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December 28th, 2017

Repent—or else!

With acknowledgements to the blog “Ignatius His Conclave”.

During the course of his traditional Christmas message of mercy and goodwill, the Supreme Leader singled out those who had offended him during the past year:

Here let me allude to another danger: those who betray the trust put in them and profiteer from the Church’s motherhood. I am speaking of persons carefully selected to give a greater vigour to the body and to the reform, but – failing to understand the lofty nature of their responsibility – let themselves be corrupted by ambition or vainglory. Then, when they are quietly sidelined, they wrongly declare themselves martyrs of the system, of a “Pope kept in the dark”, of the “old guard”…, rather than reciting a mea culpa. Alongside these, there are others who are still working there, to whom all the time in the world is given to get back on the right track, in the hope that they find in the Church’s patience an opportunity for conversion and not for personal advantage.’

The members of the Politburo looked nervously from one to another. Which of them was it?

Meanwhile, in an adjacent room, the KGB were polishing their jackboots…

I think “Ignatius His Conclave” had better watch out, don’t you? The Supreme Leader takes a dim view of people who poke fun at him.


December 27th, 2017

What we need….

“We need priests who are men of the interior life, ‘God’s watchmen’ and pastors passionately committed to the evangelization of the world, and not social workers or politicians.”
—Cardinal Robert Sarah

December 10th, 2017

What’s Wrong with Bergoglianism

A false, heretical understanding of Mercy reduces God to being tolerant of everything, to the point where sin disappears and black becomes white, the foolish are regarded as wise, the corrupt become virtuous.  A tolerant God means mankind has no need of Redemption or Salvation, the whole Christological drama becomes unnecessary and humanity has no need of a moral compass, because whatever is done,  so long as it doesn’t undermine the Enlightenment virtues, is fine.

This passage from Fr Ray Blake’s blog sums it up perfectly, I think.


November 30th, 2017

The Bending of ‘Gender’

Another pearl from that extremely wise and informative blog of the Anglican Ordinariate, Ignatius His Conclave:

It all began with the manipulation of language. We should have known – Orwell warned us – but we let it pass.

‘Sex’, the physiological phenomenon which facilitates reproduction, was modulated to ‘gender’, a linguistic function in the construction of grammar. The culprit, it seems, was one John Money, a ‘sexologist’; and it began as recently as 1955. The diseminators (!) were radical feminists and the World Health Organisation.

The new meaning of gender took off in countless reports and memoranda, until it has replaced the earlier term even in common parlance.  But the change was not merely a linguistic fad. It had serious intent. It was a potent weapon in social deconstruction.

If the Enlightenment was a revolt against the past in the name of a future as yet unborn, gender-speak was its ideal tool. By blurring the immemorial distinction between the sexes it undermined the family (always a bête noire of the progressive Left). Ultimately, by asserting that gender is a social or even personal construction, it muddied the waters of all social discourse.  The notion of ‘gender dysphoria’ is its ugly offspring.

Ours is rapidly becoming a world where there is no truth – where my truth is a good as your truth. Individual feelings are paramount. I feel, therefore I am.  A child can ‘feel’ that she is a boy; and an adult can be penalised for saying that she is not. Marriage can as well be between two women or two men, because their feelings are all that matters.

The Church has a vocation in all this to witness to the simple fact that society and its values are not simply a human construct, which can be deconstructed at will. They are grounded in the immutable facts of our terrestrial existence; rooted in that which is given and not made.

Looking back on the twentieth century, which saw the bloodiest attempts at social deconstruction and reconstruction the world has ever known –  beside which the guillotine and the Terror pale into insignificance – we can see how pressing that task is.

I’d advise all followers of this blog to add Ignatius His Conclave to their list of favourites.

November 20th, 2017

Fr Weinandy Sets a Fleece

Have you ever heard the expression “setting a fleece”? It comes from Chapter 6 of the Old Testament Book of Judges, where an obscure individual named Gideon has a vision telling him to lead the Israelites against their oppressors, the Midianites. He’s not sure if the vision is real or not, so he prays to God for a sign that it was genuine. He takes the fleece of a sheep, puts it on the ground, and leaves it overnight. If the fleece is wet with dew the next morning, leaving the ground dry, he will take it that the vision was real. Next morning the fleece is soaking wet, and the ground dry, but he’s still not quite convinced, so he prays for a further sign the next night. This time, he wants the ground to be all wet, and the fleece bone dry, and  that’s just what happens.

When I was involved in charismatic renewal (yes I was, for quite a few years) a very gifted teacher, Margaret, used to give us the benefit of her deep knowledge of Scripture. When she got to the story of Gideon, the question arose whether it was permissible for people in our own times to “lay a fleece”—metaphorically speaking—by asking God for a specific sign that a particular course of action one had in mind was in accordance with His will. From what I recall, Margaret said that while one shouldn’t make a habit of it, setting a fleece could be permissible in some cases where one was genuinely perplexed and an important issue was involved.

I had never heard anyone setting a fleece in an official Catholic context until very recently. That’s what Capuchin father Thomas Weinandy did, although that’s not what he called it. You will recall that Fr Weinandy wrote a severe letter to Pope Francis, chiding him for causing much of the present chaos in the Church. For his pains, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops forced Fr Weinandy to resign from his position as their consultant. That’s ironic, because in his letter to the Pope, Fr Weinandy said: “Many fear that if they speak their mind, they will be marginalised or worse.”

Anyway, here is Fr Weinandy’s account of how he came to write the letter:

At the end of this past May I was in Rome to attend a meeting of the International Theological Commission, of which I am a member.  I stayed at Domus Sanctae Marthae.  Since I arrived early, I spent most of the Sunday afternoon prior to the meeting on Monday in Saint Peter’s praying in the Eucharistic Chapel.  I was praying about the present state of the Church and the anxieties I had about the present Pontificate.  I was beseeching Jesus and Mary, St. Peter and all of the saintly popes who are buried there to do something to rectify the confusion and turmoil within the Church today, a chaos and an uncertainty that I felt Pope Francis had himself caused.  I was also pondering whether or not I should write and publish something expressing my concerns and anxiety.  On the following Wednesday afternoon, at the conclusion of my meeting, I went again to St. Peter’s and prayed in the same manner.  That night I could not get to sleep, which is very unusual for me.  It was due to all that was on my mind pertaining to the Church and Pope Francis.  At 1:15 AM I got up and went outside for short time.  When I went back to my room, I said to the Lord: “If you want me to write something, you have to give me a clear sign.  This is what the sign must be.  Tomorrow morning I am going to Saint Mary Major’s to pray and then I am going to Saint John Lateran.  After that I am coming back to Saint Peter’s to have lunch with a seminary friend of mine.  During that interval, I must meet someone that I know but have not seen in a very long time and would never expect to see in Rome at this time.  That person cannot be from the United States, Canada or Great Britain.  Moreover, that person has to say to me in the course of our conversation, ‘Keep up the good writing’.”

The next morning I did all of the above and by the time I met my seminarian friend for lunch what I had asked the Lord the following night was no longer in the forefront of my mind.  However, towards the end of the meal an archbishop appeared between two parked cars right in front of our table (we were sitting outside).  I had not seen him for over twenty years, long before he became an archbishop.  We recognized one another immediately.  What made his appearance even more unusual was that because of his recent personal circumstances I would never have expected to see him in Rome or anywhere else, other than in his own archdiocese.  (He was from none of the above mentioned countries.)  We spoke about his coming to Rome and caught up on what we were doing.  I then introduced him to my seminarian friend.  He said to my friend that we had met a long time ago and that he had, at that time, just finished reading my book on the immutability of God and the Incarnation.  He told my friend that it was an excellent book, that it helped him sort out the issue, and that my friend should read the book.  Then he turned to me and said: “Keep up the good writing.”

In the light of Jesus fulfilling my demanding “sign,” I want to make two comments.  First, I decided to write Pope Francis a letter, which I intended then to publish unless he adequately addressed the issues I raised.  Almost two months after having received my letter, I did receive an acknowledgement from Vatican Secretariat of State informing me that the letter had been received.  This was simply an acknowledgement and not a response to my concerns.  Second, I find it significant that not only did the Lord fulfill my demand for a sign, but also did so in, what I believe, a very significant manner.  He accomplished it through an archbishop.  By utilizing an archbishop, I believe, that Jesus’ fulfillment of my request took on an apostolic mandate.

October 31st, 2017

The Great Reformer and Anti-Semite

I shall give you my sincere advice. First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever see a stone or cinder of them…Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed…Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them…Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely  for the Jews…..

If I had not experience with my papists, it would have seemed incredible to me that the earth should harbour such base people [as the Jews] who knowingly fly in the face of open and manifest truth, that is, God himself. For I never expected to encounter such hardened minds in any human breast, but only in that of the devil. However, I am no longer amazed by either the Turks’ or the Jews’ blindness, obduracy and malice, since I have to witness the same thing in the most holy fathers of the church, in pope, cardinals and bishops.

On the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 theses on the door of Wittenberg Cathedral, which is being commemorated with enthusiasm not just by Protestants, but by Pope Francis and many Cardinals and bishops, it is worth recording that the two passages I quote above were written by  the great heresiarch himself, in his treatise On the Jews and Their Lies. 

When Julius Streicher, editor of the anti-Semitic Der Sturmer was on trial at Nuremberg, he  defended himself thus: “Dr. Martin Luther would very probably sit in my place in the defendants’ dock today, if this book had been taken into consideration by the prosecution. In the book, The Jews and Their Lies, Dr. Martin Luther writes that the Jews are a serpent’s brood and one should burn down their synagogues and destroy them…”





October 30th, 2017

Pulling Down Statues

My favourite “Neo Catholic” (orthodox but not Traditionalist) magazine is the American New Oxford Review which comes out 10 times a year. It’s always challenging. October’s issue contains a rather crass unsigned piece welcoming the removal of Confederate monuments in the American South. What particularly got up my nose was the way the writer drew a parallel between Robert E. Lee and Saddam Hussein—and he drags in not just Saddam,  but even the Nuremberg trials.

The American civil war was about far more than slavery: the struggle was concerned primarily with the preservation of the United States. President Abraham Lincoln himself asserted as much: In his letter to Horace Greeley he wrote:

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it…  What I do about slavery or the coloured race I do because I believe it helps save the union.

General Lee, a man with a strong sense of honour and duty, seems to have been somewhat ambivalent about slavery. He agonised about whether to support his own state of Virginia or the United States, but when Virginia joined the Confederacy, he decided he must choose Virginia, and was put at the head of the Southern army. The NOR writer believes Lee’s statue should come down because he was “the leader of an enemy force that killed Americans”. That’s overly simplistic. William Tecumsheh Sherman, the Union general who took the Confederate surrender, was also the leader of an enemy force that killed Americans—in the view of  the southerners. He also quite deliberately made war on civilians, particularly in his march through Georgia.

Perhaps the most balanced comment came from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who fought on the Federal side:

We believed that it was most desirable that the North should win, we believed in the principle that the Union is indissoluble, we, or many of us at least, also believed that the conflict was inevitable, and that slavery had lasted long enough. But we equally believed that those who stood against us held just as sacred convictions that were the opposite of ours, and we respected them as every man with a heart must respect those who give all for their belief.


October 27th, 2017

Sodomistic Pseudogamy

This sermon by Fr John Lankeit of Phoenix, Arizona is the best I’ve yet heard on the bogus topic of “Gay Marriage”. It lasts about 15 minutes, and shouldn’t be missed.


October 21st, 2017

Don’t Give up the Ghost

I’ve said before that I greatly prefer “Holy Ghost” to “Holy Spirit” even if the former is a bit old-fashioned. I’m glad to say that Fr Zed is of the same opinion, but he’s able to explain it far more cogently than I. His blog says:

As far as I’m concerned we can use both, interchangeably.

Well… maybe not…

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;…


Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;

Nope.  Ghost, hands down.

I’m pretty sure that we English speakers have traditionally used Holy Ghost because of early translations of Holy Writ, namely the King James Bible and the Douay Rheims, even though both those Bibles use both Ghost and Spirit (fewer times).  The KJV capitalized “Ghost” when it was certain that the Third Person of the Trinity was involved.

Ghost, related to German Geist (which is used today for the Holy Spirit), in its roots is any sort of spirit.  “Ghost” often translated Bible Greek pneuma and Latin spiritus.

It became a matter of common parlance. People memorized traditional prayers with Ghost.  We sang hymns with Ghost.

I think we should also use archaic words in our prayers, private and congregational.  Prayer should be from and of the heart, but we can use the richness of our language to express ourselves, even in solidarity with our forebears.

Also, over time it seems that translators had a strong feeling for “ghost” as a personal being, though not in the sense of a phantasm that needed “busters”.  I wonder if, today, with the way “spirit” has become so diluted in meaning, “ghost” might not make a profitable comeback.

Any way, I don’t like the idea that we have to surrender to contemporary fashion in language.  Old language is also good, so long as it communicates what it is intended to communicate.  I don’t think all the old words are about to give up the ghost quite yet.





October 20th, 2017

The Poisonous Fruits of Silence

Our Holy Father having declined  to clear up the confusion caused by Amoris Laetitia, one can only assume that this confusion is deliberate. He seems quite happy some bishops are teaching  that it’s OK to give Holy Communion to unrepentant adulterers.

The Catholic Church hasn’t been in such a mess since around the time of the Council of Nicaea in the fourth century. Here’s how Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman described the situation that obtained then:

 …the body of the episcopate was unfaithful to its commission  … at one time the pope, at other times a patriarchal, metropolitan, or other great see, at other times general councils, said what they should not have said, or did what obscured and compromised revealed truth … I say, that there was a temporary suspense of the functions of the Ecclesia docens. The body of bishops failed in their confession of the faith. They spoke variously, one against another; there was nothing, after Nicaea, of firm, unvarying, consistent testimony, for nearly sixty years …

Faced with the appalling thought that, barring the Second Coming, the present chaotic situation may continue for half a century or more, what are the faithful laity to do? Knowing that the Church will return to sanity eventually, even if most of us don’t live to see it, I suppose we just have to keep praying, praising—and protesting as well. To put it in a purely secular context, remember the words of  Winston Churchill, and “just keep buggering on”.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, at a recent conference on Fatima in Buckfast Abbey, excoriated the failure of the Church’s leaders to live up to their calling:

The teaching of the Faith in its integrity and with courage is the heart of the office of the Church’s pastors: the Roman Pontiff, the Bishops in communion with the See of Peter, and their principal co-workers, the priests. For that reason, the Third Secret is directed, with particular force, to those who exercise the pastoral office in the Church. Their failure to teach the faith, in fidelity to the Church’s constant teaching and practice, whether through a superficial, confused or even worldly approach, and their silence endangers mortally, in the deepest spiritual sense, the very souls for whom they have been consecrated to care spiritually. The poisonous fruits of the failure of the Church’s pastors is seen in a manner of worship, of teaching and of moral discipline which is not in accord with Divine Law.

Fr  John Hunwicke  has told readers of his blog he is sure there is a providential purpose in all this, “and I pray that I may be enabled ever more profoundly to embrace the humiliations permitted by the Divine Will”. He suspects that the  Buckfast Conference, and not least Cardinal Burke’s powerful address,  may go down in history as one of the significant moments in the recovery, the “fight-back”, of orthodoxy.