Monday, November 26, 2012

A Few Observations on a speech by the Tablet's Rome Correspondent

thanks to the Bones for the video

This is a very tedious, not very intelligent or nuanced speech, by Bobby Mickens, the Tablet's Rome correspondent, to The Cleveland City Club (they are the "Under 40s Division" but that must have been many years ago, there appears to be no-one under 40 in the video, many seem to be about the Pope's age). He says nothing for the first six minutes, except to speak about his Catholic heritage.

He speaks about a Vatican or Catholic "implosion", for which he blames the Pope. His main thrust seems to be that Vatican-leaks is caused by squabbling amongst Vatican factions, he is right, the Pope seems actually at pains to allow diverse voices in the Curia.

He illustrates the "implosion" on Cleveland's own experience of closing parishes.
He speaks about the Pope speaking strongly about condemning abuse and removing clergy who abuse but not disciplining Bishops who covered up abuse. Here I agree with him. The problem is that the poor Pope would have to get rid of a large number of Bishops but I think the reason is that a Bishop once ordained is given by God to his Church, though the Pope has "ordinary authority", unless you have an Ultra-Ultramontane, he can't go firing and hiring at will. But I am convinced that most "Liberals" tend to see Pope in that light, they actually do not realise the vision of Vatican II is that Christ rules His Church not the Pope, that seems to be the VII vision, that so many refuse to take on; we are in the twenty-first century, not the 1930s or 1950s.

He says that Monarchical bishops were not scriptural, not even the Bishop of Rome, yes, a single bishop in a local Church was not the norm until as late as 130! I suspect the Holy Spirit did it. However he seems to forget or is unaware of Matthew 16:18, "You are Peter...".

He speaks about the unaccountability of Bishops. I really think he has a point here, the Church is frighteningly feudal but the alternative until recently has been an oligarchy of people like Mickens himself, the first is frightening the second quite terrifying. He talks of the need for democracy in the Church, and increased lay participation, he compares the Catholic Church to other Churches including the Orthodox. He complains about "Clericalism" but what he fails to understand is that Clericalism comes about by taking the Faith away from from the people. The great strength of Orthodoxy is that there is common understanding the "Faith", that comes from a common Tradition and Orthodox identity. In the chaos following Vatican II, what he describes as "the  encounter with modern world", we have lost a sense of both Tradition and identity. In the Orthodox Church men like Mickens and his audience  would simply have no place and no voice.

He criticises the Pope's negotiations with the SSPX and various "Tridentine trends", I would suggest that this is necessary before any "serious structural reform" takes place. It is necessary for the Church to be at peace with itself and with its history in order to move forward. Again he complains that the Pope ignores structural reform but just calls for interior conversion. Both of these things surely are necessary for any real and lasting reform of structures within the Church unless it is merely something imposed from above, which has been the model since the Council and one both favoured and hated by The Tablet.

He seems to want quick fix solutions, for example for Catholics in irregular marriages, he is concious of the immense damage done to their children, fewer Catholics like him with a Catholic heritage, what he fails to realise is that upholding the teaching of the Gospel is also impotant.

Bobby Mickens like so many people of his ilk, seems to both criticise the Pope as an absolute Monarch and yet wants to see him as a Stalinist dictator, it is an Ultra-Ultramontane view. Almost everything the Pope seems to be concerned about is encouraging grassroots movements which are firm in faith, which come from the bottom up. These are the groups that produce vocations and are dynamic and which people want to join. Will the The Tablet and The Cleveland City Club: Under 40s Division still exist in a decade's time?

Mickens, like The Tablet, promotes the various "Priest's Initiatiives" and criticises the Pope and others for ignoring such groups, even he then points out they are "older priests" "younger priests are different" he says. He fails to realise these dissidents are not the voice of the future, the death rattle of the past. Again he doesn't realise how rapidly the Church under Benedict or the 21st century is indeed changing, society is changing, social communiocations are changing, even attitudes to democracy are changing. We are coming to the end of "the Church in flux",  younger people are indeed walking away from the Church but it is precisely the Church of men like Mickens, and his audience, that is so unattractive to the young.


Long-Skirts said...

Fr. Blake said:

"He fails to realise these dissidents are not the voice of the future, the death rattle of the past."


And the Word was made Flesh,
But does that really mesh,
With authentic faith and dialogue today?

‘Cause at Eucharistic meal,
Which is no big, bloody, deal,
We smile and our mistakes are washed away.

We gather round the table,
To hear a gospel fable
From Father Bob, the celebrant, divine.

Never kneels, he always stands
But he runs to shake your hands,
Then he sits a lot, perhaps a weakened spine.

The ladies and the girls,
Their ministry unfurls,
A Eucharistic minister’s sensation.

With servers and the cantor,
They have a playful banter,
Then bread and wine, it’s time for celebration.

As the people, we all sing
But the bells, they never ring,
For they took away the Words that made His Flesh…

For a Corpus? That’s too rough,
There’s no need for violent stuff,
That’s as welcomed as a Brit in Bangladesh!

The Bones said...

A very good and charitable commentary.

Supertradmum said...

Ok I am trying to listen to this in order to say something meaningful, but do we always have to go through an entire biography of three generations to prove we are Catholics? Duh. My faith was handed down to me as well, but I would never invoke ancestors as part of my c.v. It seems so false. I shall try and finish the tape,as you, Father, have graciously posted it. By the way, you are not fat.

Supertradmum said...

Scary for Mickens to say the Church is no longer "Incarnational". Of course, there are many Catholics who do not understand the hierarchy of the Church and hate anything connected to Trent. What is this new agey "energy" to which he refers, and of course, he is wrong about this being Divine. This sounds very odd and quirky.

He criticizes in generalities and blames popes and the Italians for this so-called implosion-a word he seems to be in love with-boring. What we would call this is the purification of the Church; the chaff is being separated from the wheat. Of course, this man is looking at politics rather than personal holiness.

Of course, it is too easy to pick on the SSPX; and the TLM; yes, the Pope is "giving attention" to these groups. Ah, he refers to the horrible, rebellious and heretical priest groups, such as the Irish one in the news all the time here in Eire.

Mickens is correct is saying that the Church is getting smaller-that is called the faithful remnant.

Boring...and mediocre like the rest of the staff at The Tablet.

Supertradmum said...

Oh no, he got into the pro-abortion and pro-contraception stand of The Tablet (since Humane Vitae)which was cleverly put forward by a woman and praised the American Catholics for voting for Obama. PUHLEEZE. I feel sick as an American for this purposeful deceit. If a person does not want to get upset, do not listen to the question and answer session which is more rabid than the talk. And what a lie about the Church's social teaching.....showing it to be what it is not. And, what is this connection between abortion and women priests? Sad, sad, sad...He said the hierarchy is looking like it is clearing out the barn--yes, that is it-he obviously is not part of the remnant. I apologize for the American woman's smugness...

Anonymous said...

Ok I am trying to listen to this in order to say something meaningful, but do we always have to go through an entire biography of three generations to prove we are Catholics?

It's as Mark Shea says. When someone says, "I was born and raised Catholic..." it's nature's way of warning you that what is said next will be a raving farrago of nonsense.

Now that I think about it, in my experience, me and my knuckle-dragging traditional Catholics hardly ever preface commentary identifying ourselves as Catholics; we just start promoting and defending the teachings. The listener figures it out pretty quick. Meanwhile, progressives wave "I'm Catholic" like some kind of badge of authority and yet are determined to ride the secular-leftist ideological Titanic all the way to the bottom.

Scott W.

Supertradmum said...

I do not want to clog the com box, but I hope watchers notice that the second woman to ask a rabid question is dressed like an American nun. And, how ironic about the solid, Catholic women who are attending Harvard which the Episcopalian calls a Catholic womens' seminary. Arrgh...and what a bigot referring to a Latino deacon the way he did. That is horrible.

Fr Ray Blake said...

But Romish G,
For Modernists and Liberals, Faith is is not a supernatural gift of God but a cultural identity.

Highland Cathedral said...

Anyone read ‘Surprised by Truth’, the stories of eleven converts to Catholicism? One of them is written by Al Kresta. He was brought up as a Catholic but drifted away from the Church and wandered in and out of various New Age movements. As a result of reading a tract he was given he” became a follower of the Jesus Christ of the Bible.” Here’s how he continues the story:
“I’m sometimes asked why I didn’t return to the Catholic Church at that time….Catholics I met seemed tentative and timid about their faith. The Bible spoke of Christians who were willing to risk martyrdom for their belief in Christ. The Catholics I met didn’t even seem willing to risk embarrassment for their beliefs. Another thing that disturbed me was that so many were spiritual crybabies, always grousing about the Church’s teachings on artificial contraception, divorce and remarriage, and abortion. Other Catholics I met would stress how much their Church was changing, as though they were ashamed of their past. I wanted something doctrinally solid and permanent, and as far as I could see, the Catholic Church, in those years just after Vatican II, didn’t appear to fit the bill.”
Maybe Mr Mickens is just a ‘spiritual crybaby’.

Deacon Augustine said...

"For Modernists and Liberals, Faith is is not a supernatural gift of God but a cultural identity."

Ah, the very idea that went out with the advent of the New Covenant! These people seem to be very pharisaical in that they believe their pedigree is somehow proof of their worthiness. Perish the thought that the Faith is something they should love with their whole heart, mind and strength - that it should be something they conform their lives to rather than manipulate to their own perverse fantasies.

Poor Bobby - he's so stuck in the sixties that he hasn't noticed the world moved on and left him behind.

Amfortas said...

It all sounds unutterably dreary. Thanks for saving me the job of actually listening to the whole thing. I just got about 50 minutes of my life back!

Jim said...

Married Priests. That's his solution.

We'd all have to increase our contributions by a factor of at least ten to pay for wife and family. Advocates of married clergy don't seem to be to keen on increasing the weekly fiver to £300 per month each.

How would the couple split the presbytry were a divorce to follow?

He seems such a harmless man 'I'm a traditionalist really'

Nicolas Bellord said...

Mr Mickens seems to be keen on democracy in the Church. Perhaps there is something to be said for the laity having more say in appointments but he seems to want to go further and presumably have referenda on points of doctrine. It was Voltaire who said that just because a majority think something is true does not mean it is true.

But think of the practical problems. Who would have a vote? Baptised Catholics? But is not everyone who is baptised a Catholic until they apostatise by being confirmed in another church?

Fr Ray Blake said...

I suspect he would suggest voting takes place through the Tablet letters page!

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