16 April 2021

One coin, two sides ... two important books, one crisis

I have commended Defending the Faith Against Present Heresies (Arouca Press) already on this blog: I would like to emphasise again what I think are the strengths of this book.

Fundamentally, it brings together texts which were all painstakingly worked over by a lot of people (except, of course, the Dubia, which, as far as I know, were simply the work of the four Cardinals). We were a diverse lot; we came from a variety of national, academic and ecclesial backgrounds (even including me from the Ordinariate!). Day after day during the drafting periods, ones Email would be full of suggestions and additions. Someone would intervene with "X would like to sign but he's a little concerned about the wording of Y". Then there were those who made contributions, often substantial, but whose signatures and names were not included because of the ruthless processes of intimidation which were employed. Goodness me, what bullies those sensitive lovey-dovey liberals are!

You can rely on Defending for the real McCoy on what the Church's teaching ... authentic teaching ... really is. And you can access, via its index, the information it makes available, topic by topic. It can be thought of as a ready work of reference.

A Voice in the Wilderness Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano on the Church, America, and the World (Angelico Press) is quite a different piece of work. It is not the collaborative work of a number of people; these are the words of one man. But: what a man!! And what powerful words! And how well informed!

If you wanted to sneer at Defending, I suppose you could say that it was produced by men and women with the dust of the libraries heavy upon them. But A Voice comes from the lived experience of an active man who was right at the centre of things, both in Rome and in America. A Man well-read and with an acute theological mind, but, as well, an Archbishop over whose desk  a lot of interesting material has passed! In our delightful Anglo-Saxon phrase, Archbishop Vigano knew (knows!!) "where the bodies are buried"! And there really are bodies galore! In addition to having this pivotal position, he is a highly intelligent man and it is a privilege to be able to read his incisive interventions with regard to the words and actions of current Vatican management. He has been on his own journey; this book affords the materials for watching his gradual realisation of how the problems in today's Church all hang together. And, as a man brought up "within the system", he is well able to assess and to analyse the significance of words and events.

All the world knows that today's crisis in the Catholic Church relates to sex, to money, and to a deeply flawed personality. But this does not mean that the crisis is a fortuitous amalgam of disparate items. It would not be right to think that Defending might tell us about dogma while A Voice can prime us on 'practical' matters. The crisis of the Bergoglian pontificate is a seamless and terrifyingly coherent whole.

We are all frail, sinful, fallen. But I do not believe that anybody takes up arms against the Light unless the darkness has already burrowed deep into his heart. That is the crux of the matter. That is what these two books, together, so powerfully demonstrate.

These two books should stand together on your bookshelves.

And ... to Archbishop Vigano ... Thank You, your Grace! Ad multos annos!


Servant said...

"But I do not believe that anybody takes up arms against the Light unless the darkness has already burrowed deep into his heart."

Perfectly said! Sinners who love the Light on one side and sinners who've completely sold out to the Dark Side on the other. Yet, God can even reach such as these. Lord have mercy!

Compton Pauncefoot said...

I have just finished reading 'Defending the Faith'. It is a truly remarkable. I particularly admire the way it publishes articles by the supporters of Pope Francis, though the sophistry and puniness of their arguments is more damaging to their cause than many a reasoned attack. I particularly enjoyed your contribution, Father, which made me laugh out loud more than once. How these people hate mockery! But I also thoroughly enjoyed the essays of Dr Peter Kwasniewski and, in particular, the forthright 'When Creeping Normalcy Bias Protects a Chaotic Pope' and its reference to frogs being boiled. After finishing the book I feel oddly cheered, desperate though the battle is. It's like an inoculation. I have written a forthright albeit respectful letter to my bishop.

E sapelion said...

I am certainly unwilling to put any money in the way of these authors. From what I read earlier by Abp Vigano, he was twice invited by PF to spill the beans on McCarrick, and simply said 'the file is this thick', accompanied by a gesture. Vigano did not report that he said anything more than that. Vigano must know Pope's are surrounded by bureaucrats intent on filtering the information, when you decline a direct invitation to pass information the Pope might well shrug and change the subject, thinking "this man is not going to tell me anything".

davidmorourke said...

I found the things I read concerning Archbishop Vigano to be very interesting indeed but when, within the past year, he wrote to then President Donald Trump claiming that the president was fighting for Christ (or words to that effect) I lost confidence in him.

coradcorloquitur said...

Insofar as President Trump, his personal flaws notwithstanding, did much to defend unborn life in public, promote religious freedom in face of Stalinist incursions, guard the borders of his country against godless globalist forces that aim at demographic subjugation (as the Christian virtue of patriotism dictates), and unmasked the putrid forces of the lying media and the corrupt permanent bureaucracy---then, yes, he was fighting for Christ as do indeed all who fight against evil. The good archbishop stated nothing but the truth.

Paul said...

Why do some claim Vigano was very much part of a group of high ranking prelates that could have (but didn’t) reacted correctly and appropriately re McCarrick YEARS ago?