Friday 27 February 2015

Catholic Herald: Great New Look But Why Not Report the News?

I note with amazement that the Catholic Herald online magazine has decided not to report the news of the mass book heist at the Vatican while it has reported some other stories in the past day or so.

I wonder why.

Update: I have been alerted to the fact that the story has been linked to in the Herald's morning must reads...

Synodgate, I would have thought, deserves a little more coverage than that.

Thursday 26 February 2015

The Increasingly Discredited Synod

After the clear manipulation of the Synod on the Family in 2014 and now the news of 'Remaining in the Truth of Christ-gate', how on earth is any Bishop or Cardinal attending the Synod in 2015 expected to believe that their contribution - in a spirit of 'collegiality' - is going to be welcomed or valued one iota? The 'will of the people' attending has already clearly been decided long in advance.

If I was a Bishop or a Cardinal I'd be thinking that this whole thing is a farce and a bit of a joke. And it is. After the news of the flagrant theft from the mailboxes of Bishops and Cardinals of the book laying out the many theological, doctrinal and pastoral problems with the Kasper proposal, a decision taken in case, Heaven forfend, prelates should walk into the Synod Hall with a fully equipped and informed mind prepared for discussion, are those attending in October really going to be attributing such events to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?

They are expected, are they, to believe that these unexpected 'surprises' are coming from God? Are Cardinals and Bishops to be treated as complete fools? Is this 'synodiality'? Perhaps by the time we get to October, the strange and shadowy syndicate pushing for Kasper's proposals, perhaps even the Pope himself, will have alienated every Bishop and Cardinal but those 'on side'.

Forgive us our trespasses as...

It is ironic that during the reign of Pope Francis I have blogged considerably less on the subjects of poverty and homelessness than I did under Pope Benedict XVI, but then Benedict XVI did not give Catholic bloggers any need to constantly reaffirm Catholic teaching. It was never felt to be under any threat from the top.

Here in Brighton there seems to be a general hardening against the homeless. Nearly all car parks have now been made much secure with card readers so that homeless people find it hard to access them. They tend to be just that degree or two warmer than outside, but they've been made homeless unfriendly places. A friend of mine recently evicted from West Pier Project, Hove told me that he was even moved on by a security guard at 12.30 am. from the loading bay near where I live. He's been sleeping there on and off, in all seasons, for many years. Instead, he had to sleep out in the open on London Road where he feels much more vulnerable to attacks.

It seems that, over time, I have developed something of a 'reputation' where I live for knowing some homeless people. Therefore, if someone keeps accessing the building at night and using the top floor to keep warm, then they assume it is me who is letting him in. I must say I cannot blame this individual, named Adam, for wanting to find shelter. It's been absolutely freezing in Brighton these past couple of months. The temperature has picked up a little now, but still, its not pleasant out there at night.

So it was that yesterday I was visited by a managing agent for the property who wanted to get my side of the story on Adam, our frequent visitor.  The caretakers of the building knocked on my door yesterday to accuse me of letting Adam into the building because 'he's the guy who knows homeless people'. Unfortunately, Jason, another homeless person, had decided to come into the building via the trades entrance that very morning and leave his sleeping bag and two other bags outside my flat door, so as I talked to this man and woman in my morning t-shirt and boxer shorts, they assumed that this stuff belonged to Adam. They had 'the evidence'.

"Well anyway," they said, "its not your corridor. People can't just leave their stuff here."

Whose corridor is it? In fact, whose stair well is it? Anyway, I had to take his stuff into my flat, otherwise the caretakers would have literally thrown it out, his only belongings, his sleeping bag, etc. I had a long argument with the caretakers about Adam, who sneaks into the building so he can get warm upstairs near the lift, concerning the fact that he leaves a mess, cigarette ends, other mess, that they have to sort out new carpet, that he's a problem, its ongoing, its a real problem and to confirm that I have not been letting homeless people into the building. One day I heard him literally being chased down my corridor by two community police officers.

Of course, if homeless people do manage to gain entrance into the building to keep warm, as a Catholic, I'm not sure how angry I can get about that. I'm not even sure how much I should do to try and stop it. I know that people pay or have paid a lot of money to live in the flats in this building and they didn't sign up to buying a flat in a makeshift homeless hostel, and when they walk out of their flat to go to work, do not expect to find a homeless man smoking outside their flat door, but with all that said, just how angry should residents get that a poor man seeks shelter in a stairwell?

Having informed the managing agent that I have not been letting Adam in, he says to me,

"We've issued Adam with a letter banning him from the building. Something has to be done and we're going to have to get tougher with him if it carries on." 

I told him that unless he's going to provide 24-hour security guards on the doors of the building I'm not sure what he should do. I was also told that I was in danger of 'putting your own home at risk' because of Adam - even though I'm not letting him in. What that means is that if enough residents wanted to say 'it's him, it's him' who is letting Adam in, as witnesses, even if they haven't seen me doing any such thing, I could get a County Court Injunction against my name for being an anti-social neighbour encouraging the anti-social behaviour of trespassing in order to keep warm. I've got a wife to look after, etc.

As it happened, and much to my surprise, after I came home from Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament yesterday I did see Adam. He had obviously gained access from some other resident because his bag was propping open the front door of the building. You have to admire his courage and persistence having been chased several times out of the building. I really don't think he is mentally very well at all. I had a cigarette with him and talked to him about the accusations against me. Somewhat against my conscience I discouraged him from coming to the building, explaining to him that because I have a reputation in the building for chatting to homeless people or giving them a cup of coffee every now and then, that residents assume I'm the person letting him in, that it could all fall on me and that I could end up in serious housing problems myself if I get a County Court Injunction against me. He replied, "Don't worry about it. I usually find somewhere" but the poor lamb did look genuinely disappointed. Well, you would be, in his position.

Rather hastily, I gave his bag to him, which had been propping open the door and told him I couldn't let him in, even though, of course, I hadn't in the first place. Someone else had, probably unknowingly. I watched him walk off and, of course, now feel rather bad about it in this holy season of Lent when we are meant to show mercy to the poor. Quite what Pope Francis, or, more importantly, our Judge and Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ, makes of that decision, I shudder to think. I expect Our Lord will call me a coward or worse on the Last Day. After all, He did say, 'Whatever you do for the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'

I comforted myself in bed thinking the temperature has gone up to 6 degrees at night so that's not so bad. Then I went to the window and saw it had started pouring with rain. Having talked with Adam, I know that he doesn't engage at all with the local services, has no contact with Rough Sleepers, is intent on just surviving day by day and looks for somewhere to crash at night. He doesn't have any friends, doesn't use any day centres, doesn't claim benefits of any kind and, in fact, refuses donations of food, drink and even sleeping bags. I've tried giving him all three and he just says, 'No'.

I suppose that in a more just and caring world, with a more Christian, just and caring me, I would have pretended not to see Adam and let him go about his business. After all, its not my building and I'm not a security guard for it. In a more just and caring world, I wouldn't have to raise the issue with him. In a more just and caring world, the most likely very wealthy Stiles Harold Wilson company of managing agents for the property with an 'Ethical Property Centre' in the basement wouldn't seek to get 'tougher' with a young vulnerable homeless man who keeps seeking shelter in a stairwell at night in winter in one of their buildings.

Isn't the world, for him, already tough enough? In a more just and caring world, in a Christian society, with Christian values, they might even discreetly consider housing him, instead of persecuting him. After all, they are the ones with the properties and the attending revenue. Flat number 3 in my corridor is empty, I believe, and has been for quite some time. Instead of the police and the property agents 'getting tougher' and 'clamping down' on a young, vulnerable homeless man seeking shelter in one of their properties, instead of chasing him out of buildings where he seeks shelter, why not work to house him? Or is that completely absurd? Just a thought. I guess that is simply not the way of the world.

Keep Adam, please, in your prayers.

Watch out for those horse's heads!

Stolen post, eh?

What next, horses heads in the beds of Cardinals and Bishops?

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Today's Must Read: Fr Z on the Mailbox Scandal at the Vatican

So not just thugs in the Vatican, but thieves as well.

As I said, the great problem inside the Church is relativism and the dictatorship it spawns.

But then it wasn't me who said that first.

It was he, pictured here, blessing Ukrainian Bishops.

Monday 23 February 2015

A Pontificate for Thugs

The Fr Thomas Rosica 'case' now covered by quite a few sites disturbs me greatly. The idea that a Catholic layperson can voice his concerns at what certainly appears to be the public statement of doctrinal positions that deviate from the Magisterium, only to then be issued with a lawsuit from a priest is quite unbelievable.

This news ties in with the latest reports of the wrecking ball approach of the Commissioner of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. This is getting really very ugly. A papacy that was meant to embody 'mercy' more and more appears to be used - by some at least -as a smokescreen for a new and brutal era that seems well suited to thugs or nightclub bouncers.

Nightclub bouncers - I am sure there are many good ones - have a reputation for being rough around the edges and every now and then giving someone a 'good going over' if they've stepped out of line. They look quite respectable a lot of the time, but know how to pack a good punch and can leave you with a broken nose. Laws like those which forbid grievous bodily harm are known to go out of the window in the heat of the moment, when it is convenient.

Pope Benedict XVI was - in an age in the Church that probably demanded 'tough love', really very gentle with those who sought to oppose him. He would never - unlike Fr Thomas Rosica - think Lent - or any other time - was a time for getting even with your enemies. What a way to start Lent!

'That man criticised me, because my own words make me look and sound heretical. Sue that man!'

Apparently, Fr Thomas Rosica can spout whatever nonsense he likes on Twitter - or other media outlets - and everyone has to accept it without complaint, even if it insults God, Our Lady and St Joseph. What we are seeing now is in stark contrast to the Benedictine approach. The new regime seems to talk the talk about mercy, but walk a different walk that sees might as right, even though if you ask them to give a clear answer on good and evil, and the difference between the two, they offer very little advice. Strange that, isn't it? I suppose that a new atmosphere and a new 'springtime' in the Church regarding moral and doctrinal issues could leave certain prelates and priests confused, giving them a conducive environment in which to exercise their baser, more brutal, more violent sides.

People are still confused as to what STFU means. Does it mean 'Surrender to Francis Unconditionally?'

Cardinal Donald Wuerl and others are very good at talking about compassion and mercy but then go onto attack other bishops as 'dissenters', while not taking time to tell us who or what they are dissenting to. Is it the Bishop of Rome they are dissenting to or the timeless teaching of the Eternal Word of God, Jesus Christ and His Church? It is rather important to ascertain whether 'dissenting' bishops are being loyal to Jesus Christ by voicing concern over the 'agenda' promoted in the pontificate of Pope Francis.

While we are on the subject of 'agendas', is it really appropriate for the Pope to say that the issue of married priests 'is on my agenda'? Does the Vicar of Christ really have an 'agenda'? I think it is safe to say that Pope Francis does have an agenda, not far down the list of which seems to be the habitual insulting and public denigration of priests, seminarians and other Catholic Christians he thinks don't live up to the mark. Questioning, in public, the psychological state or moral state of 'traditionalist' seminarians is, I think, pretty outrageous and an insult to the intelligence of Catholics. Has it escaped His Holiness's notice that the former Bishop of our Diocese and others now known as notorious were not particularly 'traditionalist'. I don't recall the abusive priests and scandalous bishops or those who covered up serial abuse in Belgium and Ireland and the US being 'traditionalist', but I suppose it would be unhelpful to let truth get in the way of a good old fashioned smear campaign.

Whatever is going on in Rome, it doesn't appear to be the way of Jesus at all, and stands in stark contrast to the humble way of Francis's predecessor. All this ugliness now starts to make sense if the truth of Jesus Christ is not placed firmly at the top of the Pope's 'agenda' and moral confusion is allowed to flourish in Rome.

It would be nice if goodness and charity always filled a moral vacuum, but in a fallen world, it doesn't seem to be the way things work out as malice and pride fills Rome quicker than ISIS fill a war-zone. I don't think people should be sued or labelled dissidents or 'thrown to the wolves' for just asking whether the 'agenda in Rome' is the same agenda, if we can use that crass word, as the Divine Head of the Church, Jesus Christ.

Thugs and bullies don't win. The mighty are humbled by God. Those who exalt themselves are brought low. Might is not necessarily right. Though He was innocent, Jesus redeemed the World through an instrument of torture, humiliation and public scorn. Authority itself does not guarantee justice if those in authority do not exercise clemency. Authority can be abused. There is nothing Christian about thuggish and bullying, intimidatory behaviour towards those who are in your care. Yes, Fr Rosica, you really are suing your own spiritual son, who felt compelled to offer you some correction, even if he lives miles away! I hope and pray such behaviour in Rome stops soon, but I'm not holding my breath. We might have to wait for another time for that, another era. After all, Pope Francis can read the riot act as much as he likes to the mafia in Sicily, but if he can't reign in the mafia in Rome, why should even the members in Sicily take him seriously?

Monday 16 February 2015

They Didn't Die for Ecumenism

To be filed under 'increasingly irritating'.

"I would now like to turn to my native tongue to express feelings of profound sorrow. Today I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians. Their only words were: 'Jesus, help me!' They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians. You, my brother, in your words referred to what is happening in the land of Jesus. The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ. As we recall these brothers and sisters who died only because they confessed Christ, I ask that we encourage each another to go forward with this ecumenism which is giving us strength, the ecumenism of blood. The martyrs belong to all Christians." ~ Pope Francis

I agree with anyone who calls these valiant men martyrs for Jesus Christ. However, I do not think that the heroic deaths of these Coptic Christians, who died with the name of Jesus on their lips, should be exploited by anyone for any agenda whatsoever. It is wrong to shamelessly advance in the name of your own projects men's real sacrifices to further your agenda, namely, in this case - ecumenism. Cannot Churchmen just honour the lives and heroic deaths of these men and acknowledge that they didn't die for ecumenism. It is tasteless to hijack people's deaths for your own agenda and then announce it to be the 'ecumenism of blood'. They died for Jesus Christ. Their obvious martyrdom, their shining witness stands well enough for what it is. They didn't die for Vatican II projects of closer ecclesial relationships or any ecclesial project. They died for Jesus Christ.

False Messiahs

These words are from the Gospel reading on Tuesday of last week...

And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?" And he said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, `This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men."

And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition! For Moses said, `Honor your father and your mother'; and, `He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die'; but you say, `If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban' (that is, given to God) -- then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do."

The 'reforming' movement in the Catholic Church, starting now from the top, working its way down, is very keen to emphasise a depiction of Jesus Christ which departs significantly from the Church's 2,000 year understanding of Him. And oh how subtle this public 'reappraisal' of Jesus Christ can be. It is an understanding which can no longer be called 'new'. It's probably been around quite some time, but it is an understanding - or rather a (let's give these prelates the benefit of the doubt) misunderstanding - which is deployed very cleverly and with great cunning by those who wish to overturn the Church's teachings. In this depiction of Jesus Christ, all law - even divine law found in the Ten Commandments - is emptied of its abundantly blatant meaning and loses all relevance to man.

The above Gospel reading was used by Pope Francis to highlight this very impression of Jesus. And so what we receive is a truncated version of the message of Christ and a distorted image of the God-Man, as follows...

"In the Gospel, Jesus meets people who are afraid to set out on the path [in search of their identity] and who “content themselves with a caricature of God. It is a fake ID. These lethargic people have silenced the restlessness of their heart, they depict God with commandments and forget God: 'You, by neglecting the commandment of God, observe the tradition of men', and in doing so they turn away from God, they do not journey towards God and when they are insecure, they invent or make up another commandment".

Do you see what happened there - I say 'happened', because I do not want to say, 'Do you see what the Pope just did?' Jesus does not criticise the true commandments of God nor his interlocuters for depicting God with commandments, because God really does give us commandments (which Jesus follows 100% perfectly). Nowhere, in fact, does Jesus, in any of the Gospels, criticise God's commandments or those who uphold them. No, in this instance, Jesus says precisely this, concerning purely human traditions, to his interlocuters:

By "teaching as doctrines the precepts of men..." 
"You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men."
"You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition!"
"...thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on."

Oh and what a choice of words these are.

"Making void the word of God" just so happens to be what Cardinal Kasper, Cardinal Marx and the whole 'Team', along with their supporters, wish to do through a programme of 'pastoral provision'. What Christ Himself (the 'Word of God') has said and teaches is no longer important to these Churchmen because a vague, human, pseudo-ecclesiastical liberal tradition dominating the minds of these persons is more important - or expedient - than God and His Commandments.

Jesus wants those who follow Him, and indeed all, to uphold and live and proclaim the commandments of God. He wants us to love Him and keep the commandments. These two things are not mutually exclusive at all. They are bound together. He does not want human ways, human traditions and human customs to be used to find shrewd ways of cleverly getting around God's commandments, or replacing them, so that they are null and void. This is precisely what liberal catholicism does.

Pope Francis (hopefully accidentally) says precisely the opposite of what Jesus says and then suggests that Jesus has said it, even though He has not.

...they depict God with commandments and forget God'You, by neglecting the commandment of God, observe the tradition of men',

This is a direct inversion of what Jesus has literally just taught! Jesus rebukes his 'enquirers' not to tell that that His enemies should not 'depict God with commandments', but because through purely human traditions (read: not God's law) - the tradition of the elders - they neglect God's commandments (read: they do not obey God) and instead observe something else, a tradition that makes God's commandments unimportant or which sidelines them entirely.

In fact, what Jesus's enemies do is pretend to love God while shrewdly neglecting his law. Just this tendency is aptly pointed out by Our Lord in his discourse on marriage, in which He says that Moses permitted divorce because of the 'hardness of heart' of those entrusted with the law. However, this is not what God wanted. Jesus then unveils not the law of Moses, but the whole truth concerning God's loving plan for marriage and its covenantal meaning and guess what? His hearers do not like it one bit! So what's new? Nothing at all, it seems. Modern man hates the same message preached 2,000 years ago.

So we see that modern Catholic prelates enjoy creating an impression of Christ who is war with those who strive to uphold God's law on marriage, divorce and remarriage, when, in fact He is anything but. They like to cast these people as Jesus's enemies when the opposite is true. Jesus's enemies were affronted not just by His teaching on mercy and compassion, but His teaching by preaching the whole Law of love of God and neighbour, including keeping those commandents, instead of doing your best to slyly circumnavigate them.

It would be very convenient for these prelates if Christ had said what they say, but He did not. In doing so, they fulfill Our Lord's prophecies that "false Christ's and false prophets and false messiahs will arise". They don't have to appear in person, in the flesh. They just have to appear as a fake depiction of the real Christ, the real Messiah, Jesus Christ, our Lord and God - a Jesus who, like Pope Francis, changes his mind or contradicts Himself within the very same week, the very same day, or even in the same hour. This false Jesus does not convict us of sin or show us the way to Salvation. We're left unsure if He is different to any other preacher or messenger. Perhaps He does die for us, but we are really left unsure why and, in any age, that is really quite disturbing.

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Are you Really Ready for the Prospect of Two Churches?

Is this post-Synod scenario completely out of the question?

A man and a woman, both divorced, wish to remarry. One of them is a Catholic. They go to see one priest at a Church and the parish priest says, "According to my conscience, informed by the Word of God, you cannot be remarried in the Catholic Church unless your previous marriage is annulled." The couple go to see another priest at another Church nearby and he says, "According to the Pope and the Synod on the Family, you can be remarried here."

Thinking the unthinkable

Now I know that the Synod is not about 'remarriage in the Church for the divorced'. Yet, the question raised by the Synod, thanks to Cardinal Walter Kasper, is whether the divorced and remarried can receive Holy Communion opens the Church up to a raft of hideous inconsistencies that result in schism. But let's think about that scenario.

If the divorced and remarried can receive Holy Communion, why should they not be permitted to remarry in a Catholic Church? This is about 'access to the Sacraments', right? So if they can receive the Eucharist, the Church could, having thrown off all respect for Canon Law, permit them to marry in a Catholic Church as well. Both are Sacraments of the Church so why give one and refuse the other? Because Jesus said X, Y, Z? Well, 'who is He to judge' in the new, humble, merciful Church? Jesus doesn't judge anything anymore, right? Not in 2015.

You might well argue, well if what Jesus said no longer applies then why should the Church encourage or even insist on marriage in the first place, but, of course, that's the real outcome, isn't it? The weakening of marriage and the disregarding of the sacredness of marriage as a Sacrament. What could the Church of 2020 or 2040 look like? It could look like something a bit like I have described above because, remember, to the 'great reformers' nothing is really sacred or fixed, nothing is holy or immovable. No doctrine, however important it was, is too important now not to be reconsidered. All laws and customs and doctrines are in the way of modern man's personal fulfillment. Even the words of Jesus just 'get in the way'.

Thinking the thinkable

Now we've considered the unthinkable with clear 'blue-sky thinking', let's consider the thinkable. A couple go to one priest and make their situation known to him. They cannot remarry in a Catholic Church but they have remarried civilly, having been unable to regularise their situation with the Church because of a previous marriage. According to the law of the Church they are living in adultery.

The woman, who is Catholic, while the man is not, would like to receive Holy Communion. Unsure, they approach one parish priest. He says, "According to the words of Jesus Christ, I cannot in conscience give you Holy Communion because of your remarriage contracted civilly. I urge you, in all charity, to consider your situation and strive to live as the Church requires in order to be in full communion with Jesus Christ and His Church."

The Synod under Pope Francis has been ambiguous in its application of doctrine and has essentially given to Dioceses in individual countries a devolved Magisterium that applies a pastoral solution to marital situations that are irregular or sinful. She and her new husband, according to civil law, approach a parish priest down the road at another nearby Catholic Church and ask him the same question. The parish priest replies that because of the merciful and pastoral approach adopted by the Synod and Pope Francis, "there is no question as to whether she can receive Holy Communion, because God is merciful. All are welcome."

Thus there are two Churches within the Bride of Christ. A real schism that has taken place, not just within the Episcopate with Bishop disagreeing with Bishop, but priest disagreeing with priest. Is this situation tenable or workable? What happens to the 'unmerciful priest' when the Bishop hears of the dispute? Whose side does he take? This is the most divisive and destructive thing to have happened in the history of the Catholic Church. Is the 'unmerciful priest' sacked? Can he be a priest in this new twin-Church?

Twin Churches

We have seen, with the liturgy, a bizarre and widening rift in Catholic worship, not just since the release of Summorum Pontificum, but also within the Novus Ordo itself. You can attend one Novus Ordo Mass wherein guitars, drums and other musical instruments play catchy folksy hymns while the priest ad-libs parts of the Mass, encourages hand-holding at the Our Father, preaches an easy going social Gospel and all kinds of strange innovations take place.

Down the road, you can go to another Novus Ordo Mass with reverent liturgy, perhaps the priest facing Ad Orientem, with Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion overlooked in favour of the priest alone distributing the Blessed Sacrament, perhaps the correct Gregorian Chant selected to be sung by a choir, Communion is received kneeling and on the tongue, the priest saying the black and doing the red according to the rubrics. These are, essentially two different Churches with the same, but vastly differently celebrated, Mass, with the same Body and Blood of Christ in the hands of the priest.

Essentially, we already have twin Churches in the liturgy. The risk embraced by the Synod on the Family is that of creating a twin Church in doctrine and how it is applied.

Not only priests, but lay-people will no longer know which Church is the true Church, the true Faith, the one in which Christ's words are upheld, or the one fostered, nurtured and born from the Synod on the Family under Pope Francis, which dispenses with all law and hands doctrinal application into the hands of Bishops, some of whom go along with it, and others of whom cannot. Read: total and utter anarchy and a Church that cannot teach the truth because it has been dispensed with and overlooked as unimportant.

Can Twin Churches Exist and still be part of One True Church?

A house divided cannot stand. I cannot see how these twin churches can co-exist without rancour and total division - we can forget about unity within the Church, because this would be an earthquake, a rending apart of the Body of Christ, a rupture of biblical proportions within the Bride of Christ, all because a Pope went AWOL on doctrine and couldn't bring himself to side with the Word of God. This would be a real wound within the Body of Christ on the ground, not just in Rome. This is all hypothetical, but we are not dealing with a theory, but reality. Cardinal Raymond Burke said this is hypothetical, but someone in Rome - preferably the Pope - needs to think this through and needs to see the obvious reasons why a top-down change, any change, even pastorally-speaking, in the Church's approach to the divorced and remarried with regard to the Sacraments, cannot happen without engendering a schism never before witnessed in the Church's history.


Totalitarian liberalism

We have seen, under Pope Francis, that traditional bishops are sidelined or even cast aside, 'sacked' if you will. We have seen an entire Order destroyed by the whim of the Pope who simply doesn't like their traditional outlook and worship. What happens to 'traditional priests' who 'conservative' in their belief, actually believe in conserving and proclaiming what Jesus teaches, rather than teaching, not a half-truth, but a lie concerning marriage?

Sadly, I think they are priests forever, but not for long in the institution of the Catholic Church on Earth. They might not need to go into hiding, but they might want to start looking at for a new place to live. 'Unmerciful priests' won't be in their Presbytery for long if they, like faithful Bishops, are discovered to be a vulnerable minority. That is why not just a few Bishops and Cardinals, but all Bishops and Cardinals must oppose, for the unity of the Church and the salvation of souls, any dilution or alteration to the Church's teachings, on paper and in reality, because the reality if it goes unopposed, will be a living nightmare. The Body of Christ would be torn asunder, torn into pieces.

Are you looking for the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church? If this Synod goes any other way than remaining faithful to the words of Jesus Christ, you'll need to look incredibly hard to find it. It is so easy for Cardinal Marx to call the 'little ones' who hold to Jesus Christ's teaching "terrorists", isn't it? Of course, we all know that Governments can do what terrorists do ten, a hundred times over and say, 'We are justified, we are beyond reproach'. Why? Because they are the ones in power. What he isn't telling you is that the real Reign of Terror has only just begun. Not for the first time in history, the Marxists won't go unopposed. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Your banner is liberty, equality and fraternity. We will fight under the banner, 'the Word of God'. Victory, honour, power and glory and salvation belong to Him. I know liberals don't trust Scripture but why fight, Your Eminence, for the losing 'Team'? As Bob Dylan sang in his 'Masters of War', "All the money in the world, won't buy back your soul".

Monday 9 February 2015


Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke has made a few shockwaves by saying categorically that if the situation warrants it, he will "resist" Pope Francis.

The word 'resist' is quite emotive. It is not, however, 'rebellion' or 'revolution'. What 'resisting' a Pope looks like is going to be interesting, but as Cardinal Burke says, 'worrisome' as well. Evidently, Cardinal Burke does not want to have to resist a Pope's teaching, but is prepared to do so for the Lord Jesus Christ and for the good of souls.

So without getting too worked up about the verb, 'resist', I'm pretty sure Cardinal Burke is just giving his ongoing position a precise, public stance. There is a limit and line on Papal power over which the Pope cannot step without betraying the Church and its Divine Founder while placing souls in increased peril. I would expect Cardinal Burke's 'resistance' to be rather like his current, still respectful and dignified attitude towards the Pope. This is, namely, to speak out publicly against any dilution or alteration of Church doctrine, even via 'pastoral practise', so as not to deny to Catholics today and to future generations of Catholics, as well as the rest of mankind, the fullness of truth, whole and entire, for mankind's Salvation.

Although in today's current climate in Rome, Cardinal Burke appears to be doing something that for a Cardinal requires a bravery dependent on supernatural heroism, to defend - at the cost of even his own blood - the Church's teaching is in fact what every Cardinal and Bishop, priest and even lay person is required to do. It is, in fact, every Bishop's 'job'. To stand up for Christ has always come with an unusually high price tag. It wasn't cheap for the early Christians.

We owe fidelity first to the Lord Jesus and we owe to the Apostles and all who came before us, and all who will come after us, as well as those Catholics alive today the truth of Jesus Christ and His Gospel, whole and entire. We owe fidelity to the Supreme Pontiff who, regardless of his gifts, talents, or personality, should never, by virtue of the Divine Person in whose place he stands, put the faithful in such a position that they feel they must choose between the teaching of Christ and the teaching of the Pope. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ and the Successor of St Peter, with all the authority and power that is invested in the person who holds that Office. The Pope is not, however, Almighty God and can no more reverse or alter what Christ has said, or what the Church teaches in Her doctrine in His name, than he can reverse or begin Time or create the Universe out of nothing. Pray for Pope Francis. Pray for Cardinal Burke. This showdown can be avoided, if His Holiness chooses fidelity to Jesus Christ and the Law of God, over everything and everyone else.

Madonna catechises the Grammy's audience with her quintessentially demonic dance routine. The gates of Hell can prevail without resistance over the Grammy awards. They cannot prevail over the Church of Christ.

Nobody, not even the Pope himself, can alter the words of God Incarnate or act in such manner that they cease to mean what they say or are deemed to be no longer relevant to modern man. Equally, Catholics, Bishops and Cardinals first and foremost, but all Catholics also, cannot consent to or remain silent or be complicit if the family, marriage and the Church's doctrine comes under attack from within the Church, even if such is committed by the Pope himself. A Pope who makes himself Christ's rival or adversary, instead of His Vicar, must surely be resisted unto death.

H/T Rorate Caeli

Thursday 5 February 2015

A Gentle Reminder

Christian Order has - for those masochists wishing to relive the Synod on the Family - a pretty comprehensive review of where we are now, eight months before the Synod on the Family reconvenes in October.

All in all, its a pretty devastating critique of the Synod and much that came from it. I'm yet to be convinced, however, that the Synod is really about the family. It doesn't seem to be about proclaiming the Catholic Faith or about defending the family in these times when the family is under great and sustained attack. Among others, this terrifying reality has been noted by a Polish Archbishop. 

I will tell you brutally. The Church has betrayed John Paul II. Not the Church as the Bride of Christ, not the Church of our Creed, because John Paul II was an expression, an authentic voice of the Church; but it is the pastoral practice that has betrayed John Paul II.

It is a thesis [theory] to which I subscribe because 40 years of my priesthood has been devoted to marriage and the family, during which time I promoted the theme of "the evangelization of marital intimacy". In Poland it is and was better in this respect.

In many other countries, due to the contestation to the teachings of the Church, as expressed by Blessed Paul VI, the pastoral care of families was stopped.

All indications seem that the Pope's extraordinary Exhortation, "Familiaris Consortio" was not implemented. The Pope formulated four tasks for the family. He asked his brothers to share [exchange] them. The pastors did not share, because they did not not read it, or they did not remember.

It cannot be emphasised enough how while those words do not explicitly criticise the Synod, they can certainly be interpreted as a direct response. I expect the voices 'crying out in the wilderness' are only going to grow louder and louder in the run up to October, the month dedicated to the Holy Rosary. Much like the experience of the lay group received by Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, however, one really seriously doubts whether these are voices that Rome, under the new regime, will be apt to take on board during their conjuring routine that sees the 'God of surprises' appear from a hat with new and strange doctrines amid a hoard of false prophets dedicated to ear-scratching for those who cannot abide sound teaching. Let's not pretend St Paul did not warn us that this time would not come.

It is lamentable and shocking that the slick propaganda arm of ISIS can post their human torch in a cage snuff movie on Twitter and that Fox News actually ran all 22 minutes of it like a Hollywood trailer for them on their website. Haven't the social media gurus thought to cancel ISIS's YouTube subscription yet?

It is, of course, lamentable and shocking that anyone would do that to another human being, even in reprisal for bombing raids from a fighter jet. Just remember though, that an ISIS terrorist can put you in a cage and set fire to you and watch without mercy while you drop to your knees in agony. However, liberal bishops and cardinals, with a Pope who through ambiguous messages unambiguously fails to uphold the teaching of the Christ and His Church, all those who confirm you in your sin and tell you there are no consequences can put you in that cage for all eternity, body and soul.

The 'first half' of the Synod on the Family last year was about everything but the family. Neither was it about Jesus Christ and His saving love. In October, I do not expect the 'second half' to be very much different except that the clamour of dissenting voices to the 'new orthodoxy' will be louder and clearer.

In Church history and indeed in all major crises since Christ shed His Precious Blood for His Bride, one thing is abundantly clear. Our Lord Jesus Christ is worth speaking up for when His words are twisted and then re-presented to mean something else.  The family is worth defending to the uttermost. Marriage is worthy of our defence. When ecclesiastical fraudsters and con-men invent their own doctrines and then blasphemously pass them off as the work of the Holy Spirit then the Lord, the giver of life is worthy of our vocal and active defence. The Holy Eucharist is worth, beyond all imagining, our defence, even unto the shedding of our blood. In the Eucharist, Jesus Christ, the Lord, has entrusted Himself, in a position of utmost vulnerability, to hands that could be the hands of friends, but can become the hands of enemies.

He will demand an answer from us all one day. The time will come when the King will return in power and majesty and ask us what we did when rebellious and seditious men rose against Him and profaned Him, desecrated Him and treated Him with scorn and contempt, when they arrogantly attempted to dethrone He who will sit in judgement of all mankind and with righteous judgement. Let every Bishop and Cardinal present at the Synod on 'Everything But the Family' know: the Lord, the King of Kings will return one day and demand an answer from us all but even more so from you with all the authority and trust He has invested in you.

"What did you do during the Great War?"

In the great Eucharistic Battle of 2015, when you were subtly asked to decide whether that which you hold in your hands is bread, or the Eternal Word, the Son of God, will you side with the King according to the words He has spoken to you or will you side with those who made it apparent that they were His shrewd and cruel enemies? Think about it, think about it long and hard, because although we cannot discern God's judgement of individuals, I thoroughly expect there is an eternal cage of unquenchable fire for each Bishop who makes the wrong decision.

Does that sound too dramatic? If you think so, you had better re-read the Gospels, because no matter who sits upon the throne, Jesus Christ is King, today, forever, in every age and for all time. Certain things are beyond the control of even the most effective of ecclesiastical arch-manipulators. Along with sudden invasion, the weather, be it on earth or from space, volcanos and earthquakes, death, judgment and the day and hour of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, nobody - not even the Bishop of Rome himself, can control your conscience.

For speaking out, for raising your voices and for defending Jesus Christ and His teaching, for defending the sanctity of marriage and the family, for defending the Holy Eucharist, it might very well be that you fall out of flavour for a time and a season, thereby forfeiting certain privileges in the Church in response, but at least you won't have forfeited the eternal Salvation of many, as well as yourself, and then, when you are commended for your loyalty to the King, by the King, you can say, "We were only doing our duty. Viva Christo Rey!"

Monday 2 February 2015

Useless Platitudes

There is a lot of stuff on the TV and in the media about the Holocaust at the moment. For reasons of historical balance, I look forward to the documentaries gracing our screens concerning the 30 to 50 million killed by Joseph Stalin's regime but I won't hold my breath.

That said it is important that we do not forget. If the mass media desire that we only focus on and remember one genocide of the many gracing the 20th century, then that is better than forgetting them all.

The 70th anniversary of the Holocaust is a good time for Governments across the world not merely to recall the loss of predominantly Jewish life and to reject again the hatred of the Jewish people embodied by Nazism, but to rededicate themselves to fight against policies which are contrary to the protection of the dignity of all human life.

Unfortunately, I must say that I get a bit sick of hearing the great and the good mouthing the mantra, 'Never again!' concerning genocide, murder and the destruction of human life, while globally the unborn are targeted for destruction in the womb and are systematically and industrially murdered under human law. I get a little bit tired of hearing 'Never again!' while Christians and others are being hunted down and killed in different parts of the world, while the world's leaders do diddly squat about it. "Never again" is something of an insult to today's victims while its still happening.

I get a little tired of hearing 'Never again!' while the policies of the Nazi regime concerning the extermination of the 'unfit' and the 'unproductive' are incrementally imported into Western Government's legislation through euthanasia and 'assisted suicide'. I get a little tired of hearing 'never again' while Western Government's imitate Dr Josef Mengele's experimentation on children by using their warped 'we can do it so we will' amorality to justify experimentation on human embryos for 'medical advancement'. I get a little tired of hearing 'never again' in this age in which the eugenics movement literally thrives with huge funding from wealthy benefactors and is even promoted throughout the corridors of power with near total 'diplomatic immunity'.

Every genocide is evil.

What useless platitudes we mouth in this absurd age of unparalleled hypocrisy. 'Never again!' What a joke! People were blind to the extermination of human life by genocide in the 1940s. Only the blind could say, 'Never again!' now. So when they say, 'Never again' - given that its still happening and will most likely continue to happen, I'll just assume that they mean 'never again for this group of people who we are duty bound to defend, but more or less everybody else can go hang'. Genocide is genocide. Every genocide is evil. If you say 'never again' mean it and mean it for everybody, born or unborn, young or old, mentally or physically strong, or weak, gentile or Jew. Prince Charles today says the Holocaust is an "unparalleled human tragedy". Sorry to offend but there is parallel as a matter of historical fact both in the 20th century and in ongoing trends in human societies right now.

I suppose that one aspect of the tragedy was that whether Slavs, dissidents, gypsies or Jews were being put on the list for extermination by the Nazis, certain people thought there was some kind of justification for the treatment of the particular groups. Nothing has changed, so let's not pretend it has, because abortion has claimed the lives of between one to two billion unborn children in the last 50 years. These are figures to which even the Holocaust - in its depraved and tragic gravity of genocidal evil - cannot hold a candle. Not that its a competition, of course.

I've got the time and the inclination to remember and respect and pray for the victims of every genocidal movement and regime that has 'graced' our human history but when people say 'never again' I only wish that they mean it and for all. If six million human beings were systematically murdered during the Holocaust, and government leaders learn nothing from that, then no matter how much you say 'never again', they have zero credibility.

Sunday 1 February 2015

What about Heaven?

If you do a Google image search on Heaven, the results are not exactly that interesting. Try it. A bit of Jesus and some clouds. That's it, apparently.

There is plenty of graphic imagery available concerning Hell, but artists are not that imaginative about Paradise. It is as if we have no idea what to expect, which really we don't. 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard what God has in store for those that love Him.'

What we do know is that Heaven will, if we are granted entry to it, be beyond any joy we can imagine. Union with God for eternity in the company of the Angels and the Saints. And the Church maintains as an infallible teaching that there are plenty, many, shed-loads of souls there in that abode of eternal joy and blessedness, where earthly suffering was turned, in an instant (or after purification in Purgatory) into happiness beyond compare.

I suppose that if God had simply left us to rot after the Original Sin, abandoning His creation entirely, or even left us to rot after our personal sins, with no hope of Salvation, then yes, Stephen Fry would be, not right, but justifiably disappointed and sad that God had created a world simply doomed to embrace oblivion.

But that is not the Christian God. Jesus Christ chose the Cross as the implement of our redemption to open up the gates of Heaven for us. Suffering and pain in this life, horrible as it is to our senses, is a blink of the eye in terms of Eternity. That is, forever and ever. And ever. And ever. Knowing the Glory and everlasting happiness that eventually awaits those who hold firmly onto the Cross of Jesus Christ does not make us indifferent to the suffering in the world, but does give us Hope that cannot disappoint.

If Our Lord Jesus Christ had not unlocked the gates of Heaven by His Passion, Death and Resurrection, perhaps Stephen Fry could say that God had created a world that now endures pain and suffering for seemingly no purpose whatsoever but our punishment. In light of the Fall, to leave us in that State would not make God evil, but we know because of what Jesus has done for us, with the immaculate co-operation of Our Blessed Lady that God is supremely Good above all our expectations.

The doctrine of Heaven does not, of course, obliterate our concern for the suffering in the world, but it should at least make us aware that our time in this vale of tears is transitory and that, if we are faithful, something incredible and eternally joyful beyond compare awaits us.

In considering Stephen Fry's comments, one might ask, having given his Creator a piece of his mind, Mr Fry would say to the Devil. After all, if God is 'utterly, utterly evil', then what can we say of His diabolical adversary and his legions of fallen angels. Even the Devil would probably inform the comedian that God is Just and Supremely Good, so 'whatever you thought "evil" was, you ain't seen nothin' yet.'

The remarkable media coverage of Mr Fry's comments bashing God serve to remind us how quickly Stephen Fry's love-affair with fame, fortune, success, earthly status, influence and earthly glory would disappear were he to become a Catholic, a Christian.

Oh, how quickly that phone would stop ringing if he embraced Catholicism. How quickly the BBC would think twice about renewing his contract. He'd make new friends of course, but suddenly the popularity, fame and coverage would dwindle until he was dancing on ice with like Ann Widdicombe once a year...maybe. Let's face it, Stephen Fry, the atheist is the media darling because he's Stephen Fry, the atheist.

It all makes one wonder who Stephen Fry, who has pretty much everything money and fame can buy, which, as even pre-Christian wisdom would tell us usually excludes happiness, should thank for his continued media popularity and worldly acclaim. Sadly, it would seem that in the world of celebrity, you don't get to the top of the pile and stay there without a little bit of help from Old Nick. Of course, that's true for the world, but things are very different in the Church...we pray. 

Pray for the souls of all atheists that their ignorant judgments of God will not bring them the kind of judgement to always be feared but that they may find the joy of Salvation and thereby attain the happiness of Heaven, the everlasting abode of the blessed. God is Good, Good beyond our puny comprehension of 'good'. We didn't merit the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Stephen, but ultimately, Jesus Christ thought you, and I, were worth it. That's why we call it Good Friday.

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...