Sunday, July 31, 2016

Secular France's inability to cope

An Anglican clergyman friend complained that I had posted an Aleteia picture of Fr Jaques Hamel, with the words 'martyr de France' on it. He is right of course France was born out of the Terror, the guillotine cut through the necks of far more priests and religious than oppressive aristocrats. The new Republic was born in the blood of Christ's faithful, precisely because they were faithful. The soil of the Vendee is rich in the blood of Catholic martyrs, the victims of the republic which chose the battle cry of "liberté, égalité, fraternité".

It neither surprised nor shocked any when a French left-wing politician issued the tweet below, and President Hollande, himself, could barely acknowledge that Father Jacques was a priest and was slain before his altar in a church as he offered the sacrifice of Christ.

France is secular, it is incapable of understanding religion, either Catholicism or Islam. I suspect this has been the reason for France's foreign policy failure. Once North Africa and the Middle East was Francophile, it benefited from the French Church's missionary endeavour, it never produced many converts but it did educate and and westernise. Fr Hamel's own involvement in 'dialogue' with Islam is perhaps an illustration of French Catholicism's of the years around the Vatican Council's involvement with Islam. We can see it the life of the Blessed Charles de Foucauld and in the killing of the martyred monks of the Atlas Mountains.

The Bush-Blair wars in the Middle East have caused the destruction of states, untold misery and instability throughout the region. The unfortunate result is that we have to pay for their mistakes - France has chosen to follow the lead of her NATO partners rather than the lead of the French Catholicism.

Closing European borders is no answer, certainly not if Europe (and the US) is to maintain its population. Contracepting and aborting Europe has created a vacuum that sucks in immigrants, the only alternative is a drastic economic and social change, founded on something other than economic power.

French left wing politicians have been going round the TV studios suggesting Fr Jacques murderers, like those in Nice or Paris had psychological problems, or that they were not 'real' Muslims. The Left refuses to even think that there is a Muslim problem. One might be willing to accept that to some degree but the question has to be asked is why are immigrants or the sons of immigrants so alienated from European society? Why should they become deranged, or deeply unsettled by and alienated by our contemporary?

I heard of a group trad -SSPX- nuns in a Paris veiled and wimpled dressed from head to foot in black who are welcomed and respected by the local Muslim community but are often jeered at by the local secularists and Front National. The veil and wimple have now become so un-French. The morality of Catholicism and moderate Islam at least are not that distant, but but there is a huge gulf between it and secularism.

For a barely educated Afghan or Middle Eastern peasant transported to France, or Germany, living in poverty in a Paris suburb, the West is a confusing place, especially if he is living in a lawless ghetto and unable to access to comprehend Western values. In Brighton there was a project, which fortunately fell through, of locating a refugee centre in the centre of Brighton's 'gay village'. In secular France one might expect that it might be a deliberate policy to do this, to expose new immigrants to 'French values', to expect the recently arrived to be immersed in secular culture.

À Brest, le FN réclame la démission d'une élue ex-EELV après "une blague de mauvais goût" sur l'assassinat du prêtre Jacques HamelOne of my parishioners recently asked whether English 'Equality' laws would still exist in 20 years time, it is unlikely with current levels of immigration. Cardinal Vingt-Trois has recently suggested a similar thing, are immigrants going to be comfortable with the secularist agenda: with economic driven feminism, with abortion, with euthanasia, with the gay agenda, with relationships closed to children or with the sexualisation of our children, to say nothing of our drink and drugs culture?


philipjohnson said...

Brilliant post Father!My sentiments entirely.

Nicolas Bellord said...

I wonder how Catholic immigrants will change the Church in England. Yesterday we attended a "Day with Mary" at Chilworth. A packed church. Mostly immigrants or at least from ethnic minorities. Many women wearing veils but all showing a reverence and devotion not usually seen these days. A novus order mass but ad orientem (no sign of the movable altar they used to have; lets hope they bring back the altar rails) but with a great deal of latin with which the congregation seemed to be much more familiar than any indigenous congregation. Our Parish Priest says that all the English Catholics who attend his services are dying off and immigrants are slowly forming the majority. Is this the future of the Church in the UK? English Catholics really need to attend one these 'Days with Mary' to see what is happening.

Nicolas Bellord said...

A bit off topic but it is interesting to note that under the recent motu proprio setting out new rules for contemplative communities final vows are not to be taken until nine years after admission. Ste Therese of Lisieux would have just scraped through six months before her death under that new rule but of course in fact she never make it to-day as in no way would a Pope allow her to join a community at the age of 15.

John Vasc said...

"The Left refuses to even think that there is a Muslim problem."
But Father, has Pope Francis not stated that it is not a war of faiths at all (or even an attack by one faith on another) but a class warfare between the haves and have nots...
Which is precisely the kind of attempted deflection of the problem that the peoples of Europe have come to expect from their secular politicians, and the faithful from their stolidly socialist bishops.

Unknown said...

Difficult to know where things are going with English catholicism.certainly we might learn something from migrants as our catholicism is very English and stiff.a bit tired and lacking in fervour, I feel when I'm at church. Something's got to change or one feels it will slowly become more and more invisible.. Or am I just being depressive?

Unknown said...

Also forgot to say I'm all for Latin because it denotes the sacred from the 'normal'world. Although we are asked to be in the world but not of it. Don't know why people are so against Latin. Its a reason to stay and not to leave. People like their spirituality to outwardly signify 'the other'. Otherwise its the same language you use when you're in the kitchen making tea!

John Vasc said...

whiteowl: You're absolutely right about Latin.
And if you attend Mass in the Traditional Tridentine Rite, even if just observing and praying silently, you won't at any point feel that it is 'a bit tired and lacking in fervour' because everything else except what is being said and done at the altar will disappear from all except your peripheral consciousness, and you will be so entirely concentrated in your own fervour that you will have 'no time' to think other thoughts or notice what anybody else is doing. This is partly because the Rite is undisturbed by people breaking the silence with a polite, diffident chorus, or beaming heartily while insisting on an intrusive handshake, as happens in the modern Rite.
Chesterton (for example) was 'Very English', and so were Robert Southwell, St Edmund Campion, St Thomas More, and John Henry Newman. Their writings are well worth reading for an alternative view of what Englishness was and is.

JARay said...

Once again I am with you 100% Father. I am rather looking forward to the result of the American Presidential election. Clearly that is a very divided country and my own country (Australia)is now showing itself to be similarly divided. Our recent election has produced a government with only a one seat majority.

John Fisher said...

"certainly not if Europe (and the US) is to maintain its population. Contracepting and aborting Europe has created a vacuum that sucks in immigrants, the only alternative is a drastic economic and social change, founded on something other than economic power." The question I ask is why is maintaining the population size important? England had about 4 million at the time of Henry VIII. If anything there are far too many people in the UK and Europe. Certainly abortion and contraception which are symptomatic of sex for sedation and addiction rather than procreation. The replacement level is 2.3 children per couple. The real issue is over tolerance a failure to decisively return all illegal immigrants to their country of origin immediately. Australia learnt this. A failure to turn back boats, deport all those who use this method and inducing immigration. These are economic immigrants and there needs to be zero tolerance. Immigration is destabilizing Europe as it has in the past. India, China and African countries would never tolerate this and kicked foreigners out. The next point is development funds needs to be targeted at the countries they come from. Political stability is also to be encouraged. No more foreign doctors and professional being pillaged from other countries where they are required to aid development. The UK and other nations bleed places like India and the Philippines dry. There are other values than money making and this cannot be at the cost of political ethnic social stability. All of this is just the slave trade by another name. Europe is heading for civil war.

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

You make, once again, many sound points Father Ray, but where you say “I heard of a group trad -SSPX- nuns in a Paris veiled and wimpled dressed from head to foot in black who are welcomed and respected by the local Muslim community etc etc” may not be entirely accurate I venture.
What you were told is certainly not typical. Although secularists might be anti, I seriously doubt the FN would be like that. There are more than a few Catholics in the FN you know and a large number of French still hold to traditional Catholic ideas, even if they may not attend Holy Mass very often. Catholicism is still deeply embedded in the French patrimony, though not necessarily in all politicians. Laicity is a curse everywhere.
Large numbers of priests and religious rarely wear “the apparel which oft proclaims the (wo) man”, French bishops included, more’s the pity. It reminds me of UK forces being forbidden to wear their uniforms off base, for fear of being belittled or even attacked by ……s.

Jacobi said...

The New Federal Republic was indeed born in the blood of Catholic martyrs and this should never be forgotten.

But there is something Catholic at the core of France and it won't go away. It has been said that by 2020 there will be more priests in France saying the Gregorian Mass than any other. They will not be many but will be the core from which the Church in France and then elsewhere in Europe will re-emerge.

As for Islam Father, it can't be reasoned with. The Afghan or Turkish peasants will be confused as they arrive in Europe - until the Mullahs get their hand on them and then the Secularists will get the biggest shock!

Gillineau said...

John Fisher - 'why is maintaining the population size important?' Because as Chairman Mao said 'every stomach comes with two hands attached'. Population growth leads to improved living conditions and greater wealth. It is no coincidence that both China and India have seen their stock rise as their countries have become more adequately populated. Likewise, Europe, North America and Japan have seen their standards of living diminish as their populations have stagnated. Any capital growth is dependent not only upon a growing market for goods but also a growing knowledge-base for entrepreneurship/ invention. Underpopulation and poverty are thus linked. Some historians have argued that the Reformation followed the population collapse/s caused by the Black Death across Europe, which led to increasing poverty and therefore revolution. Henry 8th rode that wave.

Anyway, if there are 'far too many people in the UK and Europe' (ok Ebeneezer!) you could always do the honorable thing and dutifully decrease the surplus population.

Athelstane said...

"France is secular, it is incapable of understanding religion, either Catholicism or Islam."

Given the astounding comments made by the Holy Father regarding this situation yesterday, one wonders if, indeed, he is . . . well, best not to finish that sentence.

Kathleen1031 said...

I don't have a strong grasp on economics, but while understanding that a certain number of people are necessary for national economic stability, it cannot be logical that this would be a reason to throw open the gates and accept immigrants who have stated they are in opposition to your culture, indeed, your very existence. There is a law of diminishing returns at play here, where you are going to suffer a great deal more from the actual inhabitants, and it is arguable as to whether you are going to actually reap economic benefit in any way. In the US, I have heard statistics that indicate the cost of supporting a family of immigrants typically far outweighs any financial benefit, and the lower the education of the immigrants, the more this is likely the case. Who would care how much financial help it gave a nation in certain scenarios. Is it worth it to, for example, have a truck driven through a crowd with regularity?
The longer it takes on this learning curve to realize, accept, and voice that Islam is not compatible with the West, means more people, citizens of nations who have enjoyed relative peace and prosperity for generations, are going to pay the price until the someone's at the top, in government, in the church, come to the only rational and obvious conclusion. The two groups cannot live side by side. The Middle Eastern nations, Egypt, Quatar, UAE, have not taken in one immigrant. They say because they fear terrorism. (!) But we should probably draw another sensible conclusion that this situation may all be too convenient for those people who are just fulfilling what Islam calls for, and has always called for, conquest of Europe one way or another.
We are going to have to find a way to voice hard truths. Political correctness is going to have to be shelved. We need to all question how it has become that we are all so thoroughly drenched in cultural elite values that we live in fear of saying what it is going to take to merely survive.

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

@ gillineau and @ John Fisher

When considering population and the increased benefits it brings, the writings of Julian Simon are useful. Some here :

He made a famous bet with Paul Ehrlich (the failed doomsayer, still alive, still banging his empty “population” drum without conviction). Read about it here :

Many articles have been written about “The Bet”, trying so hard to downplay the fact that Julian Simon was 100% right, but it is rather a bitter pill to swallow, I admit. Ehrlich paid up, true but most ungraciously. Surprise !

Pelerin said...

Regarding that dreadful disgusting tweet from the left wing politician I see that according to a Breton newspaper there have now been 'thousands of hostile reactions' towards her on social media and she has been subject to insults many being described as coming from the 'far right.' She has in fact found herself at the centre of a 'hurricane of hateful tweets.'

She admits she was wrong to put it on social media but she has not so far withdrawn it. She describes it as a Charlie Hebdo type joke and she has no intention of resigning because of it.

If she regards it as a joke then it is one in extremely bad taste. I see she bears a Breton surname and on looking her up found that she is a Breton politician. How sad that she sees fit to put out such a disgusting tweet insulting the priesthood in this way.

Anonymous said...

@ Kathleen1031,

I concur with you completely. "We need to all question how it has become that we are all so thoroughly drenched in cultural elite values that we live in fear of saying what it is going to take to merely survive."....I believe that orthodox Catholic bloggers are leading the way in posing these questions. OnePeterFive, The Catholic Thing,...and other orthodox Catholic organizations are asking legitimate and well-reasoned questions through their essays.

Given that western governments,including the Vatican mainstream media (MSM, are totally aligned with this political correctness, that has nothing to do with truth. I'm coming to believe that it is no coincidence that at this time, God in His Real Mercy (not "FrancisMercy"...a new name for false mercy) has provided alternate and relatively inexpensive means(i.e. social media and bloggers) of combatting these "cultural elite values".

It's still David versus Goliath so to speak, but with prayer, and sacrifice and work, the Church Militant will win out (only because God STILL so loves the world...). However, it won't be without tremendous cost, both to the Church (i.e the Bride of Christ) and to her faithful.

John Fisher said...

Gillineau you are wrong on many points. The Black Death. Population decrease resulted in many social and economic changes. It led to the end of serfdom, rising wages caused by labour shortages, more land available for consolidation, a rise in peasant income as they farmed the land of those that died. It resulted in a rise in the standard of living as more resources were available to less people. You would hardly say the urban environment in the uk is better because of rising population and recall its largely through immigration and ethnic displacement which has its real costs. child policy wealth in the hands of few and the majority exploited and poor particularly the rural farmers. Environmental destruction and pollution on a massive scale. Japan's economic problems are related to the rise of China but let's point out the standard of living is low and the cost in terms of space and family are high. Japan has still not culturally dealt with modernity and it a perverse culture that lacks moral bearing because it uncritically apes the West taking it to persevere conclusions. Let me also point out Japan at tacked China over resources and because of population pressures. It annexed Korea over the same issues. The U.K. And Europe needs to aim at replacement with a balanced population profile. As for the Mao quote it's not true. He caused the death of 30 million through starvation. China has a massive population and they are buying up land and resouces all over the works. There is a movement of Chinese all over the world and they like Indians are opportunists of the highest order. A smaller Chinese population would have prevented this. It would have prevented many problems China is battling to deal with. Let me add the annexation of Tibet and even the present irrational claiming of the whole China sea are the results of high population. Let me add most of the U.K. Industrial cities are just big slums. People live in pokey terraces and apartments. Houses that one held a family are now apartments. The environment in the uk is under threat.

Victoria said...

Of interest may be: Sweden has died: do not allow your country to be next

I watched a number of Youtube vids after this one and in every one the imams stressed the importance of having children and mocked the one child and a dog mentality of most Europeans.

Jacobi said...

We must remember that Muslims have a variety of orthodox (Islamic) options all of which, or some of which they are free to use as appropriate, and that by the permission of their founder.

These include massacre, forced enslavement, taxed enslavement (dhimitude), coercion, peaceful persuasion or simple growth, followed by a demand for Sharia under whatever democratic process they happed to find where they have settled.

John Fisher said...

"comfortable with the secularist agenda: with economic driven feminism, with abortion, with euthanasia, with the gay agenda, with relationships closed to children or with the sexualisation of our children, to say nothing of our drink and drugs culture?" I think many many are not at all in agreement with the above. The C of E has emptied as the disillusioned have marched out the door. My skin crawls when I see female clergy. Having studied anthropology at university I can say the social sciences do not agree with multiculturalism or tolerance. A divided society leads to war. Civil war and social upheaval. Over and over again this had happened in Europe and always it's immigration and stealing another peoples territory that has done it. Why don't the idiots in government see it? Why can't they draw conclusions from our accumulated memory? I am against so much I watch on TV and hear. I am horrified and think many are as well. Last week I was in a newspaper shop and saw a wedding book with members of the same sex posing for photos.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Over on Father Z's blog there is a fascinating video of Mass being celebrated at Krak des Chevaliers, Syria, for the first time since 1271.

Warning: Includes graphic pictures of Mass being celebrated ad orientem.

Gillineau said...

John Fisher, Thank you for your corrections. Some scholars do argue the opposite however, that whilst labour shortages led to wage growth as a whole/ at a macro level, death of family members in subsistence economies necessarily results in lower income. ie. the wife of a dead husband may be able to demand a higher wage, but not so much higher as to compensate for the loss of the income/ efforts of her husband. (A comparison may be made with sub-Saharan Africa under the AIDs epidemic.) Further, wage growth disguises the fact that much of the economy of Britain at the time was characterised by de facto subsistence, and not by a distinct wage-labouring market.

I would say that in many material ways the urban experience is better now in the UK for the vast majority of people, crowded or otherwise. (From a Christian perspective we might suggest some problems, true.) It is why so many people continue to go there, why rural-urban migration is *the* story of late c20/early c21 demographics. I speak as a rural-to-urban migrant myself.

Anyway, all this nonsense aside: how do we limit growth? GB's a great little country which everyone wants a piece of. (I'm the husband of an immigrant with lots and lots of kids). Shall we offer them sanctuary and a transistor radio in exchange for a quick sterilising?

We have problems in the UK because Catholics and seculars alike have bought in to a low-birth rate, more-space-for-me, fat-bellied, A/C controlled, conspicuous consumption agenda. It's 99% of the reason why we have closing churches and lack of religious. Poor catechesis is irrelevant when there's no one to be catechised. Demographics is destiny.

Anonymous said...

@John Fisher, what do you make of God's command to 'go forth and multiply'?
It's quite amazing that He did not give any thought to overpopulation. ...

Anonymous said...

@Fr. Blake,

Traditional priest dragged from Altar France

John Fisher said...

I am sorry as a woman is only fertile 4 days in cycle it is obvious fertility is matter of 4 in about 30 days. So fertility in females is not constant or permanent. Men can also be infertile and diet, health and poor environment bring it about. Clearly God does not will we overpopulate as we have obligations to the past, present and future as well as other species on the planet. You ignore the concept of stewardship. There are natures cycles that must be respected. It's the scheming methods used to bring about sterility and fertility or manufacture children through IVF which is a form of slavery that defies the obvious truth that some humans should not reproduce for physical, chromosomal reasons. IVF switches dormant genes on and will have repercussions. Clearly reproducing is not a divine mandate or chastity and celibacy would not be superior to marriage.
I repeat again there are too many people in the UK. Go to Manchester or London and see how small and claustrophobic terrace and public housing is. Go to the USA, or Australia and Canada and see the amount of space people have. The UK is in places a urban desert.

Paolo said...

I would say that the "Bush/Blair wars" - as you call them - have make you pay attention to SOME aspects of "the untold misery and instability throughout the region": they were already present but very few cared much in the west.
The situation went totally of control not with the "Bush/Blair wars", but when the USA, UK and all other allies (there were many others, in fact) left the zone at the worst possible time, precisely when the presence of the international coalition was indispensable for the stabilization of the new government.
Obama, not Bush/Blair, left the zone, believing - in perfect accord with his progressive convictions - that the Arab Spring was the beginning of a democratic, modernizing awakening. Now you are swallowing their justification of the mess provoked by their own policies.

John Fisher said...

Democracy should mean the will of the majority not any minority. In a Christian country it means the government and Church walking side by side. In France this is not what happens. Secularism is atheism. It is the government with power but no morals. It means the Church with no power and its moral life undermined by the State. A secular state will result in a secular indifferent society that buys into the State's myth. The French republic thinks its all embracing but it fails to embrace the majority and fosters even imports minorities so as to destroy the majority and Church. Divide and conquer. The State follows no democratic principle because if it did it would not be in the situation it has been since the French Revolution. Islam was brought in as a counter to Christian France but it will bring down the Republic on their head. I suppose those who have built the Republic will perish but they hope so will the Church. War will spread across Europe AGAIN.

B flat said...

Dear Father Blake,
You write, in the context of nuns in traditional habits being treated respectfully in muslim banlieu of Paris, but not by secularists: "The morality of Catholicism and moderate Islam at least are not that distant, but but there is a huge gulf between it and secularism."

I wonder if perhaps you are speaking more of manners (mores) than of morality? The manners of a muslim minority in a foreign country will adapt to that country, until they have grown strong enough to assert themselves as muslims. That is the stage we are reaching in Europe. I suffered from this myself in Bradford only 15 years ago, and bp Nazir Ali of Rochester was ignored and sidelined by the CofE when he warned of this at the time of his being Bishop of Rochester. As a Pakistani, he knew what he was speaking of.

There is only one islam, as there is only one Catholicism. It is only in the present pontificate that "radicals" and "fundamentalists" are being spoken of in reference to Catholics, and that by the Supreme Pontiff, within the context of atrocities perpetrated by young muslims.
Until now, no Catholic went out to kill non-Catholics on the basis of Gospel or Apostolic teaching. In fact, the Gospel teaches precisely the opposite. However, islam teaches submission and obedience to their god, whose will is expressed in the Koran. That is to kill all who resist becoming muslims, regardless of age and sex, enslaving those one wishes to keep for work or sexual pleasure. The latter seems to incur no moral guilt whether the muslim owner is married or not. The dignity of human beings in the Koran seems to rise no higher than animal needs, and the "paradisal" expectations of suicidal jihadists are no better even for the next world. "Moderate muslims" is simply a secular myth. They can be compared to contracepting and divorced&remarried "Catholics" who are simply wearing a misleading label.

This is not simply a variant of the "no true Scotsman" argument. Catholicism understands and teaches the essence of humanity as including free exercise of the will in personal choice, as a principle of morality. Islam denies any choice except to submit, or die. A humiliating existence in slavery or other subjection may be allowed as a temporary expedient by the muslim overlord but no rights. The moral viewpoint is totally different between Catholic morality and sharia law.

Mary said...

Father, what happened at St Rita's Church? The images are terrible. I stand by France against her aggressors, psychopaths without a shred of doubt, before anything else. But to see French police dragging priests on the floor so they can demolish a church? Zealots of what?
Does the Vatican have a found to rebuy Catholic churches in bankrupcy?
If they do (imho they should, even before charity) I'd like to contribute. It's a sin! To despise places upon which the Holy Spirit was in, economy is no excuse!
J'aime la France et ses idéaux, mais elle est plus ce que ça qui s'arrive à son église. Comment ça arrive à-t-elle?

Pelerin said...

Maria Anna - the history of St Rita's in Paris is complicated and Wikepedia has a summary of it though not in English.

According to Wikepedia it was originally built for a dissident branch of the Scottish church known as the 'catholic apostolic church'. However in 1988 it was sold to the Gallicans and it became famous for its annual service for pets which on at least one occasion included a camel. (I do wonder who had a camel for a pet!)

In 2015 it appears it was illegally occupied and used by the Institut du Bon Pasteur who are in good standing with the Church. However the owner wishes it to be demolished and as the owner he is entitled to do what he wants with it hence the law being brought in. Obviously the scenes where the Priest was hauled out of the church are shocking but the law is the law.

Denis said...

Julie le Goic, the demented regional politician who was responsible for that vile tweet has thankfully been made the subject of huge criticism. On another point, I agree with an earlier post. Whatever our views of the FN, they would never, verbally or otherwise attack a traditional Catholic.

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...