Thursday, September 18, 2014

Malta isn't that bad

 Knights of Malta 900 years
A few subsequent thoughts on Cardinal Burke going to the Knights of Malta.
They wouldn't let me into the Knights of Malta, not that I would want join, my mum had quarterings by the score being of a foreign disposition, my father unfortunately was quarterless, not a a single one, totally without an arm to his name. In order to join the English Maltese Knights I think the requirement is to be armigerous for four generations, I don't know how they work it in the US.

Mgr Gilby described the Knights as, "doing the least good with the greates amount of fuss", and yet the few knights I know are as individuals rather splendid people, well educated, invariably well connected, often, if not wealthy, at least comfortably off, but more importantly committed to the faith. True they are of trad stripe but they are landowners, on the continent old European aristocracy, in this country they are lawyers, bankers, writers, accademics, army officers, invariably very well connected, what we might call members of the Catholic Establishment.

We talk a great deal about going out to the peripheries to evangelise but in doing that we the risk of turning the Church into a doughnut, all sides but no centre. The spreading of the faith in Brighton is interesting, the first church St John the Baptist, was built in 1835 by the aristocracy led by the Prince Regent's valid but illicit Catholic wife Maria Fitzherbert, it originally had a bar in it seperating the subscribers, who were wealthy from their staff and the masses who knelt behind them, In 1864 our church was built, according to one historian 'to get away from the smelley poor'. 1887 saw the opening of our daughter Church, the Sacred Heart, Hove, it was part of the movement of wealth along the coast as Brighton grew and spread. It illustrates an alternative to the model of  Evangelisation of Evangelium Gaudium.

In the past following Jesus' example of reaching to people like Nicodemus and Simon the Pharisee, the Church has always done good to the poor but tried to evangelise first the upper echelons of society, preferrably the King or the Court, with the expectation they would pass on the faith to their subjects. Jesus after all sends us out ad gentes, to the nations and we were successful at. We used our schools and colleges to form the minds and the very culture, the laws and mores of society. The Jesuits of course were leaders in this.

Since the 1960s everything has changed, now we all do aq great deal of good but with very little effect. Now wouldn't it be exciting if the there was a Cardinal who was young, clear thinking, deeply spiritual, possibly with a bit of American 'get up go', rooted within the Tradition but with a bit of imagination, who had no other duty but to write and teach but mainly to care for and develope an international group of Establishment types. I think that Cardinal Burke could re-invigorate the Knights of Malta and give them a new direction. He could certainly use their influence, their wealth and resources for a very positive effect in the Church. We still need to form the leaders of society. The Knights I know in this country seem to be somewhat disheartened, certainly directionless, possibly more into rubber chicke lunches than serious work for the faith. They lost control of their hospital by a bit of clever sleight of hand, which somehow I doubt would happen if someone like Cardinal Burke was in their corner. They could with the right kind of moral and spiritual leadership and with some enthusiasm become a potent force within the Church and the world, if only someone could give them a vision of what it means to be Catholic today and could cause them to be what they once were the bulwark against the Church's enemies. In the past their Cardinal Patron was given the role as an extra honour, now Burke be could be involved full time, he could bring the back to life.

More could happen with this appointment than some might expect.


Joao said...

Pope Francis is behaving like a bully.

And, like all bullies, he must be confronted.

Orthodox cardinals must, very publically, stand up to him, denounce all the doctrinal rubish and dare the Pope to transfer/demote/laicise them.

Someone has to expel the doctrine changers from the Temple.

Of course the MSM will demonise them. But there's the alternative media. And, nowadays, the best we can hope to achieve is to rally the orthodox faithful.

Fr Ray Blake said...

A little strong, Jaoa

Chloe said...

Good men have come back fighting from worse positions than this. I think you might just have something here Father. I hope His Eminence reads your blog and if he does, we're praying for you your Eminence. The more you get kicked in the teeth, the more we'll pray for you. May God bless you as I'm sure He does.

Ceile De said...

I do think Cardinal Burke is being punished for doing no more than interpeting canon law according to the plain meaning of its text. Clearly, we are moving into an era where law - rights and obligations both - are not to be objective but are to be subjectively interpreted according to the whim of those now apparently above the rule of law. He's an obstacle to the new lawless agenda. Those who support that approach forget that in addition to giving us obligations, law protects our rights.
That said, and even if only so as to try to avoid the sin of despair in this new and dark Windswept House, I think Cardinal Burke will be great for the Order of Malta (which in the UK has a quota of no more than 25% non-ancient armigerous knights and no such quota for chaplains).

Katharine B. said...

I think I'll dump all other blogs and just read yours Father, thank you for the optimistic take on this..

bobd said...

Good spin on it, Father. Sort of like how Joseph wound up in Egypt. Out of his brothers' evil intent came God's good. Too bad the evil has to come from the Vatican.

Liam Ronan said...

Wasn't it on Malta where St. Paul was shipwrecked? Watch out for those vipers, Cardinal Burke.

And speaking of exile, we'd never have had the Apocalypse had St. John not been banished by the Roman Emperor to the island of Patmos.

Always look on the bright side of life.

Restore-DC-Catholicism said...

There's no way to put a "happy spin" on it. This move is a deliberate waste of Cardinal Burke's talents.

gemoftheocean said...

All I can say is Burke is a voice in the wilderness....I hope he will keep roaring like a lion.

In the US it would appear the requirement is to be a good Catholic with friends in high places and the big bucks.

Terry Nelson said...

I agree with you Father. I believe something very good will come of this - Cardinal Burke is very devoted to Our Lady and I'm convinced she is guiding and protecting him. I think we will all be surprised.

Catholic Mission said...

Did Cardinal Burke decide in the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate appeal that Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz and Fr.Fidenzio Volpi must accept Vatican Council II in agreement with the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus?

Did Cardinal Raymond Burke enter where Cardinal Pell and Mons.Leuzzi feared to tread?

Anonymous said...

When is it time for you to be a little strong and stand up for orthodoxy Father?

Liam Ronan said...


If you have read Father Blake's postings for all this time and cannot recognize the strength, orthodoxy, and subtlety within each, then I despair for your critical thinking faculties and lack of appreciation of the ecclesiastical times in which we live.

I recall Daniel 11:33 which is understood to refer to the times of the Antichrist:

"And they that are learned among the people shall teach many: and they shall fall by the sword, and by fire, and by captivity, and by spoil for many days."

Do let the learned teach many, AugustineThomas. Pray for the gift of discernment and do not be so rash as to chide another to place his head on the block precipitously.

And speaking of heads on the block, you may remember in the production of "A Man for All Seasons" this exchange between Thomas More and his daughter Meg:

" Listen, Meg, God made the angels to show Him splendour, as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity. But Man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind. If He suffers us to come to such a case that there is no escaping, then we may stand to our tackle as best we can, and, yes, Meg, then we can clamour like champions, if we have the spittle for it. But it's God's part, not our own, to bring ourselves to such a pass. Our natural business lies in escaping."

rubyroad said...

I agree.

suzanne said...

I think there is an opening for a Bishop in the SSPX-much better fit than the Tango brigade in the Vatican.

JARay said...

I do not wish to join the Knights of Malta any more than I wish to join the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. I am quite content with membership of The Catenian Association which does not go around wearing imitation swords or fancy cloaks or funny hats, although we have been accused of being Catholic Freemasons.
I may be wrong but somehow I feel that the younger generation doesn't want to join such kinds of brotherhoods. They're not interested in joining Unions or Political Parties either!
Have such groups had their day?
I do confess though that there do seem to be some very strange vibes emanating from the Vatican. One of the blogs which I also follow has recently posted quite a satirical article claiming that the Vatican is promoting clowns and demoting talent.
There does seems to be some truth in that.

Master Dickey said...

I for one am excited at the prospect of Cardinal Burke going to the Knights. Under his guidance, the Knights might achieve diplomatic recognition from the U.S.It would be far better for The Knights of Malta, along with The Knights of Columbus in the U.S., to be the face of Catholicism, instead of the LCWR, Catholics for Choice, National Catholic Reporter, World Youth Day,etc.

Anonymous said...

Liam Ronan,
A lot of priests and their defenders come up with a lot of excuses not to defend orthodoxy and the Church is being destroyed because of it.
Imagine if the martyrs, including St. Thomas More, had stood there and come up with excuses about it being God's choice and run away like cowards. It's clear that it's God's choice now that the defenders of orthodoxy "put their heads on the block".
It may be easy to run away now, but on Judgement Day all of us will wish we had stood with Christ like the martyrs.

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