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 Monika Barget, a convert from Lutheranism, 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.