3 February 2009


The frenzy with which the media and the chattering classes are attacking Pope Benedict XVI is truly remarkable. I've always steered clear in the past of those who give too precise accounts of how a highly personal devil might be conducting his affairs, but this lot really make me wonder if Screwtape may not be as real as, for example, the abortionist Obama.

Mind you, there is a very funny side to the business about that poor fool Williamson. For most of my life, the very concept ... I'll go further: the very word Excommunication ... has been a bete noire of the trendies. It evokes for them lurid pictures associated with notions of Truth Suppressed ... of brave and lonely Freethinkers struggling against intellectual tyrannies ... of bell and book and candle ... of the Inquisition ... of everything the Enlightenment dislikes most about doctrinal authoritarianism ... of prisons, of faggots piled round the stakes, of whatever the plural is of Auto da fe.

But - as the Nawab of Bannipur would have said - Goodness Gracious. Excommunication is now - would you believe it - the darling of the scribbling elite. And so the Ratzinger whom, with characteristically impoverished imagination they used repetitively to describe as a Rotweiler, as the Panzer Cardinal, as the sinister Grand Inquisitor, has now, they tell us, in his devilish ingenuity, dreamed up a new and even more fiendish crime, a new unheard of horror with which to crown the rest of his crimes against humanity. He has had the brazen effrontery, the wanton and heinous cruelty, to REMIT AN EXCOMMUNICATION!

It gets even funnier. In that portion of the Lord's vineyard just behind the potting shed, where nothing much grows very well because it's where Granddad used to dump the arsenic (we call ourselves the Church of England), there is a noisy little group that calls itself Inclusive Church. A few years ago I found a pile of their literature in S Mary Mags church in this city (once a great Catholic centre). They apparently believe in not excluding anybody from the Church. All, it seems, without exception should feel welcomed into the Church. Everybody, wherever they stand in the rich spectrum of human diversity, whatever their views, whatever their practices, belongs inside the Lord's Family.

I'm waiting for Inclusive Church to make a high-profile announcement of their support for the action of Benedict XVI in remitting Williamson's excommunication. My breath is totally bated.


johnreuben said...

You make your point so well, Fr Hunwicke!

Having been forewarned by 'Holy Smoke' of the impending crisis over Williamson, I was indeed perplexed for a matter of hours when the announcement of the remitting of excommunication was made; even more so after hearing the Tablet’s Rome correspondent speaking on ‘Sunday’ with Roger Bolton. A short period of thought and prayer soon brought me to my senses, and the undoubted rightness of the decision quickly became clear, for all the reasons that you and others have made plain. And so, by the end of mass on that Sunday I was explaining the Pope’s decision to anyone who would listen. I am afraid, however, that it is a decision that only those with the eye of faith and the interests of the Church Universal at heart will be able to accept. Pope Benedict has already written encyclicals on Love and Hope, and God willing, will promulgate one on Faith before the end of his pontificate (and long may he reign!). How can we expect those in the secular news media, who do not understand the imperatives bound up with Faith, Hope and Love, to understand a Pope who acts according to those imperatives; a Pope who is willing, so to speak, to be nailed to the cross of public opinion for them? The Supreme Bridge-builder is building bridges, and this is how it works!

Anonymous said...

Now that our Pope REALLY has the world's attention, wouldn't it be beautiful if he, ala St. Vincent Ferrer, grabbed a giant crucifix and preached Christ crucified.

For those interested, there is this petition in support of Benedict.


bishop Williamson said...

Er...I haven't actually seen the 'diabolical material' that you mention...I have read the dismay felt by many - and not just from the usual suspects - that the Pope is making room for the most reactionary and right wing elements of the (ex) Church. SSPX reject so much of the Council's teaching - including Nostra Aetate. It sails very closely to an anti-semitic wind. It consistently rejects the Church's teaching on the status of the Jewish people.

And people from the Tablet to Israel's Chief Rabbi are justly alarmed by the inclusion of obvious anti-semites. I think the word 'Diabolical' refers more properly to holocaust deniers - and maybe also child abusers - long given an eye wateringly lenient treatment over the decades by dear old auntie.

As I understand it, inclusivity means not rejecting anyone for being just who they are - no discrimination against people on the basis of their skin colour, sex, and orientation. It doesn't mean an 'anything goes' pluralism.

I have seen an 'anything goes" conservativism: say what you like and believe what you like - just have the right views on the ordination of women/liturgical reform/vestments...Correct beliefs on these issues covers a multitude of sins.

Wm said...

The comments of fools is like the cracking of thorns under a pot.

No thorns, no crown; no cross, no glory! Vivat! Vivat Pastor Bonus!