Sunday, October 31, 2010

Paganism in Brighton

Have you seen Damian Thompson's piece on the BBC and Paganism?

Pentangles abound in Brighton, so do rings with goats heads, people wear strange tattoos. Personally I know more pagan priestesses than vicaresses. There are more shops selling witchcraft's bits and pieces than there are selling copies of Hans Kung's latest, in fact there aren't any selling Kung but there are at least half dozen witchcraft shops.
As Damian says witchcraft and paganism, feminism and greenness go hand in hand. Local witches are often specialists in which herbal tea to drink for headaches or joint pains and their witchery goes no further, except possibly to a openness to lovers of either sex.
In our psychiatric hospitals there are sad men who tell complicated narratives of human sacrifice on the ancient hills that surround the city, I hope these depend more on the fantasies of madness and Alistair Crowley than reality.
There is an overlap between paganism and Satanism which seems to centre on overthrowing Christian values and morallity, there is not much evidence of 20th century far right politics in Brighton's paganism except to overthrow the morality of the last 2000 years.

Say a prayer for my pagans, they need it.

The Unfaithful Departed, more on Halloween

God desires that all Men are saved!
But what about those who choose not to be saved?

The doctrine of Hell is not about God's anger but about God's love and man's freewill. True, the Church never says anyone is in Hell, apart from the Devil and a few ancient fallen angels. It could indeed be empty. The doctrine however reminds us that Man can choose to reject God, because God forces no-one to accept him. Man's freewill is so absolute that it embraces Heaven and Hell. A fundamental Catholic understanding is Man's absolute freedom.

I criticise those priests who want to canonise everyone, who assume everyone really wants God but then I suppose although I might be a little more realistic like many "trads", I suppose I assume that though most of us are too damaged to enter heaven immediately that through a period of purgation God will heal them, and yes, they will be saved.

But what about those who have spent their whole lives saying, "No" to God? Halloween is presumably about acknowledge their existence, those who have rejected the Church and the Sacraments, Christ's teaching on marriage, those who have lived selfish lives, those who have died without the the slightest Hope in Christ. What about the Un-faithful departed?

The feast of All Saints is about the Saved, All Souls, the commemoration of the Faithful Departed is about those who rightly Hope - in the sense of the theological virtue - for Salvation but isn't it arrogance to assume everyone wants to be saved?

I accept that God has made us to love and desire him, it is part of our nature but habit and lifestyle, or even sin, can change and pervert that nature.

Tea at the Trianon presents an interest theory on the origins of Halloween, I just wonder if its origins are in fact about trying to deal with the Unfaithful departed who are part of the danse macabre.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

All Hallows 'Een

Halloween, All Hallows Eve, used to be "light" in England when I was a child: a bit of apple bobbing and a ghost story. Now it has become something else in all its US ghoulishness.
Catholics, and others nowadays seem to be promoting the "Night of Light", dressing up as saints rather than ghouls or ghosts, I think that is very commendable but isn't that a bit of "sanatising"?
Is it really healthy to avoid the horrors of death?
Isn't it a little bit like the white vestment funeral? which seems to want to avoid the very possibility that our own choices can actually lead us not just to heaven but to hell too? Are we not trying to avoid the fact of supernatural evil?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sympathy with Liberals

I am a creature of the 60s, I've got a lot of sympathy with liberal Catholics, when the Lord God comes walking in the Garden in the cool of the evening fallen Man wants to hide in the shrubbery. When he appears on Sinai, it is terrifying. Always, always man wants to control God, to contain him, to make him smaller than he is.

The Incarnation itself leads immediately to the crucifixion. Man is afraid of the intimacy God demands by becoming Flesh and dwelling amongst us, and instinctively wants rid of him.

Catholicism pure and simple tells us of Divine Intimacy, it speaks of a God who binds himself to Man, who shows himself through the Church herself and through things, people and objects. Liberalism tries to break these bindings. The reality is terrifying; that God comes disguised as bread and wine, through a priest he himself forgives, takes sins away, shares his priesthood, binds couples in himself for life and literally, not figuratively, makes us by adoption what he is by nature, sons of God - truly terrifying!

How difficult is the idea that the Church is his bride, with the implication of becoming "one flesh", difficult too the idea of his Mystical Body, that intimacy! His words too are almost unbearable: "whoever listens to you listens to me", "I will be with you always, even to the end of time". Then there are those words about forgiveness of sins and worst, those to Peter about binding and loosing, not just on Earth but in Heaven itself!

Traditional Catholics say the speak with Divine Authority, they condemn opinions of others as not merely being incorrect but actually heretical. William Oddie blogs about Attacks build up on the ‘Taliban’ and the ‘McCarthyites’ of the Catholic blogosphere. He cites Michael Vorris on the Vortex,  which as a priest "with a pastoral side" and even liberal tendenies, I am not entirely at home with. I don't think it is about the Americanism of all, I think it is a lack of faith, a weakness on my part, a sense that I might be wrong, or maybe it is an unwillingness to really stand up for the faith, recognising that I am in a minority of one most of the time.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Catholic Voices in "dialogue"

There is an interesting piece on the ICN site, it is titled "London: first 'Catholic-Humanist dialogue' held". I think it is a very commendable thing, a group of Catholics and a group of Humanists getting together. Some of my parishioners have been doing this off and on for sometime here in Brighton.

Whether this is first for London, I doubt it, I suspect it is bit of hyperbole. I have sat in a London pub and "dialogued" with humanists, I think Archbishop Peter Smith did it on the eve of the Papal Visit under the auspices of the Met.

It is perhaps interesting Catholic Voices, which "does not speak officially for the Church", patron Fr Christopher Jamison and its coordinators, Austen Ivereigh and Jack Valero, put the Church’s case on Aids/condoms, faith schools, and same-sex adoption in a discussion with Alan Palmer, chair of the Central London Humanist Group; Josh Kutchinsky, a British Humanist Association trustee; and Paul Sims, news editor of New Humanist magazine. Humanist are always a bit of mixed a disparate bag, even more prone to schism that Baptists.

I am glad this seems to be the way forward for Catholic Voices, maybe once they have honed their debating skills they might start training parishes, even clergy and bishops to enter into debate or even publish simple fact sheets for others involved in "dialogue". Who knows this could be the revival of the Catholic Evidence Guild.

I am not knocking this, or Catholic Voices, I really do believe that the Chuch needs gangs of bright young Catholics on every university campus, in every city, town and parish in the country. Every newspaper, every radio phone in or internet forum that discusses religion or ethics needs some catholic voices on it. I would just like to see CV as being more than just a platform for Jack and Austen and more widely based than London. For me the problem is that it seems to be a little narrow, a little elitist. What has happened to all those bright young men and women?

What the Abbot, Jack and Austen were discussing takes place all over the place wherever there are committed Catholics including bedrooms and school classrooms. I wish Catholic Voices could be a mass movement.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Of Gods and Men

“Of Gods and Men” is a drama that follows the story of eight French monks living in the mountains of North Africa in the 1990's. The acclaimed French director Xavier Beauvois delivers another stirring film based on the real events of a clash of religions.

Algeria is being swept up in a civil war and the monks are forced to make a decision, flee Algeria and live, or stay with their monastery where they will most certainly die.

The film received high praise from critics at this years Cannes Film Festival and has since been the source of discussion in many religious circles.

“Of Gods and Men” begins by showing how the monks lived alongside the local Muslim community in peace. However, the camaraderie quickly vanishes as Muslim fundamentalists begin to make their presence felt.

In Cannes the picture won the Ecumenical Jury Prize, awarded to films for expressing faith and humanism in their films. Since then Sony Pictures Classics has acquired the rights to the film for production in the US, New Zealand, and Australia.

It will also be France's Oscar submission this year for the foreign language category. The finalists will be announced in January and the ceremony will be held the following month.
Rome Reports

James MacMillan: bullied by Liturgists

James MacMillan reveals he had an awful time with a liturgical committee in Scotland over the Mass he wrote for the Papal visit. I have met James on a couple of occasions, far from being "il Maestro", he is gentle, self deprecating, respectful, even defferent to clergy and the Church. Therefore it is surprising that he feels so strongly about how badly he was treated that he writes about it the Telegraph.
Fr Z makes some comments here.
In all their years of facilitating the commission of new music, Boosey and Hawkes had never dealt with such rudeness and shoddy behaviour. They were deeply shocked; and I was embarrassed because of how my Church was being seen by my professional representatives and colleagues. I had dealt with all of them in good faith from day one. I worked professionally, delivering the music in days and continued to offer the Church my services to see the project through to a fruitful conclusion.
I have given up being surprised at how badly the Church can treat people; how arbitrary, partial, self serving, cruel, unprofessional those with power can be, when they exercise it. For some reason the bullying which is constrained in secular world by legislation, good practice guidelines and clear and open procedures, is unrestrained in the Church.
I am glad James has made this public, there is nothing like the bringing things into the light to deter ecclesiastical bullying. It is same type of bullying that coerced the victims of child abuse to keep silent, wherever it occurs it should be exposed. There is no reason for the Church to be less just than the secular world.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Communion and Diversity

Speaking after lunch with the Fathers of the Middle Eastern Synod the Pope spoke rather movingly of the diversity of rites:
Communion and witness. In this moment I thank the Lord for the communion he has given to us and gives us. We've seen the richness, the diversity of this communion. You are a church of diverse rites, but who still together form, with all the other rit[u]es, one Catholic church. It's beautiful to see this true catholicity, so rich in diversity, so rich in possibilities, in diverse cultures; and yet, still growing from it, the polyphony of one faith, of a true communion of hearts, which only the Lord could give. For this experience let us thank the Lord, and I thank all of you. It seems that maybe the most important gift of this Synod is that we have seen and realized the communion that binds all of us to each other and is witnessed to through that.

It is this "diversity in communion" that seems to be at the heart of Benedict's theology of the Church. The phrase, "polyphony of one faith" sums up his understanding of ecclesiology, it is not the Roman Ultramontanism of previous Popes. He has spoken of the need to be "both and" rather than "either or". Thus in the Latin Church there has been a real attempt to "gather into one" all who subscribe more or less to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is after all is the document those who want to join the Ordinariate are expected to sign up to, it seems too to be the basis for negotiations with the SSPX, rather than simple acceptance of the Second Vatican Council.

At the beginning of the Pontificate there was an expectation of bared rottweiler teeth, of big sticks, of a___ kicking but instead we had tea with Kung. There has been no great curial clear out, in fact the most noticeable change was the exchange of P for G Marini.

The heart of Benedict's pontificate is professorial dialogue, at least for those who are willing to accept the Benedictine presumptions: that is that Revelation, Scripture and Tradition, is true and although it develops, it is essentially unchangeable and is to be understood in a hermeneutic of continuity, for example this is how liturgy is to be understood.

The problem is where do those who do not have the taste for this dialogue fit in. What about the campaigners for women's ordination, those with a doctrine free understanding of Catholicism, those who are demanding a radical rethinking of marriage, family and human sexuality? In England and Wales this seems almost to be the default position of at least most lay "establishment Catholics". The basic Benedictine position would be to treat them with courtesy and to trust in the beauty of God's Truth to attract them, there is also the assumption that the Catholic faith is both durable and essentially reasonable, that it will ultimately triumph.

There is also the slight sting in the tail with the Pope's constant demand for an educated laity and that little bit in the Pope's address to our Bishops at the ad limina that they should "recognise dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate." There is the presumption that those involved in "dialogue" are actually committed to the mainstream position.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Down the Ordinariate Line

I think the Ordinariate is going to be the most exciting thing in the life of the Catholic Church in this country since the restoration of the Heirarchy, what ever the numbers of those coming acrosss the Tiber it is going to have dramatic consequences.

I have been reading Fr Sean's posts on the Ordinariate, well worth going through them if you haven't yet done so.
What fascinates me is what the Catholic Church is going to look like in this country in five years time. I put up a post a few days ago asking:
Why the Catholic Church in this country is unable to sustain itself?
My point was we are dependant on convert Anglican clergyman.
I understand that our local seminary had an intake of eight students this year, of which four are former Anglican clergy and two former Anglican laymen. These are not members of the Ordinariate, though presumably they could opt into that before ordination.
Converts tend to have an interest in an accurate presentation of doctrine both in teaching and in its liturgical presentation. Having put up with a load of nonsense in the dear old CofE, they tend to be a bit intolerant of it in the Catholic Church.
It has been announced that the kindly convert Bishop Alan Hopes (I think he is the only convert bishop) will be in charge of the Ordinariate, for the time being, until their own clergy can take over. That means Ordinariate clergy will be on the Bishop's Conference.
Fr Sean suggests money will be a problem and suggests Ordinariate clergy will have to find employment, the obvious areas of employment will be filling already existing Church jobs, such as school and other chaplaincies, or diocesan curial jobs, or even Eccleston Square. Who knows someone might notice this on their website:"Like any family, the Church has several branches. Each is different (Roman Catholic, Methodist, Anglican to name but a few) but all share a common source: Jesus Christ. In the past, as in the best of families, we’ve been divided."  It is a bit of 19th century Anglicanism but isn't actually what the Catholic Church teaches about its unique role.

There will also be a fair amount of interaction between the Ordinariate and non-Ordinariate parishes, the sharing of churches, and presumably clergy. Also I expect there will be a certain fluidity of congregations, the laity moving between churches. Like the Traditional Mass I presume Pope Benedict expects a gravitational pull of Ordinariate and non-Ordinariate Churches. For Benedict everything seems to be about de pluribus.

My real interest is what is going to happen to future converts are they going to opt for the Ordinariate or the non-Ordinariate? If it is former what will happen to the latter?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Grand Sacrifice

One of my parishioners belonged to one of those upper class European Catholic families, he was  half French, a keen huntsman, with a military background and belonged to one or two of those Catholic chivalric orders where you have to prove your poshness by demonstrating that not only you but that your great, great grand-parents were armigerous.

He told me a story of a cousin, a retired French cavalry officer his eldest son had been thrown out of St Cyr, France's Sandhurst he had been getting involved sex, drugs, fraud and other crime had given up the faith and had little do with the family. Eventually his father decided enough was enough, letters, entreaties, ordinary prayer and penance had achieved no result and so he decided to offer The Grand Sacrifice: his life in exchange for his son's soul. He gave away his personal property and prayed that God would take his life in exchange for son's immortal soul. Within a year he had died of some truly painful desease and within eighteen months his son had entered an austere traditional monastery and is apparently still there.

Although it is good story of paternal love, in a rather militaristic way, it all seems a little frenchified to me, a bit distasteful too but I have dim memories of similar stories from French literature and hagiography.

With the feast of St Jude coming up it is worth thinking that prayer and sacrifice go together, the bigger the need the bigger the sacrifice.

Simply Marriage

The wedding season is over, in this parish there are no more until next year. Like most priests I am a bit ambiguous about weddings. I hate the excess, the whole "princess for a day" thing, the conspicuous expense and consumption, which in so many ways is a contradiction of the Gospel and which nowadays often causes even the devout to put off marriage until the can match the outlay of their friends.

My last wedding, I wasn't the celebrant, that was another priest, I was the registrar, was a delightful contrast to the hullabaloo of most weddings. There was no music, no flowers, apart from us two priests, there was the couple and two witnesses. The reception was in  a local pub, yes there were a few bottles of champagne, the wedding breakfast consisted of pizza from the pub menu.

For the couple, the highlight of the whole thing was kneeling before the priest to receive the nuptial blessing.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pray for this man's victims

Yet more filth fouling the bride of Christ.

James Robinson, 73, a laicised priest*, has been jailed for 21 years for the sexual abuse of young boys which began in the 1950s.

Describing the Catholic Church's role in Robinson's case as highly questionable, Judge Thomas said: "It is not for me to judge.

"Others may take the view that a full investigation and full disclosure of the results of that investigation is due to the members of that church and (Robinson's victims)."

*I have been corrected, Robinson has not been laicised, the Archdiocese of Birmingham has apparently begun the process.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Catholic Times Paper Scam?

I am just asking questions here.

I am not really into the ways of the world, and certainly not of the newspaper industry but after having received a rather curt dismissive note from the editor of the Catholic Times, Mr Kevin Flaherty, I thought I would look at the numbers of his newspapers which we sold here, actually it is 1 or 2 or sometimes no copies a week, yet Total Catholic Publications send us 12 copies every week leaving us with 10 or 11 or even 12 copies, as for The Universe from the same Total Catholic stable they send us 22 copies of which we sell on average only 4 or 5. This seems to have been going on for years.

The Catholic Herald seems to adjusts its deliveries according to sales, but not the Catholic Times or The Universe, they have been sending us what the choose. We are not charged for unsolds, indeed we are asked to distribute the unsold copies free to the sick, though the last thing the sick want is to read these publications so we normally throw them away which in Green Brighton means we have to pay to get rid of them every few months, but it does mean that Total Catholic could claim every copy sent to a parish is distributed. Does anyone know if they do?

I am forced to ask are these two papers claiming vastly inflated circulation figures in order to attract advertising? The Catholic Times I understand claims a circulation of 20,000 but if you go by my parish's figures the actual paying readership they have would be about 2,000. The Universe claims to be the largest selling Catholic paper in the UK but if the figures are in line with the Catholic Times', one does  have to ask if the hard copy circulation is much more than 5 or 6,000.

By accepting much larger numbers of these two papers than are likely to be sold, a priest is complicit in a dreadful waste and an "ecological sin", think of those trees going to waste to produce unwanted newspapers but also parish clergy are actually unwittingly complicit in a possible scam, against unwitting advertisers, who pay for advertising based on wholly inaccurate and inflated circulation figures, if that is so it would be gravely sinful. I am sure this is not the deliberate intention of anyone involved in Total Catholic but is a situation that has simply evolved unnoticed with falling sales figures.

Later today I will ensure there is is no more than a 10% wastage, and I would recommend other priests to do the same and parishioners to question why there might be large quantities of unsold Catholic papers at the backs of their churches.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Archbishop Burke's Great Speech

Archbishop Burke's address to Human Life International Gathering, this a summary:

Obedience to the magisterium and the demands of the natural moral law are not only important for salvation, but are especially required of Catholics if a culture of life is to be advanced in today’s world.
Man is tempted to view the magisterium in relation to his individualism and self-pursuit.

Of bishops:  ”When shepherds of the flock are obedient to the magisterium entrusted to their exercise, then surely the numbers of the flock grow in obedience,” he said. “If the shepherd isn’t obedient, the flock easily gives way to confusion and error.” Quoting the Prophet Zechariah, he said the shepherd can be “especially tempted” by the assaults of Satan who, “if he can strike him, the work of scattering the flock is made easy.”
“Where there are problems of chastity, there are problems of obedience.” Rebellion against the moral truth, Archbishop Burke noted, “is a rebellion against God and all that he teaches us.”
The archbishop also stressed that today’s culture “teaches us to believe what is convenient and to reject what is difficult for us or which challenges us,” thus leading to a “cafeteria Catholicism” which “picks and chooses which parts of faith to practice.” He noted how this happened even among some bishops when they dissented from Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae Vitae.” The consequences of that dissent, he said, has “led many Catholics into habits of sin in what pertains to procreation and the education of human life.”
Archbishop Burke then turned to the exercise of the magisterium in public life. He spoke of the tendency today to compartmentalize the faith, and the “hypocrisy” of some Catholics in politics, medicine, business or other human endeavors, who claim to personally hold to the truth of the faith regarding the inviolability of innocent and defenseless human life, yet cooperate in attacks on the unborn, the infirm, or those with special needs. He also cited “self-proclaimed” Catholics who support state recognition of same sex marriage.
“It is not possible to be a practicing Catholic and conduct oneself publicly in this manner,” he said to loud applause.
To much applause, Archbishop Burke said: “When a person has culpably espoused and cooperated in gravely sinful acts, leading many into error and confusion over fundamental questions regarding respect for life and integrity of marriage and family, his repentance of such actions must also be public.”
He stressed that responsibility is “especially heavy” for political leaders. “To repair the scandal begins with the public acknowledgment of his own error and a public declaration of adherence to the moral law,” he explained. “The soul which recognizes the gravity of what he has done will understand immediately the need to make public reparation.”
But of course this is just Abp Burke's opinion and doesn't apply to England and Wales.

Red Hats to Ranjith and Bartolucci but not Vin

The Holy See has announced the appointment of 24 new Cardinals.
In the Roman Curia, welcome but not surprising is the elevation of Archbishop Burke, absent is Archbishop Fisichella, the President of the new Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation:
Angelo Amato (Saints), Fortunato Baldelli (Apostolic Penitentiary), Raymond Leo Burke (Signatura), Velasio de Paolis (Economic Affairs), Francesco Monterisi (Archpriest of Saint Paul), Kurt Koch (Christian Unity), Gianfranco Ravasi (Culture), Paolo Sardi, Robert Sarah (Cor Unum), Mauro Piacenza (Clergy).
Archbishops of Major Sees, I am surprised the Archbishop of Westminster has not been made a Cardinal and will presumably have to wait until Cormac is eighty. It is good to see Archbishop Ranjith amongst the new Cardinals:
Antonios Naguib, Alexandria (Egypt); Paolo Romeo, Palermo (Italy); Reinhrad Marx, Munich and Freising (Germany); Kazimierz Nycz, Warsaw (Poland); Donald William Wuerl, Washington (USA); Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Kinshasa (Congo): Medardo Joseph Mazombwe, Lusaka (Zambia); Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patanbendige Don, Colombo (Sri Lanka); Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga, Quito (Ecuador); Raymundo Damasceno Assis, Aparecida (Brazil).
Those over 80 are those without voting rights, it is good to see included is Domenico Bartolucci, the former perpetual maestro of the Sistine Chapel who was treated shamelessly in Vatican liturgy-wars in the earlier part of JPII's reign and sacked. His Cardinalate is the ultimate rehabilitation and vindication:
Elio Sgreccia (Italy), José Manuel Estepa Llaurens (Spain), Walter Brandmuller (Germany), Domenico Bartolucci (Italy - pictured above with the Holy Father).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lunch with the Chairman of the ACCC


I had lunch at New Malden with the Parish Priest Fr Peter Edwards, a small group of other priests and Fr John Walsh, who is on holiday in London. He is also happens to be the chairman of the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy.

Fr Walsh said the ACCC started because priests were hungry for sound intellectual and spiritual nourishment and fraternity. Australia has many clergy who can live very isolated lives in the bush, in dioceses of a few dozen priests who rarely come together. There the ACCCs conferences and retreats offer priests a vital lifeline. In Australia there was an organisation like our own National Conference of Priests, which I think has closed down here, or at least it is in its death throes, the Nuncio and bishops at first saw the ACCC as a threat but as so many younger clergy joined the became more and more favourable to the new organisation, nowadays it is the ACCC which works with the Bishop's Conference and the Nuncio, indeed many of Australia's bishops are early members of the ACCC.

Our UK situation is a little different, there are many groups ranging from diocesan initiatives to Jesus Caritas, some are excellent but I must say personally I think we need something like the ACCC here. Theological and spiritual input in some of these groups can be patchy, many diocese tend to choose speakers that fit the "diocesan profile" rather than challenge it, the standard of speakers is often not of an international standard. How good to get in members of the Curia like Archbishop Raymond Burke, or Cardinal Levada, or maybe Cardinal Pell on one of his British tours.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fr Michael Clifton's last post?

Fr Michael Clifton posts this:

Bad News I regret to inform you that I am faced with an impossible situation. Mgr Loftus has refused to accept my apologies and threatens me with action in civil and church courts. As a result I am very worried and will speak to our Archbishop. However I will not be posting any further blogs and may well shut down completely pending resolution of this matter. Please pray for me.

I don't know if a similar letter is in the post to me, if there is, so be it.

It does seem very strange that a Catholic newspaper, the Catholic Times publishes articles that at least some people regard as questionable and when they are questioned threats of legal action are thrown about like confetti. Is the editor happy with this? are other contributors? are readers?

This is an important justice issue of freedom of speech that affects a fundamental right to debate in the Church, it should not be ignored!

Please contact the editor of  the The Catholic Times Mr Kevin Flaherty here, I did last week and received no reply, so a hard copy letter should also be sent to:
K Flaherty Esq
The Universe Media Group Limited
4th Floor Landmark House
Station Road
Cheadle Hulme
United Kingdom
Having read the first paragraph of an article in last week's paper, well let us say I felt the CDF might express discomfort about what was said about the physical resurrection of the Lord. In my personal opinion it was not congruent with the teaching of the Church.

Pope to Seminarians

Today the Pope has written a letter to seminarians.

Convert Clergy - a few questions

At our Traditional Mass last night there was a young man with his child who has just been reconciled to Mother Church, until a couple of months ago he had been an Anglican clergyman - I presume he will seek to be ordained in the Catholic Church - pray for him.
With Ushaw College closing it is pretty obvious that ad intra the Catholic Church in this country is really unable to maintain itself, it is only with help ad extra, from the Ordinariate or other converts that we can continue to run the parishes we have. In many dioceses the number of those now ordained priest both married and celibate, who left the CofE after the ordination of women to the presbyterate is well above 10 or even 15%, the number is much higher if one includes other converts from Anglicanism who were never ordained.
The question no-one seems to ask is: why the Catholic Church in this country is unable to sustain itself?

There is a disproportionate number of converts at the altar compared to cradle Catholics in the pews, in the same way there is a disproportionate number of cradle Catholics bishops to convert priests. Again, why?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Idle Speculations Answers My Question

On an earlier post I said:
"I was much more excited by the Medieval Gallery but then it does seem odd to have objects of veneration; relics, crosses, statuary, vestment sterilised of their sacredness by being in a Museum ...but they do show relics as if the bones of the Saints of God are historical artifacts, would they do that if they were the remains of Australian Aborigines or Native Americans?"

Terry at Idle Speculations has taken this up and both answers my question and speaks more generally about relics in a typically brief and thorough article.

So, putting it bluntly, why isn't someone from Archbishops House off getting our saints back?

Congratulations to Bishop Broadhurst and St Peters Congregation

I am so pleased that Bishop Broadhurst and the congregation of St Peter's in Folkestone have announced their intention of joining the Ordinariate. Under PCC NEWS their website says the following:
At its meeting on September 28th, 2010, the Parochial Church Council of Folkestone St Peter unanimously requested the parish’s churchwardens to write to the Archbishop of Canterbury, our diocesan bishop, in order to arrange a meeting with him about the wish of many of the PCC and the congregation to join the English Ordinariate of the Catholic Church when it is erected. The PCC is anxious that this should be made as easy as possible, not only for them, but for the diocesan family of Canterbury that they will regretfully be leaving behind.
It is very important that their leaving and their reconciliation to the Catholic Church is accompanied by our prayers and is done as peacefully as possible but it is also important to recognise the heroism of this act for what it is. It is not easy to be the first but I pray the are the vanguard of many.
I do regret that their leaving again identifies dear "old mother damnable" to be nothing more than a liberal protestant  when she takes off her catholic ball gown. Now it is pretty clear that Anglicanism is no home for those who look to the Councils of the first millennium to define their "Catholic" faith, nor is it a home for those "protestants" who define their faith according to (that most Catholic document commonly called) the Bible.
There is now something new in Anglicanism: a single undeniable doctrine. The one doctrine which must be held without demur, is, "Women can be ordained bishops". One can be floating adrift in the Sea of Faith or manically swing a thurible but it is this doctrine arrived at by that most unecclessial method imaginable: democracy and her consort women's rights, that now unites believers in the church "by Law Established".

Saturday, October 16, 2010

When The World Sets the Agenda For the Church

An interesting video from Fr Barron on "beige Catholicism", a Catholicism that has lost all distinction from the culture of the day.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fr Thomas Reese SJ in support of the Pope

Fr Thomas Reese SJ, the former editor of "America", is often portrayed as less supportive of the Holy Father than most, so read this:
One entertaining example of the uncanny reversals of booby traps was seen in March 2009 on Channel Three of RAI, the Italian state-run television. In her regular Sunday afternoon show "In Half An Hour" (a bit like BBC World's Hardtalk), anchorwoman Lucia Annunziata, formerly President of RAI itself, interviewed US Jesuit Fr Thomas J. Reese. She introduced him as a priest who had resigned as Editor-in-chief of America Magazine when Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope.
Annunziata, who had recently interviewed rebel theologian Hans Kung, introduced her guest as "hugely important”, “high calibre” and “immensely prestigious". She clearly expected Fr Reese to tip the bucket on the Pope.
But her plan backfired. Not only did Fr Reese not attack the Pope, but he matter-of-factly validated every one of his doctrinal positions. His criticisms were limited to reflecting that the Holy Father should surround himself with people who are more expert with the media.
Flustered, Annunziata broached one issue after another in an increasingly pleading tone: "Surely on this matter you must differ with the Pope?” and “You must be willing to at least admit that not everyone approves of the Pope these days?" Reese smilingly parried every lunge.
Finally she played her trump card: "What about the little girl in Brazil who was raped by her stepfather? Do you support even the decision to excommunicate the family who took her to an abortion clinic?"
But Reese laughed pleasantly and pointed out: "I'm not an enemy of the Pope. I think he's right on all of the issues you mentioned." And then the mortal blow: "I like the Pope!"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Liturgical Dancer tries to kill Cardinal

Hamdan Mohamed Abdurrahman, a Moslem, joined a troupe of liturgical dancers in Khartoum and attempted to kill Cardinal Zubeir Wako.
read more here

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Damned Gadfly!!!

Go to this page of the Middlesbrough Dicesan website and before you can access this page you will get this:
By using this Diocese of Middlesbrough website you agree to be legally bound our Terms and Conditions, which shall take effect immediately on your first use of the site. If you do not agree to be legally bound by all the following terms please do not access and/or use this Diocese of Middlesbrough website. The Diocese of Middlesbrough may change these terms at any time by posting changes online. Please review these terms regularly to ensure you are aware of any changes made by the Diocese of Middlesbrough. Your continued use of the site after changes are posted means you agree to be legally bound by these terms as updated and/or amended.
You will have to agree to the terms and conditions before you can view anything. Mulier Fortis says that it is all the fault of one James Preece. I know James can be crass, sometimes he get things amazingly wrong. I have priest friends in the Middlesbrough diocese who spit nails at the mention of his name, if I lived in the diocese or was a regular visitor of his blog I might share their feelings. He is an irritating gadfly on the rump of the body politic, the type of person who delights in puncturing the vanity of cosy contemporary churchiness.

But what is it about the Catholic Church in this country that seems to embrace dissent at every level and yet refuses to allow free and open debate, theology is an open field; Catholics can debate as much as they like women's ordination, even propose abortion but ask questions about structures, management, policy, cosying up to governments then pressure will be brought to bear. I think James' wife was asked to distance herself from him in order to take part in some Catholic activity.

What is so terrible about a few questions, a little scrutiny, even some ridicule?

The abuse crisis, as the UK Ambassador to the Holy See, Francis Campbell, said is not so much about abuse in the Catholic Church, which is on a par with any other strata in society, "it is about cover-up". It is cover-up that has virtually destroyed the Church in Ireland and maybe has finally crushed the Belgium Church.

The Gospel is about Truth. Until the Church can be open to scrutiny, the Gospel will always evade its grasp, it will always be regarded as having nothing to offer our society, as being too hypocritical to the point even of having no place in the discussion. Truth and humility go hand in hand, as does Holiness and transparency, even being willing to accept humiliations for the sake of the Truth or disclosure and scrutiny for the sake of Holiness. If we don't embrace humility and transparency God will force these things on his Church.

There is a  fear at the heart of the Church in our country, not of God but of being discovered to have form but no substance.

One important aspect of the blogosphere is that occassionally it discomforts the comfortable, a bit like John the Baptist, or the prophets, or those mad hermits who came in to the city to upset the complacent clergy and confront vainglorious bishops. We needed them in the past, today we have even more need of them.

Europe Defends Conscience

Neil Addison writes about Conscientious Objection in relation to participation in Abortion.
Originally the proposals before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe regarded Conscientious Objection not as a fundamental right but as a problem indeed the original title of the proposals before the Assembly was "Women’s access to lawful medical care: the problem of unregulated use of conscientious objection"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Catholic Times: A Warning

A couple of the ladies in the parish could be in big trouble, both are keen photographers but they suggested a picture in the Catholic Times was "amateurish and badly cropped". Now if the photographer were as litigious as other contributors such as Msgr Basil Loftus this could be construed as defamatory slander.
Am I committing a libel against the Caatholic Times by reporting this or would I need to mention the photographers name?

A friend has a discussion group which discusses Tablet articles, I wonder if he too is on risky ground, encouraging  such discussion. Another friend writes book reviews for the Church Times, I am sure his pension is in jeopardy every time he touches pen to paper.

I am wondering if the Catholic Times is bit too hot to handle and whether I and others should remove it from the back of churches, just in case. Possibly the editor should mark those articles and other contributions which can or cannot be discussed.

Anyhow, I just wanted to thank my benefactor for the cheque for £2,500 for the "defence fund". I won't cash any cheque until it is needed, I would have liked to have written to you as I have to others but as you haven't given me your address this will have to serve to thank you.

Pope Benedict on Dei Genetrix

Yesterday, in an unscripted address to the synod of the Bishops of the Middle East Pope Benedict  spoke of Our Lady as Theotokos, Dei Genetrix in the most beautiful and profound words that I think I have ever read on her. Sandro Magister offers an immediate translation and Rorate highlights a few selected paragraphs but this is worth reading and re-reading again and again.

Joan Sutherland 1926 -2010

Let the bright Seraphim in
burning row their loud uplifted
angel-trumpets blow.

Let the cherubic host, in tuneful
choir, touch their immortal
harps with golden wire.

Let the bright Seraphim in
burning row their loud uplifted
angel-trumpets blow

Through the mercy of God may she rest in peace and join the Saints in praising him forever.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Day in Town

An early Mass this morning, alone apart from the court of Heaven then up to London. I had been looking forward to seeing the Treasures of  Westminster Cathedral exhibition but when I got there it was closed, I should have known when I saw a senior member of the cathedral staff striding off down Victoria Street, obviously with the keys tucked in his pocket.
The CTS was shut too is there a conspiracy going on?
A delicious lunch with a friend at what used to be the Hyde Park Hotel, why can't we have food and service like that it Brighton?
We dropped into the Oratory to see the new Newman chapel: quite pleasant, quite understated, quite English; I think the Blessed JH would approve.
Then off to the V & A to see the Raphael tapestries, I have to admit I am a philistine, I know people have raved about them but to me tapestries are a bit like wallpaper they are soft furnishings. I could appreciate the cartoons: the colours, the forms but the tapestries just looked dull, obviously they have lost their colour, the gold thread in them had lost its lustre, the vegetable dyes had lost their vigour, the whites are a dull fawn, I was quite disappointed.

I was much more excited by the Medieval Gallery but then it does seem odd to have objects of veneration; relics, crosses, statuary, vestment sterilised of their sacredness by being in a Museum, at least the V & A doesn't display ciboria or pyxes with the Blessed Sacrament spewing out of them like a communist museum of atheism but they do show relics as if the bones of the Saints of God are historical artifacts, would they do that if they were the remains of Australian Aborigines or Native Americans?

I understand they do the same Westminster Cathedral, so maybe it was providential it was closed!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Gaze that Saves

"Go and show yourself to the priests", says Jesus in today's Gospel. The Jewish lepers do so, the Samaritan, who would not have welcome in Jerusalem, comes to the true Priest, the Lamb who takes away the sins of the World.
In the Sacrament of Penance we "show" ourselves and the leprosy of sin is taken away.
The Gospels are full of people who want to see Jesus. Jesus likens himself to the serpent in the desert that brings healing to those who simply look upon it.
Pre-counter Reformation Catholicism seems to have been very much about the "gaze that saves", of looking at, being proximate to the Holy and holy things. It is Communion rather than hearing which saves, what happens in the soul rather than the mind, not homilies but holiness.

In the first read it is either obedience to Elisha or washing in the Jordan following the rubrics laid by Elisha that heals Naaman. In the Old Testament people are saved by looking on bronze serpents. In Acts Peter's shadow and his handkerchief brings healing.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Rosary Crusade of Reparation

click to enlarge
Our Lady wants you on the streets of London next Saturday: ask her, I am pretty sure she will tell you she does. After the Papal visit London needs to see happy prayerful Catholics on the streets.
Assemble outside Westminster Cathedral at 1.45pm for the procession to Brompton Oratory.

Educated Laity on Music in the Liturgy

Gosh, educated and well informed lay people Andrea and Andrew Android can be quite frightening, especially if they are right!
thanks NLM

Ushaw to close

One of our four English based seminaries is to close. St Cuthbert's College, Ushaw which is huge has only 26 students and will close at the end of the academic year.
full story here

The Institute of Catholic Culture

The best way of overcoming ignorance and heresy in the Church is by forming a loyal and educated laity The Institute of Catholic Culture may help, it presents a whole series of rather interesting audio talks which can be downloaded.

thanks to Holy Whapping

Friday, October 08, 2010


One of the reasons for being a little annoyed with the unfounded accusastion of Msgr Basil Loftus that I had called him a heretic is that I am not quite sure what a heretic is today.
Archbishop Amigo of Southwark for most of the first half of the twentieth century decide to suspend a handful of curates for Modernism, then tried to do the same with a Parish Priest and was told he couldn't do that without a lengthy process of admonitions, detailed preparation of a case and formal trial. His sense of justice led him to decide if he couldn't get rid of the Parish Priest it was unjust to act against the curates, so the matter was dropped, and he had to be content with merely suggesting they had "heretical tendencies". In all probability they were moved to Gravesend, sorry if you live there, which seemed to be the "penal" parish at the time.

Even before the Second Vatican Council and under the 1915 Code of Canon Law, even in the light of Pascendi etc heresy was difficult to prove, one could easily be removed from a teaching role but not from a parish. The Law of the Church was there to protect against the malice of a superior.

In theory heresy is any formal denial of any defined Truth, but there seem to have been fashions, hence Talleyrand already known for his atheism was consecrated Bishop of Autun  in pre-revolutionary France. In most congregations there are deniers of the Real Presence, those who don't believe in Confession. In any group of clergy there a priests with very odd views but the Church rarely singles them out as heretics. Very occassionally does a theologian receive a formal condemnation. Sometimes a bishop or religious superior might prohibit a subject priest or religious to publish or teach. It is normally failure to comply with this, as an act of obedience, that might result in censure or even dismissal from the clerical or religious state.

For the most part the Church is and was content to live with heresy, one role of the priest is to condemn tendencies that lead to weakening communion because it is schism, the breaking of communion that is the real cause for concern.

Heresy is treated by the Church for the most part as ignorance. Ignorance is best dealt with by catechesis and gentle reproval or fraternal correction rather than by a judicial penalty of some type. Sometimes it is invincible ignorance, unless it is damaging the innocent, the tendency of the Church is to live with it. Our presumption is that Truth is more attractive than error and that Truth will eventually triumph.

It does concern me that individuals are described as "heretics", normally by the theoligically naive, they might have heretical views or they might over emphasise certain areas of teaching or neglect others but the Christian presumption is that they are men and women of good will and good faith. The Church is primarilly concerned with Charity and with the salvation, not the condemnation, of souls.

In the traditional Rite of Baptism parents are asked what they ask of the Church, they answer, "Faith", the presumption is that "Faith" is supernatural gift, the presumption is that it is an orthodox faith that is received, and just as one grows in faith one also grows in orthodoxy, coming to a deeper and deeper understanding of rvealed truths.

Pope Benedict's admonition to our bishops, "to recognise dissent for what it is" is useful. Those who dissent are those who pull away from mainstream faith, not only damaging the faith of others but undermining the Church's unity and mission. Dissent marks those angry, arrogant often elderly men (and women) who set up themselves as the sensus fidelium against that of the Church. One suspects that there are deep seated problems with the ecclessial dimension of the fourth commandment. Whether they are on the right or the left, invariably their concern is not so much with Truth or the mission of the Church but with structures and authority, with Churchiness.

Modern dissenters seem to have a propensity to destroy and undermine faith rather than build it up, to spread confusion and relativism rather than to search for Truth.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Son of Siri to Congregation for the Clergy

Today Archbishop Piacenza was appointed as prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy replacing Cardinal Hummes. His appointment is unusual as few officials who serve as secretary as appointed as prefect.

Mauro Piacenza (born 15 September 1944) is an Italian prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He currently serves as prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy in the Roman Curia since his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI on7 October 2010. He had previously served as secretary from 2007 until his appointment as full prefect in 2010.

Piacenza was born in Genoa, and was ordained to the priesthood by Giuseppe Cardinal Siri on 21 December 1969. After serving as a parochial vicar, he worked as Chaplain and later Apostolic Delegate to the University of Genoa. Piacenza taught canon law at the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy, and held several other curial and teaching posts. He was made a canon of the Genoa Cathedral in 1986. Entering the Congregation for the Clergy in 1990, he was named its Undersecretary on 11 March 2000.

On 13 October 2003, Piacenza was appointed president of Cultural Heritage of the Church and Titular Bishop of Victoriana by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 15 November from Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, SDB, with Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos and Bishop Alberto Tanasini serving as co-consecrators.

He was later named President of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology on 28 August 2004, and then Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy and Titular Archbishop (with the same title) on 7 May 2007.

A Very Specific Victory

Daniel has a picture of the Venetian Le Panto Crucifix, which was displayed on the prow of a Venetian galley at the battle.
Today's feast of the Holy Rosary sits uneasily with the contemporary Church, it is not the feast of a method of prayer, it is really the feast of Our Lady of Victories and the Victory being celebrated is a very specific victory, the defeat of the great fleet of the Sultan at Le Panto.
The idea of God being on a specific side in a war is indeed strange in a Church which edits scripture, cutting out that uncomfortable verses of scripture, for example the psalm of Sunday Vespers which speaks of the piling up of bodies, the scattering far and wide of heads.
Bodies were indeed piled and heads scattered at Le Panto, the result was the destruction of the Islamic threat to the Mediterranean seaboard of Europe until the present day.
In our culture of relativism how strange that we should have been so certain of right on the Christian side.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

British Heresy Trial ~ Coming Soon!

I have just had a very irate Mgr Basil Loftus telephone me to complain about remarks about him in my previous post on the Catholic Press.
As the Monsignor only wanted to rant rather than talk and then put the phone down on me I  will reply to him here and would draw his attention to the note at the foot of the blogroll
Anonymous comments are never published. All comments are the opinions of those who make them they are not necessarily mine
I must admit I have hardly read a word he has written, life is too short, so I am unable to judge whether he is heretical, which is what he objected to. However it does strike me as being extremely odd that someone who writes so freely in the Catholic press, making accusations, apparently, about others and their opinions should object to the opinions of people here and that he should be so high handed in his objections rather than enter into a debate.
The Monsignor threatened to sue me for suggesting that he was a heretic, if the comments were not removed within 7 days, I don't intend to do that. I believe in free speech, with in reason and I rather relish the thought of trial in a British court for heresy.
Possibly the Catholic Times and the Scottish Catholic Observer have realised that people do object to his writing and he fears a loss of earnings which the comments on this blog might lead to. I am sorry if that is the case but I think that is called "market forces". If people aren't buying a newspaper because of a particular writer's views then I suppose the editors would like to know.
I would warn him of course that suing someone might cost a bob or two.

Added later: Perhaps Mgr Loftus or someone else might like to point out where I have made any suggestion about Monsignor, I would certainly welcome his reply to this post or the previous one, or his reply to Fr Clifton's objections to his writings.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Where to the Catholic Press?

Fr Tim reading one of the "Catholic" papers
at the back of Westminster Cathedral
"What future does the Catholic press have at the height of a digital revolution that is bankrupting many newspapers? According to the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the future will depend on the capacity of Catholic journalism to be faithful to its mission."

"In his opening address the archbishop presented the Catholic press "as a reality that is close to people, capable of accompanying one's life, of perceiving the concerns, desires and plans of the people who are its readers -- not only of those who belong to the Catholic community.""
I have banned the Tablet from my church, I just got sick of its carping about the Pope and its liberal agenda, I am told it is improving. Fr Clifton, who reads The Tablet with occassional bursts of irritation, complains almost continually about Msg Basil Loftus who writes for the Catholic Times, and others wonder about the orthodoxy of the Herald and the Universe. I tend to feel that I ought to ban all Catholic papers.

In the not too distant future I am sure that most have no future, young people simply don't read them.
Archbishop Celli said the current context in which the Catholic press moves is that of "a dictatorship of relativism, where we witness the attempt to reduce the action of the Church and of religion to a private realm, without public importance, de-legitimizing it as if it were an enemy of man, of his liberty and dignity, in this age of sad passions."

When I first read this passage I thought the Archbishop was actually speaking of our British Catholic Press as actually being part of the dictatorship of relativism, attempting "to reduce the action of the Church and of religion to a private realm, without public importance".

If one reads the Catholic Press, one is overcome by both its dreariness and its "churchiness". It doesn't seem to know what its purpose is. Forming a loyal, well informed laity, should be its purpose, helping to proclaim The Truth should be its purpose, instead it scratches the itch of its indisposition, continually looking inwards, moving chairs as the Titanic is sinking. The national Catholic Press is bad and diocesan newspapers are even worst, most parishes have difficulty giving them away.

What is the future?

Monday, October 04, 2010


Anyone here in Brighton able to give emergency accomodation to a young Fillipino women, she's 5 months pregnant, just been thrown out by her boy friend, talking about an abortion. She is on her way here, with £3 in her purse.
I've tried ringing the Life office, its shut.
We don't seem to have emergency accomodation in our city.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Legality of EMHCs

Does anyone know if a Dubium along the the lines of the following has ever been submitted to the CDW: Is it licit to use Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion solely to enable Holy Communion to be distributed under both kinds?
I really do think the re-introduction of Holy Communion under both kinds is a good thing, providing the faithful are sufficiently catechised to the point where they recognise the Blood of Christ for what it is.
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal sees the distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds as being an exception, normally when there will be a number of priests present at Mass, such as at an ordination or profession or on Holy Thursday.

Extraordinary Ministers are envisaged by the documents to help the priest in extra-ordinary circumstances, such as when the number of communicants is too great for the Ordinary Ministers to cope with. Extraordinary Ministers are not understood to be either ordinary or normal, indeed outside of the English speaking world, possibly with the exception of France, Communion under both kinds is rare.

Where the Chalice is distributed, it strikes me that less than half of communicants receive from it, it could be because of the obvious problem with hygeine or it could be that a vested priest standing in the centre of the Church distributing the Host is a greater "sign" of Communion than a lay man or women standing off to the side.
There is also, perhaps, a problem of the multiplicity of chalices, somehow the biblical "one bread, one cup" is diminished by the normal two distributors of the Chalice to every distributor of the Host.
The real problem for me is that people will often refer to the "Bread" as "the Body of Christ", "the Host", "the Blessed Sacrament" or even "Jesus", yet the same people will often simply refer to the "Precious Blood" simply as "the wine".

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Atheism Poisons Everything

This is the first part of a debate on atheism with David Berlinski, author of The Devil's Delusion and Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great.
Berlinski (speech starts at 2.34) says Atheism poisons everything because without God there is no power beyond ourselves, there is  no reason to be good, no reason to moral. Berlinski is a fierce opponent of the social consequences of Darwinism.

Immaculata on the streets of London

In two weeks time, 16th October there is the annual procession through London from Westminster Cathedral to Brompton Oratory of the Rosary Crusade of Reparation. If you want to take part be outside the Cathedral at 1.45pm.

I know several of my younger parishioners are going up to pray for Our Lady's intercession, and after the Holy Father's visit to witness to their faith on the streets of the Capital.

Why not join them?

Friday, October 01, 2010

A Pragmatic, Short-term Solution

This is a video by 1010 Climate Change Campaign.  I don't want to get into the statistics about climate change, I believe, as the Church seems to say, charity demands we treat the environment with respect.
The makers seem embarassed by the reaction to this video, if the link doesn't work, see it here.

I find the video frightening, it seems to illustrate well a modern attitude to forming opinion: if people disagree with you destroy them or at least coerce them, it stems very much from our culture of relativitism.

I am sure this expensive video was produced with a tongue in the cheek but blowing up of human beings in a world beset with terrorism and war indicates a certain narrowness of vision, even of a disrespect for the human person. It reminds me of the Pope's sobering words which followed his comments Narzism:
... let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a "reductive vision of the person and his destiny"
Opinion is formed according to fashion, there is no room for debate, or for nuanced opinion. Right is on the side of the majority, which today seems to be a euphenism for those who control public opinion.

As the Pope said:
If the moral principles underpinning the democratic process are themselves determined by nothing more solid than social consensus, then the fragility of the process becomes all too evident - herein lies the real challenge for democracy.

The inadequacy of pragmatic, short-term solutions to complex social and ethical problems has been illustrated all too clearly by the recent global financial crisis.
He could have used any contempory issue to illustrate "[t]he inadequacy of pragmatic, short-term solutions to complex social and ethical problems".