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Tag Archives: Brandsma Review

March 16th. 2017

We’re in Deadly Peril from Islam

Fight and slay the pagans [i.e. infidels] wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war.The Koran, Sura 9:5

What was the meaning of all that whisper of fear that ran round the west under the shadow of Islam, and fills every old romance with incongruous images of Saracen knights swaggering in Norway or the Hebrides?G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man.

Continuing our series of old articles from the Brandsma Review (we haven’t had any for  around six months) here’s one I wrote  around the turn of the millennium. I wouldn’t change a line of it, but I think  the threat from Islam is now far  greater than it was then.

In the mid 1960s I worked on a London newspaper with a Moslem from the Indian sub-continent called Khalim Siddiqui. He was intelligent and courteous, totally convinced of the truth of Islam, and impressively eloquent on the benefits of regular prayer. But his mind was entirely closed to other philosophies: they weren’t even worth investigating. He knew all he needed to know about Jews and Christians: God had rejected each in turn and raised up ‘the prophet’ Mohammed. Moslems were the final, complete heirs of the Abrahamic faith.

Twenty-five years later, Khalim could be heard ranting on the radio, calling for the implementation of the fatwa on Salman Rushdie, and for an Islamic parliament which would claim the allegiance of British Moslems and subject them to its own laws. By then, he was clearly not only a bigot, but a dangerous fanatic.

The question is, had he been one all along?

Francis Martel, writing in the magazine Culture Wars (July-August 1999) can help supply part of the answer: ‘There is not one Islam that is reasonable and approachable, and another that is the demented distortion of that…There is no non-fundamentalist version of Islam.’ (Martel is the pseudonym of an American who teaches in an Islamic country.)

There is much to admire about individual Moslems. One can be grateful for their stalwart opposition to abortion and euthanasia; their alliance with the Vatican and other Christians at the Cairo population conference was crucial in defeating the machinations of Planned Parenthood. We have even carried a fine pro-life article by a Moslem doctor, Majid Katme, in this Review.

And yet…I have come to believe that now Communism has been defeated the next big challenge facing Europe is coming from Islam—as so often in the past. But this time, it will be mainly internal rather than external And because of the woeful spiritual state of the West, we are as yet quite incapable of defending ourselves against it.

More than 60 years ago, when the West was not yet as degenerate and ‘post-Christian’ as it is today, the southern shores of the Mediterranean and the Near and Middle East were controlled or dominated by France, Britain and Italy. At that time, Hilaire Belloc issued a warning that must have seemed absurdly alarmist. It’s worth quoting at length:

‘Islam survives. Its religion is intact; therefore its material strength may return. Our religion is in peril of dissolution, and who can be confident in the continued skill, let alone the continued obedience, of those who make and work our machines?…There is with us a complete chaos in religious doctrine where religious doctrine is still held, and even in that part of the European population where the united doctrine and definition of Catholicism survives, it survives as something to which the individual is attached rather than the community. As nations we worship ourselves, we worship the nation; or we worship (some few of us) a particular economic arrangement believed to be the satisfaction of social justice. Those who direct us, and from whom the tone of our policy is taken, have no major spiritual interest. Their major personal interest is private gain, and this mood is reflected in the outer forms of government by the establishment of plutocracy.

‘Islam has not suffered this spiritual decline; and in the contrast between the religious certitudes still strong throughout the Mohammedan world, as lively in India as in Morocco, active throughout North Africa and Egypt…lies our peril.’

Speculating on the probability of some notable change in the Middle East, he added: ‘Perhaps that change will be deferred, but change there will be, continuous and great. Nor does it seem probable that at the end of such a change, particularly if it be prolonged, Islam will be the loser.’ (The Crusade, 1937)

When our ancestors attempted to wrest the Holy Places from the Moslems they were aware that Islam intended to conquer the whole world,and could well do so if it were not vigorously opposed. It is little over 300 years since the last serious Moslem attempt to take over Europe was launched. It was defeated under the walls of Vienna by King John Sobieski of Poland. Islam is still just as determined to achieve world domination: that is regarded as a religious duty.

The Moslems had a respect for Richard Coeur de Lion and Don Juan of Austria, even though they regarded them as infidels. They must find us modern Catholics, with our ‘apologies’ for Lepanto and the Crusades, utterly pathetic—a pushover! That is not to suggest we should now seek to overthrow Islam by force of arms—that would be anachronistic, absurd and unjust. But we should, by now, be aware of Moslem intentions, and resisting them by political, economic and above all by spiritual means. For we are confronted by an aggressive Islamic revival, stretching all the way from the Philippines to Nigeria.

In his Culture Wars article, Martel points out that from its beginnings in sixth-century Arabia, Islam has divided the world into the Dar Es Orb and the Dar Es Islam, (the world at war and the world of peace, or the world that has ‘submitted’, which is what Islam means, and the world still to be conquered. Once a territory becomes part of the Dar Es Islam, it must remain so.

In this connection, the Evangelical Christian apologist for Israel, Lance Lambert points that one reason why Moslems wish to destroy the Jewish State is that Palestine is part of the Dar Es Islam, having once been under Moslem control. Its very existence is an affront to Islamic theology. (So, presumably—although I have never seen this argued—must be the existence of non-Moslem Spain and Portugal.)

Although the peril to the West is clearer now than it was in Belloc’s day, few seem to be concerned. This is probably because the astonishing successes of tiny Israel in the wars of 1948 and 1967, and then the crushing Desert Storm victory over Iraq, have led us to despise the military capabilities of modern Islam.

We are missing the point: the danger is not so much external (though it could well become so) as internal and spiritual. The United States (the only remaining superpower) has been particularly naive in its dealings with Islam—failing to realise that Moslems simply have no concept of the individual having the right to choose his own path. Islam is of its very nature aggressive and totalitarian. It has is no separation of ‘church’ and ‘state’.

Public relations consultants to major Moslem organisations in the US use the liberal media to assuage the public while they pursue radical agendas inimical to the American system. ‘Now, in addition to homophobia, we have Islamophobia, a dread disease no contemporary journalist wishes to catch,’ says Martel. The American Islamic Council and the Council of American-Islamic Relations have managed to condition the media not to criticise the activities of Moslems for fear of a libel suit. Forthright coverage of militant Islamic terrorist groups operating in America resulted in journalist Steven Emerson being placed on a blacklist. Martel continues:

‘It is not possible to publish a critical essay about the Koran, as the Atlantic Monthly did in January 1999, without screams that the West has begun a new Crusade. Arab and Islamic studies are now popular in universities happy to receive petro-dollars to build special libraries and programmes and to endow professorships. The Moslems who support or teach in these programmes would be the first to riot in the streets should universities in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain or Oman accept a chair in Christian Theology or Jewish studies…In America, several generations of Christians and clergy—including Bishops and Cardinals—who have been nourished on share-and-care theology easily buy the view that the Moslems are being bashed by wicked people.

As I study what Moslems are about in the United States, I am struck by the ‘virus’ theory , that given enough local nutrition and space, Islamic society will attempt to reduplicate itself and emphasise its power and exclusivity. In short, in England and America, where there are some 1200 mosques each, and in other countries of the West, most Moslems prefer to create islands of Islam or ‘beachheads’ as Khomeini called them when he condemned Salman Rushdie. When these grow large enough to exert political power, they begin to demand that the large society change to fit Islam, as in England, where Moslems demanded their own separate parliament. Other Moslems in England argued against this, but mostly because they felt it was ‘too soon’.

Western foreign policy towards Islamic countries is as supine as its treatment of Moslems at home. Martel points out that when Desert Storm entered Saudi Arabia, the Americans permitted the Saudis to tell them that chaplains could not wear crosses, and worship services had to be disguised as counselling sessions. ‘When such behaviour is acceptable to the West, Islam knows that it is winning the worldwide culture war.’

The Balkan situation is muddled, as it has been throughout modern history—but now very much to Islam’s advantage. Islamic nations have armed, trained and financed the Bosnian army and the KLA in Kosovo. Their aim is an Islamic state comprising Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo—the largest chunk of Europe under Moslem control since the days of the old Turkish empire. President Alia Izetbegovic of Bosnia is known to be a fanatical proponent of the formation of Islamic states, and has purged his army of non-Moslems. Under the Dayton accords, his country is supposed to be a multi-ethnic society with liberty and justice for all. Yet in 1997, Izetbegovic addressed the Eighth Session of the Islamic Summit Conference in Teheran. It is worth recalling that Izetbegovic was imprisoned by the Yugoslav Communists for his pan-Islamic agitation which shows—as Martel drily comments—that the Marxist governments of Eastern Europe knew exactly what they had to suppress.

If all the above strikes you as over-alarmist, listen to Archbishop Giuseppe Germano Bernardini, O.F.M., Cap., of Izmir (formerly Smyrna) in Turkey, where he has lived for 42 years. In an intervention to the Post-Synodal Council in Rome, Archbishop Bernardini gave examples of the futility of ‘dialogue’ with Moslems: During an official meeting on Islamic-Christian dialogue, an authoritative Moslem person, speaking  to Christians participating, at one point said very calmly and assuredly: ‘Thanks to your democratic laws we will invade you; thanks to our religious laws we will dominate you.’ The Archbishop said the ‘domination’ has already begun , with petro-dollars used not to create work in poor North African or Middle Eastern countries, but to build mosques and cultural centres in Christian countries with Islamic immigrants—including Rome, the centre of Christendom. ‘How can we fail to see in all this a clear programme of expansion and conquest?’

He added: ‘During another Islamic-Christian meeting, always organised by Christians, a Christian participant asked the Moslems present why they did not organise at least one meeting of this kind. The Moslem authority present answered in the following words: ‘Why should we? You have nothing to teach us and we have nothing to learn.’

Archbishop Bernardini said of course we must distinguish the fanatic and violent minority from the tranquil and honest majority; ‘but the latter, at an order given in the name of Allah or the Koran, will always march in unity and without hesitation.’

He appealed to Rome to begin to face up to the threat from Islam: ‘And now I would like to make a serious proposal to the Holy Father: to organise as soon as possible, if not a Synod, at least a symposium of Bishops and those engaged in the pastoral care of immigrants, particularly Islamic immigrants, and open to the Reformed and Orthodox Churches. The symposium could be useful to study in a collegial way the problem of the Islamic individuals in Christian countries, and thus find a common strategy to face it and resolve it in a Christian and objective way. I end this exhortation suggested to me by experience: do not allow Moslems ever to use a Catholic church for their worship, because in their eyes this would be the surest proof of our apostasy.’

Early this century [that’s the 20th, of course]  G.K. Chesterton wrote a fantasy called The Flying Inn about an England turned Moslem in which all the pubs were closed by law. (It was rescued, if I remember rightly, by an Irish sea captain who travelled around the country with a large cheese, a barrel of rum, and an inn-sign.) I used to think the whole idea was just too absurd: now I’m not so sure.

When Father Richard John Neuhaus reviewed a book called The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam and pointed out some of the things referred to above, he was savaged by the Council of American-Islamic Relations, which demanded that the Catholic Church should ‘investigate’ him for daring to suggest that Islam is a permanent threat to Western Society and that Christian-Moslem dialogue might be a delusion.

Of course, it is. As Martel says: ‘Remember the past. Know Islam, love the Moslems, but accept no follies that would lie about a global threat that will surely be permanent until the heathen are converted.’

* * * * *

I have hardly touched the surface of the vast subject: in particular, the ongoing persecutions of Christians in many Moslem states should have an article to itself. The atrocities committed in Sudan, above all, are almost unbelievable: and it is astonishing that they get so little mention in the Western media. The persecution of the Christian Copts—the original inhabitants of Egypt—has lasted off and on for 1400 years. I should also have liked to have dealt in depth with the role of Israel in relation to Islam, and to have discussed the history of Mohammed and the Moslem attitude to women.

For further reading I would recommend, in addition to the July-August 1999 issue of the Catholic magazine Culture Wars (206 Marquette Avenue, South Bend IN 46617) the following Protestant publications: Robert Morey, The Islamic Invasion: Confronting the World’s Fastest-Growing Religion, Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon 1992 (187pp.), and The History of Islam: Its Self-Understanding, its Claim to Jerusalem. The latter is a pamphlet published by Christian Friends of Israel, 15 Teddington Business Park, Station Road, Teddington, Middlesex TW11 9BQ, England. Some very informative tapes can be obtained from ‘Prayer for Israel’, 199 Widmore Road, Bromley, Kent, England.

Re-reading what I wrote then I realise that perhaps I may have been a little over-gloomy. We should at least be grateful to President Trump for taking the first tentative steps to neutralise the Moslem threat, in addition to his apparently genuine conversion to the pro-life cause.

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.


August 8th, 2016

Maynooth: An Uncleansed Augean Stable

All this talk about homosexuality in Maynooth seminary brings me back 14 years or so, when the Brandsma Review was about  the first publication to tackle the problem in a reasonably robust fashion.  A great deal of printer’s ink was spilled, and airtime given, to clerical paedophilia—but Big Media shied away from suggesting that the two problems could be intertwined, even though it must have been known even then that most of the victims were not strictly speaking children but adolescent males on the verge of adulthood. 

There was great reluctance to admit the existence of any homosexual network  among the Irish clergy, although it was already clear that the problem was rife throughout the Catholic Church, extending  to the highest levels. Pope Benedict later commented: “How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the Priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him!” Fr Hunwicke recently referred to the present state of affairs as “The Coprocracy” (rule by filth).

Back in the early 2000s, during one RTE discussion mainly about clerical paedophilia, the station’s former religious affairs correspondent Kieron Wood raised the question of  whether a Lavender Mafia existed  among the clergy, and whether this  had any connection with  the incidence of clerical child abuse. The rest of the panel wouldn’t even discuss the possibility. Breda O’Brien, an Irish Times columnist but an orthodox Catholic wrinkled her nose and intimated that the idea was most unhelpful. The two clerical panellists agreed. One of them, I recall, refused to commit himself when asked whether he approved of “gay marriage” (that phrase had only recently come into use in Ireland.)

In 2002 I wrote a piece in the Brandsma entitled “Maynooth: Seminary or Sewer” dealing, among other matters,  with homosexuality in the seminary. The problem hasn’t gone away, you know… 

In our last issue we previewed a devastating American book entitled Goodbye! Good Men by Michael Rose, which revealed in detail the parlous state of seminaries in the US. It was a catalogue of institutionalised vice and blatant heresy. At the end of the article I speculated about the possibility of a similar picture emerging in Ireland, without going into detail as I didn’t then consider I would be justified in publishing what I had already heard about Maynooth. I said that any further evidence we received would be treated in the strictest confidence.

Since then, there have been several unsavoury revelations in the secular media in relation to Maynooth. Quite apart from these, the response to our article—from several different Maynooth men who have spoken with, or written to me—has amply confirmed that many of Michael Rose’s strictures can certainly be applied to our National Seminary. The young men concerned, who are appalled by their experiences, are the best hope for the future of the Irish Church, and if this article seems written in a somewhat cumbrous fashion, with a vagueness about dates and personalities, that is necessary to protect their identities.

Of course I am well aware that there is still much good to be found at Maynooth—orthodoxy, integrity and genuine Catholic scholarship. The names of Fr Vincent Twomey SVD, Fr Thomas Norris and Fr Bede McGregor OP spring immediately to mind. But I am convinced there is enough badly wrong with the National Seminary to justify publicising these revelations.

In general, our sources believe that a different creed frequently takes hold in the College—one that highlights feeling and satisfaction over principles and true happiness.

Our sources were particularly critical of some of the retreats to which they were subjected, which served to inculcate moral relativism under the guise of “compassion”. These began with a call by a director of formation to be “open” to what they would hear and a suggestion that some would find it “challenging”.

One such retreat, given by a lay person, contained a blatant attack on the truths of the Catholic Faith. It seems particularly appropriate that this person should have thumped a fist on the altar (the symbol of Christ) of St Columba’s Oratory while verbally bashing Christ’s Body, the Church. The retreat-giver appeared to justify drunkenness by misquoting the Bible story of the wedding feast of Cana; and then justified homosexual unions—even marriages—suggesting that Jesus was homosexual, and dismissing some of the teachings of the Church as “human error”.

Taken as a whole, this retreat session amounted to a plug for situation ethics. It had a profound effect on some of the more naïve clerical students, who continually referred to it for months to come. “What are we to do,” ran the line, “if some people are different by nature?”

Predictably, this retreat giver’s moral relativism tended to encourage those with homosexual tendencies. My sources noticed that in an environment where there was already a shared understanding among some students, in the form of a dirty little secret, whispered just loud enough to draw those of similar interests into a circle, just threatening enough to keep the secret safe, this endorsement of an alternative morality was not ignored. The fact that the act of sodomising other men renders inauthentic the exercise of priesthood had no relevance in such a circle. The fact was that some could now feel invited to twist their conscience and find it easy to establish homosexual bonds among themselves, or even do damage to other gullible people.

One student, who became a target of the homosexuals, had many callers to his room late at night and these almost always had alcohol with them. Some said they were “in love” with him and made it clear that they wanted to spend the night with him. When he reported this to the authorities he was only told to be “open”. Eventually he took things into his own hands and threatened those who made sexual approaches to him. They complained that he was difficult to work with, and he was diagnosed by the authorities as having “a lot of anger stored up” within him. This young man was sent to the seminary counsellor (who, incidentally, left the priesthood the following summer). Extraordinarily, it does not appear to have occurred to the Maynooth authorities that drunken homosexuals might not be suitable people for ordination.

I am informed that one “team skills” weekend descended into one long drinking orgy by half the class, resulting in the distress of others. One three-day workshop on sexuality appeared to the more orthodox students simply to be an attempt to justify the use of artificial contraception.

Orthodox students seldom get the opportunity to do anything other than swallow what they are given. A seminarian dare not try to justify or defend the truths of the faith for fear that a director of formation will label him “rigid”, costing him his ordination. While the formation staff continually preach about how “inclusive” the students’ attitudes must be, how loving and caring and sharing, how kind and supportive they ought to be, a young man need only question them, only hint that he doesn’t accept their personal interpretation of religion, and the jackboot is immediately apparent.

Indeed, I am told that very recently a thoroughly orthodox seminarian was dismissed from the college without a word of explanation. Worse, when he reported the matter to his bishop, the authorities even refused to give the bishop a reason for their action. This story had a happy ending, as the bishop simply sent the young man to study in Rome and agreed to take him into the diocese after ordination.

Words such as “challenging” and “open” and “rigid” are used as cajoling and deceptive ambiguities which expose the college community and even the Church in Ireland to invented spirituality, invented liturgies and invented doctrine.

Symptomatic, perhaps, is the newly “reordered” St Mary’s Oratory, which stands as a symbol of the new Maynooth. The altar consists of a wooden table with the seats gathered around it, conveying the message that the Mass is merely a meal and not a sacrifice. Two large hosts are broken up, and Communion is distributed under both kinds. Some of the Precious Blood is kept in a bottle until it is poured into a second chalice. After Communion both chalices are purified by eucharistic ministers. No kneeling or genuflexions take place during the Mass. At the Consecration the priest merely bows, while the congregation remains standing.

An organisation called “Young Christian Students” serves officially as an instrument for lay and clerical students at Maynooth to “apply the Gospel in their daily lives”. At its retreats, female students outnumber the males by 10 to one. It is common knowledge that many female students are in the habit of “dating” clerical students; and also that some clerical students are in the habit of carrying packets of condoms.

My sources are agreed that the unsavoury goings-on related above contribute to the manifest lack of fruits coming from Maynooth—in the form of a lot of men leaving, and even priests leaving after ordination.

We are publishing their revelations not because one likes to sensationalise the Church’s problems—the secular media are already doing that with great glee—but because something drastic has to be done about Maynooth. The only conclusion one can draw from these seminarians’ accounts is that the National Seminary, far from being “a school of priestly holiness” (in the words of Pope John Paul II) has degenerated into a fetid Augean stable in urgent need of cleansing. But where will we find a Hercules?

I can’t believe that Maynooth, with its long and glorious history, is incapable of reformation. To paraphrase Fr Brian Houghton in his book Mitre and Crook: “I am a great believer in failure because it gives Divine Providence a chance. It is because in this year of grace the Church [read ‘National Seminary’] has the appearance and odour of a dung-heap that God will use it to manure the most exquisite flowers, fragrant with the odour of sanctity.”

I’ve become much more cynical since then. I now think the only solution is to close the place down and start all over again.


May 6th, 2016

Becoming a Bad Rad Trad

          Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining    many, desire as it were to be in collusion with the Church’s enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith.St. Peter Canisius.

          You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds….What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can.St Thomas More.

I recently received the latest (September-October 2015) issue of The Brandsma Review,  which proves, reassuringly,  that editor Peadar Laighléis is still struggling manfully to overcome his ongoing production problems.   The layout, I am sorry to say, is still dire, but there are some excellent and up-to-date articles—notably, as one would expect, by Joe McCarroll and David Manly on the Eighth Amendment and abortion. However, one glaring and regrettable omission is any mention  of what seems to be becoming one of the  most serious  crises the Church has ever faced.

I refer, of course to the Holy Father’s ongoing  attack on the Church’s Tradition, most notably in regard to matters of sexual morality, in Amoris Laetitia.  I have referred before to this failure to face facts  as “tiptoeing around the Argentine elephant in the living room”. If  The Brandsma Review is not going to face squarely up to this problem, then what other Irish outlet will?

Is Stramentarius  morphing into a Bad Rad Trad? Well, if so, that’s regrettable, but I really don’t see how it can be avoided.