Wednesday 28 October 2015
The question of admitting divorcees who have entered a civil union was a hot-button topic at the Synod. According to the Wall Street journal (here):
“The focus now shifts to how the pope will respond, with both sides looking for him to settle the Communion issue for good. Conservatives want him to make a clear reaffirmation of traditional teaching. But raised expectations of liberals and the pope’s own preferences suggest the pontiff may opt for change.
“In the end, Pope Francis could leave the matter vague— affirming the indissolubility of marriage, but urging priests to be merciful with people in difficult marital situations—tacitly allowing bishops to act on their own. Today, many priests knowingly give Communion to divorced, remarried Catholics. [emphasis added]
The reality is that, despite Francis having apparently filled the important places in the Synod with men of his own persuasion and choosing, the liberal agenda was not sanctioned by the Synod. Vague language is all that was left to them. Such language is itself highly problematic, since it plays false to the Truth by failing to proclaim it: it fudges it; it is economical with it -and thus treacherous towards it. Make no mistake: to fudge the issue would be as treacherous as changing the doctrine or the rules.
One thing I think the WSJ has gotten wrong is that “the pontiff may opt for change”. He cannot, without abandoning his responsibility as defender of the Deposit of Faith, for the Pope is not master of the Truth but its servant (even Cardinal Marx admitted that one). If Francis goes ahead and fudges issues for ‘his own preferences’, he abandons his post and shows himself to be treacherous, for he is called by The Lord to guard the Sacred Deposit faithfully, not to compromise it; called to reform the world by the Sacred Deposit, not reform the Sacred Deposit by the contemporary world. That said, Francis must know that if he uses papal Authority to overrule 2,000 years of teaching and discipline that he can be overruled by the very next Pontiff. So expect no change from Francis unless he is supremely stupid or supremely arrogant. We don’t want to see the man go down in history as either, or both, and one or other is unavoidable if he ‘opts for change’ or fudges the issue so that the ambiguity can be misused to further an agenda pursued by liberals, who misuse the term ‘development’ of doctrine to mean the changing of doctrine, rather than the organic, consistent growth of authentic development. For Traditionalists, doctrine grows in internal consistently with its nature, as a foal grows into a horse. For liberals a foal need not grow into a horse but can mutate into a dog, so as long as it has four legs and a tail they can say it resembles the foal, and they play on the resemblance while ignoring the internal inconsistency that it is no longer what it was or was meant to be.
PS Please don’t push the analogy too far; analogies are always imperfect.
Tuesday 27 October 2015
The Synod has come to an end, but its impact is yet to be known. While both sides seem to be claiming victory in these early days, the fact is that it all depends upon what Francis does. There has been much talk about Doctrine not being changed, only practice (which is nonsense since practice flows from doctrine: lex credendi, lex vivendi), and while chsnging practice but not doctrine might keep liberals from falling into formal heresy it cannot keep them from being charged with treachery, for to practice what is contrary to the Truth is to play false to the Truth, and the Truth is Christ. My concern is the spectres of softer language, ‘accompanying’, decentralisation and conversion of the papacy are now hovering around, and no matter what the Final Relatio says, it is Francis who will have the last say.
I have grown weary of the talk about ‘mercy’ and ‘accompanying’ folk in irregular situations. I need mercy as much as the next man, if not more (for ‘from him to whom much has been entrusted, much more will be required’, Lk.12v48), but I need true mercy which recognises my sin, my repentance and my amendment of life; a mercy which accompanies me in my attempt to change, not in my sin: no one wants to die in a state of sin no matter who is accompanying them in it. The mercy Our Lord showed to the woman caught in adultery was to tell her that her sins were forgiven and that she was to go and sin no more. His Church must do the same since she is to speak for Him (Lk.10v16), not for secular society (or for ‘today’s different circumstances’). Only when we walk away from sin can we be forgiven for it: we cannot clean and dry the child who refuses to come out of the dirty water of the local pond; the towel itself becomes wet, dirty and useless -and we end up the same by ‘accompanying them’ in the dirty water.
As to ‘penitential paths’ and the inviolability of conscience as a means of admitting the remarried divorcee to Holy Communion –how can it be applied? An internal forum ‘solution’ could be used to allow everyone to return to the Communion, and then the teaching on indissolubility means nothing and the treachery is clear for all to see.
The call for ‘new language’ is also problematic. It can only be a watering down of The Faith since it is not easy (if at all possible) to render ‘intrinsically evil’ (as in contraception) ‘adultery’ (civil marriage after divorce/cohabitation) or ‘intrinsically disordered’ (homosexual acts) in any other way that equates with the terms ‘adultery’ and ‘intrinsically disordered’: even ‘irregular’ does not carry the same connotation of sin. Unclear language distorts the Truth into a deception; a lie whose father is the devil (Jn.8v44).
The idea of a ‘conversion of the papacy’ is also questionable. What on earth does it mean? A dissolution of the papacy to a lesser or greater extent is the only thing it can mean. As for ‘devolution of authority’, such devolution would cause difficulties that cannot be surmounted. For example, there is a divide between the Bishops of Poland and Germany on the readmitting of the remarried divorcee to Holy Communion, and even between individual Bishops within single nations, such as Burke and Cupich in the USA. The nonsense of devolution would be that for those living near a Country or Diocesan border one may be out of communion with the Church in one location and in Communion with her 15 minutes down the road –presumably grave sin disappears and reappears across borders like some mysterious mist. One could be in a state of sin at one end of the road and in a state of grace at the other. All in all, the problems may not be in the Synod, but in the spectres of ‘softer language’, in ‘accompanying’, and in the ideas of ‘decentralisation’ and ‘conversion of the papacy’.
Note: I must admit I am wearied by Francis caricatures of Traditionalists. In his final speech he described those who hold to the Gospel as ‘those who would “indoctrinate” it in dead stones to be hurled at others’, saying [the synod] was about ‘laying bare the closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families..’ Not only can Francis be seen as saying that the Lord did not give us a doctrine, but that the Synod was about correcting those he considers have closed, stone hearts. He is also demonstrating that he labours under the uninformed, prejudiced caricature of Traditionalists present among many of the seminary professors in the 1980’s. I do not recognise any Traditional priest I know in such caricatures; those I know do not meet wounded families with a closed heart or a position of superiority from the chair of Moses (who Francis thus appears to equate with hard-heartedness); rather, the Traditional priests I know meet wounded families with clear teaching but gentle manner and kind words. Pope or not, Francis is espousing a judgemental attitude toward faithful, Traditional members of the Lord’s flock, and I am wearied by what feels to me like a continuing lecture on how bad Traditionalists are.
Tuesday 20 October 2015
Following the Pope’s statement about his intention to decentralise authority from Rome to the Episcopal Conferences, many faithful Catholics see a dangerous weakening of the entire Church.
When I trained in counselling the tutors would ask us to assess one another in role play (and later in real sharing between ourselves) so that we could tell the ‘counsellor’ where they were good or bad in their use of skills and theory. Taking the non-judgemental ideology seriously I would describe the ‘counsellors’ interventions as ‘helpful’ or ‘unhelpful’ rather than ‘good’ and ‘bad’. I apply this to my comments on Pope Francis too, since we cannot read his soul and cannot know his motivation; we can only judge his actions as good/helpful or otherwise -and one has to say they are ‘otherwise’. In fact the idea of devolved authority is downright damaging to the unity of the Church and to the integrity of Doctrine, and as such can be pleasing only to the devil, Freemasons, Communists and catholics who have lost their faith in Divine Revelation and the Church and wish to see the Church become a house divided, which cannot stand (Mk.3v25).
The way Our Lord determined to preserve the unity of the Church was through the Petrine Ministry; the Rock (Matt.16v18) who was to confirm the brethren in the Faith (Lk.22v32) as their supreme shepherd (Jn.15v15-17), so when Francis speaks of decentralising authority he cannot complain if he is described as doing the enemy’s work. Devolution to national Churches is not however, a new thing; it began many decades ago and we were softened up for it by the abandoning of Latin as the universal language in favour of diverse national languages. Truly, IMHO, the loss of Latin was the writing on the door to disunity. Today, Francis is trying to open that door. Let us pray that the Holy Ghost, working through orthodox Bishops, priests and laity will enlighten him and remind him that he does not own the house of God; that he is merely its caretaker, and that his responsibility is to defend the holy edifice, not hand it over to the enemy.
Make no mistake about it, devolution will destroy the Church. Not only will Truth be abandoned in favour of ‘local circumstances’ (localised relativism of areas or groups of persons such as adulterers, active homosexuals and paedophiles) but even practical day to day unity will be broken as English, American, Australian and the rest of the Anglophone world determine their own translation (paraphrases) of the Roman liturgy -if they agree to use it at all.
Truly, the idea of devolving authority to Episcopal Conferences is pure Protestantism, even when the idea comes from Rome herself.
Thursday 15 October 2015
I am aware through that intrepidly faithful Catholic Mundabor that there is a petition to ask the sound Catholic Bishops to walk out of the Synod. I have not yet signed it -for three reasons- though I am still considering it.
My first reason is that if the good Bishops walk out, who will defend the Faith? Contrary to the assertion of Pope Francis, the presence of the successor of Peter does not guarantee orthodoxy; his presence can do this only if he himself remains faithful to the Deposit of Faith; if the faithful Bishops walk out of the Synod it will simply go its own merry way, demolishing pastoral practice so as to accommodate moral relativism and thereby deceive souls in sinful situations into think they are at rights with God. This would be a grave error, and would be an indication that Archbishop Tomash Peta is correct in saying thesmoke of Satan is entering the aula of Paul VI, for Satan is the father not of truth, but of deception. On the other hand, a walk-out would show history that the Synod was not acceptable to all and will leave the Synod, its documents and the Pope more easily repudiated in the future.
Second, the petition makes a criticism that while there is talk about collegiality this is not being demonstrated at the Synod. Well, I for one do not want to see the kind of collegiality that is being talked about during this papacy; it is one of devolution of authority to Episcopal Conferences to decide on pastoral regulations and (and unavoidably doctrine too, via the rationale behind those changes). This kind of collegiality is High Church Anglicanism; a federation of local churches whose practices and doctrines differ. It demolishes the Catholic Church as erected by Christ to establish a preferred church of man’s own making; one without authority but full of contradictions; a church more acceptable to freemasons than Catholics. Here, as Archbishop Lefebvre foresaw, ‘the French revolution in the Church’: liberty, equality, fraternity.
Today’s concept of collegiality is one which seeks to follow local culture rather than the Gospel; the Synod is an attempt to abandon the teaching of Jesus Christ in favour of the teachings of the secular world. It might sound good to an Episcopal Conference to have such authority, but do the bishops realise it diminishes the authority of the individual Bishop in his own Diocese, who then becomes a pawn of the Conference? And he will not be able to hide behind the Episcopal Conference when he gives account of himself and his ministry to Our Lord.
A third reason is that I am not sure we should be call on our Bishops to walk out on a pope and a synod. Perhaps we should be petitioning them not to 'walk out' but to 'fight it out' .
Tuesday 13 October 2015
So, was there one letter or two letters outlining concerns to Pope Francis and where there nine, ten or more signatories (see Rorate Caeli here)? In one sense it does not matter: what has been revealed is a Synod and Church in chaos; a chaos that brings into focus a hidden schism (if we may call it that) in the Church, and with which we have been living since the close of the Second Vatican Council.
What schism? Not “the SSPX –v- Rome”, for the SSPX are in strict continuity with all that went before and simply have sections of the Vatican II documents that they refuse, such as erroneous views of Ecumenism and Collegiality. It is a schism/division of those in formal union with Rome; a division between those who uphold the Sacred Tradition and those who seek to abandon it in the name of mercy. Liberals remain part of the official Church (and rise within its ranks to at least the level of Bishop and Cardinal, it seems), though they too refuse parts of Vatican II, especially in regard to the liturgy of the Church. The schism/division has been an occult one until now, in which the Church of today is being divided from the Church of the past. It is a schism/division lead by those who refuse the hermeneutic of continuity in order to lead the Church away from her Sacred Tradition and the disciplines which protect it so as to accommodate the sexual mores of today’s society. Sadly, these same folk seem to stray from charity and label those faithful to the Church’s Tradition ‘Pharisees’ and ‘rigid doctors of the law’.
That any letter was signed by anyone to bring to the attention of the Pope misgivings about the Instrumentum Laboris or the practical procedures of the current Synod is both a mark against this Synod and a stain on the Pope, under whose watch this hitherto occult schism/division has matured into open division by taking the Pope’s call for mercy to extreme, unorthodox lengths: one which requires no amendment of life (which is something we all need to do, every day of our lives, since we are all on a journey to perfection). I'm sure it is with genuine regard for people and the pain they experience when they cannot receive Holy Communion, but we have to be careful that we don't allow emotion to get in the way of Reasoned Faith.
Pope Benedict XVI may have seen the wolves at the door and been unable to bolt it, but Francis has refused to even try bolting the door and instead, welcomed the wolves into the living room where he has found he cannot control them as they steal the food (Truth, cf. Matt.4v4) from the children and thereby threaten the lives of the children themselves. Faithful shepherds have written something (we know not what, really) and turned on a light by which the wolves can be seen and tackled. God bless and strengthen those faithful shepherds; God bless and enlighten those who would leave Tradition behind, and God bless and direct Pope Francis who, when the Synod is over, will have to sort out this mess in ways that please The Way, The truth and The Life.
Friday 9 October 2015
No wonder the SSPX is not favoured by many in today's episcopate: it takes prayer, penance and devotion to God; seriously; it honours God and our Lady and invites the laity to active demonstration of the faith. Just watch this video and see genuine Catholicism in action. Thank you, SSPX.
One of the major ploys of Satan is to take a truth and distort it. In Eden he took the truth that we are made in God’s image and likeness and twisted it to have Adam and Eve seek likeliness to God in the espousing of absolute autonomy: “You can be like God and know right from wrong”. In presenting autonomy to Adam as likeness to God, Satan had Adam follow a lie into suffering and death. Today, Satan is taking the truth that God is merciful to have us accept not simply the sinner but the sin.
Let us be brutally honest: from reports coming from the Synod, many at the highest levels of the Church seem to have been deceived by Satan; they are advocating ‘new directions’ outside of Gospel truth. Having taken on board modern, person-centred psychology in which “what is right for me is right” reigns, they are ditching Gospel Truth as ‘rigid’ and ‘lacking in mercy’, yet the mercy they talk of is one which means not judging the act or situation –which is a false mercy, for true mercy judges the act in order to save the person.
Sadly, Francis is not calling them back but seems to be encouraging their new direction, hinting that their idea of mercy is the work of a ‘God of surprises’. In reality, they are not asking us to be surprised by God; they are asking us to ignore God and His Divine Law. Francis has likened those who defend The Faith to those who wished to stone the woman caught in adultery; he implies they have no understanding of God’s mercy and are like the rigid doctors of the law. But they do understand mercy; they have read that Gospel passage to the end where Our Lord warns to woman, ‘go, and sin no more’. If this Synod continues to focus on only half of the Gospel; on mercy without repentance and amendment of life (which we all have to engage in) it preaches a distortion of the Gospel and does the work of Satan. Those who promote this false mercy are steering toward the wide road that leads to perdition, and taking souls with them. To be sure, Francis can be read as upholding the Faith, but he does appear to engage in double-speak as a matter of course, for while he affirmed doctrine in his homily at the opening Mass of the Synod, he still asked the Synod Fathers to be surprised by God and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into new ways of living out the Faith (labelled as mere ‘disciplinary changes’). The man-in-the-street, however, can see the idiocy and danger of saying we believe one thing yet doing another: “I believe in gravity, but I wish to fly and believe I can fly, so jumping of the Dome of St Peter’s will not harm me”.
Here is a surprise for those advocating a new style of mercy: nothing is impossible to God. A ‘No-thing’, a contradiction, is impossible to God. God cannot draw a square circle, and He cannot unite Himself to sin either. What we need from this Synod is not ways of admitting those in objectively sinful situations to the Holy of Holies, but ways to help marriages and the family stay a stable and strong light in this God-forsaking world. As this Synod progresses we faithful Catholics are called to act as in the days of the Arian Crisis and raise our voices in favour of orthodoxy. As Edmund Burke said, ‘all that is required for evil to flourish is that good men do nothing’. Let us be faithful instruments of the Holy Spirit, who protects the Deposit of Faith given by Christ. Let us raise our voices in defence of The Truth so that Satan does not hoodwink the prelates of the Church and lead them -and us- astray.
Saturday 3 October 2015
I have always encouraged people to pray a daily Rosary by noting that its power is that of the word of God: its prayers comes from the Sacred Scriptures so it is a verbal recitation of the word of God contained in the Bible, and it is a mediation on the life and work of the Divine Redeemer (the Word made Flesh) in bringing about the Atonement. What better power is there to draw upon in the universe than the very word of God Himself? None. Janet Moore, author of the blog ‘Entering into the Mystery’, has written a striking piece on the power of the Rosary here. Do go and read it, it recounts the power of the Rosary over the atomic bomb, the forces of Communism, the forces of Radical Islam and the power of the Devil.
If often think of the Rosaries I say as interlinked like a chain, by which I am building, by God’s grace, a ladder to heaven. Why not build one yourself? If you miss a day see it as a broken rung –and see an additional Rosary next day as a repair job. (The danger with this is that we can give ourselves permission to miss if we are doing regular repair jobs, and we may break so many rungs the ladder becomes weak and we stop using it. Never give up on the Rosary. It has its own power above and beyond the one who says it: it holds the power of God to thwart evil and save souls. It is the weapon, as St. Padre Pio would say! Here is the link to Janet again: ThePower of the Rosary. Do go and read her excellent post.
Friday 2 October 2015
UP-DATED: Protestants Warn Catholics About Francis; Catholics warn Catholics about Synod. Vatican back-tracks on Kim Davis meeting
Strange header for this post, no? Not as strange as the reality it conveys, for high-ranking evangelical Protestants have warned Catholics that Pope Francis is left-leaning; taking the Church with him, and appears to have sided with the political left (seeLifesite News here). That makes for sad reading; protestant leaders are alarmed that in Francis’ speech to the joint session of the US Congress he never mentioned Jesus Christ (whose Vicar he is and whose name and teaching he is meant to proclaim). What might this imply to them and to the outside world (and to solid Catholics) about who Francis sees as the supreme teacher?
In my previous post I ventured to say Francis is too provincial, but I may have misconstrued his problem. Certainly he has won hearts by his embracing of the sick etc, but he is losing solid Catholics on a daily basis; only those with politically left leanings are likely to be faithful to him. Further, in promoting his image as the caring Francis yet failing to mention Jesus Christ, he has allowed people to make the claim that he has his own agenda at the centre of his vision, rather than the Gospel.
As if this were not problem enough for Francis, he has also left himself open to a charge of ‘speaking with a forked tongue’, for while he addressed victims of child sexual abuse and told them that clergy and bishops will be held accountable, he has personally invited Cardinal Danneels to the Synod on the family, yet Danneels has a history of telling an abuse victim to stay quiet about the abusing Bishop until the said Bishop had retired.
Few devout Catholics will be uplifted by Francis on his US trip; those who are happy with him are likely those who have no desire to uphold the Traditional Faith of the Church on marriage and the family, since these are the very issues Francis strikingly failed to defend before Congress. That this failure (as well as the failure to speak of Christ and the failure to denounce the evil of abortion) has concerned even non-Catholics, is disturbing.
In a country where the Church is being battered by secular forces which demand funding by Church groups for the anti-life Culture of Death (contraception and abortion); the same country which has legislated for homosexual pairings to be equivalent to God-given marriage, Francis ought to have spoken clearly and unequivocally of the teaching on the Church on these issues. Talk about the environment and social justice is all well and good, but failure to mention the right to life (upon which access to very other right depends); the failure to defend of the natural process of transmitting life, and even the failure to mention Jesus Christ, is a loss beyond words. Many are likely to view Francis as politically (or image) motivated rather than gospel motivated.
It has also been revealed (see Rorate Caeli here) that a shadow group of Jesuits are already drafting the post-synodal document by Pope Francis, apparently with his knowledge. If true this is a massive indictment against the current Roman Authorities, and explains why the reflections of the “small groups” (circuli minores) are not going to be shared, and why there will be no mid-term report: they will likely not be of the kind the shadow (shady?) people want.
UPDATE: So, the Vatican is claiming Kim Davis had no 'real audience' with the pope and that it should not be taken as support...well, coming so soon after a rebuke of the Pope by the Left, this looks very much like the Pope even regrets supporting solid Christian teaching and witness. Dear oh dear, what have we here? Will Fr Lombardi now have to say it was an audience and the pope does support Ms. Davis' position or what? The answer is 'what': what a mess we are in.