3 August 2020

Psalms (4) VENITE, Psalm 94/95

"For the LORD is a great God: and a great King above all gods."

I am going to assume that the learned readers of this humble blog are aware that the Name of the Hebrew God was not uttered aloud in the periods with which we are concerned; that when a reader came across the Four Letters YHWH, he actually uttered the word for "Lord" ... and that this convention continued in Latin and Greek. And that, brilliantly and helpfully, Bible translations in the Anglican tradition derived from the King James Bible signify this by rendering YHWH as LORD in upper-case letters. So, in verse three of the Venite, as Neale/Littledale point out, the literal rendering [I slightly adapt] is "For YHWH is a great El, and a great King over all Elohim."

It is depressingly easy, when saying the Divine Office in Latin or English, to forget the significance of LORD, Dominus; perhaps subconsciously to assume that it is simply a stylistic variant upon "God". I find I have to make an effort ... But if we do make this incorrect assumption, we miss innumerable nuances. Because when we say "He is the LORD our God", we are saying that our God is YHWH. Not one of the other options; not one of the other gods.

And YHWH is associated with His City and with His Temple. So we often find, as in this psalm, that a reference to Him may be textually close to a reference (explicit or implicit) to His Temple. And when, as so often, there is reference to His Name, this means the Name which is associated with His People, His City, and especially His Temple.

It is an exclusive, unecumenical, term. Our God is YHWH, not one of the gods of the nations. And I feel that it would Marcionite heresy to forget this at Mass. Gratias agamus Domino, Deo nostro emphasises precisely the point of the psalmist: "Let us give thanks to YHWH because He is our God ... we have no truck with any others". And we affirm our full place in the Hebraic heritage. It is possible that, in verse 4, when we say that "the strength of the hills is His also", we are claiming for our God YHWH the 'High Places' which the fertility deities of Canaan had taken over for their cult. Neale/Littledale refer to "the overthrow of heathen temples, and the rearing of Christian shrines on the eminences of Tabor, Sinai, Athos, and many another famous hill".

Perhaps for centuries, women and men of our culture have thought of Idolatry as a happily long defeated error; a primitive folly of earlier and 'less advanced' ages. Preachers have rescued and redeployed traditional polemic against idolatry by telling us that we should not be worshipping Money or Ambition or whatever. And that is perfectly fair, even necessary.

But how very singular that in our own 'advanced' and 'sophisticated' age, the ancient idolatries in their earthiest forms have crept back among us, looking curiously like the shapes they took in the time of our ancestors, in Canaan of old. A new fashion for "the indigenous", feeding upon a new (and proper) guilt about capitalist assaults upon the rain-forests, has bred a diabolical respect for the numina of  'Amazonian' and other cults. Who, if they exist, are demons.

'Pachamama' ... or whatever ... is not the Name above all other names; it is also not an equivalent for that Name.

The second half of the Venite warns us about the dangers of falling into idolatry. This is the same warning S Paul gave his gentile converts in Romans 11: 21 and I Corinthians 10. It is the warning of all the Prophets, bound up in The Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. 

How fitting that every priest of the Latin Rite says the Venite every day at the start of his Office.

It is God's warning for today.

2 August 2020

Pope S Horace I?

Browsing through the Bull Munificentissimus Deus, in which Papa Pacelli defined the dogma of our Blessed Lady's Bodily Assumption, I noticed a particular phrase on the very edge of the formal definition itself.

The pope explained that one reason for the definition was personal: he wished to leave a monumentum aere perennius of his burning love for the Theotokos.

A 'memorial more long-lasting than bronze' is the exact phrase used by Quintus Horatius Flaccus as he concluded the first three books of his Carmina: a work by which he hoped to secure immortal renown as the man who spun the 'Aeolian song' of Sappho and Alcaeus into Latin poetry.

I wonder whether any other Infallible pronouncement of the Church's Magisterium has ever been introduced in such a way. It is not easy to imagine Trent beginning with something juicy by Catullus, or Nicaea I being introduced with a line from Aristophanes.

... um er ... genre confusion ... um er ...

And just you get this gigantic coincidence: Horace's birthday was December 8, Feast of our Lady's Holy and Immaculate Conception.

When Pope Leo XIV issues his mighty Constitutio Dogmatica Apostolica necnon et Synodica cancelling e radicibus the entire (ita dictum) "Magisterium" of PF, I wonder what might be a suitable literary quotation to accompany it.

Surely somebody can offer a helpful suggestion? It doesn't have to be from Juvenal or even Milton.

1 August 2020

Psalms (3)

Curiously, we do not know how the Venite (Ps 94 Vg/LXX = Ps 95 MT) was used in Temple worship. But we should take seriously the opening word, which implies motion. (I mean that it is not like the English "C'mon let's have a singsong".) We are to "come" somewhere; we are to move to where God is to be encountered. Nothing is more subversive of true religion than the "spiritual" notion that we need not do more than discern a ubiquitous god. The whole point of Creation is the endless variety of objects and times and places. Exclusively "Spiritual" commerce between an ego and a monad effectively denies the credal affirmation of God as Creator.

Does the Hebrew text point to the Temple Mount upon its lofty rock? We are, literally, urged to make a joyful noise to "the rock of our salvation". But the Septuagintal translation, followed by the Vugate, renders "rock" as "God"! This is an example of how, throughout the Psalter, concrete and vivd terms such as  rock, shield, fortress are replaced by more respectful terms. It has been suggested that one motive may be a desire to avoid encouraging idolatry. (If so, the policy might be said to have failed in the case of Wordsworth and the tradition of English Poetic Landscape-and-Weather Worship.)

S Jerome, pointing out that the word Salvation shares its root with the Name Jesus, neatly suggested that we might translate "rock of our Salvation" as "Jesus our Rock". This might open up interesting links with the Rock which Moses struck open in the Wilderness and thereby to devotion to the Sacred Heart. If, on the other hand, we stick with the version in the Breviary, Deo salutari nostro, an appetite for elegant intertextualities will remark upon its similarity to Mary's phrase near the beginning of the Magnificat, Deo salutari meo (the Greek Bible offers the same parallelism).

"Venite". So we are to come into His presence; Neale/Littledale point out that "coming before His Face" often implies coming before God with Sacrifice (Micah 6:6). "The chief constituent of the sacrifice of Thanksgiving  ... was an oblation of cakes of fine flour and wafer bread, and thus we may justly see in this place a prophecy of the Sacrifice of the New Law, that Eucharistic oblation of praise and thanksgiving wherein CHRIST is Himself offered in a mystery to the FATHER".

In fact, to be pedantic, Leviticus 7 is saying that the 'cakes' accompany  the Thank Offering. Canon Arthur Couratin, long-time Principal of Staggers, used to irritate Protestants who chattered on about "sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving" by pointing out that in the Law, Sacrifices of Thanksgiving tended, as he put it, to have four legs and say "Baaahaaah".

How fittingly do Byzantines refer to the Eucharistic Host as the amnos.

In verse three, Neale/Littledale remark "The force of this verse is somewhat weakened in all the versions, by their failing to give the precisepoint of the Hebrew". I save this for next time.

31 July 2020

Maccabees

An advantage in the the current Roman legislation regarding the "Extraordinary Form": it is currently legal, on August 1 to say Mass of the Maccabees.

This is very important. This celebration was the only relic on the Roman Calendar of the old principle that the History of God's People, "Old Testament" and "New Testament", is a continuum. There is no break. Abraham, as the Canon of the Mass insists on 363 days of the year, is our Patriarch; our great forefather.

There is no theological reason against having "Old Testament" figures on a Catholic Calendar. The local Calendar of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has them ... because, there, they are local Saints. One of the joys of helping out at Lanherne is that the old Carmelite Calendar provides "Old Testament" figures in large numbers. Then, of course, there are the Eastern Christian Calendars.

So why the dearth of "Old Testament" names in the Calendar of the Church of Rome? Because, in the earlier centuries, Church dedications so often related to relics (a reason why there are so few churches dedicated to our Lady from before the Council of Ephesus). And the relics of the Maccabees are, indeed, in Rome.

"But the Maccabees were not martyrs for Christ". But they were. They were martyrs for the Torah, and the Man from Nazareth was, is, the Wisdom and Word of God, which means, the Torah. "Christ now stands on the Mountain, he now takes the place of the Torah", as Rabbi Neusner interprets S Matthew. "Jesus understands himself as the Torah -- as the word of God in person ... [he claims to be the] Temple and Torah in person", comments Joseph Ratzinger. (I have emphasised before the importance of the middle volume of his Jesus of Nazareth, pages 103sqq, Ratzinger dialoguing at length with his friend Rabbi Jacob Neusner).

Witnessing to the Torah in those days before the Torah stood among us Incarnate, they are His martyrs. Secondarily, of course, they are the perfect paradigms of the numberless martyrs of the early Christian centuries ... and of our own.

The confectors of the Novus Ordo frankly admitted that the Feast of the Maccabees is of extreme antiquity, and, indeed, universality. But they wanted to put S Alfonso on August 1, and they bound themselves by their own silly fetich not to have "Commemorations". So they left the Maccabees "to local calendars".

You might think, therefore that in the Novus Ordo local calendar "Pro clero almae urbis eiusque districtus, typis polyglottis Vaticanis MCMLXXIV" might have the Maccabees. Er ...

You'd never guess whose name appears at the bottom of the Decree authorising this supplement. It begins with B.

I think it's time somebody raised a great cry: "The Novus Ordo is anti-semitic".

Our own Sir Keir Starmer should lead an international campaign to get it banned.

30 July 2020

Psalms (2)

A Commentary on the Book of the Psalms, Preserving Christian Publications, Boonville, New York 2008, American ISBN 978-0-9802084-4-3, is a fine book which would feed the spirituality of those who wish to benefit from the surface text of the psalms. But, as Bishop Moriarty explained "it omits those portions which are purely philological, or which relate to the discrepancy and reconciliation of texts and versions". And, frankly, what the Archdeacon omitted is the sort of thing I, moi, love getting into.

Does all that 'dry' historical stuff really matter? Let me briefly take Psalm 91 (Vg-LXX) = 92 (MT). Bonum est confiteri, as Anglicans have always called it. There is a rabbinical legend that this was the song of praise uttered by Adam as the first Sabbath dawned upon the world, and that it descended by tradition as the special hymn for that day. Moving into historical time, what we do know is that it was sung in the Temple on the Sabbath at the offering of the Tamid, the first lamb of public sacrifice, in the morning, when the wine offering was poured out and the Breads were offered (Numbers 28). And verse 2 refers to both the morning and the evening sacrifices of the lamb. In the old Breviary, it was still in use on the Sabbath at Lauds because "the Roman Church, amongst other tokens of the poweful Judaizing influence which affected its earliest days, retains it as part of Saturday Lauds". Apparently, rabbinic Judaism still uses it on the Sabbath. And its Sabbath use survived the revision of the Palter under Pope S Pius X. Indeed, even the Liturgy of the Hours retains its use on alternate Sabbaths.

I am aware that not everybody, in their journey of Faith, needs the same props. But I don't see what harm such informations will do to any presbyter or laic as they say Saturday Lauds before setting off up the Hill to the Altar of Sacrifice.

In my second paragraph, I high-lighted one sentence. It was borrowed from A Commentary on the Psalms: from Primitive and Medieval writers; and from the Various Office Books and Hymns of the Roman, Mozarabic, Ambrosian, Greek, Coptic, Armenian and Syriac rites. By The Rev. J.M. Neale, D.D., sometime Warden of Sackville College, East Grinstead, and the Rev. R.F. Littledale, Ll.D., sometime scholar of Trinity College Dublin. 1887.

A ripe product of the scholarship of the second generation of the Catholic Revival in the Church of England (and Ireland). It does what it says on the tin. I doubt if it's still in print ...

29 July 2020

Liturgical law: S Joseph and the Roman Canon

Here is an old blogpost, originally from November 13 2009, and published again in June 2019, together with the threads from those earlier versions. I reprint it because of 
(1) recent debate about the editiones typicae  of the Missale Romanum.

It matters whether there was an editio typica in 1962, and, if so, what its date was. Because on these details hangs the question of whether it is lawful to add S Joseph to the Canon of the Mass. Or unlawful!!

I think this is quite interesting! That insertion was the beginning of the tampering with the Roman Canon which led us to the Novus Ordo alterations in that venerable Prayer. Its discontinuation seems to me laudable.

(2) There is also the important  fact that, pretty universally, the rather unsatisfactory rite of "1962" is not celebrated as printed but with a lot of the manners, mannerisms, of the previous dispensation. These variations presumably now (compare Canon 26) have the prescription of consuetudo; and remember O'Connell's discussion of consuetudines contra vel praeter legem.
 
This is what I had originally written in 2009:

"A very strange youtube video has appeared, from the Ecclesia Dei Commission, showing How To Say Mass. I mention here only the oddity that S Joseph is absent from the Canon. (And, in case you were wondering, there is no Third Confiteor)".I expect that youtube has long-since disappeared; and that more recently printed copies do have S Joseph.

I venture to add a word of practical advice to those newly embarking on a priestly career; or who have just learned and are now using the Old Mass (congratulations, Fathers!).
ADVICE: Printed versions of the 1962 Missal are attractively produced and light-weight enough to be useful for travelling. But that version of the Roman Rite misses out a lot of earlier stuff. I would urge you to get your hands on a second-hand copy of an earlier Missal (even if you have to get it rebound). If you want to add S Joseph to the Canon, do it ... and other such emendations ... in the margin and in pencil. Similarly, things you gum in should be removeable. Because things change, and one's own views on minor matters change, and it is a very good idea only to emend a printed liturgical text in such a way that it is easy to reverse the change. And don't forget that the CDF is likely, in your lifetime if not in mine, to add post-1962 material ... as it already has the New Prefaces.



28 July 2020

The Psalms (1)

There is a splendidly produced Commentary on the Psalms, written by S Bellarmine, translated by the Venerable John O'Sullivan, Archdeacon of Kerry, and commended by David Moriarty, Bishop of Kerry. What a majestic trio!! Bellarmine was the very flower of Counter-Reformation erudition, rescuing the Faith intellectually from the Protestant claim that Popery was in opposition to 'Primitive Christianity'. David Moriarty was a close friend of S John Henry Newman, and one of, I think, only two of the Fathers of Vatican I who never actually ... as such ... subscribed the decrees of the Council. Those were the days when sound men and true were a trifle nervous that Pastor Aeternus might be used to promote ultra-papalism: they can never have suspected that the day could come when Vatican I would stand up to be counted as our protection against the ultrahyperuebersuperpapalism at the heart of the Bergoglianist error. Vivat Moriarty, Vivat Concilium. It is remarkable how le bon Dieu over-rules our errors and our anxieties.

And the Venerable Archdeacon? The Catholic Church in Ireland still maintains the honorary title of Archdeacon ... I believe the French Church did until the Revolution. Archdeacon O'Sullivan, D.D.,   was also Rector of Kenmare, in the part of Ireland I knew so very well for a couple of decades. Indeed, I once stood next to the then Catholic Archdeacon of Kerry (brother, incidentally, of the then Bishop of Kerry) in a sculpture Park in the little town of Sneem, as the Egyptian Ambassador unveiled a statue of the goddess Isis! Think about that for a moment ... Anglican priest ... Catholic Archdeacon ... Islamic Ambassador ... syncretistic pagan goddess! Whatever were we all doing ... well, I'll tell you: we were lending cheerful light-hearted backing to the local tourist trade. And today I will commend to you the Ring of Kerry as a fantastic place to holiday. There are hundreds of first-millennium monastic sites ... including the Skelligs ... and there is fish to guzzle.

Mind you, in this age of Pachamama I think I would now have qualms about appearing to be light-hearted about her cousin Isis. Among much else, relativist syncretist liberals have stolen from us so many possibilities for light-heartedness which were, only three decades ago, matters for innocent play; because, when Isis was just ancient history and ancient art, and Liz Taylor as Cleopatra was an object of helpless merriment, Isis was not much of an occasion of temptation to idolatry. PF, and all that lot, have changed things so terribly for the worse. May God forgive them for the grim and laughterless world which they have sponsored.

Archdeacon O'Sullivan ... Moriarty's Archdeacon ... was a staunch and effective defender of his people during the dark days of the 'Soupers': when, in times of famine, Protestants with money gave food away free of charge to the starving peasantry ... free, as long as they took part in proddy worship. And took their children along too. He was a very big and very great man, still remembered with pride.

PF, by cutting down the Monsignore industry, has happily made the Catholic Church in England look much more Indigenous ... Yes!! ... because our senior Catholic presbyters are now 'Canon Thingummy' rather than 'Mgr O'Wotsit'. Perhaps the next stage of inculturation will be for Vicars General, and all those 'Episcopal Vicars' galore, to be replaced by ... Archdeacons! Come back, your venerablenesses! All is forgiven!

That's the way ahead! You know it makes sense!!

In my next piece I will explain my hesitations about the Bellarmine-Moriarty-O'Sullivan commentary on the Psalms.


27 July 2020

Bishop Graham Leonard

I have decided to publish the main parts of a letter written to me (14 June 1994) by Bishop Graham Leonard. He was the senior bishop of the Province of Canterbury after the Archbishop; he was received into full communion after the vote of the General Synod in 1992 to "ordain" women to the presbyterate. Rome decided that he should be ordained to the presbyterate sub conditione.

"... after discussions with the Cardinal [Hume] over many years, and finally after the vote, I petitioned the Holy Father to be received into the Catholic Church, setting out the position as I saw it over my Orders. I had always made it clear (vide my article in the Catholic Herald in November 1992) that I did so as a suppliant without presumption. All I asked was that I should not have to deny my former ministry. I did not seek conditional ordination which was offered by Rome. Cardinal Hume delivered my petition personally to the Pope [S John Paul II]. I am told that it was considered by 4 Cardinals and 10 consultors. The decision that I should be ordained to the priestood per saltum and not first to the diaconate was a personal decision of the Pope.
...

" ... B T Simpson played a crucial part. The Bishop who ordained me in 1948 was Edward Wynn [Bishop of Ely 1941-1957], who was consecrated by Simpson in 1941. Rome was particularly concerned about his intention in conveying Old Catholic Orders. Fortunately, Simpson executed a document of which a copy exists in Pusey House Library, certified by Darwell Stone, which makes his intention clear beyond any doubt. He writes of his 'express intention of transmitting the Old Catholic Succession as well as the Anglican'. Through the Cardinal I provided Rome with a copy of the document.

"So much for my ordination as a priest: the question of my consecration to the episcopate [as Bishop of Willesden in 1964] remains an open one. In my petition, I had said that at my age, I had no desire to exercise episcopal functions, whatever decision be made about my episcopal orders. I did point out that nine bishops in the Old Catholic succession took part in my consecration. The intention of six of them gave no cause for doubt. The then Bishop of London [Robert Stopford] and the then Bishop of Kensington had themselves been consecrated by Old Catholics, the former Archbishop of Utrecht having participated in both consecrations. I was present at the consecration of Ronald Goodchild as Kensington [in 1964] and remember what happened. However, as I say, no decision has been made about my episcopal orders. ..." 

26 July 2020

ONLY FOR OXONIANS

If you have read the recent (pompously condescending) Quad Magazine and looked at page 8 ... "100 Years of Oxford degrees for women" ... you may have wondered who the five principals photographed together when they received their degrees on October 7 1920 were.

From the left:
(1) Miss Moberly of St Hilda's;
(2) Miss Penrose of Somerville;
(3) Mrs (Bertha) Johnson of the Societas Mulierum Oxoniae Privatim Studentium, later St Anne's;
(4) Miss Jourdain of St Hugh's;
(5) Miss Blake of the Lady Margaret's Hall.

Not a single "Ms" among them!!! !!! Glorious days!

Mrs Johnson was the first actually to receive a degree. Her husband, known as "the Johnner", was Chaplain of All Souls and taught in the Hon Sch of Modern History. He was a ferocious tutor; when one undergraduate objected "to being talked to like that", the Johnner replied "Sir, I am paid to be rude to you".

Mrs Johnson originally opposed the idea of women being admitted fully to the University as then constructed, on the grounds that it involved forcing women onto a Procrustean bed designed for men; Miss Moberly headed a college originally founded for women who did not wish their studies to be circumscribed by examinations.

When, in half a millennium's time, discerning historians look back on the twentieth century, I wonder if they might have some ideas about who were the real feminists.

At the aborted Encaenia this centenary year, 2020, the proposed honorands were all women.

Er ...

Sancta Anna, Ora pro nobis

A great Lady, most deserving of the great Who shall find a strong woman lection given her by the Latin Church. May she intercede for the Land of Brittany, faithful to the Church when so much of France went a-whoring after strange deities. Let us not forget that the demonic hatreds which brought a crown of martyrdom to the Carmelites of Compiegne are still alive ... witness the recent fire in Nantes Cathedral. I recall pointing out to a tiny granddauhter called Anna the majestic wording round the ceiling of the Church at Pontrieux, which began ANNA POTENS ... and asked her to pray for the Fatherland. Pedit evidomp.

And Reverend Mother and the Carmelite Sisters at Lanherne in Cornwall, whose lovely little church has S Anne as a Patron: so fitting in the church of Carmelites who came to England in 1794, hounded by the armies of the Enlightenment.

And we shall not forget, shall we, St Anne's College Oxford, blessed spot, where I found a wife and which I rewarded by sending it a daughter and a son. Yes; it became a mixed college. When it was still one of Oxford's five Women's Colleges, and each of the five had a strong individual character, this joke circulated: a woman undergraduate burst into a hen-party with the breathless news that she had just met a man (perhaps not difficult in the days when there were seven men to every woman undergraduate at Oxford).
The Somerville girl (they were preoccupied with academic matters) asked "What's he reading?"
The Lady Margaret Hall girl (they had social antennae): "Who's his father?"
The St Hugh's girl (crazy about sport): "What does he play?"
The St Hilda's girl (waste no time): "Where can I find him?"
The St Anne's girl (elegant, accomplished, and beautiful): "I've already had him to tea".

I had tea quite often in a room overlooking Banbury Road and the Parks Entrance ...

25 July 2020

Brideshead Revised (2)

Another passage which Waugh revised out in his second edition. What is it about Wine and Sex ...

"So at sunset I took formal possession of her as her lover ... as I was made free of her narrow loins and, it seemed now, in assuaging that fierce appetite, cast a burden which I had borne all my life, toiled under, not knowing its nature -- now, while the waves still broke and thundered on the prow, the act of possession was a symbol, a rite of ancient origin and solemn meaning."

24 July 2020

What is to be done about "The Council?

How to bury Vatican II?

There have been many good books which help us to approach "the Council". Professor Roberto de Mattei on the history of the Council; Fr Serafino Lanzetta on its nature as a pastoral Council ... going back to when the splendid Mgr Gherardini opened up the log-jam in 2009 and began to ask necessary questions which, hitherto, had been unaskable in the 'Mainstream Church'. (Mgr Lefebvre, of course, had courageously asked them.)

Today, it is hard to open a computer without finding splendid stuff about the Conciliar legacy from the more courageous of the Successors of the Apostles: from a Vigano or a Schneider. How is the Bergoglian disaster to be resolved? How can the Magisterial catastrophes of this pontificate, and the problems bequeathed by Vatican II, be sorted out? Should we all begin to check through our history books to find out how long it took the disastrous pontificate of Pope Honorius to be sorted out by the definitive repudiations of an Ecumenical Council and of his own successors? Half a century? A Century?

I am all in favour of the analyses and proposals currently being made by better men and cleverer men than I am.

But I would also like a workaday fall-back plan. I want something we can be doing now; something than doesn't depend on hypotheses and hopes about future contingencies.

There is a sense in which I hope that the Council might solve its own problem. Let me explain.

Between the death of S Pius X and the Council, there was about half a century.

When the Council began and the Rhine, ordure, offal, and all, flowed into the Tiber, the cabal which successfully kidnapped the Council for its own purposes was very sure about one thing: the analysis of the needs of the Church made by S Pius X fifty years before was no longer adequate to the Church of the 1960s.

More than the same amount of time ... half a century ...  has now elapsed between the end of the Council and our own time.

Surely no-one can deny that what seemed necessary in the 1960s is now ... History.


The Cold War is no more; instead of International Communist Subversion we have the problem of Islam.

Kindly old gentlemen in the 1960s wondered if the Contraceptive Pill might be a help to nice Catholic married couples who simply wanted to "space" their clean and respectable children: now we have rampant sexual immorality: the Pill is sidelined because AIDS and all those transmissible sexual diseases with the pretty, elegiac names necessitate 'barrier' interventions in the sexual act.

"Too many mouths to feed" has been replaced as a realistic worry by a fear that the working population will soon be too small to support our society.

Above all, the cheerful optimism of the 1960s, the belief that a friendly World was just sitting there waiting to listen to the message of the Church if only we could refine our expression of the Faith ... if only we would gently open our windows ... has given place to a world that is relentlessly hostile to the Sovereignty of Christ the King. If the 1960s uncrowned Him, the 2020s are determined to get Him back on to the Cross.

Vatican II is just about as much of an irrelevancy to this new world of ours, the world of 2020, as the financial legislation of the Emperor Augustus would be to a seminar on jazz.

(Even "liberal" Catholics agree de facto with this proposition of Conciliar irrelevance. Do the Kennedys and the Pelosis, gruesome tribes, have any interest in the strong language with which the Council condemned Abortion, and did so three times?)

Getting Vatican II canonically displaced and some of the actions of PF formally repudiated is a lovely idea ... a beautiful fantasy to help one get off to sleep. I'd  vote for it twice a day. But, far more important, is the need for the Council to be forgotten and to be replaced by a Catholicism vibrantly and healthily expressive of the Gospel and the Faith of the Ages.

I'm not sure you need to be certain you have created a vacuum before you decide what to put into your vacant space.


The Council of Vienne had a Spirit of the Council. In that Spirit, the Templars were burned on probably phony charges of Sodomy and their wealth seized. The French government gathered huge sums of money on the undersnding that it would lead a crusade ... and then just hung on to it all. Does anybody give that Council a second thought? When did you last wake up in the night worrying about it?

Vatican II is as irrelevant now as the Council of Vienne is. Vatican II was every bit as fully and totally a true, valid Ecumenical Council cum Petro et sub Petro as Vienne was ... and it is just about as fully and totally irrelevant today. It is not, however, any more essential for it to be formally repudiated than it would be for Vienne to be expunged from the record. Helpful, yes; edifying, I agree; elegant and logical, most certainly; but not of the esse.

Vatican II needs to be helped to fall out of the memory of the Church, just as Vienne has been. It needs to be forgotten ... left to merge into the Church's general background murmur rather than touted around as if it offered anything whatsoever to help us to deal with Now.