Sunday, December 22, 2013

A New Ultramontanism

The uncertainty of the last nine months seems to have affected younger clergy most of all, I mean those who studied for the priesthood under the later papacy of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Some might say much that Benedict built has already been dismantled. The careful beautifully crafted liturgies we saw in St Peter's that spoke eloquently of 'the hermeneutic of reform in continuity'  have disappeared. Even that phrase has gone and so much of the language Pope Francis uses seems to be a dog whistle to the sixties and seventies, to the point where contemporaries of the Pope both clerical and lay are given more comfort than the young.
We seem to have returned to many of the issues most of us had hoped had died on the vine 30/50 years ago, a priest ordained a little after me suggested we were living in 'time warp'. Senior clergy are thrashing about with moral issues, like communion for divorcees, communion for dissidents politicians, (there is a very good article here on politicising the Eucharist) lay groups that strove to overturn settled issues are given fresh fuel, it is almost as if some bishops are deliberately pouring petrol on the smouldering embers that in the last few decades many of us thought had almost burnt themselves out.

The people who seem to be discomforted most are younger priests, it doesn't just seem to be here in England or North America but world wide, I can only speak anecdotally of course but those I know and correspond with who are either young themselves or involved in formation tell me that many young clergy are wondering where the roller-coaster is going to end, or even if it is going to come of the rails and crash.

There is a crucial difference between the formation of older and younger priests, there is a divide which was really the publication of the Catechism. Priests and seminarians of my generation would swallow any old line about what the Church taught. Vatican II, an imminence work, unlike every other Council issued no Canons hence every word got Canonised. With Trent or VI the demand was a negative one, to reject those things condemned, VII demands not just the positive acceptance of the whole caboodle but in a way in which the specialists told us.we had to. The Catechism at least gave us a tool to unlock it and to interpret it.

I can understand the Pope thinking that those issues which people like me assumed were settled have actually not been, maybe today or tomorrow they need to be. Could it be we have just papered over cracks and in reality there are deep fissures? Possibly in places like South America, these issues were not settled, maybe the Church pulsates to a different rhythm elsewhere; military coups, dictatorships and juntas meant the Pope's homeland simply sees things differently but many younger clergy in North America and Europe, at least, I think thought God was beginning to give his Church peace so we might stop the post-Concilliar ad intra controversies and at last begin the work of evangelisation.

Though we are urged to look outwards, 'to the perpheries', what seems to be happening is that everyone both in and outside the Church is looking at the Pope, more so than any of his predecessors, he has become the sole 'specialist of the logos'. It appears as if the only indispensable person in the Church at the moment is the Bishop of Rome, he alone can control the velocity of the roller coaster and which particular track it will follow. He alone has the master-plan. What did he mean yesterday by the Curia no longer being  'inspector and inquisitor'? What seems to be happening is that we are dispensing with one one form of Ultramontanisn to more closely another one. Magister had an interesting article in which he spoke of  'the monocratic, centralizing form in which Francis is in fact governing the Church.'

It is not my intention to criticise, just merely to say I am still uncertain where I am being led and to express a degree of concern. The thing is that we have had John Paul II and Benedict XVI, we have had the Catechism, Vatican II has been studied and reflected upon for 50 years, the Church cannot go back to the chaos and anarchy of my youth. The state of flux which clergy of a certain generation look back on with fondness has been superseded. To impose on the Church of today a model of fifty years ago seems folly. The 'modern world' rejoiced over in Gaudium et Spes is the world of our grandparents generation there is new 'modern world' a world of mass and immediate communication, a world that is hostile to the fundamentals of Christian teaching and yet seems to hunger for it.

Since writing this I have read a piece by the good Fr Hunwicke, which in part, says similar things though coming from a different angle. What is particularly worrying is the effect of this new Ultramontanism on ecumenism and ecclesial unity and coherence in general.


gemoftheocean said...

"maybe the Church pulsates to a different rhythm elsewhere; military coups, dictatorships and juntas meant the Pope's homeland simply sees things differently"

Bingo. He's never gotten out of the hippy phase. He has equated "liberals" in the church as those who stood against the junta. He doesn't seem to grasp (as far as I can tell) that putting Marxists in charge is as bad or worse, if you count up the death toll exacted.

I am particularly alarmed by his seeming persecution re: the Franciscan order who did NOTHING to deny the validity of the NO, but are being eviscerated as if they were running an abortion mill.

I am growing weary of Pope Benedict having to follow him around to try to clean up his messes, not unlike assigning a sole janitor to look after the excesses of a circus elephant with a bad case of the trots.

And I am disgusted that he doesn't seem to care if his words are loose and can be twisted. Even to the point of Catholic high school kids in Washington state throwing a hissy fit this last week claiming that Pope Francis would be fine with a gay newly "married" school Vice Principal who had broken his morals contract and was forced to resign under pressure from the school administration when the school finally found out about it. The kids claim "pope Francis said to love gay people he should stay on staff..." blah, blah...I'm not surprised they got this idea, because while the pope asks us to respect the human dignity of gay people, as sinners like the rest of us who struggle, which is right -- but they got the impression he wouldn't disapprove of "gay marriage." It's not like the pope "remembers" to make crystal clear that while it is true we are not to attempt to pass final judgement as if we were God, there are STILL objective moral standards to consider and do our best to adhere to. To fail to admonish in a proper way, is to fail to teach the faith 100%. And in that regard, I think the Pope is at times a big plate of fail.

JUST my opinion.

Sixupman said...

The final picture says it all!

Anonymous said...

Fr., I don't know if the term was coined by the friend I refer to in my article, written back in April (link below), but the 'new ultramontanism' is an issue that has been causing many of us concern since Pope Francis' election. Thank you for highlighting it.

Pelerin said...

Well chosen illustrations Father! I see Fr Hunwicke has good advice in one of his replies to a comment made on his blog - he tells us to 'hold tight, hold on and don't panic.'

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly Father.
What will it take to get this Pope - sorry, "Bishop of Rome" - to wake up and smell the coffee? An abortion clinic in Rome or Argentine called "Pope Francis Reproductive Health Centre"? A massive formal schism? What will be his Pius IX moment? This papacy terrifies me. I am fortunate in that I have the oasis of very orthodox parish clergy and a weekly EF Mass, but the rest of my diocese and most of the Church in South Africa is a wasteland. Our sole Catholic weekly, "The South Cross" - basically the Nationcal Catholic Reporter without the intellectual content (sarcasm off) - is crowing like anything over "good Pope Francis". As a young Catholic I am very worried indeed. Were it not for the oasis of my parish, I would be back with the SSPX where I spent over a decade. This Pope may drive us all back there eventually. At least they have the Faith and are not out to destroy it, or allow others to do so, as it seems Francis is doing. Please God I am wrong. My sspx in-laws are chortling right now at my discomfiture. Before long there will be nothing for us to be loyal to in Rome. My loyalty and obedience will appear very stupid indeed. Maybe I need to tell the Pope he is killing my faith - perhaps he will phone me. I just want this nightmare to end.

Fr Simon Henry said...

Dear Fr Ray,
Thank you for this post. It echoes concerns I too have heard expressed.

Jacobi said...


You speak of deep fissures. That sadly is the reality of the post-Vatican II Church, gravely assaulted, not by external - but by internal forces. Benedict had things almost under control when he inexplicably, and in apparent sound health, retired?

Inevitably that has given fresh strength, a dying effort hopefully, to the forces of division, and has sewn dismay amongst the younger clergy who have the task of restoration.

It is still not clear how Pope Francis proposes to deal with this.

You are right in saying that all, are looking to the Pope. But what I would suggest, particularly to your younger priest colleagues, is that it is really up to them. In the short term at least, the answers and solutions will come from them, from the bottom up, not from on high. They must get on with it!

This generation of Catholic priests must just fearlessly and loudly preach Catholicism, in Continuity, and, above all, by means of proper liturgy, whether it be the Vetus Ordo, the ancient Catholic Mass, standardised by St Pius V, or a soundly “Reformed “ Pauline Mass. This latter reform is within their authority and capacity. All they have to do is to look to the 1969 (not the 1975) G.I.R.M. or better still, to Sacrosanctum Concilium.

By the way, until they do, we can, all of us including, may I suggest, the Holy Father, put aside any thoughts of ecumenism or evangelisation.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Father Ray. You express what many of us hold in our hearts.

Robert said...

Seems like the CDF Prefect Müller thinks "Lefebvrians are de facto schismatic", Liberation Theology founder "has always been orthodox"

What a roller coaster ride indeed!. Maybe I need to relocate East (Byzantine) for awhile. So I don't loose my faith and sanity!.

Long-Skirts said...

James said:

"Before long there will be nothing for us to be loyal to in Rome. My loyalty and obedience will appear very stupid indeed."

There is Eternal Rome always. The SSPX are simply preserving it four our sould...Merci Marcel!!


If I had a big house
As a rule-of-thumb
At Christmas I'd have loved-ones
And others if they'd come.

If I had a big house
A cupboard warm and round
Would feed my Christmas guests
The staff of life here found.

If I had a big house
All men I would let in
At Christmas shed their burdens
Learn losses can be wins.

If I had a big house
All Christmas linens laced
And men who came to visit
Would yield a certain grace.

But I don't need a big house
I'm in the biggest home
Where hindered senses are enhanced
By way of Christmas-Rome.

For Christmas-Rome's eternal
Shall not be bought or sold
And yule-logs in perpetuum
Glow red fore Christmas-gold!!

polycarped said...

Thank you Father. As Mark and others have said, this article really does sum up extremely well what so many of us are thinking and feeling in these strange times.

Wishing you a Holy and Blessed Christmas and thank you for all that you have done and been for us in 2013.

torchofthefaith said...

Dear Fr. Ray

This is a very helpful reflection which articulates the thoughts and concerns of many.

We can especially relate to your voiced hope that 'God was beginning to give His Church peace so we might stop the post-Conciliar ad intra controversies and at last begin the work of evangelisation.'

The events of recent days are sadly playing into the hands of liberals in our nation and beyond who see easy peace with the world as a form of evangelisation.

In recent years we have tried through our apostolate to reach out to engaged and married couples with the Church's beautiful and life-giving teachings on marriage as well as initial proclamation and catechesis to adults interested in the Faith.

It has been a difficult road because we have at times been hindered by some, from the generation above us, who held positions of power and were bitter about Humanae Vitae. They wished to hitch the Church to the current zeitgeist.

Such people recognised our outreach as a threat to that ideology and treated us accordingly.

And yet, so many young people in the culture are searching for this deeper vision of human dignity and authentic love. Really, it is Jesus Christ that they seek. It will be an epic tragedy if another generation is lost by being prevented from encountering Him.

There is a clear link between reverence for Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and Sacred Liturgy, reverence for oneself, reverence for one's spouse and reverence for the poor. To miss the meaning of human love in light of Christ is surely the greatest poverty.

Nevertheless, it is all grace.

When we consider where we ourselves have come from and how much we have received and learned - even in the midst of such a cultural and ecclesiastical situation - we have much to thank God for. Perhaps we can all take heart by looking at our own ongoing conversions and recall that nothing is impossible to God!

May you and your readers have a blessed remainder of Advent and a Holy Christmas season.


Father, you are the one who is out of touch. Most Catholics regard traditionalists (i.e., sex obsessed liturgical fetishists) as mildly amusing cranks. If people don't like the Church under Pope Francis they can always join the SSPX....

Unknown said...

I don't know what to do anymore. I guess I am panicking.

Liam Ronan said...

'PASCENDI DOMINICI GREGIS' of Pope St. Pius X is worth a read to get our bearings.
"In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc." - Our Lady of Fatima.
Keep your powder dry and in the teeth of it all follow Jesus, the Head of His Church.

umblepie said...

Excellent post Father. Thank you.

kiwiinamerica said...

Father, do you remember that widely circulated photo of lightning striking the dome of St. Peter's on the day of Benedict XVI's resignation?

I think we're starting to discover its meaning.

One word; chastisement.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I neither regard myself as a traditionalis or a sex obsessed liturgical fetishists, just a Catholic.
Lefebrvism has no attraction for most Catholics, it simply isn't an option.

Deacon Augustine said...

I'm sure everybody has heard of the expression "Don't feed the troll". Perhaps similar sentiments should be adopted towards the "New Ultramontanism. i.e. all the time we hang on to every last word of the Pope, seeking some crumb of solace or fearing further betrayal, we are simply feeding the New Ultramontanism, giving his incidental words and actions more importance than they really merit.

A more productive strategy might be to just get back to living the Catholic faith as Our Lord has called us to do, and ignore the locquacious old bore.

Liam Ronan said...

I am resolved to watch "Zulu", i.e., the Battle of Rorke's Drift, much more attentively this Christmas season. No excused duty for anyone.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Long-Skirts said...

Fr. Blake said:

"I neither regard myself as a traditionalis or a sex obsessed liturgical fetishists, just a Catholic.
Lefebrvism has no attraction for most Catholics, it simply isn't an option."


We are St. Joan,
Philomena, Campion
The Faith in its whole
Is what we do champion.

We are St. Margaret,
Pearl of York
Where the bowels of the Faith
They tried to torque.

We are Sir More,
That's Thomas the Saint
Whose reputation
They could not taint.

We are vocations
In Ireland kneeling
Adoring His presence
It's not just a feeling.

We are descendents
Of Irish and beggin'
To stop all the men
Who are turning us pagan!

We are the poor,
Uneducated ones
But in faith well-informed
The heretic shuns.

And when we are told,
"Don't kneel anymore."
Since we don't hold doctorates...
We kneel and IGNORE!!

Supertradmum said...

Interesting article, but has not the Church endured fissures at all times of history? I cannot think of a time when the clergy was united.

I suggest we pray and do penance for the new priests, the seminarians, the clergy of the Ordinariate, etc.

I also suggest we pray for the Pope.

nickbris said...

Pope Clement VII got the same sort of stick from Good King Hal

Nicolas Bellord said...

Father: I visited Argentina twice some ten years ago and more. My overall impression was that it was a country about sixty years behind the times untouched by the second world war. That is where Pope Francis is coming from and he will take time to catch up but I think there are signs that he is doing so. For example according to Sandro Magister he has specifically denied that his remarks about communion being a remedy etc was a comment on communion for those divorced, remarried and not annulled.

JARay said...

All of this is most disturbing. I do not feel that we got a Pope to equal his predecessors when we got Pope Francis. He seems to be something of a disaster.

Mary De Voe said...

Ecumenism without morality

Unknown said...

I presume the use of the name Lefebrvism refers to those of us who attend SSPX chapels. The term Lefebrvism was never used by the Archbishop and is not used by the SSPX.Those of us who do attend do so in order to practice the faith of our fathers.Archbishop Lefebvre simply passed on that which he had received,central to which is the traditional latin mass.
The reason we keep having these discussions about the church is because it is in a crisis. As I have mentioned previously the solution is the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.Unfortunately it never gets a mention in most catholic churches and very little mention in catholic blogs. Perhaps most people feel it has been done and we dont need to bother and we just keep talking about this crisis till it finally implodes.

EuropeanCatholic said...

I was initially drawn to Catholicism around 1997/1998.

At that time, I was very aware of liberal Catholics particularly in USA and Europe who seemed intent on surrendering to the world. This included laity, priests and bishops. But the Catechism was published and there were the wonderful documents of Blessed John Paul II such as Veritatis Splendour, Evangelium Viate and especially Novo Millenio Inuente to counter the spirit of the world which was seeking to dominate the Church.

And then in the past few years with the pontificate of Benedict, it did seem as if orthodoxy had triumphed and a kind of calm had descended. Put simply, dissenters and liberals no longer seemed to have the oxygen to promote dissent. Remember Cardinal George’s comment about liberalism being an exhausted project?

But with the election of Pope Francis, so much seems to have been lost. Peter is supposed to be the rock upon which the Church is built, but we have seen since March 2013 the growth of confusion and dissent. It has reached the point where Cardinal Kasper openly dissents from the teaching of the Church!

And also, Cardinal Marx openly criticised and rebuked Archbishop Muller, Prefect of the CDF. And Cardinal Marx is one of the Council of Cardinals, the closest advisers of Francis.

Since the election of Pope Francis, I have never heard so much criticism from faithful Catholics about both the Pope and the direction of the Church.

The interview of my hero Cardinal Burke on EWTN offered mild criticism of Francis in the open for the first time I think from a member of the college of Cardinals?

For all the talk of collegiality these day and for all the Pope’s dislike for the pomp and ceremony of the papal office, Pope Francis appears to rule the Church as an absolute monarch.

The author of the Sensible Bond blog ( up my own feelings very well “I have spent hours if not days this year trying to work out or explain to myself and others the immense scandal that Pope Francis has posed to my conscience, while trying not to deny to myself or others that at times his words have been extraordinarily uplifting. This is a man of immense complexities”.

I actually cannot work out what is happening. But I do think nothing will change and the style of this Pontificate is set. I miss Benedict so very much.

One final thing, Pope Francis may be wonderfully popular and the TIME person of the year etc But I wonder if people are drawn to him because they want to explore the adventure of being Christian or whether they believe he is affirming them in their own lifestyles whether it be living together before marriage, the gay lifestyle or whatever. He is very popular, but is it simply because he has a lot of natural virtue ie. pleasant, outgoing, extrovert and very camera friendly?

I wonder what other members of the college of Cardinals make of all this?

George said...

I don't know, Father. Over the last year, I've abandoned using the term “traditionalist” to describe myself. What is proper, authentic tradition? To paraphrase Newman, “To know history is to cease to be a Traditionalist.” There were so many streams of apparent “liberalism” within the Church, starting, from where I can tell, in the 18th Century. And of course throughout the last 20 centuries, so many examples of poor governance, immorality, irreligion, sacrilege, etc.. within the highest quarters of the Catholic hierarchy. Are these days of ours really that special in their level of disorder? If Pope St. Pius X returned today to govern the Church can we be so certain that he’d reject everything he sees in the modern Church and head off to Econe to be with his true brethren. I’m not so certain. Not certain enough to distance myself from the current Holy Father. The reigning pope is the only authentic interpreter of Catholic tradition. “I am the Church” so said Pope St. Pius IX. Does “I am the Church” only apply to the popes we like or identify with? Ultramontanism is part and parcel of Catholicism. What would a more “balanced” approach toward the papacy look like? One simply cannot read the various doctrinal statements on the office of Catholic Pope and walk away with a “balanced” or nuanced understanding of his role. He either is the Vicar of Christ or not.
That said, however, we don’t have to live our lives around him. We create an ultra-ultramontanism, which goes well beyond the requirements due his office, when we follow him constantly. This same office has existed for 20 centuries and only during a small fraction of that time span was it even possible to know what the Holy Father thought or did with any sort of frequency or even accuracy – and yet the Church continued.
Instead of following the pope so closely, instead of watching the internal workings of Church politics, we should all be living out our Christian vocations, and working out our salvations.
If the current Holy Father gives us cause to question him or distrust him, then more reason for not following him closely. We all will be judged at our particular judgments on whether or not we loved, as we are commanded to love. Love and union are bound together. Breaking our union, even intellectually, with the Holy Father should give us all reason to reflect. Is that really the direction Our Lord wants us to go? Let’s not be more ultramontanist than required by the Church, by falling into this trap.

George said...

The Devil can use anything to lead us into Hell… even the Pope. I was reading an article recently on a slightly different subject, but the essence of the author’s argument is relevant here. The author was discussing the arguments made by many of those whom believe in condemned Marian apparitions, such as Medjugorje. The believers in these apparitions always point to certain parts of the messages of the apparition and say, “the Devil would never want us to pray the rosary” so if the apparition is constantly encouraging the praying of the rosary then it must be from God, and not from Satan.
The author of the article points out the following: is the bible greater than the rosary? Of course, the bible is greater than the rosary. Could the Devil use the bible to lead people out of the Church? Of course, just look over the last 500 years. Then he proceeds further by saying “Is the Holy Mass greater than both the bible and the rosary?” Of course, the Mass is greater. Could the Mass be used by the Devil to lead people out of the Church? Yes, of course. Look at the last 50 years.

I’ll add look at the Holy Father. Could the Devil even use the Holy Father to lead people out of the Church?
The Devil cares about Ends not Means. (Conversely, God only commands us to follow the prescribed Means and not to concern ourselves with the Ends.) The Devil will use the Rosary or the Mass, if it fits his purposes: destroying charity. Charity is our highest aim. Charity is what gets us to Heaven. Charity is what the Devil cares to destroy or distort or reduce, whatever negative effect he can achieve.
Anything that breaks the union of the Church is a fundamental attack on charity. Charity equals union. We cannot say we have charity but dissolve our union, even intellectually, with the Body of Christ – locally or universally. St. Paul is abundantly clear on this.
In this regard the sodomites, fornicators and drunkards have it easier than many of us. Oh to be tempted only through the carnal means. They are so much easier to fall into (look at the world around us), but they are also so much more easy to understand, to see coming, to work with a spiritual director to reform. How much more dangerous are the sins of the higher faculties: these attacks within the intellect. So much more difficult to diagnose, and seemingly impossible to understand how they lead to destroying charity. [gives one reason to see the goodness in the Medieval practice of reserving higher education for the clergy and religious.] The Devil has a game plan for each of us: sodomites and non-sodomites alike.

Jacobi said...


Don’t panic, don’t panic! I have this little theory that we are into another “reformation”. We are roughly about the stage of Julius III, who re-opened the Council of Trent (Vatican II ?) although it again had to be suspended. Meanwhile the Protestant Reformation (Modernist Reformation? ) was spreading. On that basis, we have four Popes to go before we get to our St Pius V?

In the meantime, I’m going to relax, take up Liam’s suggestion and get Zulu out – and Dad’s Army of course!

Anonymous said...

I agree we should not focus constantly on living our lives around the Pope. But the reality of our modern world is one of instant communication. With utmost reverence for his office, I believe this Pope is doing untold harm. I have a real fear that much further damage will be done - devolution of real decisive doctrinal authority tothe faithless episcopal conferences, admission of remarried divorcees to the sacraments and an official back-tracking or "reinterpretation" of Humanae Vitae (rendering it meaningless) are just some of the real possibilities on the horizon, apart from spineless Erastian bishops being appointed, back-tracking on Summorum Pontifcum and a resurgent liberal-dissident wing. All these may affect our Catholic lives in real ways - especially those who have made enormous sacrifices to adhere to Humanae Vitae, who have come to rely on SP for the EF Mass outsude the sspx, who have children growing up who need to be is all too ghastly to contemplate, the damage the liberals want to do, and the Pope, in his goodness, humility, mercy and Argentinian bias may allow them to do....pray for him.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Though I loathe censorship, please remember loyal Catholics have a duty of respect towards Christ's Vicar and Peter's Successor.

George said...

I’m a father of a large family. I’ve been living these past three years in one of the most densely populated Catholic traditionalist areas in the world. After three years, for the sake of my children’s souls, I must depart. If you have never lived in one of these areas of the world, you may not understand what I’m saying. When you live in the run-of-the-mill Catholic dioceses, full of liberal priests and cafeteria Catholics, you may yearn for nothing more than a town full of fully traditional Catholic people led by priests in cassocks who preach the fullness of the faith. I can tell you firsthand that these communities are artificial creations aping authentic Catholic tradition. They are not (obviously) organic historical developments. They are manmade creations. They are not “Catholic normal” circa 1940 or any time period. As such, they have their own distinct dangers - namely, those I referenced earlier: sins of the intellect, sins of pride, and generally sins against Charity -- terrible dangers to the soul, although harder for us to recognize anymore because our society is so replete with temptations toward the baser sins. (In a sense, we’ve dropped our guards to these higher sins. Hence, let’s not be too quick to judge wrongly what Francis has to say about these things.) Remember, having a faith as great as to move mountains is all for naught if we lose our charity. The Devil is more than happy to allow us to have a great Faith if it means he can get after our Charity. That’s his end game: attacking Charity.
In these times of great tumult and disorder, it’s totally understandable how we want to run to what we perceive as “traditional” oases: places where we can feel secure with our families; places where we can feel that we’ve done our duty protecting them from the spiritual poisons so prevalent in the modern world. We can, however, lose sight of the importance of charity, when we put on the armor and prepare for battle. There’s a strong spirit of “us vs them”, of a “true remnant Church” vs the rest. These are sentiments which are sins against Charity insofar as they are sentiments against communion with the whole of the Church. Schism is in essence a sin against Charity. A refusal to be among the Other (namely the rest of the Church) for fear of contamination or general dislike. No matter how bad things get within the world and within the Church as a whole, there will never be safety found within Phariseeism. We’d be better off raising our children in downtown Las Vegas or Hollywood than within Phariseeism. This seems pretty clear from my reading of Gospels.

George said...

A few other points... I don’t mean to quibble with you but can our bishops and the pope do anything really to get the masses of Catholics to follow Humanea Vitae any less? No one (practically speaking) follows it now. I’m not sure that your argument stands.
Also, you mention the great sacrifice that you and very few others have made following the Church’s teaching on marriage and life. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that this sentiment passes through my mind from time to time. I always try to be very quick to set it aside. It’s a very dangerous line of reasoning. Are we truly sacrificing? Those among us who have eliminated or greatly limited the number of children in their lives are they truly getting away with something, are they truly happier than you and me? In the eternal sense, of course, we must say no. They are seeking an earthly reward and we should all want them to have as pleasant an earthly reward as possible. We should want them to find every possible enjoyment out of this world. If this world is all they get, if they are indeed choosing to spend eternity without a heavenly reward, we should wish them every comfort and benefit during this life. May God give them now in abundance! for what they are sacrificing for all eternity!
Beyond the eternal, however, I’d suggest that we are not even sacrificing temporally. How much better off would any of us truly be if we limited the number of children in our lives? A better house. A better car. More evenings out. Perhaps. But how many childless couples, or even the general contracepting lot with 2 children, are truly happier than you or me? I look around and see only misery in general. Or general misery heavily medicated with materialism, but misery nonetheless. My God, I wouldn’t trade my place with any of them. Even the most prosperous.
God’s plan for us is not a sacrifice. It’s a blue-print for a proper life. The sacrifice from following God’s law and the benefits from ignoring God’s law are both illusions. No one can truly benefit from not following the “operators manual” for humanity.
‘Tis the Season, so put on “It’s a Wonderful Life”!

Gadfly said...

I don't know any "sex obsessed" trade, but I know lots of liberals that cannot let the subject go.

JARay said...

I have just read the following article. It makes interesting reading. Some others may also find it interesting:-
I would be interested to read the views of others.It seems that Pope Francis is going to elevate Peter Faber without the usual miracles as well as Pope John XXIII.

Lynda said...

All true Catholics are suffering from what is happening to Christ's Holy Church.

Lynda said...

European Catholic, Of course, the enemies of morality and Christ's Church and their Media mouthpieces say they "love" Pope Francis and promote various things that he says because it conduces to the further erosion of morals and the Faith, which is their constant work.

Deacon Augustine said...

George, I agree with you that following Humanae Vitae is no sacrifice - it is simply doing what is right. Nothing the Pope can do or say can make what was wrong today right tomorrow. If most others choose not to do right then that is between them and God in the end. Those of us who live by HV will just have other sins to account for before the Almighty.

I don't agree that "traditional oases" are necessarily a bad idea in themselves, however. There is a long Catholic tradition of communities withdrawing from the world to follow God more faithfully, beginning with the hermits and stylites, followed by all the various religious orders. True, lay communities withdrawing from the world are a new thing which has only really arisen since Vatican II. There have been many such communities who are "charismatic" in their spirituality and I suppose it was only going to be a matter of time before some traditional Catholics felt called in the same way. These are potentially new movements which are genuine fruits of the Council, but I suspect like any new orders, movements or communities, they will have their teething problems when they are young. They could bear great fruit for the Church, however, given the proper guidance and wisdom in governance. But like any hothouse environment there is always the temptation for the initiates to get into the mentality of "this is the one and only right way to do it", but that does not have to be schismatic if it is controlled.

Fr Ray Blake said...

It is not too unusual B16 did it with Hidergard of Bingen.

George said...

In my ignorance I always thought Fr. Faber was already a saint. There was a church in El Paso,Texas, founded and run by the Jesuits, that had statues of all the early, major Jesuits in it. I went there for daily mass for years. I always assumed they were all saints. My bad!

Frederick Jones said...

Fr Faber was not a Jesuit, and if we are to accept the testimony of Bl JH Newman he was certainly not a saint.He was n uncritical, emotional, and not very intellectual ultramontanist.Certainly his eloquence could be highly effective, but he was not in the same class as the real saint whom he at times vilified.

Anonymous said...

Independent - I think your post confuses two different Fabers. You appear to be referring to Fr Frederick Faber, the 19the century Oratorian.

Frederick Jones said...

George - thank you for your correction. I apologise if I have unwittingly caused any offence. I was of course referring to the 19th century Fr Faber.

Schloeder said...

Fr Blake:

Would you please post a bit of how you understand the 'new ultramontanism' from the old?

This term is getting thrown around a lot these days, oddly from more traditionally minded folks, when for most of the history of the term, ultramontanism was a pejorative used by enemies of the Church to describe Catholics:

"It is sufficient here to indicate what our adversaries mean by Ultramontanism. For Catholics it would be superfluous to ask whether Ultramontanism and Catholicism are the same thing: assuredly, those who combat Ultramontanis are in fact combating Catholicism, even when they disclaim the desire to oppose it. .... The war against Ultramontanism is accounted for not merely by its adversaries' denial of the genuine Catholic doctrine of the Church's power and that of her supreme ruler, but also, and even more, by the consequences of that doctrine."

gemoftheocean said...

George, overall I agree, but I can't countenance this statement: "So much more difficult to diagnose, and seemingly impossible to understand how they lead to destroying charity. [gives one reason to see the goodness in the Medieval practice of reserving higher education for the clergy and religious.] "

Some of these "higher intellect" are PRECISELY the people who have undermined the church. And it is often times the laity and UNORDAINED call them to task. Think "Catherine of Sienna." I think it behooves each and every Catholic to take on board as much education as we can.

Unknown said...

Re. Faber, a lot of people have been taken in by Muriel Trevor. You might try:

Or if you want to dig deeper, Ronald Chapman's biography, Father Faber (Burns and Oates)or Melissa Wilkinson, Frederick William Faber: A Great Servant of God.

There are also a couple of splendid homilies by Ronald Knox.

I like to think that there was a kind of reconciliation before Newman’s death – an impulse which would certainly be consistent with his sanctity and the tragedy of the Oratorian estrangement:

“In 1889 he [Newman] had been very ill, and when recovering said to a Father: ‘Father Faber wrote the hymn called the “Eternal Years.” I have always had the greatest affection for it – quite a passionate affection for it – in connection with Father Faber, and I always used to think that when I came to die I should like to have it sung to me; and I want you to play it for me.’
“ ‘Would a harmonium do?’
“ ‘Yes, a harmonium would be just the thing; perhaps one could be spared me.’
“So when evening had set in a harmonium was put in the passage between his two rooms, a Father knelt at his side reciting each verse, while two others played and sang ‘The Eternal Years’.”
[The Month, September 1891, "Cardinal Newman as a Musician," by E. Bellasis]

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Anonymous said...

"Vatican II, an imminence work, because unlike every other Council no Canons were issued, the whole lot got Canonised."

Never heard it put that way before - and it rings so true! Thank God (again) for the Catechism.

A blessed 2014 to you.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...