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April 29th, 2015

Great Expectorations and the Subdiaconate

Stramentaria had a great-uncle James, always known as  Uncle  Juicer, whose claim to fame was that he could make a spittoon ring at a distance of  10 feet.  I expect the poor old boy was suffering from TB.

As a child I  remember being puzzled by the  notices in every London Transport bus: DO NOT SPIT. PENALTY £5.00. In a typically  entertaining and erudite blogpost  Fr John Hunwicke  recalls that there were many notices “ whereby English town councils tried to preserve genteel ladies from the offensive spitting of the lower orders (somebody ought to start a museum for surviving examples; and for other old favourites like Commit No Nuisance, and Kindly Adjust Your Clothing Before Leaving The Convenience).”

Ah yes, I am just a little older than Fr H., so I remember them well.  But spitting has a long, intriguing, and even quite respectable history. Fr  Hunwicke  goes on to inform us:

But we know from first millennium documentation that part of the papal entourage, as the Pope (on horseback!) made his solemn way through the streets of Rome, was a subdeacon carrying a bowl for the Sovereign Pontiff to expectorate into. What a shame we no longer have Subdeacons (the abolition of which was a ‘reform’ which Dom Bernard Botte, the main post-conciliar reviser of the Pontifical, regarded as a most unfortunate breach of an ancient tradition which the West shared with the East). One imagines seminary professors needing to instruct ordinands for the Subdiaconate on the best techniques for avoiding inaccurately projected Pontifical Spittle.









April 27th, 2015

Bishops in a Blue Funk Over Sodomistic Pseudogamy

I am beginning to suffer from ecclesial schizophrenia. I suppose that’s only to be expected if you attend the Novus Ordo on weekdays and the immemorial Mass on Sundays. Canadian journalist Hilary White insists that “Novus Ordoism Isn’t Catholicism” and while I wouldn’t go as far as that, I certainly  think she has a valid point.

At our local church last week the Novus Ordo cycle of readings included an account of the martyrdom of St Stephen. In his little homily before the offertory the celebrant referred  in general terms to present day martyrdoms  in the Middle East, lumping them  in for some obscure reason with the tragedy of the drownings in the Mediterranean. He then jumped to the subject of “change”, suggesting  that alterations to the liturgy after Vatican II had been difficult for some people who liked things as they were, and maybe had a love of Latin.  But, he reminded us, Cardinal Newman had written that to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.

Then Father moved on to  the referendum to change the Constitution on marriage. Our bishops, he said, wanted us to reflect deeply on this matter. But mind you, they weren’t wagging their fingers at us and telling us how to vote!

The message I took from this is that it’s  OK to vote for sodomistic pseudogamy, as long as you have thought about it really seriously. This is quite in line with our bishops’ document  “Marriage Is Important: Reflect Before You Change It.”  In a recent interview Archbishop Éamonn Martin of Armagh said he was hoping for  “a deeper and more reflective debate” before polling day.

This is utterly pathetic, and it makes me ashamed to be a Catholic. Or it would do, if I hadn’t heard a spine-stiffening sermon at a Latin Mass in Dublin the previous Sunday.  The priest said simply that the bishops were in a blue funk,   when faced with a proposal to overturn the whole God-given idea  of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. St Kevin’s Church in Harrington Street is to have a an evening of prayer for the defeat of the referendum, including 15 decades of the rosary and Benediction.

Our shepherds should  be thundering their denunciations down on the heads of this execrable government. They don’t seem to grasp that sometimes, to keep any self-respect, one has to engage the enemy in battle even if there may not be that much hope of success.

What a contrast to the uncompromising action by three Baptist churches who took out a half-page ad. in our local paper, the Dun Laoghaire Gazette:

As Bible-believing Christians, it is our duty to point out that Jesus Christ defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. ..There is much talk today about human rights, and equality. However, God as our creator, has rights over his creatures. God instituted marriage, not man. God makes the rules, and man has no right to change what God has set in place.

Marriage, as defined by God to be between a man and woman, has been universally accepted by all cultures from time immemorial. It is no longer marriage if it is redefined to mean two men or two women. No generation, until now, has dared to tamper with this definition.

This vote is not about valuing some people in our society. It is about devaluing God. This vote is not about equality, but is really about dethroning God as the ultimate authority in life…

This is why we urge you to vote NO at the forthcoming referendum on 22nd May.

Why can’t our shepherds say something as  simple and uncompromising as that, instead of bumbling on about “deep and reflective debates”.  Do they  think the media will respect them for broad-mindedness  or  despise them for their cowardice? All honour to  the Blanchardstown Baptist Church, the Lucan Gospel Baptist Church, and the Redemption Baptist Church, Athlone.

Michael Voris  of ChurchMilitant. TV was speaking of the situation in the US, but his remarks apply equally well to Ireland:

As you might imagine, saying it like it is, putting it out there, ruffles the feathers of the more genteel, the more ‘diplomatic’, the professional Catholic crowd.

Their lace-curtain approach, their ‘don’t upset people and make them feel uncomfortable’ tactics have accomplished nothing and actually are now standing in the way.

This whole tone of the Catholic Establishment must be defeated.  It’s worthless, wimpy, and whiny.  It inspires nothing—nothing except indifference.

The Church of Nice needs to get back to the gym and develop some muscles.  In the meantime, we need to get about the business of the work of great men like St. Francis de Sales and preach the hard truths—get in people’s faces, confront the evil in the Church, and all this despite being mocked and abandoned by the Establishment Church of Nice gang.

No one in the world listens to them with their pudding mouth approach. Why should we?


April 22nd, 2015

                 Robert Spaemann
The renowned and arguably the most famous living Catholic philosopher in Germany, Professor Robert Spaemann, gave an interview to Julia Wächter for the Diocese of Regensburg, Germany, on matters related to the upcoming Synod of Bishops. The main excerpts are translated below:
Question: Marriage cannot any more be taken for granted in certain circles today. The Church’s idea of marriage is questioned more and more. How should one now act? Would you say that the Church abandons her ideal of marriage if she more and more adapts to present trends?
Spaemann: Yes. The tendency is strong to adapt to all trends, so that the people do not run away. But one always has to look into the Gospels. The masses ran after Jesus, but then he spoke about giving His Body to eat and His Blood to drink. He did not try to make it look attractively pleasant, and the people were shocked and ran away. Jesus asked the apostles: “Do you also want to run away?” But St. Peter answered: “No, Lord, even though we did not understand you, either, but you have words of eternal life, and where else should we go?” That should be the reaction of the people.
Also in the question of divorce it should not be about following the great masses and strong tendencies, but to give witness about the fact that there are other and much more beautiful ways of life. One also should not only start with it at marriage-preparation courses, but rather much earlier. Already in school one has to be taught what the Christian manner of living is. Then also such a prohibition of divorce, as it has been very clearly and unambiguously taught by Christ, would become attractive.
Question: Can these trends be traced back to the dominant image of God? The merciful God stands often above everything else. Anything threatening is excluded, especially with respect to the teaching of children. 
Spaemann: A third of the teaching of Jesus consists of threats which one now wants to eliminate altogether. Nothing is to be feared. God takes us as we are. This is specious smooth talk. Rather one has to say: No, Jesus does not take you as you are. In his homily he demands: Return, you are on the wrong path! Of course, Jesus accepts the sinner and when the repentant son comes back home, the father gives a feast. But, why does he make a feast? Because he has come back home. The father did not go out to the pig troughs.
Question: Mercy has been demanded also in the debate about the “remarried” divorcees and their admittance to the Sacrament of the Eucharist. There is a broad conception that the indissolubility of marriage and the concept of mercy are two competing principles. How can it be shown that these two principles are not contrary to one another?
Spaemann: Mercy consists in helping someone who suffers in his concrete situation and in helping him to attain to eternal life. Christianity is not a “wellness” religion. If a doctor tells me for example: “You should not smoke any cigarettes any more, otherwise you will die in a half a year” – and when I then say: “O, dear doctor, please be merciful” – that is false mercy. The doctor can only help if the patient follows his advice. The Church is in the place of the doctor. When a cohabitation in a second bond is allowed, when one justifies it with the argument that there has grown a new bond, the question arises, how many times does one have to sleep intimately with someone, until it is not any more a sin, but, rather, a deed that is pleasing to God. Each act of adultery is a grave sin. That is the traditional teaching of the Church. […]