I published this in January 2018. I was disgruntled at the thought that, only a couple years previously, incoming Anglican Clergy had had to be carefully questionned to check that they subscribed to what the Magisterioum taught about Sex ... while, by 2018, it had become clear that the very same Magisterium was now some sort of playground in which big rough boys from Argentina could bounce around knocking everybody over. I am still disgruntled.
I wonder how the 'Formation' of incoming Anglican Clergy now deals with Sex.
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. 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.
"Apparently, there is now a real likelihood of those teachings being radically changed in a new edition of the Catechism. What we were carefully 'formed' to believe and accept would be reversed."
Perhaps I've been mercifully spared picking up on this so far, but where does this news come from? Are there really advanced plans for a new edition of the Catechism with substantially altered passages on certain topics? If so, that is the gravest news yet with serious implications for all Catholics. Have the bishops worldwide been consulted and agreed to this?
Word from Russia is that HILARION is proposed for an additional post,that of bishop of the Old Believer groups in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate, the Edinoverie. It seems ever more likely that he will be the next Patriarch, God willing. His four volume treatise on Orthodoxy, now in English, is a must.
Two pointsor observations on this.
The Russian Church strikes me as consistently serious in its approach to doctrinal matters. I wonder what their intuition is regarding a pontificate which is now intent on moving the goal posts in the game of life?
Secondly, I was aware of at least two meetings between metropolitan Hilarion and the then reigning Pope BenedictXVI with the purpose of establishing a united front of Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholics against aggressive secularism. I saw and heard nothing of any action being taken, and we are in a much weaker position today than ten years ago, although the line is holding in Russia.
Since that was a Russian initiative, one assumes that the Roman side dragged its feet.
I would be amazed at their Christian hope if they should consider co-operation with the RCC again in this generation, but perhaps gratitude for the visit of the relic of St Nicholas may prompt them to generosity.
Updates to the CCC by JP2 and PF (especially concerning its section on capital punishment) remind me of how the Communist authorities updated the Great Soviet Encyclopedia (Bolsháya sovétskaya entsiklopédiya or BSE; great for its size, not necessarily for its authoritativeness).
JP2 tweaked the CCC's treatment of capital punishent to limit its use; thus, stickers with His Sainted Holiness's revisions were printed to cover the CCC's treatment. Now along comes PF's "moral inadmissibility" that what was white is now black; thus, a sticker for his teaching to cover that of JP2's over the original version.
Re: The BSE (usually found only in important government or party facilities - especially libraries: After Stalin's death 1953, his Secret Police Chief was found guilty of treason and executed. An article on the Bering Sea was sent to all possible holders of the BSE with instructions to paste it over the article "Beria, Lavrentiy" - "Down the memory hole."
My meta-comment about this and indeed all the implosions of Western culture and its institutions: Once you make universal human equality and universal human dignity the foundation and idol of your worldview, all of this is inevitable.
The Church of Rome has finally surrendered entirely to the Enlightenment, in the form of the UN's 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which could now be incorporated whole into the next Catechism.
As for Catholic sexual ethics, it was made clear to me decades ago by a Dominican theologian that the entire edifice hangs (or perhaps now, hung) on a single axiom, that the only morally acceptable use of the sexual function is the intercourse of a married man and woman which is open to procreation. This forbids everything from masturbation to contraception to non-vaginal intercourse. Once you make exception to that, any exception. the structure will dissolve.
Ideas do have consequences.
I would like to tie your two posts of today, by saying that I have the very gravest doubts about Metropolitan Hilarion. And these were crystallised by the comments made by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh. In essence Metropolitan Anthony said that Hilarion does not see the role of bishop as one of service but of power.
The decisions given by the Pontifical Biblical Commission concerning certain questions of the authorship, date, and genre of some of the inspired books can have little bearing on the Catholic dogma of the inerrancy of the text; when the CDF cited the absence of error in Scripture as an example of a truth to be believed by divine and Catholic faith in the "Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio fidei," they cited as their authorities Leo XIII's encyclical Providentissimus Deus and the Second Vatican Council's Constitution on Divine Revelation; and could have also mentioned Benedict XV, Spiritus Paraclitus, and Pius XII, Divino afflante Spiritu.
As for homosexuality and the catechism, it is only recently that the CDF has demanded that Tony Flannery undersign the proposition, "Since the homosexual practices are contrary to the natural law and do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity, they are not approved by the moral teaching of the Catholic Church (cf. CCC 2357)." As the CCC says nothing I am aware of about civil recognition of homosexual pairings which might directly conflict with the pope's opinion, I fore one do not foresee that he will feel any pressing need to intervene to update it.
I hope the Russian Patriarch would not to so foolish as to lob stones about homosexuality or corruption in the Catholic Church. The Russian schismatics have their own problems ranging from abuse in seminaries, sexual scandals involving clerics, and, possibly related, Russian orthodox prelates, Kirill in particular, are lovers of luxury. The Patriarch has some rather fancy watched supposedly donated by parishioners. Still it is good he speaks clearly in opposition to pretended homosexual marriage.
Your anecdote reminds me of a tale of a young newly-ordained priest who sat in Cardinal Hume's study, and the Cardinal asked, with his funny plummy tones,"now tell me your opinions on..."
The young man, shifting embarrassedly, spoke for ten minutes, uninterrupted, about sex.
After a brief silence, His Eminence said - "I asked about sects."
How times have changed.
Oreamnus Americanus - you forgot, in your list of proscribed activities, the sin of imagining, while engaging in procreative intercourse with your lawfully wedded spouse, that your spouse is, in your imagination, a better looking creature than the spouse actually is - a creature of pretense, and not the human creature to whom you are wed.
To lust in your heart after the spouse of another is adultery .....
By the way if your elderly Dominican friend is still alive, you might ask him to reflect on the last paragraph of Bernanos's biography of their founder saint, in which he (the saint in question) was described by Bernanos as having said that he had to admit that he, all his life, had preferred conversing with young women to conversing with old women. Or something like that. That will either make the old man laugh, or feel kindness in his heart: I am not sure which.
Most saints are good people, but some of them are sinners who only repented at the last minute. Or the last moment.
If your elderly Dominican friend passed away long ago, well, I pray for Dominicans every day, and I will continue to do so as long as I live. I pray for Jesuits, too, but to tell the truth, praying for the Dominicans who have preceded us in the sign of faith (qui nos praecesserunt in signo fidei) , despite all their faults, is a pleasure, praying for Jesuits, well, almost always, not quite as much.
So what are we supposed to believe instead of universal human dignity? Sepulveda's arguments against those exemplary Thomists Vittoria and Las Casas?
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