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June 20th, 2016


Is Pope Francis a Bastard?

I’ll be away for a couple of weeks, so this will probably be the last blog post I’ll be doing for some time. I hope that when I get back I’ll be able to begin treating Pope Francis with a little more respect.

But don’t hold your breath.  His off-the-cuff utterances just seem to get dottier and dottier. Recently he appears to have described priests who refuse to  baptise illegitimate children as “animals”—although that, like so many of his weird and/or ambiguous remarks, has  been disputed by his spin doctors. In Amoris Laetitia he returned to the semi-hidden theme of his bogus “Synod on the Family”— his attempt to facilitate Holy Communion for the “divorced and remarried”.

I used to say in the Brandsma Review that when you see dodgy modernist clergy using the word “pastoral” you could be fairly sure what was coming. It would be an attempt to enable people to do, without feeling guilty, something that the Church has always declared  to be gravely sinful. The Holy Father does the same thing with the word “accompany” , or “accompaniment”. As here, for example (for which  I am heavily indebted to Lifesite News):

Jesus always knows how to accompany us, he gives us the ideal, he accompanies us towards the ideal, He frees us from the chains of the laws’ rigidity and tells us: ‘But do that up to the point that you are capable.’ And he understands us very well.  He is our Lord and this is what he teaches us.

In Amoris Laetitia  Pope Francis criticized the Church for often proposing, “a far too abstract and almost artificial theological ideal of marriage.”He added that conscience can “recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal.”

This flies directly in the face of Veritatis Splendor, where Pope St. John Paul II, whom Pope Francis himself declared a saint,  taught that:

It would be a very serious error to conclude… that the Church’s teaching is essentially only an ‘ideal’ which must then be adapted, proportioned, graduated to the so-called concrete possibilities of man, according to a ‘balancing of the goods in question’.

In God or Nothing, Cardinal Robert Sarah forcefully rejected the notion of watering down the teaching on the indissolubility of marriage with pastoral leniency.  “The idea of putting magisterial teaching in a beautiful display case while separating it from pastoral practice, which then could evolve along with circumstances, fashions, and passions, is a sort of heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology.”

Our Lord did not say: “But do that up to the point that you are capable.” In Matthew 5, after teaching the hard truths about divorce and adultery he says: “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.

Whatever about “accompaniment”, this Pope is a people-pleaser. That’s why the world loves him.

But what the Holy Father has said about most marriages being invalid because most people are too stupid to understand what they are promising is even worse. So bad, in fact, that it’s not even worth refuting. Does he really believe that Our Lord instituted the sacrament of matrimony (the vocation of the vast majority of Christians) for people who were incapable of contracting it? Yes, I know that the Pope’s spin doctors have tried to water that one down, too. Not very convincingly.

I enjoyed these two  pictures and captions from Eccles’ blog, and I think most of you will too.

“O God! I’ve just insulted my own parents!”

Pope and tiger

“Don’t worry, he only attacks Catholics.”

I’m not sure if that remark is supposed to be addressed to the tiger, or to the Holy Father.


June 13th, 2016

Exploiting a Massacre

Today, like  everyone else, I have been pondering the probable results of the fearful massacre perpetrated at a “gay” nightclub in Orlando, Florida, by a fanatical—possibly deranged—Moslem of Afghan extraction. When I  heard about it, my first reaction, like that of most people, was one of sympathy and outrage. My second  thought was: the homofascists are going to milk this for all it’s worth. Then tonight,  Sky News devoted about 20 minutes to demonstrations in Soho and elsewhere, with two minutes’ silence, rainbow flags entwined with the Union Flag and the Stars and Stripes, expressions of “gay pride” and  defiance (of whom I’m not quite sure) cheers, clapping and  whooping. Interviewees thought “far more needed to be done” to enlighten people about the “gay lifestyle”.

The militant sodomites don’t miss a trick. Already, they have turned the gunman’s victims into martyrs,  in much the same way as  militant Moslems exploit the deaths of their suicide bombers. And the media are happy to play along with this.  It’s all very depressing, but I draw considerable comfort and encouragement from today’s post by Fr John Hunwicke, which so impressed Fr Zuhlsdorf of wdtprs  (What Does The Prayer Really Say) that he lifted it in its entirety. I’m going to do the same:

Those who died in the most truly appalling events at Orlando … may they, through the all-atoning Sacrifice of our most sweet Redeemer and our suffrages, have remission of their sins: we pray this for them as we pray it for all the departed, since as Christians we believe that anyone who claims to be without sin is deceiving himself and the Truth is not in him. This, of course, goes equally for popes and for rent-boys and for you and for me.

Humanly, we may surely hope that many of those killed in a situation which prima facie may have been at least a proximate occasion of mortal sin, may, through their own ignorance, not have had that full knowledge and consent which would render their deeds and intentions as lethal subjectively as they are objectively. It is a sobering thought that it may be easier for us, who are instructed Catholics, to go to Hell than it is for the uninstructed.

And we pray for the wounded; for the families, friends, survivors, witnesses of those who died. Perhaps a particular prayer is appropriate for those who were not aware that their sons or daughters were being drawn into intrinsically disordered actions: parents for whom the horror of so dreadful a bereavement may even be  increased by that realisation.

And I think we need to be aware that the Hierarchs of the Spirit of this Age will use this fearful atrocity for their own purposes. Treating the victims of a deranged murderer as martyrs for a noble cause is likely to become a stock element in the perverted parody of the moral high ground which the Powers of Evil seek to inculcate. And it will become part of a campaign which, if it succeeds, will lead to the increasingly violent persecution of anybody who articulates the teaching of Scripture and of the Catholic Church (Catechism paragraphs 2357 and following).

And here are those appropriate paragraphs:

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfil God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

June 10th, 2016

Is This a Call for Schism?

You’ll probably remember that “Traddery and Trumpery” item we published on May 31st, on a furious row about an article in The Remnant (the leading American Catholic Trad paper) by one Ann Barnhardt. To recap briefly:  in Ethika Politika (a publication of which I’d never heard) John Médaille, a theology teacher and retired businessman, savaged Miss Barnhardt’s article and asserted that  Remnant editor Michael Matt was “trying to become the Donald Trump of Catholic traditionalism” for even carrying such a piece.

Mr Médaille’s article has now been reprinted by my favourite neo-Catholic (by which I mean Vatican II Conservative) magazine the New Oxford Review under the headline “The Remnant Crosses the Rubicon”. By so doing, the NOR is clearly expressing agreement with Mr Médaille’s  assertion that The Remnant, by carrying a piece suggesting that “those bishops remaining who still hold the Catholic faith” should depose and anathematise Pope Francis, is openly calling for a schism.

Schism, as I’ve said before, is never the answer to heresy. But is this a call for schism? I honestly don’t know. But if it is, couldn’t the charge also be levelled at St Athanasius? He went so far as actually to go around ordaining bishops in dioceses where the incumbent was an Arian heretic, which is  hardly less drastic than anything proposed in The Remnant. Athanasius, who considered he was  defending the Catholic faith as handed down,  was excommunicated by Pope Liberius, but everyone now considers Athanasius acted rightly.  As Cardinal Newman says: “St Athanasius, driven from his Church, makes all Christendom his home, from Trèves (Trier) to Ethiopia.” There can surely be little doubt that Athanasius was responding to a state of emergency within the Church. Are we in a similar state today? Who am I to judge?

I hope to write more about the New Oxford Review in my next post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 6th, 2016

More About That Tiara

In our last post we carried some very telling pictures of Pope Francis looking ungraciously at a splendid tiara made by the nuns of the Orthodox monastery of St George in Rajcica, Macedonia. Papal tiaras are not exactly the present Holy Father’s thing, but I think one might have expected his face to register at least some gratitude for the beautiful gift  painstakingly made especially for him by these good sisters who are not even part of his Catholic Church.  But no, one would have thought the Holy Father was looking at something rather unpleasant on the bottom of one of his plain black shoes.

Fr Hunwicke, as ever, puts it nicely:

Pity he was not big and generous,  human and humble enough to pop it on his head for a tiny moment just for the official photographer. (Think of the simple but immense pleasure such an impulsive gesture would have given to the women who laboured upon it.)

I wanted to know more about this monastery, so I googled around a bit till I came across this video. For some reason I wasn’t able to pick out just the best bits, so here it is in its entirety (about six minutes). Sorry the text is in Macedonian, which I assume to be a variant of Serbo-Croat, but there isn’t any translation. I don’t think it matters too much, as the tiaras speak for themselves. I understand that Orthodox bishops wear them instead of the two-horned mitres to which Catholics are accustomed.

Rajcica has a major relic of St George, which I think must be the hand briefly displayed in the course of this video. He was a soldier martyred under the emperor Diocletian and is patron saint of England, among other countries, though the English haven’t made much  fuss about him since the late Middle Ages. However, I remember as a boy that on the Sunday nearest to St George’s Day, April 23rd, a rousing hymn to the saint was always sung at Benediction in the Catholic Church of Bovey Tracey in Devon. I have never heard it since. The first line was Leader Now on Earth  No Longer, and the refrain was as follows:

Great Saint George, our patron help us, In the conflict be thou nigh; Help us in that daily battle, Where each one must win or die.

The local squire Colonel Walmesley, member of an old Catholic recusant family, used to come to Benediction each year on that day and bawl the refrain in a loud voice. From what I can recall, he must have been tone deaf.

I don’t understand the icon of St George shown near the beginning of the video. Why does St George have a bleeding—and apparently broken—nose? Can anyone tell me?

 

 

 

June 4th, 2016

Holy Father Is Not Amused

Just in case you don’t follow Fr John Zuhlsdorf’s blog What Does the Prayer Really Say?—you really should, you know—I ‘ve lifted this, quite shamelessly, from his post for today.

A member of the Macedonian parliament brought a gift to Pope Francis from the Orthodox convent of St. George of Rajcica: a papal tiara, the triple crown symbol of the Bishop of Rome’s authority over just about everything. Women, nuns, lovingly made it by hand, embroidering it and setting it with pearls from a lake near their convent.

Such a beautiful gift! I am sure the Holy Father beamed with delight. After all, Benedict XVI did when he was presented with a small version of a tiara, even though Pope Francis is the first Pope who – as the press acknowledges – ever smiled.

Sometimes a photo is worth 5000 thousands words. And, these days, they remain easily accessible.

His Holiness didn’t too happy with the tiara, which was lovingly made by women.

Remember when the Pope was in South America and he received the “crucifix” in the style of a global symbol of the violation of human rights?

Okay… a photo out of context doesn’t tell the whole story.

Oh, but I think these ones do, Father.