1. A SNATCH OF AUTOBIOGRAPHY
When the first wave of Anglican priests was in preparation to be admitted to the presbyterate of the Ordinariate, we all had to go, one by one, to a Church-run centre in Manchester for 'psychometric' evaluation.
During one of my interviews, the clergyman interviewing me asked whether there was any part of the Church's teaching that I had difficulty with. Bishop (now Mgr) Newton had very strongly advised us all to be totally honest, so I said "Well, there is something. I have no trouble accepting it theoretically, but I do have problems internalising it, feeling it. To tell you the truth, I feel a little embarrassed mentioning this ... you know, it's not the sort of thing chaps of my age like talking about ..."
"Out with it", he invited, looking extremely interested, leaning slightly forward in his chair. So I explained.
"Particularly when I'm in a big, bustling crowd, I look at all those faces, all apparently with their own preoccupations, everybody pushing and kicking everybody else, and I get Big Doubts. I wonder if it really can be true that God has an individual and salvific and interlocking purpose for each and every one of them. I know, intellectually, that He does ... but .... well ..... particularly in the middle of the London rush hour ...... just after someone has kicked my shin ......."
"No no no", he replied, perhaps a trifle impatiently. Strangely, all the interest had now faded from his face. "I meant Sex".
2. PRIESTLY FORMATION
During the period when we were being "formed" (surely, a horrid word) at Allen Hall ... where the food was so very, very, good ... we were taught very little about the Bible and the Fathers, but were endlessly drilled on the Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Magisterium. I still have all the voluminous teaching aids which embodied this teaching. They must have cost somebody quite a lot of money. It was apparently highly important for us to accept all those documents. I had no trouble doing so; they expressed what I had believed and taught all my life.
3. ANGLICANORUM COETIBUS
The Apostolic Constitution erecting the Ordinariates made clear that our doctrinal standard was to be the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This was rational, since the CCC summarises the teaching of the Catholic Church. And it was promulgated as being, together with the Code of Canon Law, one of the major fruits of the Council.
4. POPE FRANCIS
But PF has already hinted that he would like to see the teaching in the Catechism regarding Capital Punishment changed. Members of his circle have also alluded to the 'unsatisfactory' teaching expressed concerning 'remarried divorcees' and active genital homosexuality.
5. THE PAST versus THE FUTURE
So, six or seven years ago, we were interrogated, indoctrinated, required to subscribe, the teaching Magisterially given in Conciliar and Papal documents, most particularly and insistently as regarding sexual matters. I entertained more than a mere suspicion at the time that the intention in interviews like one I have narrated above was to 'weed out' applicants who possessed a homosexual orientation. Apparently, there is now a real likelihood of those teachings being radically changed in a new edition of the Catechism. UPDATE: See ONEPETERFIVE January 24 What we were carefully 'formed' to believe and accept would be reversed.
Interestingly, this seems to me to constitute an understanding of "Magisterium" which brings that concept carefully into line with the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's 1984 ... . You will remember that Winston Smith's job is to sit at a desk onto which a machine intermittently disgorges copies of old stories from The Times newspaper which have now become inconvenient to the Party and which Winston is employed to "correct". When he has manufactured a 'correction' (which means, a falsification), he files it away so that henceforth that is what will be on record as the 'truth', while the earlier newspaper report is immediately burned so that no evidence of its 'error' will survive.
Not long ago, some individual called Scicluna told us that it is the present pope whom we should obey, "not the last pope, not the pope before that". 1984 redivivus! I wonder what that dear old principled Old Etonian 'Tory-anarchist' and Anglican atheist George Orwell aka Eric Blair would have said if he could have known that his dystopian fantasy would be so ruthlessly plagiarised (without acknowledgement) by a Catholic Archbishop of Malta.
Hot off the Press, on the Rorate site, we are given another superb example of Orwellianism: the Calendar of the Franciscans of the Immaculate writes out of history the Founders of that mercilessly persecuted Order, who are now Unpersons. Might Big Brother be involved?
If that is the sort of 'Magisterium' which PF's corrupt, and sycophantic entourage is determined to impose, there is little I can do to stop them, except praying ... and writing this sort of thing. Were these people to succeed in their evil endeavours, I would have to consider very carefully whether I should repudiate formally the mangled form in which the Catechism would be left.
FINALLY, a practical suggestion. PF is very enthusiastic about Oriental Patriarchs. He likes to hug them, be blessed by them, to meet them in Cuba ... I am sure he would like to turn any important change, such as alterations to the Church's teaching on genitally expressed homosexuality, into an ecumenical, a collegial affair.
There is a very articulate Russian Metropolitan called Hilarion. He is 'foreign minister' of the Moskow Patriarchate. He is an Oxford Man, having done his Doctorate in this University. He is very articulate.
He is just the person to be involved in such an enterprise. After all, it is a basic principle of Ecumenism that neither 'partner' should make changes which would widen already existing gaps between the Churches. His Excellency Metropolitan Hilarion could give the Holy See helpful and informed advice on all this lovely stuff. I think he should be closely involved in the backrooms conversations now, apparently, going on.