Peter Stanford and the Liberal Delusion

The real 'spirit' of St Francis of Assisi
Peter Stanford takes his oh so trendy liberal agenda over to The Telegraph today in which he calls upon His Holiness to really 'knuckle down' this year (I could do with a job myself, Peter - any tips?) and put all the things he hasn't said but that liberals claim he has said (which he hasn't) in writing in the Church's law. What Planet is this Mr Stanford on? It's not Planet Catholic, that's for sure.

The Faulty Blueprint

Basically, Your Holiness, in your desire to 'reform' the Church, you've been handed a real gift here with a template that has fallen like dew from Heaven upon the pages of a national newspaper. Not only is Peter so important that he writes for a national newspaper, but he also used to edit The Catholic Herald. Is there a Latin American prelate who doesn't read The Catholic Herald? Surely not! Therefore, if Peter's isn't a voice that should be heeded, I ask you, what is? For Peter has spoken!

Mr Stanford used to be Editor of a Catholic weekly newspaper so I think you have in Peter a wise and steadfast counsellor. He's a lay Catholic man, who doesn't seem to believe there is much in Church teaching to be admired, but there is no reason why his blueprint for the radical overthrow of the Catholic religion shouldn't be implemented. I mean, what could go wrong? He's called Peter, isn't he? That's got to be enough!

Protect the Pope has done a fine job of breaking his atrocious article down into manageable chunks of distasteful ramblings. We are receiving here 'the Pope of the media'. I have to admit that this papacy is one that confuses me and rarely consoles me, but at least journalists (especially Catholic ones) should give Francis respect enough to be truthful about what he has said and what he has not said with regard to the Church's teachings which 'simply must go, darling'. The article is not so much about Pope Francis as what Peter Stanford and his unbelieving Catholic mates want Pope Francis to do. Why didn't he just entitle it, 'What I would do if I was Pope' or, 'What I want the Pope to do: A dissident Catholic speaks out'?

Make no mistake, though, for just as the media drove the fierce prejudice that faced Benedict XVI, so the media are driving the confusion that surrounds Pope Francis. In the case of Benedict XVI, they used smears and vindictiveness (with not a small dose of pure lies) to taint his pontificate, but with Francis they are using his manner and off-the-cuff informal style (with not a small dose of pure lies) to make out of Pope Francis a kind of 'action man' figure that they can dress in liberal clothing.

However, that's not really very fair on the Pope because even if much about him remains enigmatic, Peter (that's the Pope, not Mr Stanford) has spoken on some issues and made his thoughts clear. On all these matters he has restated, if in a less than emphatic manner, the Church's clear and consistent teachings. These issues include abortion, women's ordination, divorce and remarriage (at least in conversation with Cardinal Meisner relayed to the media) and homosexuality.

How to Overthrow the Church's Doctrine: A Brief Guide




Now, you can argue that his statements on each did not strike unmitigated terror into the hearts of the enemies of the Church, but you cannot argue that he has 'okayed' abortion in any circumstances, said two guys doing it with each other is 'legit', that he wants those living in adultery to receive Holy Communion or that the door is 'open' to women's ordination. In fact, the door is 'closed', to which Peter Stanford thinks, 'Ah yes, but you're so nice you could always open it and all the other doors while you're at it. Oh go on, please open the door. I was always taught to hold doors open for ladies. Are you not a gentleman, Your Holiness?' 

Ah Peter, Peter, Peter - so knowledgeable about Catholic affairs, and yet so naive. For all his knowledge, walking Catholic encyclopedia, Peter Stanford, hasn't worked out yet that if Pope Francis permits the opening of any of these doors, it will only be because His Holiness has, by the end of his papacy, divested the Papal Office of any real power and authority and given the keys to the doors to Bishops Conferences who have created 'national Churches'. When asked about how a Pope can be okay with all that could be done in his name by renegade Bishops Conferences, Peter (that's the Pope) would in that situation be able to say, "Nothing to do with me, guv, that's something to take up with your Bishop because I am merely a humble Bishop of Rome, a servant of the servants". 
 
A fine head of hair, but a faulty blueprint
Remember, Mr Stanford, His Holiness cannot actually rip up Holy Scripture, bin all Catholic Tradition and cast the words of Christ, the Doctors of the Church, the Church Fathers and his own Predecessors too and cast it all into a warm fire in St Peter's Square to comfort the frost-bitten hands of the homeless of Rome because if he did that, even atheists would say, 'This Pope's gone insane! He's actually destroying the Church! Way to go, Frankie! I really love this Pope, but he's kind of scary too and, in a weird way, I'm going to miss the Catholic Church telling me I live wrong..."

Faithful Catholics may not feel wholly comfortable with the direction in which Francis is taking the Church, but it is more loyal to the Successor of St Peter to honestly express your concerns about certain matters on the basis that they were upheld with far more rigour by his Predecessors, than it is to just plainly tell untruths about his public statements and twist them to mean something that on paper they simply do not. Even if Peter Stanford and Peter in Rome were on the same page in terms of divorcing the Church from Her Divine Founder, Pope Francis could not sit down in his office and write a document proclaiming, 'It is no longer a sin to commit the act of sodomy/procure an abortion/use artificial contraception because I say so, so there, signed, Pope Francis' because even atheists would say, 'Hang on, there's something not quite right here. This guy thinks he's God!' 
 
Admittedly, with Benedict XVI, the mass media and the Catholic media-men who actually could neither stand nor understand him didn't get much opportunity to twist his public statements to mean something they did not, or in order to make them sound like Benedict XVI wanted to take a pick axe to Catholic doctrine. Perhaps this was because he was so well known from his time at the CDF, that such would have been impossible. They knew who he was from 'word go' and hated him for it. With Francis it is the complete opposite, with the 'hopes and fears of all the years' being foisted on the little known golden boy Pope from the end of the World, who they hope is a raging liberal that wants to sanction sin in an official capacity from the Papal Throne, ex cathedra. Liberals! Give up! It will never happen!

'Doctrinal Authority': Best Kept in Rome, Under the Primacy of Peter, Guardian of the Deposit of Faith

Mr Stanford. If ever a Pope wanted to do the repulsive things to the Bride of Christ that you would have him do, he would have to do so while remaining ostensibly 'a loyal son of the Church', otherwise everyone would figure out his role in the cunning plan immediately and many would proclaim him to be an anti-pope, so the official papal overturning of Catholic doctrine is, in any case, rather unlikely and one headline I can more or less guarantee that won't be appearing during this papacy (or any other) is: 'Party-time in Rome: Pope Signs New Church Law Saying There is No Such Thing As Sin'. It would just be too obvious.
German Bishops: Not exemplary promoters of Catholic Doctrine

However, sending Magisterial or 'Doctrinal Authority' away from Peter and Rome and giving it to heretical Bishops who can no longer be censured by the CDF which has been absorbed by individual 'Diocesan Doctrinal Safeguarding Departments' staffed by another level of mindless Diocesan bureaucracy?

Well, that might just do the trick and such a Pontiff could still remain humble and self-effacing in the eyes of both Urbi et Orbi because he's 'just delegating'. If any Pope wanted to overthrow Catholic Doctrine he would have to have the utmost discretion and be incredibly shrewd, the long-formulated plan so neat and so smart and well-disguised that it would be unlikely that he himself dreamt it up.

No offense, but no one person is that clever. It would have to be a either a simply mind-blowingly sophisticated conspiracy operated through secretive and very well connected networks or an incredibly silly mistake by a Successor of St Peter whose preoccupation for 'all things new' blinded him to believe they would lead to 'all things bright and beautiful' and for which the whole Church would pay dearly for years, decades, centuries to come unless Divine Intervention of an immense proportion stepped in.

Let's hope and pray such a thing never happens, eh, Mr Stanford, well, apart from the Divine Intervention bit, to which we Catholics should always look forward with devout hope. Viva Christo Rey! Whatever happens, the Gates of Hell shall never prevail and the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph in the end so, chin up, Peter and quit fantasising that the Pope's going to sign sin a 'blank cheque' from the Throne. It's not going to happen!

 The Real St Francis of Assisi
 

Last, but not least, to top it all off, a Catholic journalist whose writings have consistently been given steam by the 'spirit of the Second Vatican Council' and now the 'spirit of Pope Francis' which are both in contradiction to what is written down on paper, could not complete an article without including the 'spirit of St Francis of Assisi'.
He [Pope Francis] immediately signalled a revolution by naming himself after the 12th-century saint who turned his back on his wealthy upbringing and lived with the poor.
Hard as nails: St Francis of Assisi
Honestly! Canonized soon after his death, the mystic, ascetic, stigmatic, seraphic St Francis of Assisi upheld and preached with zeal, with every fibre of his being, the Catholic doctrines that you, Mr Stanford, despise and wish to see overthrown. His life was in union with Jesus Christ. He did not simply 'turn his back on his wealthy upbringing and live with the poor'. He chose, after having been invited by Our Lord Jesus Christ, to serve Him in holy poverty, holy obedience and holy chastity, embracing the rough-hewn Cross of his Redeemer, rejoicing in it and leaving behind family and friends to found an Order dedicated to the Salvation of Souls.

The fact remains that just about any old heretic can turn his back on privilege and live with the poor, but in order to become a Saint, certain things - like faithfulness to the Magisterium - are a prerequisite. Some evidence of the supernatural and the miraculous might be an added bonus and St Francis of Assisi had it in abundance and, if you have founded a holy Order for the spiritual renewal of the Holy Catholic Church then, well, all the better! I would like to see Pope Francis, who has warned the Church about a spirit of worldiness have the courage to preach, in like manner as did his 12th century namesake, the message of repentance preached by St Francis of Assisi and the entire Cloud of Witnesses down the centuries, because when it came to preaching the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ, St Francis of Assisi was not just a 12th century man who rejected wealth and lived with the poor. His insistence on the divine truths contained within the Ark of Salvation that is the Church was 'hard as nails'.

At the moment, Pope Francis is modelling good Christian behaviour in the public eye. I do hope and indeed pray that His Holiness, too, like his medieval Seraphic namesake, will also soon preach the infallible truths of the One True Church, 'in season, out of season'. I pray that His Holiness will 'reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.' Come on, Your Holiness, have courage and be not afraid! Someone's got to put these heretics in their place! We are all rooting for you!

Comments

viterbo said…
Thanks for the reality-check St Francis 'toon. Another reality check, the prayer of St Francis, the 'make me an instrument of thy peace etc.' is only a hundred years old and has been shown to have nothing to do with the Holy Man.

A falsehood is a falsehood and should be reddressed.

Unknown said…
Thank you Bones. This as helped a lot to steady me. Happy New Year!

Chloe xxxxx
mrs meadowsweet said…
Happy New Year, Laurence - and ad multos annos - for your good work... here's your Sunshine Award for blogging fun.... http://mrsmeadowsweet.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/sunshine/
Celia said…
'He has certainly restored my faith in my Church- up to a point' (quotation courtesy of PTP).
Peter, how is it 'your Church' if you have no faith in it? And anyway it was Christ's Church last time I checked. And His Holiness, as people seem to need constantly reminding, is Peter, not Christ.

The trouble is Francis in his first few months concentrated so much on being a nice, doctrine-free,non-judgmental zone that he handed 'liberals' (are we allowed to say 'heretics'?)a blank screen on which to project all their fantasies. I know, I had some awful conversations with fellow-parishioners who could hardly contain their delight. I think he has begun to realise that no, most Catholics, let alone journalists, do not realise that of course he takes the Catechism as read. His more formal utterances are usually quite clear,probably because they're written by someone else and frequently cite Pope Benedict, but it's his off-the-cuff musings that get the press coverage and they tend, still,to be capable of creative interpretation.
Mike said…
Various people over the ages have claimed to have discovered the real Bible, notably Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormons. He ‘found’ the Book of Mormon and claimed that the early Church departed from the faith taught by Jesus Christ in an event known as ‘the Great Apostasy’. Maybe Mr Stanford is another latter day saint who has discovered the real texts of Jesus’ teaching. Maybe somewhere in Mr Stanford’s back garden he found a pile of old books written in ancient languages which only he was able to decipher. From these ancient texts he is able to show that Jesus never said, “Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband, commmitteth adultery.” (Matt 5:31-32). Instead, what Jesus really said was, “If it’s okay with you then it’s okay with me. Don’t worry about controlling your passions. Just do what pleases you. And another thing, in later ages they will accuse me of condemning homosexual love. I want you to know that I never said that. Love is a human construct and the nature of love is something which each person can decide for him or herself. And all that garbage about Peter: it’s just a load of nonsense. As if I would want my Church to be absolutely certain about what I said. Get a grip. No, what I really, really want is for obscure, little laypeople to come along and tell the Church what it should say.”