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Monthly Archives: December 2016

December 30th, 2016

Father Boff Is Coming to Town

In case you don’t follow the blog Eccles Is Saved, I suggest you start doing so immediately. Here is his Christmas post.

Yes, it’s the time of year when that strange white-bearded old man, traditionally dressed in red, and in whom most grown-ups don’t believe, is said to come down your chimney and leave you gifts.

Leonardo Boff

               Father (well, ex-Father) Boff.

Yes, Leonardo Boff is well known for giving surprises to Catholics. Benedict, 89, is one who gave up believing in Boff when he found little packets of Marxism and Liberation Theology on his doorstep, which are well-known to be lethal if consumed.

Francis, 80, is less sceptical. Two years ago, he was given a CD of “Cry of the Earth” by the Gaia Ensemble, and last Christmas he was given a “Communion for All” game. Francis was apparently delighted with these gifts. This Christmas Father Boff is said to have brought him some Deaconesses, and even more packets of Marxism. What will he do with these gifts?

Molesworth Santa-trap

Two traditional Catholics prepare to receive Father Boff into their home.

Do you hear that strange braying sound, children? It’s Kasper the red-nosed reindeer, guiding Father Boff’s sleigh as he rides over the rooftops. Naughty children, like Raymond, 68, who refuse to believe in Father Boff, will not be getting any new heresies from him this year – so be warned!

December 29th, 2016

Pope Frankenstein and the Brandsma Review

It was a pleasant surprise to receive Issue 141 of the Brandsma Review a day or two before Christmas. With a gap of over a year  since Issue 140, I presumed the magazine had already come to  an end, without so much as  T.S. Eliot’s proverbial whimper. Not so.

However, editor Peadar Laighléis warns that in the not-too-distant future he will be giving up the print edition of the BR.  This I think is an immense pity, as it’s the only proper traditional/orthodox conservative Catholic publication in Ireland, apart from some devotional magazines. With an increased  workload as a civil servant in taxation, he has struggled manfully to keep the BR  going, but I have to say that he seems to have ignored much of the advice I gave him when I handed over the editorship some years ago. I told him then that if he didn’t make a priority of bringing the magazine out in time, or nearly in time, his readership base would disappear. I also advised him to be sure to notify readers when their subscriptions were due. These are the only ways to prevent a fatal haemorrhaging of subscribers.

There are several problems with confining oneself to an electronic publication. The most serious is that there are still many people who don’t have access to the internet—and why should they? Peadar is offering to investigate the possibility of printing individual copies for such readers, but I doubt if he will have more than a handful of takers. An electronic magazine amounts to little more than a lengthy blog post.

The layout in the latest issue has improved, but is still pretty dire. There are several excellent articles: perhaps the most notable are by Joe McCarroll and Fr Brendan Purcell. The former’s piece is a review of the latter’s book Where Is God in Suffering? which impressed me so much that I am going to order it. Fr Brendan’s article is on the murder by Moslems of Fr Jacques Hamel.

Peadar’s German correspondent  has a strong attack on the country’s new right wing party Alternative für Deutschland which has crossed swords with the country’s Catholic hierarchy. While I hold  no particular brief for this party, it seems a bit over the top to mention Bismarck in the same breath as the  AfD, and when she reminds people that Adolf Hitler started with  similarly low ballot results, warning all German Christians to be on their guard, she just loses me entirely.  That’s scaremongering. And it’s not as if the corrupt, heterodox and grotesquely wealthy state-funded German Catholic Church had anything to boast about these days.

Peadar covers the 1916 anniversary commemoration in a very well balanced manner. He himself  broadly approves of  the Rising, and deplores the way secularists have appropriated the executed leaders to their own cause, when in fact many of these leaders were motivated by their Catholic faith. Hibernicus, on the other hand, points out that while 1916 cannot be retrospectively abolished, it may be reassessed. He is certainly right to remind readers that the Rising violated the traditional Catholic requirements for a just war or rebellion,  was the work of a self-proclaimed messianic group, and has caused periodic mayhem ever since.

Unfortunately Peadar has still failed to tackle the problem now facing every orthodox Catholic. I refer of course to Pope Frankenstein the Merciful. (That’s not original; I stole it from an anonymous priest-correspondent of Ann Barnhardt’s.)  Mel Cormican has an article praising the Holy Father’s “covert critique of Islam”, which contains some good points about the evils contained in the Koran. But really: what is the point of the pope’s “pulling the rug” from under Islam, as Mr Cormican puts it, if very few people—and certainly not the Moslems—are aware that this is what Pope Francis is doing? There is already a hideous persecution of Christians in countries where the crescent holds sway. Plain unequivocal speaking in relation to Islam would hardly make this much worse.

I am strongly of the opinion that if Mr Laighléis were to grasp the nettle firmly and question some of the Pope’s unorthodoxies—such as his promotion of Holy Communion for unrepentant adulterers—his circulation would not suffer at all. Peadar’s hope is that the BR, in whatever form it takes, will be a beacon in the darkness. It goes against the grain to criticise a reigning pontiff, but in the appallingly chaotic  situation in which Catholics now find themselves such criticism is indispensable. Unless the Review can summon the moral courage to do this, whatever light it manages to shine will be dim indeed.


December 23rd, 2016

The Film to Watch before Midnight Mass

I found this film, Scrooge,  on Ann Barnhardt’s blog. She believes  it is quite the best-ever film presentation of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. I saw it when I was 14, shortly after it first appeared. A very fine performance by Alistair Sim in the title role.

Ann says Ebenezer Scrooge, before his shock conversion, is a perfect example of what she calls “a Diabolical Narcissist”. I have known plenty of those in my time. Some, I regret to say, were traditional Catholics.

You would find it well worth while to add Ann Barnhardt to your list of favourites. You may not always agree with her—I sometimes find her over the top—but she is always stimulating and challenging.  Sometimes her blog posts—at least in my opinion—show great spiritual depth.

Ann suggests that Scrooge is the perfect film to watch before going out to Midnight Mass. Quite right.

December 13th, 2016

Pope Commends Luther’s Laxative

The other day, my eldest grandson asked me if I had noticed  that many traditional Catholic blogs had recently become quite scatological in content. I said this was hardly surprising, in view of the example set by His Holiness.

It occurs to me that Pope Francis may have got his strange metaphor about faeces-eating  from the British author D.H. Lawrence who, I recall,  referred to some of his critics as “coprophagous baboons who make the filth they feed on”. Charming.

The founder of Protestantism suffered grievously from constipation, to such an extent that he had to set up an office in his privy.  John Osborne, one of the luminaries of the “kitchen sink” drama of the 1950s  wrote a play about Martin Luther in which he portrays the reformer, agonising over his sins during a marathon session on the loo, suddenly receiving the insight that man is justified by faith alone, so that his sins don’t really matter. At the same instant his bowels are set free. What a wonderful double relief!

Damian Thompson of The Spectator believes the Holy Father may be losing his marbles and should consider retirement.  This weekend  the Pope will turn 80, which means he is about three weeks older than I am.  But a blog  called Ignatius His Conclave, which deserves to be better known, speculates that this obsession with matters cloacal may be caused by the state of the Holy Father’s bowels, rather than by any  incipient senility. Here’s how he develops his thesis….


Is Pope Francis constipated?

The question – a strange one – arises from his recent repeated use of the term ‘coprophagia’ in an attack on irresponsible journalists.

Commonly encountered only in dogs, faeces eating is an unusual image, even when applied to the paparazzi.

Says Arnold Dubekker, the distinguished clinical psychiatrist: ‘Though rarely used, such imagery is most common among those who themselves have reason to be fixated on excretion – typically the victims of chronic constipation. Another common symptom is talkativeness. Victims habitually compensate for inability in the one area by laxity in the other’.

Dr Dietrich Hartlieb, a Reformation history specialist of the University of Jena, concurs. ‘Both conditions are to be found in Martin Luther. Shared symptoms may well account for Pope Francis’s obvious affection for the founder of Protestantism.’

Yes, our Holy Father certainly has a great deal in common with Luther.  After all, on one of his mid-flight press conferences he even went so far as to say:  “And today Lutherans and Catholics, Protestants, all of us agree on the doctrine of justification. On this point, which is very important, he did not err. He made a medicine for the Church.”

I conclude with an appalling pun: What sort of medicine had the Pope in mind? A laxative, of course!













December 7th, 2016

Well, is it Yes or No?

And blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me.

Matthew 11: 6.

Fr John Zuhlsdorf (“Fr Zed”), one of the best-known orthodox Catholic bloggers, sometimes asks readers to let him know if they heard an outstanding sermon at Mass the previous Sunday, and if so, to  describe it. Well, I heard one that fits the bill, but I’m not going to say where or by whom because I don’t want to be responsible for having Fr X mugged by  the Modernists.

Fr  X began by pointing out that verse six, chapter 11 of St Matthew’s Gospel (above) could really count as one of the beatitudes, even though unlike the other nine it doesn’t occur in the Sermon on the Mount.

Who, he wondered, are those who are scandalized by the words of Our Lord? Those who ask questions, or those who refuse to answer  them? He then turned to the five dubia (questions demanding the answer Yes or No) of Cardinal Burke and his colleagues, and dealt with them one by one. (He didn’t mention the cardinals, or even say who asked the questions.)

l. Does someone who asks if divorced persons living in a new union more uxorio (“having sex”) may be admitted to Holy Communion have a problem with the clear teaching of Our Lord in the Gospels? Or does the person who refuses to answer that question?

2. After Amoris Laetitia, can one still say there are absolute moral norms prohibiting intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions? Is someone who asks that question scandalized by the teaching of Christ? Or is the person who refuses to answer?

3. Similarly, does an habitual adulterer find himself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin? Who is scandalised by Our Lord? The questioner, or the one who won’t answer the question?

4. Again, can one still say, as Pope St John Paul II did in Veritatis Splendor, that circumstances or intentions can never transform an intrinsically evil act into one that is subjectively good? Yes or No? Is it the questioner who is scandalized, or the one who won’t answer?

5. Finally, again taking Veritatis Splendor, was Pope St John Paul right to emphasis that conscience can never be authorized to allow exceptions to absolute moral norms? Is it the questioner who is scandalized by Our Lord, or is it the person who refuses to answer?



December 1st, 2016

Pro-Abort Sturgeon interferes in NI

The Scottish Nationalist Party is today a very different body to the group of  romantic—and indeed rather admirable—patriots who took the Stone of Scone from the coronation chair in Westminster Abbey over half a century ago. Now Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is naturally aggrieved if English politicians interfere in Scottish affairs,  is busy meddling in  Northern Ireland’s abortion laws.. The Scot-Nats seem to be placing themselves well to the left even of the British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn.

Last week Ms Sturgeon told the Scottish parliament she wants to offer free abortions in Scotland to women from Northern Ireland. On cue,  Amnesty International rowed in behind her.  Said Amnesty’s Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan:

Responsibility for delivering healthcare to women and girls in Northern Ireland sits squarely with the Northern Ireland Executive. But, given the utter human rights failure of Northern Ireland’s Ministers to provide free, safe and legal abortion healthcare for women and girls here, we welcome the commitment of Scotland’s First Minister to explore what can be done via NHS Scotland. The UN Human Rights Committee recently ruled that Northern Ireland’s laws prohibiting and criminalising abortion constitute a human rights violation. The Scottish Government could help lessen the harsh financial impact of that violation by allowing women from Northern Ireland to access abortions free of charge on the NHS. While this would be a welcome and helpful step, it is no substitute for the Northern Ireland Executive putting its own house in order with respect to significant reform of our scandalous abortion laws.

Ms Sturgeon was on  RTÉ’s Morning Ireland a few days ago to discuss the possibility of another referendum on Scottish independence. She was given a super-soft interview and allowed to ramble on without interference. Her interference in Northern Ireland’s laws was ignored.

As it happens, both Stramentaria and myself were accosted separately in Dalkey, Co. Dublin recently by an Amnesty campaigner looking for funds. I  told the man I would never support a pro-abortion outfit like Amnesty. Taken aback, he merely thanked me for being forthright. By the time he approached Stramentaria a few minutes later and met a similar reaction he had  recovered sufficiently to retort that they weren’t in favour of abortion; they merely supported the Right to Choose. Which is a bit like saying “I’m not anti-Semitic; I’m just in favour of the Final Solution.” Anyway, I hope it gets back to Amnesty HQ that some people, at least, are turned off by their anti-life policy.