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July 29th, 2016

Trumping Hillary

The American Presidential election is becoming more intriguing by the day.  US voters  must  choose between  the unspeakable Hillary Clinton, who wants to ride roughshod over what remains of Christian civilisation, and Donald Trump who’s generally regarded on this side of the Atlantic as a dangerous nut-job. Some choice!

Here is an exchange between Michael Matt, editor of the Trad Catholic newspaper The Remnant, and his columnist Christopher Ferrara, a distinguished Catholic lawyer. It lasts around half an hour, but it’s well worth watching. It helped clarify my thinking on this crucial election, and  I believe it will do the same for you.

 

 

These exchanges between Matt and Ferrara are invariably challenging and stimulating. They usually appear weekly, and can be found by googling Remnant TV.

 

July 27th, 2016

Catholics Must Fight Islamism

In response to yesterday’s  murder  by Moslem fanatics  of a French priest while he was saying Mass, the Italian historian  Roberto de Mattei has said Catholics must not limit themselves to praying for  their enemies, but  have a duty to fight  them as well. In the newspaper Il Tempo, Dr de Mattei quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church to the effect that  legitimate defence may be a grave duty for those responsible for the lives of others.  He writes:
The first martyr in European territory at the hands of Islam, Father Jacques Hamel, was murdered while celebrating Holy Mass on July 26th in the parish church of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy. Two Moslems, praising Islam, burst into the church, and after taking some of the faithful hostage, cut the priest’s throat, at the same time critically wounding another faithful present. There are no doubts about the identity of the aggressors and the anti-Christian hatred that motivated them. Through the press agency Amaq, the Islamic State called the assailants “our soldiers”.
The name of Jaques Hamel is added to that of thousands of Christians who are burnt, crucified and decapitated every day in hatred of their faith.  However, the July 26th massacre marks a turning point since it is the first time it has happened in Europe, casting a shadow of fear and alarm  over our continent.
It is certainly not possible to guard 50,000 religious buildings in France, and a similar number of churches, parishes and sanctuaries in Italy and other countries.  Every priest is the object of possible attacks, destined to increase, owing to the emulation effect that follows these crimes.
“How many deaths are needed, how many heads decapitated, for the European governments to understand the situation the West finds itself in?” asked Cardinal Robert Sarah.
What is it going to take, we add, for Cardinal Sarah’s confreres in the College of Cardinals, starting with the Supreme Head, the Pope himself, to understand the terrifying situation in which not only the West finds itself in, but the entire Universal Church? What makes this situation so terrible are the politics of do-goodism and false mercy with regard to Islam and all of the Church’s enemies.  Certainly, Catholics must pray for their enemies, but they also have to be aware that they have them, and they mustn’t limit themselves to praying for them, but have the duty to fight them. It is the Catechism of the Catholic Church which teaches this in n.2266, when it says that legitimate defence may also be a grave duty for those responsible for the lives of others: “Preserving the common good of society requires rendering the aggressor unable to inflict harm.”
Pope Francis was said to be “especially upset by this act of violence which took place in a church during the liturgy of the Mass and implored the peace of God for the world”, once again refusing to call the assassins by name. Pope Bergoglio’s silence is parallel to that of Moslems from all over the globe who don’t denounce forcefully and in an unanimous, collective manner, the crimes committed in Allah’s name by their co-religionists. Yet, even the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, in his discourse to the nation on Tuesday evening, spoke of France’s open war against ISIS.
During his pontificate, the Pope has beatified with super-rapid procedures some 20th century figures, like Oscar Arnulfo Romero and Don Pino Puglisi* who were certainly not killed in hatred of the Catholic faith. Yet on May 12th 2013, he also canonized in St. Peter’s Square, the eight hundred martyrs of Otranto, massacred on August 11th 1480 by the Turks for not renouncing their faith.
If Pope Francis announced the start of the process for Father Hamel’s beatification, he would give the world a peaceful but strong and eloquent sign of the  will of the Church to defend its identity.  If, on the other hand, he continues to be under the illusion about a possible ecumenical agreement with Islam, he will repeat the same errors of those wretched politics which sacrificed the victims of the Communist persecution on the altars of Ostpolitik.  However, the altar of politics is different from the holy altar in which the unbloody Sacrifice of Christ is celebrated. Father Jacques Hamel received the grace of uniting himself to this sacrifice, offering his own blood, on July 26th.
* Killed by the Mafia in Palermo in 1993

With acknowledgements to Il Tempo, and also to the blogsite Rorate Caeli.

July 26th, 2016

Bomb-Shelter Theology

I think some readers may enjoy this whimsical piece of self-indulgence that I wrote for the Brandsma Review many years ago. In case you are wondering what I can possibly mean by “bomb-shelter theology”, I pinched the phrase, and the following parable,  from part of a deep and very lengthy but entertaining article by an Australian priest, Fr Brian Harrison, in Living Tradition, organ of the Roman Theological Forum (May 1994).

Once upon a time, on a planet just like our own but many light years away, the dominant religion included the dogma that on the dark side of the moon there are large craters full of salt water.

The people advanced in scientific and technological expertise, to the stage when they were able to send up rockets, which photographed the moon from all angles, including the dark side. Believers were cast into a crisis of faith by the news that, while the photographs indeed showed plenty of craters, all of them were bone-dry.

At first, the hierarchy assured the faithful that the photographs were all faked, as part of a Satanic plot. But then some astronauts of hitherto unquestioned orthodoxy flew round the moon and saw for themselves the faith-shattering emptiness of these great craters.

Many people left the Church in disillusionment; but progressive theologians soon came up with a solution which satisfied well-educated, sophisticated believers. It can be set out in the form of a syllogism.

Major: It is revealed truth that there are salt-water craters on the dark side of the moon.

Minor: Science has demonstrated that no water of any sort is observed on the dark side of the moon.

Conclusion.: Therefore there is invisible salt water in the craters on the dark side of the moon.

The progressive theologians insisted that their solution was logical, orthodox, and perfectly in line with the latest scientific knowledge.

Fr Harrison uses the expression bomb-shelter theology to describe the subterfuge of those modern theologians and exegetes who discard or “reinterpret” definitively-taught doctrines from our Catholic heritage that they feel might become vulnerable to scientific bombardment. The difference is that our theologians, unlike those of the imaginary planet, don’t have any real justification for indulging in it. They are suffering from a loss of nerve, if not of faith.

Fr Harrison points out that the Church has definitively borne witness during its 2,000-year history not only to transcendent mysteries like the Trinity, the Incarnation and the Real Presence—which are beyond the reach of human science or reason—but also to truths involving physical matter existing on this earth in time and space. For instance, the Church has definitively proclaimed that Jesus was conceived in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, and that His mortal remains were raised to life in His Resurrection.

These modern theologians, however, believe we should sort through our inherited doctrinal baggage and classify its contents according to subject matter:

Those which make statements (especially controversial ones) involving historical and physical realities (e.g. dead bodies or the conception of babies) can now be discarded as excess baggage. We are to leave them lying above ground, as it were,  where they will be exposed to possible bombing raids on the part of the historical or physical sciences. If they never actually get hit, well and good. But if they do, it doesn’t matter. They are expendable, negotiable. Meanwhile, we will gather up the remaining doctrines—the purely transcendent or supernatural ones we have received from our Catholic heritage—and scurry off with this “survival kit” to an underground bunker with a sign saying “revealed truth”. Here, in our theological bomb-shelter, our faith will be utterly impregnable from all possible scientific explosions.

The problem is, of course, that not only reactionaries like the editor of the Brandsma Review but virtually all non-believers think that such conduct makes your entire religion indefensible. As Fr Harrison puts it:

The new theology, designed especially to make faith more credible for modern man, seems to hold little attraction for him. The churches keep on emptying, as a greater consensus grows outside the Church that there is, quite simply, no water of any sort on the dark side of the moon.

One of the leaders of the worker-priest movement in France after World War II, Abbé Michonneau, originally believed that the workers had become alienated from Christianity because they thought the Church was on the side of capitalist exploiters. He later revised his opinion, admitting that when he began talking to real workers, a much more common reason given for unbelief was the conviction that Christianity had been demolished by modern science.

Of course, we will never be able to offer “proof” of such doctrines as the Resurrection and the Virgin Birth. If we could, faith would have no reason for existence. But it is becoming equally clear that atheists and agnostics are no closer today to destroying the bases of belief. Which is why bomb-shelter theology, quite apart from being unconvincing, is also unnecessary.

It is a great morale booster when we find an atheist like the biologist Richard Dawkins of The Blind Watchmaker fame so unsure of his ground that he declines a television debate with the biochemist Michael Behe, who convincingly rejects the Darwinian theory of evolution.

It is also encouraging when we find strong evidence being unearthed for the authenticity of artefacts connected with the faith. Leaving aside the question of the Holy Shroud (the evidence for which I still find very strong) I was most impressed by a book published around the year 2000—The Quest for the True Cross by Carsten Peter Thiede and Matthew D’Ancona.

Thiede—not a Catholic—is Professor of New Testament History in Basel and an expert on papyri. He is also a historian, and finds time to be Officiating Chaplain to British forces in Germany. D’Ancona is Deputy Editor of the Sunday Telegraph, with a First in Modern History at Oxford. In a previous book, The Jesus Papyrus, they argued that two fragments of the Gospels—one from St Matthew and the other from St Mark—could be dated to the early Sixties A.D. and perhaps even earlier.

Their researches on the True Cross concentrated on a fragment of wood in the reliquary of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Rome. This is the Titulus Crucis, alleged to be part of the headboard affixed by Pilate to the Cross on which Our Lord died.

Thiede and D’Ancona rightly describe their book as a radical work of revisionism. Its heroine is St Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, who at the age of over 70 travelled to the Holy Land and unearthed what she believed to be the True Cross. The 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon sneered that she “appears to have united the credulity of age with the warm feelings of a recent conversion.” The authors argue that “much contemporary scholarship is guilty of a different kind of credulity, a zealous readiness to dismiss ancient tradition as rubbish, as if the only purpose of legend were to distort and conceal the truth”.

They demolish the idea that the Cross became a significant Christian symbol only after Constantine and Helena:

We suggest that the centrality of the Cross to the life of the Church goes back to its earliest days and that its image was widely venerated by Christians in Palestine much earlier than has been acknowledged. We suggest that this cult had an unabashedly physical dimension and that the earliest worshippers flocked to the site of the crucifixion even when it was covered over by a pagan temple. When Helena came to Jerusalem in A.D 326, she was responding to a local tradition as well as founding an imperial one. She was not the first pilgrim to seek the True Cross, only the most important.

Thiede and D’Ancona provide many cogent pieces of evidence for their assertion that the site of the Crucifixion was venerated by Christian pilgrims from the West from earliest times. Perhaps the most impressive is a wall drawing of a boat with the Latin inscription, Domine ivimus, “Lord, we have arrived!”, which can be dated to before the visit of the Empress. Helena would have known just where to start her men digging.

The inscription ordered by Pilate to be fixed over Our Lord’s head was “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”, in Hebrew, Greek and Latin. Interestingly, the fragments of Greek and Latin on the Santa Croce Titulus are written from right to left, which is powerful evidence against the assumption that it must be a forgery. This would have been a natural way for someone whose first language was Hebrew or Aramaic to write, but not what one would expect from anyone trying to pass off a fake as genuine. Only traces of the bottom of the Hebrew line can be made out, but they can be reconstructed to read Ha Nozrithe Nazarene.

The authors admit that they cannot prove the Titulus to be the headboard of Christ; but they have quite certainly demonstrated that it could be. And why should one automatically rule out such a possibility? In one chapter introduction the authors quote from Evelyn Waugh’s historical novel Helena (which I’d recommend to readers).The saint and empress says:

But how do you know He doesn’t want us to have it—the cross I mean? I bet He’s just waiting for one of us to go and find it—just at this moment when it’s most needed.

Maybe the research on the Titulus is intended to provide us with a little kindly light in our own even murkier days. As I said above, our faith does not depend on such things, but (contrary to the view of our bomb-shelter theologians) its links with the physical are not embarrassing encumbrances but essentials. In an earlier part of Waugh’s novel (which I am now recollecting from memory) the empress, sceptical about all the fantastic mystery religions followed by her husband Constantius Chlorus, consults the Christian writer Lactantius and asks him about his God. She is set on the path to belief when Lactantius is able to tell her exactly when and where Our Lord lived and died.

In their concluding paragraph Thiede and D’Ancona maintain that the True Cross speaks, above all, to the human desire to know:

 “I want knowledge,” says the knight Antonius Block in Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece, The Seventh Seal. “Not faith, not presumption. Knowledge.” It is an ancient human weakness and a forgivable one. For what else drove the Crusaders so many centuries ago and still drives the pilgrims who creep down the stairs at the Holy Sepulchre to Helena’s chapel today? It is the wish to match belief with experience, conscious that the leap is always hard and sometimes never achieved. But it is the hope that the leap is possible, now as before, which makes the quest worthwhile.

Back to our bomb-shelter theologians…

Larry the Lamb’s friend Dennis the Dachshund, hiding from a dragon which turned out not to be dangerous at all, inquired: “Safe is it to come out?”

Well, safer out than in, Fathers! You see, Fr Harrison’s “moonie” theologians’ conclusions were in some ways more respectable than your own. As he says, they still left their dogma exposed or vulnerable to further scientific scrutiny by leaving open the question of whether the moon-water (though demonstrably invisible) was at least tangible or not. That very exposure to scientific testing, which placed them in great danger of yet more ridicule, also left them with a slim chance of having their traditional religion triumphantly vindicated by science. Fr Harrison concludes his parable…

We can imagine a scenario in which, with the further advance of technology, space-ships can not only photograph, but also visit, the craters. But as the first landing craft approaches the crater-floor, disaster strikes! As it descends past the rim of the crater, still 400 feet above ground level, the craft is rocked by a resounding SPLASH! The crew feel first their boots, then their trousers and other clothes, soaked by a rising inundation of … water no human eye can see!

With the whole of planet earth watching in horror on television, the craft takes its passengers to an invisible watery grave; but the last words transmitted to earth by the doomed radio-man before his equipment sputters out remain forever engraved on the memory of the human race: “The water! It’s (gulp), it’s (glug)—SALTY!!”

July 22nd , 2016

From the Big Cheese to the Serfs

A final item on the Vincent Nichols v. Robert Sarah row over versus populum /versus orientem.

With acknowledgements to Eccles and his blog.

From: bigcheese@rcdow.org.uk
To: serfs@rcdow.org.uk

Dear Priests of the Archdiocese of Westminster,

You have probably read in the Tablet about a misguided statement from Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, suggesting that some priests might like to consider the possibility, perhaps, if it’s not too much trouble, and nobody minds, of maybe going so far as celebrating some Masses ad orientem.

For those of you under the age of 60 who won’t have learnt any Latin, this is the Language of Satan’s way of saying “with your back turned rudely towards the congregation, making it hard for them to take selfies with you during Mass”.

Cardinal Sarah ad orientem

I’m so glad to see the back of Cardinal Sarah.

Now I wouldn’t go as far as my mentor, Cardinal Kasper, who said “Blimey! Those fuzzy-wuzzy priests are getting a bit above themselves, aren’t they?” but it is clear to me that my own opinions – those of a cardinal who is, dare I say it, papabile – must outweigh any ideas put forward by some jumped-up chap from the Congregation for Divine Worship who has clearly never thought about the issue.

May I remind you all that the General Instruction of the Roman Missal – which has come down to us unchanged from the days of Moses – explicitly says that the altar should be pulled back from the wall so that the cleaners can easily dust it, and this means NO FACING EAST OR YOU WILL GO TO HELL.

May I also emphasise that the celebration of the Church’s Liturgy is not a place in which priests are to exercise personal preference or taste – it is MY personal preference and taste that should be your guide in all things, even when people from the CDW say otherwise. I’ve even got the Pope on my side – well, I’ve got Lombardi and Rosica, and the Holy Father always backs up what they say, if he doesn’t want to find caterpillars in his bed.

So I’m sure you’ll all agree that, as your ordinary – and I have always tried to be as ordinary as possible – all matters of liturgy, doctrine, morals, and choice of football team to support are my decision and mine only. So belt up, the lot of you.

It seems that in Newchurch, now, (at least in the Westminster archdiocese) there’s no way of avoiding the celebrant’s grinning countenance.  I’m just glad that we Traddies don’t have to worry about all this nonsense—yet. Maybe that’s going to be the next nasty surprise our beloved Holy Father is preparing for us.

July 18th, 2016

Novus Ordo Watch: No. 1

I’m opening a Novus Ordo Watch, to chronicle the horrors perpetrated by some priests when  celebrating Mass according to the Missal of Pope Paul VI.  Here’s one for starters.

A few weeks ago, a little girl well known to me—let’s call her Polynesia—quarrelled with her big sister and tried to kick her. Polynesia lost her balance, fell over and sprained an ankle. At Mass the following Sunday, hobbling on crutches, she joined the queue for Holy Communion.

When she reached the priest, he beamed  and said: “Whatever have  you been doing to yourself? Aren’t you the terrible girl now? Body of Christ.”

 

July 15th, 2016

Fathers, Don’t Let Cardinal Sarah Down

You have probably heard about  the row involving Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, and Cardinal Nichols of Westminster about the priest’s orientation during Mass. (Re-reading that sentence, as the word “orientation” has too often come to mean, in our smutty and prurient age,  sexual preference,  maybe I should explain that I’m referring to whether the celebrant faces versus populum—towards the people—or versus  Orientem—towards the East. The latter is often  described by those who should know better as “with his back to the people”.)  I had always rather naively thought that Monsignor Klaus Gamber, the greatest liturgist of his age, had settled the matter beyond argument in his masterly work The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background: that, contrary to what the modernists argue, the primitive practice was to face East—towards the Lord.

Anyway, I think the best comment  has come from Fr John Hunwicke:

Versus Orientem or Versus Populum? An important point which I don’t think anyone has emphasised, in all the wordage concerning the attack of Vincent Cardinal Nichols upon the Address of Cardinal Sarah, is this:

Both of these Eminent gentlemen are totally agreed that this is a subject that really matters.

Cardinal Sarah makes this abundantly clear in his text. And he must have thought carefully before speaking in a way which he must have known would create a violent reaction. His act was not legislative. But it was a considered action on the part of the official appointed by the Roman Pontiff himself to have charge of the Roman Rite. It was an act of some considerable personal bravery. (For that reason, it seems to me that clergy should themselves have the courage not to let Robert Sarah down.) And the fact that he mentioned the First Sunday in Advent means that this is not some flaccid and timorous vague aspiration to which we might one day get round in the decade after next. He has called on us to do something concrete on a specific day quite soon.

And Cardinal Nichols is equally convinced that this really matters. He instantly emailed all his clergy. Cardinals do not go on to the public record as rubbishing what a brother cardinal has just said, unless they are feeling quite … er … excited. And the facts in the public domain strongly suggest that Nichols instantly got in touch with Papa Bergoglio, who in turn summoned Cardinal Sarah. And the usual machinery started to work in the Vatican Press Office in order … as we say in Anglo-English … to hang Sarah out to dry. Fr Lombardi and … more especially … the sinister Fr Rosica manifestly warmed to their unwholesome task. Nichols would not have set all that in motion over some little detail which no sensible person could possibly consider to matter. 
Sarah and Nichols are both 100% right: this does matter. It goes to the heart of the question of what the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass really is. It touches upon that whole raft of practical changes (“reordering”) which were not in any way whatsoever mandated by the Council but which were put into effect by those who subsequently got their hands on to the levers of power. It bears powerfully upon the crucial question of whether the mighty task of the redintegratio of Catholic worship, set in motion by Papa Ratzinger, will continue under Papa Bergoglio’s successor.

Even further than that, it encapsulates the fundamental question raised by Benedict XVI, of whether we should see Vatican II in terms of reform within a hermeneutic of continuity, or whether the structural ruptures inflicted on the Church in the 1970s, with such catastrophic effects within the Church over the following four decades, are now to be set in dry, cold, inflexible stone.

We have reached a turning point at which every priest knows that if he heeds Cardinal Sarah’s exhortation, he makes it easier for his brother priests also to do the same; and that that if he opts for a quiet life, it will be that bit easier for The Tablet and ACTA  [A Call To Action] to pick off his bolder brother clergy by demanding their episcopal persecution. There is no reason why a start cannot be made, after catechesis, by introducing versus Orientem on alternate Sundays, or even just on the first Sunday of each month. Advent, when priest and people go forward together to meet the Lord who Comes to us, is indeed a highly suitable occasion.

In the Veni Sancte Spiritus we ask God the Holy Spirit to water what is parched, to heal what is wounded, to bend what is rigid, to warm what is cold, to govern that which strays from the way.

But to do these things, the Holy Spirit needs willing human cooperators. The Body of Christ operates on Grace, not on Magic.

July 13th, 2016

Drop This Luther Nonsense, Pope Urged

At the end of my last post I said I’d be telling you more about the Roman Forum symposium held at Lake Garda earlier this month. If you’ve been following this blog for more than a year you may recall that the 2015 symposium issued a respectful but firm appeal to Pope Francis to end the disasters   which have been plaguing the Church for the past half century.

If the Holy Father ever saw this appeal—which I very much doubt—he has  taken no notice whatever. It’s just been more of the same, only even worse. The pantomime is to culminate in October, when the Pope is to meet pro-sodomy, pro-abortion pseudo-bishops to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the shipwreck of Christendom by Martin Luther, who was, we are now expected to believe, right all along about “justification”.

The  second Lake Garda statement, issued at the end of this year’s symposium, deplores what it calls the “Catholic” apotheosis of Luther. It appeals to Pope Francis, as the successor of the great  popes of the Catholic Reformation that fought against the horrors of 1517,  to abandon this  misguided attempt to masquerade what Luther and his “freedom” actually wrought.  Here is the statement in full.

Our civilization is so sick that even the best efforts to prop up its few tottering remnants manifest the pathetic illness that has step by step brought the entire structure crumbling down. The disease in question is a wilful, prideful, irrational, and ignorant obsession with “freedom”. But this is a malady that gained its initial effective entry into Christendom in union with the concept of the natural world as the realm of “total depravity”.

It is crucially important that we recognize both the ultimate responsibility of this wilful liberty for the destruction of our Christian and Classical culture as well as the role played by the idea that “incarnated” it historically in our midst. This is so for two reasons. The first is in order that we may attempt seriously to rid ourselves of their monstrous influence over our own minds, souls, and bodies. The second is because a massive attempt to masquerade the truth regarding their real character and practical alliance is being mounted in conjunction with the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s devastating appearance on the public scene in 1517—and this for the sake of maintaining their nefarious impact upon believers and delivering the Faith its coup de grace as a meaningful social force.

1517 is not the source of our woe—any more, for that matter, than was 1962 with the opening of the Second Vatican Council. In both cases spiritual, intellectual, political, and social diseases that had already long hovered about the Camp of the Saints had by those dates finally coalesced, and were ready for injection into the lymphatic system of Catholic Christendom as one “mega malady”.

All of these disorders ultimately reflected a revulsion over the need for the individual and his entire environment to be corrected, perfected, and transformed under the Kingship of Christ: with the aid of faith, grace, and reason on the one hand, and social authority, both supernatural and natural, on the other. Anyone in 1516 looking for a simple explanation for why he should reject such aids thus had available to him an embarrassment of errors from a myriad of sources indicating that he could do so; and that relying upon his own unguided feelings and will was the pathway to pleasing God.

Nevertheless, the conflicted mind of the Late Middle Ages clearly needed a figure with the talent and rhetorical venom of a Luther effectively to inject this mega malady into Christendom. Christian man was too aware of the reality of sin to leap directly into an adulation of individual wilfulness. Luther’s concept of the total depravity of the individual and the world in which he lived gave Everyman the apparently pious excuse for succumbing to the obsession with liberty that was required. After all, a recognition of man’s total depravity seemed to foster such a humble recognition of each believer’s personal need to rely solely on God’s grace to save him; of his need to affirm that “freedom” from “enslavement” to the “despotism” of a Law built upon both Faith and Reason that permitted escape from a “hopeless” and ultimately spiritually “arrogant” attempt to bend his individual, lifelong workaday thoughts and actions into conformity with the commands of Christ.

It proved to be quite easy over the course of a couple of generations for this negative definition of “liberty”—a “freedom” from the supernatural and natural Law—to be transformed, in the Enlightenment, into the means for a positive new and redemptive order of things. In short, it did not take long for the freedom of depraved man in depraved nature from the restraints of a supposedly impossible Law—in the name of an openness to unmerited grace—to be seen as the providential tool for moulding unbridled human thoughts and actions into the building blocks of a new Age of Gold. In other words, the more that a freedom from restraints actually ensured that the sinful passions of mankind were all released in order to allow flawed individuals to became truly totally depraved, the more that same depravity was now looked upon as something intrinsically good, and even pleasing in the eyes of God. Unfortunately, this logical but sick development of “freedom” has not assured the “dignity of man”. Rather, it has led to nothing other than the triumph of the strongest irrational and materialist wills.

Sad to say, it seems absolutely certain that many of our ecclesiastical leaders are turning 2016-2017 into a year-long paean to the errors of Martin Luther and what the great English Church Historian, Philip Hughes, tells us lay behind them for centuries: “all those anti-intellectualist, anti-institutional forces”; “all the crude, backwoods, obscurantist theories bred of the degrading pride that comes with chosen ignorance; the pride of men ignorant because unable to be wise except through the wisdom of others”. (A History of the Church, Sheed & Ward, 1949, III, 529).

In face of this chorus of undeserved praise, it is our duty as loyal Catholics is to do three things:

First of all, to steel ourselves against the contradictory and tragically self-destructive lies that this adulation of Luther and Company’s irrational and wilful principles—what Hughes calls their “five hundred year fling” (Ibid.)—actually fosters in practice.

Secondly, to hammer home to others the anti-Catholic and unnatural misery, both spiritual and purely human, that such errors have inevitably caused.

And, finally, to beseech our Holy Father—the successor to St. Peter as well as to the great popes of a vibrant and seriously Catholic Reformation that fought against the horrors emerging from 1517—to abandon this misguided attempt to masquerade what Luther and his “freedom” wrought. For what they truly wrought was ultimately nothing other than what Richard Gawthrop identifies as that “Promethean lust for material power that serves as the deepest common drive behind all modern Western cultures”. (Pietism and the Making of Eighteenth Century Prussia, Cambridge, 1993, p. 284).

Saints Cyril and Methodius, pray for us!

The Roman Forum was founded by the late Dietrich von Hildebrand, described by Pope Pius XII as “the 20th century Doctor of the Church”, and hailed by Pope St John Paul II as one of the great ethicists of the past century. The forum’s first task was to defend  the encyclical Humanae Vitae against its modernist critics. Its Director is Dr John Rao, Associate Professor of History at St John’s University, New York. The Board of the Forum includes philosophers, lawyers, economists and journalists.

 

 

July 11th, 2016

Gay Zombies Strike a Blow for Sanity

I’m just back from a  symposium in Gardone, Northern Italy, where we learned much about  Martin Luther’s Revolt—I refuse to call it a Reformation—and why it  was such a runaway success. One reason was Luther’s remarkable propaganda skills: a master manipulator, he pioneered the use of the media to crucify Catholic Christendom, employing  pamphlets, woodcuts, and even music to get his message across.  Some of the woodcuts were particularly obscene; for instance, one portrays demons sitting on a privy,  defecating monks.

Michael Matt of The Remnant newspaper expressed a certain degree of admiration for Luther’s media skills, and suggested that  disenfranchised Catholics could learn quite a lot from him. In particular, we could make judicious use of some of his techniques, but this time  against the Church’s enemies, imparting  the truth instead of lies and employing ridicule where necessary.

I must confess I thought this to be a tall order.  True, we have a very powerful instrument at our disposal—the world wide web. But how could we  effectively expose, for example, the all-powerful militant sodomite  lobby and help to negate some of their mendacious propaganda??

But today I opened the LifeSite News site and found out how this has already been done, quite brilliantly, in Canada, by some Christians—presumably  Evangelical Protestants, who would be in some sense heirs of Luther. It’s rather ironic, really.

Here’s the LifeSite News  report by Pete Baklinski, slightly edited:

 

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                                                           Christians dressed as ‘Gay Zombies’

Half-a-dozen Christians led by activist Bill Whatcott paid the $100 fee to parade organizers to register “Gay Zombies Cannabis Consumers Association” so that they could move more easily along the parade route to deliver their message.

The group said their goal in participating in the event was twofold: First, to be a prophetic and unambiguous witness against the unfettered celebration of homosexuality, and second, to offer people caught up in the same-sex lifestyle a way out through a call to repent and to turn to Jesus Christ to be saved.

“Our delivery was a bit creative,” said Whatcott to LifeSiteNews, “but, we wanted to give people this message because it is truthful.”

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 Bill Whatcott handing out information about same-sex activity.

Whatcott said that as a street preacher in other Pride parades he seldom handed out more than a few dozen pamphlets. But this time, dressed as gay zombies, he and his crew managed to hand out thousands of pamphlets.

“I asked them if they wanted ‘Zombie safe sex.’ Everyone loved it. But if you try to give out a Gospel pamphlet, they swear at you and throw slushies on your forehead. But, give them some wackadoddle thing that looks like a condom, and they really can’t grab it fast enough. I had three thousand out in 20 minutes. He described the handout as “pretty direct hitting stuff” that was also “charitable” because it offers people caught up in the same-sex lifestyle a “way out.”

[Links to pamphets can be found on Whatcott’s blog. [WARNING, GRAPHIC]

The pamphlet shows graphic images of diseases associated with same-sex behaviours, including anal warts and AIDS. It states:

Natural law is clear, homosexuality is incompatible with human nature. Disease, death and confusion are the sad and sordid realities of the homosexual lifestyle. The ‘Gay Zombies’ are concerned about the spiritual, psychological and physical welfare of all potential homosexual pride attendees, so we want to give you this accurate information and encourage you to abstain from  homosexuality. The rejection of true marriage is also in direct opposition to God’s law and it is our duty to warn you that those who choose to rebel against the God who created them, do so to their eternal peril. For those reading this Gospel package we also want to let you know there is a God who loves you, and who is real, and who has made a way for you to come to Him.

Whatcott said that same-sex attracted people need to know the medical facts about the practices they engage in. “We don’t feel that this message should be closeted and that we should be bullied into silence.”

In 2013 the Supreme Court of Canada found Whatcott guilty of “hate speech” against homosexuals for pamphlets in which he warned that “children will pay the price in disease, death, abuse and ultimately eternal judgment if we do not say no to the sodomite desire to socialize your children into accepting something that is clearly wrong.”

I hope to do several more blogposts on the Gardone symposium in the coming days.