Tuesday 31 December 2013

Te Deum Laudamus

Te Deum Laudamus. Now, this is my favourite hymn. Apparently if we recite it or sing it tomorrow 1st January 2014 free from attachment to all venial sin (I think we're meant to go to Confession!) then we receive a Plenary Indulgence. EWTN has a good explanation of Indulgences here.

As well as all blessings and graces received, I am particularly thankful to the Lord our God (and to those in Heaven and on Earth who have prayed for them) that George and Diane have been told where they will be living from 3rd January, in Hove. Also, I am grateful to the Lord our God that Jason has been housed also, in Brighton. God is Good and does not abandon the poor (even if the vast majority who house them are only after their housing benefits cheques).

The Buenos Aires Herald says that Pope Francis will be celebrating his first year-end Vespers and Te Deum prayers as Pope, so we trust His Holiness will be receiving a Plenary Indulgence as well. Splendid! I don't know whether its two plenary indulgences for the price of one, or whether we should recite both in order to gain the Indulgence, but we are also reciting the Veni Creator Spiritus tomorrow.

May the Lord and His Blessed Mother bless all readers and all Catholic bloggers and His Holiness Pope Francis, who as Shepherd to the Faithful doubtless promises to give us all new things to write and think about this coming year. It's good to hear that His Holiness has not abolished sin. Next, atheist journalists will be claiming the Pope has abolished death! After all, the defeat of the power of sin and death was the Lord's saving work on the Cross. May we go forward together with our eyes fixed on Him who grants to those who accept Him and believe in Him the 'power to become the children of God'.

Wishing Readers a Very Happy New Year

This is a really heartwarming scene of Pope Francis greeting Pope Emeritus Benedict and the two Popes wishing each other a Merry Christmas. Where's the freestanding Altar?

Wishing readers a happy new year and blessed 2014.

Monday 30 December 2013

Why Have The Media Not 'Done the Dirty' on Pope Francis?

Photo doctored to show Fr Joseph Ratzinger giving Nazi salute
Happy Christmastide, everyone. We live in interesting times, no? Christmastide has permitted me to take a break from blogging and to do some much needed reflection. I won't bore you with my personal reflections on life - or my life (it's a disaster as usual!) - but the pontificate of Pope Francis continues to confuse me utterly. One large reason is his continued popularity with the media and this will be the focus of this blog post.

A New York Times columnist has today written the following concerning the papacy and the sexual abuse crisis that dominated coverage of the Church under Benedict XVI.

'...it’s troubling, and telling, that the media would give a more liberal-seeming pope a pass on an issue they hammered his predecessor on at every opportunity.' 

I am deeply disconcerted by our Pope's continued popularity with media organs usually emphatically opposed to the Catholic Church. His continued popularity with the Press is just weird and unprecedented in its scale. I do not wish to spread gossip, nor pile suspicion on the current Successor of St Peter, but to make known my apprehensions concerning the continued popular media relationship enjoyed by a Pope during times which are objectively dark and in which the sanctity of human life, marriage, the family, the Priesthood and the Church's Magisterium are under diabolical attack. I do not wish to accuse Pope Francis of anything, but only to elaborate on my personal fears concerning a honeymoon period with the media which shows no signs of abating.

More great press for Benedict XVI
The honeymoon period that never ends...

Since it is not just the Pope's loquacious interviews, nor the astonishing attack on the FFI or other matters pertaining to the papacy - these are all side matters that remain confusing and at times harrowing. What continues to perplex me is the continued 'love-in' with the mass media that the Successor of St Peter enjoys to this day.

For a time I have read blog posts from Catholic commentators suggesting that 'any day now' the thin ice sheet that protects Pope Francis from the icy, predator-infested waters of media character assassination is going to break. Since those commentators have made those prophetic statements, the Supreme Pontiff has won not just Time Magazine's Person of the Year, but that of The Times as well. The Nobel Peace Prize perhaps awaits him next year and His Holiness has even been awarded Person of the Year by a militantly homosexual publication. More plaudits surely await.

Doctored photo of Fr Ratzinger blessing a congregation
Over Christmas, my own parents called me a 'subversive' as I discussed Pope Francis with them in Arundel in a pub on Boxing Day. In reply, I asked my mum whether Pope Francis made her want to become a Catholic. She replied that nothing would make her become a Catholic but that Pope Francis seemed like a good thing and that if she were to become anything, she would become a Quaker.

Therefore, to those who assert that Pope Francis is the Evangelist extraordinaire, 'I rest my case'. Pope Francis has many notable personal qualities and virtues but it must be noted that His Holiness is content to leave everyone exactly where they are, thereby neutralizing the once great spiritual and moral force that was the Papacy and, with it, the Catholic Church's mission of Salvation on Earth.

Why I am waiting for the media to turn on Pope Francis...

If I say I am waiting for the media to turn on Pope Francis, it is not because I want him to stop being the great 'bridge-builder', but rather because I desire him to be Pope, Shepherd and Pastor to me, rather than that of the World and the media, since I am a Catholic and the World and the media are not. The first people the Pope should be feeding is the sheep of Christ and as a baptised Catholic, no matter what my personal failings are ("self-absorbtion", "neo-prometheanism"), I fall into that category. The media and the World do not.

What has happened to the Fourth Estate?

Exactly what has happened to the once fiercely anti-Catholic media? The media's extensive portrayal of Pope Benedict XVI as a Nazi sympathiser, despite his being pressed into Nazi Youth at a young age and leaving it, only to recant publicly of his involvement and to denounce the hideous ideologies of the 20th century was rarely left (though in shortened form) from the reports on any stage of his papacy from various media organs. Nor, indeed, was the supposed 'cover up' of criminal paedophiles by Pope Benedict XVI who had proclaimed not too long after his inauguration that he was determined to clean up the 'filth' that had infiltrated the Church.

And yet, with what can only be seen as mass media Absolution, the pontificate of Pope Francis has enjoyed the complete erasing of this prelate's 'murky' past in the Argentinian 'Dirty War'. I assume, therefore that the mass media have been politely instructed to ignore the alleged crimes and misdemeanours of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio under the military Junta even though people have come forward to implicate him personally in the 'disappearing' of both priests and lay people during the military rule of Argentina in the aftermath of the Peronist Government. Why, I simply ask, is this credible accusation never appended to every comment or article concerning the 'new world Pope'? With Benedict XVI everything - even things that could not be attributed to his culpability - fell upon him. So why the change?

Friends in High Places

What baffles me is not whether or not Pope Francis did or did not assist in the arrest and subsequent torture of Catholics who disappeared in the Argentine Dirty War, since the jury still appears to be out on that charge. I am happy to believe that he is perfectly innocent of all charges and acted to save as many lives as possible. I am happy even to believe that he may have acted heroically. What baffles me is that suddenly, after a few days of his election, the media were 'called off' this potentially explosive line of anti-Catholic and anti-papal enquiry.

The simple fact of the matter is that if the media wanted to 'go for' this Pope, there is ample 'ammunition' flung across the world wide web, yet, either by a masterstroke of public relations from an unassailable, untouchable popularist Pope of the people, or by a wilful collective decision to remain silent, on Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio's past, we hear nothing. I say this only to contrast it with the experience of his predecessor whose reputation was kicked from pillar to post by the mass media.

Let's be plain about this. Pope Benedict XVI's history was one of youthful experience, which we can safely assume was under an element of coercion, with Hitler Youth. He himself was honest about his time during Hitler's regime as a boy. Despite what the media threw at him, there really was a great element of transparency about Benedict XVI.

Yet at no point was Pope Benedict XVI implicated in the 'disappearance' of those in his own care as an adult, nor of handing others over to an oppressive regime to be punished. Yet this is precisely the accusation that the media could level at Pope Francis, if they wanted to, but they do not. The media never wanted the real story on the Benedictine removal of serious sex offenders from the priesthood. They only ever wanted their own narrative from the beginning.

Why the change with Pope Francis? Media silence on the issue in the wake of his election is made all the more confusing in a mass media predominately populated by 'leftists' who hated the suppression of socialists and communists during the Dirty War. Yet the charge that Fr Jorge Bergolio handed over 'leftist' members of the clergy and/or laity in Argentina to the military junta to experience a helicopter flight from Hell goes unmentioned after the first day of Bergoglio's pontificate. I only ask the question: why? It is not as if the allegations - however unproven - have not been made.

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio's cordial 'connections' with General Jorge Videla are perhaps what we can expect of any South American prelate working towards the discouragement of communism and extreme forms of socialism in an ideologically torn Argentina. Yet it has been noted by others, and I know not whether the charge is fair or not, that in Chile, the Catholic Church refused to co-operate with General Pinochet's draconian clampdown on socialists and according to the reports noted here, saved thousands of lives in the process. In contrast, in Argentina, whatever you think of socialists (and I personally dislike them) 30,000 men and women were 'disappeared'.

The 'fog of war' is one thing, but it seems to me to be a very strange anomaly that the election of one prelate with a track record of alleged complicity or silence in the 'disappearing' of human beings and their subsequent torture and even death has been whitewashed from public discourse concerning this 'People's Pope' since such an allegation could amount to some form of stain on a prelate's 'pro-life' record. In fact, one could readily ask the question: after the muck thrown at Benedict XVI, what bright sparks had the idea of electing to the Chair of St Peter someone allegedly implicated in providing intelligence and even wanted persons to Argentina's military junta during the Dirty War in that land? To my mind, the election of such an individual to the Papacy only makes sense if that individual enjoys special protection of a first-class kind from the start. Like I say, it doesn't matter whether the allegations are all false. With Benedict XVI, all the media needed were false allegations and they employed them to a tee until no non-Catholic and even some Catholics could think of Pope Benedict XVI without thinking of child abuse and Nazis.

General Jorge Videla and P2 Masonic Infiltration of Argentinian Government

Of course, the media could really 'go to town' on the deeply masonic aspect to the Military Junta regime with which Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is alleged to have had dealings in Argentina, but, then again, the mass media tend to steer clear of the dark secrets of Freemasonry nowadays and who can blame them, what with Freemasonry being in charge of the vast majority of media organs. What with masonry being rife in public life, most especially in the Establishment of Great Britain and the Americas, as well as Europe and a particularly virulent form in Italy, it is no wonder that Time Magazine, for one, does not wish to delve deeper into the acquaintances of the then Fr Jorge Bergoglio to become Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio and then Pope Francis. Again, I stand not as His Holiness's accuser, but simply ask the questions that a figure like Pope Benedict XVI most probably would have been asked by the media.

For instance, General Jorge Videla is known to have been a member of the masonic Propaganda Due lodge in Italy that worked in parts of Latin America. The scandal of the P2 lodge broke in Italy in the 1980s, shocking the Italian public, sending shockwaves too around the World concerning the subversive nature of this lodge in terms of Italy's political, economic and social life. Wikipedia makes the connections between the P2 lodge and the military regime in Latin America startlingly clear.

Of course, nothing in all of this implicates the then Fr Jorge Bergoglio in the atrocious P2 lodge, even if the Propaganda Due team of Freemasons were working at the behest of the fatally ambitious Licio Gelli in Buenos Aires at the time of his headship of the Order of Jesuits in Argentina, but then, neither was Pope Benedict XVI ever a SS storm-trooper and nor did he ever endorse acts of murder or genocide as a 14-year-old boy. Neither is the charge that he was complicit in the taking of life levelled at him despite his public vilification in the world's press.

The Vatican at War: From Blackfriars Bridge to Buenos Aires
Yet, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio seems to have enjoyed cordial and even co-operative relationships with high ranking P2 lodge Freemasons carrying out the 'dirty work' of the CIA in the 1970s. It just so happened that these men were on a list of around 1,000 members of the Propaganda Due masonic lodge in Italy that was smashed by Roman investigators. Stunningly, even membership of this masonic lodge never hurt Silvio Berlusconi of 'bunga-bunga' infamy and monopoly Italian media ownership notoriety. He went on to become very successful.

Just as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio seems to have enjoyed friendly and co-operative relationships with these nefarious Kissinger-Rockefeller supported individuals, well known for dumping their enemies in the sea after a helicopter ride, now Pope Francis enjoys a 'get out of jail free card' from the mass media, in complete contrast from his venerable predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who was daily accused of being not just a Nazi, but a 'protector of paedophiles' from more or less day one of his time as Supreme Pontiff.

Despite the media circus, I still feel like I do not know Pope Francis at all

In all my online investigations, amateurish as they may be, I'm just really trying to get to know, 'Who is the real Jorge Bergoglio?'

Am I simply to accept the media version? Despite the whirlwind of media reports concerning the great virtue of our beloved Pontiff, I still feel like I do not him, who he is, or what he stands for, other than some photographic opportunities that make him look like a Saint and an exhortation that tells us to put the poor first while persecuting a successful Franciscan Order.

I, like many, continue to be fascinated by not only the person of this Pope, but the media's reaction to him, at a time when the media represent dark and incredibly powerful forces working against the interests of the Catholic Church in its message of Salvation and its moral stature around the World, in terms of preaching not just tolerance and love, but repentance and the Teachings of Christ guarded by the Successor of St Peter in the Deposit of Faith. Meanwhile, as media reports of his greatness continue to resound around the World, from mainstream news publication to mainstream news publication, I hear of the mission of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate being thrown out of various helicopters and dumped into the sea.

'Please, what is the number of Pope Francis's PR man?'
The Guardian: Hurried 'Re-writing' of the Story of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio

Particularly eerie is The Guardian's revision of their own article on the date of 13 March 2013, the precise date of Pope Francis's election to the Chair of St Peter. The article itself, written in 2011, laments the silence and complicity of the Catholic Church in Argentina during the Dirty War. At the foot of the article now appears an amendment to the original, with anything that implicates the then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio removed, as follows...

'This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio's complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio's "holiday home". This has been corrected.'

So, The Guardian saw fit to amend their original article on the Church and the disappeared just one day after the election of Pope Francis, having never seen fit to be accurate in their reporting between publication of the 2011 article and the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to the papacy? The removed piece can be found here.

A new book claims Fr Bergoglio saved 1,000 lives in the Dirty War
New book claims Fr Jorge Bergoglio saved a thousand lives in the Dirty War

Having allegedly refused to appear in court to face the various charges levelled against him by a human rights lawyer, Pope Francis, as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio dismissed the allegations brought against him as 'slander' and the media have, since his election to the papacy, accepted this with seemingly little further investigation.

I, too, am happy to accept that this is pure slander and slander is evil. Since his election, a book has been released documenting a completely different narrative of the Dirty War, in which the then Fr Jorge Bergoglio is heralded as an heroic Saint saving lives in a clandestine manner. He may well have, but speaking out against the excesses of the regime is something the head of the Jesuit Order in Argentina certainly never did - others did and paid with their lives for doing so. If only Pope Pius XII and Pope Benedict XVI had a PR team like that of Pope Francis, as well as a receptive Fourth Estate such as that we see today in love with Pope Francis, then one would never have been labelled 'Hitler's Pope' and the other a 'Nazi Youth' Hitler supporter.

I am not judging Pope Francis and I have no knowledge as to whether he is a Freemason, has ties to Freemasons or was guilty of any crime or assistance in disappearances during the CIA sponsored Dirty War. He certainly didn't choose to be head of the Jesuit Order in Argentina while Freemasons operating on behalf of the CIA were running the country and killing 30,000 people, but then neither was Benedict XVI ever ideologically or in any other capacity a Nazi storm-trooper rounding up Jews for extermination. Like the vast majority of German youngsters at the time, he was drafted into Hitler Youth.

It has to be said that the vast majority of the mass media is in the hands of elite men for whom the Catholic Church is a sworn enemy. Its subversion and its destruction is goal #1 for them, since they have their own agenda. I only ask the question once again: Why is there such a marked difference in the Press's treatment of Pope Francis and that of Pope Benedict XVI and his Predecessors? Whatever it is that media owners know about Pope Francis, that we do not, I, as a Catholic, would like to be informed. Until the day the powerful media owners of this World turn on him, I will most likely remain deeply perturbed because the favourable media reports just keep on a-comin'. 

The media mystery of Pope Francis is that we went from this to this, very quickly, to this Every...single...day.

Happy Christmastide, one and all.

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Just Before Our Christmas Celebrations...

While in the US, you can't be in the army and say 'Happy Christmas', in Russia, the schools' curriculum makes the learning of Orthodox Christianity mandatory.

Have a very happy Christmas.

Last thing. I dream of a day when you walk into Sainsbury's and they are playing this on a loop instead of pop-pap. I'm sure the decline of Faith is correlated to awful Christmas music.

People Who Believe in a Creator but Who Cannot Believe in the Virgin Birth...

'Making all that is and instituting laws governing the Universe which was made out of absolutely nothing is a breeze, but preserving the Virginity of just one woman is a bit above my pay grade...You're asking a bit much there, mate...'

There remain in the World and in the Church people who believe in God, a Creator, Who created all things that came to be, but who cannot bring themselves to believe in the Virgin Birth or the perpetual virginity of Our Lady before, during and after childbirth.

These people, presumably believe that the God who willed that from out of absolutely nothing there should form billions of stars, planets, the entire Universe, creating all living beings, trees, rivers, oceans, water, and crowned Creation with man, all out of nothing and Who instituted all the laws which sustain the continuation of everything as we know it, would find preserving the virginity of one woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary, 'a bit tricky'.

Surely if we accept that all that exists comes from nothing, but that God simple spoke and it all came to be, and there was afterwards something, then we must accept that there is nothing that is impossible for God, or remotely 'tricky'. For those who claim to believe in God to deny the Virgin Birth because 'that is impossible' means they don't really believe in God because in human terms neither can anything be created 'out of nothing'. There is a logical inconsistency about modern day denials of the supernatural from within the Church, not just outside of it from sceptics.

I would say that once you have created an entire Universe 'out of nothing', nothing is impossible or difficult. These days we seem to have a problem with belief in various articles of Faith and it is not just on the matter of the Perpetual Virginity of Our Lady. We see it with Faith in the Real Presence, the reality of the indelible marks on the soul of Baptism and the Priesthood. The supernatural is seen as problematic. God is God. What's the problem? Why can't we just accept that God's action is a Mystery in which we can believe without comprehending?

If we cannot accept that with God everything is possible then do we rather believe in a god-type person or a figment of our imagination, a caricature of Him that abides by human thinking and exists according only to our understanding of what is and is not 'possible'? The Virginal Birth is an important doctrine because it feeds into our understanding of the Person of Christ. Is this Person truly the Son of God, 'born from the Father before all ages', whose Throne is in inaccessible light, the Eternal Word, the Second Person of the Trinity, or just another man?

If He is truly the Son of God, then His Birth is going to be something extraordinary, since His Mother is the Ark of the New Covenant. She, also, is not going to be 'just another lass'. She is going to be something, someone extremely special and extraordinary in order to be the Tabernacle in which will dwell the Most High Lord. There is a logical and resonable consistency to the Church's doctrines, but only if we accept Jesus is Lord on His terms, not ours. Belief in these doctrines all seem to hinge on the age old arguments concerning Who we believe Jesus Christ is. That even Prelates in the Catholic Church should doubt or profess doubt concerning the doctrines of the Church, or that some even try to 'humanise' or minimise the holy and miraculous in order to make believers feel more comfortable is or should be extremely concerning because if the nature of this Child's birth is unextraordinary, then, frankly, what is there to celebrate? The implications of unbelief in the Virginal Birth within the Church are horrifying. However...

...with all that said, I wish readers a very happy, holy and blessed Christmas. 


In the bush which Moses saw unconsumed, we acknowledge thy admirable virginity, preserved: intercede for us, O Mother of God.

Last Minute Christmas Shopping Ideas

This film is available now on DVD.

You can see a trailer here.

I expect the sequel will be called 'Neo-Prometheus: The Return of the Pelagian' in a special collectors edition 'self-absorbed' packaging.

Monday 23 December 2013

Social Gospel

Every now and then you hear something about the 'social Gospel'.

Can someone explain to me an aspect of the Gospel that is not social?

Christ's Teaching on divorce and remarriage for example. I'd say that was pretty 'social'.

Sunday 22 December 2013

A Little Bit of Joy of the Gospel

Last Christmas at St Mary Magdalen Church

Because I feel rather overwhelmed just now by the latent, and in some cases blatant, "We don't like your type around these parts," noises and "You're not from round here, are you?" murmurings coming from Rome, I feel it slightly incumbent upon me, as a Catholic parishioner of a parish Church in which both Rites of the Church are celebrated to defend those priests and parishioners who hold as sacred, that which has been passed down and held as sacred for previous generations. I guess you could say I am feeling 'tetchy'.

We have a homeless man, young, vulnerable, with mental health problems, constantly neglected by the local authority, but who accepts with meekness his situation as a rough sleeper. He sleeps in a Brighton cemetery, his sleeping bag often battered by high wind and rain. He has family in the area, but things are difficult with family - though I do not know the details. He has been imprisoned for shoplifting sandwiches from local supermarkets when hungry. He recently spent seven days in Lewes Prison for failing to turn up to a probation appointment. He maintains that he wants to be baptised and has a strong faith in Jesus and too in Mary.

'Simple, humble liturgy' does not automatically foster love for the poor
After Mass today, he turned up in the pub across the road and sat down with us. By others, I am not talking of myself though I was present, this man was given generosity and greeted with love and compassion by both parish priest and parishioners and received from both priest and parishioners warmth, kindness and a listening ear.

He was made to feel included and loved and walked away, having been offered food and given refreshments, quite a bit of money in his pocket to help him along his hard road ahead of him on a not particularly pleasant December weekend.

I say this not to boast of the parish's very ample record of loving the poor and showing mercy to the outcast and the stranger, but simply to reaffirm that there is no contradiction between love for Sacred Liturgy and love of the poor. To me this seems obvious, but as we hear that liberation theologians are and were 'always orthodox' in belief, despite a certain horizontal dodginess that runs throughout such literature, it is becoming obvious that those who hold onto that which was sacred to previous generations are being quickly and unjustly labelled or pigeonholed into some kind of gang of hardline 'conservative' force that is mean-spirited to the poor.

Of course, this is just one incident in what is a common theme at the Church that I attend of constancy in service to the poor, one example of which is the Soup Run to the homeless that feeds the poor every night 365 days a year. There simply is no contradiction between being desirous of liturgy that directs our hearts to Jesus Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and that magnifies His Most Sublime Sacrifice and being open-hearted and compassionate to the poor. I would like to 'nip this one in the bud' as soon as I can, but I have a feeling that it may in time be a slur that comes in the direction of those who uphold dignity and reverence in both the modern Roman Rite and the Mass of Ages.

Of course I am but a 'peripheral' blogger, with a very limited audience, but let it be known now that if this kind of thing comes from Rome, and accusations start being banded around that traditional Catholics (aka 'crypto-lefebrevists') are indifferent to the poor and the outcast, that this is a fabricated and malicious lie from the Father of Lies. Neither is there any reason to think that indifference to the reverence and dignity of the Sacred Liturgy automatically translates into care for the poor. In fact, those who use or abuse the Liturgy to suit their own personal preferences are, in my honest opinion, far more likely to use the poor for their own ideological purposes. 

Ne Timeas, Maria

Courtesy of Eponymous Flower

Saturday 21 December 2013

The Best Pope Francis Moment of 2013

My Lord and my God!

Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen on Antichrist

When I read on Protect the Pope, the thoughts of Cardinal Kasper on the Church of the future abandoning the teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ one wonders not only what on Earth is coming next, but how men of the Church can possibly think that when they contradict the Son of God, they could possibly be acting in His Name.

Do men like Cardinal Kasper not have any sense that at the Head of the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church reigns Our Lord Jesus Christ? Can the Body really tell the Head what to think?

The Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen's quote springs to mind, as well as the prophecies of Our Lady of La Salette ('the apostasy will start at the top'). Of course I am not suggesting that either Cardinal Kasper or Pope Francis are the Antichrist. No...we all know that's Archbishop Marini...

'The Antichrist will not be so called; otherwise he would have no followers. He will not wear red tights, nor vomit sulphur, nor carry a trident nor wave an arrowed tail as Mephistopheles in Faust. This masquerade has helped the Devil convince men that he does not exist. When no man recognizes, the more power he exercises. God has defined Himself as "I am Who am," and the Devil as "I am who am not."

Nowhere in Sacred Scripture do we find warrant for the popular myth of the Devil as a buffoon who is dressed like the first "red." Rather is he described as an angel fallen from heaven, as "the Prince of this world," whose business it is to tell us that there is no other world. His logic is simple: if there is no heaven there is no hell; if there is no hell, then there is no sin; if there is no sin, then there is no judge, and if there is no judgment then evil is good and good is evil. But above all these descriptions, Our Lord tells us that he will be so much like Himself that he would deceive even the elect--and certainly no devil ever seen in picture books could deceive even the elect. How will he come in this new age to win followers to his religion?

The pre-Communist Russian belief is that he will come disguised as the Great Humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity and plenty not as means to lead us to God, but as ends in themselves. . . The third temptation in which Satan asked Christ to adore him and all the kingdoms of the world would be His, will become the temptation to have a new religion without a Cross, a liturgy without a world to come, a religion to destroy a religion, or a politics which is a religion--one that renders unto Caesar even the things that are God's.

In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity and his glib talk of freedom and equality, he will have one great secret which he will tell to no one: he will not believe in God. Because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect. He will set up a counterchurch which will be the ape of the Church, because he, the Devil, is the ape of God. It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a mystical body of the Antichrist that will in all externals resemble the mystical body of Christ. . . 

. . . But the twentieth century will join the counterchurch because it claims to be infallible when its visible head speaks ex cathedra from Moscow on the subject of economics and politics, and as chief shepherd of world communism.'

The key phrase here is: 'It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content.'  Could man really refashion a Divine institution so that it would be at odds with its Head? Could man do so without Divine displeasure or wrath striking mankind swiftly? That is why I ask whether men like Cardinal Kasper can contradict Our Lord so lightly, and seemingly without censure or reproach from his confreres.

It seems we are entering a time of the Church in which her 'divine content' is seen as a threat to peace, fraternity and the joy of the Gospel. The irony is that for someone like Archbishop Fulton Sheen, the liturgy of the Church was about pointing us towards Heaven - leading us Heavenward, towards Christ, our God. The holy doctrines of the Church, in which the faithful met certainty of truth, too, point us Heavenward, towards Christ, our God. Without truth and worship, we men and women are surely rudderless, wounded by error and inflicted with grievous doubts as to the Image of Jesus Christ, how to live our lives as Christians and how to look beyond this World to the glory of the World to come. Poor, simple liturgy with a humility that is manufactured and contrived by man obscures the true Image and Face of Jesus, detracts from the Holy and is unable to lift us away from preoccupations with this World and lead us Heavenward.

It is clear how enthusiastically prelates will rush to speak to the Church and the World on such issues as world hunger, but how shy these same prelates are to speak and lend their mighty weight and huge spiritual influence to the fight to safeguard the lives of the defenseless unborn and to campaign to defend true and real marriage from its manifest perversions in the modern era. These are issues that threaten man and civilization, as well as man's Salvation.

My great concern at the moment, as a 'loyal son of the Church', is not just the fear that I am witnessing the foundations of Holy Mother Church being pulled down by even well-intentioned prelates who desire to cure a wounded Church by force or coercion, but that if the Antichrist appeared in these days, these same prelates would flock to him because they fail so often to point us to the World to come, to the glory and beauty that is Jesus Christ, Who is Truth and Charity. The Antichrist will promise wonderful things but not lead anyone to Salvation, but all to destruction - eternal destruction, but for those who resist.

In all this a great and bitter irony appears to be in process - that the great vision of Heaven, the great vision of Christian worship given to us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is seemingly a threat to a Church that seeks fraternity and peace. Worship has a social dimension - it orders us towards Heaven - the great Society of Heaven - and not just for us, but so that we may bring others the message of the Gospel and gather them in also to the great Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

We cannot be indifferent to the basic needs of our neighbour, but neither can we be indifferent to Jesus Christ, nor can we be indifferent to doctrine and pretend that truth has no value or significance for us as men and women. The bitter irony is that while those who seek to defend both holy doctrine and holy liturgy are disregarded as 'obsessives', that it appears those who govern in Rome, more and more, make of those who defend them outcasts, lepers and attempt to use force to impose their vision of the Church upon them, even to the point of removing from them that which it is licit and lawful to do.

Jesus came so that we may worship God in time and eternity
As we move closer to Christmas, we move closer to the Church's great expectation - the ultimate fulfillment of the 'hope that is within us' - the glorious Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It shall not be, as it was the first, the Lord coming in the flesh walking amongst us. He shall come as Judge in power and glory, 'coming in the clouds of Heaven'.

The more those who govern the Church of Rome seek to please man or to offer mankind something other than Salvation, the more vulnerable the Church will be when the 'son of perdition' is revealed. It may well be that this does not happen in our age, but it has to be said, that we live in an age in which the Church is perhaps more vulnerable to the lies and deceits of such a man, than at any time in Her history.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, Whose birthday we will celebrate at Christmas was born into time and space to take us into eternity with Him. Eternity is, by all measurements, a very long time. The sorrows of this world, truly sad as they are, will one day cease to be. If we are faithful to Jesus Christ, He has promised us eternity with Him. When the Church emphasises earthly matters and fails to point us towards eternity with the Most Holy Trinity, even to the point of contemplating the rejection of God's Divine Laws for human pleasure and respect, we can be sure that not only is the Evil One working to make a mockery of God in His Holy Temple, but so, too, does he make a mockery of mankind, since he works only to derail Christian worship, our Salvation and the eternal happiness with God promised to the Faithful that can indeed be prevented, if Truth is neglected.

May Our Lady of Good Success pray for the Pope, for the whole Church and in particular, for the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, their tertiaries and all who hold them in high esteem for their zeal for souls and love of the Christ and His Church.

What Star Wars is Saying About These Times

Results of the Papal Conclave as peace flows like a river across the Church

Benedict XVI resigns

Reforming the curia and granting doctrinal authority to Bishops

One of the Sisters of the Immaculate makes an appeal for mercy

'Cooperation' is greeted with stubborn refusal from visibly upset traditional Catholic

Thursday 19 December 2013

What Liberals Are Saying About These Times

A Huffington Post article appeared today on our beloved Holy Father, which among other atrocious slurs, suggested the following. Calm yourselves readers, on Francis and 'same-sex marriage' and LGBT issues, this is going to be offensive but in the end you'll laugh.

'Now, I honestly don't think Francis really believes the ugly statements he made in Argentina, as he actually tried to broker a deal on civil unions in Argentina at one point, trying to get the government to back off gay marriage.
 'I believe he made those horribly anti-gay statements (in Argentina) just to keep his job, as Argentina was embarking upon gay marriage and he was expected to rail against it, and it was the only way to advance in Benedict's Vatican. And it worked. But what does that actually say about Francis? That he's a pretty shrewd politician who says what he has to, even if it means horribly attacking a minority, in order to win -- not much different from some in the current Republican Party.'

This liberal journalist is starting to sound like a paranoid crypto-lefebrevist, but no, the writer is a certified liberal and he is confused. I know what he is saying is pretty foul, but His Holiness has only himself to blame since while countries across the World have been passing 'same-sex marriage' laws like dominoes falling around the World, the Successor of St Peter has had better things to do than pass comment. The article notes:

'He'd not said anything about several countries and U.S. states passing marriage equality earlier this year -- and that was months before his commenting that church leaders are "obsessed' with gay marriage and abortion.'  

This is absolutely correct if offensive to the Office of the Papacy. Even when States, like Croatia, have been successful in defending marriage in their respective countries, nothing has come from Rome congratulating them on doing so. Nothing. Not even a 'Well done, boys and girls, for defending true and proper marriage and rejecting false marriage.' It is as if marriage can go up in smoke across the World but Rome under the poor Pope for the poor Church of poor liturgy for the poor isn't much bothered. The irony is that this concerns both Catholics and liberals who desperately want clarity. Both want to know where they stand and, on that matter, why the heck shouldn't they get clarity?

It seems that liberals and Catholics who want to get behind the PR that surrounds this papacy are desperate to find out what the Pope really thinks and where His Holiness really stands, but His Holiness prefers to remain enigmatic, hoping that liberal Catholics believe he is a liberal Catholic, Catholics think he's Catholic and liberals think he's liberal...but Catholic (kind of). The liberal Vatican watcher goes on:

'Sure, if the pope is not speaking as virulently on the issue as the previous pope, certainly that's a positive. But the Catholic Church has a long way to go on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people -- and women -- in terms of changing its doctrine. Francis may be embarking on that monumental project, which may take a century. Or he may not be, and is just keeping his head down, focusing on the issues he wants to focus on, like helping the poor, which is surely laudable. He may be tamping down the talk of homosexuality among church leaders while not bothering with really changing the homophobia built into the church, which could just ruffle too many feathers.'

Pope Francis is 77 so quite how he is going to manage covering up the truth (even if he wanted to) for 100 years is a mystery. These people are so myopic. Even if this Pope decided to keep schtum about the truth about human sexuality, the next one might decide to don a Papal Tiara and excommunicate anyone who can't sign the Syllabus of Errors. The Vatican might get destroyed by a great bolt of lightning and the Church would have to start over again. I mean, its not like the Almighty hasn't issued a warning shot!

We can't see the future. We just don't know and, anyway, no Pope can alter the Truth because the truth does not belong to the Pope, he is its custodian and guardian. He can fail to teach it, he can be silent on it or even decide to teach error when not speaking ex cathedra, but changing the Doctrine would be to make truth into a lie and truth has a habit of emerging victorious because it is Eternal.

The Church belongs to Jesus Christ Who is Truth Himself and He has said 'Lo, I am with you always, even unto the consummation of the World'. The Pope can say that adultery is not a sin, but his saying it is not a sin would not make it less of a sin than my saying 'adultery is not a sin'. The Pope is not God and even God does not reverse His moral law to make that which is wrong, right, or vice versa.

Again, this is liberal pipe-dreaming but it sounds as if His Holiness is giving liberals (who need to be reminded of the following fact) the idea that the Catholic Church is a political party that can alter doctrine like political parties alter election promises. If the Church did this, how would they report it in the media?

"In an incredible U-turn today, the Catholic Church reversed its policy on abortion and homosexual marriages. More on this story coming up..."

There might be a hint of Peronism about this pontificate, but that doesn't alter the fact that the Church is not a political party. If it was, it would suffer the fate of all political parties and become totally irrelevant and divorced from reality - like political parties are. Indeed, this is not how truth works (I mean, have you ever noticed how deficient in speaking the truth politicians are?), but liberals need to be reminded of this at least every month or two, or every two weeks, otherwise they feel like they've got just enough reason to be able to hope that Christ's Truth will 'change' and Almighty God (who they don't believe in anyway) will bless that which is unholy through His Church (which they don't believe in either anyway). What would the Church be if it declared Truth to be dead, buried and over? Nothing but a social club and there are plenty of them outside the Church that are probably more interesting if you enjoy social clubs. It would become as 'relevant' as the dear old CofE.

The article continues...

'All of that is a good thing, just like when some Republican leaders (not many) realized the anti-gay rhetoric didn't work for them and that it was time to pull back. And maybe they, too, weren't ever so anti-gay and were glad to be pulling back. But do we give them a prize for it? Sure, if the pope is not speaking as virulently on the issue as the previous pope, certainly that's a positive. But the Catholic Church has a long way to go on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people -- and women -- in terms of changing its doctrine. Francis may be embarking on that monumental project, which may take a century. Or he may not be, and is just keeping his head down, focusing on the issues he wants to focus on, like helping the poor, which is surely laudable. He may be tamping down the talk of homosexuality among church leaders while not bothering with really changing the homophobia built into the church, which could just ruffle too many feathers.'

I love the way '--and women--' is appended to the LGBT community, as if women are a separate species or something. So, the confused liberal writer of the HuffPo is basically saying that he thinks the Pope's not Catholic. Of course he wants the Pope to okay homosexual sex and the rest, he knows that's probably not going to happen but basically wants the Pope to be clear and honest and give him the truth. Yes, even liberals secretly want the truth!

Worse, though, in fact, he's calling the Pope an opportunistic, lying politician who just wanted power and who pretended to be against 'same-sex marriage' as Archbishop of Buenos Aires in order to stay within the corridors of power until Benedict XVI was ushered away in a helicopter, knowing that if he failed to say anything at all, that he could be called to account and potentially disgraced by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This is the implication of his article and this, of course, is an outrageous and contemptible slur. Yet, I have some sympathy for a liberal who wants the Pope to tell him the truth, even if it is only to put him out of his misery. The world is for shades of grey. From the Pope people want black and white. If the Pope gives people shades of grey, eventually they will paint it either black, or white.

Anyway, and now for the laugh. The HuffPo writer finally says:

'All of that means we should take note, watch and see. As I write this, little boys and girls in Catholic schools all across the world are still being taught that homosexuality is "intrinsically disordered."'

Obviously not much experience of the world of Catholic education then! Catholicism hasn't been taught in Catholic schools for decades! In the meantime, it looks as if Pope Francis is going to keep liberals guessing. Some people might think that's kind of cool or funny. I have sympathy for liberals. It is gravely sinful for Catholics to deprive anyone, but especially those who ask, of the Truth. Jesus Christ Himself said so when He said, 'Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Anything else comes from the Devil.'

Pray for the Pope, that he may be delivered from his enemies, both spiritual and earthly.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

An Honour and a Privilege

This post has been amended. Apparently, Austen Ivereigh sent a Twitter message as appears below. I have been to Confession to ask forgiveness for my rather vindictive riposte to Mr Ivereigh's Twitter message concerning my last post on ongoings in Rome. All I shall say is, Mr Ivereigh, it is a great honour and privilege that someone with so many media contacts, TV appearances and friends in high places should be so kind as to promote my blog on Twitter. Thank you.

 'Paranoid and sarcastic: a glimpse inside the world of anti-Francis traddie pushback'

Wherein he then links to my post.

You're welcome to your opinion Mr Ivereigh, but if loyalty to the Successor of St Peter means looking away while a perfectly healthy, vibrant and attractive Franciscan Order gets devastated by those who claim to act on behalf of the Pope, then I ask only if that is true loyalty, or a cowardly refusal to state the truth in charity and to ignore and indeed be complicit in, by silence, the travesty of justice that appears to be unfolding before our eyes in their regard. Sarcastic? Possibly. Paranoid? I do hope so. I truly, truly do. If you saw my previous post, before I amended it, I apologise. Who am I to judge you? Three Aves and a Gloria coming your way, Austen. Doh! Keep forgetting! Don't count!

What Catholics are Saying About these Times

I understand that we Catholics should be out on the peripheries serving the poor 24/7, but occasionally Catholics get time to go for a pint and have a chat. If the Holy Father wants to know what some are saying or at least thinking, the video above is a pretty good example. The most troubling aspect of this papacy with regard to the FFI and the message that it is sending around the World to Catholics is that we are now entering into a period of thoughtcrime. That's the 'Francis Effect' currently being felt by many Catholics who are the Holy Father's natural supporters.

Guilty as charged!
That's a most troubling aspect of the Franciscan oath, but so too, equally, is the pseudo-revival of the index of banned books for all publications from the FFI. I still own a copy of 'Jesus: Our Eucharistic Love' by Fr Stefano Manelli. It's brilliant and inspiring. Maybe you can still pick up a copy second hand but hide it at home in case it is seized by Fr Volpi.

Yet, no heretical Bishop has been asked to sign an oath that condemns the 'syllabus of errors' that have swept the Catholic Church in the modern World. How many dreadful, heretical books that have undermined or destroyed faith have been written by Catholics since the 1960s. These still reside in pride of place in many monastery libraries despite the well-observed fact that these destroy or deplete Faith!

No other Order or religious house has experienced the ire currently being suffered by the Franciscans of the Immaculate. Nothing has happened to the heretical and ludicrous LCWR, despite their quite apparent departure from the Holy Faith, the Magisterium and widespread movement 'beyond Jesus'. Every day brings some more news that sends shivers down the spines of those who are, in fact, the Papacy's most loyal supporters. It is only the heretics and unofficial apostates within the Church who have ever viewed the Papacy as something that needs to be overcome, overturned, or seized, so that its power and Office be reduced to something that makes the Office holder of the Papacy just another weak and ineffective Bishop among an empire of weak and ineffective Bishops.

Not a Pope's usual 'constituency': The vociferous gay lobby
The Popes natural 'constituency' of loyal support are those who uphold and defend the Magisterium and who are loyal to the Sacred Tradition of the Church. Even more naturally the constituency of the Pope, one would think, would be those who see the Second Vatican Council in a 'hermeneutic of continuity', because it is, as Dr Joseph Shaw makes plain, not evident at all that this Council rejects outright that which came before it. It is, one would have thought, expected of each Pope to uphold the Magisterium and to guard faithfully and teach that which has been handed down.

If anything comes in a Supreme Pontiff's job specification, one would think that would be it, as he 'strengthens the brethren'. The only people I see being strengthened at the moment are those who hate the institutional Church, whose concept of worship and the Mass is divorced from anything that our forefathers would understand, heretics and Catholics for whom the actual doctrinal content of the Church - the Deposit of Faith - is a massive problem that needs to be removed, or, at least, covered up. Even Obama has heralded His Holiness! When a Pope strengthens these people, who have no interest in converting to the Faith of Jesus Christ, and alienates his natural supporters and most loyal and faithful sons and daughters, it becomes obvious that he is hanging around with the wrong crowd.

If what has happened to the Franciscans of the Immaculate becomes a Soviet clampdown that goes general then one shudders. History has seen many tyrants abuse, destroy and decimate their own people while maintaining sky high opinion poll ratings. It is not the way of Christ but it is the way of the World. One needs no reminding of just how popular these figures were, while the purges and the persecutions of innocent people were going on.

How many Marxists, for instance, good Heavens, have been thought of as 'good people' until the monsters take the apparatus of the State into their hands and begin their diabolical reign of genocide and terror? Most Marxists are 'good people', until, that is they are given any kind of power and authority and the real intent and real agenda of this abhorrent and Godless creed becomes evident. Are the Marxists at the UN and the Bertrand Russell school of Fabian socialists 'good people' while still desiring to eliminate poverty, by eliminating the poor from the face of the Earth? Are the cultural Marxists who promote the breakdown of the natural family and marriage 'good people'? Marxism is not just "wrong", but has such a track-proven record of trampling on all manner of human freedoms that means that this ideology of death warrants greater condemnation than merely "wrong", as if it is merely in someway intellectually deficient, or sociologically mistaken.

Yet - and yet - none of us desire to be Pope, but wish only that the Pope be a true Pastor and Father to us, rather than to the World. Are we to be the children rejected by our Holy Father Pope Francis because since Francis has been placed in authority over us, who are we to reject him? We cannot! Tu es Petrus. Are not those Franciscan friars and nuns his most natural supporters and loyal sons and daughters? Your Holiness, why beat your own children?

Pat Archbold today has an open letter to His Holiness asking, pleading for him to show mercy to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and all who hold fast to the Sacred Tradition of the Church. Protect the Pope, whose natural leaning is to always seek to protect the Pope is evidently concerned that there are good and holy men who need protecting, if not from the Pope himself, then the men of ideology that the Pope has brought in with him to oversee what appears to be, after nine months, the attempted demolition of the Catholic Church from the inside. Do those working or seeking to destroy the Papacy and the Church have no fear of God?

The truly breathtaking thing, is that all of these things are being said by faithful Catholics and we are only nine months into this papacy. Our Lady of Fatima has promised that this story ends well and happily for those will persevere to the end, but that does not make the days in which we live less evil, nor does it mean that we are bound to cease proclaiming Salvation, and nor, indeed, does it mean that silence in the face of injustice is suddenly transformed into something holy and good merely because those who perpetuate it are in great authority over us. No Catholic I know is calling for insurrection or revolution against those placed in authority over the Universal Church. The concern is rather that the real insurrection and the real revolution is taking place in Rome itself and, what is truly incredible is that the revolution is being televised.

"The only danger the church can and should fear is the sin of her members."
~ Pope Benedict XVI

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Dear God, help me, St Jason pray for us

St Jason
'And when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul, according to his custom, went in unto them; and for three sabbath days he reasoned with them out of the scriptures: Declaring and insinuating that the Christ was to suffer, and to rise again from the dead; and that this is Jesus Christ, whom I preach to you. And some of them believed, and were associated to Paul and Silas; and of those that served God, and of the Gentiles a great multitude, and of noble women not a few. But the Jews, moved with envy, and taking unto them some wicked men of the vulgar sort, and making a tumult, set the city in an uproar; and besetting Jason' s house, sought to bring them out unto the people.

And not finding them, they drew Jason and certain brethren to the rulers of the city, crying: They that set the city in an uproar, are come hither also; Whom Jason hath received; and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus. And they stirred up the people, and the rulers of the city hearing these things, And having taken satisfaction of Jason and of the rest, they let them go. But the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea. Who, when they were come thither, went into the synagogue of the Jews.' 

I hadn't realised that there was a Saint Jason until relatively recently. Long term readers will know of someone I know called Jason. It seems that my friend Jason's heavenly patron also got into a spot of bother with 'the law' but for proclaiming Jesus Christ. I happened to come across this passage of Scripture above last night and, to my great surprise (even horror!), I hear that Jason has been released from prison today. What is the chance of that? What is the Good Lord trying to tell me? Advice? A warning perhaps?

Jason: Less intimidating than my friend after a few beers
My friend Jason, the parish of St Mary Magdalen's loveable, but highly 'irritating little b******', has been in prison for some time and has now been released back onto the street, as well as his erstwhile and faithful friend Kevin. I guess Kevin is on the street as well by now. Both were jailed for breaking and entering into an abandoned property in order to keep Kevin warm because Kevin was homeless and cold. Both got six months in Highdown Prison because we live in an age of 'mercy'.

Both are now released back onto the street in time for the Christmas cold. George and Diane are yet to be rehoused so it is not entirely impossible they will be on the street come January 4th. I have a weird feeling my flat is about to be besieged by poor, homeless people in what could amount to a 'perfect storm'. I fear I will have to either stay where I am and receive complaints from neighbours, move away, or move onto the street with them. Together we can start that new Franciscan Order now that the FFI are being decimated. Exactly how much Skol Super is a Franciscan allowed to drink in a day?

Ah, the joy of the Gospel. Dear God, help me and grant me holy prudence. I suppose - I believe it is - a great honour that Jason should come to my flat, but he is not your ordinary homeless person. Most visitors are happy to ring the doorbell. He doesn't do that. He prefers the window. He really doesn't have any social boundaries at all. Perhaps I should pay for his passport and send him to Pope Francis. It's his birthday after all! Happy Birthday, Your Holiness! Have a Jason!

St Mary Magdalen's little treasure, Jason, can call up at his flat every night of the week at insane hours of the night instead of mine and the papal video cam can beam images around the globe of the Pope dropping quilts and sandwiches to Jason and whatever homeless person Jason is 'looking after' that night. That would do the Pope's image a great deal of good...until the press started talking to Jason and realise why he has a Roman ASBO. Forgive me for moaning, but sometimes even Good News can feel like bad news. God help me and forgive me.

I would like to be happy that Jason is out of prison, where he was safe, housed, off drugs and drink and warm, getting three meals a day and pumping iron at the gym, but I'm not going to pretend. His life on the outside of jail is total chaos and he enjoys spreading it around. Pope Francis doesn't like 'pretenders' so I'll just be honest instead. Pray for me and pray for Jason, Kevin, George and Diane and if you want to send sleeping bags, email me and I'll give you my address. Jason, at least, will doubtless need one. Unless, that is Bill Gardner wants a Jason for Christmas?

Joy, O Joy, O Joy...I think I'm about to be taken well and truly out of my 'comfort zone'. Pray for me, that I may prefer anything but my own will in the coming weeks. Under Pope Benedict XVI being kind to Jason was simple. It was all about kindness. Under Pope Francis one wonders whether one is being called not simply to be kind but implement some kind of conversion of lifestyle or living arrangement or build one's entire spirituality around Jason and the poor. Doesn't Pope Francis say he wants 'street preachers' in his new Exhortation? How far does the Christian go in responding to the poor?

My experience leads me to think for the Christian, the poor can become people through whom he or she can encounter Christ and be led to virtue, or for whom the poor can become something masturbatory and about self-aggrandisement. Let's face it, Marxists, Leninists and Polly Toynbee wax lyrical about 'the poor' all the time. The UN is always going on about poverty. You don't need to be a Christian to talk about it all the time. Under Benedict XVI, responding to the poor was organic - something that the liturgy and prayer led us to do. Under Francis, one feels an unusual element of compulsion. The thing about a number of traditional Catholics, laity and priests, is that we actually do take Christ seriously about the poor, but we don't beam images of ourselves doing so. Jesus Christ told us explicitly not to even let our left hand know what our right hand is doing in almsgiving and furthermore, for public knowledge of it to mean the automatic loss of heavenly reward, since our Heavenly Father sees what we do 'in secret' and rewards us 'in secret'.

If every Catholic who practised almsgiving had a cameraman or released a images and a press release about it the next day, the World would rightly think we were tossers. Sorry for the coarse language but that's the truth. Perhaps for the spiritual health of the Pope, his PR gang should consider laying off the Supreme Pontiff's virtue for a while. I can't be the only one thinking its getting a bit much, especially in the light of the FFI's terrible treatment since the measure we 'mete out' shall be the measure that is returned to us. I wonder what St Francis and St Maximillian Kolbe make of it all. Let's face it, we've all heard of the Christians who parade their virtue in the Church and town squares but go home and beat their wives and children black and blue. At the end of the day, the true test of our character resides not in what we do in public, but in private.

Monday 16 December 2013

All Change at the Congregation for Bishops

Life Site News drew attention to an interview Cardinal Raymond Burke gave to EWTN recently. It's a good and clear interview. It is so inspiring to see a Prince of the Church valiantly speaking out in defence of unborn life and in defending the Most Holy Eucharist from sacrilege and desecration.

I'm disappointed that Cardinal Burke has not been renamed to the Congregation for Bishops, but as Thomas Peters makes plain today, Cardinal Raymond Burke has various roles which are very important in Vatican affairs, not least at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura*. It is not as if he has to take up golf because he'll have nothing to do in Rome. While always maintaining loyalty to Pope Francis, one cannot help wonder how stricken Cardinal Raymond Burke, like so many of us feel, for the plight of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, who found in Cardinal Burke so much practical support in Rome.

Cardinal Burke's 'dropping' from the Congregation of Bishops, at Pope Francis's desire, is made more interesting, for want of a better word, by other appointments. The media are running the story (and I guess its true) that his place has been assumed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington.

Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit ran a story written by a writer at The American Spectator on Cardinal Wuerl in March 2012, upbraiding him for his conduct concerning a Priest who sought to protect the Blessed Sacrament from sacrilege. Catholic online evangelist Michael Voris had to change the name of his popular online video update show Real Catholic TV to 'Church Militant' due to intervention from Cardinal Wuerl, who, it was noted, did not make the same request of 'Catholics for Choice', the militantly pro-abortion, pro-homosexual unions, anti-Catholic organisation. Apart from this, I don't know much about the new American appointment to the Congregation for Bishops. His wikipedia page is here.

Smiles all round with Cdl Cormac Murphy O'Connor
As for Archbishop Vincent Nichols, however, well, that's another matter. His appointment is simply stunning. Congratulations to and prayers for His Grace. What an honour for the Archbishop.

What, I wonder, does it mean for Episcopal appointments and other issues related to the Bishops Conference of England and Wales? His Grace has been really rather quiet both during and in the wake of the passing of 'same-sex marriage' but obviously His Holiness Pope Francis sees something of great merit in the quiet and sensible fortitude of the Archbishop of Westminster. Holy Communion is not a 'prize for the strong', as His Holiness says and neither, it appears is an appointment to the Congregation of Bishops. O, Lord forgive me. I'm such a 'sourpuss', unlike the cheery Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor (pictured right) who always has a smile for everyone.

It is becoming more and more obvious that Cardinal Burke and Pope Francis are not on exactly the same page in certain matters, mostly pertaining to liturgy, but to read the National Catholic Reporter (who, despite rather unorthodox beliefs in a number of areas, mysteriously maintain their 'Catholic' status, if not a very Catholic identity) one would think Pope Francis had thrown Cardinal Burke's corpse out into the winter cold from a Vatican window to be eaten by crows and until I see that happen I can't go along with the liberal interpretation of events. That said, As Archbishop Ganswein noted recently, things change in Rome everyday nowadays so nothing should be ruled out. The amazing thing is that I expect Pope Francis could do that still maintain a very high popularity rate 'in the polls'.

May Almighty God and Our Blessed Lady, Queen of the Clergy, bless all these Archbishops and Cardinals and indeed His Holiness Pope Francis himself with wisdom, courage and a superabundance of grace to exercise their ministries with prudence, virtue, holiness and charity.

*As long as these dicasteries and roles continue to exist in Rome.

And God help us all. Oremus!

For more, read Rorate Caeli and Protect the Pope.

The Pope Who Won't Be Buried

It has been a long time since I have put finger to keyboard to write about our holy Catholic Faith, something I regret, but which I put larg...