Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The House Falls and the Sensus Fidelium





I am sure there have been psycho popes in the past, as much as there have been a few heretical ones, as there have been downright wicked ones.

Quite recently there was quite a lot of talk on the web, not from serious media though, of ‘schism’. I suspect there was a feeling that somehow the “dubia cardinals” would rise up and by some strange legal act would create a new pope. There was also discussion of the invalidity of Pope Francis’ election that was pure nonsense. 

Pope’s theologically hold office by popular acclamation and acceptance by the Church of Rome and the bishops and clergy throughout the world, how they get there isn’t that important. 'Legality' doesn't quite enter into it, in the past armies have, as have bribery or imprisonment and torture of opposing Cardinals. Simple question: who do we pray for at Mass? Except for odd people it’s Jorge Bergoglio reigning as Pope Francis. There is no other Pope.

I am told that the old question Suarez and others raised about the deposition of a Pope has become a popular subject for doctoral study in certain Canon Law faculties. There was a conference on it in Paris recently.

I am not sure that the relationship of Church and pope works quite so cleanly, especially today. A proper understanding of the sensus fidelium gives a clue. “The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice …… And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” It is not a formal act that separates the sheep from the stranger, it is simply they don’t hear him. In the same way that the people heard Jesus and didn’t hear the scribes and pharisees because “he spoke with authority”.  In the same way “one cannot pick figs from thorns”, and houses built on sand will fall and lamps hidden under tubs do not give light to the house, one can tell a tree by its fruit.

Schism does indeed have a legal definition but the main problem is that our churches, our seminaries, our convents are empty, people aren't marrying. Though people might turn out in vast numbers to see the spectacle of a pope in the streets of Bogata on a Brazilian beach in reality they simply don’t hear him. It is the same with bishops and priests: the sheep do not hear them or follow them.

This is what “schism” is really about in modern times, it is not sharp division of ecclesiastical institutions but lapsation, a refusal or inability to hear the Church’s leadership.  Like the scribes and Pharisees, separated from Christ, they have no authority. Speaking in their own voice they have nothing to say. In fact as we see today in surveys bishops are mistrusted even more than local priests, when they are true pastors they are effective and loved but so often they have merely an administrative role distinct from the word of God.

There has been a lot talk about the older form of the Mass and Orthodoxy attracting young people, I think this is true, or at least it produces vocations and committed Catholics but it is not necessarily something to celebrate, it appears to be attractive because the rest of the Church is failing.

Like older form of Mass, the older form catechesis, of preaching, or living as a priest or even being Church is all linked to the fons et culmen the Mass. Change the rites and the theological ground is changed, rock can easily become swamp or quicksand, and the house .... it falls.





Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Pope mobile doesn't stop


In this video the 'pope mobile'  almost runs over someone who gets in the way rather than stopping to check on whether the man is injured or not, it continues on its way.

I don't know whether the pope's chauffeur is the same one who braked abruptly and caused the Pope to fall and cut his face, which was widely reported.

What I find surprising is the lack of media attention to this event and the lack of concern over the man. Perhaps things are different Columbia, in the rest of the world a vehicle that is involved in an accident would be expected to stop and even if the law doesn't, charity does.


Saturday, September 02, 2017

Going into Reverse


Reverse gearThe Servus Servorum Dei recently said to a meeting of Italian liturgists, regarding the liturgy, that with his magisterial authority he declared post-concilliar liturgical changes are ‘irreversible’. As with many of the things he says, I am left wondering quite what he means, or even whether it contained any meaning at all.

It is a truism surely, what has happened in the past can't be reversed; an act of iconclasm cannot be undone, a smashed statue might be glued together but it still bears the marks of the violence done to it, and the community (like Italian liturgists) accustomed to violence seem to have that tendency in their psychological make-up, even a great deal of psychotherapy or analysis won't effect a cure, the only cure is a biological solution, the passing away of a generation.

The thing is that so much of the 'innovations' of the 1970s/80s rather than appealing to the young or even the middle-aged nowadays, chase them away. Again, again though the Pope says their is no reversal we do see bishops reversing what their predecessors did; in England and Wales, we've had a return to meatless Fridays and this week two of or Holy Days have been restored to their proper dates. It might indeed be that most Catholics haven't realised  the sinfulness of a bacon sandwich and it will take sometime to return to full churches on a Holy Day but this strikes me as being a reversal.

May our bishops having discovered the reverse gear, use it frequently! Bless them.


CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SACRAMENTS Prot. No. 180/17 ENGLAND AND WALES
To His Eminence, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, having taken into consideration the letter received on 21st February 2017, by virtue of the faculty attributed to this Congregation by the Supreme Pontiff FRANCIS, we willingly grant that in future, in the calendar specific to the same Conference, the celebration of the solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord will be celebrated on its particular day, namely, forty days after Easter; the celebration of the Epiphany of the Lord on its particular day, namely, 6th January. When the solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord falls on a Saturday, it is to be assigned to the Sunday following; when on a Monday, to the Sunday preceding. All things to the contrary notwithstanding.
From the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments,
4th August 2017, on the feast of St John Mary Vianney, presbyter.
Robert Card. Sarah Prefect
+Arthur Roche Archbishop Secretary

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Future?

I had a visit from a former parishioner who is now a brother of one of the new Oratories. Oratories seem to be on the rise. Birmingham and London have existed since the 19th century but almost 30 years ago Oratorians took over St Aloysius in Oxford and a the failing Jesuit church began to thrive. In recent years bishops have entrusted churches in York, Bournemouth and Cardiff to them. No-one would dispute that the Oratories have a very distinct flavour, even the new ones; there is what some might suggest is a certain dustiness about them. a tendency, even if most of their Masses are Novus Ordo to look to ‘Tradition’, they, like St Philip Neri, tend to look to the formation of young men in doctrine and liturgy, in both Cardiff and Bournemouth part of their mission is acting as chaplains to the universities.

The Oratories are part of a trend, in Preston both the Institute of Christ the King and the Fraternity of St Peter have been given churches where others have failed, so too in New Brighton. It might be that these bishops are acting in desperation and simply want museum curators for huge but splendid old churches that they cannot find the manpower to cover. Yet these institutes are happy to take them on, they have plenty of other offers round the world but they feel they can turn these churches into mission centres, that what others have fail at doing they can succeed.

I have another young friend, again a former parishioner, who will be ordained priest next year, he studied at Econe, his large family are staunch supporters of the Fraternity, one of his brothers is also a seminarian and a sister is a Dominican novice. I am rather saddened that the FSSPX have chosen to close their chapel here in Brighton but that is not the general trend, they are growing:
635 priests,
215 seminarians
40 pre-seminarians,
117 religious brothers
79 oblates
The priests live in 165 priories in 32 countries and have 772 centers in 72 countries around the world. I don't know many of their priests but those I have met seem to be, rather than having two heads, or as they are often pictured anti-Semitic sede vacantists, rather normal young men with a passion for the mission of Christ and his Church.

This year it was reported that a quarter of all ordinations in France were of 'traditional priests' which presumably means they were ordained in the traditional rite but then one is led to suspect that the majority of the rest also had traditional sympathies.

As most dioceses, most religious congregations are contemplating decline or even closure, (most priests throughout the western world have a sense they will be the last in their parishes) we should be asking if we have anything to learn from the traditional and radically orthodox. and asking ourselves too why the Church that some might describe as the "Church of yesteryear" seems to be about mission when the "Church of today" is concerned with maintenance and is in general quite unsuccessful at that.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Catholics, go out and change Britain!

This is a brilliant piece by Tim Stanley, one of our former parishioners and servers at our Traditional Mass. It is a clarion call for us Catholics to speak out and change Britain
First, that we are called to be outspoken social critics. Second, that our witness will personally cost us dear.
Catholic conservatism is pretty barren, even more so than liberalism, the first looks back to a golden age a few years ago and has no imagination, the latter offers imagination and takes its lead from secularism but orthodoxy and traditionalism places us in the mainstream of a cast of mind that begins in the Incarnation and enables us to look at our society and condemn current evils but also offers a vision of what the future, a Christian future could be.

Tim offers a vision of a society that the social encyclical of the Pope's of the last hundred years present, that was rooted in the scriptures and the Fathers. As Catholics we have a vision of a society that is radically different to the shallow anaemic ideologies of today's politicians.

Tim talks about the great social evils of our day, about poverty and financial disparity, porn and the sexualisation of our children, the damage to relationships , to mental health, to understanding ourselves, the evils of abortion and euthanasia, but go read .....

... Our wonderful, glorious, immaculate Church – the Bride of Christ, the hope of mankind.
She is like the mother we take for granted (and every mother will tell you: “You take me for granted!”). Do we do enough for her? Enough is never enough. Do we go every Sunday? Do we confess our sins as regularly as possible? Do we pray? Do we venerate the precious sacraments? Do we really listen to what the Pope says? Are we doing enough to support our priests? And what are we doing to add to their flock?
If we want to transform our society, let us transform our Church – nurture it, help it to grow, bring it more souls. The way to do that is to live openly as a Catholic. Talk to people about it. Explain why you’re not eating meat on a Friday and what Christmas really means to you. Decorate your office space with pictures of saints. Tell people you’re going to pray for them: it will comfort the needy and irritate the blasphemous. Transform society by being openly, nakedly, a Christian to those around you, and not being frightened either by their curiosity or their hostility.
And, most of all, Catholics need to do something that has become counter-cultural in the 21st century: have as many babies as possible. Raise an army of Catholics. Send them out to fight.
That’s how we win: we throw ourselves into the battle with a courage that saves us and the people we encounter. It is a matter of living with integrity. To quote St Catherine of Siena: “If you are who you are meant to be, you will set the world on fire!”
I say again go read ..;
Or even buy the Catholic Herald this week.

Personally, I would give Tim a voice on the Bishop's Conference or put him in charge of Catholic Voices, but then he is a convert ....

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Clergy wit


Fr Hunwicke recently used the word 'mingent', which some of those who commented on his blog didn't understand, It reminded me of a priest friend in my diocese, long since dead, who suggested 'mingency' could be a collective noun for clergy though he would also use it of the twenty years his predecessor's time in his parish, as in "during the mingency of Fr  ...."  ,

Clergy can be a bit acerbic, as well as witty about their superiors, here are few examples lest they be forgotten:


  • A miter: an artificial extension of a natural vacuum.
  • An auxiliary bishop: A theological nonentity.
  • An auxiliary bishop:The bishop's perpetual curate.
  • An auxiliary bishop: The real bishop's bully boy / bouncer.
  • Monsignor/Canon: a title to put on an envelope to impress the postman.
  • Monsignor/Canon: a title that denotes years of brown nosing that has ended in failure.
  • Being made a Canon: a kind way for a bishop to suggest retirement.
  • Of a deposed bishop: In my day he wouldn't have made his first confession let alone been consecrated bishop.
  • Of a new bishop: He intends to re-order the cathedral by replacing his predecessors' fence with his own particular throne.
  • A bishop symbolised by a singular cross, an archbishop a double-cross
  • A note to his bishop after a priest's burial, "My Lord, you have let me down for the last time".

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Gay Bullying

In Brighton today is 'Pride Day' and it looks as if it is going to rain on the various civic parties tonight.

I just met a young man Muslim who works for Sainsbury's, he was very upset because he was forced to wear one of these tee shirts. He didn't protest he wants to work.

The National Trust has been forced to lay off of bullying its volunteers, maybe our retailers might follow suit.

I tend to listen to a lot of BBC's Radio 4. I feel bullied, recently, every day there has been at least one programme glorying in homosexuality, one is actually called 'Gay Britannia'. Perhaps it is English sexual prurience but homosexuality seems more prominent even than heterosexuality on the BBC. It is surprising since only 2% of people self identified as homosexuals in the last census, perhaps in the artistic 'community' the figure is much higher than the national average but I wish they would just get on with their lives - quietly, like everyone else.


Friday, August 04, 2017

The Russian Revival

I can't help wondering what would have happened if we didn't have the liturgical reforms of the 60s/70s, there is nothing within the Catholic Church to help answer the question except Fr Montgommery-Wright's parish in France and the diocese of Campos in Brazil, where there were no loss in numbers, the working class seem to have remained faithful, both were headed by exceptional and somewhat eccentric clergy.

Perhaps the the Orthodox world might offer a clue, in Greece the decline though not as dramatic as in the Latin West seems to follow the same general decline but in Russia things are quite different. According to a recent Pew Forum survey over 70% of Russians identify as Orthodox. I remember a time when there were cities without a single open Church and Moscow and Leningrad (now St Petersburg) a solitary priest offered the liturgy in almost derelict cold churches for a few elderly women.

One must remember that many of the Russian Church's structures are the same as before the Revolution 100 years ago, they haven't undergone the changes that affected the West. The liturgy is of course unreformed and in Church (or old) Slavonic.

A friend of mine, a Greek bishop, who was recently a guest of the Patriarch of Moscow saw a Church which was quite different, the churches he was taken to were revitalised, full of young men and women on Sunday's and feast days, he visited four of the Moscow seminaries each with between 300 and 400 hundred seminarians. In formerly atheistic Russia there are now chaplains in the military and even in schools. There are huge outdoor processions and services and the number of baptisms increases year after year. Monasteries and convents once derelict are now filled with monks and nuns.

Obviously, Putin has used the Russian Church to construct the narrative of Holy Mother Russia after years of Soviet destruction not only of the economic and social infra-structure of Russia but also of the souls of individual Russians. It is worth remembering that at one time during the Soviet era women had an average of seven abortions in their life time, leaving Russia under populated.

I often wonder if Our Lady has appeared to young shepherd somewhere in Russia and has asked for the Consecration of, and prayers for the Conversion of the West. Perhaps when we realise that the West is in a similar situation to the Soviet Union in the 1980s our political leaders might realise the rediscovery of Christian Europe could offer it a form of moral regeneration, unless of course they turn to Islam.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tradition: A theology from below



A few quick thoughts on Cardinal Sarah and mutual enrichment. I think the Cardinal is perhaps one of the most impressive spiritual writers of today, he is brave when others are craven – but he seems not to understand the nature of ‘Tradition’.

‘Tradition’ will always be regarded as dangerous, especially in an increasingly monarchical Church. It is not a movement, it is something below a movement, it is grass roots thing. Those who have respect for ‘Tradition’ should also have respect for the hierarchical structure of the Church but ‘Tradition’ is something beyond that. It might well be signified by a love for the Old Mass but it is more than that, after all what is the ‘Old Mass’? It is something which in the end ended a process of an organic development which ended with Missal of Blessed John XXIII in 1962, hence the attachment to that Missal but it is more than that.

‘Traditionalists’ are unhappy about the Cardinals suggestions for mutual enrichment, fine to introduce elements of the Old Rite into the New Rite but to do things the other way round is unacceptable. ‘Traditionalist’, many of whom have difficulty with certain aspects of Vatican II that are out of keeping with let’s say Newman’s theory of the development doctrine look to another age and another type of ecclesiology, something which arises from below, from forgive me for returning yet to him, St Vincent of Lerrins’, "Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus, creditum est." Or in English, "That which has been believed everywhere, always, by all people."

There is a tension coming to the fore in this Pontificate, amplified in part by Amoris Laetitia but its strong centralism too, and imposition of doctrine from above, with something far more pneumatological, the slow gentle movement of the faith amongst the grassroots of the faithful which is the real ‘theology from below’. It is something which Catholics have always understood from scripture about the working of the Holy Spirit, that he leads the Church into deeper understanding of the faith as he does through popular movements as much as he does through Papal or Episcopal interventions, indeed he does this in the reception by the faithful of Papal or Episcopal doctrine.

It might be necessary at times for Pope’s to interfere in the day to day running of individual diocese, or in the life of the whole Church but this is as Vatican I’s  Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus indicates, something to be exercised when the unity of the Church is threatened, not the normal function of the Sovereign Pontiff. It obviously demands that the Pope is indeed a servant and bishops see themselves as sharing in his apostolic office, essentially being faithful bearers of the Tradition, they too are given authority to bind and loose, the difference is Peter’s role in maintaining unity amongst his Apostolic brothers, at no time except in the hundred years or so has he been an innovator.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Reception of Pope Francis




I am not sure, like most Catholic clergy nowadays, that the Orthodox are not Catholic or part of the Catholic Church, as one might say the churches founded in the sixteenth century are not, or those without valid sacraments are not. Of course those who receive baptism are always in some sense part of the Catholic Church, even if after baptism they go into schism. With the 'two lung' theory one might suggest that the Catholic Church itself is deficient without a unity of East and West and the Orthodox would say the same, hence the reaching out of East and West.

In practice one could even suggest that the Great Schism of 1054 only came into effect in 1870 with Vatican I. Until then there seemed to a fair degree of inter-communion, even the acceptance of mutual jurisdiction, Orthodox nuns sought out Jesuit confessors, even Orthodox declarations of marriage dissolution/divorce* were often accepted in most parts of Italy and most of parts of the Catholic world east of Italy. And although as in the Eucharist we might have expressed our theology very differently that these expressions were actually cultural rather than actually an expression of different beliefs, ultimately we could both say, "this is Jesus".

Yesterday I was listening to Austin Ivereigh on the BBC, the self appointed Papal apologist, who was speaking about the 'reception or non-reception' of Amoris Laetitia and the Holy Father's teaching or even reign and in Saturday's L'Osservatore there was this fascinating article which speaks of the Italian clergy, high and low opposing Francis. The inference being the Pope was a goody the clergy baddies and ignorant too. Historically that is not how the Church works and this article will probably only serve to highlight the isolation of the Pope and encourage others to speak about it.

I rarely agree with Ivereigh, I often wonder if the Pope does but I think that his reference to'reception' is important. In the West we have a very feudal and increasingly from the US a presidential attitude to authority, which sees it coming down from above and is imposed on those below. The Orthodox approach is I suspect a little more 'Catholic', certainly patristic, it is that Councils and Bishops teach but this is their teaching not the Church's belief until it is accepted by the whole Church (St Vincent of Lerrins, Catholic faith is that believed always, everywhere and by all).

Thus 'The Faith' is the belief of the whole Church and certainly not a few of its hierarchy. Indeed a Pope or Bishop cannot identify themselves as the Church they are ultimately as significant or insignificant as anyone else. Newman interestingly wrote after Vatican I that what the non placet party did and what happened to them was of great importance, obviously he was interested in the long term reception of the teaching Vatican I, post Vatican II we might be thinking not of Old Catholics but of the East too.

In the early days of this Pope's reign when he so often described himself not as Pope but as Bishop of Rome I thought that we might move to an understanding papacy acceptable to the lungs of both East and West, in line with Patristic teaching, and what I would say was in line with truly Catholic sentiment. A bishop has authority only because he acts in communion with his diocese and with the Church Catholic (the Church in Heaven and on Earth). The Bishop of Rome is no different, indeed than being President of the Church or even its monarch he is the servant of the servants, a title little used nowadays.

I have been bashed by a notorious sedevacantist recently; no rational person would question the election of Francis, he is Pope, despite the manipulations of the St Gallen group. What is a much more a Catholic concern is the acceptance of Francis' teaching, ultimately how the Church will remember him, indeed if it will remember him at all or as little more than a brief historical throwback or curio. Remembering or not remembering is how the Western Church really deals teaching from above, from Councils, Popes and Bishops.

If the L'Osservatore article is correct, and there is no reason to imagine that it is not, or that it is just reserved to Rome or Italy, it would seem that despite popular acclaim of journalists and those outside or the edge of the Church that the clergy as it says 'high and low' -and presumably the committed laity- will quickly forget Francis, most of them of course will still continue when Francis moulders silently in his tomb amongst his predecessors.

 'In the end the Lord wins'.



 *On the Orthodox divorce practice, I had a discussion with an Orthodox priest who said, it was practice of Orthodoxy but not its belief because it was plainly contrary to scripture and contrary to Orthodox practice, generally, of lifelong loving Orthodox marriages and therefore it could not be deemed 'accepted or received Orthodox teaching'.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Freedom


Some argue it is not possible for us to be free, it is the argument that 1970’s Jesuits put forward to argue that mortal sin was impossible.  The argument would run that an adulterer was not entirely free because of an inner compulsion, or because “she tempted me”, when he committed adultery. 

Another example would be to say a woman was not “free” when she made a decision to abort her baby because she couldn’t cope financially or couldn’t have time out from her career or she simply had a dislike of baby poo or didn’t want her figure spoilt. I am sure that most women have stronger reasons than these for making such a terrible decision but a catholic would argue that these reasons mitigated her culpability but could not say that she did not make a free decision to have the child in her womb killed, even if the alternative was her own death.

The same situation would exist behind the decision of someone whose wife and children were being tortured until he rejected Christ and accepted some Satanic or pagan cult. The Church would still judge him to be free. Our faith indeed sets us free, “for freedom, Christ has set us free” Gal 5:1 because for us freedom is always orientated towards God, even for unbelievers it is orientated to God via the natural law, we know by our nature what is right or wrong and are orientated, despite the external pressures, to act accordingly.

I am still contending with the “2+2=5” sedevacantist. He argues as many of his kind do that: Canon 332§2: If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone, would suggest that Pope Benedict's resignation was not free and therefore not valid.

He has a very modernist, uncatholic understanding of “freely”. It does not mean there is no pressure, that rarely happens with any human decision, it means simply that the decision is made “freely”, that is 'in Christ'.


One could argue that Pius XII’s resignation letter, that he wrote to come into effect if he was taken prisoner by Germans, would not have been a ‘free’ decision but this was of a very different character to Benedict XVI’s resignation, Pius’ hand was forced by the threat of his capture, possible drugging and manipulation. Benedict’s decision was made, as he himself has said and repeated frequently, freely, in conformity with Canon 332§2.

What is worrying here is a self appointed judge of Popes, should be so lacking in basic Catholic principles, which a few decades ago a child making his First Confession would be expected to understand.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Francis is Pope


Image result for 2+2=5Some, supply your own adjective, here, quotes me and then suggests I am suggesting that Pope Benedict did not resign ‘freely’ with the implication, presumably therefore that Francis is not a validly elected Pope, that is nonsense.

It is the type of logic coming from Roman courtiers who can make 2+2=5. Let me be quite clear Benedict was Pope, he is not now; Francis is Pope both de facto and also de jure, it is Francis I pray for at Mass, not Benedict or anyone else.


This 2+2=5er suggests I am suggesting Benedict did not resign ‘freely’ that is blatant lie. Very few of us act with absolute freedom; age, advice or pressure from others, fear or even threats might well influence our decisions but unless someone was physically forcing Benedict’s hand to write his name at the foot of his resignation, and pressed his seal to it amidst squeals of protestation, he did indeed act ‘freely’.


There is a great deal of nonsense written by these sort of sedevacantists or quasi- sedevacantists. The truth is that the Pope is the one who sits on the cathedra of Peter, possibly there might be doubt if there is a squabble over at the inaugural Mass or in the past the Coronation, no such thing happened with Francis, there is no anti-Pope and no alternative. Benedict’s resignation was followed by his filial acceptance of Francis’ election. Though one might regret he is no longer Pope, that does not mean anything: Francis is Pope, there is no other.


A great deal is said by some about JPII’s rules for a Papal Election, they do not alter the fact that Francis is also the Supreme Lawgiver, having been acknowledge as Pope by the College of Electors, the clergy and people of Rome, and the bishops, clergy and laity of the world, he alone has the ability to judge the validity of his election and whether it fulfilled JPII’s rules. Obviously he judges his election to be valid and Benedict’s resignation to be valid and legitimate.


I suppose Traditionalists might prefer older forms of election, there are plenty of good examples from history of the electors being coerced: an army bearing down on Rome happened from time to time, bribing the electors happened, the imprisonment or deaths of opposing cardinal electors happened, none of which invalidated any Papal election. Indeed even when there were three popes it seems at least in here in England all three were included in the Canon of the Mass.

Forgive me if this sounds angry but whilst I am happy to be quoted by anyone, even if the disagree with me, I think I have the right to be quoted accurately and not have my words deliberately misinterpreted - it is called 'honesty' and 'having integrity'.

The last time I looked this mischief maker or is it just a fool had not put up my correction or removed or corrected the post.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Benedict XVI's resignation: my theory

Mr Gibson, the mad Scots maths teacher used to drag boys around his classroom by their ears or their hair until they fell to the floor, causing as much pain as possible or slammed their foreheads against their desks. Miss Streeter, who became Mrs Holland, the fat French teacher would make boys put their heads in their desks and then sit on the desk. Mr Shin, the lunatic Games teacher was not adverse to having a whole class bend over in the gym and hitting them on their thin cotton shorts with an old gym shoe. Mrs Barter who taught pottery and design was happy to slash boys across the hand with the edge of a steel ruler. Both the headmaster and his deputy regularly caned boys. I suppose it could be a reason I have avoided maths and French and games and pots and had difficulty with institutions.

This happened in the 1970’s, schools were places of violence, fear and humiliation. There were good teachers but I suspect they avoided even thinking about the teaching methods of their violent and bullying colleagues, but we boys never spoke of these things, certainly not to adults. I suspect this was the case with George Ratzinger at Regensburger Domspatzen, he has already admitted to using violence on boys. I would find it difficult to imagine that German schools were much better than 
English schools. My school experiences compared to those of friends who attended the better public schools like Eton or Downside and Ampleforth was pretty moderate, for the time.

My theory about Benedict XVI’s resignation is that one key factor was the threat that his brother George might be implicated not only in the physical abuse but also in the sexual abuse of school pupils. Even if it was untrue, a Pope who had made it his work to deal with the cases of sexual abuse and the dismissal of abusers from the clerical state would be placed in an untenable situation if his beloved brother was caught up sex abuse scandal. Mud would have stuck and clung more deeply to the Church, he would have become the Pope with the abusing brother.

If one adds papers and objects being removed from Benedict’s own study, his blindness in one eye and increasing lameness, the pressure from groups like St Gallen mafia and Cardinal Martini, as well as his own desire to move away from Papacy of his larger than life immediate predecessors and return it to the restrictive fences laid around it by the First Vatican Council, his resignation would seem entirely reasonable.

High Ground

I haven’t read anything positive about Fr Spadaro’s little piece on Catholicism in America, there might be something somewhere. Perhaps the best response is Archbishop Chaput’s which can be read here.

Adjectives describe Spadaro as naïve, stuck in the 1970’s, intellectually weak or just plain ignorant. What is alarming is that Spadaro seems to be emerging as the Holy Father’s principle adviser.  There is an anti- intellectualism abroad in the Church, a failure to analyse or question or to take into account scholarship of any sort, ‘peer-review’ seems out of the question, it was one of the problems of a self-opinionated autocracy.

It reduces the Church to something that lacks rationality. The paedophilia crisis demonstrated, for many, the Church has little moral credibility, silly statements from the likes of Spadaro seem to demonstrate the Church has no intellectual authority either. How long until it is finally revealed that the emperor is completely naked?

In telling the truth, in morality, in the intellectual world it is important that Catholics occupy the high ground.