9 December 2018

Methodist Chapels ... and 'Bible Sunday'

I find Methodist chapels disappointing. This is because so many of them have endured 'Reordering'.

The traditional English pattern for Methodist ... and other Protestant Non-Conforming ... chapels was that they were dominated, at the"ritual East end" by a broad pulpit, stretching most of the width of the chapel except for a stair up to it at left and right. A reading Desk marked the middle. Beneath the Reading Desk, there was a small table for communion services.

In chapel after chapel, all this has been removed. They now have an adaptable space, probably with some posters, children's toys, guitars  ...

So what? Why should I bother?

Well, I don't, a lot. But it seems to me that the ritually-expressed purpose of Worship, in the Methodist tradition, has been profoundly altered.

Because, surely, the meaning of the old set-up was: the proclamation of the Word of God is important; the Minister is to be regarded as an authoritative exponent of the Scripture and as one commissioned to summon the community to repentance and faith. His physical position even assimilated him to the Tabernacle in a Catholic Church or the Torah Shrine in a Synagogue.

Yes; it's dodgy expounding the religion of other people ... if you are knowledgeable, do feel free to engage critically with my assumptions.

The removal of the pulpit seems to me, until I am better advised, to suggest the unhorsing of that old tradition, and its replacement by something deemed to be less rigid and more flexible, with less authority to be discerned in the words of the preacher. Something more affective. If this is so, then I would regard the change as a divergence from the Catholic Tradition in as far as we do still consider Scripture as authoritative. And if I were to get rhetorical, as I so often do, I might make sarcastic remarks about a religion which began by claiming to be Bible-centred in a way that other Christians were alleged not to be [many West Country Methodist chapels still claim in stone above their porticoes to be "Bible Christian", one of the sects into which Wesleyanism split up] had ended up by dethroning the Word of God (as their penultimate stage before being sold for redevelopment into bijou residences named "Ye Olde Chapel").

As a mere observer and outsider (but still a fellow Christian), my complaint is that these once evocative and impressive buildings are now just dead boring little (or big) spaces.

They have no message. Rather like the empty red Art Deco telephone boxes just across the road.

8 December 2018

What is the CDF for?

Fr Thomas Rosica is a part of the Vatican Machine. He used to sit at the table during Vatican Press Conferences, defending the interests of the English Language and of his fellow Anglophones (he is a subject of The Queen's Majesty of Canada). He gave an impression of intelligence, competence, and imperturbability. He appeared to have a sense of language and of words.

On July 31, 2018, he published a piece on a platform called "Salt + Light Media". Towards the end of it, he wrote as follows:

"Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is 'free from disordered attachments.' Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture."

Philological questions: Why is the phrase 'free from disordered attachments' placed within the indications of reported speech? Is there significance in the initial t- of 'tradition' being lower case? Am I right to assume that 'its own' means 'the Church's own'?

The initial assertion that PF breaks 'traditions' is vague. In modern Anglophone culture, 'traditions' can easily mean minor picturesque and antiquarian oddities, such as keeping ravens in the Tower of London as guarantees that it will never be captured by the enemies of the realm, and objects for Japanese tourists to photograph. But when, later in this passage, the word is put in the singular, a different implication is evident: that the writer is entering those areas of theological discourse in which we discuss Tradition and Scripture together (or separately) as sources (or a source) of authoritative teaching.

A claim that a pope does or can set aside Scripture and Tradition can hardly be coherent with the teachings of the Council of Trent or Vatican I.

Prima facie, it appears to be formally heretical.

The assertion that the Church is 'openly ruled by an individual' suggests a personal monarchicalism which is difficult to reconcile with sound doctrine and, indeed, is hardly likely to appeal very much to the modern mind either.

The progressive logic of the second sentence appears to suggest that, while previously the Church was governed by a hierarchy which gave respect to Scripture and Tradition, she has now 'indeed entered a new phase' in which this has ceased to be true. This is a form of 'rupturalism' which seems to go far beyond even the controversial assumptions of the 'Bologna School' in their hermeneutic of Vatican II.

Does the assertion that PF is free from disordered attachments mean that, being, like our Lady, untouched by Original Sin and its consequences, he has a prelapsarian immunity from erring in his choices?

I find it hard to believe that members of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity can have been happy with the claim that PF's pontificate is free from Scripture or Tradition. Orthodox and Evangelicals alike, if they have read those words, are likely to have resolved that there is a far greater chasm now between themselves and the papal communion than they could ever possibly have dreamed there was before. (Orthodox, in particular, have their own internal reasons currently for being very shy of 'the heresy of papism'.) Anglicans and Lutherans may have heaved great sighs of relief that they never took dialogue with Rome very seriously and that, most mercifully, nothing much ever came of it anyway. You need to keep the peddlers of this sort of religious absurdity at several arms' lengths.

Rosica's words seem to me to represent the most extreme form of the ultrapapalist error that I have yet encountered. Most Bergoglian ideologues at least tend, with boring consistency, to attribute the problematic utterances of this pontificate to the Holy Spirit; or to invoke, inaccurately, Newman's views about 'development'. Rosica dares to attribute to PF, with approval, a right simply to change things 'whenever he wants' ... in other words, at whimsy. My own cultural tradition condemns such attitudes with talk of 'arbitrary power'. I wonder how common such unashamed ultrabourbonism is in Canada.

I would not myself like to be judged too harshly on the basis of everything I have ever written. We can all of us misspeak, and even miswrite. Probably, I do so much more often than I should. But, given his high profile, you would have thought that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith might have asked Fr Tom for explanations and clarifications in such a way that he would by now have formally recanted his very public prima facie heresies.

I wonder if they have?

Whether they have or not, whether or not he has recanted, the words he wrote stand in the evidential record as a most disturbing revelation of the extent to which grave formal doctrinal error is part and parcel of the everyday working assumptions of the 'sycophants and careerists' (well chosen words of Cardinal Mueller) who surround PF; the regular currency which passes from hand to hand in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

It is not surprising that matters in Christ's Church Militant are as dangerously bad as they are. The Gates of Hell must be feeling quite optimistic. S Paul VI spoke about the Smoke of Satan entering the Church through a fissure; in hoc aevo Bergogliano weapons-grade Poison Gas appears to have become the problem.

Apparently, our Enemy is not a signatory to the Geneva Convention.


7 December 2018

Satire and the Anglican Patrimony

Henry Chadwick, the towering Anglican intellectual of the second half of the twentieth century, believed that Blessed John Henry Newman was the most superb writer of Satire and of Irony in the English language. True! I wonder if you have read Newman's semi-autobiographical novel Loss and Gain. He exposes to our laughter the absurdities of popular Evangelicalism; of sonorous, pompous, and dignified Oxford dons who were ... well, actually just plain ridiculous (and far from well-read). So were the new religious movements thrown up by the ferment of the 1840s. With exquisite cruelty he analyses the hypocrisies of the comfortable domestic affluence, combined with a dilettante affection for the superficial trappings of Catholicism, enjoyed by a certain type of Establishment, monied, gothic-romanticist Anglican. Clearly, all this touched a raw nerve in the Ordinariate's Patron Blessed John Henry Newman, and the Novel was the only way in which he could express the strength of his feelings. And not much more gentle was his ironic mockery of those daft enough to believe that the Birmingham Oratory contained oubliettes in which heiresses were tortured to death for their inheritances.

Newman, frankly, took no prisoners. And his mode of attack is, essentially, to laugh at his adversaries. This, surely, is the most ruthless possible way of putting somebody down. If a person criticises you in a flat, humdrum, pathetic, terribly earnest style, he doesn't get to you. You cheerfully write him off as a poor, sad, silly old thing. But if he laughs at you ... ! You see, the victims of this sort of attack  quite simply ... to quote the martial figure of Corporal Jones of Dad's Army ... don't like it up 'em. The grander you are, the more surrounded you are by people who defer to you and treat you with respect and deference, the less you like the satirist. The more you are a bully, an obsessive oppressive, or a control-freak, the more indignant the satirist makes you feel. Ho anaginoskon noeito.

And, in many ways, our own age is made for the satirist. Never was there a time when the the Great, the Wise, and the Good, were less able to control a narrative ... the narrative ... any of the narratives. The Internet has done for them and all their shabby little techniques for establishing dominance. And if, right now, you would like a neat and brief gem of modern satire, fresh from the Ordinariate stable, turn to Dr Geoffrey Kirk's blog [gkirkuk], with its frequent pieces on Frankie and his naive correspondent Justin.

If, being Intellectuals, you would like an intellectual ... indeed, a theological ... account and justification of Satire and Laughter, I offer you the collection Essays in Satire by another brilliant Anglican, a generation later than Newman, who also brought his satirical gifts into the Catholic Church: Mgr Ronald Knox. In his Introduction, he entertained the argument that "our sense of the ridiculous is not, in its original application, a child's toy at all, but a weapon, deadly in its efficacy, entrusted to us for exposing the shams and hypocrisies of the world. The tyrant may arm himself in triple mail, may surround himself with bodyguards, may sow his kingdom with a hedge of spikes, so that free speech is crushed and criticism muzzled. Nay, worse, he may so debauch the consciences of his subjects with false history and with sophistical argument that they come to believe him the thing he gives himself out for, a creature half-divine, a heaven-sent deliverer. One thing there is that he still fears; one anxiety still bids him turn this way and that to scan the faces of his slaves. He is afraid of laughter. The satirist stands there, like the little child in the procession when the Emperor walked through the capital in his famous new clothes; his is the tiny voice that interprets the consciousness of a thousand onlookers: 'But, Mother, he has no clothes on at all!'"

6 December 2018

Father Aidan Nichols on Hyperultrapapalism

In his 2017 lecture to which I referred a little while ago, Dr Nichols, according to the Catholic Herald, said that the First Vatican Council had restricted the doctrine of papal Infalibility, so that it is not the position of the Roman Catholic Church that a pope is incapable of leading people astray by false teaching as a public doctor. He went on:

"He may be the supreme appeal judge of Christendom ... but that does not make him immune to perpetrating doctrinal howlers. Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly given the piety which has surrounded the figures of popes since the pontificate of Pius IX, this fact appears to be unknown to many who ought to know better".

The Catholic Herald added that Fr Aidan went on to wonder whether "given the limits of papal infallibility, canon law might be able to accommodate a formal procedure for inquiring into whether a pope had taught error" and "a procedure for calling to order a pope who teaches error". Such a procedure might be less "conflictual", Fr Nichols added, if it took place during a future pontificate, rather as Pope Honorius was only condemned for error after he had ceased to occupy the chair of Peter.

Such a process would "dissuade popes from any tendency to doctrinal waywardness or simple negligence."

5 December 2018


Some people have been wondering about the existence of Excommunication as a remedy available under Canon Law.

I can see why these anxieties have arisen. During a period of ecclesial tyranny like the present, such a penalty has the potential to be very dangerous. Perhaps it is less likely that PF would impose such a penalty ... after all, it might damage his carefully crafted PR image ... than that the theologically illiterate sycophants and careerists who are cheerfully riding along with this regime might do so in order to demonstrate the degree of their pathetic submission (I am employing, from "theologically" down to "submission", Cardinal Mueller's admirably frank and useful recent terminology).

But I do not agree with suggestions that excommunication should therefore be abolished. It is an essential (and biblical) concept. And, with regard to a particular priest who, according to media reports, has been excommunicated in the archdiocese of Palermo, I would rather not express opinions. That is because I know nothing about the case. I would remind traddies that it is dangerous to lionise anybody ... and that there are nutters in Traddidom just as there are (in such generous abundance!!) in Trendidom.

And, even in such unusual times as these when the evidence of Diabolic involvement grows daily more obvious, I think our fall-back position should be to trust the pastors in the Church until and unless we have good and clear evidence to justify doing otherwise.


But there is one reform which I do regard as highly and most urgently necessary, both in issuing a sentence of excommunication and in asserting that a particular person has incurred such a penalty latae sententiae.

A very precise explanation should be publicly issued, both in canonical and theological terms, of why such a penalty is being imposed or discerned. Such an explanation should be prepared to run the risk of being too lengthy and too detailed and, if necessary, too technical. It should be utterly clear and should avoid woffly managerial episcobabble and convenient ambivalence, as well as the condescendingly 'clericalist' manner which seems to come so often with the Grace of Episcopacy.

As far as I am aware, Palermo has not done this.

Both the person concerned, and the Holy People of God, have a right to such facts. And if penalties also have the purpose of deterrence, it is proper that other people should know clearly what they should avoid in order not to suffer the same penalty. And academic communities, theological and canonical, should have the materials upon which to base an informed judgement about the validity and prudence of the proceedings. (There is no space for the fuehrerprinzip in a Christian community.)

This is what we of the Anglo-Saxon cultural tradition sometimes call ACCOUNTABILITY.

I hope it is not 'cultural imperialism' to commend it to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies!

4 December 2018

It is bad manners ...

 ... to pontificate upon the internal affairs of other communions; so I will probably not be forgiven for expressing a view that, in the current spat between Constantinople and Moskow, Moskow has distinctly very much the better of it. The assertion that Bartholomew has "fallen into the heresy of Papism" is, from a certain viewpoint, understandable ... indeed, persuasive.

Dom Gregory Dix loved to make snarky remarks about how the insignificant little see near the Bosphorus had "forged" its link with the Protoklete.

S Gregory the Great, I believe, rather disliked pretensions to 'Ecumenical' primacies! And he was not exactly without personal experience in how Byzantine primacies could work.

If people want a Universal Primacy, well, there are Biblical texts which can at least plausibly be used to prop up Roman claims (yesyesyes I know there are differing Patristic interpretations of the Petrine texts ... please don't bother to explain that to me because I won't enable you), but what on earth can Constantinople base its claims upon except for the rather unattractive Caesaropapism of its foundation and of its first millennium?

In a divided Christendom, I feel there is a lot to be said for the Ecclesiology clarified in those two admirable CDF documents Communionis notio and Dominus Iesus. Id est:

Separated bishoprics with 'valid' orders and Sacraments are true, albeit wounded, Particular Churches. 

They can be termed Sister Churches.

The operation of the Papacy, despite the support it can draw from Scripture and Tradition, can have problems, as PF is dramatically demonstrating at the moment. And it might not provide much immediate practical help in sorting out the essentially and murderously geopolitical problems experienced by Byzantine Rite Christians in post-Soviet Eastern Europe.

But, in my ignorant opinion, Catholic doctrine comes a million miles nearer to offering the beginning of solutions to such problems than the 'papism' of Patriarch Bartholomew.

If I were able to put my own questions, I might ask: on what grounds does either of those two patriarchates set up jurisdictions in the Canonical Territory (I hope I've got that phrase right) of the Roman 'Patriarchate', e.g. in Oxford or Paris? As a softie, I would concede the practical need for ad hoc arrangements. But if we turn to principles ... great nasty rigid things ...

And if Orthodoxy is the Catholic Church, why doesn't it restore a Roman 'Patriarchate'? With a genuine 'Orthodox' Patriarch of Rome?? Using, of course, the (uncorrupted) Roman Rite of the First Millennium [memories of Raymond Winch]? Perhaps ... because that would provide Embarrassments-All-Round?

It must be difficult, now that the two Patriarchates are at daggers drawn, for PF to work out which of the two he should cosy most enthusiastically up to. Perhaps he might as well finally give the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church its Patriarchate; with precedence immediately after the [Melkite] Patriarchate of Antioch (cum Alexandria cum Jerusalem) ...

 ... cats ... pigeons ...

 ... y'know, I think I rather agree with the apparent view of Benedict XVI that Patriarchates are a not unmixed blessing ...

3 December 2018

Coleridges and billabongs

An Australian prelate of this name (a relative?) is reported to have expressed the view, with regard to homosexuality, that "'Love the sinner, hate the sin' ... no longer communicates with ... the real world" in which sexuality is "part of [your] being".

I beg regular readers to forgive me for making yet again a point I have often made before when similar speakers have advanced similar ethical hermeneutics: Why does this gracious tolerance not also apply to paedophiles?

Or, perhaps, it does. Mgr Coleridge - I assume he has not been misreported - should tell us. It could help us all to be so much more relaxed and understanding about "pervert" priests. Who are we to condemn them? And to call them nasty names? After all, it is "part of their being", isn't it? God Made Them Like That, didn't He? We mustn't suggest that their sexuality is in any way "disordered", must we? Get cool, Man! Chill out! [Have I used those last idioms correctly?]

Psychopaths too ... I'm not an expert in these matters, but isn't their condition 'part of what they are'?

And perhaps the Most Reverend cobber could add an explanation of his words "no longer". When was the time when the aphorism did "communicate with the real world"? How long ago was that? What has happened so that, apparently, it now "no longer" does so? What has made it cease "communicating"? In what other areas of Moral Philosophy would he expect this principle to apply?

Or has such an important paradigm-shift so far only taken place in the gay billabongs of the Antipodes? When will this joyfully inverted and liberating morality reach us stodgy unsophisticates in the Podes, labouring as we still are under the cruel and deadening yoke of Heterosexuality? Is some Jolly and Most Reverend Swagman perhaps even now already making his topsy turvy way with it packed in his episcopal Tucker Bag? Verily verily I say unto him, "Advance Australia Fair!"

The ethical pronouncements of the proponents of Bergoglianity are so hard for us ordinary chaps and chapesses to construe, whichever way up you stand them.

(Is it true that 'a Matilda' is the idiomatic Oz term for 'a Bergoglianist bishop'? Does Mr Gammarelli supply their Tucker Bags? Does the ever-watchful eye of PF check to ensure that the Tucker Bags are neither Rigid nor Pharisaical?)

(Apologies to Joshua ... and my many other friends down under ... I will try to control my racism better ...)

2 December 2018

"Saint John Henry Newman, Doctor of the Church"

It looks as if our kindly and most erudite Patron may have a second miracle recognised enabling him to be canonised in October, during this present ecclesiastical year of 2019.

Great news!! It is reassuring to see the divine Hand powerfully at work in His Church.

But at the same time, we should remember the enormous skill with which the Enemy uses what is good and skilfully perverts it to his own ends.

The months leading up to the canonisation will be a time of enormous danger. The teaching of this great Doctor will be corrupted and misrepresented. The Eminent Graf von Schoenborn has already had a swipe at doing this (at the News Conference 'launching' Amoris laetitia). B John Henry, who spent his whole life opposing liberalism and indifferentism, and opposing cruel and corrupt ultrapapalist  'factions' in Rome, is likely to be repackaged as a forerunner of ultrapapalist and ethically dubious Bergoglianism; not to mention inevitable attempts to attribute to him the silly claim that X can "develop" not only into Non-X and but even into Contra-X.

Even PF's actual words at the ceremony of canonisation may quite possibly be painful to us, if he indulges his recurrent need to hurt people.

We should ensure that we know what Newman taught and how he lived so that we can detect and expose the sophistical falsehoods which will abound as we approach the canonisation.

It is likely that those in the Church who are promoting the acceptance of homosexual genital activity will revive the old claim that, in orientation if not in physical activities, Newman was homosexual. They will carefully ignore evidence such as entries in his Diary recording temptations he felt meeting girls at parties when, as a 15-year old schoolboy, he returned home for Christmas. Our age, which knows nothing of warm friendships between men because it is preoccupied so exclusively with genital fumblings, is not the best age to understand Victorian mores. My own subjective impression, for what it is worth, is that there is something extremely masculine about Dr Newman's calmly ruthless controversial methods.

The best biography I know of Blessed John Henry is the big fat one by Dr Ker, which quotes masses of Blessed John Henry's own words. I venture to suggest that, if anybody wants to know what they can buy you for Christmas, suggest this book ... then make the study of it one of your Lenten Exercises.

The next aim, surely, must be to secure him the title Doctor of the Church. S Edith Stein received that title pretty soon after her canonisation. Then, perhaps, "Patron of the Third Millennium".

1 December 2018

Anti-semitism in the Middle Ages and the twentieth century

During the Middle Ages, there were undoubtedly atrocities committed against Jewish people ... just as there were rather greater ones during the Century of the Triumph of the Enlightenment, between 1939 and 1945. But medieval intellectuals were usually aware of a healthier narrative than that of the anti-semitic bullies. This was because of their instinctive confidence in Holy Scripture. I reprint, with a couple of comments, an earlier piece of mine relating to this.

Most Sundays' Sarum/PrayerBook lections are basically the same as those in the Missal of S Pius V, although with dislocations which put Epistles and Gospels onto different Sundays.

But sometimes, there is a real difference from the Pian lectionary. This happened last Sunday, when Sarum (followed by the Prayer Book) and many other Northern European uses had a quite different provision. In these uses we find an Epistle (well, actually, a Lesson from Jeremiah) and a Gospel (from S John) which both moved around a bit in the Middle Ages but pretty well always came just before or just at the start of Advent, as a taster and a preliminary for that season. Their loss is an impoverishment in the Missal of S Pius V and, a fortiori, in the Novus Ordo.

I will explain the importance of these readings in the words of Abbot Rupert of Deutz (1075- 1129) - a considerable mystagogue. I believe that we can learn from his words about what Scripture and the Tradition teach concerning the redemption of our Jewish brethren, in greater detail than we can learn it from the fumbling (but not unorthodox) Nostra aetate or that silly (non-Magisterial) document that came from Rome a year or two or three ago.

"Holy Church is so intent on paying her debt of supplication, and prayer, and thanksgiving, for all men, as the Apostle demands, that we find her giving thanks also for the salvation of the children of Israel, who, she knows, are one day to be united with her. And, as their remnants are to be saved at the end of the world, so, on this last Sunday of the Year, she delights at having them, just as though they were already her members! In the Introit, calling to mind the prophecies concerning them, she sings each year: I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction. Verily, his thoughts are those of peace, for he promises to admit to the banquet of his grace, the Jews, who are his brethren according to the flesh; thus realising what had been prefigured in the history of the patriarch Joseph. The brethren of Joseph, having sold him, came to him, when they were tormented by hunger; for then he ruled over the whole land of Egypt; he recognised them, he received them, and made, together with them, a great feast; so too, our Lord who is reigning over the whole earth, and is giving the bread of life, in abundance, to the Egyptians, (that is, to the gentiles), will see coming to him the remnants of the children of Israel. He, whom they had denied and put to death, will admit them to his favour, will give them a place at his table, and the true Joseph will feast delightedly with his brethren.

"The benefit of this divine table is signified, in the office of this Sunday, by the Gospel, which tells us of the Lord's feeding the multitude with five loaves. For it will be then that Jesus will open to the Jews the five books of Moses, which are now being carried whole and not yet broken - yea, carried by a child, that is to say, this people itself, who, up to that time, will have been cramped up in the narrowness of a childish spirit.

"Then will be fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremias, which is so aptly placed before this gospel: They shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, but, The Lord liveth, which brought up, and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north-country,and from all countries whither I have driven them.

"Thus delivered from the spiritual bondage which still holds them, they will sing with their heart, the words of thanksgiving as we have them in the Gradual: It is thou, O Lord, that savest us from our enemies!

"The words we use in the Offertory: Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord, clearly allude to the same events; for, on that day, his brethren will say to the great and true Joseph: We beseech thee to forget the wickedness of thy brethren! The Communion: Verily I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and it shall be done unto you, is the answer made by that same Joseph, as it was by the first: Fear not! Ye thought evil against me: but God turned it into good, that he might exalt me, as at present ye see, and might save many people. Fear not, therefore, I will feed you, and your children.
" (The Reading is Jeremiah 23:5 ff; the Gospel, John 6: 5 ff, is the Feeding of the Five Thousand. My translations of the propers are taken from the Book of Common Prayer and the good old English Missal.)

This is a superb exposition, in the biblical and patristic 'typological' idiom, of an important theme in Pauline eschatology - see Romans 9-11. The crucial passage, Romans 11:25-28, is omitted from the new Sunday lectionaries. There is significance, I suspect, in the fact that modern lectionaries delicately step around this theme: the Eschatological Submission of the Jews to the Call of Christ. 

Sometimes I feel that, despite the call for a "richer table of Scripture" in Sacrosanctum concilium, the Scriptures read to the People of God have in some respects, paradoxically, been made conceptually narrower in the post-conciliar books. I commend (yet again) to the reader the fine Index Lectionum by Matthew Hazell ... a must-have for anybody seriously concerned with Liturgy. ISBN 978-1-5302-3072-3 (paperback).

30 November 2018

S Andrew and the British Ordinariate

A very happy and holy Name Day to all those splendid people whose Patron Saint is S Andrew!

You don't need to be a Scotsman to have a devotion to S Andrew. His cultus is embedded also in the history of English Christianity in a way which goes back to the Roman origins of our Liturgy even before S Augustine had arrived off the shores of Kent. And it is most happily bound up with those heady days when England, after the Henrician schism, was reconciled to the See of S Andrew's brother.

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer, gives, for the most part, the same Sunday Collects, Epistles, and Gospels as the Missal of S Pius V. But the Reading and Gospel for the Sunday Next Before Advent (taken, like most such Prayer Book material, from the medieval Sarum Rite) were, unlike the other Epistles and Gospels After Trinity, quite different from those in S Pius V's edition of the Roman Rite. Not because they are some sort of Protestant jiggery-pokery; they are thoroughly respectable lections offered to us by Tradition; they go back to the earliest Roman lectionaries, the Comes of Wuerzburg and Murbach.

The old Gregorian Roman and Prayer Book Gospel thus provided contains the John 6 account of the Miraculous Feeding, which is not only suitable as an eschatological meditation on the Messianic Banquet, but also gives prominence to S Andrew. I wondered if this is one reason why that pericope got selected; it was chosen at the time when the Sunday readings in the 'Green' seasons often reflected the themes of adjacent great festivals.  And S Andrew is, in the authentic ancient Roman Tradition, a very major solemnity indeed; an all-night vigil was held and the 'Leonine Sacramentary' offered three Masses in addition to the Vigil Mass; possibly because of S Andrew's closeness to S Peter?

The English Church, so laudably permeated by Romanita in its early days, perpetuated this 'Andreian' bias. The 'Leofric Missal', before it made its way to eleventh century Exeter and then, at the Reformation, to the Bodleian Library in this University, started its life as the working book of the Archbishops of Canterbury and has been thought by its (immensely painstaking) most recent editor (Henry Bradshaw Society 1999-2002) probably to have been copied from books brought from Rome to Canterbury by the Augustinian Mission. In its provision for the Consecration of Churches, this book appears to reflect a situation in which S Andrew is having a great many churches dedicated in his honour (i.e. it incorporates a prayer specifically relating to just this one Saint). And in fact, the percentage of 'Andreian' churches in England is well above statistical expectation. After all, S Gregory the Great named his great monastery on the Caelian Hill (from which S Augustine and his fellows came) after S Andrew, and it was pretty certainly he who added S Andrew to the Libera nos [he is absent from the pre-Gregorian form found in Stowe].

What a shame that the modern Roman Rite has so very little respect for this 'Andreian' tradition. Not least because not only is S Andrew the Patron of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and of several Orthodox countries; in Kiev, where tradition has it that S Andrew planted his wooden Cross, there now stands one the world's baroque masterpieces, the great Church of S Andrew (now a Cathedral of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church). Closer to home, his Feast was the splendiferous, coruscating day in 1554 on which Parliament begged Good King Philip and Good Queen Mary to intercede with the Legate, and Cardinal Pole reconciled this Kingdom to the Unity of S Peter. It was also the day, in 1569, when Frs Peirson and Plumtree reconciled the diocese of Durham to Catholic Unity and sang High Mass in that amazing Cathedral.

Unity Day!! A day, surely, to gather ones right-thinking friends, at least in spirit; to stoke up the fire and to line the bottles up; nunc pede libero pulsanda tellus.

More Wolves ... Pope Francis and the Black Death ...

S Peter, when he wrote his Catholic Epistle, envisaged danger as likely to come from the attentions of the Enemy who tamquam leo rugiens circuit. However, despite PF's pleas for Biodiversity, imaginative plans to reintroduce lions into the English countryside are not currently in the forefront of our public debate. Nor are we likely to release the small pox from its incarceration, or to launch battalions of genetically enhanced rats infected with the Black Death. Rigid Pharisaical obscurantism is thus still preventing the full and generous implementation of Laudato si. O we of little faith. But the Holy Father would undoubtedly be delighted to know that wolves now howl nightly around the precincts of Douai Abbey.

I have returned from the Abbey after preaching a retreat to a select group of highly intelligent ladies, one at least of whom was awakened at night by the authentically Gothick experience of the wolfpack discussing Brexit. Fr Guestmaster reassured us that, although one of the pack had escaped from its enclosure not long ago and had still not returned from its Annual Break, dangers were but minimal. I chased out of my fevered imagination a naughty fantasy that Father might himself be a werewolf just on the point of ...

I like Douai. Cardinal Allen greets you in Reception ... what a great Englishman and Oxonian he was. Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Chancellor of England ... but for a faulty weather forecast. I just love his cheerful and reassuring prediction that, in the days after the success of the Armada, not many of the Protestant governing class might have survived. And round the walls of the Guest Refectory (good food) hang portraits of an Alternative England which, so sadly, never got its chances. Queen Mary of Modena's Almoner in Paris  ... Bishop Richard Smith, who is described in his picture as Totius Angliae et Scotiae Ordinarius (same title as Mgr Newton's) ... Deans of the Old Chapter (now, 'Brotherhood') of the English Clergy, that august body of most superior men ... et tot alii totque clarissimi. Along the corridors hang monks who enjoyed the evocative style of (Titular) Abbot of Westminster. In the Library, serried ranks of English Recusant gentlewomen who founded and ruled English convents in the Low Countries. Formidable ladies; I would rather face the wolves than their disapprobation.

That Catholic England never got beyond being what you might call a Platonic Idea. But you can almost catch a glimpse of  it at Douai.

29 November 2018

Signum magnum ...

Tuesday's celebration of the Miraculous Medal ... and the very tasty Mass formula, with its allusions to the Johannine theology of the semeia ['Signs'] of the Lord ... inspired me to ask our Supplex Omnipotentia, our blessed Lady of Cana, for a Sign to strengthen the afflicted Church of which she is herself such a beautiful and powerful Sign.

I must confess that when I opened my computer on Wednesday morning I felt that my prayer had been answered. Lifesitenews provided the reactions of orthodox prelates to the current homosexualist furore. I have to single out the magnificent disdain of the magnificent Cardinal Mueller ("... effusions of an academic nobody..."); in the next pontificate, whatever role that man has, he must surely be involved in cleaning out the Augean Stables which PF has chosen ... such a strange predilection ... to inhabit.

And my eye was particularly caught by the piece from Bishop Athanasius Schneider. Two points.

(1) He situates the homosexualist onslaught in terms of  heresy. I think this is massively important. We should not let the machinations of a very nasty lobby obscure the fact that many people with a same-sex orientation live lives of heroic sanctity. By grace they triumph over temptation and are an example to ... to take just one example ... those heterosexuals who unchastely corrupt the marital act.

The current movement among some sick members of the Church to validate homosexual genital activity is far more evil in its conceptual roots than it is in particular disordered physical actions which, after all, are after repentance mercifully absolved. It is heretical because it overthrows the Natural Order and thus attempts to set individual autonomy above the Sovereign Rights of our Creator and Redeemer. Obvious stuff. Forgive me for labouring what readers will already know very well. Some of you will recall Archbishop Lefebvre's great cry They have uncrowned Him.

(2) Bishop Schneider writes "We have to notice an eclipse in the Papal exercise of this very task of strengthening the truth regarding homosexuality". Observe the words eclipse in the papal exercise ... . This is highly reminiscent of the phrase of Blessed John Henry Newman suspense of the function of the Ecclesia Docens. He used it in his analysis of the Arian Controversy, when most of the episcopate, including Pope Liberius, ceased to exercise their function of using their Teaching Authority. When complaints were made to Rome about his words, our great English Blessed made clear that he was not suggesting popes or bishops had lost their Magisterial authority, but observing, as a matter of historical fact, that for forty or more years they had chosen not to exercise it. Rome, wisely, did not intervene against him!

This is very close to where we are now. As Bishop Schneider is pointing out. No wonder they want to stop him travelling. Long live his airmiles!

And I liked Fr Fessio's suggestion that PhD means Philosophische Dumheit. These people need to be laughed at.

Exhilarating, Yes? A battle worth joining in, Yes? Nunc pede libero pulsanda tellus, Yes?

28 November 2018

Eric Kemp and the purpose of an Ordinariate in a Bergoglian Church

Today is the Year's Mind of the Right Reverend the Father in God Eric Waldram Kemp, sometime Lord Bishop of Chichester.

Memories crowd in: of the day when, by an act of quasi-papal primacy (immediate and ordinary and episcopal, and so dead in line with Vatican I), George Carey sent a Guildford suffragan clutching a Primatial Commission in his hot little hands to "ordain" women for the Diocese of Chichester. On that potentially depressing day Eric came to us at Lancing - he felt so at home singing Pontifical High Mass in Lancing Chapel - and then spent the rest of the day having lunch with us; his face growing redder and redder as the gin ... and the wine ... flowed, and we drowned our sorrows in the traditional Anglo-Catholic way. Memories also of the sermons he preached when Lancing had a head master, formerly head of Rugby, who did not share our foundational Catholicism. Somehow, Eric always seemed to be able to work into his homilies a scathing reference to "the ideas sometimes associated with the name of Thomas Arnold head master of Rugby". It was a commonplace that the Chichester diocese, during his pontificate, was the Indian Summer of the C of E; it was, certainly, of the 'Catholic Movement'. After he retired, the secret police went round the diocese gathering evidence of liturgical 'illegalities', and the rumour was that a man was going to be put in with a clear remit to "bring it back into the Church of England". It is certainly true that under his successor, women began to receive the diocesan license to officiate; and the Roman Rite, for the first time since 1975, began to be persecuted.

Eric had exactly what Manning found so reprehensible in Newman; the old Anglican Oxford Literary Patristic tone. It was a style of theological Anglican Catholicism which read and remembered; which argued and did Divinity in accordance with the rules of evidence and of logic; which was deeply marked by the continuities of the Anglican Catholic tradition stretching back even to Laud and the Non-jurors, and its rootedness in parish church as well as in Cathedral and in library; what Archbishop Michael Ramsey had beautifully called Divinity done within the sound of Church bells. But ...

Sadly, there are some Buts.

Eric was a man completely, totally, out of his age. I have a horrid feeling that the current national enquiry into child abuse will be highly critical of his gullibility in that sphere ... he undoubtedly allowed himself (his autobiography makes this embarrassingly clear) to be completely bamboozled by Bishop Peter Ball (a crook who abused the young on an industrial scale). In the area of 'Church Politics', Kemp's gentle gifts of erudition and rational discourse were naked before the mechanised onslaught of the panzer divisions of Liberalism and Feminism ... he was himself no Guderian; not even a Montgomery. It was under Eric's leadership of the 'Catholic Movement' that, uneasily, we gradually became aware that we were winning every battle, triumphing hands-down in every argument, but unmistakably losing the war. It took some time to realise it, but eventually we identified the great strengths our enemies possessed and which Kemp totally lacked. Their idea of 'discussion' or 'dialogue' meant them shouting abuse until their foes fell silent. They demanded that we 'hear their experience' purely as a preliminary to getting out their cudgels. They would never engage in rational argument because, happy pantomaths, they already knew every answer. They had made bullying into a fine art. To disagree with them was but to manifest one's own psychological problems - one's phobias and hang-ups and prejudices. What defences had we, or the methods by which Divinity had hitherto been done on the banks of the Isis or even of the Cam, against this ruthless and Stalinist totalitarianism and its Dahlek-like appetite for extermination?

Above all, Eric's antipathy towards some of the 'papal claims' sadly prevented him from exploring that avenue to a solution of our problems. Unusually but very perceptively, he believed that Vatican II's teaching on the Petrine Ministry was harder to accept than that of Vatican I! God knows what he would have made of disordered Bergoglian ultrapapalism, but we who knew him can guess.

And only God knows if the Ordinariate project will work out in the longer term. I pray that it will. If it does, this will be the best possible memorial to Eric: to the old Oxford (and Cambridge and Durham) Patristic Tone - the Divinity of Pusey and Keble and Liddon and Neale and Halifax and Dix and Kirk and Jalland and Lewis and Sayers and Kemp and Carpenter and Thornton and Farrer and Mascall and Couratin and Ratcliff and Willis and Chadwick and Moreton and Cross and Kilpatrick - as a living and thriving reality, vigorous in its defence of orthodoxy, fruit of a broad and deep and generous culture, but now, happily, transplanted into a wider Christendom.

And the Anglican Catholic Patrimony has been transplanted, surely, for the good of all Catholic Christians during this current crisis. Papa Ratzinger, who had been watching us carefully for years, replanted us within Christ's Catholic Church Militant here in Earth not for silence and for meekness but so that we can share and proclaim our experience. So that we can tell our fellow Catholics: "If you go down that path, we can explain to you here and now exactly where you will end up. We can show you the map. We have already visited the future ... the future to which Bergoglianism beckons the Catholic Church ... 

... and, believe us, that future most certainly does not work."

27 November 2018

The Miraculous medal and the Anglican Patrimony

I wrote this in 2010; I reprint it, together with its admirable thread.

 On Saturday 27 November 1830, a young French nun, (S) Catherine Laboure, beheld her second and third visions of the Mother of God in the Sanctuary of her Convent Chapel in the Rue du Bac in Paris. Our Lady appeared to her, radiant, standing on a globe, and with her arms stretched out in a compassionate gesture. From her fingers rays of light fell upon the globe at her feet. An oval frame then formed around her with gold lettering that read: O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Our Lady promised great graces to those who wore this design with confidence; she showed the Saint the design which now appears on the back of the Miraculous Medal: a large M surmounted by a bar and cross, with two hearts beneath it, one crowned with thorns, the other pierced with a sword, all encircled by twelve stars.

In 1836, Abbe Desgenettes, who had taken over the Church of Our Lady of Victories (a church degraded and desecrated during the Revolution and with a minute congregation), dedicated his parish to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and founded a Confraternity of Prayer, which had the Miraculous Medal as its badge. In the days before Newman's conversion, intense prayer was offered for him in this Church by the members of that very same Fraternity. Back in Blighty, it was on the Octave Day of the Assumption in 1845 (a very patrimonial day: it was also the birthday of blessed Edward Bouverie Pusey) that Blessed John Henry Newman first began to wear the Miraculous Medal.

Yes! The greatest intellect of the nineteenth century! Like any Irish washerwoman, he wore a miraculous medal! Is there a sobering message here for our supercilious cultural pride? Should we each be a little more thorough in rooting out of our own minds the sordid dregs of Enlightenment superstitions? I stand by my mixed metaphor!!

Now back two or three years, to January 20, 1842. On this day, a wealthy Jewish banker called Alphonse Ratisbonne had, in the Church of S Andrea delle Fratte in Rome, a vision of our Lady just as she appeared on the Miraculous Medal. Shunt forward ... please ... to 1847: Newman and St John (who, after their reception, had visited the shrine in Notre Dame des Victoires in thanksgiving for the prayers offered for him there) found themselves now awaiting admission to the presbyterate of the Latin Church, lodged in the Collegio di Propaganda in Rome. Newman makes clear in a number of letters that their windows looked down on the Church of S Andrea delle Fratte; it clearly made some considerable impression upon him. On June 9 1847, his long-time intimate woman friend, Maria Giberne, painted a picture of Newman and St John in a room at Propaganda, with our Lady, as she appears on the Miraculous Medal, between the two of them.

In the Old Missal, in the Appendix pro aliquibus locis, November 27 is the feast of Our Lady Immaculate of the the Miraculous Medal. Let us hope that this commemoration will one day make its way into the Calendar of the Patrimony!

26 November 2018

Fr Aidan Nichols on Episcopal appointments

In August 2017, the finest theologian of the Anglophone world gave a lecture which was partially published in the Catholic Herald. The fact that the full text was not subsequently available gives rise to an inevitable suspicion that Father was pressurised.

That in itself would, if true, be disgraceful enough; a very considerable scandal. The best we humble ordinary folk can do about this is ... for me to remind you by reprinting extracts from the lecture as published in the Herald, and for you to give what publicity you can to what he said.

Today, I would like simply to point out that, more than a year before Cardinal Mueller's disturbing recent words about the sort of questionable individuals, theological illiterates signed up to Bergoglianism, who are being appointed to senior positions in the hierarchy; and before His Excellency Archbishop Vigano's revelations about the same subject, Fr Aidan had spoken with great clarity. His antennae must be very sensitive!

"[The pope's] programme would not have got as far as it has were it not the case that theological liberals, generally of the closet variety, have in the fairly recent past been appointed to high positions both in the world episcopate and in the ranks of the Roman Curia."

"Of the closet variety" is an entertainingly old-fashioned phrase!

It was a few months before Dr Nichols' lecture that, on 19 November 2016, Cupich and Tobin were made cardinals.

The testimony this year of Archbishop Vigano asserted that the appointments of Cupich to Chicago (November 18 2014) and of Tobin to Newark (November 7 2016) "were orchestrated by McCarrick, Maradiaga, and Wuerl ... their names were not among those presented by the Nunciature for Chicago and Newark".

It would be a good thing if, henceforth, the terna of names submitted by Nuncios to the Holy See for a vacant bishopric were to be published. 

God's people should not have to wait for a Vigano (God bless him) to come along before they can know what is being proposed for their own Particular Church. They should not be deprived of the liberty to form their own minds both about the proposed three names, and ... if this occurs ... why all three have been set aside so that the job can be given to another.

They should be treated as Grown Ups.

This is what, in the Anglo-Saxon cultural world, is often known as ACCOUNTABILITY.

25 November 2018

Gerhard Cardinal Mueller on Hyperueberultrapapalist Bergoglianism

Two quotations from the latest Mueller interview [the italics are mine]. The whole interview, which is superb, should be read, over at Lifesitenews.

Bergoglianism ...  Hyperueberultrapapalism ... one might think of it as Catholic Teaching 'taken a bit further', perhaps 'a bit too far'. Not so. The current error ravaging the Christian Tradition is not more than Catholicism; it is less. It is a radical apostasy from the Catholic Faith. In his Eminence's words, "It is not at all Catholic".

"[The pope's] authority is extended over the revealed Faith of the Catholic Church and not over the individual theological opinions of himself or those of his advisers ... it is irritating that theologically uneducated people are being promoted to the rank of bishops who, in turn, think that they have to thank the pope for it by means of a childish submission ... "

"The Magisterium of the bishops and of the pope stands under the Word of God in Holy Scripture and Tradition and serves Him. It is not at all Catholic to say that the pope as an individual person receives directly from the Holy Spirit the Revelation and that he may now interpret it according to his own whims while all the rest are to follow him blindly and mutely ... revealed truth cannot be toppled by any power in the world, and no Catholic may ever believe the opposite or be forced to accept the opposite."

24 November 2018

Matthew P Hazell again!

I have often used, and commented about it on this blog, Matthew Hazell's highly important Index Lectionum, which reveals the way Holy Scripture was censored in the post-Conciliar 'reforms'. It is a pleasure to commend his latest scholarly work, The Proper of Time in the Post-Vatican II Liturgical Reforms (ISBN: 978-1-7307-9522-0). It deals with how the euchology ... collects, secrets, postcommunions ... fared during this same period.

To be precise, this book homes in on one particular moment of the 'reform' process, schema 186 of September 1966 ... I will call it '1966'. This important and revealing document is hitherto unpublished. What I find fascinating is the glimpse this gives us of a particular moment in the development of the mindset of the 'reformers'.

1966 is much more conservative than what eventually emerged as the Missal of S Paul VI. Simplifying a little, one could liken 1966 to a garment which has become rather frayed over the years and needs to be repaired. So the authors suggest how it can be repaired, smartened up, and made good for use for another few hundred years. The Missal of S Paul, on the other hand, seems in comparison more like the product of a decision that the garment is totally unfit for use and needs to be dumped, so as to make way for a completely new product.

I offer just one insight into the mindset of the 'reformers': since we are near the start of Advent, let us consider their treatment of the Sunday collects for Advent. Three of these had been addressed to God the Son. The 'reformers' stated that it was now universally agreed that Prayer should be addressed to God the Father through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. What about the collects of Advent? This is what they say: "On account of their antiquity and more venerable character, we have not changed them". Read that again! "We have not changed them"!

See! They still have some sense of respect for the prayers of the ancient formulae! They are not willing to bowdlerise without explicit permission from above!

But in S Paul VI, those Advent collects disappear from the Sundays of Advent. They are removed to weekdays, where some of them (but not all) are reformulated so that they are addressed to the Father.

My own view is that it is precisely the unexpectedly direct appeal to the Lord Jesus Who is coming to judge ("Come Lord ... do not delay ... stir up thy power ...") which gives these old prayers their impassioned sense of direct urgency. Their loss, at the Sunday synaxis, represented a real impoverishment of the spirituality placed before God's people by their Liturgy. They woz robbed!

[Incidentally, the same prejudice against prayers addressed to the Son led the Anglican revisers of the Alternative Service Book  (1980) to reconstruct S Thomas's Corpus Christ collect; not even S Paul VI had dared to do this!]

A study of the documents recording the process of the revision of the hymns of the Breviary would reveal exactly the same process by which the Coetus concerned only gradually liberated themselves from respect for Tradition. These studies give the lie to the claim that 'the Council' had mandated the Pauline 'Reform' as that catastrophe eventually emerged. The persons actually engaged on that 'reform' in the mid-1960s were manifestly completely unaware that 'the Council' had mandated anything so radical. This whole narrative reveals the growth of an attitude of bland, insolent, mendacity.

The Missal of S Paul VI is not what the Council Fathers thought they were voting for. That is why even the most soundly traditionalist Fathers, such as Archbishop Lefebvre, voted for Sacrosanctum Concilium.

We cannot expect young and able scholars to produce important work like this book unless we buy and study what they produce!

23 November 2018


"I am not at all sure [the definition of Infallibility] will increase the Pope's power - it may restrict it. Hitherto he has done what he would, because its limits were not defined - now he must act by rule."

Splendid News!!

Cardinal Mueller's book, available in Spanish and German, about the Papal Ministry (The Pope: Mission and Mandate) is currently being translated into English.

He writes more and more with the decisive frankness of our own Blessed John Henry Newman. Consider this from his recent interview:

"The primacy of the Pope is being undermined by the sycophants and careerists at the papal court."

Increasingly I wonder if this might be the man to clear up the mess which will have been left by PF. As well as every other reason, there is the fact that Mueller knows where the bodies are buried.

God bless him for all that he does for Jesus Christ.

22 November 2018


The happy day has arrived when comes plopping onto our doormats the Saint Lawrence Press ORDO. I enthusiastically commend this admirable publication to readers who are not already familiar with it.

It gives 2019 according to the Calendar of the Roman Rite as it existed in 1939; that is, before Ven Pius XII acquired the collaboration of Hannibal Bugnini and began the series of changes which ended up with the Missal of S Paul VI. OK, you might not be in a position to use this ORDO; you might not even wish to use it; but it is quite an education to visit a world of First Vespers, Vigils, Octaves ... the world our fortunate forefathers inhabited for centuries. Frankly, you will hardly imagine how different that world was.

As I wrote yesterday, there are rumours again about PF abolishing the Old Rite. I don't think this is very likely. It would be more his style to undermine it by, for example, giving to bishops some rights of supervision which Summorum Pontificum explicitly and so very wisely denied them. Indeed, a deplorable Italian 'liturgist' called Andrea Grillo has been advocating precisely this for years.

I wonder how many readers have, as I have, seen a hen run after the fox has somehow got into it. And these are, as Cardinal Mueller has this week very explicitly reminded us, corrupt and dangerous days when extremely undesirable individuals, sometimes sycophants and careerists, get appointed to the hierarchy for nakedly ideological reasons.

But, if SP were to bite the dust, this, paradoxically, would eliminate the scruples of anybody who wished to use the 1939 Calendar but had drawn back from doing so out of respect for the (slightly curious) insistence by SP on the use of the comparatively much denuded 1962 recension of the Roman Calendar.

Swings and, er ....

21 November 2018

Comments ... and Can The Pope Cancel Summorum Pontificum?

Back now at my computer, I have looked through the Comments and enabled most of them. I gave thumbs-down to one or two which seemed to me to tip over the boundary between reasoned criticism of the current regime in Rome into mere abuse of our Holy Father.

I see that the fear has again surfaced that PF might cancel Summorum Pontificum. I think about five years ago I wrote a piece on this which I delivered to one or two groups, including one meeting in the Brompton Oratory. Since my 'Documents' section has a press-ready copy of it, I may have given it to some journal to print. If anyone can tell me where I have delivered it or where it may have appeared in print, I would be grateful.

My point was that this is a theological question and not primarily canonical; and that it would be ultra vires for any pope to claim to suppress SP.

Pretty obvious, really.

20 November 2018

Preaching coram Sanctissimo

It is a matter of great satisfaction to all right-thinking people that the English RC Church is increasingly recovering the extra-liturgical use of the Blessed Sacrament in Benediction and Exposition. I hope mention of one detail will not seem grudging.

I have seen Benediction which is interrupted after O Salutaris for a sermon. To my Anglican-trained temperament, it seems highly inappropriate that the Blessed Sacrament, exposed in the monstrance, should be unregarded while the congregation sits down and attends to a homilist. O'Connell shares my instinct; sermons, he tells us, are discouraged during the Quarant'Ore although they may be tolerated if they are about the Eucharist. And he emphasises that it is unseemly for people to turn their backs on the Sacrament.

The old Anglo-Catholic practice was Evensong, Sermon, and Benediction. If it is desired to have a sermon at Benediction on its own, would it not be best to have it before the Sacrament is exposed? And, to give proper dignity to the Proclaimed Word, could not a passage of Scripture be read before the homily? Preceded, perhaps, by In nomine ... and Dominus vobiscum?

19 November 2018

Transphobia, fox hunting, and the SS

The young people ... no; some of the young people ... in this University are having a fine time emulating the Geheime Staatspolizei; or combining the Thought Police of 1984 with a dash of the spirit of the English Foxhunt. They have found a Professor of Sociology who has manifested a failure to believe in some currently prescribed Aeschrodoxies. Tally Ho is the order of the day!

This academic has actually written:

"Transphobia is a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons".

You could hardly be more succinct than that, could you? Here's a slightly longer piece from his pen:

"I treat students and colleagues with respect and so would never call a member of the University by a pronoun which he or she found objectionable. I do not, however, believe that gender identity supersedes sex, any more than I believe that Jesus was the son of God. Therefore I oppose any attempt by the University to establish an official doctrine on gender, just as I would oppose the imposition of a single religion or one particular position on Israel-Palestine. The enforcement of orthodoxy - often disguised as 'diversity' - would destroy the University's very foundation: academic freedom."

He just doesn't get it, does he?

Apparently, we have an 'Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society'; and it has a 'Vice Chair' [when I was an undergraduate, such terminology would have elicited adolescent jokes about vice and about people sitting on people ... ah, the child-like innocence of the 1960s!] who is a "trans woman". This person has commented " ... those views [cannot] be left completely outside of a lecture hall. I really worry for any trans students that have to work with him. I would be very uncomfortable around him knowing his views".

[Philological Notes: (1) why, nowadays, do we ... apparently ... have to say 'outside of ' rather than just 'outside'? Is it part of a common shift whereby more and more words are deemed to need previously unnecessary reinforcers, so that, ex gr, we are not now allowed to retreat; we can only retreat back.?
(2) I am curious about the phrase 'to be around ' somebody.] 

We also have a 'Pro-vice chancellor for equality and diversity'. 

Tyranny often leads to the multiplication of impressively, pathetically prolix ranks and titles, doesn't it?  Obersturmbanfuehrer, and all that. Don't we just love it all! Bring it on, Herr Himmler!

But perhaps the children have already killed their fox, or run him to earth. Apparently, complaints were handed to the University in June and the 'account's' last activity was on July 1.

18 November 2018

Holy Busyness

An old post, with an old thread.

 Fr Colin Stephenson, Vicar of S Mary Mags, Oxford, during its Anglopapalist heyday, recalls someone saying to him:
"I shall never forget the first time I went into S Mary Magdalen's, there were two priests hearing confessions, a Mass was being said at one of the altars, and there was Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the Lady Chapel".

I remember analogous remarks being made about the scenes in Alyoggers, the Oxford Oratory, during the Visit there in 2010 of the Relic of S Therese. They call to my mind the scene described by Newman towards the end of Loss and Gain: "There were side-altars - perhaps half a dozen; most of them without lights, but even here solitary worshippers might be seen. Over one was a large Crucifix with a lamp, and this had a succession of visitors. They came for five minutes, said some prayers which were attached in a glazed frame to the rail, and passed away. At another ... over it was an image. On looking attentively, Charles made out at last that it was an image of our Lady, and the Child held out a Rosary. Here a congregation had already assembled, or rather was in the middle of some service ... Reding turned his eyes elsewhere. They fell first on one, then on another confessional, round each of which was a little crowd , kneeling, waiting every one his own turn ... the men on one side, the women on the other ... the growing object of attention at present was the High Altar [which was being prepared for Benediction]... "

Come to think of it; isn't this a bit like a Greek church with members of the congregation sauntering around to their favourite ikons? The one I used to attend in the Camberwell New Road seemed, whenever I peeped out from behind the iconostasis, terribly 'busy'.

I think busyness attracts; is 'evangelical'. Not least because it helps the random visitor to feel un-self-conscious.

17 November 2018

Marie Stopes

Dr Marie Stopes is still a heroine of the sinister movement which spans Eugenics, 'Birth Control', and the Age of Abortion Victrix. It is hardly surprising that she was also anti-Semitic. I wonder if Hitler ever read the gushy letter she sent him in August 1939.

But I wonder how often she is admired as the homophobic bigot that she was.

Catholic moral teaching, of course, regards genital homosexual acts as intrinsically disordered. It enters a similarly negative judgement against contraceptive sex, even within Marriage. Not to mention  Masturbation and all those -philias. It has no specific bias against those belonging to either 'orientation', simply against whatever is contra Naturam. At its best, it is dispassionate, logical, and avoids ranting. It loves the person, however frequent his lapses, whatever it feels it has to say about the sin.

But there is something profoundly weird about the visceral horrors of Stopes. During the centenary year of the birth of the (homosexual) artist John Minton, an interesting exchange between the pair of them in the letter pages of the Listener has been attracting comment.

Writing about Oscar Wilde, Stopes talks of "the abnormal and filthy practices which he had been indulging with stable boys", and goes on "one only has to look at the portrait of the gross middle-aged abnormal man in his forties beside the exquisite body and face of the young man in the early twenties ..."

It's all here, isn't it: the class preoccupations ('stable boys') ... Ageism ... antifattyism ... the facility with which she sprinkles the word 'abnormal' around ... but, in addition, I think she reveals something rather amusing about her own comical sexual preoccupations ... poor frustrated old woman! Hardly surprising that Ruggles ... er ...

16 November 2018

G G Willis and the Roman Canon

Apologies to those of you who get tired of reading me thrusting down your throats the inherited wisdom of the Anglican Catholic tradition; but I can't help being what I am. Today, something written in 1969 by one of our greatest liturgical Anglican scholars, Dr G G Willis. He praises a translation of the Canon which is more or less what the Ordinariate Rite contains ('superb translation ...superlative style ... outstanding ...') and advises its adoption rather than that of a Hyppolytean Canon. "In liturgical quality, both of language and structure, it excels all other eucharistic rites ...the only rite known to Englishmen for nearly a thousand years ... It says what many people want to say at the altar, and its use would draw the Church of England closer to countless other Western Christians, and would therefore have great value in knitting together the splintered unity of Christ's Church. Such a suggestion is worthy of serious consideration. ... the Roman Canon is the best one available, .. falling into three clearly defined stages, the offering of the gifts of bread and wine to God, their consecration by the recital of the dominical Institution, and their offering to God as the Body and Blood of Christ. It is time for the Church of England to forsake inveterate prejudices derived from Reformation Protestantism, and to accomplish something in liturgical revision which would give unity and peace on the basis of an ancient and well-tried form of prayer".

The poignancy of these words, written at just the moment when disaster was about to strike the Roman Rite, surely increases their force. In a paper written two years later in 1971, Willis wrote: "nothing is clearer to the student of liturgical history in the whole of Christendom than that the best and most enduring liturgy arises out of the past experiences of worshippers. This suggests that revision should arise, and should be seen to arise, out of what went before". This is almost a paraphrase of that paragraph in Sacrosanctum Concilium (23) which was so strikingly contradicted when Rome authorised alternative Eucharistic Prayers.

Learn from the Anglican Patrimony; follow the Ordinariates. The Roman Canon is the only Eucharistic Prayer for right-thinking Latin Clergy to use.

15 November 2018

The ROMAN CANON: Fr Hugh Ross Williamson; Dom Gregory Dix

Lovely! The Latin Mass Society has just sent me a copy of their ORDO for 2019. And, on the inside back cover, they show an advert for a book by one of those pre-Conciliar Papalist Anglicans.

In 1955, an Anglican Catholic priest, Hugh Ross Williamson, wrote a The Great Prayer about the Canon of the Mass, the First Eucharistic Prayer. Here is an extract from the Introduction.

"To know the prayer which accompanies the action is to know the Faith. And the Faith is the faith of the whole, undivided Church, before schisms had sundered it. The ... 'Canon of the Mass' ... has not varied since the end of the sixth century. Its final form was given to it by Gregory the Great, the Pope who sent Augustine to England. The Prayer as Augustine prayed it in that first Communion he celebrated in the ruined church of St Martin in Canterbury in 597 is, word for word, the same prayer as has been said this particular morning at every Catholic altar all over the world.
    "Thus the Canon today is not only the prayer of unity within the Church itself. It is the potential point of unity for all those separated from the Church. The sects which have sprung up since the Reformation could all unite in saying the Canon ... There is in the Canon only the teaching of the the primitive Church (for, of course, Gregory the Great only put the final touches to prayers which had slowly developed or hardened into particular forms from apostolic times) and nothing whatever of 'late medieval accretions' against which the Reformers inveighed. The Canon had already been in use, in its present form, for six hundred years before Transubstantiation ' was defined in 1215.
     "In praying the Canon we unite ourselves with all fellow-christians 'throughout all ages, world without end'. In knowing the Canon, we become grounded in the teaching of the primitive Church ...."

I wouldn't have expressed everything in precisely this way myself; I would have acknowledged, for example, the existence of Byzantine Christianity! I print it simply to enable you to lie back and enjoy it!

Williamson had as his spiritual director Dom Gregory Dix, and the first paragraph above is undoubtedly influenced by Dix's words:
"[There is] a certain timelessness about the eucharistic action ... This very morning I 'did this' with a set of texts which had not changed by more than a few syllables since Augustine used those very words at Canterbury on the third Sunday of Easter in the summer after he had landed. Yet 'this' can still take hold of a man's life and work with it."

14 November 2018



2017: Someone called Elton John said not long ago how much he admires Pope Francis. Very commendable! What I found intriguing was that he couldn't leave it there; he couldn't resist the temptation to go on to attack the previous Roman Pontiff ... curiously concentrating on his clothes: about which the speaker observed that even he himself would not wear such things in Las Vegas. (I wonder why the interviewer didn't ask him exactly where he, the aforementioned Elton, would wear a mitre and a pallium. Why does a certain sort of interviewer decline to ask a certain sort of interviewee certain sorts of questions?) And indeed, according to an undergraduate newspaper here, the Crooner referred to Benedict XVI as an a*s*h*l*. The national press were, I think, too coy to include this sweet little detail. 'Sir Elton' is a national treasure, and such clear evidence of his spite might damage the image!

Why do people still carry on about Pope Benedict, and why with such visceral hatred?

I print below something that I wrote in 2015, with its original thread. But I cannot refrain from  first inserting here a paragraph from a book I've only just looked at, which John Allen published in 2000 as Cardinal Ratzinger: the Vatican's enforcer of the Faith, and reissued in 2005 as Pope Benedict XVI:
"This polarisation is reflected in ... the frequent plays on the cardinal's name in progressive Catholic circles (Rat-zinger' being the most obvious). The scorn sometimes shades off into rage. One of the more lurid stories that broke in the Catholic world in late 1999, for example, concerned a Web site for gay priests and religious that had been hacked into by a right-wing group. The hackers collected emails and pictures from the site and made them available to the wider world. The images were graphic indeed, but the emails were remarkable less for their sexual content, which ranged from tender to sophomoric, than for the vitriol that sluiced through them about Ratzinger. The clergy and, in one case, a South African auxiliary bishop, called Ratzinger a 'Nazi in Rome' and 'Der Furher's [sic] Oberst Ratzinger'. There were joking references to his need for sex, even to the possibility of killing him. It was obvious that Ratzinger had become the focus for the anger these men felt about the church."

So I'm not the only person to have noticed this unwholesome phenomenon. (Allen, I remind you, wrote his book to criticise Ratzinger.) Readers will recall that the 'Mickensgate' emails of 2013 dwelt on the joyful possibility of Pope emeritus Benedict's death.

But satis superque. So here follow my original 2015 words.                   


Why do they still hate Ratzinger?

I may have got this wrong, because in such matters one can only be anecdotal. But I think a particular constituency, just one among a number of others, is that of ideological homosexual extremists. Why do they detest him? Apparently he is the symbol of 'homophobia'. Ratzinger's views on homosexuality were, surely, no more 'definite' than those of S John Paul II. But it was Ratzinger who seemed to attract their venom. They loathed him because they apparently saw him as the enemy of their campaigns; and at the same time they tried to convince themselves that he was himself one of themselves, so that, by a paradox of weird inversion, they could hate him all the more.

Why? Here's my hypothesis. A noisy minority of homosexuals seem to need comfort and reassurance and can only get it by convincing themselves and anybody who will listen to them that pretty well everybody else is also homosexual. Particularly anyone who doesn't go along with their own narrative and world view. So: either you are openly homosexual; or, if you aren't, that simply proves how hypocritical you are to conceal your condition! Either way, GOTCHA!!

During the last pontificate, some fool journalists fell for the daft claim that Pope Benedict's choice of garments proved him to be 'gay'. Anybody who was not historically illiterate could see through that; both his liturgical and his non-liturgical choices ... Roman chasubles; red slippers ... were clearly archaisms designed to make the point that he was the successor not only of the post-Conciliar popes but also of those who had occupied the Chair of S Peter before Vatican II. But the Elton Johns of this world may not have primed themselves carefully on the Hermeneutic of Continuity. Nor do such people have an instinctive reticence when it comes to shouting their mouths off with regard to things about which they know nothing.

And, time and time again, we had to listen (how sophisticated and witty some of these people like to think they are!) to loud pronunciations of his secretary's name as "GAY ...... org", and to other pieces of laboured and immature innuendo so similar to the ways in which playground bullies have always harried their victims.

There was indeed something immensely nasty going on there.

Perhaps the exaggerated enthusiam some people now have for Papa Bergoglio, and the violence with which some of them react to any criticism of Bergoglio, are not unconnected with this surviving Ratzingerphobia.

13 November 2018

Double Standards

During the last pontificate, there was an insistent and thoroughly nasty campaign to smear Pope Benedict, which came to a not inconsiderable extent from the ferocious ideologues of homosexualism. Enraged perhaps by some of his magisterial teaching when he was Prefect of the CDF, they alleged that he was himself a homosexual; that he sometimes went to his old flat and spent the night there with Mgr Gaenswein. This was all emphasised by the refusal ever to call the Monsignor by his name, but always GAY-org. I heard this 'joke' so often that my original irritation soon gave way to pure boredom. The pope's archaising sartorial preferences were also dragged into the slander by those  too illiterate to understand the theological point he was making: continuity in the papal office; an important point to be made in countering narratives of 'rupture'.

His funeral was eagerly awaited as a future treat. Even the Tablet came to realise that it had to sack one of its writers.

During this pontificate, despite PF's apparent willingness to protect and advance the Lavender Mafia, no similar smears seem to have travelled in his direction. Not so much as a murmur.

Nor should they. I have never heard the tiniest scrap of evidence upon which such a libel could rest. Nor do my own hunches suggest to me any such possibility.

But the smears against Benedict XVI were just as scandalously outrageous and patently untrue.

I think the obvious conclusion is that, nasty as some Traddies may sometimes be, they are not within light years of the degree of nastiness to be found in the currently ascendant faction.

12 November 2018

Book reviews ...

... are a great temptation, I find, to those of us who like to appear knowledgeable without actually ... er ... reading ... all these wretched new boks.

Apparently the late Stephen Hawking has bequeathed to his admirers some Postumous Papers, in which, so the Sunday Times informs us, he foresees that we we shall successfully transform ourselves into posthuman, inorganic beings. Creating immortal digital surrogates is an 'ambitious dream' but 'may not be as far fetched an idea as it sounds'.

Poor old thing. But, simultaneously, a rather more elegant thinker and writer, the Astromer Royal Lord Rees, has come up with similar stuff. He also thinks that a bio-hacked super-race is inevitable; that we will transcend our biological bodies and go electronic.

Antidotes to such ideas are most easily found in the theological Scifi trilogy of C S Lewis. In Perelandra he advances the attractive hypothesis that since, in the Incarnation, the Second Person of the Glorious and undivided Trinity took our nature upon him, it is that nature which henceforth be assumed by the hnau, animalia rationabilia.

And, in That Hideous Strength he sets before us baddies who have become so fastidious and delicati that they seek the ultimate dissolution between mind and matter. "In us organic life has produced Mind. It has done its work ... after that we want no more of it ... learn to make our brains live with less snd less body: learn to build our bodies directly with chemicals ... a great race ... a pure race ... they have cleaned their world, broken free (almost) from the organic ...they do not need to be born and breed and die; only their common people, their canaglia do that. The Masters live on. They retain their intelligence: they can keep it artificially alive after the organic body has been dispensed with - a miracle of applied biochemistry ... they do not need organic food ... they are almost free of Nature, attached to her only by the thinnest, finest cord ..."

But the climax and conclusion of Lewis's story reveals that, from page one, it has really all been a sort of prothalamium, about flesh and the fleshly love of creatures themselves begotten in a bed.

It is, surely, the fundamental anthropological dogma of Christianity that flesh is, in itself, good. Against the recurrent seductions of Manichees and Docetists and Gnostics and Cathars, we have maintained that what God wonderfully created (condidisti) and himself assumed and yet more wondefully remade (reformasti), is good and is destined for everlasting life. The old heresies were but Hellenistic attempts to corrupt the sound Jewish anthropological and theological bedrock of God and Creation; and the relationships and the distances between this two. The silly dreams of some modern physicists or technocrats are no better.

As the old fifth century office hymn for the Ascension so succinctly put it, culpat caro, purgat caro, regnat Deus Dei caro. [ flesh {of Adam} sins, flesh {of God Incarnate} cleanses, God reigns, the flesh of God {reigns}].

It makes one cynical, how old errors keep raising their ugly heads every few centuries.

11 November 2018

What are Synods for? Help from Newman.

I trust that readers will recall the emphasis laid by Blessed John Henry Newman on the essentially negative function of the Papal Ministry. " ... the Church of Rome ... has originated nothing, and has only served as a sort of remora, or break in the development of doctrine ... such I conceive to be the main purpose of its extraordinary gift."

This, of course, was also affirmed by Vatican I in its lapidary assertion that the Holy Spirit was not promised to the Successors of S Peter so that they could promote new doctrines, but to help them to defend and teach what had been handed down through the Apostles, the Deposit of Faith.

In the first millennium, a pope might associate with himself a Synod of those bishops who happened to be in Rome. We should expect this to be in discharge of the Ministry of resisting error which is the Pope's essential function.

So it was that in 679-680, an Anglo-Saxon bishop called Wilfrid who found himself in Rome on hs own business, was included in a synod of 125 bishops, gathered to act collegially with Pope Agatho in condemnation of the Monothelite heresy. (S Agatho, by the way, was one of those popes who, in the period after the heretic-pope Honorius I, had to try clear up the mess bequeathed by that disastrous pontificate. This sanitary job, incidentally, took some ten pontificates to complete. Nasty business. Smelly work.)

S Wilfrid was invited to state his own faith on the controverted points, not as an individual, but on behalf of the "provincia sive insula de qua venerat". This he did, and the Gesta of the Synod duly recorded that "placed with the other 125 fellow-bishops in Synod in the Seat of Judgement, and on behalf of the whole Northern part of Brittain and Ireland, and the islands which are inhabited by the nations of the Angles, the Brittons, the Scots and the Picts, he confessed the true and Catholic Faith and conferred upon it the authority of his signature (cum subscriptione sua corroboravit)."

The Ecclesiology of this is very plain, and is identical with the anti-heretical teaching of S Irenaeus in the second century: the Catholic Faith is 'corroborated' by the agreement of a significant body of bishops, acting in union with the Successor of S Peter, and witnessing to the faith handed down in all their own orthodox particular Churches.

To quote Newman again, "the Church of Rome possessed no great mind in the whole period of persecution. Afterwards, for a long while it has not a single doctor to show; St Leo, its first, is the teacher of one point of doctrine; St Gregory, who stands at the very extremity of the first age of the Church, has no place in dogma or philosophy."

Exactly. Synods ... and popes ... do not have the munus of brilliantly 'developing' Faith or Morals so that what this decade desires to teach will (to the eyes of poor ordinary Christians) look like the diametrical opposite of what was taught a decade previously. 

10 November 2018


Again, I am going to be having... I hope ... a quiet ten days. Hopefully, a blogpost will be published every day, but I shall not be reviewing comments (they will have to await my re-emergence) or, indeed, emails.

You wouldn't believe how refreshing it is to get away from modern communications!

Lupi Rapaces

The first antiphon which, if we serve a Church or diocese with S Martin as its Patron, we will say or sing tomorrow at Lauds for S Martin of Tours, shows his disciples asking him not to desert them because Rapacious Wolves will invade his flock. (I wonder why that antiphon went missing from the Liturgia Horarum.)

Rapacious Wolves are always around. Look at (via a Concordance) the New Testament. Look at (via its index) what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about Scandal and those who cause it. (A lady wolf was involved in the very Foundation of Rome, and the Romans sometimes referred to Professional Ladies as Wolfesses.)

Wolves were around at the very beginning of the Pontificate of our beloved late Holy Father Benedict XVI. In the homily at his inauguration, he asked us to pray for him "that I may not flee for fear of the wolves".

I believe S Thomas talks somewhere about Wolves being demons; or tyrants; or heresiarchs. Is it true that the Patron of the Diocese of St Gallen is a St Lupus, or did my ungoverned sense of fantasy just make that up?

Englishmen will recollect a diverting frivolity in rebus lupinis. We once had a politician called Sir Geoffrey Howe; quiet and very unnasty. So much so that his despisers said that being attacked by him was "like being savaged by a dead sheep". Eventually, even he discovered that he could take no more of Mrs Thatcher, and decided to resign. People ... and not least Mrs T ... assumed that his resignation speech would be characteristically anodyne. Not so. The House of Commons became quiet enough for that proverbially cadent pin to be heard as he tore savagely into her personality and her politics ... but still in the same mildest tones.

Not long after, he was ennobled, and went, as one does, to Queen Victoria Street to consult the Heralds about a Coat of Arms. In consultation with them he settled upon his design, which was granted. The Crest (the Crest of a Coat of Arms is the bit on top of the helmet which itself rests above the shield) which he received was ... a Wolf courant imperfectly concealed within a rather tatty sheepskin. I bet you Americans wish you had a House of Commons, a House of Lords, and a College of Heralds.

Wolves are always around; they're nothing new in the life of the Church. Perhaps some keen young Catholic academic would like to write a doctoral dissertation De Lupitate. She could bring her narrative right down to the present day.

I hope her sleep will not be disturbed by the howls.

9 November 2018


The disquiet about broad hints of Internet Censorship of Catholic writers which emerged from the 'Synod' is only just dying down, and now the admirable Fr Zuhlsdorf and other usually reliable sources have reported that there are two congruous stories circulating about the kindly and paternal interest which Bergoglian Rome is taking in two particular bishops.

(1) Cardinal Burke. The rumour apparently is that the Nuncio has told American Bishops not to invite Cardinal Burke to their dioceses and, if he turns up, not to attend events which he addresses.

Cardinals are entitled to go anywhere without the permission of local Ordinaries; in fact, Cardinal Burke, with his punctilious courtesy, always informs Ordinaries when he plans to visit their dioceses.

So no-one can actually keep him out. But you know how the world works. Timorous bishops who don't want a black mark against their name will put pressure on clergy and organisations within their jurisdictions not to invite him. And because the Inferior Clergy too can be timorous and might not want to  ... er ... get a black mark against their names, they will think twice ... thrice? ... multiplicius? before getting involved. You might call it Drip Down Malevolence.

Perhaps PF should, before sacking cardinals, give some thought as to how a jobless Eminence is likely to spend his time.

(2) Bishop Schneider has been made aware that 'Rome' takes an interest in how many days he spends outside his diocese. Rumours about this have in fact been circulating for some weeks. But, so they say, this has been done orally so as to leave no paper trail ... see (a) below.

                                                         SO WHAT?

 I find it difficult to keep my temper and to moderate my language as I write about all this. So I suppose the first point to be made is that much of it is rumour. It would be uncharitable to assume, without solid evidence, the certain truth of stories which, if true, would redound so very profoundly to the discredit of those involved. That being said ...

(a) This business supplies a remarkably exact example of what I wrote only last Monday about how the Bergoglian Church works (vide my piece about the sacking of Bishop Holley).
(b) FEAR. The Bergoglian regime has no scruples about making FEAR its main instrument of control, not only in Urbe but throughout the Catholic world. This corresponds closely with what workers in the Curia have been reporting for some years now. What an amazingly nasty ...
(c) THREATS. Bishops are supposed to be Successors of the Apostles, addressed by popes since time immemorial as Venerable Brethren. It is unbecoming that they should be informed, like naughty little schoolboys, which of their fellow bishops they should discourage from speaking in their dioceses, and whom they should themselves not go and hear.  ("Well, Bloggs minor, you would be wise to give some thought as to what your School File might record about the sort of company you kept while you were here ...")
(d) INTIMIDATION. The apparent use of Nuncios as hostile spies and as agents of intimidation is deplorable. Or do I mean Stalinist? Should we address them as Comrade Commissar?