Thought for the Day: Catherine Pepinster is a Closet Protestant

'Your Holiness: In order to please Catherine, lose the gold. Why not wear denim?'
Catherine Pepinster on Thought for the Day on Radio 4. First Catherine discusses the Passion of Our Lord and goes on:

"...Rather than people paying homage to Him, He will be mocked. Perhaps it was grief at that mockery that led the churches to focus so much on Christ the King but they seem to have turned themselves into a sort of court. Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals wear sumptuous vestments, Altars are awash with ornate gold and silver, the people who run the churches belong to strangely Byzantine bureaucracies. Yearning for the transcendent has been replaced by the material."

Several things cross my mind when I listen to these words of Catherine Pepinster. First, did Our Lady chastise the Magi who brought to Her Divine Son gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh? Secondly, this is, fundamentally, Protestantism that Catherine Pepinster is promoting - the stripped Altars of the Protestant Reformation, the destruction of beauty, the tearing down of the sacred, to replace it with only with the human.

Pepinster: Editrix of an unpopular Protestant magazine
When are these liberal progressives going to understand that while it is true that Jesus was and is 'meek and humble of heart', the Church, in Her great wisdom, has always built Churches and designed liturgy in order to aid the praise and worship of God. Catherine, like many, is under the impression that 'sumptuous vestments' are about the wearers of the vestments. They are not.

They are about Christ the Priest, Prophet and King in whose place the clergy and the Hierarchy stand 'in persona Christi' during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Have you never noticed, Catherine, that Priests do not wear sumptuous vestments at any time other than during Holy Mass and that at other times of the day they're probably wearing something from Primark? It is not about the person celebrating Mass or about the community. It is about the Person of Jesus Christ.

Yes, it is true that our King reigns from a Cross. Yes, it is true that His 'Kingdom is not of this World'. Yes, it is true that our King rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. However, just because Jesus is humble - just because God is Humility - does not mean that Jesus is not a King, nor does it mean He is not Divine. See, Catherine, the Majesty of God we should declare and we should be in awe of it. Churches are meant to inspire a sense of awe. Everything about the Church is meant to point to not just the Humanity of Christ, but to His Divinity. Recall that before the Passion, was the Transfiguration. We should be in awe and in this great season of Lent, prostrate ourselves before the God and Man and King who was fastened to the weighty Cross by our sins. The Lord Jesus came to us, meek and merciful as the Lamb of God, but, when He returns at the End of Time we shall see Him as the terrible Judge of all the nations.

The prophet Daniel was given a vision of the true King. Here it is:

'I beheld till thrones were placed, and the Ancient of days sat: his garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like clean wool: his throne like flames of fire: the wheels of it like a burning fire. A swift stream of fire issued forth from before him: thousands of thousands ministered to him, and ten thousand times a hundred thousand stood before him: the judgment sat, and the books were opened. I beheld because of the voice of the great words which that horn spoke: and I saw that the beast was slain, and the body thereof was destroyed, and given to the fire to be burnt: And that the power of the other beasts was taken away: and that times of life were appointed them for a time, and time. I beheld therefore in the vision of the night, and lo, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and he came even to the Ancient of days: and they presented him before him. And he gave him power, and glory, and a kingdom: and all peoples, tribes and tongues shall serve him: his power is an everlasting power that shall not be taken away: and his kingdom that shall not be destroyed.'
The 'son of man', the 'Ancient of days' is, of course, the same Man that rode into Jersusalem on a donkey. This is the same Man who comes to us so humbly as to be concealed under the guise of bread and wine. What is this Man's name? This Man's name is Jesus Christ. Let us familiarise ourselves with the Majesty of God in the Church's sacred ceremonies, Catherine, since they are but a pale reflection, a glass into which we peer darkly, of the power and the glory of our God, who dwells in that World without end, the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of God. The gold, the silver, the sumptuous vestments are not materials that are used in the Church's buildings and liturgy for their own sakes, or to make Priests 'look and feel fabulous'. You seek the transcendent? May I recommend the Traditional Latin Mass, Catherine.

These items are employed by the Church because, frankly, just because our King is so humble as to condescend from His Heavenly Throne to us at every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, a King He is now and always will be and He should be treated and worshipped as He is - as the Almighty God that He is. These things also help us to see, in the Mass, that Jesus is not just man, but God also! Why be stingy with God, Catherine? Why be like Judas when God has given us the time to be like St Mary Magdalen? If the Lord had come the first time to earth in the manner He will come at the End of Time, would anyone be able to abide it? How shall we stand before Him 'with confidence' but for His pledge that we shall be risen and glorified if we follow Him and give Him glory? Let us familiarise ourselves with the Majesty of God now, so that when, as we dearly hope, we shall see Him as He truly is, we will not be wondering why the Cherubim and Seraphim are not behaving or wearing something more, 'Low Church', as they prostrate themselves before the Thrice Holy, the Almighty and Ever Living God, crying, 'Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth...!'


Anonymous said…
A welcome post. Thank you.
What a miserable carping comment. I am not a devotee of the Tablet but it has a point of view which ought to be heard. Catherine Pepinister deserves to be treated seriously and she articulates an important truth in questioning some of the customs and ceremonies of the Church as these can alienate as well as attract. The Protestant in this altercation is Bones. You are asserting that Catholicism is only valid as long as it supports your version of it. That's much closer to the Strict Baptists than to the Universal Church.
The Bones said…
The Protestants were the ones who sought the stripping of the altars etc.

Amfortas said…
My recommendation is never listen to Thought for the Day. It will only ever upset you.
The Bones said…
If there is no such thing as 'low Church' in Heaven - where the Church is Triumphant and Glorious, why should there be a 'low Church' on Earth.

May I suggest advocates of 'low Church' don't believe in Heaven as the Catholic Church has always understood it - the ceaseless praising and worship of God.
P├ętrus said…
I think Ms Popehater is well and truly out of the closet!!
Hamish Redux said…
It's unfair to call her a closet Protestant - she has been a pretty consistent opponent of Pope Benedict and so much that he tried to do. Give her the credit of being an unashamed Protestant.
The ceaseless praising and worshipping of God will be perfect in Heaven. On earth we've changed, varied, added and subtracted to our puny efforts. I'm a traditionalist enthusiast for all the works but I've been moved and uplifted by the simplest of Masses in the most unprepossessing of places. Just let Miss Pepinster put her point and don't get so fashed with it all.
BJC said…
Whenever I read Catherine Pepinster's stuff I feel like having a puke. I always imagine some snotty privately educated girl talking down to everybody and lapping up the attention. As for her understanding of Catholic doctrine its woeful and its obvious she doesn't understand what the Magisterium of the Church is, development of doctrine or informed conscience. Not that she's bothered though because she thinks Clifford Longley is the Pope.

It would be nice to think CP would pick up a copy of the Catechism and read it but one gets the impression she thinks its beneath her and God needs to check it with her first before it goes off to the printers.
The Bones said…
Ms Pepinsters point is to strip the Mass of anything that would point or raise man's heart and soul to contemplate the Divine.
BJC said…
Forgot to add its highly likely CP doesn't know what 'in persona christi' means either and that's why she criticises the vestments, altars and so on. She doesn't realise this is what's going on.

As for the heavenly liturgy, forget it. She definitely doesn't know what that is.
Patrick said…
With regard to Frederick Oakeley's 18:40 comment above, the problem is that Ms Pepinster is the editor of a supposedly Catholic paper, yet here she is criticising the liturgical practice of the Church. She needs to study her Catechism: CCC 1145-1162 in particular, before sounding forth on the secular media on a controversial topic like this.