Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Troubling but Insightful Commentary on Vaughan School

The Noise of the Crusade has a thoughtful analysis of the Vaughan debacle which has been taken up by Offerimus Tibi Domine. For those of us, like me, who have been somewhat slow on the uptake of the plight of Vaughan parents, both are well worth reading.

Particularly troubling is this passage from Fr Simon Henry...

'There is a discernible trend to impute "clericalism" to those of the John Paul and Pope Benedict generation, to priests who have been convinced that orthodoxy is the only way for the Church to live up to the mission given it by Christ. There is a particularly nasty strain of this whereby priests who are considered "too" orthodox are accused of clericalism and a (completely spurious) link is made to the child abuse scandals and cover-ups.'

How on Earth can 'clericalism' be a charge levelled at the feet of those who hold fast to the Church's Magisterium and whose orientation is set steadfastly to the East? Was it traditional Catholic Priests and Bishops who held the reigns over the past 40 odd years, when the abuse was being covered up and committed? Is it they who impose, in a heavy handed manner, liturgical nightmares upon their congregations? Are they a great cause for scandal in the Church? Are they the ones who are most distant and who pretend to be deaf to the strikingly Christological theology of the Successor of St Peter, Pope Benedict XVI?

Catholic Voice: Austen Ivereigh
There indeed appears to be something of a battle over semantics going on within the Church, evidenced in recent times more blatantly by liberal Catholic journalists such as Austen Ivereigh and John Allen, in their often furious objection to and derision of the Catholic blogosphere. So it is then that Catholics who write in defence of the Pope and the Church's teaching are 'Taliban Catholics', but the comfortable, easy chair cafeteria Catholicism that ferociously rejects orthodoxy is somehow presented as a 'real' Catholicism espoused by good, nice Catholics of upstanding reputation and whose only desire is to serve the Church faithfully. Yet how very imperiously they often behave to those who are their brothers and sisters in Christ. I expect that to Austen Ivereigh, for example, the people who stood outside their school defending it from over-arching, bullying, finger prodding, 'clericalism' were just mad Catholic freaks who need to chill out and shut up. People like the Director of the SPUC, for instance, who are critical of what can only be described as compromises with evil taking place in areas of the Church are derided as loons. Last week, Ivereigh, writing in America magazine, lampooned Catholic bloggers as 'Jansenist' while talking of the need for a 'covenant of civility' in the Catholic online world...

'A better term, closer to Catholic home, would be "Jansenist", meaning the eighteenth-century French movement which provoked a major theological crisis in the late seventeenth century. One bishop referred to the Jansenists as "pure as angels and proud as devils" -- an apt description of certain defenders of Catholic orthodoxy who believe it's their job to "determine who's in and who's out", as Allen puts it.'

I don't know, in particular, at which bloggers Ivereigh is aiming, but that is a gross over-simplification of the activity of Catholic bloggers, both lay and clerical. Catholic bloggers tend to criticise dissent from the Magisterium when it rears its head. Is that such a crime? Nobody is claiming that they embody the Magisterium, that they are mirrors of perfection. At heart, Catholic bloggers defend Catholic Truth - the truth that saves, rescues and heals. How strange it is that these media figures are the ones well-established within the Church's media team, who benefit well from their status, who have access to the Catholic Hierarchy and who are loved by the liberal Catholic Establishment. The stage is theirs, and in a sense, they have it all 'sewn up' and yet one can definitely sense a growing unease within the liberal Establishment, a growing degree of discomfort at the vox fidei coming up from those on the ground, the voices of those who are not what the Holy Father has called 'professional Catholics' but Catholics who simply love the Faith and wish to defend it for seemingly no pecuniary reward.

I've been reading a splendid book about the 'Life and Times of St Dominic'. I was, until now, unaware that the first name accredited to the Dominicans was 'The Militia of Jesus Christ'. Such a strident and bold name, that connotes fighting for the Lord with the weapons of prayer, preaching and orthodoxy of belief would doubtless offend modern liberals, but not quite so much those who hold fast to the Church's Magisterium.

I think that one of the things that upsets liberals is that many Catholic bloggers can look back to the Middle Ages and see, amid the drama, gore, war, blood and battles against heresy, the zeal and love for Jesus Christ held by so many of our recognised, canonized Saints. These were the ones who fought with their words, speech, actions and prayer against the false dogmas of those who denied essential truths pertaining to the Faith. They stood up in defense of what is precious - the Gospel, the holy doctrines of the Church, fidelity to the Pope, love for Jesus Christ and hatred of sin. They fought and preached for the salvation of Souls. They were heroic. They were, in the case of Sts Dominic and Francis, prepared even to be voluntarily poor in order to do it. They were loved, but also feared and hated for speaking truth in charity. They, however, are the ones who are remembered by the Church today.


me said...

I don't like catholics fighting against Caholics, it's very Protestant, to the core, it kinda makes our faith dead in the water, to outsiders.
I have enough battles going on within myself. My overcoming of them, is the only real faith example I will ever give, I expect.

I don't have a clue who Austin Ivereigh, other than having heard his name criticised regularly, on blogger He seems like a character out of a James Bond movie, if you like him, you're one of 'them' and if you don't, you're OK? Either way, 'Blogger Bond' will get him.

This attitude will encourage me to look for the good in him as I don't like fitting in with pre-conceived notions. I noticed James Preece singled Dylan (from reluctant sinner blog out, in one of his posts last week), for agreeing with something Mr Ivereigh had said or done, as if this were a reason to be suspicious of the bloggers guild proposal (http://www.lovingit.co.uk/2011/04/guild-of-catholic-bloggers-no-thanks.html.)
How do we share all this turbulence with a sinner in need of God's help? The Pope has asked us to use the internet as a means of evangelising others. I think I'd rather direct souls to an AA meeting than a bunch of us Catholics! I Certainly wouldn't encourage them to visit blogsville at the moment. Our hearts (including mine) need altering, by the Holy Spirit. Are you going to the guild's first meeting, by the way, Laurence?

Phil, another old geezer said...

Please do a charitable work and help Father Michael (Fr.Mildew Blog).
He writes:

"THE BACKGROUND COLOUR FOR THIS BLOG> One reader finds it difficult to read and wants me to change the background. Two problems, first I do not know how to do this and secondly I cant see where the problem is. I use a light green background and Verdana print in a fairly large format. I find it easier to read than most blogs...but I would say that. Anyway, what format might be better and how do you achieve it" ?

Lots of "silver surfers" are conservative Catholics and read these blogs with difficulty if the font/colour/layout is challenging.

I'm sure there is an explanation for the problem with green. Macular Degeneration alters colour perception. An opthamologist would explain.
cc. Father Ray Blake

Anonymous said...

Far from being cuddly and "nice" (as liberals like to present themselves) I have to say I find liberals just plain cynical. They drive a coach and horses through the Church creating mayhem and shaming us all and then they have the cheek to turn around and try to shift the blame onto others. How cynical can you get.


Ttony said...

When I saw your title I thought you were going to link to this, which is just as shocking in its way.

The article is astounding: Wahabis, Jansenists, proud devils, Catholic Calvinists - and then he says he's giving up name calling for the rest of Lent, as he defines the right way for Catholics to interact on line.

I loved the fact that he would consider libellous the accusation that he was a lapsed Catholic, whereas he is free to label anybody with a label that means "un-Catholic" ad libitum.

It is a mad world, my masters.

@shadowlands "The only right we have is to die for our Faith: everything else we have to fight for." Of course we should look for the good in Austen Ivereigh, and to pray for him, but he (or anybody else) can't be allowed to go unchallenged when he stakes a claim to being the person to define only and exactly how Catholics should use the blogosphere.

Hugh said...

Your final words-
"...the ones that are remembered by the Church today".
Sorry Laurence you are out of touch with the people in the pews.

Some other names with much more influence:
Julian of Norwich
Margaret Mary
Catherine Leboure
Lucia dos Santos

Strangely feminine and certainly free of the aggressive militancy you hold in high regard.

The Bones said...

I don't recall them being liberal.

The Bones said...

From what I have read.

The Bones said...

Then again, I don't recall, from what I have read, Our Lord being particularly liberal either. Merciful, yes, but not liberal. That is the difference.

gustavus said...


Please give the (content of the) action alert that has been posted on Angelqueen here some publicity. Our Mother is being attacked, and lay Catholics should make their voices heard.

Ann-Marie said...

Laurence whatever has happened to your blog radar!
With all your experience too!

"Our Mother is being attacked". When did you last hear ANY Catholic say something like that, liberal or trad!

I reckon "Gustavus" will be counting the takings at the box-office with glee.

Webmaster Gareth said...

Laurence -

take heart.

I loved your post.

Those of us who love the Church in its entirety are with you!

Too many professional punsters forget that the Church is also made up of the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant: and they remember Catholicism through the ages; not just a few silly experiments that have backfired and emptied pews.

gustavus said...

Get a grip, Ann-Marie. Have you ever read St John 19:27? Plenty of Catholics refer to Our Lady as "Our Mother" - including me!

My objection is to the way that the play is being advertised, not the play itself, which has nothing to do with the Virgin Mary. I hope people don't go - since poor returns might discourage future adverts of this kind - but my primary concern is that the poor fools at the WYP who designed and green-lighted this advert realise that Catholics will not watch in silence as the Mother given them by Christ is insulted. No need to make a publicity-generating fuss; just contact the theatre.

Now, just for your benefit, some quotations...

"The fact that Mary is our Mother gives her divine motherhood a new aspect that opens within us the way to a more intimate communion with her." (St Anselm)

"Greater than she, none but God. 'The Blessed Virgin, from the fact that she is the Mother of God, has a certain infinite dignity which comes from the infinite good, which is God.' There is no danger of exaggerating. We can never hope to fathom this inexpressible mystery; nor will we ever be able to give sufficient thanks to our Mother for bringing us into such intimacy with the Blessed Trinity." (St Josemaria Escriva)

"The title of Mary as our mother is not merely symbolic. Mary is our mother in the most real and lofty sense, a sense which surpasses that of earthly maternity. She begot our life of grace for us because she offered up her entire being, body and soul, as the Mother of God." (St Edith Stein)

"Let the faithful remember moreover that true devotion consists neither in sterile or transitory affection, nor in a certain vain credulity, but proceeds from true faith, by which we are led to know the excellence of the Mother of God, and we are moved to a filial love toward our mother and to the imitation of her virtues." (Lumen Gentium, Vatican II)

Anonymous said...

Just read Austen's article in full...

The first bit seems to be a bit of coded bitchiness towards John Smeaton who does nothing other than call a spade a spade and point out Austen's many glaring errors, misunderstandings and one can't help thinking deliberate misunderstandings of Catholic teaching in a firm but polite way. So much for civility.

After that there seems to be the typical "guilty as charged" admission of someone with a big ego who doesn't like being caught out i.e. "I'll sue you..". Interesting stuff.


Ann-Marie said...

OK Gustavus. Point taken.

In the current use of the Internet, including the RC Blogosphere, for dubious publicity, I suspected the motive of the comment.
I apologise.

I also recognise that bloggers can make use of other people's names and pseudonyms for their personal agenda.
I did Laurence a disservice to think he had not considered this.

My concern was not so much the "Our Mother" (and I stick to my opinion that most of us today say "Our Lady") but the "being attacked".
Perhaps I would have preferred the less incendiary "used".

The poster is a tasteless attempt at cheap publicity. Fortunately,most Catholics can see through this unless incited by the Press who rely on visual incidents for their 24 hour rolling news.
Let is pray that Our Blessed Mother guides the Bloggers deliberations in Rome.
With best wishes.

Adulio said...

Does anyone really take Austen Ivereigh seriously anymore - it's quite obvious he's a champagne socialite.

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