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Tag Archives: Cardinal Pell

November 3, 2014

The Gulag and the Synod

This is Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s reflection on how Stalin’s Gulag Archipelago might have been stopped in its tracks if only people had put up some resistance when the secret police came to take them away:

And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more–we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterwards.

It may be fanciful , but I can’t help feeling that the same would  apply  to us if we meekly acquiesced in the attempted takeover of our beloved Church by  modernist prelates who believe that with the present pontificate, their hour has come. Thank God for courageous churchmen like George Pell and Raymond Burke.

October 24, 2014

Knavish imbecility

Yet more on the Synod. The Hermeneutic of Continuity blog  sums the thing up beautifully:

Well that wasn’t a very edifying spectacle was it, the Synod? An outrageously dishonest attempt at procedural manipulation at the highest level, publicly shoved into the turf nose-first by decent men who just couldn’t stomach any more of it. Thanks be to God for Cardinal Pell and Cardinal Burke: at least we have heroes to sing of after the debacle.

I suppose in advance of the follow-up Synod, we now have to face another year of false hopes and unnecessary confusion over Christ’s teaching on marriage and the family while the wrong targets are routinely chosen for praise and blame, promotion and demotion.

Sorry – I have been very busy with pastoral work, haven’t much time to post, wanted to say something, and find it hard to be patient with what has gone on. I was glad to be able to quote Belloc recently to a concerned young man who had not heard his famous words: `The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine; but for unbelievers, here is proof of its divinity, that no merely human institution run with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.`


October 18, 2014

The Mods Defeated–at Least for Now

It is at least partly reassuring to learn  from Australian Cardinal George Pell that  the attempted  putsch by modernist bishops at the synod on  the family has been thwarted–at least for the present.  According to the Catholic  News Service, the Cardinal has said  that working-group reports have finally given a true picture of the assembly’s  misleading mid-term report.  

We wanted the Catholic people around the world to know actually what was going on in talking about marriage and the family and, by and large, I think people will be immensely reassured, We’re not giving in to the secular agenda; we’re not collapsing in a heap. We’ve got no intention of following those radical elements in all the Christian Churches and going out of business.

He described  the synod’s mid-term report as tendentious and skewed, and said it didn’t represent accurately the feelings of the synod fathers:

 In the immediate reaction to it, when there was an hour, an hour-and-a-half of discussion, three-quarters of those who spoke had some problems with the document.
A major absence was Scriptural teaching. A major absence was a treatment of the church tradition. The secret for all Catholic vitality is fidelity to the teachings of Christ and to the tradition of the church.

Cardinal Pell said only three of the synod’s 10 small groups had supported the proposal by German Cardinal Walter Kasper to make it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion, even without an annulment of their first, sacramental marriages.

Communion for the divorced and remarried is for some–very few, certainly not the majority of synod fathers–it’s only the tip of the iceberg, it’s a stalking horse. They want wider changes, recognition of civil unions, recognition of homosexual unions. The church cannot go in that direction. It would be a capitulation from the beauties and strengths of the Catholic tradition, where people sacrificed themselves for hundreds, for thousands of years to do this. If people are heading in the wrong direction, there’s no virtue in the church saying ‘that’s good.’ A lot of people outside won’t accept our views, won’t welcome them, but certainly not the people in the pews, the good people. Our task now is to ask people to pause, to pray, to catch their breath, to realise there’s going to be no abandonment of Catholic doctrine, and to work to diminish the divisions and to prevent any radicalisation of different factions or points of view.

That’s Cardinal Pell’s take on it all. My own view is that we’ve won a battle, but not the war; this modernistic shower will soon return with more knavish tricks. I’m  confirmed  in this belief by the fact that Fr John Hunwicke says much the same (at the end of this quotation):

That Relatio [the mid-term report] was in no sense magisterial but simply an unsubtle attempt by a tiny faction to promote an extreme agenda; unsubtle because they attempted to land their paratroops at least one bridge too far … far further than they could have realistically hoped to get away with. It is very good that they made such a bad mistake.

It is clear that the panic which followed the publication of the Relatio was right over the top…The fathers themselves were determined not to let their Synod be kidnapped in the way that the First Session of the Council was…[R]opy moments have often happened before, and that Black Monday was by no means the ropiest of them. In fact, it was really quite low in the Richter Scale of Ropiness. Ask St Athanasius, when you get a chance.

As Newman found, it helps to keep one’s nerve, having a bit of knowledge of the messiness of Church History.  Joseph Ratzinger, also, showed that an examination of the messiness of earlier Councils enabled one to see Vatican II in a balanced way, and to avoid hysteria.

But it seems to me that… manoeuvring the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [Cardinal Mueller] into the position of being a rebel against the system just has to be one very serious piece of bad politics. The wise general selects a modest and attainable objective and then organises a broad coalition in support before he advances, keeping a prudent eye all the time on his lines of supply to make sure that the enemy doesn’t snip them off with a pincer movement, as happened  when poor  Bruno Forte was hung out to dry  [by Cardinal Peter  Erdo]  .

If I have a fear, it is that their next attempt (because, as somebody once said about a different gang of terrorists, `They haven’t gone away`) will show that they have learned elementary tactics from this particular dismal failure.

A word of explanation for those who haven’t been following events too closely. Archbishop Forte, who appears to have sneaked in his own heterodox views on homosexuality into the Relatio, is the special secretary to the synod  rapporteur Cardinal Erdo, who blew his cover.