Behold the Starlings...

Around this time every year the starlings who roost at the West Pier dance in chorus above what remains of the pier. I don't know why they do it or for how many days or weeks this happens, but it is one of those things that you keep forgetting about. Then, when you see it, you can't quite take your eye off this dazzling show of shapes and formation flying. Why? How do they know how and where to go without poking each others eyes out with their beaks. The velocity they pick up is quite high as well, it is any wonder they do not career and smash into the ground or the pier.

I'm no ornithologist, but there's clearly some kind of law written into the nature of the starlings. They do as they have been commanded and it brings God great glory. The individual starling, bless it, is nothing particularly wonderous aside from some interesting markings. As birds go, the starling is nice, but its no sparrow, robin or bird of individual beauty. But when they do this thing that starlings do in concert, it really is something quite spectacular and glorious.

So it is, then, that we see a glimpse in nature of what things could be like in Holy Mother Church. The starlings are obedient to something, let us call it God, but also something written into their nature. They're also under this unseen vow of obedience to each other. Each and every starling is required for this dance and they just don't seem to go off and 'do their own thing' when they are performing it. There is this joyful union of wills going on. They are united in the preaching of a higher order, something beyond themselves. Together they form this awesome team that can create spectacular shapes in the sky. They tell of a truth that is greater than themselves and far more important than themselves. There is a beautiful surrendering of will by the starlings which speaks of conforming to a law or will beyond their own, even if this law is written into their being.

Dr Tina Beattie
Onto Tina Beattie, then. Tina, let us learn from the starlings the beauty of surrendering our wills and opinions to something greater than ourselves - the Magisterium of our Holy Mother the Church. For we, as Catholics, preach not ourselves and our misguided opinions, but the beauty of the Divine law, as given to us by Our Lord Jesus Christ, to love and serve the Lord our God with all our minds, hearts and strength and understanding, and our neighbour as ourselves.

No Catholic should expect to be given a platform at a Catholic institution if they consistently and unapologetically misrepresent and scandalously lead astray Catholics as to the truth given by Christ to the Apostles and revealed to the Church by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We are erring, the Church cannot err in faith and morals. Let us have the humility to surrender our will, our minds and our hearts to the teaching that comes not from the minds of men or women but from God Himself. The Church's teaching on abortion, artificial contraception and homosexuality and frankly, everything concerning morality, is written into our nature so that all men and all women, with reason could discover it. The Church's teaching on abortion, artificial contraception and homosexuality is proclaimed by Her as the Divine institution that She is, infallibly, by the Successor of St Peter, who guards the Deposit of Faith, and in obedience to whom, the Apostles teach and preach the Gospel.

If one of those starlings were to do their own dance on their own, out of concert with the rest of the starlings, then not only do they take away from the beauty of the starlings' dance, but they would begin to look a little bit silly. Right now, Tina is that starling. It is really very necessary that we pray for Tina Beattie. The only person that Tina has to blame for her recent cancellations of lectures in Bristol and beyond is herself, because she is not speaking or writing in concert with the Catholic Church. You are doing your own dance, Tina - your own thing and you consistently oppose the Magisterium publicly in your writings. This is documented very well by Protect the Pope. Perhaps, you could instill confidence into Catholic institutions by publicly retracting some of these outlandish and frankly blasphemous views. Similarly, were the Church to be a Gregorian Chant choir, it is really no good one choir member singing something totally different and totally secular, instead of the Dies Irae.

If you take the model which is Tina Beattie, along with the other 'spirit of Vatican II' types now adorning The Tablet's pages week in, week out, as well as those who are on the 'lecture circuit', the grave danger is that these people who encourage the flock to 'do and believe your own thing' are actually listened to and given so much attention that in the end, there is no beautiful murmuration of starlings anymore. There is no dance anymore, there is no formation in concert anymore. There is no Church anymore. That is why the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, who Dr Beattie is astonishingly encouraging to join in her rebellion, need to tell her that enough is enough and that they, as leaders of the flock, will put up with her 'do/believe your own thing' message no longer. Tina, you may be a dissident theologian, but Martin Luther you are not.

St Thomas Aquinas: A theologian
For Catholic institutions to remove a platform from Catholics who dissent from the Church's teaching publicly is not to foster the 'Sovietization' of the Catholic Church. It is to defend those in their care from error and for the institution to define itself as definitely Catholic, in concert with the Pope and Bishops. May I remind Tina and all who support her at what is a difficult time for her public image, that Soviet Russia did not believe in Divine Revelation, did not stand for anything to do with the Catholic Faith and, indeed, arrested, tortured and killed those who were loyal to Christ, His teaching and His Church. What an insult Tina's statement is to those men and women in the Soviet bloc who died for the teachings of Christ and His Church!

On reflection, Tina would, I expect, have fared rather well in Soviet Russia since she seemingly takes every opportunity she can to undermine and subvert the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. A theologian who pays no attention or has no regard for the Magisterium of the Church, no interest in Holy Tradition, no appreciation for what Christ, the Evangelists and the Fathers of the Church actually say on Salvation and truth is a theologian no more but a philosopher. The day Dr Beattie tells us to burn all her books because they are 'mere straw' will be the day that I rejoice for Dr Beattie, because if her books are anything like what I've read on her blog and in The Tablet, they are indeed perfect for your rabbit hutch. That's just my personal opinion, of course, you may think the same of what I write.

However, if Dr Beattie wants to preach the 'do your own thing, believe your own thing' message then she can do so in her own time and none can stop her from her freedom of speech. Let us not forget, though, that freedom of speech does not come without consequences and people remember what we say. Surely it does not give any Catholic the licence or the right to be given a platform at any Catholic institution if the content of their message gives scandal or leads souls astray because it is out of concert with the Pope and the Bishops.

It is the duty of all Bishops to defend the flock from those who seek to pick them off or lead them away from the Good Shepherd. If you have not already done so, consider writing to the Papal Nuncio, because anybody calling the Shepherds of the flock of the Catholic Church to rebel against the Magisterium and the Pope needs whatever Catholic platform she is being given with which to lead the flock astray to be removed for her good and the good of the whole Church, now.

See also: Fr Ray Blake, The Catechesis of Caroline, Protect the Pope, The Muniment Room


philipjohnson said…
again a very good piece of writing .you speak eloquently about holy mother church and our obediance to it .unlike beattie who ,obviously dislikes our church enough to talk wonder she is inflamed! the church is truth and she doesnt speake the truth!god bless .philip johnson.
Anonymous said…
I could not agree more Mr Johnson. Excellent article.

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