27 September 2021

How wise are serpents?

 We read that a traditionalist convent of Carmelites in North America is to receive an "Apostolic Visitation".

We all know what that sinister phrase meant for the Franciscans of the Immaculate. The word "Apostolic" is rapidly becoming as menacing as the word "Democratic" was when it was employed by the Stalinists or "Healthcare" when used by abortionists.

How to survive?

Surely, faithful Catholics need to be or to become as Wise as any biblical serpent ever was. New religious communities should not acquire any canonical status. Canonical status just means that they can be forced to receive the untender unmercies of a Visitation. New religious communities should be allowed technically to remain simply extra-canonical gatherings of women or men.

After Fr Hope Patten restored the Pilgrimage to our Lady of Walsingham in the Anglican Parish Church of Little Walsingham, the evangelical Bishop of Norwich became difficult. So Father built a Pilgrimage Church (with Holy House) on land which did not belong to the House of Bondage ... and was thus exempt from her law. Alternatively: there will continue to be a supply of redundant churches being put on the market by a wide variety of imploding sects, for the foreseeable future. (But guile might be needed to purchase them ... a number of years ago, the SSPX tried to buy a former C of E church in Manchester, until, er, ...)

Whatever legal and financial structures are necessary to secure property and money from the risk of being 'apostolically' grabbed, should be put in place. Nobody could doubt the sincerity of PF's own profound and principled dislike of a certain style of Catholicism (and of a certain style of Catholic!), but there have been suspicions that there are people in Rome whose 'Apostolic' motives are more monetary than stylistic. 

Such suspicions do not present the Church in a good light.

There is no way of knowing how long the aggressions and cruelties of 'Apostolicity' may last. The working assumption should be that it may be quite a time.


Quite apart from all that, I question the broader suitability of using "Apostolic" as a fancy, la-dee-dah, way of saying "Papal". If I were myself an Apostle, I would probably consult a lawyer about it. 

I think it was harmless enough back in the days of the 'Vicars Apostolic', but if it is to mean henceforth "We're coming after you and just you wait till we get you," its use is, er, less attractive.

The See of Antioch is 'Apostolic', but I doubt whether His Beatitude is intimately involved in Visitating and harassing Latin Rite sisterhoods. Perhaps he should sue his Roman 'brother'.

I can't see what's wrong with describing the Roman Bishopric in the nice old-fashioned way as "The Holy See", and keeping ones fingers crossed.


coradcorloquitur said...

Dear Father Hunwicke: You give excellent advice about new religious houses not seeking official canonical status from present-day Rome; scandalously and tragically, it has become dangerous to do so as there is now mounting evidence of the tyrannical abuse of "Apostolic Visitations" to hound and destroy---with no mercy in the pontificate ostensibly devoted to mercy---those who hold to the ancient Faith and liturgical life. Where I must fraternally disagree with you (and you may be writing "tongue-in-cheek") is that Pope Francis's hatred of tradition is a matter of style or that his principles are deeply grounded. His words, gestures, and actions all speak voluminously of something much deeper---and serious, mainly for Francis's soul---than a mere liturgical preference (to speak of doctrinal preferences in the Catholic Church is close to blasphemy, as the Truth is not a matter of taste or style). These good sisters had better prepare to go home to their families or join the kumbaya crowd or (what seems both just and wise in a Reign of Terror) make their peace with being forced to live a communal life with and in the Church but extra-canonically---as the Society of St. Pius X has done. Speaking of which, think back a few months ago of how Francis tried to lure the sons and daughters of the great Marcel Lefebvre, with "concessions" about jurisdiction for confession and marriage, so that now the new Motu Propio could be used to lasso them in with their dissolution or transformation close to follow. God protected the SSPX from the internal destroyers of His Church---a lesson many, incredibly, still need to learn. A Catholic principle has long been that in the case of emergency (think St. Athanasius in the Arian crisis) jurisdiction is supplied, in God's holy mercy, by the Church Herself. To put canonical liceity and propriety or respectability is rank legalism, perhaps even a sin against the Faith. May God protect these good women who only want to advance towards spiritual perfection and who pray for the entire Church and the world constantly. How much poorer we all would be without their lives of prayer and sacrifice. But, of course, this is not a burning concern for Francis and his ecclesiastical Gestapo.

Anonymous said...

Do you think father, if a family won the lottery they should buy a local anglican church and set it up as a private company, as should all parishes be, find a couple of retired priests , and operate accordingly. Think of the money saved for the Church with lawsuits against pedophile priests. Never will happen but what a pity.

Bernonensis said...

If they should "begin the beguine," so to speak, they will have to make it clear that the tango enthusiast is not calling the tunes.