“The Church is not a philanthropic organization. It is not enough if we say that we respect the views of all and wish good for all,” Müller explained further. Indeed it is not too difficult to fall into the trap of presenting the gospel as a therapeutic agent, but this does not correspond to the requirements of Jesus. “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and receive all manner of slander because of me, said Jesus. The first Apostles, the Church Fathers, the great bishops of the Church had so often to sail against the wind. Why should this be any different for us?
Thanks to Tancred for the translation. He is not entirely ideal, certainly, but Cardinal Muller has been fighting quite vociferously against the German-Kasperite gambit to radically undermine the entire moral edifice of the Church. It has been sad to see his efforts dismissed by some other prelates, with statements like “of course he would say that, he’s the guardian of Doctrine, that’s his job,” as if that somehow reduces the import of his statements! In fact, it highlights their importance even more, but the German conference (save a few notable exceptions) is so far around the bend on this matter nothing short of a miracle will pull them back.
What happened to all that talk of free discussion and debate? What about making messes and getting the smell of the sheep? Aren’t parish priests probably the closest of all to the rank odors of the rank and file?
I wrote yesterday of 500 priests – including some surprisingly liberal names – of England and Wales begging the Synod on the Family not to implement any disastrous novelties regarding marriage, divorce, the Blessed Sacrament, etc. They thus contributed to the ongoing debate exactly as the Holy Father has repeatedly indicated. Unfortunately for them, old liberal Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who has supported the Kasperite gambit nearly from the beginning, doesn’t think much of debate and seems to prefer closed door decisions handed down as directive to be obeyed unconditionally. Yes, I exaggerate, but only a little, Nichols is widely known as one of the most authoritarian clericalists in the entire English-speaking Church, an insider’s insider who loves to wield power. He basically directed the English priests to butt out, which is odd, concerning the lengths to which the episcopal conference of England and Wales went to seek out lay input they thought would be friendly to the Kasperite approach:
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has slapped down nearly 500 priests who signed a letter to the Catholic Herald expressing concern about the Synod on the Family this October, which is to debate sensitive questions of sexual morality. This is a significant blunder by the Cardinal that exposes both the inflexibility of his leadership style and – certainly in the case of some of the priests – lack of confidence in his stewardship of the Catholic Church in England Wales. Here’s today’s Catholic Herald report:
Priests should not conduct a debate about the October Family Synod through the press, Cardinal Nichols has said, following the publication of a letter signed by hundreds of priests, urging the synod to issue a ‘clear and firm proclamation’ upholding Church teaching on marriage….
…..In a statement, a spokesman for Cardinal Nichols said that the press was not the medium for conducting dialogue of this sort.
‘Every priest in England and Wales has been asked to reflect on the Synod discussion. It is my understanding that this has been taken up in every diocese, and that channels of communication have been established,’ the statement said. [Perhaps the priests found those lines of communication unsatisfactory. Perhaps they did not want their views condensed, massaged, and even controverted by bureaucrats working in the various episcopal conferences and dicasteries. But their action was quite fitting with the rhetoric – the catechesis – the priests have been given by the highest source, was it not?]
Damian Thompson, who makes some valuable contributions but with whom I disagree strongly on occasion, has some explosive analysis. I would not dismiss his views, he knows the inner workings of the Church in Britain better than any other popular writer I know:
This is an unwise – but entirely characteristic – move by Cardinal Nichols. Here are some thoughts that spring to mind:
1. The Cardinal refers to ‘channels of communication’ that, in reality, are either blocked or permit only one-way traffic. I wouldn’t dream of calling a Prince of the Church a control freak, but if Nichols were a politician – a painfully on-message Labour junior minister from Merseyside, say – the cap would fit. The idea that the Bishops of England and Wales ‘welcome’ any views that don’t coincide with theirs is laughable. On this issue they’ve decided to align themselves with Pope Francis’s opinions on Communion for the divorced and homosexuality. The fact that these opinions are inchoate and elusive doesn’t trouble them because the same could be said of their own jargon-rich waffle. Cardinal Nichols is impressively fluent in ‘bishopese’; what distinguishes him from his colleagues is his quietly effective suppression of dissent. On this occasion, however, it hasn’t been so effective. Priests who normally play by the rules were so worried by the Anglican-style chaos of last October’s Synod on the Family (the first of two) that they felt they had no alternative but to speak openly.
2. What Cardinal Nichols did not say, though I suspect he’s aware of it, is that many priests were told by those ‘welcoming’ channels of communication not to sign the letter. As one signatory told the Herald, ‘there has been a certain amount of pressure not to sign the letter and indeed a degree of intimidation from some senior Churchmen’. Without this arm-twisting there would have been many more signatories. So the problem is bigger than it appears.
3. The Cardinal’s anger is directed not just at the priests but also at the press for publishing their letter. Obviously he doesn’t like me, and you wouldn’t expect him to, but he shows little interest in Catholic newspapers that, as it happens, bite their tongues and resist opportunities to criticise him out of loyalty to the Church. He is not rude to journalists but he can be aggressively patronising and it never occurs to him that devout Catholic writers might help him to spread his message. Whatever that is. The situation is doubly frustrating for the media because His Eminence appears to have taken a solemn vow not to say anything remotely memorable in public. At least you can’t accuse Pope Francis of that. To make matters even worse, Nichols employs an infuriatingly inept and ill-informed press office.
4. Finally, I have a nasty suspicion that any priest who was brave enough to sign that letter will find his card marked.
I am not surprised in the least that there was great pressure on priests not to sign the petition. I thank God for the strength of faith of those who did.
I may not agree with Thompson on some points (he makes no bones of his dislike for Michael Voris, for instance), but Damian Thompson is not just a media hound looking for a big story that will injure the Church. He is actually a pretty faithful Catholic, I would say, far more so than John Allen. So with his deep inside connections, and his relative faithfulness, when he says Pope Francis has been the driving source behind the attempts to radically alter the Church’s belief and practice regarding marriage, reception of the Blessed Sacrament, grave sin, and the rest, again, I don’t believe his comments can simply be dismissed out of hand.
To me, Thompson’s analysis makes far more sense, and has far more evidence in support, than do analyses that say that Pope Francis is really orthodox, he’s just badly misunderstood. I had a long addendum here, but I’ll leave it at that. I have found that this is a matter where souls either get it, or simply don’t, or won’t. And really, I pray I am wrong in my grave doubts regarding the direction of this pontificate – in fact, I pray every day that I am wrong. But the overwhelming weight of evidence – not episcopal appointments, not frequent orthodox statements (what else would we expect, a raving Marxist?) – but the Pope’s efforts at the Extraordinary Synod, in the pre-prepared midterm Relatio, in the inclusion of the rejected, incredibly problematic statements from that Relatio into the Synod’s final report, even though those statements failed to gain the approval even of the really picked audience that made up the Extraordinary Synod…….I simply cannot dismiss that.
Having said that, I never rule out the possibility of a great change in direction, and occasionally I see some hopeful signs. But the decisive point will be the second and final session of the Synod, and the encyclical that will surely follow. Those events will define this pontificate, for good or ill.
So many people who come into the Church, or even those who have been raised in it but develop a particular fire of devotion, often feel that there is something missing. Something big, but undefinable. They often find that the Church whose beliefs they read about in a good catechism or that they see in old pictures is not the Church they experience on a daily basis. Something very significant has changed.
I think that sense of absence, of loss, is conveyed very well in a recent post at the Ignatius Press website, as relayed by Pertinacious Papist. It’s a lament for a Church that no longer seems to quite exist, and for a past, we are told over and over again, we can never return to. I found it quite moving. Perhaps you will, as well:
Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars forced professional historians and casual readers alike to revise assessments of the Catholic religion in England in the years immediately preceding the Reformation:
If medieval religion was decadent, unpopular, or exhausted, the success of the Reformation hardly requires explanation. If, on the contrary, it was vigorous, adaptable, widely understood, and popular, then we have much yet to discover about the processes and the pace of reform.
In the almost six hundred pages following this observation, Duffy develops support for this thesis: that the Reformation in England was more of a revolution against a popular, widely-revered institution than an effort to reform something rife with problems and corruption. He can only build his case by reference to contemporary written accounts and a study of Church artistic works that somehow managed to survive state-sponsored efforts to obliterate the past. [And many of us feel that what happened in the mid-20th century was another revolution against the Church, from within]
The Tudor and Puritan road he guides his readers down is littered with burnt books, defaced statues, destroyed altar screens, and melted down church vessels. Destroy the artistic creations and traditions of an age, and when the last person who remembers it dies, a world dies also. This is where the road ends.
In our own time, those of us old enough to remember the Catholic Church as it was prior to Vatican II are also living with an obliterated past on a road marked ‘Dead End’. Inevitably, as the days move along, we are a vanishing breed on an all but forgotten journey. [Not forgotten. Some of us who were not even alive then are striving to remember and keep that Church alive]
These days much is made of the Catholicity of celebrated writers Chesterton, Tolkien, and Waugh. The latter two lived long enough to experience firsthand changes wrought by Vatican II, and both railed against them. (Details are at hand in the Ignatius Press edition of A Bitter Trial.) Tolkien and Waugh would never again feel at home in the Church. G. K.’s childhood memory of successful businessmen, bankers, and shop clerks falling to their knees as Cardinal Manning passed by along Kensington High Street seems to come from a world other than this one. G. K.’s old nemesis, George Bernard Shaw, might think the Church has become a bit more palatable, but what would G. K. himself think? Given his sense of humor, he might have somehow managed whereas Belloc—had he lived to see the day—would have blown a fuse.
Tolkien is said to have been dismayed by the exiling of Latin to what would become in our time a liturgical antique shop. Pope Francis the other day spoke approvingly of the vernacular replacing it. Pope Francis knows more languages than I do, but Tolkien, who understood Old English well enough to translate Beowulf, was irate. At times I myself am not even sure what to make of the English version, let alone the German or the Polish, which I do not grasp at all. From the current Psalm translations, O Lord, deliver us!
Complaints in this vein are now seen as coming from the make-believe world of annoying and tiresome fuddy-duddies. It has not taken long to obliterate a world where liturgical Latin could flourish. And there is no going back, except in memory. Eamon Duffy understands this. The last sentence of The Stripping of the Altars sounds a mournful note. [See my final comments below. I am not quite as hopeless as this, but I do fear the Church cannot go home again, and even a “restored” Faith of the future will be in many significant ways different from that of the past.]
I would argue that much the same was true of the farmer, the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick-maker of my time. You did not have to be a Jesuit to know what was going on in an age when—by the way—not everyone at Sunday Mass trooped forward to receive communion. (Barely a majority did.) Share that fact with someone today, and mention fasting from midnight; the smell of tuna fish sandwiches for breakfast in your classroom after ‘First Friday’ Masses, etc.
With respect to the past, we are all ‘cafeteria Catholics’. [Interesting, and disturbing point. I fear he is right. Even as Catholics striving to be faithful, it is very difficult to reformulate the Catholic existence of the past into our own lives in this present time, so cut off, even if only by 50 years!, from a Church that no longer exists]]
Tell someone you fondly remember Pope Pius XII from an age when pontiffs were not expected to smile like beauty queens. Attempt to explain why he is your favorite pope. Mention the Marian Year while you are at it. Describe his serious, ascetic demeanor. As likely as not, your listener will bring up the Nazis.
To adapt a line from the novelist L. P. Hartley, “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”
The one thing I will add, the one bit of disagreement I have with the notion of irreparable loss, is the fact that that past is still available in little pockets, here and there. I feel the author must not have access to the TLM, or even more, a traditional community. But I do recognize that even these pockets are unable to recreate in full that glorious past. People try, we hopefully all try, but we have to recognize that we are isolated geographically, historically, and culturally from the full vibrancy of the Church that was. Experiences vary from location to location and community to community, but being as isolated as we are, there are surely gaps. For one thing, we are at best islands in a hostile culture and, even more, a frequently hostile Church. We no longer have the whole Catholic culture surrounding us, as it used to be, though never very fully in this country. Unable to draw on past experience, what we are able to create is necessarily limited, though I pray not stunted and deformed. That is the greatest tragedy of the collapse of Christendom and the Church’s voluntary retreat from her historic role……something that was centuries in the making can be lost literally overnight, and it will take literally centuries to build it back up again……..if it can be. I fear you cannot go home again, and even if the Church does regain some semblance of her historic and God-given role, it will be necessarily be quite different from the Church that was. That may not necessarily be a bad thing, but, then again, it could. It all depends on who ultimately wins the struggle for the Church, and how complete their victory is.
Great to see below, even if this number represents only about 10% of all priests in England and Wales. Sooo……where are the American priests, who are generally viewed as being, on average, a bit more orthodox than those of England and Wales? And what of the priests of all the traditional religious orders? Is there opposition to any changes just taken as a given? But if they don’t speak out, who could know? The Fraternity, Society, IBP, ICRSS, and others could number three times as many as in the case of England. Via Tancred:
Almost 500 priests in Britain have signed a letter urging those attending this year’s family synod to issue a “clear and firm proclamation” upholding Church teaching on marriage.
In the letter, published in this week’s Catholic Herald, the priests write: “We wish, as Catholic priests, to re-state our unwavering fidelity to the traditional doctrines regarding marriage and the true meaning of human sexuality, founded on the Word of God and taught by the Church’s Magisterium for two millennia.”
Last year’s extraordinary synod provoked heated debate on the question of whether remarried Catholics should be permitted to receive Holy Communion – a proposal presented by retired German Cardinal Walter Kasper……
……Notable signatories to the letter include theologians Fr Aidan Nichols and Fr John Saward, and Oxford physicist Fr Andrew Pinsent. Fr Robert Billing, spokesman for the Diocese of Lancaster, Fr Tim Finigan, blogger and Catholic Herald columnist, and Fr Julian Large, provost of the London Oratory, have also signed the letter. [Frs. Blake and Hunwicke also signed]
You can read more here, including the text of the letter.
Tancred does allude to the fact that it is possible more priests could be found to endorse the anti-Catholic novelty being heavily pushed by Cardinal Kasper and his allies. Could an effort like this then backfire, in a sense?
Actually, this is just the kind of effort that could build rapport between the various traditional groups. This could be an issue to bring those kinds of priests together. That would be a great initiative along the lines of building up a cohesive traditional response to the crisis in the Faith. Someone should make an online petition for orthodox priests across all the various groups – diocesan, Ecclesia Dei, SSPX, religious – to get on board with support for traditional marriage.
None of which would be to say or imply that the Church is somehow a democracy. Of course, we all know better, but it would be beneficial in many regards, for instance: establishing the existence of broad-based opposition, providing a very good example of leadership, confirming souls in the Faith, opposing error, and inspiring many faithful who may have grown cynical and de-energized in expecting the worst. In terms of “resistance,” the laity can do a lot, but priests could do much more. I think this could be a great vehicle for the start of a general orthodox priestly response.
Tancred also notes that Cardinal Nichols (primate of England) has “admonished” priests not to discuss the Synod, which to me seems silly (especially given that Nichols himself has weighed in on the matter, and quite decisively on the side of Kasper – perhaps he fears too many priests would support the constant belief and practice of the Faith, and undermine the novelties being pushed). I know that many traditional priests in the US have spoken out on this matter, and I pray they continue to do so.
What are you willing to do? March 25, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, North Deanery, persecution, scandals, secularism, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
My dear departed friend Vicki Middleton, God rest her soul, was quite a hoot. She was a woman of conviction, and much more. She was willing to put herself on the line on things that she felt important. When her husband Jim was still President of ARCO Oil and Gas Vicki started protesting outside the office in Plano regarding ARCO’s investments in Myanmar/Burma. Since Burma had a very repressive government and was jailing dissidents, Vicki thought ARCO should not be doing business there, so she protested outside. If I remember right, her actions eventually led the board of directors to divest of their operations there.
Years later, Vicki converted to Catholicism. She was the same rabble-rouser she always was. Longtime readers may remember the radio show Vicki invited me on a number of times. Vicki and Jim spent a pretty penny buying air time on 660 AM KSKY to bring an authentic Catholic voice to the area. You may ask, “what about the local EWTN radio station, isn’t that authentically Catholic?” Well, Vicki was on the local EWTN station for a while but was removed for being too critical of the leadership of the Church both locally and globally, although she only asked things like “when are our priests going to really stand up and oppose abortion, or porn, etc”.
But Vicki did more than that. She and Jim were well off, and had been very generous with the Diocese. But when they found out about many scandalous activities ongoing, such as support for Alinskyite organizations at many parishes and lack of preaching the Faith whole and entire, she went so far as to demand her donations be returned and protested outside the cathedral, sandwich-board and all, calling out the ongoing scandals.
The point is, Vicki was willing to do anything, say almost anything, to do what she felt was the best for souls – both her own, and those of others. She loved people tremendously and wanted what was best for them. She was willing to risk being attacked and vilified to make her stand – and she was, often quite vociferously.
I bring this up, because in light of recent posts regarding division among orthodox (or faithful or traditional or conservative – all of which simply serve to distinguish from the great Mass of self-styled Catholics who reject core aspects of the Faith or hold heretical views), some commenters have brought up a point that has been on my mind for quite some time, as well: what are we willing to do to respond to the crisis and effect change in the Church?
I can think of a number of responses, and have suggested some on this blog. One is to really carefully consider the degree to which we support the entire parish-diocese-national conference monetarily, if at all. And, there are examples from Catholics in other areas. Catholics in El Paso conducted prayer vigils outside the chancery for months in the wake of the dismissal of the former priest of San Juan Bautista parish, and with regard to the long interregnum between Bishop Ochoa’s departure and Bishop Seitz’ consecration.
I’ve spoken with Catholics near and abroad about this matter many times. There always seems to be a consensus that something should be done, but no one seems to be ready and willing to take the lead on some concrete action. For the most part, efforts seem to fall apart over disagreement on which issue is paramount to address, what action should be taken, and, even more, who should lead it.
But, just to throw out some ideas, I could see a series of efforts calling attention to the “ghettoization” of the TLM in Dallas. Or, regarding the lack of preaching on the evil of contraception. Or on the abysmal standard of catechesis in parish formation programs. Or on the continuing support of left-wing “social justice” groups. Take your pick. There are dozens if not hundreds of such issues to choose from.
As for me, I am going to commit to finally kicking off an effort I proposed some months back – to start praying outside some of the many falsely named gentleman’s clubs in this area. So here is the plan: I will pray across the street from The Men’s Club, 2340 W. Northwest Hwy, Dallas, on April 8, Easter Wednesday, at 8 pm. There is a post office directly across the street. I will park there and stand near the road and just pray. No confrontation or picketing with signs at this point, just prayer. I’ll stay for about an hour. Any local Catholic men are welcome to join me.
No, that won’t do much for the crisis in the Faith, and I don’t expect any miraculous reaction on the strip joint front, either, but it’s a start. We’ll see how the first attempt goes and proceed from there.
Look, I’m just one guy, and I don’t know that I’m a natural born leader. The broader point of this post is, what are we willing to do as faithful Catholics to really start opposing the crisis in the Church and the general decline and advancing perversion in the culture? Are we just going to continue to complain on blogs (which have their place, obviously!), or do we start to take concrete action? If so, what action could you take, either here in Dallas, or wherever you live? What are you willing to do?
I think it would be fantastic if readers could make their own suggestions and efforts. The militant left in this country makes up a tiny percentage of the population, but because they are motivated and willing to spend much of their time in support of their diabolical cause, they have managed to radically re-shape all of the former Christendom over the past 150 years or so. They have bullied people into accepting all kinds of evil because their commitment and tirelessness gradually wore down opposition – including us. Goodness, they have even managed to get a rough majority of people to accept a definition of marriage both completely unnatural and utterly hostile to its many-thousand year history!
Are we just going to let them continue to steamroll us? Yes, prayer is the foundation of everything, but if now is not the time to make a stand (it may already be far too late), then no time will ever be. I pray my good readers consider how they can respond, individually and collectively. I pray we start to see a lot more Vicki Middleton’s out there obeying the Pope’s command to mix things up and make a mess. The modernists count on us doing nothing. In fact, it is precisely the fact that good men have done nothing that has allowed the modernist/progressive revolution in the Church to advance as far as it has.
I ask again……what are you willing to do?