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Monthly Archives: November 2015

November 24, 2015

Archbishop  discovers sin

No doubt you have noted that cinema chains in Britain have banned a one-minute video of the Our Father, so I thought you might enjoy a recent post from Eccles Is Saved.

It’s not been a good weekend for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Not only has his video nasty “The Lord’s Prayer” been banned in cinemas,  but he has suddenly been introduced to the notion of sin. Specifically, he said that the recent terrorist murders in Paris led him to ask God where He was.

three wise monkeys

The three wise primates – see no evil, etc.

It is unusual for a man to reach the rank of archbishop without knowing that there is an inexhaustible well of evil in the world, but it can happen. As His Grace explains, “In the oil industry, where I began my career, there were very few acts of violence, unless you count the great Esso-Shell-Texaco gang warfare of the 1980s. The Church of England, where I am now, is full of people who believe themselves to be totally without sin, and they’re probably right. Admittedly, we have this thing called ‘General Confession’, but it’s so vague as to be meaningless. ‘Erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep’? Doesn’t sound too bad, does it?”


More tea, Justin? Eccles educates an archbishop.

We pointed out to Archbishop Welby that people had been murdering each other ever since the days of Cain and Abel, not to mention the great massacres of the Reformation, and a few (alleged) sinners in the 20th century such as Hitler, Stalin and Mao. “Oh, they must have slipped my mind,” he admitted.

We then pointed out that one of the reasons that Jesus came into the world, apart from amusing Himself by turning water into wine and making large quantities of fish sandwiches, was to bear the sins of the world. This struck the archbishop as a brilliantly original theory: “You mean that my whole job is based on the fact that there is evil in the world?” he asked. “Well, well, I never thought of that one. You’ve really taught me a thing or two, Eccles!”

Tony Rezk icon

The Archbishop was startled when we told him that Christians were being martyred in the Middle East.

We planned to conclude our little chat with a prayer together, namely, “Our Father”, which also mentions sins, but, out of consideration for the feelings of the National Secular Society, we decided not to do anything so controversial.

I’ll be away in England for the next week, most of it in Devon and Dorset, so I won’t be blogging for a while.

November 20, 2015

Kissing the Devil: Islam and  the French Revolution

It is strange but true that Islamic terrorism  and “Republican values”—based on  the French Revolution—seem to have become inextricably linked. Professor Roberto de Mattei explains how this has come about:

All the analysts highlighted the failure of the French security services on that tragic day of November 13th. The primary cause of this failure, more than inefficiency, is related to the  French political and administrative class’s cultural inability to go back to the profound causes of terrorism and of the proper remedies to combat it.
The terrorism that is flooding the world today is the child of the 1789 Revolution as well as the long series of professional revolutionaries— anarchists, socialists and communists who, between the 19th and 20th centuries practiced violence en masse and perpetrated the first genocides in the history of mankind. The so-called fundamentalists have grafted the European experience of terrorism on to the trunk of an intrinsically totalitarian ideology—which Islam is—a political religion which has always imposed itself with violence.
The plan to insert Islam into Republican values can only come  from the mind of those who refuse to understand the historical role of the religious dimension and reduce everything to economic conflicts or politics. This mentality is at the origin of the astounding errors which united Sarkozy’s and Hollande’s France and the United States of Barrack Hussein Obama in their Mediterranean  policies.
At the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011  the “Arab springtime” was loudly proclaimed, in the belief that the fall of the “tyrants” in Egypt, Libya and Syria would have inaugurated a new era of democracy, liberty and social development in Africa and the Middle East.  Obama, Sarkozy and then Hollande  were convinced it was possible to pass painlessly from the dictatorial regimes to democracy and that this “democratic revolution” would have delivered the keys of the economic resources in those territories to the United States and France.  In February 2011, France began bombing Libya to promote a  “democratic revolution” actuated by the Jihadist rebels.
The outcome was the ascent of radical Islam, the death of 150,000 people and the explosion of bloody divisions in the Moslem world.  The following year Hollande supported  ousting the Syrian President Bashar al Assad from power.  In 2013, France did its best to ensure that the European Union would remove all embargos which would impede the supplying of arms, instructors and economic support to the Syrian Jihadist rebels.
We have now learned that the Paris massacre had been planned in Syria, in the same spheres that—until a year ago—had enjoyed the French trust.  Yet it needs to be stressed that the terrorists are immigrants of the second and third generations of Belgian and French nationality and  formed in those urban ghettos where utopian multiculturalism is failing.
The only one left believing in this utopia, Barack Obama, declared the day after the slaughter that “the motto ‘liberté. egalité, fraternité’ not only evokes  French values, but values that we all share.” It seems the Vatican authorities do too, since “Moslems may also be involved in the Holy Year”;  as,  “in a world torn by violence, it is the right time to launch the campaign of mercy”.
Mercy is a great Christian virtue, but  emancipated from the virtues of justice and fortitude it becomes the ecclesiastical version of the secularist culture of surrender. This culture today is expressed in all kinds of cultural and moral deviations, including Satanism, an anti-religion in which many young people participate unwittingly through the cult of rock concerts. In a symbolic nemesis, Kiss the Devil was the title of the song being played on the stage at the Bataclan when the terrorists began their massacre. The culture of death, of the Islamic or relativist sort, can be confronted and defeated  only by the authentic light of the Gospel.
Edited by Stramentarius. With acknowledgements to Rorate Caeli and Corrispondenza Romana.
I don’t think genocide is purely a modern phenomenon. For instance, didn’t the Moslem  Tamberlane kill hundreds of thousands of Hindus when he  invaded India?

November 18, 2015

Siren Voice of Sedevacantism

As this  pontificate becomes more and more catastrophic, it seems to me that sedevacantism is tempting more and more serious Catholics.  I have heard its siren voice myself. It would be a useful solution to our problems, wouldn’t it? But it won’t do, as Fr Hunwicke explains with his habitual combination of irony and scholarship:

As a Man of Mercy, I do feel compassionate towards those Catholics who express to me anxiety that our present Holy Father may not be the lawful occupant of the See of S Peter. But I re-reiterate: no Catholic can with a good conscience decide for himself/herself that the See of Rome has become vacant through heresy. The Church, in some formal and corporate way, would need either to depose a heretical pope (thus, S Cajetan; John of S Thomas) or to declare that he had himself through heresy already forfeited the See (thus, S Bellarmine, Turrecremata). DIY is no good. All traditional theologians over the centuries who have considered the question (yes, there’s nothing unCatholic in considering the question) are agreed about this. Forget it.

The practical aspects confirm the absurdity of Sedevacantism. Our Lord promised that his Church was indefectible. And the papacy is by Divine Institution a pretty central institution in the Church Militant. But, according to the Sedevacantists, the See of S Peter has been vacant for a very long time. I’m not quite sure for how long, because they disagree among themselves about when the vacancy began. If since the death of Ven Pius XII, 9 October 1958, then the See has been vacant now for more than 57 years! There is nothing remotely like that in Church History. What is the longest that the First See has ever been vacant? All Catholic sources except one would tell you that the record Interregnum came after the death of Clement IV in 1268, when the papacy was vacant for two years, nine months, and two days. (The Archdiocesan Church of Westminster, which curiously regards the Pisan Antipope Alexander V as a lawful pope and the next lawful pope after him as being Martin V, believes in an Interregnum of seven years, from 1410 to 1417.)

But fifty seven years? Fifty seven years and counting?? You gotta be joking! And who would elect a pope now? There are no cardinals left from the reign of Pius XII; and how could an Ecumenical Council do so, since a Council cannot lawfully be convoked except by … a Pope!

Francis is Pope and we need to be in Communion with him and that’s the end of the matter. You may feel that there are problems in the Church of Today, and you may even be right to feel that (who am I to judge?), but this particular anti-traditional short-cut out of such problems is not an answer.




November 14, 2015

Statue of Big Dog with Fleas

You remember that poem of Samuel Taylor Coleridge which begins:

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure dome decree

Where Alph, the sacred river ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless Sea.

I understand that Coleridge claimed he dreamt it; but I believe it’s been suggested that the poem was written under the influence of opium, which seems perhaps more likely. Anyway, some time in the 1950s  a man called John Press, in  The Fire and the Fountain : an Essay on Poetry parodied  these lines thus in order to prove a thesis:

In Bakerloo did Aly Khan

A stately Hippodrome decree

Where Alf, the bread delivery man . . .

…Collided with a draper’s van

While doing sixty-three.

The last two lines were in fact added by a participant  in a competition in in the British magazine The Spectator. But that’s by the way.  The point Mr Press was trying to prove—or rather disprove—was that the beauty of poetry depends on the sound of the words, rather than on their meaning. He argued  that while Coleridge’s original is a fine poem, his own parody is nothing of the kind—but both sound much the same.

While thinking about this my mind took a bit of a leap and it occurred to me that we often  misunderstand or mishear words and phrases, particularly in song and hymns. My Aunt Christabel, as a child, used to have to sing Parson Toplady’s Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me, written in the 18th century. One line goes: “Foul I to the Fountain fly.” Aunt Chris thought for several years that Toplady was comparing himself to a bird, rather than a repentant sinner: “Fowl I to the fountain fly.” (The hymn is still popular among American Baptists, who travel in coach tour buses  to Burrington Combe in Somerset where  the original Rock of Ages stands. Toplady  was inspired to write the hymn while sheltering there during a  thunderstorm.)

Then there is the little girl whose teddy bear had a squint, so she called him Gladly, as in Gladly the Cross I’d Bear.

Sorry, I am rambling. But to illustrate the point further, take  Carl Orff’s O Fortuna from the  Carmina Burana.  These are the words of this medieval Latin Lyric (not a very good one, and not worth translating).

O Fortuna
Velut luna
Statu variabilis
Semper crescis
Aut decrescis
Vita detestabilis
Nunc obdurat
Et tunc curat
Ludo mentis aciem
Dissolvit ut glaciem

And here is how some rather clever person says he misheard the lyrics:


November 11, 2015

Keep Buying the Brandsma

I was afraid I’d missed the latest Brandsma Review—or else that the magazine might possibly have folded—so I was mightily relieved when it finally arrived.  There’s some very good stuff in it, so I suggest that if you haven’t got it, you pop along to Veritas or order it by e-mailing brandsmareview@gmail.com.

Joe McCarroll has a typically insightful piece about the abortion lobby’s campaign to repeal those parts of the  Eighth Amendment which recognise the right to life of the unborn as equal to that of the mother.  He rightly describes this  as the gravest ever challenge to Irish pro-lifers, and excoriates the disgraceful role of the media, in particular RTÉ, in seeing no evil, hearing no evil and reporting no evil when it comes to abortion.

In a thoughtful article on the “same-sex marriage” referendum Fr James Siemens points out that true “homophobes”—meaning people who  are afraid of or hate homosexuals—are few and far between. He thinks it’s a pity the term is applied to those who, for any number of reasons, don’t feel comfortable with the idea of publicly affirming homosexuality, and he considers that to condemn such people as homophobic endangers the freedom of us all.

I enjoyed a piece  by Joe Aston analysing the reasons why the same-sex marriage referendum was carried. He argues, surely rightly, that it was a form of apathy, what he calls “the deep-seated Irish attitude of keeping one’s head down , leave the mad world take its course…avoid conflict with one’s neighbours, distrust words and don’t mind that intellectual stuff”. That’s why so many people who should have bestirred themselves didn’t bother to vote.

There is a fine editorial by David Manly on the gruesome atrocities  revealed by the recent exposure of Planned Parenthood’s practice of routinely selling off body parts from abortions. How matter-of-fact they are—almost like Nazis. One of the leading PP executives, Dr Deborah Nucatola, is  described thus: “While she munches her salad and sips her wine, she expounds on the problems of  preserving intact body parts when performing abortions, not unlike an engineer explaining the problems of bridge building.” He headlines his article “The Gates of Hell with Wine and Salad.” Brilliant.

I am grateful to Peadar Laighléis who succeeded me as editor of the BR, for making a special mention of the death of my dear daughter Joanna and asking for prayers for her and the Lowry and McCann families. And I’ll forgive him for mixing up masculine and feminine forms in the Requiem Aeternam. I think he learned his Latin grammar from scratch, whereas I had it drummed into me at school. That way, you never forget it.

Now for some criticism—most of it, I hope, positive. First, it is a thousand pities that the May-June issue has only just come out. If subscribers don’t receive their magazine with reasonable regularity, they become increasingly reluctant to renew their subscriptions. Then there is the layout which, I’m afraid, is dire. There is a  large and unnecessary white gap between the titles and the headlines on the cover. Inside, the headlines and the bylines are the same size, whereas the former should be about double the size of  the latter. It really is worth taking great care over layout; if it is slipshod, your readers’ patience is strained.

Then there is Peadar’s own editorial. In a pontificate when modernism is tightening its grip on the Church,  it seems almost perverse to tiptoe around  the Argentine elephant in the living room while devoting almost a page to yet another bash at the Society of St Pius X.  The Pixies are pygmies in the overall scheme of things, (although traditionalists have reason to be grateful to them). Whether or not they are schismatic is a moot point. Rome says they  are not. Who cares?

Peadar says the BR is not a traditionalist publication. He’s right: it is becoming rather Neo-Catholic.

Buy it all the same: it deserves your support.

November 10, 2015

The Blokishness of Pope Francis

Fr Hunwicke is in good form again today:

There is evidence that Popes should not be allowed to be celibate. A campaign for Married Popes, then? Let me lay some evidence before you.

Exhibit 1: The Great Façade, which I and some of you have been reading, recounts the episode which Chris Ferrara calls “Rabbitgate“: when the Holy Father spoke thoroughly blokishly about a woman who had a lot of children.

(Do you have the term and concept of Blokishness in North America? Did Plato envisage an Idea of Blokishness? What might it be in Attic Greek? Or Spanish?)

Exhibit 2: Chris might profitably also have mentioned another hilarious example of this same tendency, when our much-loved and greatly respected Sovereign Pontiff likened Europe, to Europe’s considerable disadvantage, to an old and now infertile Grandmother. I have privately christened this glorious gaffe “Cronegate“.

Suppose it were to chance that Papa Bergoglio were to be marooned (which Heaven forbid) on a Desert Island alone with a Grandmother who had had fifteen children … gracious, how I would love to be a Fly upon the Wall.

If Pope Francis were, like myself and many of you chaps out there, to have a wife who had been a large part of his life for more than half a century, it is conceivable that he might have picked up from her, however gradually and however imperfectly, slightly more nuanced ways of doing linguistic business with the other half of the Human Race. Indeed, you might tell me that he would need to be stone deaf not to have done so.

You still don’t think he would ….. ?

You don’t think (I dutifully employ here the terminology of the Vatican I Decree Pastor Aeternus) that the Holy Spirit was promised to the Successors of Peter in order to teach them how to be polite to women?

….. No … you’re probably right … some things are just too … er … y’know …

I think the nearest Spanish equivalent to Blokishness would be machismo. But I don’t think that quite hits the spot.

November 6, 2015

Father Hoban and the Devil’s Work

Who do those African priests think they are, coming over here and telling Irish Catholics there are actually such things as sin and judgement and damnation? One Nigerian priest, Father Joseph Okere, is even reported to have said in a sermon at St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford that the recent referendum vote in favour of “same-sex marriage” was evidence that the devil was at work in Ireland.

Now seriously. Isn’t that just what every Irish priest should be telling his congregation? Thank God for Fr Okere and so many other faithful Nigerian priests who are not afraid to tell it like it is!  Who taught them to speak out like this?  Irish missionaries, of course—many of them Holy Ghost Fathers. But how things have changed. When the local militant homosexual pressure group complained about Fr Okere, Bishop Francis Duffy cravenly apologised “for any insensitivity”.

Despite the shortage of Irish priests, Britain’s  Tablet—voice of the liberal Catholic establishment—questions  whether priests from the developing world ought to be allowed to serve in Ireland at all, given Africa’s hostility to homosexual practices. “Remarks by a Nigerian priest in Ireland linking gay marriage to the works of the devil are seen by some as symptomatic of the problems of importing clergy to address the country’s need”, says the Tablet, adding sniffily, “but the practice does have its defenders.”

Father Brendan Hoban (who else?) of the Association of Catholic Priests of Ireland, thinks that African priests really aren’t up to the task  of ministering to us sophisticated Irish. The priest’s job today, he said  is “a very complex and demanding role, one that needs a clear understanding of and expertise in the history, especially the recent socio-religious history, of Ireland.” (Funny, I always understood that the priest’s job was to preach the Gospel and offer the Holy Sacrifice.)

I doubt if those who originally evangelised the Irish and persuaded them to stop sacrificing maidens and worshipping the local shrubbery had much knowledge of the  socio-religious history of pagan Ireland, but they seem to have coped quite  effectively  without it.  I rather suspect that Fr Okere and his companions will make a better fist of re-evangelising the country than Fr Hoban and the ACPI.

It all rather puts one in mind of  Cardinal Walter Kasper’s attitude to Africans. Remember how he was caught on tape saying “Africa is totally different from the West. Also Asian and Moslem countries, they’re very different, especially about gays. You can’t speak about this with Africans and people of Moslem countries. It’s not possible. It’s a taboo….But they should not tell us too much what we have to do.” And  this despite the fact that Africa—home to 135 million Catholics in 2005, and a projected 230 million by 2025—is where the future of the Church lies. Europe is likely to have fewer Catholics than Africa within a decade.

I don’t often use that stupid word “racism”, but it’ s applicable in the cases of Kasper and Hoban. Their remarks about Africans are just  would-be civilised variations on  “Get back up your palm tree, Sambo. Go throw your coconuts elsewhere.”

One hundred and fifty years ago the Church in England and Wales would have looked pretty silly without a large influx  of devout Irish priests. In the very near future Ireland will have reason to be equally grateful  to Africa. To Nigerian Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo of Oyo, it is a no-brainer. “There should be absolutely no problem,” he said, “for priests from anywhere in the world to come back and help Ireland”, especially after so many Irish missionaries spread the Gospel to Africa, Asia, and the Americas.