Sunday 30 November 2014


It's only my 'umble opinion, of course, but I think this pontificate is like Vatican II on amphetamines.

Saturday 29 November 2014

As Goes the Church...

...and the family. goes the World.

Sorry. I couldn't resist!

Nor could I resist this little photo montage of very recent events.

These are namely, Cardinal Burke's first interview in his new role at the Knights of Malta...

...and Pope Francis receiving a kiss on the Petrine head having sought the blessing of
Patriarch Bartholomew upon himself and the Church of Rome.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Pope Francis Speaks of Heaven

The new look Catholic Herald today reports on Pope Francis's recent remarks to the Roman crowd on Heaven...

“More than a place, it is a ‘state of being’ in which our deepest expectations will be fulfilled in abundance and our being as creatures and as children of God will reach full maturity. We will finally be covered with the joy, peace and love of God in a complete way, without any limitations, and we will be face to face with Him! It’s lovely to think of this, to think we will all find ourselves up there! All of us in heaven. It’s good, it gives strength to our soul,” Pope Francis said.

So for those who on Sunday heard of the wine press of God's anger or who are concerned by Our Lord's parables on foolish virgins, men who hide talents, those who the King brings before Him to be slain in His sight, those who sang dirges and danced but the Lord knew not, weeping and gnashing of teeth, outer darkness, or hear of stories of goat and sheep dividing, don't worry yourselves because, "We will all find ourselves up there! All of us in Heaven!" That said, it is good to hear His Holiness say something about Heaven.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor Distances Himself from His Former Press Secretary

So who is telling the truth? The Cardinal or the former press secretary to the Cardinal? Either Austen Ivereigh has 'got the wrong end of the stick' in a book on Pope Francis now published in the US, or the next day "rebuttal" from the retired Cardinal's new 'press secretary' is not true.

Dr Ivereigh's account of His Eminence's 'canvassing' before the 2013 Papal Conclave is either true or false.  The retired Cardinal has now in print denied it. Austen Ivereigh, however, has said nothing in reply. Of course, such an allegation regarding the former Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster is very serious indeed for reasons noted here.

Quite how Austen Ivereigh has managed to 'get the wrong end of the stick' in telling the story of how Cardinal Bergoglio became Pope Francis is a mystery. Who did he get this information from regarding the alleged actions of His Eminence? The article about the 'revelations' has appeared in a few international news sources, not least, The Telegraph. The following article is from The New Indian Express...

LONDON: Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the former leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, helped to orchestrate a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign which led to the election of Pope Francis, a new biography claims.

The choice of the largely unknown Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as head of the world's 1.2?billion Catholics came as a surprise to Vatican watchers and the faithful alike when the announcement was made in March last year.

The conclave to elect a successor to Benedict XVI, the first pope for more than 600 years to step down, was viewed as wide open, although most predicted that the Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola or Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec would be elected.

When 76-year-old Bergoglio emerged as Pope on only the second day of voting, it was largely explained as a unity candidacy to prevent deadlock between rival factions.

But a biography of Pope Francis, to be published next month, discloses that there had been a discreet, but highly organised, campaign by a small group of European cardinals in support of Cardinal Bergoglio.

The Great Reformer, by the British Catholic writer Austen Ivereigh, nicknames the group "Team Bergoglio" and says members toured private dinners and other gatherings of cardinals in the days before the conclave, quietly putting their case.
So, who is telling the truth?
Cardinal Bergoglio was effectively the runner-up in the 2005 conclave, in which Joseph Ratzinger was elected, having been put forward by an alliance of mainly European reformists.

But it later emerged that his chances of election were hampered by what amounted to a dirty tricks campaign by opponents from Argentina.

He also effectively pulled the plug on any campaign in 2005, urging would-be supporters to throw their weight behind Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and making clear that he did not wish to be the focus of a faction.

By 2013, he had been largely discounted by most commentators, partly due to his age, as well as because he had signalled that he did not wish to stand in Cardinal Ratzinger's way.

But by last year, the appetite for reform in the Vatican and a pope without links to the establishment, widely seen as corrupt and riddled with in-fighting, had become intense.

"Spotting their moment, the initiative was now seized by the European reformers who in 2005 had pushed for Bergoglio," Mr Ivereigh, who once served as Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor's press secretary, explains in the book.

He wrote that Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, then 80 and no longer with a vote in the conclave, teamed up with the German cardinal Walter Kasper, whose controversial call for remarried divorcees to be allowed to receive communion was one of the main points of division at the synod that Pope Francis held in Rome this year.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor's role included lobbying his North American counterparts as well as acting as a link for those from Commonwealth countries.

"They had learnt their lessons from 2005," Mr Ivereigh explains. "They first secured Bergoglio's assent. Asked if he was willing, he said that he believed that at this time of crisis for the Church no cardinal could refuse if asked.

"Our man?"
 "Murphy-O'Connor knowingly warned him to 'be careful', and that it was his turn now, and was told 'capisco' - 'I understand'.

"Then they got to work, touring the cardinals' dinners to promote their man, arguing that his age - 76 - should no longer be considered an obstacle, given that popes could resign. Having understood from 2005 the dynamics of a conclave, they knew that votes travelled to those who made a strong showing out of the gate."

A key turning point came during the series of closed meetings before the conclave, known as congregations, when Cardinal Bergoglio gave a short but moving speech about the state of the Church.

But, the book argues, a ban on official updates about what was happening in the congregations meant that what information did emerge relied on leaks which concentrated on in-fighting within the Italian church.

"For this reason and because the organisers of his campaign stayed largely below the radar, the Bergoglio bandwagon that began to roll during the week of the congregations went undetected by the media and to this day most [Vatican watchers] believe there was no organised pre-conclave effort to get Bergoglio elected," Mr Ivereigh says.
Untying the knots or an election unravelling?

As Damian Thompson has reported on his blog at The Spectator, this news has implications, quite how deep these implications are we can only leave to canon lawyers. It should be noted that His Eminence showed the degree of his enthusiasm for the project of liturgical reform and the papacy of Benedict XVI by hosting the book launch of Archbishop Piero Marini's, 'A Challenging Reform', in the presence of the Cardinal who foreworded the book, Cardinal Daneels and others at the Throne Room of Archbishop’s House in 2007. That article, by the way, was written by one Robert Mickens who wept when Cardinal Ratzinger who "they" elected Pope and presumably jumped for joy when "our man" Cardinal Bergoglio replaced the retired Supreme Pontiff.

Interesting, too, is this book, called, 'Pope Francis: Untying the Knots', in which author Paul Vellely recounts the behaviour of His Eminence during the Conclave of 2005 that saw Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger receive the necessary majority vote to be elected the Successor of St Peter. Of course, for a  time the retired Archbishop of Westminster, who is known to 'have the ear of the Pope' has been known as a 'mover and shaker' in Vatican circles, but as the swiftness of The Telegraph letter above suggests, he's clearly a little 'shaken' if not 'stirred' by what Austen Ivereigh has said and for very good reason. As Damian Thompson notes, such alleged antics are clearly forbidden by Church law and incur certain penalties towards those who conduct them.

Will he sue, I wonder? It can't be pleasant for His Eminence to have such scandalous allegations made by someone who worked so closely with him for a good long time. Neither can it be pleasant for Dr Ivereigh to be contradicted by the Cardinal he worked for as press secretary and whose trust, understanding and confidence he has enjoyed for so long. He must feel aggrieved for being told in public that his account of events now in print is "a misunderstanding".

1 Timothy 4 Everyone

So wherever the Bishops of England and Wales organise a stadium-based event, Fr Timothy Radcliffe there doth go.


1 Timothy 4 all, it would appear...

Monday 24 November 2014

Some Extra Thoughts on the 'Big Day'

As a footnote to the post on the Diocesan Golden Jubilee, it should perhaps be remembered that while many think this event should simply be cancelled, I am assuming that money may have already exchanged hands in booking the football stadium.

The amount it would cost to book this place with all the services that may come with that could be anything up to and beyond a six figure sum. Let's say, for instance, that this event costs in total something between £50,000 - £200,000. I guess that if, let's say, a Diocese had laid down a hefty chunk of that as a deposit that this would be a difficult event to simply "cancel". So if, as I was recently told, a "six figure sum" (something I cannot confirm conclusively) was laid down as a non-refundable deposit for the event, one can understand why the Diocese feel that the "show simply must go on".

My own opinion - and I am sure I am not alone - is that the event doesn't make much sense at the moment, if it made much sense from the beginning. That places the Diocese in a rather difficult situation given the circumstances. Still, I have to say that the whole 'craft fair', 'art exhibitions' and all round 'fun-day' feel of the event leaves a rather odd taste in the mouth given what the Diocese has been put through recently. A subtle alteration of the event from "celebration" to "reparation" seems appropriate but then that would put us in touch with our Catholic identity and with Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor and Fr Tim Radcliffe around, we simply can't have any of that nonsense, can we?

Sunday 23 November 2014

Diocese of Arundel and Brighton Prepares for its Golden Jubilee

The year 2015 marks the Golden Jubilee of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton and even if you still feel a bit weird and weary in the wake of Kieran Conry's exit from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, certain figures in the Hierarchy desperately want you to celebrate 50 years of Arundel and Brighton. So get happy!

Well, obviously, I don't want to be considered a 'party pooper', but I'm not feeling terribly enthused about this AMEX Football Stadium-based festival. Exactly what is there, for example, right now at least, to celebrate?

The show, however, simply must go on. Apparently! Oh and what a show it will be. For example, despite my own inability to fathom what the former Anglican Archbishop (null and void) of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has to do with Arundel and Brighton, his presence at the event is assured. Will he be speaking? What does this individual have to do with the Diocese? What does he even have to do with the Catholic Faith? Is his conversion to the One True Faith going to be announced to the sound of trumpet blast? Or is he going to bore an already fatigued crowd to sleep with his musings which will have, I suspect, very little to do with the catechesis of a Catholic congregation that has been starved of a bishop that catechises them for a decade or three? For how long will we have to endure his thoughts? Is this about the needs of Arundel and Brighton or the needs of a rather elitist obsession among the Hierarchy to appear 'in complete unity' with those who don't believe in the Catholic Faith? I just can't shake the feeling that this event isn't about Christ, the Church or even the 'community of believers', but simply Them.

The show must go on...

Although the Cardinal Emeritus Cormac Murphy O'Connor has, at least, some link to Arundel and Brighton, having been Bishop here before giving us The Kieran Conry Show, it will be common knowledge to most in the Diocese that here before us stands a man who will most likely never answer those 'difficult questions' about how on earth he managed to get appointed his disgraced Successor who failed to teach us the Faith before finally owning up to the scandalous behaviour that made his continued suitability for such high office completely impossible. Perhaps His Eminence plans a 'question and answer' session as part of the celebrations? Or perhaps not.

That said, I am told by some laity in the Diocese that even when His Eminence himself was Bishop here, the Catholic Faith was simply not taught much then either. His Eminence had better hope that the spirit of the football terrace that leads mostly intoxicated football fans to call the referee names associated with the sin of Onanism are able to exercise some self-restraint on the big day. 'Who am I to judge?', of course, is the prevailing mood of the field hospital of sinners, but when such things are chanted, the unruly fans are never talking about the referee's solitary sins, but rather that they simply don't like him because he regularly lets their side down and makes stupid, lamentable decisions. Not that the referees ever apologise. Perhaps the analogy is apt after all.

Eucharistic Nightmare

Then, of course, a football stadium packed with Catholic sheep awaiting a Shepherd will also have to stomach a Eucharistic nightmare. How reverently, for instance, will Our Eucharistic Lord be distributed at an event like this? What containers will house the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, He Who Is King of the Universe? Clear plastic bags, perhaps? Plastic white cups as in Rio for World Sacrilege Day?

If such unworthy receptacles are used by priests and the Cardinal Emeritus, in what will most likely be a Concelebration of ludicrous proportions, how will they be cleansed so that no fragments of Our Blessed Lord are left in them? How will the Diocesan 'Safeguarding Team' ensure that no fragments of Our Lord and King are left on the football pitch to be trampled upon by Brighton and Hove Albion? How will the Faithful be able to receive the Lord reverently? Are there any kneelers on the terraces or will the youth who actually still attend Mass in the Diocese and the elderly who can actually make it to the event be kneeling on concrete? But oh, these things don't matter, do they? Because we are "celebrating the Diocese". Perhaps the Adoration that will be a part of the festival should be set aside for reparation for indifference to the Holy Eucharist that the former Bishop of Arundel and Brighton made a hallmark of perhaps every Mass he celebrated in what most people now believe was probably very lengthy periods of mortal sin because, let's face it, the former Bishop was really not into the Sacrament of Penance and made the fact widely known.

Churches in the Diocese to Close: How will those who cannot make it to the Football Stadium attend Mass?

Will people unable, for any reason, to get on the train or bus over to Falmer to the football stadium for a Church event which advertises a Mass starting at 3pm, be able to attend Mass in their own parishes?

It is most likely that all Masses within the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton on this day will be cancelled, a state of affairs that I think is really quite terrible and poses to the Faithful of the Diocese an obstacle in the way of getting to Mass to meet their obligation. I do not envy the Diocese in trying to co-ordinate some kind of celebration of the creation of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, but I do rather resent the idea that I cannot attend on this day a Mass within walking distance of where I live and believe that getting the elderly, those without money for bus or rail fare, the disabled to actually travel to Mass all that way when there is probably a perfectly suitable parish Church quite nearby is quite, quite wrong.

Thanks for the invite...
Sorry, I don't think I can make it...

The simple truth, at least from where I am standing, is that there is very little enthusiasm among the laity - although there will always be some enthusiasm among some laity, for an event such as this, in which we are commanded to "celebrate" a Diocese which, for the time being at least, is without its own Bishop. Nowhere in the preparation for this event is there any acknowledgement of this rather embarrassing situation. Neither will there be any provision for those who worship at the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

Aside from the guilty, if not publicly repentant Bishop, nobody in the Hierarchy has come forward to give an account for just how it is that "nobody knew" about the behaviour of the former Bishop of Arundel and Brighton even though it now turns out that quite a lot of people seemed either know or suspect. Perhaps, by then, July 2015, a new and holy Bishop will have been appointed to the Diocese but these things do take time. Quite what Fr Timothy Radcliffe, who has advanced some seriously dodgy views on homosexuality and Catholicism - views that remain irreconcilable with Catholic teaching - has to do with Arundel and Brighton is anyone's guess. After all, not everyone in Arundel and Brighton is into 'alternative lifestyles'. Are copies of The Tablet going to be handed out for free?

One would have thought that the destructive liberalism that has cast its depressing shadow over this Diocese for really quite a long time would be the very last thing such an event required, but then, the show, as they say, simply must go on. Meanwhile, what the clergy of the Diocese think about this event I do not know, but I expect enthusiasm at this time, when clergy morale must be quite low in the wake of the Kieran Conry saga, is probably not exceedingly high. I expect some of them would resent being told to 'move on' from the Conry saga and "celebrate" the Diocese. They, I expect, will happily "move on" when the Diocese is shepherded and taught by a Bishop courageous and holy enough to bring healing to a flock of inadequately-fed, undernourished and neglected sheep.

Pray for the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.

Pray for a new, holy Bishop dedicated to Jesus Christ and His Church.

Saturday 22 November 2014

Porsche and the Temple

"When those who are in the Temple – be they priests, lay people, secretaries, who manage the ministry of the Temple...when they become business people the community is scandalized. And we are responsible for this. The laity is too! Everyone. Because if I see this happening in my parish, I need to have courage and tell it directly the pastor.”
- His Holiness Pope Francis

So, did money change hands for Porsche to hire the Sistine Chapel for a business event or not?

Suspicions have been raised, so someone needs to tell the Pastor!

Boycott Oxford University

Below is a form that you can send to Oxford University to express your disapproval of their lack of regard for freedom of speech...

"I hereby declare that I shall take my doctorate/masters degree/bachelors degree at an educational establishment other than Oxford University. I shall take my custom elsewhere, at an establishment that fosters an environment in which freedom of speech is valued and promoted."

Signed: _________________

Date: _________________

Let's hit these cowboys where it hurts!

We could get this signed by 99% of the United Kingdom.

Send your message to:

Oxford University
University Offices
Wellington Square
Oxford OX1 2JD

I'm filling mine out and sending it today. I was considering Oxford University for an evening class in the Alexander Technique, but I think henceforth I shall take my custom elsewhere!

Friday 21 November 2014

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

After the debacle of the mid-term report at the Synod, as well as the other upsets along the way, Msgr Bruno Forte, widely credited with the scandalous words in the mid-term Relatio is to be rewarded with another stab at the action in October 2015.

Forte retains a highly influential role as Secretary General. His Holiness talks a lot about priests, the Church and scandal. Good to see His Holiness finally taking aim at the powerful gay lobby in the Church. Oh, sorry, that was his predecessor!

"Nothing to see here, people. Move along now..."

The Archbishop of Paris,  Cardinal André Vingt-Trois. From the Philippines, Luis Antonio Tagle. From Aparecida Brazil, Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis. From Durban, South Africa, Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier. 

The Relator General will be Cardinal Peter Erdo, who serves as the Archbishop of Budapest. The Secretary General, will be Italian Msgr, Bruno Forte. 

However, one name welcome on that list is:

Cardinal Napier!

Because the views of Africans are valued in to one Cardinal Walter Kasper.

I hope and pray Cardinal Raymond Burke will be outside the venue giving sage and judicious interviews to all-comers even though, sadly, his name isn't down on the list of those invited in the wake of his transfer. We have these months before next October to pray and prepare. Hold tight!

Monday 17 November 2014

Sunday 16 November 2014

Don't Bury the Bell

I find this justification for dropping the bell during the Eucharistic prayer problematic.

I don't know all that much about liturgy. I'm just under the impression that liturgy is a 'given' and that priests cannot simply do away with parts or aspects of liturgy on a whim, though we all know how problematic holding to such a view is in the post-concilliar Church. The above is taken from a newsletter from a parish church in the South East that I was handed. Have a read of it and let me know. True to what was in the newsletter, there was no bell for the epiclesis or for the Consecration.

Not knowing much about liturgy, I was under the impression that the bell has an important role to play in drawing the attention of the Faithful to the moments leading up to the Consecration, during which the words are uttered by the Priest which confect the Most Blessed Sacrament upon the Altar and at which the Sacrifice made upon Calvary is renewed, re-presented, albeit in an unbloody manner, upon the Altar, and that the bell indicates to the Faithful that it is at this particular moment - when the Priest says the words of consecration and raises the Body and Blood up aloft, that he raises the Blessed Host and the Chalice for the adoration of the Faithful.

The idea that there is no public distinction in worship to be made between the entire Eucharistic prayer and the moment of Consecration before which the bell calls us to adore the Lord made present on the Altar, strikes me as being a bit un-Catholic, or even Protestant, but then what do I know? The priest, interestingly, maintains this no longer happens at St Peter's. If so, I find that a bit weird and question why.

Of course, we should be prayerfully listening, or listening, while praying, during the whole Eucharistic prayer, but human nature being what it is, people's minds do get distracted, or perhaps some are even so wrapt in prayer they are not sure where they are in the liturgy and that bell is a good reminder to prepare to adore the Lord and then to adore Him when He is raised to be adored by men, women, Our Blessed Lady, the Saints and the Angels.

The last three of course don't require a bell, but we who are not ceaselessly crying out 'Holy, Holy, Holy' perhaps, in the Church's wisdom, do, to awaken us to the Lord, His Sacrifice for us the adoration and worship that is His due, to the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity, but then what do I know?

Saved by the Bell
There seems to be an assumption made by a lot of priests that everyone in the pew is a dedicated theologian with 100% attentive prayerful diligence for the duration of the Mass even though most, if not all Novus Ordo masses are simply not that prayerful in comparison to the Extraordinary Form, because the Faithful must 'participate' in a vocal manner and hear every single word of what is essentially the Church's highest and most fruitful prayer. Anyway...

Calling us to recollection of the Sacrifice which Our Lord made for us seems no bad thing. Not calling us to that inner recollection might give us the impression that nothing particularly important is happening when a priest consecrates the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. It's a shame this particular church has decided to 'experiment' so willfully in contradiction to the Church's perennial wisdom and practice, but then, it looks like the ongoing 'experimentation' project is something cherished once more in Rome.

The Church has apparently completed major renovation works and at no small cost. I am told that the confessional booth, which has disappeared, the statues of St Anthony of Padua and the statue of the Sacred Heart, both of which were focal points of devotion for quite a few, will return, 'when a space has been found for them'. I hoped these sacred items and places would be in the architect's plans but who am I, a layman, to ask for such things?

I was very heartened to hear of the renovation of the particular Church, because the Crucifix had been moved back to the centre of the Church above the Tabernacle. The walls look beautiful and the floor looks wonderful. Perhaps, I shouldn't post on it, but, as a lay man, I find it a bit unsettling when, on a whim, priests and Popes just get up and decide one day that tampering with the liturgy and redesigning the Church while not giving public reassurances that the confessional booth and the statues will reappear is a bit disorientating, though, as I say, the Church looks very beautiful and I generally admire the work the priest has done.

I stress that I am told that both statues and confessional will in time, return. I might not be the only person who is thinking about this. It's not the 1970s all over again, the Church looks very much more beautiful than it did, but I sincerely hope that every priest is desirous to give a visible sign that Confession is good, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is good...and St Anthony of Padua is good to have on your side.

Names of clergy and church have been removed. 

These things seem small and unimportant to some but small things can make a big difference as we heard in the Gospel today.

Thursday 13 November 2014

With Apologies to The Bealtes...

Francis turns the Church into a marketplace
Walter is the agent with the plan
Francis says to Walter
"Oh, you are two-faced!
That Pentin interview pissed off the Africans!"

Ah, do the Bergoglio

Ah, do the Bergoglio

Francis takes his doctrine over to Raymond
Raymond says, "This spits in Our Lord's Face",
Francis says to Raymond, "You Pelagian!
Clear out your desk and then just clear out of the place."

Ah, do the Bergoglio

Ah, do the Bergoglio

In a couple of years they have built their Rome, sweet Rome
With a herd of heretics running in the Square
And heading Congregations...

Happy never after in the Catholic Church
Sold to one David Rockefeller
Emptied of Her doctrine
She's an NGO
Thank Francis, Walter, Marx, Freud, Darwin and Oscar

Ah, do the Bergoglio

Ah, do the Bergoglio

In a couple of years they have built their Rome, sweet Rome
With a herd of heretics running in the Square
And heading Congregations...

Happy never after in the Catholic Church
Sold to one David Rockefeller
Emptied of Her doctrine
She’s an NGO
Thank Francis, Freud, Walter, Marx, Darwin and Oscar

And if you want some fun
Call Monsignor Ricca

If you can't laugh what can you do?

The Temple of His Body

Jesus answered, and said to them: Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. The Jews then said: Six and forty years was this temple in building; and wilt thou raise it up in three days? But he spoke of the temple of his body. ~ St John 2: 27


'Now you are the body of Christ, and members of member.' ~ 1 Corinthians 12

Evil will have its hour, but God will have His day. ~ Ven. Fulton Sheen

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Is the Demonisation Process Underway?

A fascinating theological exegesis emerges from a recent Pope Francis homily on light, dark and grey Christians and that is that God does not love everyone. There are light Christians, dark Christians and the grey Christians and 'God does not love these'. This is a controversial thing to say, for any Christian. Does God love the lukewarm, grey, mediocre Christian? Can God's love be earned? Who is worthy of God's love? Does God love the 'good Christian', let us say the Franciscan ideal, but loathe, or not love the 'bad or lukewarm Christian'. 

Aside from the conclusion that I have drawn, that a Catholic Church that capitulates to the prevailing pagan culture of the West is a lukewarm, grey Church that has nothing much to say to anyone anymore about anything, I do wonder whether a process of demonisation is under way. Perhaps it has been underway for a year and a half and I hadn't understood it.

Recently we have heard more about Pagan Christians. "They" or "them" is a nearly daily refrain of the Pope followed by a swift, sharp criticism towards someone, some 'kind' of Christian. Do we only find out who they are when they have been demoted or moved elsewhere? Are papal homilies really opportunities for Francis to elaborate on the Lectionary reading of the day or are they an opportunity for him to take aim at his theological or ideological opponents and issue a public denunciation? 

How far does the demonisation of, in Francis's opinion, 'the pharisees', the 'pagan Christians', the 'grey and lukewarm' Christians, the 'enemies of the Cross of Christ' in the Catholic Church extend? Of course, for more denunciations you can read the not-often-updated-because-I can't-keep-up with-the-insults Pope Francis Little Book of Insults

Of course, we should all search our consciences for those times that we sin against Christ and by our sinfulness and selfishness fail to live up to the name of Christian. Yet, I cannot help feeling that there is a particular kind of Catholic (If you are Jewish, Muslim, Evangelical, Protestant, Hindu, atheist or consider yourself a genuine Pagan, don't worry, Francis gives you a pass...) Francis has in mind, and its not necessarily the people I would usually associate with those who, for example, hate Christ and His Church.

I have always thought that despite the many, terrible sins that I have committed, the sins I commit and the vices I unfortunately have, despite my lukewarmness in so many ways, my lack of charity and zeal for souls, my indifference to others, that God loves me still. And I have not just considered this a truth to apply to myself, but indeed to all I know, be they Catholic, of other denominations or complete atheists and/or pagans. 

And if for a moment (and of course, I do actually have those moments) I truly considered that God does not love X, Y or Z, or 'that type' of person, I would, I have always thought, cease to be a Christian. I might think it, but I would be wise not to state it because only God knows who he loves and who might be so set against Him that He rejects. God's wrath is upon those who reject Jesus Christ, the Gospels and Epistles tell us. God's wrath awaits those who refuse to repent from mortal sin, but that God loves every human being is, I think, the very reason why we are called to love every human being. God loves all people because He made them for Himself, whether they accept Him or not whether we love Him or not. I cannot say that God loves all that this person does, just as God does not like - may loathe - all I do and indeed, do not do. I cannot say God loves all this person says, thinks and believes and acts, but I can say that God loves everyone and patiently waits for us all to repent and embrace the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 

So when the Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Catholic Church says of certain Christians, that 'God does not love these', that is a serious thing to say indeed and one that needs surely some kind of clarification. The idea that Francis might say that God has withdrawn Himself entirely from people who Pope Francis, or Jorge Bergoglio, the man, takes exception to is to say, 'I know who God loves and who God loathes', thereby sharing in God's own thoughts. It is also to say that God loves the man Jorge Bergoglio very much but detests certain Christians. Who could these people be? Who does God not love? 

It would appear that the separation of the sheep and goats in in progress, in the mind of Pope Francis but it it not necessarily Our Lord doing the judging. No, it is he who said, "Who am I to judge?" Does His Holiness, if this is so, ever think that it is possible he could be wrong? Abortion is a sin crying out to Heaven for vengeance, all kind of murder also. So is sodomy, but it is not faithful Catholics who stand around saying...

...and God waits patiently for their repentance and, we must believe, loves those who commit these acts. The logic of Pope Francis, however, if God does not love 'some', 'certain people', might lead you to conclude that he doesn't. Why? Because to say that God loves some but not others is to entertain a bizarre kind of Christian relativism that could easily even lead someone to ask whether the Pope is a Christian. In order to ask the question, of course, that person would have to be some kind of fundamentalist and believe - shock - that God loves everyone - even the ones Pope Francis doesn't like. And Pope Francis of course! A lot of men have accused Christians and Saints and even thought they were pleasing God by doing so. In fact those who sought the execution of Our Saviour thought, I believe, that God did not love Him. My heart tells me that Pope Francis's homilies are about religion. My mind says, 'Politics'.

Monday 10 November 2014

Millstones, Sound Doctrine and Tradition

'Since, as president, he will be God’s representative, he must be irreproachable: never an arrogant or hot-tempered man, nor a heavy drinker or violent, nor out to make money; but a man who is hospitable and a friend of all that is good; sensible, moral, devout and self-controlled; and he must have a firm grasp of the unchanging message of the tradition, so that he can be counted on for both expounding the sound doctrine and refuting those who argue against it.'
 - St Paul's Letter to Titus

All in all, today's Mass readings are pretty firm and hard-hitting. Yes, they pack a punch for all of us. Our Lord does not soften the blow in His message to those who cause scandal. Neither, however, does St Paul in his letter to Titus in which those in teaching authority in the Church are given sharp and clear advice about how to live and - and I can't help feeling this is timely - what to believe and what to teach. Oh for a little clarity like this from Rome, or, indeed, certain quarters in England and Wales! Pope Francis, according to Vatican Radio, said that 'Jesus chose to be blunt rather than polite to get the message through to the Apostles.' Just how 'polite' is Our Lord in the rest of the Gospels and when? Polite is nice, we are taught to be polite, but polite is not necessarily as a virtue. Only on Sunday we heard how Our Lord threw over tables in the Temple. Polite? Perhaps Our Blessed Lord should have reassured those who made the Temple "into a marketplace" that though He was not keen on the practice, and therefore when on a cleansing mission, how 'valued' and 'welcomed' these individuals were!

Scandalised by the Synod

Many Catholics feel a little 'under the cosh' at the moment. A little 'scandalised' by recent events at the Synod and, indeed, a little scandalised by the lack of clear teaching coming from Rome. It is interesting, therefore, what His Holiness chose to focus on in his homily this morning and what he decided to overlook.

First, the millstones. Well, that is quite a frightening phrase from Our Lord.

"Obstacles are sure to come, but alas for the one who provides them! It would be better for him to be thrown into the Sea with a millstone put round his neck than that he should lead astray a single one of these little ones."

Hmm...oh dear. A single one? Gulp. Well, I'll be frank and say that I have, at times in my life, many times indeed, led people away from Jesus Christ rather than to Him. This is truly a terrible thing. If a lay man can cause spiritual and moral damage to others through his selfishness and sin, how greater then is the impact when a priest or worse a bishop fails to lead men and women to Christ through his life and especially through his teaching? Then how much greater is the damage when the man in question is a Pope? A single little one, a few thousand or one billion? I won't labour the point. After all, only Our Lord can judge His Holiness. Who am I to judge?

Don't blame BBC: Pope Francis never made his doctrinal positions clear
The 'Job Specification' and the 'Job Description'

In our part of the world, we have recently experienced this first hand. Bad, in fact, woeful neglect in teaching and a terrible example of scandal that destroys faith and the Church's message. Despite his personal failings, it has been lamented by many that what really hurt was the individual's decision not to teach that which he was charged with the duty to teach. That is, the Catholic faith and Catholic morals.

"Little ones", perhaps as the individual did not understand, need not mean children. The individual said words to the effect, "Don't worry, it wasn't with minors!" It can simply mean those who are weak in faith, ignorant of the Gospel, vulnerable, placed in your care, those who need instruction and teaching because you are in authority over them.

Now, it so happens that St Paul places at the end of his 'person specification' for a man in teaching authority over others in the Church "a firm grasp of the unchanging message of the tradition" and the reason why. Why? So that he can "be counted on" (is trustworthy and dependable) for both expounding the sound doctrine and refuting those who argue against it." He must be dependable to teach the Faith.

St Paul first takes us through what kind of a man he should be, for example, if he were to be a bishop. He runs through the moral character of the individual; "self controlled, devout, not given to wine etc." Then, St Paul tells us what he must know, what he must teach and tells us that he must refute error.

The personal life of a bishop can be a cause of scandal but so, too, can his teaching. If he doesn't teach sound doctrine and "the unchanging (unchanging? yes! unchanging!) message of tradition" then to Christ and His Church he is useless and worse than useless - a hindrance to souls being saved - a cause of their destruction.

If he does not teach the tradition and sound doctrine of the Church - Christ's doctrine - and he does not refute error then it would appear from St Paul's letter to Titus that he is not doing what he is called to do. That St Paul places this at the end of his 'job specification' does not mean it is the least important in the criteria. It is placed at the end because it is the only thing named as a 'job description' immediately after having listed the personal qualities the man should have.

What happens to those in authority who do not obey the words of Jesus Christ and ignore St Paul?

It would be worthwhile asking ourselves the question:

Why would it be better for him to be thrown into the Sea with a millstone put round his neck than that he should lead astray a single one of these little ones?

The answer, we can ascertain, is because Our Lord makes clear that there is not an earthly punishment that would do justice to the crime committed by the individual. The punishment that fits the crime is eternal and horrendous beyond our imaginings. What punishment is it? The punishment is Hell: Eternal damnation and separation from God. It means Mitres, or rather those who wear them, falling into Hell if they do not obey Jesus Christ and carry out their vocation to teach the Faith.

Cardinal Raymond Burke: He was only doing his job!
I think I'll leave it there, suffice to say that what His Holiness chose to focus on in his homily today is interesting and so, too, is what he chose to overlook, as is what he almost daily chooses to overlook and cast aside, namely, his role to teach the Faithful and the unfaithful the Catholic Faith, which he must know and to refute the errors of the age both within and without the Church for the Salvation of Souls. I'm not judging His Holiness, you understand, I'm merely stating an observation from what I see and hear from his own words and those things about which he chooses to remain resolutely silent.

Those in authority over the little ones, be they priests or bishops or popes are called to know the unchanging (it cannot change) tradition of the Church and to teach and refute error for the salvation of souls. The bishop or Pope's personal qualities are important to the extent that he must be holy and strive for holiness - but his one function is to teach what has been handed on - the unchanging tradition and sound doctrine. Not his private opinion.

His Holiness says 'Don't be afraid of newness'. St Paul, on the other hand, says, "Ignore newness." Why, because, "he must have a firm grasp of the unchanging message of the tradition, so that he can be counted on for both expounding the sound doctrine and refuting those who argue against it." It looks like St Paul might have some sympathy with one Cardinal Raymond Burke. Who has a firm grasp of the unchanging message of the tradition and who can be counted on for both expounding the sound doctrine and refuting those who argue against it? Who has not and who cannot? Who resisted error? Who refuted it? Who cast tradition and sound doctrine aside or made it appear that he had? Who stood up for the truth?

It goes without saying that I am, as a layperson, myself a 'little one'. My view might be unwelcome today by bishops and even the Pope himself but still, I am 'scandalised of Brighton' after recent events and I know many others are as well. God help you if, in your arrogant determination to push through a humanistic agenda contrary to God's own laws, you ignore us!

May God have mercy on me for those times I have led souls astray and preserve me from doing so again and may God give us holy priests and even holier bishops.

Saturday 8 November 2014

Thank You Cardinal Raymond Burke

There is a petition to thank Cardinal Raymond Burke for his defence of Catholic truth, defence of the family and zeal for the Salvation of souls here.

It is a great shame that this fine prelate's qualities are not highly regarded by Pope Francis enough to confirm him in his role as head of the Apostolic Signatura. Having defended Church doctrine and upheld the truth of Christ so fervently, one would think that the Vicar of Christ would mark the man out for an advisory role in his inner circle.

Sadly, that's not to be. One of the most disappointing things about events in Rome is watching someone dismatle his predecessor's hard work. It's a bit like events at Blackfen on a macro-scale with the same, attending, devil-may-care attitude to the fact that his predecessor, now out of the way, can do nothing and say little about it even though he lives not very far away at all. There's a lot of talk about "clericalism" coming from Rome but there is little idea or empathy for the laity for whom Cardinal Burke's voice is a welcome reprieve from the nonsensical ideas banded around at the Synod. For many priests, laity and even Bishops, Cardinal Burke's conduct at the Synod was hailed as nothing short of heroic. Clearly, the man is not a careerist and has now paid a price.

That said, it would have been hard for Cardinal Raymond to stay in his role there because I get the general feeling that during the reign of the humble one, more than a few Church laws will eventually be rendered 'obsolete'. Perhaps a few of God's also, but nevermind. They're only "rules"!

Someone in a position of power with a keen eye for 'law' was always going to be unwelcome to a Supreme Pontiff for whom laws just seem to 'get in the way' of a rather confusing agenda.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made Heaven and Earth. Still, I don't know why but I just get a feeling that this could be a decision that comes back to haunt Pope Francis, but then there may be quite a few of them. I've always thought of Cardinal Burke as a natural Successor to Benedict XVI. Who knows? Maybe he will be one day, but whatever the future may hold, I am confident that God will reward abundantly the continuing work of Cardinal Raymond Burke. He may find few friends in great power in Rome, he may not receive honours in the Church on Earth, but I am certain he has friends in the Highest Places and the Lord will reward him graciously.

Sign the petition and thank Cardinal Burke for doing and saying those things for souls and for Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church that I, at least, feel unable to thank the reigning Pope.

To Muslims, Jews, Evangelicals and other religions, Pope Francis has only good things and words of encouragement to say (though actual pagans could be offended by recent remarks).

Yet, I am beginning to wonder whether he believes in and prays to the same God as Cardinal Burke and many others. Where is the "fraternity" and "brotherhood" for those who uphold the Magisterium and defend Church teaching from pagans and the 'enemies of the Cross of Christ'? They don't seem to be terribly welcome in Rome.

Pray for the Pope, pray for the Church and pray there are no more nasty surprises. Having done that. there's only one thing left to do on days like this and that's listen to Radiohead...

No surprises...please...

Friday 7 November 2014

Catholics and Evangelicals

"The efficacy of the Christian announcement would certainly be greater if Christians would overcome their divisions and could celebrate together the Sacraments and together spread the Word of God and witness to charity". 

Evangelicals have many strengths, among which in many communities is an obstinate refusal to revise the Word of God as they inherit it. They may not believe what Catholics believe about the Bible, but they do retain an insistence that their interpretation of the Word of God, does not simply change with the passage of time.

However, what Evangelicals do deny are the existence of Sacraments. Among Protestants, only a few, including the largely liberal Anglicans really talk of Sacraments. Not a few Evangelicals deny that Baptism is a 'Sacrament' even if they still regard it as a supernatural 'rite of passage' into a relationship with Jesus Christ. If they believe it is a 'Sacrament', they would most probably not call it that. Among Evangelical communities the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist does not exist, and if Communion exists in these communities it is never believed to be the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, neither is there the intention among pastors to confect the Sacrament they do not have the authority to confect. The action and Person of the Holy Spirit, too, is an area of almost complete non-agreement between Protestant Evangelicals and the Catholic Faith and, clearly, there is a reason why Pope Francis will mention the Mother of God to Catholics, but not mention her to Evangelicals, presumably for the reason that they don't believe anything of what we believe of her.

Evangelicals, universally, reject the Sacrament of Penance, deny that there is any need for a priestly presence for a penitent to obtain forgiveness of mortal sins. Few Evangelicals would divide sins into being mortal or venial. For these communities, the idea that a priest has authority to provide absolution to one in a state of sin is offensive for they believe there is one mediator between God and man and this is Jesus Christ, with Whom they claim a personal relationship of salvation. We believe that as well, but we believe the priest is an instrument, an Alter Christus, through whom the forgiveness of sins is effected. By virtue of being Alter Christus, only a priest can confect the Blessed Sacrament. In extremis, the Church permits a lay Catholic to baptise one in need.

In Evangelical communities, no such Sacrament exists in terms of priestly ordination. There is no ontological change for an evangelical minister who becomes a minister, having been a lay man. There is, therefore, no such thing as 'Holy Orders' among these 'ecclesial communities'. Catholics and Evangelicals, while both believing in the necessity of Baptism for salvation and sharing some common beliefs are, sacramentally speaking, like fire and water.

Their beliefs cannot happily co-exist in a united Church without one group of Christians changing their entire belief system. In seeking union, the One True Church would require Evangelicals to accept Catholic doctrine regarding Sacraments (as well as other issues and dogmas), or instead the Evangelicals would require the One True Church to abandon Her Sacraments (and Her dogma).

Given that the Evangelicals do not celebrate or even recognise most, if not all Sacraments proclaimed by the Catholic Church for mankind's Salvation, exactly how are these communities to 'celebrate the Sacraments' together with the Church? There is, as Pope Francis said, only one which they share in common. Unless our understanding of Holy Communion is to radically change in order to remove the 'Holy' from the 'Communion', exactly how are Evangelicals and Catholics destined to 'celebrate the Sacraments' together? Does this Pope believe that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ or not? After consecration it is not, after all, 'a little bread and wine' that 'does no harm'. The Church accepts as valid those Baptisms performed by 'ecclesial communities' in as much as the Catholic Church says that those Baptised who are not Catholics exist as Christians in an 'imperfect communion' with the Catholic Church, the Pope and the Bishops. 

In order for 'full communion' to exist between the Catholic Church and Evangelicals, Evangelicals would need to accept the entire Doctrine of the Catholic Church and profess belief in it. Alternatively, the Catholic Church can jettison nearly 2,000 years of tradition and dogma and Her entire Faith and just become a Protestant Evangelical Alliance, but any Pope who sought to do that would be, well...words wouldn't do that Pope justice. That would be the Protestant Reformation exploding the Church from within and from the top. Pope Francis may truly believe that an insistence on dogma is 'in the way' of much that he would like to see happen in terms of the Catholic Church's response to a great deal, but if any Pope denies articles of Faith, Catholic Doctrine, that individual would traditionally be regarded as some kind of anti-pope figure, who should be resisted by the Faithful and ignored by everyone else. That said, as Gloria TV highlighted yesterday, even Baptists are asking some pretty eye-brow raising questions of Pope Francis...

"The efficacy of the Christian announcement would certainly be greater if Christians would overcome their divisions and could celebrate together the Sacraments and together spread the Word of God and witness to charity". Either Pope Francis is calling upon Evangelicals and other Christians to accept the fullness of Catholic Truth and come into full communion with the Successor of St Peter or he is calling upon the Church to abandon Her Sacraments. Out of the two options, should any union occur, I know which one I suspect to be the case. I don't know how many Evangelicals are into a poor church for the poor, but then neither is the German Catholic Church terribly keen on that aim. If the Catholic Church incorporated the Evangelical communities, that would, ironically, create a rich church for the rich. A poor church for the poor in the West is a Church faithful to Jesus Christ in times of unpopularity for that fidelity. Of course, the great sell-off of the Catholic religion would reap a healthy revenue indeed, but only at the price of total apostasy.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Pope Francis Grants Interview to Catholics...

In an astonishing move, His Holiness Pope Francis has graciously granted an interview to someone who is not a Jesuit and/or an atheist. That person is you!

Therefore, along with my own small and humble list of questions, the answers of which I believe the Faithful have a right to know from the Universal Pastor of the Universal Church, you are invited to seek answers from Pope Francis to the burning questions you have for the Vicar of Christ on Earth...

Your Holiness, we are a year and a half into an extraordinary pontificate in which Your Holiness has certainly 'hit the ground running' with a radical 'programme' for the Catholic Church. When you were interviewed by Eugenio Scalfari, precisely what did you mean when you said, "I do not believe in a Catholic God'? Could you please explain your position on that?
Your Holiness, in one interview you said that proselytism, or seeking the conversion of another, was "solemn nonsense". Exactly what did you mean by this? And when you said, "Jesus is my teacher and my pastor, but God, the Father, Abba, is the light and the Creator" could that statement be taken in any sense as  a denial of the Most Holy Trinity?
When you said that there is a "gay lobby" and a "masonic lobby" in the Vatican, you said that lobbies are "never good". What could be done to remove the baleful influence of these lobbies upon Holy Mother Church? 
Your Holiness, when you reportedly said to a relative of a co-founder of the Franciscans of the Immaculate Order that they would be released 'from the tomb' "soon," did you mean "soon" or did you mean the period of time evolutionists suggest it took for the Universe to go from nothing to the appearance of mankind?

Pope Francis, do you believe that the words of Christ concerning adultery, divorce and remarriage still stand and that this teaching must inform the Church's discipline concerning Holy Communion, or have you, in the words of the LCWR "moved beyond" the Lord Jesus Christ?
Your Holiness, I am glad you mention 'mercy' so regularly. What was your motive for what in all essence appears to be the demotion of Cardinal Burke, a highly approved and esteemed Cardinal, who Pope Emeritus Benedict called, "a great Cardinal" of the Church?
What is your motive in doing this, while keeping men who espouse doctrinal positions against the Church's perennial teaching, like Cardinal Kasper and Cardinal Richard Marx, as close confidants?

Your Holiness, during a telephone conversation to a divorce and remarried woman who asked you for your advice, did you really say of the Most Holy Eucharist, "a little bread and wine does no harm"?
By all means, send your questions into the comments box and let us dream for a moment of a papal interview in which vital questions pertinent to the transmission of the Catholic Faith are addressed as part of the "Papal Magisterium by Interview" to Catholics with a genuine love and concern for the Church.

Of course this is a joke post but this novel idea of a Catholic interview taking place between a Catholic Pope and a Catholic lay man clarifying statements made about the Catholic Faith could yet take off. Could we succeed where Sandro Magister and Antonio Socci have not so much failed as been 'overlooked' in favour of an anti-Catholic, left-wing atheist and a Jesuit?

News Just In...

News just in that Alex Salmond, or at least his effigy, is to be burned in Lewes tonight for the Guy Fawkes Bonfire.

No news yet on Pope Francis.

If they don't burn the Pope this year, will that mean the Lewes Protestants regard the Holy See as sede vacante?

Contra Mundum

Polonia Christiana 24 has an interview with Bishop Athanasius Schneider on the Synod and its aftermath.

Here is part of the interview:

'During the Synod there had been moments of obvious manipulation on the part of some clerics who held key positions in the editorial and governing structure of the Synod. The interim report (Relatio post disceptationem) was clearly a prefabricated text with no reference to the actual statements of the Synod fathers. 
In the sections on homosexuality, sexuality and “divorced and remarried” with their admittance to the sacraments the text represents a radical neo-pagan ideology. This is the first time in Church history that such a heterodox text was actually published as a document of an official meeting of Catholic bishops under the guidance of a pope, even though the text only had a preliminary character. Thanks be to God and to the prayers of the faithful all over the world that a consistent number of Synod fathers resolutely rejected such an agenda; this agenda reflects the corrupt and pagan main stream morality of our time, which is being imposed globally by means of political pressure and through the almost all-powerful official mass media, which are loyal to the principles of the world gender ideology party. Such a synod document, even if only preliminary, is a real shame and an indication to the extent the spirit of the anti-Christian world has already penetrated such important levels of the life of the Church. This document will remain for the future generations and for the historians a black mark which has stained the honour of the Apostolic See. 
Fortunately the Message of the Synod Fathers is a real Catholic document which outlines the Divine truth on family without being silent about the deeper roots of the problems, i.e. about the reality of sin. It gives real courage and consolation to Catholic families. Some quotations: “We think of the burden imposed by life in the suffering that can arise with a child with special needs, with grave illness, in deterioration of old age, or in the death of a loved one. We admire the fidelity of so many families who endure these trials with courage, faith, and love. They see them not as a burden inflicted on them, but as something in which they themselves give, seeing the suffering Christ in the weakness of the flesh. … Conjugal love, which is unique and indissoluble, endures despite many difficulties. It is one of the most beautiful of all miracles and the most common. This love spreads through fertility and generativity, which involves not only the procreation of children but also the gift of divine life in baptism, their catechesis, and their education. … The presence of the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their modest home hovers over you”.'

The full interview, given to a Polish Catholic magazine can be read here.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

God of Infinite Mercy

'God of infinite mercy,
We entrust to Your immense goodness all those who have left this world for eternity, where you await all humanity, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ Your Son, who died to save us from our sins.
Look not Lord, at our poverty, misery and human weaknesses when we present ourselves before You to be judged in happiness or condemned. Gaze upon us with pity, born of Your tender heart and help us to walk the path of purification.

May none of your children be lost to the eternal fires of hell, where repentance is no more.

We entrust to You Lord, the souls of our beloved departed, of those who died without the comfort of the Sacraments or who did not have the opportunity to repent, not even at the end of their life. May no one fear the encounter with You at the end of their earthly pilgrimage, in the hope of being welcomed within the embrace of your infinite mercy. May sister death find us in prayerful vigilance, and full of all the good we have done during our existence, be it long or short.
Lord, may nothing distance us from you on this earth, may everything and everyone support us in our ardent hope to serenely and eternally rest in You.

This prayer of Pope Francis for All Souls Day is full of beautiful sentiments but there are sentiments and there is Catholic doctrine. Problematic, for example, is the general depiction of God as 'infinitely merciful' with no conditions at all. We are taught that God's mercies are infinite, but these mercies must be sought. God is infinitely merciful to those who ask for His mercy. Every time we run to Christ with our sins, if we are sorry and want to change, Christ will take us back. God's judgments of the dead are secret, we cannot know them, but likewise it is problematic to pray that God will be merciful to those who die unrepentant in mortal sin. We can pray for everyone, because we do not know people's hearts right to the moment when they die. God knows that. We do not.

So, while I am happy to pray for everyone and anyone, most especially the Faithful departed, I cannot as a Catholic pray for the wicked unrepentant. That would be contrary to Catholic teaching on God's mercy. I cannot know God's judgement of a person, but likewise I cannot pray that God will rape the unwilling into Heaven if, for example, these souls die in a State that is fixed for eternity against God and His Holy Name. God is not just a 'God of infinite mercy' but also a God of infinite justice. His Justice and His Mercy do not cancel each other out. I also find it rather worrying that any theology of Purgatory has been removed from this prayer.

'May none of your children be lost to the eternal fires of hell, where repentance is no more.' This sounds very Catholic, because nobody wants any of God's children to damn their souls, but it becomes less Catholic when the Pope prays for 'those who...did not have the opportunity to repent, not even at the end of their life.'  Aside from the unborn, who we can happily entrust to God's infinite mercy while they are being massacred by abortionists in their mother's wombs, who above the age of reason does not have 'opportunity to repent'?

I suppose if I was in mortal sin on holiday and the plane exploded with me on it, 'before I had time to repent' I'd be wishing for God's mercy after my death. Unfortunately, it is possible that for my immortal soul, my will, fixed for all eternity, was set against Christ and I might very well go to Hell for all eternity and I couldn't blame Jesus Christ, but only myself for not taking the opportunity to repent. Of course, if I had time to say an Act of Contrition on the way down to the sea, it may end more happily, but my Salvation really would depend on my response, at the last, to the 'infinite mercies' of God.

I hope this doesn't sound too pedantic or cruel. In many ways it is a very lovely prayer, but our theology of death and the last things is incredibly important. How we die, in what state, is incredibly important and we can pray for all human beings who have died, because we do not know the State of their souls in the eyes of God. We cannot, however, pray that those who damn themselves through impenitence will be saved. We can pray for just about anyone. We cannot ask God to over-ride the free choices made by His creatures should His creatures choose eternal separation from Him where 'repentance is no more'. That may sound horrid, but actually God does respect our freedom, even if He does not respect all of our decisions. I hope that readers will not believe that I am impugning things to His Holiness which are not there. A Pope who believed in a universal Salvation would be a Pope who may very well lead countless souls to Hell for why would they repent, if they had no fear of the Lord at all?

'May no one fear the encounter with You at the end of their earthly pilgrimage, in the hope of being welcomed within the embrace of your infinite mercy.'

'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.' ~ Proverbs 9-10.

'And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.' Luke 1:50

'Nobody comes to the Father, except through me.' Gospel of St John, 14:6

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...