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October 29, 2015

Lightweight Leftism of Pope Francis

How could  any orthodox Catholic disagree with these remarks by George  Neumayr of the  The American Spectator?

The scandalous synod on the family skidded to a stop last weekend in Rome but not before Pope Francis got in a few more licks at conservatives, whom he caricatured in his final remarks as heartless. The speech was notable for its nastiness, displaying the very lack of charity he routinely assigns to conservatives. The synod, he said, had exposed ‘closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families.’

He continued: ‘It was about trying to open up broader horizons, rising above conspiracy theories and blinkered viewpoints, so as to defend and spread the freedom of the children of God, and to transmit the beauty of Christian Newness, at times encrusted in a language which is archaic or simply incomprehensible.’

Under the lightweight leftism of Pope Francis, the question ‘Is the Pope Catholic?’ seems less and less rhetorical. Previous popes, reading the remarks above, would conclude that the speaker held to the theology of liberal Protestantism.

All the tortured throat-clearing from pundits about the ‘nuances’ of Pope Francis is very unconvincing. He is not nuanced at all. He is an open left-wing Catholic, perfectly comfortable with the de facto heretics within his own order and inside his special cabinet of cardinals. Cardinal Walter Kasper, whom Pope Francis has identified as one of his ‘favourite’ theologians, and Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany, who is one of his closest advisers, stand to the left of Martin Luther.

Well, say the pope’s desperate propagandists, Francis may not possess a deep mind but at least he has a big heart. If so, it seems to bleed for everyone but orthodox Catholics, whose fidelity to the faith under secularism’s ceaseless encroachments is treated with contempt.

Like many modern Jesuits, Francis often sounds like he loves every religion except his own.

October 27, 2015

More about Joanna McCann

Many thanks to  the dozens of people who sent Mass cards and messages of sympathy on the death of our dear daughter Joanna, and those who travelled long distances to be present at her funeral in Dalkey a week ago yesterday.

The Novus Ordo funeral was very well done, and Fr Declan Gallagher PP deserves our particular gratitude. There were four priests in the sanctuary. The coffin was carried out on the shoulders of husband Johnny, son Stephen aged 15, brother Joe, brother-in-law Maurice, daughter Nikki’s boyfriend Andy and close family friend Dave. It would be an exaggeration to say  there was not a dry eye among the congregation of 400-plus,  but  certainly a fair proportion of them were in tears. Joanna’s body is now in Shanganagh cemetery awaiting the Resurrection.

C.S. Lewis said that grief produces the same symptoms as fear. I haven’t found that: it  just makes me feel tired and listless, which is why I haven’t done any blog posts for 10 days or so.

There were two eulogies, but as they were delivered  after the Mass that was quite acceptable even to a hidebound old trad like me. Here’s one of them, by Joanna’s best friend Alexia Kelly which I think may be appreciated by most:

I have had the privilege of knowing Joanna since we were both seven years old and standing here today, I feel immensely honoured to represent all of her friends who loved her.  I know that I am speaking to so many of you who have their own dear memories of Joanna, a treasure trove of them.  

Joanna was my friend, but I was only one of an abundance of friends in her life, so very very many.  In our class of 48, Joanna was liked universally.  She was one of those very few that everyone got on with.  She could just take up where she left off. Happily reminiscing over school day shenanigans with glee with so many of us at our recent class reunion.

When we were young, we spent lots of innocent wonderful times in each other’s houses.  I have such happy memories of afternoons spent doing arts and crafts in Villarea Park……collecting rocks with Joanna on Killiney beach and painting and varnishing them, to be paper weights and door stops for my own parents.  They were long happy hours in the Lowry home.  A home full of warmth and love and Joanna so loved her parents, brothers Joe and Luke and big sister Paula.

Joanna was funny funny funny.  She was responsible for snorting guffaws in the classroom.  She was a loveable messer and luckily for me, I got to be in her class for almost every subject.  Harmless messing that was so frustrating for our teachers, but never held any malice or meanness, just infectious hilarity.

She was so creative with language, artistic and imaginative. a very talented writer.  I’ve lost count of the number of messages that she has sent me over the years that have literally caused me to crease with laughter.  She had a wonderful sense of the ridiculous.  A witty description that might take some three sentences, Joanna would nail in three words.

As a teenager, Joanna had successfully navigated the worst of the angsty phase and managed to become quite cool, without alienating any of us who still hovered on the fringes, The Pierrot club, Scotts in Dun Laoghaire, a boyfriend with a motorbike!!  I was reminded over the weekend of a group of us schoolgirls warming our backsides on a classroom radiator and Joanna taking out a photo-booth strip of a mullet haired boy, whom she proudly boasted held more than a passing resemblance to a member of Duran Duran.  This was of course Johnny, her best friend and destined to be the love of her life

Joanna often talked to me about how blessed and lucky she was to have married her best friend.  She texted me recently and described how happy she was to still be so happy and in love after 32 years.

We became mothers within eight months of each other.  While most of our friends were enjoying their carefree early 20’s, it felt like we were pretending to be grownups and that some day we’d be found out.  We used to meet up when Nikki and my daughter Sarah were small; we would dress them up, go on little day trips to Powerscourt, take photos and marvel at how clever we were to have produced the most beautiful babies in the world.  And when Stephen came along, we got to do it all again as our youngest were the same age, this time with a little more confidence.  

Joanna was immensely proud of Nikki and Stephen.  She spoke to me often about their progress, her concern but also her confidence in their futures and how she loved them so much.  She would often marvel at their school reports and achievements in areas where she felt she had never excelled…….. We shared a complete bafflement over anything mathematical.

Joanna told me recently that she was so thankful to me for including her in a lunchtime game of ‘Jacks’ one day when we were little….she described herself as the shy child with the dodgy fringe and glasses that no one had asked to join in and I had.  How could she remember it that way when I don’t?  That was typical of her….making me feel really good about myself, telling me how much she loved me.  She was so very generous with her love

Joanna’s laugh was contagious and warm and instinctive.  She found humour in almost every moment of seriousness and when that seriousness became about her illness, she never allowed it to consume her, never wanting to be sad in front of her friends, always finding something to smile about, to chuckle about.  She said recently, “I was really trying to be miserable today but I keep laughing.”

She was truly one of a kind, a source of endless fun, warm hearted, effervescent. She had a wicked irreverent sense of humour, had a great memory and was a wonderful mimic.   She had an incredibly sharp wit – and yet she was never remotely intimidating. She never had any sense that she was better than anyone else. She was warm and generous and put people at their ease; She never excluded anyone. She was always ready to laugh at herself – and always free with compliments for her friends.   You relaxed when she came in to a room.  No need to pretend to be anyone other than yourself, no attitude, no front.

We have each been given a wonderful gift by knowing her.  I, like all of you, will always carry a little piece of Joanna in my heart forever.  

Alexia is a nursing specialist in rheumatology at St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Dublin. She is  the daughter of  the late John Kelly, lawyer, politician and author of the standard work on the Irish Constitution. He had also been a don at Trinity College, Oxford.  I well remember Joanna telling me that  Alexia had announced on their way to school when they were both very small that “Daddy’s been made Eternal General” in Dr Garret Fitzgerald’s government. As Attorney-General, Kelly had a mind of his own, and a good turn of phrase. He defended the wording of the Amendment banning abortion, dismissing the notion that it was constitutionally  flawed as “piddling and perverse”. Like most of us, he could not foresee that the Supreme Court would become corrupted. I have it on  strong authority that when it was decided to attempt to water down the original wording  a furious Kelly referred to the Taoiseach as “that  b******s FitzGerald”.

After the funeral we repaired to the Killiney Castle Hotel for refreshments. I am indebted to my grandson Francis Hand, late of the Irish College in Rome and now at Glasgow University who straightaway said “Grandpa, you need a drink”, and brought me a large Jameson. He actually elicited a guffaw from me when we discussed the hymns at the funeral Mass which were, shall we say, of mixed quality. I like the “Pie Jesu” but can’t stand the Newchurch favourite “On Eagles’ Wings”. Francis treated me to his own version of that:  “I will feeeed  you up, On Chicken Wings!”

I think I may be beginning to get back into my blogging stride…

October 20, 2015

Joanna McCann, R.I.P.

Of your charity pray for the  happy repose of the soul of our beloved younger daughter Joanna Rose McCann, who died last Thursday night in St Vincent’s private hospital, Dublin, fortified with the rites of the Church.  She had cancer of the colon which spread to her liver. The end was swift and very peaceful. Over 400 people attended her funeral on Monday, in the Church of the Assumption, Dalkey. Joanna leaves her husband, Johnny, and children Nicky (24) and Stephen (15). I shall probably be writing a blog about her in due course, but for the present I won’t be blogging for a few days. Mary and I would like to thank the dozens of people who have sent e-mails, text messages and letters of sympathy. They have been a great comfort. Requiem aeternam dona eae , Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ea!

October 12, 2015

Airliner Popes

I know I’ve been giving you rather a lot of the Thoughts of Fr Hunwicke recently, but here’s another cracker.  I found it a very great help when trying to make sense of the Synod—and indeed of the whole present pontificate.

Despite the rhetoric that some prelates employ in the rather trying euphoria which follows a Papal Conclave, we have no divine assurance whatsoever that any Pope since S Peter ever has been or is “God’s choice”. Even as a corporate collegium, the Cardinal electors are not protected in their prudential decisions. That would be an absurd dogma. I will not insult my readers by inserting here a history lesson about ‘bad popes’ (google ‘Marozia’ or ‘Pornocracy’) except to say that we can find more whole-hearted moral evil in quite a number of First Millennium popes than in the titillating iniquities of an occasional Renaissance libertine. Popes, needless to say, are protected from defining heretical propositions ex cathedra; but they are not vi ipsius muneris necessarily good or wise or nice men. (In 1559, Papa Caraffa was mad, bad, and nasty, had done a great deal to sabotage the Catholic cause in England, and Archbishop Hethe of York said more or less that in the House of Lords. But he and the other English diocesans, by God’s grace, refused, at great personal cost, the orders of Bloody Bess to break communion with Rome.) Moreover, vi ipsius muneris, popes are not even protected against being heretics or expressing heresy (google Liberius, Honorius, and John XXII); only against  defining heresy ex cathedra. As Cardinal Pell made clear about a year ago, a small number of popes has been very, very good; a small number very, very bad; and the overwhelming majority somewhere or other in between.

Nor is a world-wide personality cult of the Roman Pontiff required by Catholic Dogma. Such a cult might, indeed, be a corruption of the Petrine Office, and indicate too much influence within the Church of the modern, Media-driven cult of the ‘celebrity’, so characteristic of our global village. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that the first glimmerings we had of this cult were during the 1930s, the decade of the Nuremburg rallies, the decade also when Cardinal Pacelli (later Pius XII, but then Secretary of State) enjoyed displaying his charisma by going on foreign, even world-wide, tours and became known as il vice-Papa, il Cardinale volante. I wonder if these circuses have disadvantages as well as advantages. Papa Ratzinger obviously loathed doing them, but went through it all out of a sense of duty: I wonder how much the strain sapped his strength. Even Madonna seems to do them less.

It was, moreover, Papa Pacelli who appears to have started the silly game of having babies handed up to him while swaying along in his Gestatorial Chair (I would be interested if anybody could falsify this tentative suggestion by finding videoclips of popes earlier than him indulging in this insanitary game … so unhealthy, isn’t it? … you never know what diseases these poor children might pick up from a pope … after all, in the reception at the airport, the Sovereign Pontiff will quite possibly have shaken hands with some extremely unsavoury politicians … I wouldn’t have wanted some pope putting his hands anywhere near one of my children or grandchildren after he had been shaking hands with … er … um … )

We need to clear out of the way the fawning superstition that faithful, obedient Catholics, episcopal, clerical, or lay, are supposed to regard whoever happens currently to be the bishop of Rome as some sort of god-like superman who never makes mistakes and is above all criticism (until he dies or abdicates … when, of course, the vermin all emerge from the bilge of the Barque of S Peter and squeal like demented sirens). When a newly appointed bishop says that he will strive to be a “worthy representative of Pope Francis [or Pope Anybody]”, the sycophantic fool needs to be taught that bishops (according to the teaching of Leo XIII, not to mention Vatican II) are NOT Romani Pontificis vicarii, but Apostolorum successores. We need to do what we can to educate our obtuse Media to abandon their conviction that the Catholic Church is some sort of Stalinist dictatorship in which a throw-away, off-the-cuff remark made by one man in an airliner might constitute the discarding of the teachings of millennia. Indeed, I wish the last two pontiffs had not started these wretched airliner interviews.

If invited to drink a toast to our beloved Holy Father Pope Francis the Roman Pontiff and Vicar of S Peter, I will stand up and hold my head high and enthusiastically do exactly that.

But I will drink a toast to the Catholic Roman Church, and to Holy Tradition, first.

October 7, 2015

Our Lady of Victories and the Synod

Father Hunwicke really surpassed himself today. In a three-part  series which I have lumped into one, he invokes Our Lady of Victories (whose Feast Day it is) as the Patroness of the Synod in Rome. Even if you have little Latin and no Greek, I am sure it will give your spirits a lift in these confusing and depressing times…..

So, had I been Bishop of Rome, how would I have structured this Synod of Bishops? Firstly: I would have put it under the Patronage of our Lady of Victories. My statutes would decree that, each morning, after each of the Fathers had offered his own private Mass, they should all come together for a corporate celebration of the Akathist Hymn.

What a telling title: our Lady of Victories. So very Western Catholic; so Counter-Reformation ; so baroque; so redolent of the triumphalist Anglo-Catholicism of the 1920s and 1930s. You couldn’t possibly imagine, could you, the Byzantine Christians giving the Theotokos a title like that … Well, of course, they did. One of those Greeks did write a hymn to Mary as the hypermachos stategos with an aprosmakheton kratos (the Protecting General with an irresistible power). If the Orthodox had Hymns Ancient and Modern, you would probably find in it a paraphrase of the Hymnos Akathistos beginning: Stand up, stand up, for Mary. Or, taking my fantasy even further, imagine some Orthodox Sabine Baring Gould writing Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war; with the Protecting Robe of Mary, going on before.

Because, of course, the title our Lady of Victories, just like the Akathist hymn, does have its military associations. That great Pontiff, S Pius V, established the Feast of our Lady of Victories to celebrate the triumph of Christian arms at the battle of Lepanto, October 7, 1571, a victory won by the countless rosaries which clanked through the hands of the Rosary Confraternities of Western Europe. They begged God for the safety of Christendom against the invading Turk. Gregory XIII pusillanimously renamed the feast as ‘of the Rosary’, and popped it onto the first Sunday of October (a stone’s throw from the Feast of the Protecting Robe of the Mother of God in some Byzantine calendars) where it stayed until the reforms of S Pius X. But, to this day, those who follow the Extraordinary Form are allowed, on the first Sunday of October, an External Solemnity of this feast. And, after all, no homilist could be forbidden to refer to this celebration as our Lady of Victories.

If the title of our Lady of Victories apparently seemed a bit over-the-top even to a sixteenth century pope, it seems all the more inapposite to our age. Triumphalism is a dirty word to the twenty-first century Church. And not only a dirty word, it’s a forbidden concept. Not for us that great canvas of Rubens in the Prado – the Triumph of the Church – with the heretics squirming in helpless agony under the inexorable chariot wheels of Ecclesia Triumphatrix. Not for our age Tiepolo’s ceiling in the Carmelite Church in Venice, with the imperious and Gloriosa Domina looking down an almost haughty nose as she’s carried in glory by clouds and angels, riding, as if it were on a supercelestial surfboard, standing on the Holy House of Nazareth as it flies to Loreto. No: our age looks to a humbler Virgin; Mary the model of obedience; Mary, the norm of the disciple; Mary, the Woman of Faith. Triumphalism is not of our age. We’ve been cut down to size. Ecclesia Triumphatrix has been replaced by Ecclesia Famulatrix – although I bet Orthodoxy, not so quick to lose her nerve, still celebrates dominically the Triumph of Orthodoxy. Good for them! But for Westerners, who have suffered a collective loss of confidence, the Church is the Servant Church, the only society, we have been rather foolishly informed, which exists to ‘serve’ those who are not members.

But readers of Scripure might have their occasional nagging doubts about this proscribing of all Triumphalism. The Magnificat, for example, the song of the tapeinos, the lowly one, suggests that the Lord has hupsosen, highly exalted, her. And the woman of the Apocalypse, crowned with stars and adorned with the Sun, whether she be the Messiah’s Mother or his nurturing community or both, seems to my eye to have had more than a dollop of Triumphalism ladled over her. Our Lady, after all, is, as we Latins have been taught to sing, victorious over heresies: Thou alone hast put down all heresies in the whole world”. The truth of Theotokos secures the Incarnation of a real God against the heresy of Islam; it guarantees that the Rabbi from Nazareth possesses an unpronounceable Hebrew Name written but not spoken in four silent letters. Since God has entered his world in the flesh, that Kosmos, created by him and redeemed, is itself good; let Manichee therefore stop his mouth.

But Christian materialism – our emphasis on the reality of an Incarnate God and the goodness of his created universe – is not the materialism of secular society. S Joseph was the foster-father of God, not his begetter; the chaste Guardian, not the bedfellow, of the Mother of God. This unambiguously masculine figure, whose calling was continent love, is God’s witness against the sexual trophyism and appetite of the culture we live in. Dogmatically, S Joseph’s witness is encapsulated in another title of our Lady, Aeiparthenos, Ever-Virgin; a title which features so much more largely in the ancient Conciliar documents and the authentic tradition of both East and West than it does in much modern writing. I think we have lost yet more of our nerve when it comes to talking about virginity and purity. And the result has been that we end up with Bishops being gathered at the expense of the faithful from the four corners of the globe (rhetoric, rhetoric!) to discuss sympathetically, tactfully, and without condemnations … Adultery, fornication, and sodomy!!

How often, Fathers, do you preach on Chastity? How often, brothers and sisters, do you hear your clergy teaching about Purity? How much time would you guess is being devoted, in the Synod of Bishops, to discussing Sexual Abstinence? How many of the clustered, hungry, journalists in Rome are leaking the explosive words of Bishop X about Purity; the angry ‘intervention’ of Bishop Y on Virginity? The Zeitgeist, the Spirit of the Age, has used our own doctrine, the inherent materialism of the Incarnation, to undermine the whole concept of Continence; and what have we ended up with? A society which respects, enhances, and protects Marriage as never before? You know that we haven’t. We find ourselves with a culture in which fornication and adultery have become norms, and wedlock is treated as endlessly terminable and repeatable, and Marriage is redefined in terms of fluid Gender. (There’s such skilled and calculated cynicism here … who can fail to believe in a personal Devil?) Only now do we see, five decades after Humanae Vitae, that it is solely in the context of a society which exalts Continence and Virginity that Marriage itself has a chance of surviving.

In 1854, Pope Pius IX issued an dogmatic decree, over the small print of which Latins and Byzantines may make differing judgements. What is indisputable about it is that it did put the adjective Immaculata right at the centre of Western devotional culture. By doing so, it brought the Occident into line with the Orient; taught us timorous Westerners the importance of that great word-bag of alpha-privatives with which Byzantine hymnody had for more than a millennium adorned the Mother of God: amomos, akhrantos, apsilos, aphthartos. Khaire, nymphe anympheute! I put it to you that Mary’s perpetual Virginity, an immaculate purity of heart and mind and body, is not so much a title, a mere honorific, as it is a dogma. And not so much even a dogma, as God’s conquering and triumphant Truth, which alone can win the victory over the disorders of our culture.

The Immaculate and Ever-Virgin Lady of Victories, born aloft by the sculptors on billowing draperies, her gravity-defying bulgy baroque crown precariously perched upon her head, is the Woman of Triumph whom God is giving to this world, and he is giving her now. She treads down all the serpents of heresy; she crushes all the serpents of vice and corruption with her virgin and immaculate heel. Khaire, kataptosis ton daimonon! Her Immaculate Heart will prevail.

October 6th, 2015

Poisonous Weeds at the Synod

 From the “Eccles is Saved” blog.

There was a man who sowed good cardinal seed in his field: among the numerous varieties planted there were Burkeus Cappamagnificus, a traditional American grain, Pellus Boomerangus, a robust Australian variety, and Mueller Fortis, one of the few reliable German plants; but there were other spiritually nourishing varieties too numerous to mention. But then while men were asleep, an enemy came and sowed tares (cockle, darnel) among the wheat, and went his way

tares or darnel

Warning – contains nuts!

Among the poisonous grains were the German weed, Kasperus Absurdus, guaranteed to induce dizzy spells, Danneelus Pervertophilus, the toxic Belgian variety, not to mention the dreaded Baldisserius Liberraptor, and Marxus Stultusbarbus the hideous German creeper. And alas, there were many others.

So when the blade was sprung up, and had brought forth fruit, then appeared also the tares.

And the servants of the good man came to him and said, “Sir, did you not sow good seeds in the field? Where did the weeds come from?”

And he said to them, “An enemy has done this.” And the servants said to him, “Do you want us to gather up the weeds?”

“No,” said the man, “I have a better idea. We will allow both to grow until the time of the Synod, and then we will harvest them together.”

 burning the tares

Synod time!

“At the harvest, we’ll gather the tares, and bind them into bundles for burning (the CDF tells me we’re still allowed to do this); but the good wheat we’ll keep. But just to make it more fun, we’ll get the wheat and the tares to spend three weeks voting on which of them is the true harvest, and which the poisonous weeds.”

We are not sure what happened next.

October 3, 2015

Fighting ‘Catholic Divorce’

Here is a heartfelt and powerful appeal to Pope Francis not to allow the Synod on the Family to destroy, for practical purposes, the  Church’s perennial teaching on marriage and divorce. It is by a bishop. I wonder if you can guess his name.

Holy Father,

It is with grave concern that we see around us the gradual degradation of marriage and the family, the origin and foundation of all human society. This decay is beginning to accelerate strongly, notably through the legal promotion of the most immoral and depraved behaviour. The law of God, even the natural law, is today publicly trampled underfoot, the most serious sins multiply dramatically and cry to Heaven for vengeance.

Most Holy Father,

We cannot hide from you that the first part of the Synod dedicated to “Family pastoral challenges in the context of evangelisation” alarmed us very deeply. We have heard and read, according to some bishops – who support you without contradiction – statements so contrary to the truth, so opposed to the clear and consistent teaching of the Church regarding the sanctity of marriage, that our soul has been deeply troubled by them. What worries us even more are some of your words implying that there could be an evolution of doctrine to meet the new needs of Christian people. Our concern is that St Pius X condemned in the encyclical PascendiGregis such a development of dogma  on the pretended basis of contemporary requirements. Pius X and you, Holy Father, have received the fullness of the power of teaching, sanctifying and governing in obedience to Christ who is the head and shepherd of the flock at all times and in every place, and whose Pope must be the true Vicar on this earth. The object of a dogmatic condemnation does not become, over time, an authorised pastoral practice.

God, the author of nature, has established the stable union of man and woman to perpetuate the human species. The revelation of the Old Testament teaches us, in the most obvious way, that marriage, unique and indissoluble, between a man and a woman, has been directly established by God, and that its essential characteristics have been given by Him to men of freewill to live under a very particular divine protection: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife” (Ex 20, 17).

The Gospel teaches us that Jesus Himself, by virtue of His supreme authority, definitively restored marriage, changed by the corruption of men, to its primitive purity. “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Mt 19: 6).

It is the glory of the Catholic Church, throughout the centuries, to have defended the human and divine reality of marriage against the wind and the waves, despite demands, threats and temptations. She has always carried high – even when corrupt men abandoned her for that reason alone – the standard of faithfulness, purity and fertility that characterise true conjugal and family love.

As we approach the second part of this Synod dedicated to the family, we are conscious of our duty to express to the Holy See the deep anxieties that seize us at the thought of “conclusions” that could be proposed on this occasion, if by great misfortune they were to constitute a new attack against the sanctity of marriage and the family, further weakening the status of couples and households. We hope with all our heart, however, that the Synod will perform a true work of mercy recalling, for the good of souls, the integral saving teaching on marriage.

We are fully aware, in the current context, that people who are living in irregular marriage situations should be welcomed pastorally, with compassion, so as to show them the merciful face of the God of love made known by the Church.

But the law of God, an expression of His eternal love for men, constitutes by itself the supreme mercy for all times, people and situations. We pray therefore that the evangelical truth of marriage that the Synod should proclaim may not be circumvented in practice by multiple “pastoral exceptions” that would distort its true meaning, or by new legislation that would abolish (quasi infallibly) its true scope. On this point, we cannot conceal from you that the recent canonical provisions of the motu proprio Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus, facilitating accelerated declarations of nullity, will open the door de facto to a procedure of so-called “Catholic divorce”, despite the reminders about the indissolubility of marriage that accompany it. These provisions follow the evolution of contemporary mores, without trying to rectify them according to the divine law; since then, how can we not be upset about the fate of children born of these marriages annulled with such speed, the sad victims of the “culture of waste”?

In the sixteenth century, Pope Clement VII refused Henry VIII of England the divorce that he demanded. Faced with the threat of the Anglican schism, the pope maintained, against all pressures, the intangible teaching of Christ and His Church on the indissolubility of marriage. Will his decision now be disavowed in a “canonical repentance”?

Today, around the world, many families have mobilised themselves courageously against civil laws that undermine the natural and Christian family, and publicly encourage vile behaviour contrary to the most elementary morality. Can the Church abandon those who, sometimes to their own detriment and always mocked and jeered, lead this necessary but difficult battle? This would be a disastrous counter-witness, and would be a source of disgust and discouragement for these people. Men of the Church, on the contrary, by their very mission, must give these people clear and reasoned support.

Holy Father,

For the honour of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the consolation of the Church and all the Catholic faithful, for the good of society and all humanity at this crucial time, we implore you to make resound throughout the world a word of truth, clarity and firmness in defence of Christian and even simply human marriage, in support of its foundation, namely the difference and complementarity of the sexes, in support of its uniqueness and its indissolubility . Filially, we beseech you to make that word ring out, accompanied by effective measures showing your support of the Catholic family by your actions.

We entrust this humble petition to the patronage of St John the Baptist, who underwent martyrdom for defending publicly, against a civil authority compromised by an outrageous “remarriage” , the sanctity and uniqueness of marriage; begging the precursor to give Your Holiness the courage to remind the whole world of the true doctrine concerning natural and Christian marriage.

+ Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X

Yes, the chief Pixie.  I don’t think anyone could have put it better. Let’s hope and pray the Holy Father is listening, but I’m not holding my breath.

No, I am not growing pointy ears, but I cannot accept that Bishop Fellay is in schism.




October 2, 2015

Bugnini’s Church of Nice

When I went to the Novus Ordo  in my local church this morning I noted that it’s the  Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels in the New calendar as well as in  the Old.  But in the Novus Ordo,  today’s Gospel is shorter than in the Usus Antiquior. Why is that, do you think.? The Novus Ordo usually contains much bigger chunks of Sacred Scripture than the old Latin Mass,  in which the Gospel today is Matthew 18: 1-10.

At that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who, thinkest thou, is the greater in the kingdom of heaven?

And Jesus, calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them.

And said: amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven.

And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me.

But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh. And if thy hand, or thy foot, scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee.

It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire.

And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

The verses I have put in red type are in the Usus Antiquior but omitted in the Novus Ordo.  About 50 years or so ago, one of Annibale Bugnini’s   committees of experts must have decided these verses weren’t very nice, and would have to go. No point in upsetting people.



October 1, 2015

Cardinals in Masons’ Aprons

I note with considerable gratification that Fr John Hunwicke has started quoting from Henry Sire’s book Phoenix from the Ashes. And with even more gratification that  we got there first! Here Fr  H. ruminates on Mr Sire’s theory about why all those Cardinals allegedly joined the Freemasons: (and there seems little doubt that quite a few did):

Archbishop Lefebvre died while still the victim of a latae sententiae  excommunication. It would be one of Clio’s* more droll exercises of humour, wouldn’t it … go on, agree with me just this once … if the Cardinal Villot who so detested him, and who defamed him to Blessed Paul VI and poisoned the Pontiff’s mind against him, also died while … er … still the victim of a latae sententiae excommunication. But I never know what to think about these Freemasons. The English breed seems rather ridiculous than sinister. Can one really believe all the conspiracy-theory stuff? The stories about curial cardinals (in Masonic aprons) creeping around with phials of deadly poison on the night Papa Luciano died … well, I wouldn’t want to end up as a Bishop Williamson lookalike, explaining to people that the CIA blew up the twin towers. But, on the other hand, that banker chappie did end up pretty dead, didn’t he, dangling from Blackfriars Bridge. And they do say that the continental breed of Masons is deadlier than the English.

Why should a prelate, or even a priest, get kicks out of all that spurious history and daft adolescent ritual? Or did they simply believe that it might help one to get on? That is Mr Sire’s supposition: “one may suppose that the majority had joined the society from motives of self-advancement.” He surmises that “the disclosures seem to represent a leak of the confidential list of members that, under Italian law, secret societies are obliged to deposit with the government.”  The list included Villot, Suenens, Poletti, Baggio, Casaroli, Macchi, Marcinkus and … Bugnini. And the man who purveyed the list to Pope John Paul I was himself murdered a few months after handing it over … but, on the other hand, a really efficient gang of ruthless conspirators would, surely, have murdered him before he went touting his list around. Yes? No? But stay: there is the sudden sacking of Bugnini and his  reassignment to go and evangelise the Iranian Ayatollahs … that would be very well accounted for if B Paul VI had just been told of Hannibal’s naughty little secret … but then, there are other naughty little secrets as well as freemasonry … the world contains women … and boys … and money … or perhaps the Pontiff simply received proof of how Bugnini had duped him and manipulated the process of liturgical reform. Naughty, indeed.

You see how helpless a mass of indecision I am. Altogether useless. But read it all in Phoenix from the Ashes  and see what you think.

*Fr Hunwicke’s readers, I suspect, tend to be more classically educated than those who follow this blog—some of whom may not be quite sure who Clio was. Well, Clio is the muse of history, responsible for making people famous. And yes, I did have to look it up.