Home > Tag Archives: SSPX

Tag Archives: SSPX

January 12, 2015

From ‘Schism’ to ‘Problem’

Hibernicus, organiser of the Irish Catholics Forum, has responded generously and  positively to my objection to the use of the word “schism” as applied to the Society of St Pius X.  He has changed the title of the thread to “The SSPX Problem in a Nutshell”.  He states quite rightly that the status of the SSPX is highly problematic and that we should all hope and pray for their reconciliation.

Nevertheless, a possibly unworthy thought still occurs to me. Under the present pontificate, the Church faces very many  problems of which the SSPX is surely not the most serious.  Personally I would find it difficult to argue that Bishop Bernard Fellay has done more damage to the Church than the present Holy Father.

Alaisdir Ua Séaghdha, another contributor to the Irish Catholics Forum, while conceding  that the SSPX is not in schism (“yet”), says  there is certainly a “schismatic atmosphere” around them.  My understanding of schism is that it is a  sin, which one has either committed or not committed. Who am I (or Alaisdir) to judge?

December 10, 2015

On Growing Pointy Ears

It is rather annoying to be accused of  being a Lefevbvrist merely because one has been seen attending a Society of St Pius X Mass—as has happened to me on more than one occasion.

In  fact, Stramentaria and I could  save ourselves a 20-mile round trip  every Sunday by attending the SSPX church of St John in Mounttown, Dún Laoghaire. Instead, we drive to the Latin Mass chaplaincy in Harrington Street, Dublin because we believe that if the archdiocese provides the Traditional Latin Mass, then, other things being equal, one ought to attend it.  A piece of literature I was once handed in St Johns stated that if the only choice I had was to attend the Novus Ordo or what used to be (incorrectly) called the Indult Mass, I could be excused my Sunday obligation.  Pixies can sometimes be quite pig-headedly wrong—the Irish ones, anyway.

Image result for pixie ears

I’m told—and I believe it—that the English variety are more broadminded. The ones I met at their chapel in Taunton, Somerset 10 days or so ago seemed a pleasant and cheerful bunch. Most had driven large distances in foul weather. Their priest, incidentally, was a French ex-paratrooper.

No one could describe Fr John Zuhlsdorf  as a Pixie sympathiser.  Yet in a recent post on his blog wdtprs (What Does the Prayer Really Say?) he states:

May I attend a Mass by an SSPX priest during the Year of Mercy to fulfill my Sunday obligation? What is the current status of their Mass and is it affected by the Year of Mercy declaration by Pope Francis on the SSPX?

Yes, attendance at a Mass by an SSPX priest can fulfill your Sunday Obligation… even before the Year of Mercy and also afterward. This is unaffected by Francis’ decision to grant (albeit indirectly) the faculty to priests of the SSPX to receive sacramental confessions and to absolve validly.

In order to absolve validly, a priest must have more than just his valid priesthood. He must have the Church’s permission to exercise the power to forgive sins because absolution involves the binding and loosing associated with the Power of the Keys, jurisdiction. That’s different from the priest’s ability validly to confect the Eucharist. The priest needs the Church’s permission to say Mass, but that permission is needed for liceity, not for validity. In the case of confession, the priest needs permission for both validity and liceity.

The Church’s Law (for the Latin Church) says that to fulfill our Sunday (and Holy Day) Obligation we must attend Holy Mass in a Catholic rite on the day itself or on its vigil.

Canon 1248 § 1 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law states:

The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.

That’s the law, plain and simple.

Some claim that you cannot fulfill your obligation at an SSPX chapel.  Unless there has been some kind of official statement to the contrary from the Holy See, they are wrong.  It has been the long-standing position of the Holy See that you do fulfil your obligation this way.

My own completely fallible and subjective opinion is that if one hears Mass regularly at an SSPX chapel one should, from time to time, attend  a Novus Ordo Mass in order to be certain of remaining in communion with the ordinary of your diocese.



November 11, 2015

Keep Buying the Brandsma

I was afraid I’d missed the latest Brandsma Review—or else that the magazine might possibly have folded—so I was mightily relieved when it finally arrived.  There’s some very good stuff in it, so I suggest that if you haven’t got it, you pop along to Veritas or order it by e-mailing brandsmareview@gmail.com.

Joe McCarroll has a typically insightful piece about the abortion lobby’s campaign to repeal those parts of the  Eighth Amendment which recognise the right to life of the unborn as equal to that of the mother.  He rightly describes this  as the gravest ever challenge to Irish pro-lifers, and excoriates the disgraceful role of the media, in particular RTÉ, in seeing no evil, hearing no evil and reporting no evil when it comes to abortion.

In a thoughtful article on the “same-sex marriage” referendum Fr James Siemens points out that true “homophobes”—meaning people who  are afraid of or hate homosexuals—are few and far between. He thinks it’s a pity the term is applied to those who, for any number of reasons, don’t feel comfortable with the idea of publicly affirming homosexuality, and he considers that to condemn such people as homophobic endangers the freedom of us all.

I enjoyed a piece  by Joe Aston analysing the reasons why the same-sex marriage referendum was carried. He argues, surely rightly, that it was a form of apathy, what he calls “the deep-seated Irish attitude of keeping one’s head down , leave the mad world take its course…avoid conflict with one’s neighbours, distrust words and don’t mind that intellectual stuff”. That’s why so many people who should have bestirred themselves didn’t bother to vote.

There is a fine editorial by David Manly on the gruesome atrocities  revealed by the recent exposure of Planned Parenthood’s practice of routinely selling off body parts from abortions. How matter-of-fact they are—almost like Nazis. One of the leading PP executives, Dr Deborah Nucatola, is  described thus: “While she munches her salad and sips her wine, she expounds on the problems of  preserving intact body parts when performing abortions, not unlike an engineer explaining the problems of bridge building.” He headlines his article “The Gates of Hell with Wine and Salad.” Brilliant.

I am grateful to Peadar Laighléis who succeeded me as editor of the BR, for making a special mention of the death of my dear daughter Joanna and asking for prayers for her and the Lowry and McCann families. And I’ll forgive him for mixing up masculine and feminine forms in the Requiem Aeternam. I think he learned his Latin grammar from scratch, whereas I had it drummed into me at school. That way, you never forget it.

Now for some criticism—most of it, I hope, positive. First, it is a thousand pities that the May-June issue has only just come out. If subscribers don’t receive their magazine with reasonable regularity, they become increasingly reluctant to renew their subscriptions. Then there is the layout which, I’m afraid, is dire. There is a  large and unnecessary white gap between the titles and the headlines on the cover. Inside, the headlines and the bylines are the same size, whereas the former should be about double the size of  the latter. It really is worth taking great care over layout; if it is slipshod, your readers’ patience is strained.

Then there is Peadar’s own editorial. In a pontificate when modernism is tightening its grip on the Church,  it seems almost perverse to tiptoe around  the Argentine elephant in the living room while devoting almost a page to yet another bash at the Society of St Pius X.  The Pixies are pygmies in the overall scheme of things, (although traditionalists have reason to be grateful to them). Whether or not they are schismatic is a moot point. Rome says they  are not. Who cares?

Peadar says the BR is not a traditionalist publication. He’s right: it is becoming rather Neo-Catholic.

Buy it all the same: it deserves your support.

September 1, 2015

Pope’s Present for the Pixies

Francis is certainly the Pope of surprises. The following comes  at  the conclusion of a letter issued today, dealing with the Extraordinary Year of Mercy: 

A final consideration concerns those faithful who for various reasons choose to attend churches officiated by priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X. This Jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one. From various quarters, several Brother Bishops have told me of their good faith and sacramental practice, combined however with an uneasy situation from the pastoral standpoint. I trust that in the near future solutions may be found to recover full communion with the priests and superiors of the Fraternity. In the meantime, motivated by the need to respond to the good of these faithful, through my own disposition, I establish that those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins.

This is surely of immense significance.  It means that not just those who always attend SSPX Masses, but  people like you and I, who might do so occasionally (or even not at all?) will be able to go to the SSPX chapel in Mounttown or Shanakiel, confess our sins and receive absolution.  And as Fr John Zuhlsdorf suggests, just as Richard  Nixon, against all expectations, turned out to be the first American president capable of negotiating successfully with Communist China,  could it be that  Francis is the Pope destined to reconcile the Pixies? It seems unlikely, but (as the late Frank Sheed once said) there’s no knowing what the Holy Ghost may have up his sleeve.

And another thing. For the past year or more,  many have complained—with justice, in my opinion—that the Holy Father seems to believe in Mercy for unrepentant sodomites, adulterers and all manner  of heretics, but not for people who hold fast to Tradition. It would be nice to think today’s announcement is a harbinger of Mercy on a wider scale. Wait and see whether the draconian restrictions on the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate are lifted: if they are, we’ll know for sure.

Some neo-conservative Catholics with an almost pathological dislike for the SSPX will be appalled by the Pope’s bold move. I’m thinking in particular of  Michael Voris and his brash ChurchMilitant.TV, a site I admire in many ways. I rather suspect he will find some way of telling his followers that of course, nothing has really changed. But hasn’t it?


May 14th, 2015

Ascension Thursday Sunday

 Betook me to the Pixies this morning.  It really annoys me that Newchurch  has virtually abolished one of the greatest Holy Days,  transferring it to the following Sunday just to  spare us lazy laity a little inconvenience. After all, from early church times onwards the Ascension has been the third most important feast in the Christian calendar.
It was, of course, a quiet, decent, reverent Low Mass of the Ascension at the Society of St Pius X  church of St John, Mounttown, Dun Laoghaire.   No seventh-rate ordained clown goofing around on the altar; no painfully embarrassing bidding prayers; no mangled rubrics. At an SSPX Mass you don’t find yourself wondering whether Our Lord is truly present.  I’m really grateful to them for that, so I put quite a generous offering in the collection basket. Thanks, Pixies; I  wish you were back where you belong, and I really think you ought to be, but I quite appreciate why you think that’s not possible at present.

February 20th, 2015

 Sedevacantism is Not the Solution—Hang on in There

From time to time good  people send e-mails expressing deep concern about the desperate state of the Church during the present pontificate. Some are clearly tempted towards sedevacantism.  In my worst moments I feel the attraction of this temptation myself, but I am quite sure it is one that must be resisted—for many reasons. Chief among these is that sedevacantism is a false concept: but even if you are not sure about that, you mustn’t desert the ship: that’s exactly what the Modernists want you to do.

I am not a theologian—just an elderly retired hack journalist (what Belloc called “an unsuccessful literary man, with an indolent expression and an undulating throat”) so I am not qualified to give comfort to the perplexed. However, I have found, not for the first time, that Fr John Hunwicke has some very sound and reassuring  advice which I have taken to heart. Here it is:

I doubt whether acceptance of the authority of the Roman Pontiff has been in as weakened a state as it is now, at least since the Reformation. His authority is questioned on all sides.

During a recent Home Service Sunday programme, the BBC had a Tablet journalist for interview. She said very openly that St John Paul’s proscription of the idea that women could receive sacerdotal Ordination was a great shame, but that she had no doubt that, eventually, Women’s Ordination would come. She exhibited no nervousness that she was thereby contradicting, fully frontally, the requirement that this judgement, as an authoritative expression of the Church’s infallible Ordinary Universal Magisterium, must be seen as definitive tenendum. She did not sound like somebody speaking defiantly in the fear that she would be carpetted the next morning by Authority!

On the other wing, we have among many people a great fear that the Holy Father will oversee either a reversal of Christ’s and the Church’s teaching that Marriage is indissoluble, or else a relaxing of the principle that unrepented adultery, like any other unrepented grave sin, has to be seen as a factor excluding those concerned from the Lord’s Table.

I have read on the Internet an observation: ‘I would become sedevacantist and go off to the SSPX’.

This is an extraordinarily odd thing to say, because the SSPX has a wise long-term policy of excluding sedevacantists from its ranks. But, apart from that, there is here a bad misunderstanding of what Sedevacantism is. Catholic theologians are agreed that a heretic cannot be pope, but have differed about how this principle is to be given practical effect. Some have argued that a heretical pontiff ceases to be pope when he adopts his heresy, but that a direct intervention by the Church is needed to certify that the See of St Peter has thus become vacant. Others judge that the heretical pope does not ipso facto cease to be pope, but has to be deposed by a direct intervention by the Church. In either case, this is not an area for do-it-yourself experts on heresy. Sedevacantism is not an option. If you are the sort of person who can see no reason to accept my authority on this point … because, after all, I do talk a lot but how can anybody be sure my judgements aren’t dodgy? … this might mean that you are also the sort of person who would be more impressed by a series of posts on Bishop Richard Williamson’s blog a few weeks ago in which he exposed the complete inviability of Sedevacantism, its radically vitiating ecclesiological deficit.

Two points. Despite the anxieties entertained by the Intellectuals on both sides of this question … the Traditionalists and the Tablettentendenz … I see no grounds for panic. I see no practical likelihood whatsoever that anything will happen to put into doubt our duty, in our day-by-day Christian life, to adhere obediently to the judgements of the Roman Pontiff. But … let’s be honest … there have been in history occasions when Roman Pontiffs have wobbled in their adherence to orthodoxy …. Liberius and all that. In these circumstances, there does have to be a duty to resist that wobble and to decline to give effect to edicts purporting to enact the wobble. But here is the Red Line: at Vatican I, a great deal of historical work was done to ensure that the Decree on the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff was so worded as not to be vulnerable on such historical grounds. It is watertight. We can be sure that whatever a pope says ex cathedra is protected by the Holy Spirit from any error (but even here, we are not obliged to believe either that the decree concerned was necessary, or that it expressed things in the best of all possible ways). But it is not unknown for a papal decree which falls short of the ex cathedra status to be flawed. Of course, that cannot be a good position for the Church to be in. But it is not some sort of Ultimate Catastrophe! The Church survived Liberius! And so did the Papacy! And, to the end of time, both will survive!

It is very important to remember the limits of the Papal Magisterium. This is best done by a careful reading of the decree Pastor aeternus of Vatican I. That is the touchstone. Do not exaggerate, overestimate, what a pope can do, and then, when some pope or other goes a bit off the rails, or you think he has, start running around in a frantic fear that you have ‘lost your faith’. The pope is not an Absolute Monarch. Blessed Pius IX made this very explicitly clear. Benedict XVI taught this with determined vigour. This is serious! The Pope is not some God-on-Earth who can never make a mistake! Not a few of them have made quite a lot. There is no reason why the same should not be true in the future. Learn not to fret! Learn to live with it, as so many Catholics in previous generations have done! And if you’re the sort of person who can laugh at it, laugh. In any case, sit yourself down comfortably, pour yourself a drink … and learn the following off by heart:

‘The Holy Spirit was not promised to Peter’s successors so that they should, by His revelation, disclose new teaching, but so that, with His assistance, they should devoutly guard and faithfully set forth the revelation handed down through the apostles, the Deposit of Faith.’


February 12, 2015

John Senior and ‘The Sacrifice of Fools’

(I originally wrote this piece for  issue 43 of the Brandsma Review)  

Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools.

Ecclesiastes, 5:1.(KJV)

John Senior, who died on April 8, 1999, was a real campus radical. During the 1970s, with two other academics, he appalled the liberal establishment by setting up a hugely successful Integrated Humanities Programme in the University of Kansas. Senior, a classicist, with English specialists Dennis Quinn and Frank Nelick were regarded as heretics by their colleagues because they taught that the great books of Western civilisation were of permanent value—not just culturally-conditioned artefacts. Their reading lists began with the Greek and Roman classics and went on to cover modern American literature. Although all three were Catholics, only a handful of their set books were specifically Christian.

Nevertheless, totally against the tide, their course resulted in hundreds of conversions to the Church, without any proselytism on their part. This was partly because, in Quinn’s words, the three began their courses by restoring their pupils’ faith in reason. One of these converts, Fr James Conley, explained:

What the programme did was to introduce me to goodness, truth and beauty for the very first time—through literature, music, the classic authors—and it was presented in such a way that if you had an open heart, you couldn’t help falling in love…And as I pursued this love, it led me into the Roman Catholic Church, which is where I found the fulfilment of goodness, truth and beauty.

The success of Senior, Quinn and Nelick infuriated the establishment, who hurled wild accusations of brainwashing and cult activities. Some parents of converted students complained to the university, and a local Unitarian minister formed an organisation with the bizarrely Orwellian title, “Committee for Academic and Religious Freedom”, with the aim of abolishing the course. To its shame, the Kansas archdiocese, embarrassed by the controversy, opposed the programme. Although an investigation cleared the three of any wrongdoing, the faculty assembly abolished it all the same. As for the allegations of cult activities, the three professors brought a libel suit which was settled out of court in their favour.

John Senior’s influence has extended far beyond the Kansas campus. In his books The Death of Christian Culture and The Restoration of Christian Culture he expounds his theory of Western culture—a theory anathema both to secularist multiculturalists and to those Catholics who believe in “adapting” the faith to different peoples:

Culture, as in ‘agriculture’ is the cultivation of the soil from which men grow. To determine proper methods, we must have a clear idea of the crop. ‘What is man?’ the Penny Catechism asks, and answers: ‘A creature made in the image and likeness of God, to know, love and serve Him.’ Culture, therefore, clearly has this simple end, no matter how complex or difficult the means. Our happiness consists in a perfection that is no mere endless hedonistic whoosh through space and time, but the achievement of that definite love and knowledge which is final and complete. All the paraphernalia, intellectual, moral, social, psychological and physical, has this end: Christian culture is the cultivation of saints.

So, he argued, culture in the strict sense of the word is Christian culture.; and Christianity and Christian culture are inextricably one. As for the classical culture of Greece and Rome—the soil from which Christian culture grew—that too is unique:

Christ was born in the fullness of time into a definite place. Classical culture was and is the praeparatio fidei, its philosophy and literature the Egyptian gold and silver Christendom has taken on its pilgrimage. The Church has grown in a particular way and has always brought its habits with it so that wherever it has gone it has been a European thing—stretched, adapted, but essentially a European thing.

Senior argues that the concept of being—the realness of the real—is crucial to the Faith and informs the very language of Scripture. Without it, God, Creation and the Incarnation make no sense, and morality is meaningless. Opposed to it is the devil’s doctrine which takes many forms: the denial of any reality that exists independently of our perception. ‘The devil’s name is legion and his doctrine pluralism,’ according to Senior.

But now, he says, the devil’s doctrine has become the faith of the age, proclaimed in the media, in schools, in government—even in Catholic universities. Moreover, he maintains, it is

 …imposed on everyone with all the inquisitorial force of a fanatical self-righteousness which, contradicting the major articles of its own creed, such as ‘academic freedom’ and ‘freedom of religion’ or ‘separation of church and state’, definitively excludes the realist view and especially its Christian expression which has been dominant in Western civilisation since the conversion of Constantine.

The extreme expression of this denial of reality, according to Senior, is maya, the dangerous oriental falsehood that the world itself is an illusion. The whole thrust of Hinduism and Buddhism, he maintains, is to deny what Christianity radically affirms—Being—and ultimately everything that follows from it, including the self, truth and falsehood, and good and evil. Ironically,he adds, oriental thought has made inroads into Western culture partly because of the appeal of its monastic ideal, which has been repressed in our own culture.

In The Restoration of Christian Culture, Senior admits that his title is misleading, as he is ‘pessimistic but not gloomy’ about its chances in the foreseeable future:

I should rather cheer us up with the neat old truth that we are not meant to succeed in this world anyway but rather to do the job in front of us as best we can, because our hope is in the next. The twentieth is not a convenient century for Catholic triumphalism. There is no possibility in the general loss of Christian Culture that we could build a cathedral like Chartres or write a text like the Summa Theologica—or even, except for a few, understand them. St Thomas is still the Common Doctor of the Church but there aren’t many common Catholics. The whole of Christian culture, the seedbed of scholastic art and science, is depleted. We are in a dustbowl, as the Kansans used to say, and if you plant wheat, though it may sprout up, it will almost instantly wither in the drouth. There are many times in history, as in life, when the most difficult virtue of patience must be practised with a cheerful heart; we must even, as Chaucer says, ‘counterfeit cheere’, sure as we are in the knowledge that , as Milton put it, in the sonnet on his blindness, ‘They also serve who only stand and wait’.

Our task, says Senior, is primarily spiritual, and in a sublime passage he explains why it must therefore be centred on the Mass:

Whatever we do in the political and social order, the indispensable foundation is prayer, the heart of which is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the perfect prayer of Christ Himself, Priest and Victim, recreating in an unbloody manner the bloody, selfsame Sacrifice of Calvary. What is Christian culture? It is essentially the Mass. That is not my or anyone’s opinion or theory or wish but the central fact of two thousand years of history. Christendom, what secularists call Western Civilisation, is the Mass and the paraphernalia which protect and facilitate it. All architecture, art, political and social forms, economics, the way people live and feel and think, music, literature—all these things when they are right, are ways of fostering and protecting the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. To enact a sacrifice, there must be an altar; an altar has to have a roof over it in case it rains; to reserve the Blessed Sacrament, we build a little House of Gold and over it a Tower of Ivory with a bell and a garden round about it with the roses and lilies of purity, emblems of the Virgin Mary—Rosa Mystica, Turris Davidica, Turris Eburnea, Domus Aurea, who carried his Body and Blood in her womb, Body of her body, Blood of her blood. And around the church and garden, where we bury the faithful dead, the caretakers live, the priests and religious whose work is prayer, who keep the Mystery of Faith in its tabernacle of music and words in the Office of the Church; and around them, the faithful who gather to worship and divide the other work that must be done in order to make the perpetuation of the Sacrifice possible—to raise the food and make the clothes and build and keep the peace so that generations to come may live for Him, so that the Sacrifice goes on even until the consummation of the world.

Thus far, all traditional Catholics—and even many conservatives who prefer the New Mass—would agree with him. But Senior would accept nothing less than the restoration of the old Mass, describing the new rite as a disaster—even while recognising its validity. He used to attend Masses of the Society of St Pius X (for lack of anything better) even though he disagreed with some of their attitudes and always worked to unite them with other Catholic traditionalists. He explained:

I don’t feel any danger of schism or any of those things. I think the Church is in such a bad way that—well, as Michael Davies puts it, if Weakland is in, who the hell is going to say the Society is out? You don’t have to be a canon lawyer to answer questions like that. When the ship goes down, there’s a point at which the captain says, Every man for himself. You grab what you can get. So I’ve been very grateful to them for this. Sure, they have their problems—any splinter group does. When you lose the pope, you lost the principle of unity.

His very close relationship with the Society of St Pius X would make many traditional Catholics (including this editor) somewhat uneasy. But those of us who have endured the farcical celebrations imposed in so many Irish parishes will understand the frustration expressed in his poem, The Sacrifice of Fools (though we don’t yet have the cavorting girls in leotards):

Et tu, Ecclesia? O Lord

Avenge thy mutilated Word,

This slaughtered liturgy whose bones

Lie scattered on the altar stones!

The possibility of prayer

Persists upon the dentist’s chair;

Not even instruments that drill

Banish all that’s beautiful.

God is everywhere we seek,

Save this Hour every week,

When all that’s crackpot, cruel and crass

Celebrates itself at Mass—

That smiler conjuring his gods,

Cavorting girls in leotards!

O Peter raise thy two-edged sword

and send them to their just reward,

Just one terrible swift slice

To restore the Sacrifice!

Holy Father, knees are bent:

Rome is not so far from Trent.

Even in the summer slum,

Angels of the night are near,

And mothers to the rooftops come

To kiss away a childish tear.

Across the scarlet battlefield,

come to those who are afraid,

Jesus, once a little child,

Mary, mother mild and maid.

Or is it now impossible

Because “the Sacrifice shall fail”

(See Chapter Nine in Daniel)?

Senior was an early advocate of orthodox Catholic ghettos, where parents would set up genuine Catholic schools and give their children a proper upbringing protected, as far as possible, from the destructive secular culture. He said we must consecrate hearts, homes, schools and parishes to Mary—because Christian culture had been “founded in the humus of her humility assumed into Heaven, drawing us up”.

In spite of his pessimism, Senior insisted that these were wonderful times to be alive, precisely because we had nothing left to rely on but God. One of our problems was that we had “blurred the distinction between being happy and being blessed, confusing the strong and sometimes bitter Catholic wine with the juice of the Liberal Protestant grape”:

Anyone who says that Christ will make you happy hasn’t tried Him much, hasn’t even got on to the Camino Real, let alone very far along it, because the Royal Way is the Way of the Cross.

But he certainly knew the meaning of real Christian hope, as summed up in this little poem whose irony may be grasped more readily by evangelical Protestants, well steeped in the Old and New Testaments, than by many Catholics:

Praise death, that Sahara

Barren as Sarah, or Elizabeth.

Yes, if there is to be a restoration of Catholic tradition, then John Senior was its John the Baptist—a voice crying in the wilderness, making straight the way of the Lord. After his funeral his son Andrew pointed out that thousands of people had been praying over the past year for John’s recovery:

I firmly believe that no prayer goes unanswered; when it seems so, as now, God has even greater blessings in store. I believe that all those prayers will be answered, in ways we haven’t even imagined. If I could have one wish as to how, it would be what he himself laboured and prayed for, what Our Lord Himself prayed forut unum sint…If all traditionalists were united, Rome would be inundated, and the tide might begin to turn in earnest.

Much of the material in this article is based on a piece on John Senior by Jeffrey Rubin in the July-August 1993 issue.of Latin Mass magazine, 1331 Red Cedar Circle, Ft. Collins, CO 80524, USA.

November 18, 2014

Bishop Semeraro and the Pixies

Bishop Semeraro of Albano in Italy has taken it upon himself to excommunicate lay people who attend Masses of the Society of St Pius X. Now, I hold no brief for the Pixies (who can be extremely tiresome, see below) but His Lordship is talking through his nasty little sawn-off mitre and I hope he is ignored.

Many years ago now, the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Liturgical Texts (whose job it is to clarify such matters) declared that while bishops and priests of the SSPX could be considered excommunicate, in the case of lay people…

…Those who participate occasionally and without the intention to adhere formally to the positions of the Lefebvrist movement towards the Holy Father do not incur the penalty of excommunication.

And the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei declared, in answer to an inquirer…

1. In the strict sense you may fulfill your Sunday obligation by attending a Mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of Saint Pius X.

2…If your intention is simply to participate in Mass according to the 1962 Missal for the sake of devotion, this would not be a sin.

3. It would seem that a modest contribution to the collection at Mass could be justified….

It all seems clear enough. So why do we  now have this nasty piece of bullying from a bishop who is regarded as being close to the Holy Father?

A contributor to the combox of Fr John Zuhlsdorf summed up the present situation in the the Albano diocese rather well, with this offering which is meant to be sung “in your best Bob Dylan voice”:

Oh yeah, we gotta luhhhhve one another!

No rules gunnah work for me!

I just wannuh be free to luhhhhhhhhve my brother!

Even if it’s carnally!

Them hardline conservatives are so full of hate! They don’t know how to luuuuhhhhhve!

They judge everybody with their mean ol’ rules,  Jes’ coz they come from abuuuuhhhhhve!

He concludes:

So if you “love” another man, or a woman you’re not sacramentally married to (switch genders if need be) then the church ought to welcome you with open arms, without judging, but if you’re in love with the way the church USED to be before they changed it…?

No love songs for you. Conform or you’re outta here.

However, as I made clear above, I’m not too keen on the SSPX. Two reasons:

1.  At St John’s in Mounttown, Co. Dublin, the main SSPX church in Ireland, I was handed an official leaflet which stated, inter alia, that one could be excused one’s Sunday obligation if one could only attend either the Novus Ordo or what was then described as the indult Mass (celebrated by a priest in communion with the ordinary of the diocese.)

2. I was recently told of a Pixie priest in the West of England, who preached about the Remembrance Sunday ceremonies in London, and about how the Queen had been praying at the cenotaph. “Of course, said Father, “God would not hear her prayers.”


Who’s ‘Damaging Women’s Health’ ?

There is something quite brazen about the way TDS of  not only the Labour Party,  but also Fine Gael, now openly defend the indefensible when it comes to abortion. You are unlikely to have read this news release from the Pro-Life Campaign in any of the Big Media outlets, so I’m publishing it here.

The Pro Life Campaign has criticised Fine Gael TD Olivia Mitchell over remarks she made in a Sunday newspaper attacking those involved in an undercover investigation that exposed life-endangering counselling practices at clinics run by the taxpayer-funded Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA).

Deputy Mitchell was responding to news that the DPP does not intend to prosecute the IFPA over the dangerous advice they gave to women in crisis pregnancy. In yesterday’s Sunday Times, Deputy Mitchell welcomed the DPP’s decision not to prosecute and she said that undercover investigations like the one carried out are potentially “damaging to women’s health.”

Responding to Deputy Mitchell’s comments, Cora Sherlock, Deputy Chairperson of the Pro Life Campaign said:

‘It is an absolute disgrace the way Deputy Mitchell has chosen to vent her anger at those who carried out the undercover investigation and not those who gave life-endangering advice to women. By adopting this stance she is displaying a crass disregard for women’s health. It is simply ridiculous to claim that exposing life-endangering practices somehow damages women’s health. The refusal of so many politicians to condemn what was going on in IFPA clinics is a very graphic illustration of how one-sided the debate on abortion is at present.’

Ms Sherlock continued, ‘The fact that the DPP is not prosecuting in this particular case does not mean that the story ends there. The undercover investigation team proved that pregnancy counsellors were telling women to lie about their own medical history, advising them to take illegal abortion drugs without medical supervision and telling them not to tell their doctors if they had complications arising from the abortion.’

‘The way Deputy Mitchell has sought to downplay this scandal is appalling. The women of Ireland deserve better than this from their public representatives,’ Ms Sherlock concluded.