|Tahir Square: It's just like St Peter's Square, isn't it?|
I suppose that there are Catholics, I need name no names, who think of Pope Benedict XVI as a cold-hearted dictator sitting in the Vatican ordering his troops to fire live ammunition, water cannons and tear gas at dissident Catholics, but, as yet, I've had no phone call from the Vatican telling me to open fire on Austen Ivereigh. Taking aim at dissenting Catholics is something I do voluntarily.
That said, I did have a dream last night in which His Holiness came to me to reassure me that Summorum Pontificum will be defended and not to worry, but a dream is just a dream, isn't it? Here's what the writer, Richard Taylor of the Philadelphia Enquirer said in his article, 'Catholic Faithful Should Demonstrate Non-Violently'...
The Catholic Church isn't an Egyptian dictatorship, but its authority structure has many similar features. It is autocratic and totally top-down. It fears and crushes dissent. It disdains democracy, at least in its own structures. It is not accountable to its members, nor does it consult meaningfully with them.
When Catholics try to offer helpful ideas, we are rebuffed or ignored. More often than not, our leaders treat us like children who are to be seen but not heard, rather than thoughtful adults with talents, intelligence, and experience that the church desperately needs. Our protestations about priestly sex abuse and leaders' cover-ups fall on deaf ears.
Won't our beloved church continue to be held up to scorn for its actions until this medieval structure changes?
Can you believe that? An entire newspaper dedicated to spreadable cheese? Suffice to say that every time we Catholics commit sin with wilful consent we are taking place in our own little demonstration and rebellion against Christ and His Church, so there really is no need to descend upon St Peter's Square with placards. The Lord can see us. We don't even need placards. Other Catholics like to go further, of course, and to demonstrate against Christ and His Church by penning articles that undermine the Church's teaching on a range of issues, whether those issues be related to the transmission of human life, the dignity of human life from conception to death or the dignity and sacramental nature of marriage, the holy union for which human sexual relationships are exclusively reserved.
It was, I suppose, only a matter of time before a Catholic journalist looked at Egypt's Mubarak, or Libya's Gadaffi and likened them to Vatican City's Pope Benedict XVI. The truth of the matter, unfortunately, is that the 'dissidents' more or less took over the Church a long time ago and 'the revolution' was not so much televised as staged in more or less every parish Church and Diocesan House in the West for all the Faithful to see.
If you go to (more or less) any parish Church in the United Kingdom, for example, or even Italy, which as we know is rather near to St Peter's Square, will you find a high percentage of Priests with a Benedictine Altar arrangement? Will you find a high percentage of Priests 'towing the line' and speaking regularly about our need to be in a State of Grace in order to receive Holy Communion? Will you find a high percentage of Priests recommending that, really, the best way to receive Our Blessed Lord is to kneel because what, with our senses we perceive to be bread and wine, after Consecration, will be the Lord of Lords Himself? How many Priests or Bishops will you find who actually preach what the Church teaches on the evils of artificial contraception or even abortion? How many of these will you find who take what His Holiness has taught about the need for Sacred Liturgy that fosters prayer and respect for the Blessed Sacrament? How many will celebrate Mass Ad Orientem? How many follow his example of fidelity to Christ and holiness of life, for he truly is a model for all those ordained?
What is more, the truth is that dictatorship is really not the Benedictine way. Of course, every now and then he will make a polite appeal to Bishops to "recognise dissent for what it is", but doesn't he just say it so politely? He doesn't say, "You cockroaches had better start shaping up or else I'll get some Taliban Catholics to diss you on their blogs, you traitorous, wicked, drug-fuelled mice."
The truth of the matter is that if you really want to see "people power" in action, you need only read the blogs of Catholics loyal to the Magisterium and to the Holy Father, whether they be Priests or Lay Faithful. Nobody is telling us to do it and there are plenty of Priests and certainly Bishops who would really rather we did not remind them of their solemn duty to care for souls, to be true Shepherds to us, their flock and to 'preach the Gospel in season and out of season'. It goes without saying that this is always done in a non-violent manner.
The 'velvet revolution' achieved near globally by liberals within the Chuch may have been unbloody, but one certainly fears that countless souls paid a high price and, what is more, if you really want to know what a tyrant is, get a group of ten parishioners together to ask politely, or, if you want to 'walk like an Egyptian', demand, for your freedom to have the Traditional Latin Mass made available so that you may worship the Lord our God with liturgy that respects the great Mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Tell them that the highest authority within the Church, the Vicar of Christ, has explicity sanctioned your freedom, with Apostolic Authority, in asking for this. Then, await his response and then await the response of your Bishop. Believe me, real "people power" is the last thing that the vast majority of the Church's Priests and Bishops want to see. As for the Holy Father, well, His Holiness did permit it. You could even say that he liberated his people from tyranny. This the Successor of St Peter is doing not by ordering his troops to open fire, but with a step-by-step reform of the Universal Church because he knows that for the vast majority of parish Churches, anarchy is more or less the certified norm.