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Monthly Archives: September 2015

September 23, 2015

Dude, it’s not about the shoes……..

Hilary White, the Canadian pro-life journalist, ruminates on the papal visit to Cuba and the United States.

Hey y’all,…
Remember that time when Pope Pius XII used to constantly say such insane and incomprehensible and kinda heretical-sounding things all the time—off the cuff-like so no one could really call him on it—and the rumours went around all the time that he wasn’t really the pope and he ditched all the traditional symbols of his office like living in the Apostolic Palace and refused to wear the pope-stuff and then he appointed a public pederast to run his household and refused to bless people because they might get offended by Christianity and then his hand-picked subordinates started publicly demanding that the Church either change or ignore the words of Christ in the Gospels because nobody liked Him any more and then Pius just sat there saying nothing and didn’t correct them or fire them or issue clarifications and then instead stood up on the loggia and got on TV and told everybody what great theologians they were and then he fired the guy who objected to it and then started chumming around with Hitler and Stalin and told the Jews and the people in the Gulags that that torture and starvation and extra-judicial arrests and getting beaten and murdered by the secret police were really good for them because Jesus said “Blessed are the poor” even though He really didn’t and then when Pius misquoted Scripture all the time even in official documents and implicitly denied the Divinity of Christ by repeatedly denying the miracles in the Gospels and then when his cardinals and bishops started saying that if he kept on this way there would be a giant catastrophic schism in the Church and he just kept on doing it and never even responded…?
Oh, and remember that time when his predecessor Pius XI resigned in the middle of a giant clerical homosexual-abuse scandal but didn’t give up the papal name or papal whites and went on calling himself Pius XI and lived in the Vatican and sometimes issued letters and stuff under his papal name and then it was revealed that a group of ultra-progressive cardinals at the Conclave had decided they needed Pacelli because they knew he would give them what they wanted and went around campaigning to get him the votes even though that would have invalidated the election?

Remember that?
Oh, and remember when the uproar and outrage caused by his behaviour resulted in him having to make a public statement that he wasn’t really either an anti-pope or the Antichrist?
Me neither.

“Maybe I have given an impression of being a little bit to the left,” the pope admitted. “But if they want me to recite the Creed, I can!”
Pope Francis said a cardinal “who is a friend” was telling him about an older Catholic lady, “a good woman, but a bit rigid,” who had questions about the description of the Antichrist in the Book of Revelation and if that was the same thing as an “anti-pope.”
“‘Why are you asking,’ the cardinal said. ‘Well, I am sure Pope Francis is the anti-pope.’
“‘Why do you say that?’
“‘Well, because he renounced the red shoes, which are so historic,’” the pope said the woman responded.

People have all sorts of reasons to think, “he’s communist or he’s not communist,” the pope said.

Actually, yeah. Yeah, I think I would like you to recite the Creed. Often. That would be a good thing for a pope to do now and then.
I think, in fact, that from now on if you just recited the Creed every time you saw a microphone in your face, that might be good.

September 20, 2015

Obama’s Favourite Catholics

Yesterday the  “Eccles Is Saved” blog rather tickled my fancy  in a sick sort of way….

As Pope Francis prepares to visit the USA, it has been announced that President Barack Obama has arranged for him to meet a selection of his favourite Catholics, the ones who are so influential in the modern church .

girl on unicycle

Sister Jezebel of the “Nuns on the Unicycles” organization.

Sister Jezebel is a thoroughly modern Catholic nun, who refuses to kow-tow to the male patriarchal hegemony of Pope Francis by dressing like a nun. She is hoping to advise the Holy Father that for 2000 years the Church has been wrong on such issues as the ordination of women and the rights of lesbian nuns who wish to marry in church.

Anne Elk

Caitlyn Nutcase.

Although originally born as a male humanoid, Caitlyn now identifies as a female elk, and who are we to judge? She is fond of browsing and ruminating, and occasionally emitting the trumpet-like mating call of the elk, although she has not yet found a male elk to take any interest in her. A pious Catholic and cover girl for Vanity Elk, Caitlyn attends liberal masses, where she emits loud mooing sounds and chews the flower arrangements.

Fu Man Chu

Fred Fu Manchu (and daughter) of Planned Extermination Baby Parts ‘R’ Us (Inc.)

Barack Obama is a close friend of Fred Fu Manchu, whose “baby parts” empire made him a multi-millionaire. His daughter owns a Lamborghini. Fred recommends the National Catholic Reporter for all your spiritual needs.

the Penguin

Senator Joe Penguin

A close political ally of President Obama, Senator Penguin is a pious Catholic who likes reciting the Rosary in a Neil Kinnock voice; when he’s not doing that, he campaigns for same-sex marriage. He opposes abortion except in extreme cases, such as when the woman is pregnant.

Selfish Gene

Bishop Selfish Gene

It is said that Bishop Gene left his wife, the mother of his children, in order to “marry” a man. If you’re going to commit adultery, do it in style, that’s what we always say. It can only be a matter of time before Gene becomes a Catholic. Becoming a Christian may take a little longer.

Finally, we learn that the Master of Ceremonies will be…

Mr Creosote

Cardinal Timothy Donut

Three times winner of the Vatican’s Fattest-Cardinal-Who-Has-Not-Yet-Exploded award, Cardinal Donut is also grandmaster of the St Patrick’s Day Gay Pride March. An old friend of both Barack Obama and Pope Francis, he is regarded as someone who can reconcile all shades of liberal opinion.


September 19, 2015

The Grace of God is in Courtesy

Hilaire Belloc

Henry Sire, in his  book Phoenix from the Ashes (see our post for September 10) points out that the achievements of the great religious foundresses  of the Middle Ages such as St Clare or St Bridget of Sweden are not to the liking of feminists, whose ambitions for their sex stop at the gates of heaven. Yet the fact remains that from the time when the literature of romance arose, the ethos of medieval Europe surrounded women with an idealism that no previous culture had known…

But the fuller signs of that idealism were to be seen as the spirit of chivalry and romance made its mark on Europe. It created relations of courtesy between the sexes that reversed everything that had been accepted in human history . The conventions emerged of behaving to a woman as to a person  of higher rank, of rising at her approach, of treating her in conversation as one deserving higher respect than a man, as one whose delicacy it was indecent to offend and whose virtue it was shameful to slight. By such manners Christianity taught brute strength  to defer to the more delicate human qualities and affirmed their value. These marks of homage , undreamt of by pagan societies and now disappearing as paganism returns, are the fruits of the Christian ideal of hierarchy, an ideal that depends not on material power but on moral respect, that asserts not equality but value. A culture that speaks of value engenders respect, courtesy and chivalrous devotion. One that speaks of equality has only the jostling of sow and boar for the trough.

For some reason that custom of standing up if a lady comes into the room reminds me of an incident when I worked in the RTE Newsroom. It was Christmas Day and the Head of News invited us all into his office for a drink. While we were there the (male) Director-General suddenly arrived. Immediately everyone obsequiously rose to their feet, except myself and one other man. He went by the unusual name of Rivers Carew, the deputy chief sub-editor of television  news. Rivers was a Protestant, a poet, and a gentleman in every sense of that word. If the DG had been a woman, Rivers would certainly have stood up, and I hope I would have, too.




September 14, 2015

The Mass is for Men

Evangelical Protestants, who seem to be overtaking the Catholics as the main Christian denomination in central and South America, consider that a preponderance of women over men in a congregation is a sign of a dying church. In this, at least, I think they are right. In Ireland today, many young nominal Catholic males think that Mass-going is for old women and wimps. That’s not true of Catholics in Africa and Asia or, it would seem,  in Oceania.

Fr  Ray Blake, parish priest of St Magdalene in Brighton, yesterday welcomed the Samoan Rugby team to Sunday Mass. They sang after Mass. As Fr Blake says: ”It was impressive to see so many devout young men, who think worshipping God on a Sunday morning is just a normal manly thing to do.  God bless them.”

Just a thought: if you want to see quite a large number of reasonably manly young men at Sunday Mass, go to the Traditional Latin Mass in Harrington Street, Dublin, at 10.30 any Sunday morning.


September 12, 2015

Nullity on the Nod: Catholic Divorce?

The Catholic historian Roberto de Mattei  says Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter Mitis iudex Dominus Iesus has inflicted  a grave wound on Christian Marriage, putting the interests of the spouses above that of marriage. I would like to be able to disagree; but well, I just can’t.  See if you can. Dr Mattei writes:

The indissolubility of marriage is a Divine and unmodifiable law of Jesus Christ. The Church cannot “annul” a marriage in the sense of dissolving it. She can, through a declaration of nullity, verify its non-existence, due to the lack of those requisites which assure its validity. Which means that in the canonical process, the Church’s priority is not the interests of the spouses to obtain the declaration of nullity, but the validity of the marriage bond itself. Pius XII, regarding this, reminds us that:

in the matrimonial process the one final end is the judgment in compliance with the truth and and the law, consisting, within the procedure of nullity, of the assertion of the non-existence of the marital bond” (Allocution to the Roman Rota, October 2nd 1944).

The faithful can deceive the Church in order to obtain the annulment: for example, by using false witnesses, but the Church cannot fool God and has the duty of rigorously verifying the clear and precise truth.

In the canonical process, what has to be defended first of all is the supreme interest of the Divine institution which marriage is. The recognition and protection of this reality are formulated in the juridical sphere with the concise expression favor matrimonii, that is, the presumption, until proven otherwise, of the validity of the marriage. John Paul II explained well that indissolubility is presented by the Magisterium as the ordinary law of every celebrated marriage, precisely because the validity is presupposed, apart from what takes place in the conjugal life itself and of the possibility, in some cases, of the declaration of nullity. (Speech to the Roman Rota, January 21st, 2000).

When the Enlightment attempted to deal a death-blow to Christian marriage, Pope Benedict XIV with the decree Dei miseratione, of Novemeber 3, 1741, ordered that there be nominated a defensor vinculi to every diocese, and, introduced the principle of the necessary conformity of the sentences on two levels of ascertainment, in order to obtain the declaration of nullity. The principle of the double-sentence in conformity [i.e. double confirmation] was consecrated by the 1917 Code of Canon Law and received into the codification promulgated by John Paul II on January 25, 1983.
In Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio this view has been overturned. The interest of the spouses has primacy over that of marriage. It is the document itself that affirms this, by summarizing the fundamental criteria of the reform in these points: the abolition of the double-sentence in conformity, substituted by only one sentence in favor of the enforceability of the annulment; the attribution of monocratic power to the bishop, qualified as sole judge; the introduction of an expedite process [brevior], de facto uncontrollable, with the substantial downsizing of the role of the Roman Rota.
How else, for example, can the abolition of the double-sentence be interpreted? What are the grave reasons for which—after 270 years—
this principle has been abrogated?
Regarding this, Cardinal Burke recalled a catastrophic experience. In the United States from July 1971, the so-called Provisional Norms came into effect, which eliminated de facto the obligatory double conforming sentences. The result was that the Episcopal Conference did not negate one single request for dispensation among the hundreds of thousands received, and, in the common perception, this process began to be called “Catholic Divorce” (Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church, Cantagalli, Siena 2014, pp. 222-223).
Graver still, is the attribution to the diocesan bishop of the faculty, as sole judge, of instructing, at his discretion, a short process to reach a decision. The bishop may exercise personally his jurisdictional power or delegate it to a commission, not necessarily made up of lawyers. A commission formed in his own image which will naturally follow his pastoral indications, as already happens with the “diocesan counselling centers”, which still today are devoid of any juridical competence.
The combination between Canon 1683 and article 14 on the procedural rules in this respect has a shocking implication. Upon the decisions there will inevitably weigh considerations of a sociological nature: the divorced and remarried will have, for reasons of “mercy”, preferential treatment. “The Church of Mercy – notes Giuliano Ferrara – “has started its race” (Il Foglio September 9, 2015). It is not racing along an administrative road, but a “juridical one” where there is very little left that remains juridical.
In some dioceses the bishops will try to guarantee the seriousness of the procedure, but it is easy to imagine that in many other dioceses, for example, those in Central Europe, the declaration of annulment will become a pure formality. In 1993 Oskar Saier, Archbishop of Friburg, Karl Lehman, Bishop of Mainz and Walter Kasper, Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuutgart, produced a document in favor of those that were certain in conscience of the nullity of their marriage but did not have the elements to prove it in court (Bishops of Oberrhein, Pastoral Care for the Divorced, “Il Regno – Documenti” (The Kingdom Documents), 38 (1993), pp. 613-622). The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith replied with the Letter Annus Internationalis Familiae, of September 14, 1994, affirming that this way was not practicable, as marriage is a public reality:“not recognizing this essential aspect would mean denying the fact that marriage exists as a reality of the Church, that is to say, as a Sacrament”.
Nevertheless, the proposal has been taken up again recently by the pastoral office of the Diocese of Freiburg (Orientation for pastoral care of the divorced “The Kingdom Documents”, 58 (2013), pp. 631-639), according to which the divorced and remarried, following the “conscience-nullifying” of the previous marriage, will be able to receive the Sacraments and have assignments inside parish councils.
Favor nullitatis comes to be the primary element of the law, while indissolubility is reduced to an impracticable “ideal”. The theoretical affirmation of indissolubility of marriage, is accompanied in practice with the right to a declaration of nullity for every failed marital bond. It will be enough, in conscience, to deem one’s own marriage invalid, in order to have it recognized as null by the Church. It is the same principle with which some theologians consider a marriage “dead”, where according to both, or one of the spouses, “love has died”.
On January 29, 2010, Benedict XVI exhorted the Tribunal of the Roman Rota not to indulge in the annulment of marriages in “compliance with the wishes and expectations of the parties, nor to the conditions of the social environment”. But in the dioceses of Central Europe, the declaration of nullity will become a purely formal act, as occurred in the United States at the time of the Provisional Norms. According to the well-known [Gresham’s] law, that says: “bad money takes the place of good money”, in the chaos that is coming, “quick divorce” is destined to prevail over indissoluble marriage.
We have been hearing talk of a latent schism in the Church for more than a year, but now the one to say this is Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect for the Congregation of the Faith. In one of his discourses at Regensburg he warned of the risk of division in the Church, inviting careful vigilance, without forgetting the lesson of the Protestant Schism which set Europe on fire five hundred years ago.
On the eve of the October Synod on the Family, Pope Francis’ reform does not extinguish any fire, but feeds it and paves the way for other disastrous innovations. Silence is no longer possible.

September 10, 2015

The Feminist Assault on the Priesthood

Here’s a bit more from the thoughts of Henry Sire in his Phoenix from the Ashes. This time, in his chapter “ The Destruction of the Priesthood”  he is dealing with “The Assault of Feminism” which he believes has played a major role in sapping the Catholic understanding of the priestly office. It stems, believes Sire, from the surrender of the Catholic Church to the trends of modern ideology, in particular the rejection of chastity and the natural order of society.

The first stage in the attack emerged at the time of the Second Vatican Council, when the demand appeared for the ending of clerical celibacy, on the plea that it was not the original discipline of the Church. Like other aspects of the Modernist appeal to antiquity, this one relied on a high degree of ignorance, including the appearance of the vulgar error that in the Orthodox churches priests are allowed to marry. In fact, there has never been any time or place in the history of the Church in which priests have been allowed to marry. The early practice of the Church, continued in the Eastern churches today, was that the priesthood was conferred on married men, but once they were ordained they were barred from matrimony. A church order allowing ordained ministers to marry was uncontemplated until the Protestant heresy arose, with its rejection of the traditional priesthood.

There is no question of the same being possible in the Catholic Church, or in any church that keeps a claim to orthodoxy and tradition. Yet that was the prospect that was broached as radicalism began its assaults on Catholic practice. Such was the ignorance with which candidates entered the seminaries that many believed that priests would soon be allowed to marry after ordination. Amongst other evils, it allowed them to disregard the vocation of celibacy, and thus led to the moral disorders that began to run riot in the priesthood.

We will continue  this theme in later posts.

September 4, 2015

Irrelevancy versus Fundamentalism

If, like me, you are neither a Mod, nor a neo-Con, nor a Pixie, but just a rather confused Catholic trying to remain loyal to the Holy See and to the constant teaching of the Church (both at the same time—rather difficult, sometimes) then you will find the thoughts of Fr John Hunwicke of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham immensely helpful. Yes, I know I’ve said that before more than once, but just mull over this:

As we pray… for the bishops, priests, and seminarians of the Society of S Pius X and the laity whom they serve, I am minded to reiterate the point I have tried to emphasise in so many of my previous posts about the relationship between the Society and representatives of the Holy See …
It seems to me that the thing on which both ‘sides’ appear to agree may in fact be the thing about which both ‘sides’ are most wrong: namely, the great and permanent importance of the Second Vatican Council, which (according to SSPX) needs to be noisily resisted or else (according to CDF) must be explicitly accepted in every detail. That Council clearly manifested itself as a pastoral Council concerned with hodiernum tempus; with Aggiornamento. But, as I have so tediously said so often, the hodiernum tempus of the Sixties is not that of our present decade; our giorno is not theirs. It is easy, with hindsight, to discern … for example … the flawed optimism of Gaudium et Spes; to understand that the mark which Stalinist persecution had left upon the Church is reflected in the ill-thought-out preoccupation with religious liberty in Dignitatis humanae. But we have moved on from the 1960s. The World no longer comes to meet us as a friendly potential partner in dialogue. And we have new and terrible problems and enemies of which the Sixties never dreamed.

It is unacceptable for anybody, including members of the Society, to deny, if they do, that Vatican II was an Ecumenical Council (every little bit as much as was the Council of Vienne). As Bishop Tissier’s admirable biography demonstrated, Archbishop Lefebvre signed each one of its decrees.

And it is inappropriate for members of Roman dicasteries to demand, if they do, a degree of assent to the Concilar documents which fails to recognise their relativity: id est, that a number of passages are well past their sell-by date (just like the legislation of Lateran IV on repressing Judaism).

And de facto this is recognised on all sides.

Let me give you just one very simple example.

The Council decreed that all Latin Rite clerics must (unless, exceptionally, a priest has an individual dispensation from his Bishop) say their Office in Latin. Who, nowadays, condemns saying the Office in a vernacular (without individual dispensation) as failing to fulfill the Obligation, because it is in flagrant breach of the clearest possible words of an Ecumenical Council? Surely, what all sensible mainstream Bishops and Clergy instinctively feel is:
The Conciliar decree reflects the exact situation of the early 1960s, which was superseded and rendered irrelevant within a decade. A fundamentalist preoccupation with the words of an obsolete text would be an irrelevance (or worse) in the life of the Church of our own day.

September 1, 2015

Pope’s Present for the Pixies

Francis is certainly the Pope of surprises. The following comes  at  the conclusion of a letter issued today, dealing with the Extraordinary Year of Mercy: 

A final consideration concerns those faithful who for various reasons choose to attend churches officiated by priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X. This Jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one. From various quarters, several Brother Bishops have told me of their good faith and sacramental practice, combined however with an uneasy situation from the pastoral standpoint. I trust that in the near future solutions may be found to recover full communion with the priests and superiors of the Fraternity. In the meantime, motivated by the need to respond to the good of these faithful, through my own disposition, I establish that those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins.

This is surely of immense significance.  It means that not just those who always attend SSPX Masses, but  people like you and I, who might do so occasionally (or even not at all?) will be able to go to the SSPX chapel in Mounttown or Shanakiel, confess our sins and receive absolution.  And as Fr John Zuhlsdorf suggests, just as Richard  Nixon, against all expectations, turned out to be the first American president capable of negotiating successfully with Communist China,  could it be that  Francis is the Pope destined to reconcile the Pixies? It seems unlikely, but (as the late Frank Sheed once said) there’s no knowing what the Holy Ghost may have up his sleeve.

And another thing. For the past year or more,  many have complained—with justice, in my opinion—that the Holy Father seems to believe in Mercy for unrepentant sodomites, adulterers and all manner  of heretics, but not for people who hold fast to Tradition. It would be nice to think today’s announcement is a harbinger of Mercy on a wider scale. Wait and see whether the draconian restrictions on the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate are lifted: if they are, we’ll know for sure.

Some neo-conservative Catholics with an almost pathological dislike for the SSPX will be appalled by the Pope’s bold move. I’m thinking in particular of  Michael Voris and his brash ChurchMilitant.TV, a site I admire in many ways. I rather suspect he will find some way of telling his followers that of course, nothing has really changed. But hasn’t it?