28 February 2019

The Chief Executive Officer

Suppose a once flourishing international commercial enterprise had fallen onto extraordinarily hard times. Suppose stores world-wide were closing; 'Industrial relations' were at an all-time low, with various forms of industrial inaction occurring daily. Suppose the creditors were moving in for the kill.

You might think that some people would favour an attempt to discern what had gone so badly wrong. But suppose that Board Meetings enabled the CEO endlessly to deploy his rhetorical gifts. And that every time the flow of his discourse paused for a moment, the Board Members took this as an opportunity simply to say"Quite so, Holy Father" and "I do so agree, Holy Father" and "You are always so right, Holy Father".

The Church Militant is not an international commercial enterprise.

But it is more, not less, than that.

27 February 2019

Verification principles

Many good people are filled with visceral disgust at the very thought of homosexual genital activity. I'm afraid that I'm not among these many good people. As an old style rationalist, I instinctively feel that it ought to be possible to analyse courses of conduct negatively without getting emotionally excited about either the actions or the actors. If this notion is damnable, then you will have to condemn me.

But I'll tell you what ... I admit it ... does irritate me about some homosexually inclined people. It is the conviction of so many of them that everybody else shares the same objective ordinatio as they do.

So, as you will guess, I didn't like that book that everybody was talking about last week. The author, smart chappy, adopted the hermeneutic that those who are homosexuals are homosexuals; and that those who write or speak dissuasively about homosexuality or homosexuals ... are themselves homosexuals, since they manifest this state by their obvious repression. Unsurprisingly, this shoehorns him into the firm conviction that nearly everybody is homosexual. Indeed, given his premises, they must be. Gay is the new Straight! If not even Straighter!!

Those of you who read Greats in the early 1960s will recall sitting on hard benches and listening to Professor Freddie Ayer explaining his 'Verification Principle' ... that a proposition must be falsifiable in order to have meaning. Do you remember the jolly little ripple of laughter that went round the room when he remarked that this "of course" put all religious talk beyond the pale? I rather feel that the book with which I am concerned is based on assumptions which appear in practice to be unverifiable qua unfalsifiable. Ergo ...

But there is a funny side to all this, as there usually is with regard to doctrinal and moral errors. Employing a Lockean argumentum ad hominem, we would have a corollary: the people who went to Rome last week and spoke so categorically against the sexual abuse of the young would themselves have to be mostly either paedophiles or repressed paedophiles.

Him ... and him ... and him ... and her ... 

And the more any of them deny it, the more ineluctable wpould the inference be!!!


26 February 2019

Father Rosica and Me and our Interns

I call it plain heartless of Lifesitenews to criticize my friend Fr Thomas Rosica for having spent the best years of his life devotedly plagiarizing. However, he has now explained the situation: his Interns were all to blame. He has made this so clear that he can, I think, expect a full apology from Lifesitenews. If they fail to do this, well, the Law provides ways of mitigating against calumny.

My sympathy arises from my own need to confess that I am every bit as guilty as Tom is. And my explanation is exactly the same as his: it's all these bl**dy Interns who are to blame. Have you never wondered why so much of what I write is inaccurate, poorly expressed, and offensive? There is the reason: Interns. Everything you have ever read here, that you didn't like, was not actually from my pen: the Interns did it. (I only wrote the things you approved of.)

You can have no idea how much these wretched Interns disrupt domestic life. Is it fair to expect my Cook to serve up Michelin *** meals day by day when there are thirteen Interns unhygenically plagiarizing on the kitchen floor 25/7? You know what a mess plagiarism leaves. Who do think has to clear it all up?

How can the Head Gardner get on with his mulching (whatever that means) when there are always at least seven and possibly as many as eleven Interns endlessly rutting around the rasberry bushes?

Please do have a thought for Tom and I at this difficult time.

Drafted by Millicent, Mildred, and Montagu.
Additional material by Giorgio, Gironimo, and Geraldine.
Despatched by Samantha and Sven.


25 February 2019

Fromthecardinalsdesk

"Certainly the Pope is not infallible beyond the Deposit of Faith originally given."

24 February 2019

SEXAGESIMA

I wonder if anyone knows exactly when the Byzantine preLent season was invented? It occurs to me that, if it was in place when S Gregory was apocrisiarius in Constantinople, he could have picked up the idea for the Gesimas there. You will remember that on his return to Rome and his election as Pope, he was much criticised because he made changes in the Liturgy which the admirably conservative plebs sancta Dei of Rome deemed to be Byzantinisations. But let us look at the Propers for  Sexagesima.

That great liturgist G G Willis (funny, isn't it, how so much of the best work on the early history of the Roman Rite was done by Anglican Catholics) pointed out that the propers for Sexagesima in the Missal of S Pius V and the Book of Common Prayer manifestly relate to S Paul; his own account of his tribulations in the Epistle being matched by the Parable of the Sower, so appropriate to the work of the Apostle to the Gentiles. (You will remember that the Pope's Mass, on these three Sundays before Lent, took place in turn at the three basilicas of Rome's great saints, Ss Lawrence, Paul, and Peter, which stand like protecting spiritual fortresses outside the City walls; and today, Sexagesima, Pope and people were at S Paul's.)

I don't like to tangle with as great a scholar as Willis; but with diffidence and respect I point out that this is not quite what the Begetter of the Gesimas, S Gregory the Great, himself actually says. Again I recommend those with access and a little Latin (Gregory's Latin is very easy) to read not only the extract which the Old Breviary gave in the third nocturn for Sexagesima, but the whole text of Homilia 15 in Evangelia (Migne, 76, columns 1131 and following). The emphasis here again is on the need for a sense of sinfulness as Christians approach the penitential season of Lent. The Holy Father picks up the Lord's explanation of the parable (the second section of the pericope, which the crass 'scholarship' of the twentieth century confidently and ludicrously assured us could not possibly be from the Lord's lips): i.e. the work of the Devil in frustrating the Gospel Word sown in our hearts, and the dangers of riches. It is this that becomes the basis of his attempt to stir up within his congregation an awareness of its sinful need to do penance.

[My incurable propensity to ramble inclines me to recommend the whole of the homily, not just the extract in the Breviary, if only for the sake of the (very 'modern') way S Gregory engages the congregation with his vivid account of the recent holy death of a devout cripple whom we all knew, who used to beg outside the Church of S Clement. Again, this is a classical, hands-on, mission sermon by a preacher who fears that his flock has lost its sense of sin. Plus ca change ...]

And, in the Divine Office, S Gregory's message is reinforced by the story of Noah. I hope you recall, from my post on Septuagesima, how S Gregory interpreted the parable of the husbandman hiring labourers for his vineyard. 'Morning' meant the period of Sacred History from Adam onwards [Septuagesima]; the 'Third Hour' was the period from Noah. So in the first nocturn of Mattins for Sexagesima Sunday we get the account of God's decision to punish human iniquity by a flood. Undoubtedly, that Flood evoked, for S Gregory's generation, vivid memories of the Great Tiber Flood of 589, followed by the epidemic which ended the life of many Romans, including Pope Pelagius II, S Gregory's own immediate predecessor.

But ... had all those who suffered in the Flood (either Noah's or Rome's) truly deserved, each individually, such punishment? I wonder if seminary courses dealing with 'Theodicy' take their starting points from Biblical and Patristic material. S Gregory, with the sort of realism from which our generation can shy away, meets head on the fact that a lot of people do their best to do good, but find themselves clobbered by tribulations. They flee earthly desires, and all they seem to get in return is worse wallops (flagella duriora). The solution is humiliter purgationis flagella tolerare: humbly to submit to the blows which cleanse us.

When did you last hear a sermon on Submission to God's Will ... whatever it be?

23 February 2019

WHO KNEW WHAT AND WHEN?

Meejah accounts of what Cardinal Cupich and Mgr Scicluna said at a News Conference suggest that the meeting currently happening in Rome will fail to address some crucial elements in the present crisis. For example, the abuse of seminarians; and homosexuality.

It also appears that Rome is putting a Rigid stopper on any approach to the big question:

WHO KNEW WHAT AND WHEN?

Bishop Steven Lopes, Ordinary of the American Ordinariate, in the Anglican patrimonial tradition of plain Parrhesia, has said:

"I'll tell you what response I think is not good enough. It's the parade of cardinals and bishops who have rushed to the the television cameras clutching their pectoral crosses, saying, 'I knew nothing'. I don't believe it, and I am one of them. I don't believe it. I was a seminarian when Theodore McCarrick was named archbishop of Newark. And he would visit the seminary often, and we all knew."

Cardinal DiNardo, President of the American Episcopal Conference, wanted to do a proper investigation; he was humiliated in the eyes of the entire world, his hand was smacked and he was peremptorily told to Leave It All To Daddy. It is hard not to pass a negative judgement on PF's Rigid determination to keep his own Rigid control over the current spin operation.

Wuerl, disgracefully, is still in charge of his diocese. Farrell, unsurprisingly, is still climbing the ladder, reaping the undeserved rewards of sycophancy. Although as intellectually negligible as most of this crew, smug little Cupich appears increasingly to be His Master's Voice. Under this regime, no member of the cronydom has ever really suffered, until the facts became too notorious to be contained.

From Daneels, who was at PF's side on that dreadful night of his election, and for long afterwards, there has been a pattern. A sick pattern of crony influence and the protection and promotion of cronies.




Some years ago, an English Catholic bishop had to resign, apparently admitting serial unchastity with more than one woman (paedophilia is not the only sin). A secret enquiry took place; it was indeed proper that some persons involved should not be named. But

WHO KNEW WHAT; AND WHEN?

As then an Anglican priest in the same area, I knew. Accounts had even appeared in print around the time of Kieran Conry's Consecration.

I noticed from the Bolletino that Murphy O'Connor (who had been the main organiser of the disastrous election of 2013), just a few days before the Conry scandal finally broke after a distressed husband went to the tabloids, had a private audience of PF.

So that's all right, then. Fixed. Sorted. Chaps have a quiet word with chaps.


Eventually, whether in this pontificate or in the 'clean break' future pontificate for which so many pray, both in America and here and in Rome, questions will have to be answered. Archives will have to be opened. The later this happens, the worse it will look for those whose public narratives have been less than frank. 

And for those who have organised the spin.

And for any shred that is left of PF's reputation. 

I've now finished, for a while, on Cronyism. Cardinal Mueller, in any case, says what needs to be said far better than I can.

22 February 2019

Fascist Flags

I fear I misinformed readers about the 'rainbow' flags now flying over every college in this University. I said it was just for a week; 'Pink Week'.

Oh Dearie Me, No. They're up for a month. 'Gay History Month'.

Oddish. Normally, every college has ts own, distinctive, flag.

But, in the interests of diversity, they are all now flying the same flag!

God bless your Nanny and your Butler and all your faithful Cronies

Of course you know the Fables of Aesop. Perhaps Nanny used to read them to you at bed-time. Probably, as an adolescent, you dined off them on those rare and grand evenings when the Butler had murmured to your Grandfather "And I'll put out the Meissen Service tonight, my lord?" So you will not need me to remind you of the man who bought an ass [in English English, this means donkey] 'on approval' and tested its character by putting it into a stable already full of asses [ditto]. It revealed its flawed personality by immediately settling down beside the laziest and greediest.

The Moral?

"A MAN IS KNOWN BY THE COMPANY HE KEEPS."

We don't really need Aesop any more, now that we have PF. With resolute consistency, he proves Aesop's maxim up to the hilt. And he does it with crony after crony. Just one example. Courtesy of Mr Henry Sire, Knight of Malta, author of the ground-breaking The Dictator Pope, hear now the Fable of Bishop Juan Carlos Maccarone:

"Bergoglio made [Maccarone] an auxiliary bishop at the beginning of his tenure, in 1995. In 2005, Maccarone was dismissed from the episcopate by Pope Benedict after he was filmed having sexual relations with a homosexual prostitute in the sacristy of the cathedral. Yet Cardinal Bergoglio publicly defended him, asserting that the filming was a set-up to bring the bishop down because of his left-wing political commitment. Maccarone, it is worth noting, declared that everyone was aware of his homosexual activities and he had been appointed bishop regardless of them."

A biographer might assemble into a stable pattern various recurrent features of PF's relationships: his appalling selection of cronies; his tendency to keep them in his service even when their failings have attracted public notioriety; and, when this is not possible, how he either gives them a different sinecure or rewards them with hyperbolic marks of his favour and esteem.

The other side of the Bergoglian coin is that when the favour of cronydom is offered to someone, as it was to Cardinal O'Malley, and he fails to measure up, the world suddenly becomes a much colder place.

Thank goodness Cronyism and Corruption are not identical.

21 February 2019

Interreligious Ecumenism admirably in action

Christian and Islamic parents at a Birmingham school have been demonstrating together against the school policy of indoctrinating pupils to accept and internalise the dogma of gender indeterminacy.

Amanda Spielman, who runs a government agency called Ofsted, has explained that this is required by "Democracy".

It would be good (but over-optimistic?) to read that these admirable and conscientious parents had been supported by their respective clergy.

Pervert priests ... busy-body women with an ideological commitment to brainwashing even the very young ... so many people just can't keep their hands off the bodies and minds of our helpless children, can they?

Long live Uncle Ted McCarrick!!!

(1) In 1455, James Douglas ninth Earl of Douglas, Scotland's greatest feudal magnate, fled to England after his defeat by King James II of Scots. The English court made use of him to foment trouble in Scotland. He had been followed to England by at least one clerical adherent, Patrick Holyborton, whom he was able to advance to benefices in the Diocese of Exeter and to an archdeaconry.

Holyborton belonged to a family of minor nobility in South East Scotland. The arms of this family were or on a bend azure three mascles of the first.

But in his own arms, Holyborton boasted of his connection with the great Earl and his family. He inserted three fleurs de lys each side of the bend; and included a chief with three stars on it. The chief and the stars are from the Arms of Douglas; the fleurs de lys allude, I think, to the Dukedom of Touraine held by the fourth Earl.

This is but one example of how alliances of family or of very close friendship were demonstrated heraldically.

I hope you're still reading. Unglaze your eyes, refocus them, and continue. 

(2) On the internet I read an account, apparently by Cardinal Farrell, interpreting his own Coat of Arms. Here are some illuminating extracts:

"The lion rampant honours Theodore Cardinal MacCarrick, Archbishop emeritus of Washington ... gold and red are derived from the Arms of Cardinal McCarrick, whom Bishop Farrell assisted as Auxiliary Bishop of Washington ... a blue field has been substituted ... to honour Our Lady of Lourdes, upon whose feast day Bishop Farrell received ordination to the episcopate at the hands of the Cardinal Archbishop of ... " ... er ... I'll leave the final word for readers to fill in for themselves. This is nothing if not a modern interactive blog. It's an American nameplace beginning with W. With an N at the end.

(3) And ... whoopee!! ... this selfsame Cardinal Farrell has just been appointed Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church (on almost the same day as Uncle Ted's own promotion to the lay state was gazetted). That means that during the next Interregnum, Farrell (if he lives long enough) will be in charge of the day-to-day administration of the Roman Church, and of the preparations for the next Conclave.  

So his Arms, with Uncle Ted written large all over them, will be on prominent display everywhere! And everywhere else, too!!

You just can't keep a really good man down, can you?!!!

More about cronyism in Bergoglian Rome tomorrow.

20 February 2019

A Philological question

This is in preparation for the post I have drafted for Thursday.

The words Crony and its derivatives.

I presume they are in use in American English just as much as in our own cispontine dialects.

Do other European languages have the same concept; and, if so, how do they express it?

WOW!

If you want some good old-fashioned 'Eye Candy' this is the book for you. Beginning with a happy photograph of Benedict XVI, in whose honour the work is published, A history of St Agatha's Church Portsmouth gives you page after sumptuous page of pictures.

S Agatha's was one of the great late Victorian Anglo-Catholic churches, marking the begining of the era when Anglo-Catholics stopped saying "We are the heirs of 1548" and began to see themselves as Mediterranean Catholics who ought to be in communion with the Holy See. So Romanesque S Agatha's is the grand San Marco of Portsmouth! Fr Dolling at first thought of building a simple church; but then he realised that a dirty slum was the ideal place to build something spectacular. Therein lies the genius of the Anglo-Catholic Mission to the Periphery, the English urban slums. Bergoglioids, take note!

Hitler destroyed the parish; the Church was nearly destroyed by the town council soon after. As 'Bauhaus' Pevsner explained, it wasn't either old enough, or new enough, to merit preservation. As one councillor observed, it represented the Portsmouth of the Past, whereas the commercial development which was designed to swallow up its site represented the Portsmouth of the Future (that development has now of course been itself demolished ... you knew I was going to say that, didn't you?).

This book takes you through the building and decoration in the 1890s; the years of the Blitz; the restoration of the church under Fr Maunder; and today's Ordinariate High Mass therein.

You see, the congregation was able to bring its Church into the Ordinariate! So it now represents the optimistic Spirit of late Victorian Anglo-Catholicism and the triumphalist Anglo-Catholicism of the 1930s together with the exuberant Traditionalist Catholicism of today's Ordinariates! 

This last is exemplified in the new painting over the Altar of the Shrine of S Agatha: S Agatha securing the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus from our Lady to give it to Pope Benedict, with the former Anglican incumbents in the foot of the picture, rejoicing in this the final fulfilment and justification of their heroic work and ministry.

So much prayer; so much beauty!

And for so little money!! £4+£2 for package and posting = £6 in all, from

Father John Maunder
9 East Street
Fareham
Hampshire
PO16 0BW

19 February 2019

Father Ernesto Cardenal

The angels weep and the demons rejoice when the priesthood of one priest is lost.

I thank God that PF has restored priestly faculties to Fr Ernesto Cardenal.

Antinous ... why did he have to be killed?

There is a minute ... tiny ... but interesting exhibition in Ashmole about Antinous, ending in a few days' time, at the end of this very week. And it is accompanied by a stylish and intelligent little book by Professor 'Bert' Smith (Antinous boy made god ).

[Those who know zilch about Antinous should either google him now or not bother any further with this blogpost.]

Briefly, Dr Smith's curatorial thesis is that, apart from founding Antinoopolis and providing an 'offical' image of Antinous, Hadrian did little to promote Antinous' cult. It spread in the same sort of way, and for the same sorts of reasons, as the cults of other neoi theoi (or heroes) in the early centuries AD. As such, it was in competition with other cults, such as Christianity. Unlike Christianity (but like the cult of, for example, Isis) it was deliberately syncretistic. Antinous could be identified with Dionysus or Silvanus, or with Osiris, the Egyptian and Ptolemaic god of Resurrection (vide infra). (At a time when the Catholic world has been shaken by apparently syncretistic errors from the pen of the Roman Pontiff himself, it is perhaps useful to remind ourselves how the Christians of the first four centuries defined themselves very sharply over against their syncretistic environment.)

I think I buy the exhibition's thesis. But I have my own theory about the mysterious death of Antinous, drowned in the River Nile.

I believe Hadrian had him killed.

Why? Because he had reached just the age when, in the Emperor's eyes, his ephebic beauty was finished. Hadrian, I suggest, wished to 'preserve' him permanently as he had been. It was a matter of ensuring that He shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old; age shall not weary him nor the years condemn ...

Most of the exhibits in this little exhibition show Antinous looking demurely down: an indication of sexual modesty. In fashionable upper-class Hellenistic paederastic culture, bold promiscuous boys were rather disapproved of. But Antinous had now reached the age at which he would naturally ... er ... graduate from being an eromenos to being an erastes. Hadrian, I believe, thought it much more artistic, decorous, and culturally tactful to render him immortal and immutable by drowning him, than to have a grown-up Antinous busily bedding all the lads and/or lasses at court.

Have I any evidence? Well, I do think I just may have. Antinous was drowned in the Nile on 24 October 130 ... the same day of the year on which Osiris, according to his cult followers, was ... drowned in the Nile!

Roughly a 1 in 365 chance of that being coincidental ...

As his villa at Tivoli makes clear, Hadrian was, through and through, an aesthete. And a thinking aesthete. But was he a sentimentally engaged paiderastes?

************************************************************************

Only this week, news comes through of a spectacular 'new' Pompeian painting of Narcissus (to be added to the more than 50 Fourth Style paintings of this subject already known from the same town). This particular myth appears to have been homoerotically framed in pre-Ovidian poetry (vide Conon apud Photium), but was mostly heterosexualised (through the addition of Echo) by Ovid. I sometimes wonder whether paiderasteia really came naturally to most Romans, although they did their conscientious best in their imitatio of Greek originals and models to get themselves into the mood for it. Conon's motif of the spurned lover Ameinas, who killed himself outside the door of his beloved Narcissus, was utilised in another place (XIV 698sqq., Iphis and Anaxarete) by Ovid, but (again) heterosexualised; and lightened with a characteristically Ovidian dash of sick and aloof slapstick.

**************************************************************************

I suspect that, even for Hadrian, Epheberasteia may have been more in the mind and in the library and in the pinakotheke than in the groin. But who am I to judge?





18 February 2019

Cardinal Mueller's Manifesto (2)

So why didn't Cardinal Mueller mention the Petrine Ministry in his Manifesto? I'm sure his attachment to the Decrees of Vatican I on the Primacy and Infallibilty of the Pope is as strong as my own.

(1) The question has been raised: does the question of the papal Magisterium concern the Christian Faith: or is it about the circumstances under which one might be told something about the Christian Faith? If the latter, then it may be that statements like "The pope is infallible" have a greater similarity to claims like "The Bible is true" than they do to such dogmatic teaching as the Hypostatic Union and Transsubstantiation or moral teachings such as the indissolubility of Marriage. And it would be very understandable for Cardinal Mueller to have left the papal function out of the equation at a time when the papal function is ... well, to put it bluntly ... not functioning. [To those might argue that some of what PF teaches is orthodox, I would reply that such a confused situation is more dangerous that a situation in which everything is untrue.]

(2) The Anglican dogmatic theologian Eric Mascall raised the question of how essential the Papacy is to the Church. I am sure that, as a permanent element in the Church's divine constitution, it is in one sense completely essential. It was placed within the Church to be, as an institution, the centre of Unity; of government; of teaching (most solemnly, when that teaching is ex cathedra). But is it essential in the sense that the Church ceases to exist during a papal Interregnum? Hardly. Mascall writes about an "extreme difficulty" produced "by the fact that, between the death or abdication of one pope and the acceptance of election by his successor, the Church is ... without an earthly head. ... it is a good thing for the Church to have a pope; it does not in the least show that it is necessary ... the pope is not of the esse but only of the bene esse of the Church. If he were of the Church's esse, we should have to hold that, during a papal vacancy, the Church simply ceased to exist. And this is no merely theoretical point; after the death of Clement IV in 1268 the papacy was vacant for two years, nine months, and two days."

I would add that, according to the Archbishops of Westminster, there was an interregnum of some seven years between the death of "Alexander V" [whom Westminster, rather oddly, claims to have been a true pope] and the election of Martin V in 1417.

But I rather doubt whether this is the sort of consideration Cardinal Mueller has in mind.

(3) I think a nimbler hare would be Blessed John Henry Newman's terminology about the Arian Crisis. He said that the Church's Teaching Authority was "in suspense" for about sixty years, during which time popes, bishops, and councils failed to Teach or failed to give orthodox teaching. (One of the English bishops tried to delate JHN to Rome for this analysis, but without success ... perhaps Pio Nono's business managers felt they enough hassle on their hands with Doellinger and Hefele ...)



I take Mueller's fine Manifesto as a sensible and valuable action to fill the gap at a time when PF has placed his Magisterium in Suspense by improperly employing his office to promote oddities, errors, and ambiguities which sound like heresies, instead of teaching the Faith which he received from his predecessors. The Manifesto looks like the nearest thing we shall get to reliable Magisterial teaching during this pontificate. It deserves to be used as such by those whose duty it is to set forth God's saving truth.

The Manifesto is an admirable and orthodox initiative to supply a need, and to forward the process of working towards the eventual restoration of what we have sadly lacked since the abdication of Benedict XVI: videlicet a teaching papacy.

17 February 2019

SEPTUAGESIMA

The ancient usage of the Western Church suggests you should ... now ... be reading the book of Genesis in your Divine Office. And that you should have started reading Genesis today, Septuagesima. Thus, the Roman Breviary; thus, the Anglican 1961 Lectionary for the Divine Office, authorised in the American and Australian Ordinariates (but, strangely, not in the English Ordinariate).

During Lent, of which Septuagesima is the preamble, we repent of the Fall and the mark which it has left on each successive age of human history and on each one of us. Lent leads up to Easter Night, with the great, the outrageous impudence of the Deacon's shout: O felix Culpa: O blessed iniquity (that's Knox's Patrimonial translation ... now, gloriously, restored for use in the Ordinariates!!!); the marvel of Adam's Trangression which deserved such and so great a Redeemer. And then Eastertide invites us to live the Risen Life with and in our New Adam.

The S Pius V/Book of Common Prayer/Ordinariate Eucharistic psalmody for Septuagesima and its season express this spirituality. The Introit is about "The sorrows of Death", recalling the Genesis theme that the pains, labours, and mortality of Man (and not least of Woman) result from the Fall. Yes, I know that the Gesimas were probably introduced by S Gregory the Great at a time of great distress, strife, and chaos in Italy - which does lie behind the sense of agony and helplessness in this and other texts. My point is that it was the Pontiff who discerned a connection between a world ravaged and disordered by the Fall ... and the realities of late sixth century Italy. How can anyone who reads the newspapers doubt that a similar connection is just as possible now?

I incline to believe that S Gregory has left us his own explanation of his liturgical creation, Septuagesima, in the passage from his writings of which the old Breviary gives us a portion in the Third Nocturn (Hom 19 in Evang.; the full text of which is handily available in PL 76 coll 1153sqq.). Speaking, according to the manuscripts, in the basilica of S Lawrence one Septuagesima morning, he explains the different times of the day referred to in the Sunday's EF Gospel (the parable of the Husbandman hiring labourers for his vineyard): "The morning of the world was from Adam to Noah; the third hour, Noah to Abraham; Sixth, Abraham to Moses; Ninth, Moses to the Lord's Advent; eleventh, from the Lord's Advent to the end of the world". The EF Epistle reading ends with the disobedience of many in Jewry in the time of Moses ("in many of them God was not well-pleased"); the Gospel concludes "Many were called but few were chosen".

While there is no doubt that the Tradition has seen this applying to those Jews who rejected the Messiah's call, Bible and Fathers leave no room whatsoever for complacency on the part of Gentile Christians. The whole point of I Corinthians 10, from which the Septuagesima EF Epistle is taken, is that the fall from grace which happened to some who were "baptized into Moses" is just as much a fall awaiting some of those who have been baptised into Christ. And the passage from S Gregory selected for Mattins ends sharply "At the Eleventh hour the Gentiles are called; to whom it is said 'Why are you standing here lazy all day?' " S Gregory goes on to ask "Look what a lot of people we are gathered here, we're packing the walls of the church, but, y'know (tamen), who can know how few there are who're numbered in the flock of God's chosen?" ... a decade or two ago, the Principal of an Evangelical PPH in this University got into terrible trouble for asking a question rather like that.

Divine election ... Human disobedience ... its just punishment in the tribulations of the present age...  followed by a call to Christians to recollect their own sinfulness before Lent begins: it all looks to my eye like a very coherent Proper. Perhaps it is a trifle politically incorrect: the Journalist In The Street tends indignantly to demand of fashionable bishops whether Disasters are a Divine Punishment and why it is that a good God ... all that ...  but Stay: my assumption is that this blog has a superior class of theologically literate readers who can do the theodicy stuff for themselves.

I urge those who can, to read S Gregory's entire homily; it ends with a lurid and lengthy account of an unrepentent sinner at the point of death; it is a real mission-sermon rant such as Fr Faber might have preached to his recalcitrant Irishmen before he moved on to (what Newman called) the 'second rate gentry' of Brompton. S Gregory wasn't half the Latin stylist that S Leo was; but, to be regretfully honest, I sometimes doubt whether the plebs sancta Dei understood much of S Leo's lapidary periods ... but I bet you could have heard a pin drop when S Gregory launched into one of his purple passages and the pontifical spittle was really flying.

16 February 2019

This Blog Needs More Heraldry

I plan, in the middle of next week, a little post on heraldic intercourse between Cardinals. Meanwhile, may I briefly float this: a laicised cleric ought to have the right to display his status armorially.

For Cardinals, perhaps this could be done by superimposing on the shield  and on the galero a small escutcheon of the arms of S Gallen in Switzerland.

Any Bishops who, being  heterosexual, have begotten children would need some small elegant charge which the heirs male of their body would be proud to inherit and to display. Ideas? A mitre, perhaps, debruised by a baton sinister?

My problems with a particular Novus Ordo Preface (only for the Latinate)

This is an old preface tinkered with in the 1970s. It is provided, in several Sacramentaries, either for the last Sunday after Epiphany or for Sepuagesima itself. So I suppose it is ... sort of ... seasonal.

Praefatio III de Dominicis per Annum.

VD ... omnipotens aeterne Deus: Ad cuius immensam gloriam pertinere cognoscimus ut mortalibus tua Deitate succurreres; sed et nobis provideres de ipsa mortalitate nostra remedium, et perditos quosque unde perierant, inde salvares, per Xtm Dnm nostrum.


I first started thinking about this ... you know how it is  ... because I couldn't think of the answer to a rather obvious question which a III Former could probably suss: why are the subjunctive verbs in Historic Sequence (i.e. Imperfect Subjunctives)? I still haven't shifted this log-jam in my mind ...

In despair, I ended up, as one does, looking at the Verona Sacramentary, which I suspect has the earliest known version of this preface (beginning of October). Basic differences are these: for the "pertinere cognoscimus" VS simply had "pertinet"; and the subjunctive verbs were in the Perfect Subjunctive: "succurreris ... provideris ... salvaris". These perfect subjunctives seem already to have mutated into imperfects in the Sacramentarium Bergomense and the 'Gregorian' Missal. [Salvaris is by a common syncope for salvaveris. One source, incidentally, has its knickers in a real twist: it reads succurras.]

Are we to interpet the Verona Sacramentary version as "It pertains to your ginormous glory that you have succoured ... have provided ... have saved ...?" This seems to me to make better sense and grammar than the (I suspect) subsequent alterations. It is, indeed, roughly how current ICEL actually translates the formula.

15 February 2019

Without the Father ... Cardinal Mueller's Manifesto (1)

I have now withdrawn from public view the piece I wrote about Pope Honorius, together with its thread. I had been genuinely irritated at the constant stream of "of course" comments from angry sedevacantists, and thought I would give them the opportunity of answering specific questions. It certainly did winkle them out of their shells, didn't it? Enough hot air to affect disastrously our Global Warming (no; I will not accept comments on Global Warming), but nothing as vulgar as actual answers to my actual questions. Henceforth, no comments will be published from those who want to make my blog an instrument for promoting Sedevacantism or Invalidism.

Now, I think, we must move on.

Silence can say more than a million words. Conan Doyle's dog, for example, that did not bark in the night. I think the most striking thing about the Manifesto given us by Gerhard Cardinal Mueller was what it did not mention ...

 ... the Papacy.

Just consider the amount of controversy the question of the Petrine Ministry created at the time of Vatican I; how much controversy there has been between Catholic and non-Catholic polemicists. Consider the Personality Cult which has surrounded popes since, I think, roughly the last part of the pontificate of Blessed Pius IX. A cult that treats the Roman Bishop like a demi-god or a pop star. I have written about it several times. I think it is sentimental and mawkish, sickly, corrupt and corrupting. It was certainly not invented by PF and his cronies, but it has reached a new theological peak in this pontificate. Curial cronies tell us that the Holy Spirit speaks through PF's mouth; the English bishops write letters to inform him that the Holy Spirit was responsible for his election and guides him daily; a Fr Rosica, incredibly, explains to us that the pope is free from the encumbrances of Scripture and Tradition. It is what I have called 'Bergoglianism'. I think it is not only sick in itself, but is a dangerous poison of rare toxicity within the Church Militant.

Yet, despite all this, Cardinal Mueller did not even mention this enormous elephant in a tiny room, even in passing.

I have not felt so refreshed for a long time.

To be continued.

14 February 2019

Catholicae Veritatis Magister

Today is the Obit of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Eric Lionel Mascall. I included his name, with immense gratitude to him and to the Lord who gave him to us, in the Memento etiam of the Mass of S Valentine this morning; thinking as I did so of the that familiar figure, back in the Sixties, murmuring this same 'Western Rite'* Mass privately, day by day, at one of the altars in 'Mags'. He possessed the same clarity of thought and the same willingness to think outside the dominant fashions of his day, as another shy and distinguished Teacher of the Faith, Joseph Ratzinger. A Man of the Great Tradition.

_________________________________________________________________

*Thus we used then to describe what our new friends so fittingly call 'the Mass of Ages'.

13 February 2019

An Occupied City

I felt quite embarrassed, last Saturday, walking round Oxford with some American friends. I felt I had to explain that the Rainbow 'diversity' flag did not normally fly from the flagpole of every college. "I'm afraid it's Pink Week", I rather wetly said.

When film-makers produce WWII films, they very often show Swastika flags hanging down the fronts of buildings in occupied cities. It must have been a good period for having shares in flag-making businesses! It's much the same over here now, with the fascist 'rainbow' flags much in evidence. We are, indeed, an occupied land. I wonder who is carting off the profits.

Although Abortion is still an important cause for Establishment Fascism, the more up-to-the-minute trendy ikon is now transgenderism. Our papers regale us with stories of police activity to crush  Christianity and Decency and plain Common Sense by categorising them as 'Transphobia'. An old woman had the police in her house telling her off. A young mother was taken to the plodshop for seven hours, despite her autistic child and the baby at her breast. A witty TV scriptwriter (the creator of Father Ted) is being hauled through the courts. Getting one's pronouns wrong is a dangerous mistake.

British Police, you indignantly ask me, persecuting old women and nursing mothers? You needn't be surprised. It's happened before. When the Germans occupied our Channel Islands, the police collaborated manfully with the occupiers in rounding up Jews. (So did the governing elite of the Islands; a post-War intelligence report made clear that while every attempt was made to protect the Freemasons, no protest was made at the removal of Jews. After Liberation, it was decided that it was more in the interest of rebuilding national cohesion for the top islanders to be knighted rather than hanged.)

Policemen, of course, are only human. And they are trained to do as they are told. If Sir says"Round up the Jews", then your good English bobbies will get on with it. If the Gender-Fascists who run our Police Forces tell them to intimidate helpless citizens, the only question will be "How loud shall we shout?" If they are made to sit through Diversity Awareness Lectures, I doubt if many of them will get their cards marked and their careers ruined by protesting.

So we are all going to be bullied to acknowledge that a human with silicone breasts and a vagina that leads nowhere is a woman ... or pay the penalty of denying Caesar his pinch of incense. But there are compensations. We find, standing with us, some of the old-style feminists: such as dear old Germaine Greer, as brilliant as ever she was in the days of The Female Eunuch, who is now no-platformed for her preposterous notion that women are women and men are not women. And in the Times newspaper (on Saturdays) there is a very able columnist called Janice Turner, who knows her facts and knows how to deploy stylish rhetorical skills. Cicero would have been proud of her.

Whenever intelligent people of whatever background realise that it is their duty to resist the crass and sinister idiocies of the Zeitgeist, they are walking in the right direction. There is hope for humanity.

12 February 2019

Archdeacon George Austin

Orate pro anima Georgii Austin viri Venerabilis Ecclesiae Eboracensis quondam Archidiaconi necnon et Canonici Fidei quoque Catholicae propugnatoris qui nuperrime obiit.  C A P D

The Bishop of Broadstairs

His Excellency Bishop Richard Williamson nearly always seems to me immensely readable, except when he is in the grip of some Conspiracy Theory which leads him on to blame some predictable groups.

One of his recent 'Eleison' blogposts attacked, yet again, those in the SSPX who hope for a rapport with the Vatican. He advances the theory that Rome might assign to the Society a couple of "relatively decent Newbishops" (his terminology) to provide it with the Sacraments of Holy Order and Confirmation, rather than letting it choose bishops from within the ranks of the Society.

What can he mean? What has he heard? Whom does he have in mind? I speculate ...

The retiring bishop of Chur is going to live in an SSPX school.

And there is the admirable Bishop Schneider, who once went on a semi-official mission to 'inspect' Econe, and liked what he saw.

It seems to me that, if Bishop Richard is right and I am right in my guess as to what he means, he is being less than fair to Bishop Athanasius. Bishop Athanasius has been a great deal more open and out-spoken than most in his attitude to the present disorders in the Church Militant. Leaders of the Ecclesia Dei communities have been cautious. And the universal Episcopate, successors of the Apostles, vicars of Christ ... plurima ne dicamus.

However, regretfully I would have to agree that the Society needs be be very wary of putting its neck into a curial noose, however silken. Above all, it needs to be very sure that it does not lose its potential ability, in a possible situation of great necessity, to consecrate more bishops sine Mandato Apostolico.

At the very least, the Society would need the assurance, already enjoyed by the Ordinariates, that its new bishops would be chosen by Rome from a terna submitted by the Society itself.

And some in Rome have sometimes shown a sinister interest in assets owned by orthodox groups.

11 February 2019

Newman on the Suspense of the Functions of the Magisterium

Cardinal Mueller's magnificent Manifesto is an interesting document. Happily, it is bound to arouse amusing comments from the Usual Suspects ... the Robert Mickenses; the Austen Ivereighs; all the Silly Gang. (I wonder what that theological heavyweight Cupich will make of it?) I write 'happily' because we can do with the laughs. I pastorally counsel readers to laugh, rather than getting depressed. You have a duty to refuse to let PF and his cronies make you depressed. If nothing else works for you, you could resort to Alcohol. This morning's communication from the Wine Society speaks very well of the 2017 Rhones. Cointreau, lemon juice, and vodka make a classical thirties 'White Lady'. Praise to our Lady of Lourdes, our Lady of Victory!

Perhaps this could be worked up into a new branch of Pastoral Theology: what to take as an antidote to each species of heresy. A few simple recipes could be lodged permanently in every confessional for use in quantum possum et tu indiges.

As some of the Silly Gang have observed, it is undoubtedly true that there is one large apparent gap in His Eminence's Manifesto.

He does not mention the Petrine Ministry of the Roman Pontiff.

This is unusual in modern Catholic discourse. The sickly mawkish modern cult of the Bishop of Rome has for so long pushed the Witness of the Incarnate Word, the words of Scripture, the teaching of the Fathers, into the background. How often have you heard a semi-literate sermon in which "Pope Francis Says" is prominent, but never any hint is given of "Jesus Says"? So, if the Manifesto had no other value, that particular silence would be as refreshing as a glass of cold water on a sticky day.

But why?

Possibly the Cardinal agrees with the great Anglican theologian Eric Mascall that the doctrine of Papal Infallibility does not so much tell us something about the Christian Faith, as about the circumstances in which we might be told something about that Faith.

But I am convinced that, consciously or unconsciously, Gerhard Mueller has in mind the teaching of Blessed John Henry Newman about the situation during the Arian crisis:

"... the body of the episcopate was unfaithful to its commission  ... at one time the pope*, at other times a patriarchal, metropolitan, or other great see, at other times general councils*, said what they should not have said, or did what obscured and compromised revealed truth ... I say, that there was a temporary suspense of the functions of the Ecclesia docens. The body of bishops failed in their confession of the faith. They spoke variously, one against another; there was nothing, after Nicaea, of firm, unvarying, consistent testimony, for nearly sixty years ..."

It seems to me that the moment when PF decided not to aswer the Dubia of the four Cardinals was the formal, official moment ... the starting gun ... when the Petrine Ministry entered into its current "temporary suspense". When, likewise, he ignored the Filial Correction which some of us had sent him, he confirmed that Suspense. Thus we are officially in a period in which the functions of the Papal Magisterium are in a vacatio which will be ended at the moment when the same Petrine Magisterial organ as formally returns from dogmatic silence to the audible exercise of the functions rightly attributed to it in Catholic Tradition and Magisterial Conciliar definition; that is, "devoutly to guard and faithfully to set forth the Tradition received through the Apostles; i.e. the Deposit of Faith".

In a masterly address on Apostasy delivered a couple of years ago at Buckfast, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke spoke of "The poisonous fruits of the failure of the Church's pastors in the matters of Worship, teaching, and moral discipline ... ". His dear Eminence always puts things so much better than I could!

And you will remember the Letter sent to PF by Fr Tom Weinandy. He wrote that a bishop who espoused heretical teaching "would no longer bear within himself as a bishop the four defining marks of the Church  and, therefore, he could no longer justifiably act as an ecclesial member within the Church. He may continue to act outside the Church, or even within the Church, but his actions would lack a genuine ecclesial character, for the essential and indispensable four marks of the Church would be absent within his specious ministry."

If this pontificate lasts much longer, perhaps we shall need to unpick some of the implications of that last sentence. 

As if to confirm providentially the judgement of Mueller, Weinandy and others, a few days ago PF enacted a document which was not carelessly enunciated at the back of an airliner but, so he himself has told us, had been in his consideration for months. The Indifferentism so often condemned by his predecessors, so repugnant to the teaching of Holy Scripture, so insulting to the witness of  each and every Martyr, is now the teaching of a man who also, lamentably, holds the office of Bishop of Rome. This suggests to me that PF has himself consciously stopped even bothering to remain within the parameters set by the Magisterium to which he is as much under an obligation to submit as is anybody else. Fas est et ab hostibus doceri: never forget the chilling words of Fr Rosica, that this pope is free from the constraints of Scripture and Tradition.


I can see no present grounds plausibly to speculate that PF's divagations from orthodoxy will in future tolerate any restraints. It is as if, having discovered himself at the bottom of a hole, he has decided that the only thing to do is to keep digging with redoubled energy until he gets to Tasmania. Or, like the Duke of Wellington in the Fifth Act of the Battle of Waterloo, perhaps he is saying to the world "In for a penny, in for a pound"! Or does he think that he might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb? Will his parting gift to the Church Militant be a ringing endorsement of the homoiousios? Will his lips murmur En pote hote ouk en as they nail down the coffin?

By joining with Newman in this analysis, I do not, of course, in any way suggest that PF and the silent or heterodox bishops have lost the right or capacity to use the Magisterium of his and their offices. On the contrary. Precisely as Newman did, I am simply observing that, as a matter of fact, he is not and they are not at this moment using it.

Her Immaculate Heart will prevail!

Note: Newman is referring to Pope* Liberius; and, in referring to general councils*, he does not mean Ecumenical Councils. He explained later that he follows S Robert Bellarmine in distinguishing between Ecumenical Councils and councils which, even if large, do not count as Ecumenical. So nobody should try to apply these words to Vatican II, which was undoubtedly a 'valid' Ecumenical Council. Whether it always sought all the right answers to all the right questions in all the right places is, of course, another matter.

10 February 2019

"PIETY/PIETAS/GODLINESS"

Today's Sunday Collect in the Old Roman Rite and in the Ordinariate Rite is a beautiful and ancient prayer asking God to guard (custodi) his Household (familia) with "continua pietate".

Pietas is the word which gives us the English term piety; but there is rather more to it than that. After all, the English word piety suggests a humble human attitude of devout religious attention to God. That is misleading. And it would confuse you as you read this particular prayer: after all, God isn't pious towards us; We're supposed to be pious towards him.

Pius is a Latin adjective and pietas is the noun that comes from it; pietate is what's called the Ablative, so pietate means "with pietas". And what these words refer to is the sense of duty and obligation which somebody has towards those to whom he is bound by bonds of kinship or religion or country or friendship or whatever. In Vergil's epic the Aeneid, the hero is called "Pius Aeneas" because he is dutiful to the Gods (he rescues the sacred Palladium); to his country Troy (for which he fights as long as possible: when there is no further hope, he guides its remnants to a new country); to his Father (whom he carries out of the wreckage of Troy upon his shoulders); to his friend Pallas (an adolescent whose death in battle Aeneas avenges in the bloodthirsty climax at the end of Book XII of the Aeneid).

But Vergil also uses pietas to refer to the gods themselves: "May the gods, if there is any pietas in heaven ...."; and "Almighty Juppiter ... if any ancient pietas regards human labours ..." (compare "If pia divinities can do anything ..."). The idea was that the Gods, too, can be thought of as having their duties towards mortals (or particular mortals). And this sense was to be very common in Christian Latin, which developed as a special dialect crafted to serve the needs of Christians and especially of their Liturgy. So pietas becomes pretty well synonymous with misericordia (mercy) and clementia (clemency). And the end of this story of the evolution of words is that we get the English derivative pity. (Incidentally, the old Lewis and Short is rather less helpful on this than the newer Oxford Latin Dictionary.)

So ... does pietate in this collect mean (1) our devoted duty to God, or (2) his covenanted loving-kindness to us? In his English translation, Archbishop Cranmer got it wrong and thought it meant the former (1): so he rendered it as "true religion" (and, in another similar collect, "godliness"). Experts are agreed, however, that it means the latter (2). But Cranmer was aware of the two possibilities: for Epiphany 1 he correctly rendered caelesti pietate ('heavenly pietas') as "mercifully".

In fact, there is a slight difference between 'ordinary' Christian speech and the usage of prayers like the collect we are considering now. In more 'ordinary' everyday Christian Latin, for example, in sermons, pietas refers to human attitudes towards God more often than the other way round; in prayers, the word most commonly refers to God's loving attitude towards us. As it does in this collect. This may be a spin-off from the way that, in Roman Imperial circles, people addressed the Mighty. Another possibility is that this may be another example of how 'Christian Latin', as used in prayer, adopted much of the style and vocabulary of very ancient pre-Christian Roman prayer-language; a process brilliantly documented by Christine Mohrmann.

[The main expert on Christian Latin was the great Christine Mohrmann. Today's post also benefits from books by Sr Mary Gonzaga Haessly and Sr Mary Pierre Ellebracht (which I gather can both be found on the Internet). This is a subject to which, before the collapse of both liturgical scholarship and of women's religious communities in the 1960s, women scholars made very significant contributions. What a tremendous shame that even their names are now so little known! I regard it as a demand of pietas to do what I can to remedy the situation!]

9 February 2019

Genesis 18:32 and Athanasius Schneider

"Then he said, 'Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.' He answered, 'For the sake of ten I will not destroy it'".

Bishop Schneider has spoken up, unambiguously, about PF's disreputable descent into Indifferentism.

Could it be that nine more bishops might now follow his lead? So as to make up the ten bishops for the sake of whom the Almighty might in gracious Mercy lay aside his destruction of the Episcopate?

To adopt again the terminology of Blessed John Henry Newman: one man has reversed the Suspense of the Church's teaching Office. Might the example of just this one, a mere Auxiliary Bishop from the Peripheries, precipitate an avalanche of orthodoxy among the soi-disant Successors of the Apostles?

What will it take to induce these timorous men to rediscover their inner Parrhesia?


8 February 2019

Waugh and Pope Francis

In Brideshead, Waugh describes his disillusionment with the Army in terms of a husband's disillusionment with a wife:
"I caught the false notes in her voice and learned to listen for them apprehensively ... I learned ... her jealousy and self-seeking, and her nervous trick with the fingers when she was lying ...".

I wonder if I am the only one to have followed this process with PF: "The nervous trick with the fingers when she was lying".

I had precisely this experience again with regard to PF's recent document advocating syncretistic relativism. Even before I had found the full text of the Declaration on my computer (I am still no good at all with these machines), I had seen his statement that the Declaration did not "go an inch beyond" the teaching of Vatican II.

Instantly ... I knew ... that it was going to go, in fact, rather more than an inch.

"The nervous trick with the fingers when he is lying".

Perhaps some of you, during these dark days, have recalled Chesterton's words Naught for your comfort, Yea, naught for your desire, save that the sky grows darker yet and the sea rises higher. But at least PF's propensity to resort to mendacity like a duck to water makes him that bit easier to read and, to that degree, perhaps a trifle less dangerous.



7 February 2019

Mohrmann

A kind and generous benefactor has responded to my plea! A heartfelt Thank You to all who responded.

Prezzy?

Sometimes kind people ask me if there is a book I would like.

For years, I have made do with the great Christine Mohrmann's The origins of Christian Latin in a pile of photocopied sheets. It would be nice, and relaxing, to have it as a book.

Could anyone find a copy and gift it to me?

That woman so incisively saw through the errors of the silly little fellows who paraded themselves as being Liturgical Experts.

6 February 2019

"Diversity of religions is intended by God". Dr Newman comments.

So PF has agreed with a Moslem cleric that religious pluralism and diversity are willed by God.

I am rather interested in what other Moslem scholars might have to say about this. Some of them are quite sound chaps when it comes to the errors of Relativism.

Fr Zed has given a characteristically fine and intelligent interpretation of PF's words. As have some others.

Having perused them, I am also rather interested in what some parts of the Jewish Community might think of any suggestion that the Holocaust was willed by God as part of His "permissive will".

What Fr Zed and others have done is (this is not irony; I mean it) absolutely essential; it is truly necessary. In the great task which some future pontificate will inherit, of putting the Papal Magisterium back up on its feet after the disasters of this pontificate, it wo'n't do just to say "That man was repeatedly, disastrously, wrong". Because the obvious corollary of this is that any pope may be horribly wrong. The standing of the Successor of S Peter will need to be restored, for the good of the Church and for however much time there will be before the End. So, surely, it will have to be said that there are ambiguities in his texts which need to be interpreted carefully and authoritatively in order to rescue them, and him, from apparent heresy.

But I do think it is outrageous that pastors and academics should have to waste their time dreaming up these 'interpretations' of yet another PF disaster. By the way: was Cardinal Ladaria shown this text?

Blessed John Henry Newman dealt succinctly with this particular heresy in the biglietto speech which he delivered on receiving the official notification that he was to be a Cardinal.

"For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion. Never did Holy Church need champions against it more sorely than now, when, alas! it is an error overspreading, as a snare, the whole earth ... Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy."

Actually ... come to think of it ... you'd better keep quiet about all this. Newman is due to be canonised later this year; it would be a shame to put a spanner in the works (do Americans use that expression?) at this stage in the proceedings.

I have a terrible vision in my imagination of PF, dear poppet that he is, tottering out of S Peter's, propped up as ever by poor Mgr Marini; tearing up the text prepared for him to read (he quite likes doing that) and shouting "I'm cancelling the canonisation, and actually I'm dismissing this Newman from being a Beatus. I'd never realised what a Rigid Pharisaical Pelagian Sourpuss Elitist Coprophiliac he was. AND THAT'S MAGISTERIUM!!!"

You wouldn't want that to happen, would you? Just when we're all looking forward to having JHN on the Calendar as a Double of the First Class with a Common Octave?

So ... ... 'nuff said ... ... Shhhhhhh!

Behold a Great Priest

Behold a great Priest who in his days was pleasing to God and in a time of wrath was found a Reconciliation. Mgr Edwin Barnes has died after a short illness. He was the first Bishop of Richborough; one of those who led a people out of the wilderness into Full Communion with the See of S Peter; into the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham and Blessed John Henry Newman.

At our meetings in Westminster, as some people tried to devise ways of staying in the Church of England, he repeatedly said, with charming faux naivety, "But the game is up!".

He was a dear, kind, clever man and bishop.

Cuius animae propitetur Deus.

5 February 2019

"Invalidists"

I do not enable comments which claim, for whatever reason , that PF is not (or might not be) the true Bishop of Rome. I do not wish, on the Day of Judgement, to have to explain my collusion in encouraging souls for whom Christ died to separate themselves from His Body the Church.

For similar reasons, I do not enable comments which say, suggest or imply that the Orders of the post-Conciliar Latin Church are not (or might not be) valid.

There is a funny side to this. Often these idiots discuss how many ... or rather how few ... immensely aged but validly consecrated bishops there are now still left in the Catholic Church. They appear to be unaware of the existence of the sui iuris Oriental Catholic Churches, which still today continue to confer Holy Order in accordance with the rites they have uninteruptedly received from Antiquity and which were regarded as adequate for validity at the Council of Florence, and, after that, whenever a dissident community returned to the Roman Unity. One wonders why these nutty specialists on invalidity don't join Ukrainian or Melkite or Syro-Malabar or Maronite or Coptic or Chaldaean jurisdictions. Or have these also all now suddenly become 'invalid'? What weird parodies of rational argument will these people dream up to invalidate the Orders of the Catholic Orientals?

But I have an additional personal reason for not enabling 'invalidist' comments. Only three or four weeks ago, I published a series "Are they really bishops?" in which I discussed this subject in case such discussion might be helpful to people who had been unsettled by Invalidists. I deployed a lot of facts. On the basis of these facts, I asked lots of questions. I have never received, from these lofty and omniscient individuals, any suggested anwers to any of my questions.

So when people write asserting as unargued fact the invalidity of modern Orders, with not even a passing allusion to my articles, I take it very personally as just shockingly bad manners. So, get lost!

A final warning. If sedevacantists or invalidists treat the Sacraments of the "Post-Conciliar" Church as invalid, they will be be committing sacrilege.

Sacrilege is a very bad idea.

Don't go to Hell.

4 February 2019

Lust (2)

We live in a world in which sexual disorders are actually inculcated by that Dark Hegemony which saps both the joy and the virtue from authentic human life.

I can only describe my own feelings about what is needed.

Above all, the current Suspense in the Magisterium needs to be brought to an end. The Roman Pontiff, if his job description is to have any reality, must do this. The Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter so that, with His help, they should defend and put forth the Tradition handed down through the Apostles, the Deposit of Faith.

Perhaps we need a Year of Purity, like the Year of Faith, in which the Church's ancient Traditions should be reaffirmed ...

 ... particularly with regard to Chastity, Celibacy, Marital Fidelity, and Virginity.

An Apostolic Letter could begin by confessing to the World that many of the Church's own ministers, even at the highest levels, had fallen short of their calling.

And that the Roman See itself had allowed the Truth to be concealed beneath ambiguities, especially in the document Amoris laetitia. 

The ambiguities of that document could then be resolved. An obvious way of doing this would be to answer the Dubia.

Next, the Magisterial teaching of, for example, Casti Connubii (!930), Sacra Virginitas (1954), Sacerdotii nostri Primordia (1959), Sacerdotalis Caelibatus (1967), and Humanae Vitae (1968) should again be set forth, in all its beauty and dignity.

It would be convenient for such a document to conclude with formal anathemas condemning specific and specified erroneous teachings in the field of Holy Purity. After all, is it not the munus of the Roman See is to act as a remora against innovatory error? Perhaps there should be modifications to Canon Law to ensure that adequate and orthodox teaching is given in seminaries, novitiates, Roman academies, etc..

Would it not then begin to become possible for the Church to move on?


 

3 February 2019

Lust, Lust, Lust, and Bishops. (1)

PF believes that the crisis in the Church is to do with Clericalism. He will not blame homosexuality.

My belief is that the crisis relates to Lust. And to disordered  Lust.

If an abusing priest is homosexually inclined, his problem is Homosexual Lust. If he is heterosexually inclined, his problem is Heterosexual Lust. I fail to see that there is very much practical difference between the two. I fail to see that it is particularly helpful to fling the word 'disordered' about. Does anybody seriously argue that there is any 'right ordering' in the abuse of a young girl just because it may be her vagina that is abused?

I share papa Ratzinger's view that the problem acquired vaster dimensions in that period during the 1960s when crooked individuals among seminary and university teachers were spreading the diabolical gospel that there are no absolute moral prohibitions. The dreadful problem has been shown to have peaked in the period 1965-1985.

I can see only one real difference between, say, 1970, and today. It is this: we know now that paedophilia is, at least usually, incurable. This has not always been quite so obvious, not least when there were psychiatrists who were prepared to guarantee that they had cured an abuser. (I wonder, incidentally, why some of these 'clinicians', who assured bishops that Fr X was OK now, are not being given their rightful share of the job of facing the music.)

So I do have some sympathy for some bishops who, back in the 1970s, gave a second chance to 'cured' paedophiles. Whether that same sympathy is owed to bishops who have operated cover-ups in more recent decades, I am far from sure.

If the hierarchs who meet in Rome next month, representing their respective Conferences, let PF get away with his sick dodge of blaming 'clericalism', rather than facing up to the the problem of LUST, and of profoundly disordered seminary teaching, they will have a lot answer for.

And it is not presbyters who should bear the brunt of criticism. The current crisis is the result of massive mismanagement by that Order in the Church which, with so much self-congratulatrion, used Vatican II to award itself an enhanced status in the Church. The pompous episcopal oligarchy which emerged strengthened from that disastrous gathering is a big part of the problem.


I remember Ratzinger, years ago, complaining that so many bishops, timorously faced with difficult decisions which might make them unpopular back home, kicked the ball to Rome for the CDF to do the hard stuff, and then played Mr Nice Guy on their home turf.

Is it not obvious that the current generation of Bishops is, as a whole and generally speaking, a very busted flush? If this were not true, they would have done something before now about this scandalously disfunctional pontificate.


There is an old Anglican joke about a child watching an episcopal consecration. (In Anglicanism, the coconsecrators all gather around the consecrand and impose hands simultaneously.) The kiddy asked what they were all doing.

"Removing his backbone".

A second part of this will discuss , more constructively, what is to be done.

2 February 2019

Ante torum huius Virginis frequentate nobis dulcia cantica dramatis

Some years ago, Fr Sean (quondam Vallis Adurni notissimus Pastor nunc autem montis cultor) and I were trying to solve our mutual perplexities about this antiphon, which so many of you will have been singing with the last psalm of the first nocturn at Mattins of Candlemas. Here is the gist of what, with the help of some learned contributions on threads, we discovered.

Perhaps the easy bit is ante torum. Torus is a couch or bed, and usually means a marriage bed in the Vulgate. Frequentare did sometimes mean to repeat. No problem.

The odd bit is dramatis. It is very uncommon in Latin and does not occur in the Bible. S Anthony of Padua remarks in passing that drama means a rather active form of music, with gesticulatio and repraesentatio.  It does, presumably, come from the Greek drao (I do). It is clear that those who quote this antiphon felt a great need to give their readers some sort of account of the meaning of the word. There is a persistent tendency to link it with the Song of Solomon. S Aldhelm (d.708) refers to that Song as a sponsale drama. A writer who died in 1089 calls it cantica dramatis. A writer of the 1150s says that it is called drama "because it is a love song, which is sung by lovers without personae [named characters]; whence that song is called dramaticum where different characters are introduced but not named". Another medieval writer refers drama to the "change of character, as also in the Song of Solomon". An Assumption Day hymn desires all things earthly, and the stars, "to alternate a song of dramata before the bridal chamber of the Virgin".

I am convinced that this antiphon was already venerable when it entered the Divine Office (I have traced it in liturgical books as far back as about 860), and that it came from an already much older source and thus already had the status of a venerable tradition.

 The anonymous undated Pseudo-Ildephonsus (PL 96 coll 239 seqq) makes most use of this anthem. He relates it to Bethlehem and to the Dormition. "We are invited to the cradle of this Infancy, which the angels frequent (frequentant) ... For dramaton, my beloved ladies, is a type of song, in which type the Song of Solomon is said to be written. Lo! we are commanded, so that a more generous chanting may be commended, to repeat (frequentare), in honour of this Virgin, sweet songs in this genre, where [Angels, the star, magi, shepherds, are all busy doing it] ... before whose couch, I ask you again, that at her burial you should sing not dirges (threnos) of sorrow, not lamentations of weeping, but sweet songs to God, for today she has now, rejoicing, arrived at the King's bridal chamber ... where the choirs of Saints alternate wedding songs, where epithalamia of bride and groom are melodiously chanted ... she herself [the Virgin] sings with them [the heavenly host] a new song of drama, which nobody is able to sing except in that choir ... ."

I think the writer is enjoying, wallowing in, the deployment of an exotically alien word. The clerks of the Carolingian renascence rather liked this sort of game. Might that be its cultural background?

Perhaps a drily literal account of it would be:

Before the couch of this Virgin repeat for us sweet songs of alternating characters.

1 February 2019

"Annibale Bugnini ..." by Chiron (2)

Continues ...
The Chiron biography of Bugnini records that, during the pre-Conciliar drafting of the decree Sacrosanctum Concilium, "at no time, it seems, did any participant (member or consultor) ever propose - at least publicly - the addition of other canons to the sole Roman Canon then in use. Some, however, were proposing that changes ought to be introduced into it."

Ha!, I hear you cry. So  the rats were already nibbling away ...

True. But how deep were these rodents biting? One of them was a man called Vagaggini, later to be a great advocate of the proliferation of Eucharistic Prayers. What, in 1961, was his daringly radical , earth-shaking, proposal?

"Granting the faculty of introducing one or two local saints among those named in the Canon".

!!!

If only!

Some bold Austrian Jesuit called Hofinger said there ought to be no prohibition against changing something in the Canon. This led to an immediate retort from the most distinguished and learned historian of the Canon, J A Jungmann. His magisterial two-volume History of the Roman Rite is still normative. He was a colleague and former teacher of the Bold Jesuit.

"But those changes ought to occur only for the gravest reasons," he said.

We need to remember (1) how rapidly the entire landscape was to change. Less than a decade after these comparatively restrained scholarly debates, the Roman Canon had to all intents and purposes ceased to be used and some two or three hundred home-made "Eucharistic Prayers" were, to S Paul VI's great consternation, in circulation. And (2), that in 1961, neither the avant-garde, the Hofingers, not the rear-gard, the Lefebvres, had the faintest, remotest, tiniest idea of where we know now it would all lead.

Chiron's biography of Bugnini enables you to go back in time and to be a fly on the wall as the 'experts' ... if you will allow me to mix my metaphors ... edged blindly forward into the quicksands and through the mist.

I shall, from time to time, make more use of Chiron.