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July 29th, 2015

Am I a Schismatic?

It’s often been asserted that we are in serious danger of schism within the Catholic Church.  Well,  in the last few days I have come to suspect that we are well and truly there already.

Our Irish fathers in God  have entrusted one Mike Daley with the task of explaining  to us simple faithful “the   thoughts, deeds, character and identity that make up the ingredients of our Catholic Christianity”. It’s all on the back of the “missalette”  for July 19, entitled for some obscure reason  “Soul Space”. A little search on the internet revealed that “Soul Space”  is lifted bodily from the Catholic Telegraph of the Catholic archdiocese of Cincinnati for  February 23, 2011.

And what’s the key to it all? “Interreligious dialogue”. It’s what keeps us Catholic, according to Mr  Daley, who’s described as a religion teacher and freelance writer.

If I believed that  interreligious dialogue was the key to the Catholic Faith,  I’d become an evangelical Protestant tomorrow. And I’m quite sure millions of other  Catholics would say the same.

Mr Daley sneers at St Cyprian’s assertion that Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus  (No salvation outside the Church.) But properly understood, that is a profound truth. Pope Pius IX asserted:

Well known is the Catholic teaching that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church. Eternal salvation cannot be obtained by those who oppose the authority and statements of the same Church and are stubbornly separated from the unity of the Church and also from the successor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff…There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace since God who clearly beholds, searches, and knows the minds, souls, thoughts, and habits of all men, because of His great goodness and mercy, will by no means suffer anyone to be punished with eternal torment who has not the guilt of deliberate sin… God forbid that the children of the Catholic Church should even in any way be unfriendly to those who are not at all united to us by the same bonds of faith and love. On the contrary, let them be eager always to attend to their needs with all the kind services of Christian charity, whether they are poor or sick or suffering any other kind of visitation. First of all, let them rescue them from the darkness of the errors into which they have unhappily fallen and strive to guide them back to Catholic truth and to their most loving Mother who is ever holding out her maternal arms to receive them lovingly back into her fold. Thus, firmly founded in faith, hope, and charity and fruitful in every good work, they will gain eternal salvation.

All that is a very far cry from Mr Daley’s “interreligious dialogue” which seems  to amount to nothing more than  indifferentism—one religion is as good as another. For instance, he clearly doesn’t think it necessary to attempt to convert the Jews; he  condemns the Good Friday prayer that “they may acknowledge Jesus Christ our Lord”.  As for the terms “schismatic”, applied to the Orthodox and “heretic”, applied to Protestants…tut, tut!

If Mr Daley considers Pius IX to be out of date, he can hardly oppose the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council [that’s Vatican II] teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.”(CCC 846)

So one has to ask: Why do the Irish Catholic bishops think Mike Daley is a suitable person to instruct the faithful about “Catholic Christianity”?


July 22, 2015

Cardinal Worships Goddess

There’s a brief video on Rorate  of a Cardinal in a black suit paying homage to the  goddess Pachamama somewhere in Argentina.  He does it by wandering in a circle around some nondescript articles on the dusty ground, accompanied by some peasants, two of whom are  banging drums in a  desultory fashion. It’s not worth looking at. They all look rather embarrassed, including His Eminence.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture was in the area for some kind of ecumenical event. The cult of Pachamama more or less disappeared after the Spanish conquest, but it’s recently been revived, partly with the help of radical “Catholic” groups.

Here’s Fr Hunwicke’s  take on this bizarre event…

Dear me, how superstition does still flourish! Rorate has a video of some cardinal worshipping the pagan goddess Pachamama (although it does not reveal whether he went all the way and performed the all-important traditional sacrifice of llama foetuses).

I had thought that, after the spread of Christianity in Latin America, this goddess, mother of both the Sun and the Moon (gosh, I bet the midwife needed to stitch her up after that!!), had her cult replaced by that of our blessed Lady the Mother of God sub titulo  Candelaria. Clearly, I was wrong. Cardinals always know best!

Last time I had the privilege to spend a happy week at our Lady of the Atonement, I was taken to see the superbly restored and beautified Cathedral in San Antonio, with its splendid Shrine of our Lady of Candelaria. I have rarely seen anything so lovely.

I can recommend it to Cardinal Wozname. If he could try to develop a devotion to our Lady, and then get permission from Archbishop Gustavo to celebrate Pontifical High Mass in either the Extraordinary Form or the Anglican Use at the Shrine of our Lady of Candelaria in the Lone Star State, he would find it a much more joyous business that all that grim and gloomy syncretism!

Beata Maria de Candelaria Deipara Virgo et Mater Laetitiae, ora pro nobis.

July 21, 2015

Kasper’s Empty Mouthings

If you want to understand what makes Cardinal Walter Kasper and his pals tick, the best exponent I know is  Dr  Thomas Stark, professor of philosophy at the university of  of St. Pölten in Austria, whom I met recently at the symposium by Lake Garda. Last autumn he  gave a lecture in Vienna, Historicity and German Idealism in the Thought of Walter Kasper. It’s pretty heavy stuff, so I wouldn’t recommend that you plough through it unless you have quite a profound knowledge of philosophy. Later, though, in an interview with the American National Catholic Register, he explained himself  in a way that even a thickie like me can understand. Here is a shortened version of that interview.

Professor Stark, can you summarize your talk for the benefit of our English-speaking readers?

… I would say that one can clearly see that Kasper’s position is deeply rooted in German Idealistic philosophy…The problem with this philosophy is the relationship between history and truth. And the problem with Kasper’s position, as far as I understand him, is that he accepts historicism [where history is seen as a standard of value or as a determinant of events] just as a fact…The problem with this sort of theology is that it is difficult to understand, not because one has to be very intelligent to understand it, but because it is not coherent, in my opinion. And one can only figure it out if one understands the language they use. …The way they attempt to intertwine all of their theories forms a sort of pseudo-dialectic that is not really logical and coherent, and they put it in such a way as to provide an opportunity to get away with novel theories without being under the critical view of the magisterium, because they can always shift to the right and then to the left, as need be.

How do we see the principles you’ve just described play out, for example, in Cardinal Kasper’s proposal to allow remarried divorcees to have access to holy Communion?

Well, this is obvious. They say, ‘We cannot change doctrine, but we must change the pastoral application of doctrine or the practice,’ which is contradictory, because you can’t change practice without altering doctrine, because practice follows directly from doctrine. So this is pure fantasy. For anyone who thinks on this for a moment, it becomes clear that it simply can’t be done. You have to change doctrine in order to change the moral teaching.

Including the Sixth Commandment and the Church’s doctrine on the holy Eucharist?

Of course. Yes. So they are essentially destroying the whole sacramental structure of the Church by pretending to be addressing mere ‘pastoral’ considerations. It is a ruse.

Do you think it is a conscious effort to subvert the Church’s teaching? Do you think they are conscious of what they are doing or that they think it’s all truly acceptable?

I have often thought about what is really going on in the minds of these people. Initially, I couldn’t figure it out, but the more I am exposed to their thought, the more I become convinced that we’re dealing with a sort of dementia.

I will give you one of the best examples: If you read, for example, what people like Cardinal Kasper and others have written about the mystery of the Resurrection, you really can’t understand what they are saying. Did Jesus Christ rise from the dead or did he not? Or is the question of any real importance? They don’t come right out and say, ‘Well, it’s not important whether the tomb of Christ is empty.’ Rather, they posit that there could be some kind of Resurrection that does not conflict with not actually knowing whether the tomb is empty or not. It’s all very vague, and the student walks away not understanding what this is all about. I always say, ‘Well, the tomb is empty. I’ve been to it very often, and I’m a witness. I’ve been in the tomb of Our Lord several times, so I can tell you that it’s empty.’ The question isn’t whether it’s empty, but how it got empty.

Do you think it’s a kind of sophism?

It is very much a kind of sophism! And I fear that the real reason for all of this is, tragically, that a lot of theologians today have simply lost not their faith, but let me put it in these words: They have lost their faith in their faith. They are people who don’t believe what they believe, and this is precisely the definition of Modernism. Charles Péguy says that Modernists are people who do not believe what they believe. And I think that it’s exactly correct. These people believe in the resurrection of Christ with no empty tomb. They believe in miracles without miracles having actually taken place. For example, Kasper does not believe in the miracles that have to do with nature — the calming of the Sea of Galilee, for example, or the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, things like that. He just believes in things like, ‘Well, there were people who were said to be possessed by demons — with the background, we don’t believe that — and Christ takes a sort of therapeutic approach to them; and this, in fact, was interpreted as a miracle, but of course these things don’t need to be taken in the literal sense.’ So the Modernists believe in miracles without miracles, in the Resurrection without a resurrection, in virginity without virginity, etc. And this is why I use the word ‘dementia’, since what they are saying violates the law of non-contradiction.

Finally, I can’t resist including the  devastating conclusion  to  Professor Stark’s Vienna lecture, which exposes  Kasper’s inconsistency merely by quoting his own words:

Whoever believes that in Jesus Christ hope has been revealed for us and for all mankind, and whoever ventures on that basis to become in real terms a figure of hope for others, is a Christian. He holds in a fundamental sense the whole Christian faith, even though he does not consciously accept all the deductions which in the course of almost two thousand years the Church has made from this message.

If that is really all,  says Dr Stark, then we have a serious problem. So he finishes his lecture with another quote from Walter Kasper:

Without the courage, one could almost say the rashness, to make definitive decisions and statements, the Christian faith would be denying its own nature. But it is here that its strength and power lie. It can promise human beings definitive meaning. A Church which had lost the power to do this would richly deserve to have its preaching ignored, for it would have degenerated into empty mouthings.

July 18, 2015

What the Plutonians Think of Us

Here is a recent blog post from a  site called Eccles Is Saved, which I recommend.  A Plutonian astronaut named Buzz Weeblezog reports on a recent mission to Earth:

Following a recent visit to our beloved Pluto by a craft sent by the Earthlings, we took a trip to Earth to see whether intelligent life had started to develop there. When we last visited the planet, 50 Earth-years ago, the world was under the control of hippies, liberals, communists, and the Spirit of Vatican II, so we decided to come back later when their civilisation had developed beyond this.

I regret to say that the Earth is still as barbarous as ever it was. I discovered an organization called Planned Parenthood whose sole purpose is to enable Earthwomen to destroy their young. These are then sold to distinctly dubious organizations: I could not determine whether the young were used for experiments, evil rituals, or simply cooked and eaten, but it seemed that all these are considered to be legitimate activities.

Religion continues to flourish on Earth, although there are many ‘God deniers’. We found a big man dressed in white, whose job it is to guide a large group of religious people. This he does (mysteriously) by venerating communist artefacts—these celebrate a form of government that was very active when we last visited, and which killed millions of people.

The big white man has one overwhelming fear— that the world may end with something called ‘Climate Change’. For us Plutonians the Earth is indeed very hot, although no more so than when we last visited. We do not yet have the big white man’s comments on the killing organisation Planned Parenthood.

Pope on plane

The big white man thinks that he will be saved if he collects enough “Air Miles”.

Elsewhere, we observed a strange tendency for male humans to attempt to breed with other males, or females with females, sometimes using a courtship ritual that involves waving a striped flag. Perhaps their knowledge of biology is not as advanced as we thought.

This was just a short visit, and unfortunately we mostly observed the Earthlings engaged in wickedness. Still, it is not all mass murder, although this does seem to be one of their most popular customs.

Latin Mass

A rare indication that humans may be more advanced than animals.

Conclusion: the planet is not yet sufficiently developed for us to wish to make contact with its inhabitants. Except, perhaps, the cats.


July 17, 2015

The Jeremiahs were right: Good Pope John was wrong

More about that Lake Garda Statement I talked about last time…. But first,  a brief statement written over 400 years ago by the great Dutch Counter-Reformer St Peter Canisius  SJ (1521-1597).  It  speaks as powerfully  to our own times as it did to his own.

Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church’s enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith.

As was brought out at the Roman Forum symposium, our present plight stems to a large extent from the Church’s failure since Vatican II to proclaim the Social Kingship of Christ, in season and out of season… Below are some thoughts from Fr John Hunwicke.

I think it is becoming ever more clear … well, clear to me, anyway … that what was wrong with Vatican II is not that it promoted explicit heresy. Persistent and painstaking attempts to detect doctrinal error in its documents have, I believe, tended to reveal that this particular haystack does not in fact conceal a needle. What was wrong … and this is something perhaps only discernible with hindsight (I am not claiming that I had such hindsight half a century ago; I was as blind as the blindest of the Conciliar Fathers) … is that it completely misread the signs of the times, and thus set the Church upon a mistaken course. The assumption was that the culture of the World had reached a point at which it would be open to mutually profitable dialogue if only the Church herself became more open; if she attempted to move beyond stale and formulaic statements of dogma, accompanied by anathemas, into new expressions of evangelical Truth which the World would take seriously, if only it could be brought to see that they reflected its own deepest and most honourable concerns. Fr Aidan Nichols has wisely written: ‘I do not see any theological difficulty about querying the wisdom of some of the reform provisions made by the Council. Matters that turn on the exercise of practical wisdom in particular sets of circumstances do not involve the “charism of truth” given to the total episcopate.’ He goes on to write about the Council’s ‘misjudgements about contemporary trends’. He is dead right. The World of the Conciliar decade was in fact on the point of tipping over into a new and greater apostasy as a result of which, within a couple of generations, Christians in the “Christian heartlands” would actually become liable to persecution for resisting the imposition by ‘law’ of patterns of sexual perversion and the holocaust of the unborn. It is true, and it needs to be said, that the Conciliar documents do indeed contain explicit condemnations of abortion and of sexual immorality. But the overall cultural bias of those documents is of optimistic engagement with the World. Put in traditional terms, the Council Fathers failed to discern that the World was on the verge of a new great onslaught upon the Kingship of Christ. Despite the fact that National Socialism had used the very concept of Law itself to impose a monstrous and murderous tyranny, the Fathers did not foresee that Law was again about to be perverted, in the ‘civilised’ ‘democracies’, in precisely the same way as it had been perverted in the Germany of the 1930s. If you say to me that it is unreasonable to expect the Fathers to have had a crystal ball, I suppose I will have to agree with you, but I will come back at you with the plain and irrefutable point that, however inculpably, they did not see all this, and did not equip the Church for the dark days which in fact did lie ahead. In this failure, whether culpable or not, I discern the roots of our current problems.

Part of the blame must also lie with the  holy but naïve Pope St John XXIII. If you’re as old as I am, you will remember how he inveighed against  “Jeremiahs and Prophets of doom”.  The world applauded and—silly young ass that I was—so did I.

July 14, 2015

 Pope Urged to End ‘Dialogue’ with Church’s Enemies

After two weeks in Northern Italy, I’m resuming posting today. I’ve been at a symposium in Gardone, on Lake Garda, from where I returned on Saturday with a heavy dose of summer flu and am now on two powerful antibiotics.

The symposium issued what I consider to be one of the best appeals yet to the Holy Father, asking him respectfully yet firmly  to take steps to reverse the  nonsense  which has been plaguing the Church for the past 50 years and is now accelerating out of control. I’ve written a summary of it below. Feel free to circulate it widely. If you want to read the whole thing—and it’s well worth it—Google  the Roman Forum website.

A powerful appeal to Pope Francis to reverse the ongoing crisis in the Church and in civilisation has been made by the Roman Forum, a group established in the wake of Pope Paul’s encyclical Humanae Vitae. In particular, they want the Pope to put a stop to efforts at the Synod on the family to undermine Church doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage.

The Forum was founded by the late Dietrich von Hildebrand, described by Pope Pius XII as the 20th century Doctor of the Church, and hailed by John Paul II as one of the great ethicists of the past century.

The appeal comes in the form of the Lake Garda Statement a carefully drafted and hard-hitting document composed at a recent symposium of the Forum at Gardone in the Italian Lakes. Says the Roman Forum:

In the Church, a Synod on the Family has devolved into a battle to defend the indissolubility of marriage from an attack within, pitting cardinal against cardinal and bishop against bishop. The Synod has produced a midterm relatio, approved by the Pope himself, which calls for the admission of divorced and remarried Catholics to Holy Communion on a case by case basis without any renunciation of adulterous relations, contrary to the explicit teaching of Pope John Paul II in line with the perennial discipline of the Church. The same document speaks of valuing the homosexual orientation while recognizing the precious support for the life of the partners supposedly provided by homosexual unions.

In Ireland, a popular referendum has legalized gay marriage in that once exemplary Catholic country, while in the United States a bare majority of the Supreme Court has imposed gay marriage on all fifty states. Yet the Pope and the Vatican observe a resounding silence. At the same time, the Vatican hosts conferences on climate change with notorious atheists who advocate population control and sustainable development goals (SDGs) that would only oppress ordinary people, including the poor, while leaving untouched the hegemony of multinational corporations which, in fact, are working with the United Nations to fashion a worldwide SDG regime. The Vatican itself has endorsed a SDG calling on member nations to ensure universal sexual and reproductive health and rights.

As the nations descend ever more rapidly into an abyss of depravity, the Pope has issued a 185-page encyclical on an ecological crisis that diverts attention from the catastrophic collapse of sexual morality in a civilisation ridden by divorce, contraception, and abortion. As to abortion, the encyclical speaks of the human embryo in the context of concern for the protection of nature, while earlier lamenting the extinction of plant and animal species as a loss to our children and a diminution of the glory owed to God.

Only the Holy Father, says the statement, can end what amounts to an unprecedented de facto suspension of the Church’s true mission in the name of a Council whose restless spirit”, moving far beyond even the problematical conciliar texts, has produced what Benedict XVI, speaking just days before his mysterious abdication of the papacy, described as “so many disasters, so many problems, so much suffering” in the Church.

Therefore, we implore the reigning Roman Pontiff to reverse the Church’s course of the past fifty years, abandoning a disastrous opening to the world and an endless dialogue and fruitless collaboration with the Church’s implacable opponents. With respect to the Synod, we urgently petition the Pope to put a stop to all further efforts to use the synodal process to undermine the indissolubility of marriage—and thus the entire moral edifice of the Church—by means of a sophistical disjunction between doctrine and practice, making a mockery not only of the words of Our Lord Himself but also of the teaching of John Paul II that only by the acceptance of the Gospel are the hopes that man legitimately places in marriage and in the family capable of being fulfilled.

And finally, we beseech the Roman Pontiff to fulfil his duty as Vicar of Christ and Universal Shepherd by leading the way to a restoration of the continuity between the Church’s venerable teaching on the Social Kingship of Christ—never repealed—and the practice of churchmen both high and low. This is in accord with the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, which recalls the sacred obligation of Catholics to evangelize their fellow citizens and work for the transformation of social order in keeping with Christ’s kingship.

For these intentions, we make our own the Lord’s prayer for the first Pope, which surely also applies to every one of his successors, especially in this age of unparalleled diabolical disorientation: And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.

Mary, Help of Christians, Pray for Us!

The Board of the Roman Forum includes philosophers, lawyers, economists and journalists. Its Director is John Rao, Associate Professor of History at St John’s University, New York.