Saturday 30 September 2017


H/T Rorate Caeli for image inspiration

I don't consider Cardinal Burke susceptible to worldly ambitions in Rome. Wherever he has been, in whatever role he has had, promotion, demotion, he has always, from what I can tell of him, done his best for the Lord and for His Church. I am certain he will continue to do so.

I am sure I am not alone in thinking His Holiness is perhaps being somewhat shrewd in bringing Cardinal Burke back into the fold at this particular moment in time. The appointment gives him renewed respectability - even Burke's enemies may now think twice about dissing him, stand up Cardinal Maradiaga.

This move may place Cardinal Burke in a more sensitive position regarding any forthcoming correction he wished to make of His Holiness but I do believe that the Cardinal will continue to do what he feels is necessary for the good of the Church and souls. Nearly five years of character assasination, manipulation of truth and bizarre man-management practises have made me rather suspcious of Pope Francis. Is there a strategy at work or has His Holiness learnt that including voices who offer the timeless teaching of Christ is actually healthy for the Church and for his own governance?

Let us not place all our trust in princes, but let us nonetheless storm Heaven for Cardinal Burke and for the Pope, for the Church and for the preservation and proclamation of true doctrine for the Salvation of souls, so that judgements will be just once again. We are Catholics. We must always live in hope. Hope in the Lord.

Friday 29 September 2017

He Who Sings, Signs Twice

A very happy Feast of St Michael and the Archangels to all readers. 

Above you will find my musical offering in support of the filial correction, less nuanced than the actual correctio, but music always is rather less nuanced. It's a comic song. It has been produced to generate laughter and entertainment, not ecclesiastical controversy. That said, all satire contains an element of truth, however exaggerated.

In the first instance, the fililal correction was signed by academics, clergy and theologians and, in the wake of this, it was bolstered by the support of around 10,000 members of the laity, thanks to a petition organised by One Peter Five's founder Steve Skojec. Another petition for the laity was organised by the Lepanto Institute and LifeSiteNews. I encourage all who haven't to sign.

I must say, like the vast majority of readers, I for one did not see the filial correction coming but I think it is a truly remarkable work of love for the Lord and His Church and will lay the ground very well for any formal act of fraternal correction that may be coming from those who signed the Dubia to the Pope. We must pray and hope that the Pope responds to the parrhesia he once called for within the Church and responds decisively to the Dubia. Even if dialogue itself, as Cardinal Parolin suggests, is a necessary aspect of the Church and its governance, we do not profess or believe in dialogue but Christ. Ultimately, it is Christ and His Teaching which must be upheld and respected, adhered to and believed for He is the Word of God.

With friends like these...

What is interesting to me about the filial correction is the reaction. First, there is the mass media interest - they seem to have loved the 'hasn't happened since the middle ages' angle. Then, we see the names of those who have leapt to the Pope's defence (with friends like Fr James Martin SJ who needs..) Yet this too has been coupled with a complete unwillingness to discuss contents of correction. They want to discuss everything but the contents of the correction!

Absurdly, this was followed by a firm conviction that St JPII and BXVI were criticised also and traditionalists leapt to their defence. The problem here for the ultra-uber-hyper-papalists was that nobody actually accused either Pope St John Paul II or Benedict XVI of heresy. They were accused instead of not following the kind of secular zeitgeist now being incorporated into the Church under the governance of Pope Francis. Astonishingly, the one thing these people do not want to discuss is heresy, or heretical positions, when this charge is by far the most controversial and historic element of the correction. It is this word that has caused consternation among, I expect, clergy who have not yet signed. Fear not, it would appear, since as soon as you mention 'the H word', those who seem to advocate it want to talk about something else, like how you're opinions just don't matter or do something else, like insult you.

How very apt...

On the last point I imagine the cohorts are stymied because they have to be careful what they say. If they say 'nothing's changing' that too blows the game. They know well they want a great deal to change. The second problem is the language used in the correction is alien to them, taking them right out of their comfort zones, as real Catholicism would. It isn't vague enough to whitewash bad or misleading teaching with words like 'mercy', 'dialogue' and 'accompaniment' etc. It is clear enough to make certain people feel uncomfortable.

Despite the S.Js of this world scoring a hit with the 'low numbers' etc, my assessment is that the fillial correction has so far been very effective, but more effective than anything for the here and now is how this leaves the legacy of the Francis years. Shaky, to say the least. Francis, the dubious Pope! "He was regarded by a great many as a heretic you know." It's now a matter of public record and the history books are waiting to be written. Just how will that leave the Francis legacy, if the good Lord gives us another Pope after Francis. Yet a crumbling papal reputation is entirely his own doing. Yes, these are bewildering and Church-shaking times but, like me, can you see some light at the end of this dark tunnel?

A little unfair on Thomas Paine, who was at pains to stress his devotion to reason, something alien to this pontificate.

Fr Ray Blake has written an excellent piece on how being asked to sign the correctio filialis may put some members of the clergy between a rock and a hard place psychologically. Signing anything critical of the current events and directions being taken in Rome seems to bring with it unwanted and unwarranted attention - and intimidation - from certain circles in the Church. Many clergy must be weighing up their decision over whether to sign or not. The fact that bullying and intimidation as well as insult has become a hallmark of this pontificate is worrying indeed.

           A classic episode of Thomas the Tank Engine entitled "Bye, George!" 
         "George" is a steamroller, much like our own 'Jorge'. Entertaining and even more 
        'Thomist' than Amoris Laetitia!

Pray for the clergy very much. Pray that the Lord will grant to the clergy both prudence and courage in their ministry. In the final analysis, truth, the Truth is on their side. There is only one party in the Church for whom truth is an obstacle now. It is they who should fear, not those who champion the cause of justice, true mercy and right. The true friends of Pope Francis are those who are willing to call him to fulfill his ministry, not those who would call him to disobedience to Christ. They and they alone are his enemies.

Monday 25 September 2017

Sign the Petition in Support of the Filial Correction of Pope Francis

I commend with gratitude the enormous work for Christ and the Salvation of Souls undertaken by those who have prepared the Filial Correction of His Holiness Pope Francis and the bravery of those clergy and lay scholars who have signed it. I urge you all to sign the petition in support of it. You can do so here.

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Part Two: The Sanctimonious Horror

I reconvene taking up, paragraph by paragraph, Steven Walford's take on Amoris Laetitia and the reaction within the Church that it has provoked. Your Holiness, you are right. I need therapy. This is my therapy.

The prophet always despises hypocrisy, not only because it is contrary to the way of life one professes to live, but also because it damages the message itself, rendering it less credible. The famous, “Who am I to judge?” is a classic example of the sanctimonious horror of those who prefer to make as much noise as possible in the hope they are praised for their valiant defence of truth–at the expense of actually following Jesus’ command. 

I don't know why Steven Walford wants to persuade us that Pope Francis is some kind of mega-prophet. Why is this narrative to the papacy required? The prophet - if he is from God - hates what God hates. God hates all falsehood, lies and hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is offensive to God because it lacks truth and lays bare a lack of humility. The famous 'Who am I to judge?' statement is notorious now, not because in so saying, Pope Francis revealed his lack of hypocrisy, but rather because in the face of an opportunity to defend the truth and safeguard doctrine, he side-stepped the reporter's question entirely, instead offering to the reporter a question, neutralising not only the reporter's own question, but neutralising his own position on homosexual actions.

Let's be clear on this: Pope Francis has never qualified his unwillingness to judge homosexual persons with any kind of statement either a) encouraging chastity for homosexuals (or anyone for that matter!) or b) making plain that homosexual acts are wrong and contrary to nature. The statement he made won him the favour of the World's media (true prophets despise the world's praise, right Steven?) and he even got on the front cover of a gay magazine, you know, like all prophets would have, had gay magazines been a thing. Remember that St John Paul II Gay magazine cover with Pope John Paul on the front calling him the best thing since sliced bread? No, me neither.

It would not have been hypocritical of the Pope to say he felt that a press interview was not the place in which to discuss the actions of one man, in this case Mgr Ricca, but he could have said something in defence of the moral law because, you know Mr Walford, the moral law is not simply, 'Don't be a hypocrite.' The Pope referenced the Catechism, in particular that homosexuals should be treated with respect and compassion, but passed over in silence what the Catechism says about homosexual conduct, about it being morally wrong and offensive to God, a misuse of sexuality as intended by the Creator.

If the Pope had said, publicly, 'Ah yes, Mgr Ricca, that notorious sodomite! Well, you can imagine my horror on hearing of this escapade, so henceforth I shall drive each and every homosexual from the Vatican, morning by morning I will root out this vice from my Court!' that might not be either wise or charitable in the full glare of the world's media towards this one unfortunate individual, though I suspect Pope Francis only considers him unfortunate because he was caught, like the priest caught with drugs at the gay sex orgy at Cocco's flat. Who were the other people present at that party? We do not know.

Ah well, another classified report for the Vatican archives. Soon we'll have more scandals in this pontificate than Motu Proprios. What's the ratio? The main thing is that nobody has been judged and everybody knows that nobody will be judged because the Pope is nobody to judge so the next party will be at someone else's flat instead, in a more obscure location. For his message hath gone out to the whole of the Vatican and yea, even to the ends of the Earth, who is he to judge gay orgies? I mean, he's only the Successor of St Peter and the Vicar of Christ on Earth.

It is not hypocritical to uphold the moral law, nor is it hypocritical to speak the truth in charity in the manner of, say, Cardinal Raymond Burke. It is not hypocritical to tell your brother in the faith that he has committed a sin if you desire his reconciliation with God and the Church. Had King David not been told he had done wrong by having had killed Uriah the Hittite in order to take his wife Bathsheba, perhaps he would not have repented. Both St John the Baptist, the prophet and Jesus Christ, the Lord, told us to repent and turn to God. Are they hypocrites too? No. Why? Because hypocrisy is not a matter of condemning something someone does or an immoral action that contradicts the Law of God, but is a matter of condemning something a particular sin or a particular someone who does it that you yourself commit. 

If I say, 'Here, have a biscuit.' You take five biscuits. I say, 'That's incredibly greedy!' and as soon as you leave the room I eat five biscuits, that is what we call hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is not exhorting God's children to reject sin and embrace God and virtue. Hypocrisy is saying things like, 'Who am I to judge?' a homosexual priest caught in a lift with a man doing immoral things but proceeding to judge in a most unmerciful manner the founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate on trumped up charges that amount to innocence proven in a court of law. Hypocrisy is saying, 'Who am I to judge?' and proceeding to label people who uphold the moral law as Pelagians, hypocrites, doctors of the law, rigid Pharisees and, basically, the offal of the world. So, to sum up, it is licit and right for a Supreme Pontiff to rebuke error, correct others and condemn immorality. In order to avoid the charge of hypocrisy from God and man, he would be wise not to do those things which he himself condemns.

Divine mercy always enshrines the pastoral approach of Pope Francis, and this is because, for him, the centrality of morality questions is to allow the sinner and the Lord to come together, to “sit down at table” and allow grace to fully flower in a time and way divine wisdom decrees. In order to understand this approach of the Holy Father, we need to reflect on several questions: From our knowledge of the Gospels, what is the likely response of Jesus to this person in this situation? What is in the sinner’s heart? Is it for us to compartmentalize individual acts from the rest of a person’s life, or can we say with St. John of the Cross, that in the evening of our lives, we will be judged on love? 

In the first instance, divine mercy does not ignore sin or pretend it is not present in a soul. Divine pity looks upon the sinner and loves the sinner so much that it calls the sinner back to God, always, so that true life in God may be embraced, rather than the passing illusions of sin, may be found. Divine mercy is linked to our repentance, Steven. God loves us so much that His will is that our fallen human nature may be recreated in His own image, the image of the Son whom the Father loves, by the sanctifying grace poured out upon His children in His Church. Divine mercy calls us to be forgiven by God, to be cleansed of our faults by God, to be healed by Him. We all stand in need of divine mercy. None of us are perfect. It also calls us in turn to forgive.

If it helps your arguments for Amoris Laetitia to insert a quote from a Doctor of the Church, then at least appreciate that St John of the Cross, master of the school of divine love also shows us that the way to perfection lies in self-forgetfulness, a constant remembrance of God, ceaseless prayer and a resolute determination to take up the ascetic life, mortification and complete dependence on God, the source and origin of all virtue. Is this what Pope Francis advocates? Love of God? Rejection of the world and its passing pleasures? Did this Saint, have any Saints, ever advocated the reception of Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin? Would they ever condone a single mortal sin, or advice one in mortal sin that it had no consequences?

Why is a 'new approach' necessary when the Church in the name of Christ, or Christ, through His Church, has been healing, forgiving, cleansing sinners of faults for centuries? What else, other than Salvation, Eternal Life, sanctifying grace and the forgiveness of sins can the Church offer to sinners? If the Church does not offer to sinners truth, in charity, if it does not make clear the path to Eternal Life, if the Church does not call sinners back to God, but acquiesces in sinful lifestyles, or condones sinful lifestyles, crowning the impenitent with Holy Communion - whether accompanied and pastorally assisted or not - it does not guide sinners to Heaven, but rather to Hell.

Steven is about to call critics of this papacy Pelagians. So part III will be fun, fun, fun....

Monday 18 September 2017

First Principles and the Greater Principle

Pope Francis, a Pontiff chosen “from the ends of the Earth”, continues to display a boundless energy that attracts huge attention from both within the Church and without. Just in the past few days we have seen millions flock to hear his message promoting love, mercy and reconciliation in Colombia, and also the appearance of his Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio, Magnum Principium, concerning the preparation of liturgical translations. The reception of both events could, in a sense, be seen as a microcosm of his entire Pontificate. On the one hand, there is the joy of countless simple faithful who love him, who see in him the active presence of the Holy Spirit, who above all recognize a pure, authentic Christianity; on the other hand, a bitter faction who can see little else but the deliberate dilution of Catholic doctrine and tradition. How can we explain this sad and unnecessary situation?

Thus begins this trenchant piece of propaganda by Steven Walford, serving as an introduction precisely as it means to go on. The first section of the paragraph conveys the Pope's enormous popularity. With whom? The answer comes: from 'simple faithful who love him'. Could any of those with whom the Pope has in some way fallen out of favour ever constitute 'the simple faithful'? It would appear not! Already, see, the sheep and the goats are separated, but not without insult, not even towards the Pope's 'joyful' supporters as opposed, we may surmise, to the 'joyless' detractors. Next time you call your friend a simpleton, see how they react. They, the Pope's fans, you see, are the 'simple' faithful. The critics are not the simple faithful. We shall see who and what manner of persons they are later in the next post.

The 'simple faithful'

Why are the Pope's critics not 'the simple faithful'? The answer comes: they have failed to recognise the 'pure, authentic Christianity' that the Pope promotes. We shall address this 'pure, authentic Christianity' later on. But more than this, they are 'a bitter faction'. They cannot see, as 'the simple faithful' see, the Pope in his greatness. All they see is wilful dilution of Catholic doctrine and tradition. Speaking personally, I have to say Mr Walford is correct here. Much of the Pope's wonderful PR is, I fear, a wonderful camouflage for doctrinal dilution, but on this point I can speak for none but myself. Yes, I am a cynic. If you're not a cynic in the 21st century, then I would ask where you have been.

If Mr Walford wishes to, he can define his terms of the 'simple faithful'. Does he mean those who simply believe that everything the Pope does is wonderful because he is the Pope? Or does he mean 'the uncatechised' who the Pope has failed to teach and does not wish to teach the Catholic Faith? Or does he mean 'the ignorant' who simply aren't sure what's going on in the Church viz a viz the dubia and the Pope's rejection of the Four Cardinals who submitted it to him, asking him to clarify his teachings on key points of Catholic doctrine, but whom he has ignored? We are left untold.

For the majority of Catholics, I would suggest, Pope Francis is a prophet in the truest sense of the word; one who has put heart and soul into carrying out the divine mandate he has been given. Yet prophets always leave one uneasy. They invariably come with a message many do not want to hear; they pierce the conscience in a way others do not, and they appear like a comet, ready to cause havoc for the unprepared. This, of course, explains why they usually end up wearing the crown of martyrdom. The key distinguishing feature of these luminous figures is a steely courage, and a focus that cares not for worldly adulation or concern about possible persecution. No, they come in the name of God in order to sweep clean the historical path that leads to eschatological newness.

I too believe that Pope Francis is a 'prophet', though I do not have to believe it, since I am only called upon to believe he is occupying the Chair of Peter. The question is whether he is a 'true' prophet, or, as many fear, a 'false' prophet. Before we begin in earnest on this question, let us not be so silly as to think that a Pope cannot become a false prophet. Of course, in considering this mystery of the papacy, much of Mr Walford's argument will not hold water, because he is starting out on first principles that require the Pope to be immune to Satan's wiles. This is essential to understanding the narrative of awe built around this papacy and it is not a Catholic belief that the Pope has had his personal will removed by the Holy Spirit, that he may not refuse good and instead pursue evil. The Gospels record that such immunity was never promised to the Successors of St Peter, otherwise Our Lord would not have said to St Peter that Satan intended to sift him like wheat, but that He had prayed for him, that on recovering (the Pope may fall) he may turn and strengthen the brethren. If Peter could not fall in such manner, then we may even ask what good it would serve the Church for the incidence of Peter's disloyalty to be included in the Gospels.

Mr Walford clearly believes Pope Francis to be a true prophet, which means that He has been sent by Almighty God for the edification of His children, by calling them back, as prophets do, from the road that leads to eternal perdition to the narrow way that leads to eternal life. This is what Scripture tells us prophets do. False prophets, as Jesus Himself said in the Gospels, tell people what they wish to hear, gaining popularity for themselves but leaving their hearers starved of the Word of God and the means to obtaining eternal Salvation. It is for this reason that prophets are often martyred. It is for this reason that the are vilified. It is for this reason that prophets, if they are true, make us feel uncomfortable. They lead us out of our comfort zones of sin and awake within us the voice of God that calls us to repentance and renewal of our lives in Him.

A good example would be the prophet par excellence, St John the Baptist, forerunner and herald of Our Blessed Lord who, for upholding the dignity and integrity of marriage, was cast into prison before being beheaded. Now, let us ask the question, is this what Pope Francis does? He has received worldly adulation, yet we are told this is what a true prophet rejects. He refuses to answer five basic points of Catholic doctrine, of which the dignity and sanctity of marriage is a subject. I leave it to the reader to discern therefore whether Pope Francis, as yet, can be described as a prophet, 'in the truest sense of the word'. Finally, it must be said that prophets do not necessarily come to 'sweep clean the historical path that leads to eschatalogical newness', unless, in referring to Pope Francis as just such a prophet, Mr Walford believes that a true prophet destroys what has come before him in order to assert his dominance upon the present and inscribe upon the future of the Church, not the Law of God, nor the spirit of Christ, but the steely mark of his very own self.

Prophets are also sent at specific times; times when the people of God have turned away, or are sleeping in a “safe” and cosy Christianity that is oblivious to the sufferings of the poor or the outcasts of society. They come with two main messages linked to salvation history: justice and mercy. But as the Crucified Christ shows, God’s justice is manifest in divine mercy, “where sin abounds, grace even more abounds!” The prophet’s message therefore will always contain a message of hope, based on God’s desire to bring salvation to all.

This paragraph, by again omitting what God's real prophets do - call people back to God and His Law - turns 'the prophet' into someone who shouts on behalf of the poor and marginalised. Fair enough, but it must be said that the prophet does not simply have regard for the plight of the poor because helping the poor is his message, but that the blood of the poor will be avenged by God Who raises the poor from the dunghill and casts princes from their thrones, who exalts the lowly and humbles the proud. It is a mark of a society which has descended into abject sin that even toleration of the poor is forfeited on account of the pride of life and the lust for pleasures and wealth. In Great Britain the poor are criminalised for begging while the sins of the rich are overlooked or enshrined into law, such is the perversion of justice we now see with our own eyes.

 The 'message of hope', as Mr Walford describes it however, was proclaimed by Benedict XVI and St John Paul II was the message of Salvation and they did not leave out the marginalised. Caritas in Veritate, in particular, pondered just such themes. Ultimately, both men held that societies which embrace sin and the culture of death could never achieve the exchange of avarice for Christian modesty of life and generous donation to the poor without Christianity itself. Indeed, it is questionable even whether Pope Francis advocates strongly for the conversion of the individual in this regard, since most of his lamentations of the state of income equality focus on the benefits of collectivisation which could be achieved by the State.

Finally, God's desire to see the Salvation of all, unless God has changed, will require that His commandments are respected greatly by the Church and proclaimed by the Church, since how can God grant mercy to those who stand in ignorance or are defiant of their need for mercy? Perhaps He has a way, but Jesus has not revealed this. He has told His Apostles to baptize and teach in His name for the salvation of the world. It is not mercy to leave in ignorance the adulterer, the fornicator, the thief, the active homosexual and every and any kind of sinner inhabiting the Church and the World. It is a work of mercy, the Catechism holds, to admonish the sinner and instruct the ignorant. Does Pope Francis assist or hinder the propagation of those divine truths that Lord God wills, the Lord Whose desire is the Salvation of the World? If he does, he could begin by answering the dubia. If he does not wish this, then he may continue as he has hitherto chosen to proceed, be it with serenity, or, indeed, not, since as we all know, His Holiness is given to a hot temper at times but only when things don't go his way. When the Church ignores the divine mandate entrusted to him and the Successors of the Apostles, he appears thoroughly pleased.

If we take authentic private revelation into consideration, alongside many prophetic statements of a succession of popes, then we begin to understand that we live in a Kairos of mercy; a season of advent that will eventually lead, in God’s own time, to the making of all things new. Anyone who has studied Divine Mercy in my Soul by St. Faustina Kowalska cannot fail to see this momentous element. Indeed, St. John Paul II while dedicating the new Shrine of Divine Mercy in 2002, recalled Jesus’ famous prophecy about a “spark from Poland” that “will prepare the world for my final coming”, calling it a “binding promise.”

If only we could say that this was visibly the case but we cannot, as Mr Walford does, simply wish something to be that is not because we wish this were to be. Alas, Pope Francis, were he to be a continuation of the divine mercy message proclaimed by the Polish Pope, he would surely not in a manner that could only be described as like unto subterfuge the enormous defence of marriage and the family undertaken by St John Paul II. Simply taking the language of mercy used by St JPII and Benedict XVI and manipulating it to mean something which, in the Church's understanding since the beginning, it does not mean, is not an extension of the themes of these pontificates but in fact constitutes a rupture with them.

Both of these holy and venerable Pontiffs proclaimed for the whole Church to hear that it was not possible to sanction the admittance of the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion unless they agreed to live in perpetual continence. By doing so, both made plain that in this teaching, a matter of Sacramental discipline, the Lord's own words were upheld by the Lord's Church. Both made plain that every pastoral effort must be made to encourage such persons in this heroic choice for the sake of the Kingdom and for their Salvation. Both made plain that the Church's compassion was not closed to such couples. Both made plain that in line with St Paul's admonition to those who did not discern the Body and Blood of the Lord, guilt in the sixth commandment would not render them ready to receive the Lord of life, but would rather hasten their way along a path to eternal death.

Now, Mr Walford, if Pope Francis is a continuation of these 'mercy' Popes, and Pope Francis heralds, through Amoris Laetitia, the continuation or deepening of this mercy theme, why should Pope Francis wish to open up the possibility of admittance to Holy Communion to those who, for their own good, as well as for the good of souls in general, were categorically forbade from reception of the Body and Blood of the Lord where repentance and resolution to live chastly was lacking?

How can you possibly tell the 'simple' Faithful that Francis's exhortation in this matter reflects that which has come before or opens new paths of mercy when previous Popes made plain that this teaching and discipline was true not just for then, or now, but for all time when they, of course, are not the only ones? That those in unrepentant mortal sin may not receive Holy Communion is a simple timeless truth of the Holy Faith. Anyone above the age of reason can understand it. Yes, Mr Walford, even the 'simple faithful' can understand it.

No Pope can alter this and if he tries to do so, that Pope will be a false prophet leading souls into Hell, but, of course, if we believe what you write, you seem to believe that Popes cannot go to Hell, since Popes cannot mislead people, or do wrong things, or lead God's people astray, or be vainglorious, because everything they do is holy. Familiaris Consortio was the exhortation of St John Paul II on the family. Amoris Laetitia obliquely contradicts it. Please, do not tell me, that an intelligent man such as you, also believes that 2 + 2 = 5 at the Pope's say so. If this Pope is to tell Christ's Church that the Lord's second coming is close then will you, who are able to gain audiences with him, please ask him to call the sons and daughters of the Church to fidelity to Christ? If we can call the sons and daughters of the Church to fidelity to Christ, perhaps too we can boldly proclaim Christ to the nations of the World also.

If the great Polish Pontiff was the main instigator of the new promotion of mercy (although we should of course recall St. John XXIII), then Pope Francis must be seen as the one who has placed this “greatest attribute of God” at the very heart of the Church and the hermeneutical key to understanding his magisterium.

One question arises here: If it is only the 'simple faithful' who understand Pope Francis's dynamic teaching which is both new and fresh, but which also retains that which his predecessors taught, then why is a 'hermeneutical key' required to understanding his magisterium? You cannot have it both ways, Mr Walford. Either the 'simple faithful' get Pope Francis's message because they are humble, simple folk, or only such men as yourself, with theology degrees, understand Francis because you have the magical hermeneutical key to understanding his magisterium, the key that renders rational thought useless in the face of his holy gaze of mercy and requires that the divine mandate you say he exercises with such exuberance be utterly redefined to mean something different to that which the Church's Founder meant.

Either the changing of the discipline of the Church on who may be admitted to Holy Communion via a process of personal discernment and acccompaniment that does not seem to require the deliberate choice to renounce sexual relations in the case of the divorced and remarried is a watershed moment of astonishing change that suggests rupture with tradition, or it is not, because this discipline and teaching has not changed. It cannot be both. Forgive me for not being fooled, but I and many others who you describe as embittered are not fooled. Why? Because we are striving to be faithful to Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed and Thrice Holy Trinity! Because, in a word, we are Christians!

'Pure, authentic Christianity', as you put it, is not what this Pope presents to the Church, because what he presents to the Church are not yet faithful to the teaching of Jesus Christ. What he presents is subversive of His teachings. If you want an ancient heresy, Steven, try the ancient heresy that asserts that 'pure, authentic Christianity' can be found by re-inventing it and then claiming your version of it as that of its Founder, since each heretic claims that he represents the 'true' version intended by Him. If the Pope represented 'pure, authentic Christianity', then doctrine, even the dubia, would not present an obstacle to his course because, until 2013, when doctrine became a dirty word, it was considered risable that we could have Jesus Christ without fidelity to Jesus Christ's teachings. To say that we can throw Jesus Christ's teachings overboard and still have 'pure, authentic Christianity' is, sorry, ridiculous. Please, do not pretend that the Pope is not dispensing with Jesus Christ's teachings, while he passes over in silence His teaching on adultery, divorce and remarriage and makes ambiguous statements over who may receive Holy Communion, thus wilfully sanctioning by proxy the behaviour of those in mortal sin and legislating for sacrilege. Unless black means white and white means black, this is the precise opposite of what a 'true prophet' would do.

Two Bergoglian images of the Church speak of this charism: 1) a spiritual field hospital 2) a tender mother. Francis sees mercy as a way into people’s lives; an outreach ministry that is willing to descend into the darkest places where despair leaves souls paralysed; a means to see in the gravest sinner, a dearest brother. This may, in part, explain his dislike for bureaucrat priests, airport bishops and those who prefer a preening Church, standing in front of the mirror admiring its own beauty. In essence he rails against a narcissistic attitude that hides the maternal nature of Mother Church. The Church as a field hospital on the other hand, is always at the service of a wounded humanity, ready to apply the medicine of mercy with compassionate and open arms; it will always set up shelter wherever needed. It does not ask needless doctrinal or theological questions when souls are ill, but works on the immediate priority–that is to offer love, mercy and hope. In those critical moments, everything else is of secondary importance. 

There can be no objection to either the Church as a field hospital nor the Church as a tender mother. Certainly, none of us are without sin. The question is Who do we require to heal us? Deeper questions also arise for us. Do we want to be healed? Might we also make a distinction between who is Mother and who is Healer? Might we also ask by what means we might be healed? Or is it the case that we may be left by the teaching of Francis unaware that Jesus Christ is no mere private trained in medicine pouring whisky over our wounds in a trench, but that the Lord wills very much that we may entrust ourselves to Him completely and allow Him to heal us of all that wounds us, but also cleanse us of all that offends Him? One might also ask whether, in the field hospital, Jesus Christ is even mentioned. I fear not. Only the Church is mentioned, the Church and Francis, Francis who indeed limits the Church to this truncated analogy of a field hospital in which 'doctrinal or theological questions' - let us call them dubia - are ignored. Why are they ignored? Because souls are ill. They are the priority. Fine. What are they offered? Love, mercy and hope. Are they also offered the Truth, which is necessary to obtain the forgiveness of our sins, since ignorance of sin will likely lead us into sin and, unrepented of, eternal perdition? Are they offered this? No. Of course not. These things are, after all, of 'secondary importance'.

The radicalness of the Gospel message is that each Christian must pour out themselves for others in a continuous and unconditional act of love. Too often, however, this truth is conveniently ignored and thus hypocrisy becomes an anti-gospel where mercy is replaced by judgment and accusation.

Mr Walford, as a Vatican observer I have compiled a book of some of His Holiness's most imaginative insults, his judgements towards the faithful, priests, bishops, Cardinals, laity and yes, even nuns. So aside from my own lamentable vice or seeing fault in others when of course I am a miserable sinner, my own vocabulary has been broadened by this Supreme Pontiff when it comes to running others down. However, I do detect within this paragraph perhaps just the smallest admonition to those who are not thoroughly convinced, as you reputedly are, of the wisdom of this Pope's governance of the Church. Do you perhaps think that it is the Church's 'bitter faction' which replaces mercy with judgement and accusation?

Yes, it is a lamentable vice, but I must say, if it is going to be a vice enjoyed by those disputing the current remarkable events going on in Holy Mother Church, let those who throw insults first produce a logical argument - one grounded perhaps in the Church's perennial teachings - and in the teachings of successive popes, perhaps even the words of our Blessed Lord Himself, before such fierce accusations are made. I, for one, shall hold back, since it profits me nothing to insult you. I shall not insult you. I shall allow your own arguments to do that for you. You may claim, if you wish, that you stand on rock, for you unequivocably support the Pope's document without reservation and see in it no inconsistencies at all and the Pope is the rock. But if you do not stand with Jesus Christ, if the Pope chooses to stand aside from Him or distance the Church from Him, do you think you, do you think I will stand His coming, if we choose to forget God and His Commandments because the Pope willed it? Do you really think being 'faithful' is really that 'simple'? Well, you are one for prophecy, so here it is, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Mr Walford, if you consider that the Lord's return is close, you had better prepare yourself for the persecution that is coming, the persecution that precedes it. I assure you, that if Pope Francis continues in the manner he has been, and you continue in the manner you have been, you shall meet with no persecution at all. Criticism from a 'bitter faction'? Yes. But that is not the same thing and you know that. For the love of Christ, however, articles such as yours must be replied to by those who will grow more and more saddened that our prelates should choose to sell Our Lord for worldly glory.

I, for one, will not be silent, not, at any rate, on this vehicle for communication, as long as I see that Catholics are being told, by such men as you, to suspend the operation not only of logic and reason, but also the divine faith unto which we cling for our salvation and for the salvation of the whole world just because 'Pope says so'. To follow your advice would indeed be a great insult, not only to intelligence, but also to the theological virtue of Faith which does not follow fashion blindly and does not accept as true that which has already been declared false, which does not accept as 'mercy' that which is, in fact, complicity in evil. Jesus warned, as well you know, His disciples about false prophets who would appear to deceive even the elect. If He had wanted to say that it could never happen that such a prophet could appear in the black loafers and white cassock of a Pope, He could have. He did not. Where would we stand if Jesus Christ returned tomorrow is the most important question for us all, but a lesser one for you, Steven...

Where would you stand if a Catholic Pope turned up tomorrow?

Thursday 14 September 2017

The Greater Principle... the Salvation of souls!

My musical contribution to celebrations of 10 years of Summorum Pontificum. Nothing could be a greater antidote to the liturgical and doctrinal chaos envisaged by the St Gall mafia, than Summorum Pontificum. No wonder they fear and loathe it so much!

Long live Benedict XVI, the great, the good!

Thursday 7 September 2017

The Jacob Rees-Mogg Interview

I was very pleased to see a British parliamentarian standing up for the rights of the Church and for Catholicism in the public square, having watched Jacob Rees-Mogg's appearance on Good Morning Britain. For bearing the heat and not fainting for fear, for refusing to surrender to the bullying, emotional blackmail attempts of his interviewers he should indeed be cheered.

However, I am equally pleased that Dr Joseph Shaw has charitably pointed out that some of the reasoning Jacob Rees-Mogg provides to his interlocutors was neither particularly Catholic, nor particular logical. Dr Joseph says, I think, what should be said, but I would like to add some thoughts of my own.

St Paul's condemnation of homosexuality is clear in his Epistle to the Romans, numero uno, and while St Paul has fallen out of favour in recent times with the world - and in Rome, also, it would appear - the pillar of the Church makes very clear that 'gay sex' (I can't believe adults are talking about gay sex on TV first thing in the morning while some people are having breakfast but welcome to the 21st century) is indeed sinful - contrary to the divine law - but also contrary to the natural law.

Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonour their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error. 

It is said that arguments against homosexual actions in the first instance (before we even get to the subject of marriage) are rejected if they are composed within a religious framework, because if society is irreligious, or ignorant of religion, then it cannot be understood or accepted. It is interesting that St Paul was employing the argument from nature a long, long time ago under the influence of the Holy Spirit, since that which men could not fathom purely from the strength of a religious truth, men could fathom from the natural law. We must note that God respects reason and it is a gift of God to use it and that while the supernatural may cause us to accept that which appears to contradict it (like Resurrection after Death), the moral law is an entirely different matter.

Yes, Rees-Mogg's argument defending marriage from the position that the Sacrament of Marriage in the Catholic Church is inadequate and it should be pointed out, not least because Catholics have long argued in the public square that the Church recognises that marriage of itself is not possessed by the Church, or the State, it is inscribed in the natural law. Within the Church, marriage between two baptised persons is a Sacrament, because Christ has raised it to such. Not all bread is the Body of Christ, but bread becomes the Body of Christ when a Priest pronounces the words of Consecration over the species and by such it is changed in substance. Likewise, not all marriages are Sacramental. It is not possible, it is illogical indeed, to argue against same-sex marriage 'because marriage is a Sacrament', unless, perhaps, your entire audience is Catholic.

Marriage is a natural institution. It cannot be altered by Church or by State.. It requires one man and one woman. In the Church it is given a supernatural character, conferring divine grace on the spouses by means of the Sacrament of Marriage. Marriage between two persons of the same-sex is not marriage, since those contracting the arrangement are not composed of one male and one female. Same-sex marriage is a lie, a fraud and a sham, contrary to reason, to justice, to nature itself and, yes, to will of the Creator.

What is same-sex marriage? It is the veneer of authenticity, legal credibility, performed in order to publicly legitimise sodomy and numerous homosexual acts. It has nothing, if anything to do with 'love'. The State has never recognised 'love'. It has only recognised marriage. Even when a man sacrifices his life for his country, he is never saluted for his 'love' but for his sacrifice even duty. 'Same-sex marriage, is, however, the 'law of the land' because the State calls it marriage, even when it is nothing like marriage. Herein, I would argue, lies the secret strength of Jacob Rees-Mogg should he choose to embrace it. Mr Rees-Mogg! Expose the lies! Speak the truth!

The Mogg interview, and its aftermath, shows us patently that dissent from this secular teaching will not be tolerated. Whether you argue your case rationally and reasonably, politely or charitably, or offensively, it really doesn't matter to the powerful lobby and to the 'liberal' media. If you don't burn incense on this matter you're 'toast'. Except you are not. Not really. Not if you really mean it. What people - citizens of the United Kingdom - I am certain of this - are really getting sick and tired of is:


This was a defining feature of the Brexit vote and of the Trump victory. Mogg-Momentum will gather real momentum when he makes it very clear that despite the Government's law on same-sex marriage and its inhuman, barbaric practise of permitting the wholesale slaughter of the unborn for any reason at all, even for mere 'inconvenience's sake', Britain remains, just about, a free country in which you can hold, profess and speak your beliefs in public and their offensive nature does not revoke that freedom. Nor should your beliefs separate you from your political party or society itself, certainly not the public square, unless you want to live in Communist Britain. The vast majority of the United Kingdom - no matter their creed or political beliefs - accept the principle of freedom of thought and freedom of speech. The issue of homosexuality, marriage and abortion all touch deeply on the moral law and are grounded firmly in the natural law but they can be articulated publicly because we are free citizens not subject to State interference in our beliefs and conscience!

The replacement of the moral law, the replacement of the natural law's latest victim - and it was always going to be this way - is the freedom to think and to say that 2 + 2 = 4, not, as Fr Antonio Spadaro S.J would have us believe, 5! If Jacob Rees-Mogg is prepared to stand up in public as a  Catholic then let him defend the principle that should be very politically charged right now! No parliamentarian - though I don't doubt that he may and should try - is going to persuade this nation of the immoral nature of abortion and same-sex marriage. However, there are so many people in this country who are concerned that the media and the State and an all-pervasive power operating within nearly every sphere of society will not tolerate either the potent operation of human conscience or the freedom to speak your mind, even if what you believe is offensive to many. 

The valiant effort of Rees-Mogg - for I know that he tried his best - will resonate more with people if he recognises that the ability to articulate your beliefs are what makes for a democracy. It is, in fact, the only reason that the powerful abortion and gay lobbies were able to do what they have done - become mainstream and acceptable, even if what they do and promote are deeply offensive to God and profoundly unacceptable.  Now that they are in positions of power they would deny that right to all those - religious or not - who find their vision of human life unacceptable and who believe that a rampant homosexual culture, and 200,000 abortions a year, as well the prevelance of a shocking mindset that tolerates everything except dissent from the liberal secular worldview, brings shame and disgrace upon this once great country.

We need people, yes even politicians, to say that if an interveiwer is going to pin him down about gay sex at 9 o'clock in the morning (!!), then yes, gay sex is, in his belief, as the Church defines it, very sinful indeed and completely immoral and contrary to nature. But let's be really honest and make that teaching plain. Sodomy is a sin that cries out to Heaven for vengeance. So is abortion. Same-sex marriage (and the sexual acts it entails) and abortion, too, are completely immoral. But more than this, we need these men and women to come forward and say that the last time they looked, this country is a free country and you can believe that 'gay sex' - for is it even sex? - is sinful and say it and the day you cannot say that is the day that freedom itself dies. For as Orwell said, freedom is 'the freedom to say that 2 + 2 = 4!' Who on Earth is Piers Morgan and his lady side-kick to imply that this view is repugnant and may not be held by a British citizen!? What have we come to!? May God give strength to Jacob, for it is God who gave victories to Jacob.  Let us all say what we think about the issues touched upon by the Mogg interview. The day we cannot say them, is the day this country dies! We must fight for this freedom, the freedom to speak the truth, now not merely in the society in which we live, but also within the Church Herself.

Wednesday 6 September 2017

Hear the Cry of the Earth!

I figured if Churchmen are going to give to the Earth some kind of personality (does the Earth need therapy too, I wonder?) which reacts to man's interference of the environment, then let's make the 'cry of the Earth' a Catholic cry, rather than a pagan one. I have also put this Catholic cry to music in a rendition of Michael Jackson's 'Earth Song' should you wish to listen.

Like many, I am shocked and deeply distressed as well as saddened by the death of Cardinal Caffara. May the Lord bring his valiant soul to his eternal reward in Heaven. May his soul rest in peace and may he rest forever from his courageous apostolic labours and arrive quickly to his place from which he may intercede for us who must continue his public witness in defence of the Truth for the salvation of souls. May he see the vision of God for which he was created, for which we long!

We cannot be signatories to the dubia signed by those Cardinals, only two of whom now remain on Earth, but we can cry out, yea, even with Creation itself, that the Pope do his duty to God, to the Church and to mankind and answer that which has been submitted to him and clarify, for all the world to hear, that Truth does not change and cannot change and that this is the Truth delivered by Christ to His Apostles, not simply as an ideal, be it realistic or unrealistic in human terms, but the Truth which is for our eternal salvation.

Eternal rest grant unto Him, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon your servant. May his soul and the soul of Cardinal Meisner and all the Faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Friday 1 September 2017

All Hail the Extraordinary Magisterium of Pope Francis

It was reported that Michael B. Dougherty's article on the shrinking papacy of Pope Francis was greeted with howls of disapproval to the tune of 'You can't say that!' and 'Respect, please!' from various quarters. Fr James Martin S.J, for one, stepped up to call for 'respect', presumably offended by the coarse language used in the following excerpt from Doughterty's piece for the National Review. Not that the language was as coarse as some Bergoglian anecdotes available on public record. No doubt Dougherty's really offensive passage was this one:

Simply put, we don’t have to listen to popes when they are talking out of their rear ends. What Francis describes as an orderly procession of liturgical reform in the 20th century will very likely one day be seen as one of the greatest spams of iconoclasm in the history of Christianity. And the fact that Francis is so wrong on this, as on many other things, will, one hopes, break the exaggerated papal cult once and for all. This period of time in the Church, in which its lay intellectuals and bishops turn almost exclusively to recent papal utterances rather than to Scripture and the doctors of the Church, will one day look very unusual. In God’s permissive will, and in his Providence, Pope Francis is hastening that day. For that I’m grateful.

Dougherty's article is aimed at the dreadful cult of personality which has taken on new degrees of exaggeration under Francis. I wrote a few months ago that this pontificate suffered something of a credibility deficit because of the strange sayings of the occupant of the Chair of St Peter and that Francis's credibility was seriously waning because of his behaviour, even if the authority accorded to him as Pope remained. Over time, however, we are seeing not just a credibility gulf opening up, but an authority problem arising as well, a problem that has nothing to do with the powers of the Office with which Pope Francis has been entrusted but to do with the nature of this Office.

Quite simply the Office carries spiritual, moral and teaching responsibilities and lays these responsibilities upon the man himself. The whole Office of the Papacy is bound up with moral teaching (not simply sudden political, economic, social or environmental ejaculations of private thought made public) as well as teaching on matters of Faith. These two areas are sadly lacking in Francis's priorities and are passed over nearly completely unless we are to call expressions of solidarity for migrants or care for the Earth moral teaching or even Francis's quite extrarodinary Magisterium. Therefore, it is understandable that when a man departs from the duties of his state of life - teaching Christian faith and morals - that is - Christian faith and morals rather than his own private opinions - people cannot take his invoking of 'magisterial authority' terribly seriously.

I've read before that many, in hindsight, while admiring St John Paul II's rise as a global Pope, his combative attitude towards Communism and his rigorous defence of the family, express concern with how 'mega' the papacy became under the Polish Pope and how the personality of the Successor of St Peter became such a dominant feature in the life of the Church. Benedict XVI's quiet strength and determination was welcomed in such quarters with even the Pope himself expressing in public the limitations placed upon the Supreme Pontiff in his teaching and strengthening role. If anyone distrusted the cult of personality, or the potential trappings of his Office, it was Benedict XVI. Thankfully, St John Paul II's charismatic presence, his travels to many and varied countries and his gift for communication were all utilised to great effect in the fight against evil. The problem comes when a Pope takes to himself every possible means of communication to great effect in a way that begins to undermine or discredit the message of the Gospel. The problem comes when a Pope opens his mind on any and every subject matter other than that which is his main responsibility to teach - the Christian Faith!

The Extraordinary Magisterium of Pope Francis

Unfortunately for Pope Francis, the unanswered dubia - along with the unanswered doorbell when Cardinal Burke calls - places in huge crisis the moral authority of Pope Francis. Quite simply, if a Pope decides to cease from teaching the Christian Faith as we have hitherto known it, in all its doctrinal fullness and clarity, just how seriously can the Faithful take the invoking of magisterial authority. Sorry if this offends people, but the outpourings of Pope Francis's private thoughts, through interviews, speeches, homilies, his incredible lexicon of insulting terms aimed at priests, bishops, cardinals, laity and even nuns cannot be described as evidence of Christian teaching.

Such bile, streaming like a torrent near daily, flooding the Church with invective mean that while Pope Francis may find his magisterial authority convenient for those times when he wishes to stamp out enthusiasm for the traditional Latin Mass or the promotion of liturgy which places reverence for Christ and His Sacrifice at the centre, he should not be too surprised when the faithful laugh because on the Christian Faith itself this Pope is largely silent.

Satirists have wasted no time in sending up the pompous nature of this pontificate, its glaring theological inconsistencies and embarrassing deviations from Christ's truth. The presence of the unanswered dubia continues to lay bare the reality of the most vacuous pontificate in living memory, long on public relations overkill, but short on Christian teaching, a pontificate that treats Faith like a form of leprosy. Perhaps that is why he doesn't want to meet Cardinal Burke and the remaining dubia Cardinals, but will meet just about anybody else.

Future Popes (if God gives us them) take note: If you want to be taken seriously, don't turn your pontificate into a running joke. If you want to be taken seriously, sheer power, even your authority, will not suffice if you don't understand what your Office requires of you. If you wish to be taken seriously, take Jesus Christ seriously! Your credibility will suffer if you do not and if you distance yourself from Christ, your authority, which rests on your moral and spiritual authority will quietly dwindle before it quietly ebbs away, however loud your voice is raised! If you don't want to be considered, 'wrong on so many things' by Catholics in magazines, newspapers and blogs, teach those things about which you can only be right - the Catholic Faith! The authority of each Pope, moral, spiritual and teaching, rests on Jesus Christ, not on yourself.

The Magisterium of Pope Francis, therefore, seems to me to be eminently reversible because anything that can find no basis within Scripture and Holy Tradition can and should and most likely will in future be thoroughly dismissed. Papal opinion is not papal teaching and the dubia is a constant reminder to all observers that, on Faith and morals at least, Francis does not wish to crystallise his teachings. Anything which pertains to the true expression of Christian faith and Christian morals can, of course be retained, but unfortunately for Francis, examples of this are few and far between. For 1,500 years or more, the Catholic liturgy was considered "irreversible". Then along came Vatican II. The liturgical reforms which came to be considered mandatory in the 70s were considered "irreversible" and then along came...

Popes have a degree of latitude in governing the Church of now. The Church of the future, however, regardless of a Pope's stratospheric ambitions is another matter altogether.

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...