Saturday, 28 March 2015

On Opposition to the Death Penalty, Pope Francis and Catholic Tradition

The recent pronouncements by Pope Francis and certain bishops of the Catholic Church on ending capital punishment have far more reaching consequences than a particular condemnation of a singular practice. I would argue that their words, fully of fallacy and intellectually devoid, touch on the very interpretation of the fundamentals of revelation.

 It is not for a pope to ascertain whether a teaching, held always and everywhere, to be in conformity with his understanding of some more ''fundamental Christian approach'' to human life. A I have stated before, the Supreme Pontiff is the most bound of the servants of God. He is to present the Faith of Peter, the Faith of the ages to the Christian body, whole and entire, without wavering. His salvation ultimately depends on his obedience to the Apostolic doctrine, always and everywhere the same, as revealed by our Lord and the Holy Ghost. It is a given from heaven. Where the pope attempts to put his own stamp on the Faith, creating a legacy for himself, he errs far from his predecessors. How few times has Francis quoted the Fathers, the Doctors, the General Councils and the popes before 1962 in his neutered evangelisation? All appears new and yet already cliched, His disregard for the sacred liturgy demands that we ask whether the Church was a creation of a human mind or formed from the open wound of Christ? His conjuring up of a Christianity embarrassed by the past undermines his own authority. What is the Petrine office other than the fidelity of the successor of the Prince of the Apostles to the revelation of the uniqueness and necessity of Christ and His sacrifice?

 The Faith is essentially objective and need not be interpreted anew by the current occupant of the throne of Peter according to the ''demands'' of an age so transient even to be remembered by its own generation. It is faithful adherence to the revelation granted to the apostles that gives the Supreme Pontiff his glory. May Constantinople flee, may Antioch crumble, may Alexandria whither! May Old Rome remain steady in its course to eternity.  May the pope wear what he is meant to wear, say what he is meant to say. May he live and may he die. May another take his place. Viva il Papa! The continuity of the papacy is guaranteed by the promise of Christ and not due to the adapting of the Body of Christ to the whims and dictates of the many mediocre men who have been permitted by our Lord to bear the name of pope.

 How dangerous is it for a Catholic to be held in the obedience of faith to the opinion of a man who will soon disintegrate in the ground? On the issue of the death penalty is the faithful Catholic to regard the Catechism of Trent to be polluted with the promotion of institutionalised murder? Is he to hold that Pope St Pius V was less of a pontiff than Francis? This amnesia of the past, particularly when it is welded blindly to the notion of the unquestionable obedience to the magisterium, undermines itself fatally. Are we to blast the Doctor of the Gentiles, St Paul, was writing that the state has the power to punish with the sword evil doers, as God's ministers? Are we to deride Innocent I? Or Innocent III? Perhaps more recently, denounce Pius XII? Not to mention, Ss Augustine and Thomas? In effect, is the ordinary and universal (that is, the infallible) magisterium in error? If so, any teaching of it on submission to the bishop of Rome may be in error too.

 In summation, Francis has no more authority to condemn the death penalty in principle than he has to regurgitate monothelitism. Far from the Christian mind be the love of novelty, the love of the crowd, the praise of the various sort of Guardianistas. Francis may be popular but are we to forget the acclaim in the presence of our Lord was simply ''Crucify him!''?

 This senseless experiment in reinventing Catholicism since the 1962s has cost the Church the perennial understanding of herself, and still in many ways, the sneer of the princes of this age. All updating has been in vain and even the most third rate sociologist considering the objective data can conclude that the human element of the Church has committed suicide.

 The solution is fidelity to Tradition. A love of the Faith of the ages and the Mass of the ages. 

Friday, 27 March 2015

Reflection on Discrimination

Discrimination is the mark of the man of intellect, in effect, of the man of civilisation. 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Reflection on Beauty

                                           Equality is the greatest destroyer of beauty. 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Reblog: Reflection on the Duties of a Bishop

The bishop must steadily move between altar, pulpit and confessional in order to be a true pastor of souls. May the devil take the conferences and committees.

Reflection on the Jubilee of Mercy

 A call to mercy that is not focused on the stripes of the Sacred Humanity is a call to moral indifference. 

Reflection on Families

Family life is generally the greatest school of mortification. 

Reblog: On The Papal Canonisations. Neo Catholic Triumphalism.

It has been announced that Pope Paul VI, of unhappy memory, is to be beatified at the close of the Synod of the Family in October. One may ask why the rush to canonize three recent popes, is it the case that their value of models of holiness will diminish with the passing of the ages? Or is it that with the sober judgement of time these men will appear to be no more than adequate as Roman Pontiffs and more probably, less than suitable for the heroic task of the papacy?

I will say rather clearly that this set of ill-thought out and rushed canonizations has nothing at all to do with the men themselves. Apart from the case of Pope John Paul II, there has been little attempt to highlight and proclaim the great holiness of either John XXIII or Paul VI. Who has relate their heroic virtues? Are they worthy models of imitation for Christians? Who could possibly know as even the proponents of their raising to the altars are at a loss to explain exactly why they are deserving of this great honour. I set aside consideration of John Paul II as at least his firm faith and hope during tremendous suffering could be imputed to him as great virtue combined with his lively sense of piety.

These canonizations have nothing to do with the men themselves. They are pawns in the defense of a crumbling council. The council needs defenders. It needs canonization. What fruit of the Council can be detected? A vernacular liturgy that few attends? A new priesthood that men shy away from? A theology that is no more than sentimental mush that ill prepares even the keenest of intellect to defend the Faith against even the dullest of detractors? Point out to me a fruit of the Council and I will reply that it is laced with poison. The Roman Rite? Trivialised. Theology? Sentimentalised and no more than sentimental anthropology. Vocations? Few. Catholic nations? Just as atheistic and socialist as any other land. The popes travel, the popes wave, the crowd cheers...the crowd return home and live etsi Deus non daretur.

Would not one expect the Church to have canonized the various popes that were involved in the Council of Trent and those who strove to implement it? Frankly speaking, few of them were worth it. If we are to ascribe to the Bishop of Rome, supreme, universal and immediate jurisdiction over the whole Bride of Christ are we not to demand great holiness, wisdom and fortitude in exercising the petrine ministry? The faithful of those ages should have been even more triumphalistic about their Pontiffs considering the danger of the Reformation and the Protestants attack on the institution of the papacy. Yet, they wisely avoided this further danger. The vast majority of Roman Pontiffs have been no more than adequate. Plenty have been utter scoundrels and rascals who divided the garments of Christ among them for their own personal good. The traditionalist is not embarrassed by these scandals. Our Blessed Lord did not promise that Peter himself would never fall. All too often the popes have occupied the throne of Satan instead. On the other hand, great men have been chosen to succeed Peter and have dutifully carried out their mission with rectitude and courage. Where is the clamouring for the canonization of the superb Leo XIII? Or the much forgotten Benedict XV? The fate of souls was too pressing a matter for those involved in the Counter Reformation to divinize the Council of Trent and avert their eyes to the misery of heresy and schism. At least this sixteenth century Council produced great art and architecture? The Second Vatican Council? No more than the modernistic Scandinavian ''spaceship'' that is my local parish.

We are to raise three men to the altars, yet where have the men gone? The Faith proclaimed by these men has proven so ineffective to the evangelization and retention of young Catholic men who have therefore found solace in practical agnosticism at best. Where are the young men who will offer the Holy Sacrifice, who will raise families in the face of hostile secularism, who will teach boys to be men? These three pontiffs were more than negligent in presenting the Catholic Faith of the ages to these souls. The militancy of the baptised soul was to be purged in favour of a spirit of vain dialogue that has only created indifferentism and has made secular humanism the pinacle of moral consciousness. The Church seeks only a place at the table of discussion. She seeks fairest and an opportunity to speak in her turn. What a pathetic institution that these men have presided over! The bishops may be criticised but the popes? The popes who are of the same mould as their brother bishops are to be immune from criticism even when the same guilt belongs to them for the same acts and omissions!

Paul VI, a wretched, indecisive figure, divested himself of the papal tiara and in turn abrogated the kingship of Christ. Where in our Lord acknowledged? In the inter religious meetings? At Assisi? Certainly not before journalists where Francis refused to bless them in the Name of the Trinity, 'respectando la conciencia de cada uno''. Even a third rate sociologist appraising the numbers of the faithful who attend Mass, who can articulate a modicum of the Faith, the size and health of families and the state of such Catholic nations as Spain, Italy, Portugal and Brazil, can see that the Council failed in almost every aspect. 

The Neo-Catholic can only demand fidelity and ''obedience''. He is entirely incapable of defending the Faith in the light of tradition. It is contrary to the spirit and greatness of the Fathers and Doctors to angrily assert ''The magisterium holds such and such, believe it or you're disobedient!'' Did not these great men of old labour earnestly to explain the Faith suitably so that the doubters and deniers could reach an understanding of the mysteries of faith or the philosophical underpinnings of it? No such effort is considered by these apologists. Threats of suspension, excommunication and of being ''uncharitable'' are their stock in trade.

I await eagerly a true explanation of the the continuity of the Council with immemorial tradition, especially in the areas of religious liberty and ecumenism. There is nothing to be triumphalistic about in these matters. Millions of souls have perished due to the effects of the Council, whether the 'real' one or the virtual Council that Benedict XVI recently spoke about.

When facts are of little use, cries of ''disobedience!'' resound. Let the Neo-Catholic consider why we need a New Evangelization if the Council were not a complete failure? To them, it appears the New Evangelization is nothing more than a new buzz phrase which allows them to consider themselves faithful to the latest pontiff.

It is urgent that we realise the damage of the Council. Even if we are to hold that the Council has not been implemented correctly, are we to state that the Pontiffs were not involved in this ''bastardization'' of the Council? Were they not the ones who promoted and tolerated every novelty, heresy and extravagance? It is their Council and their implementation, their souls must mirror it.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Reblog: On Criticism of Pope Francis

I wade into this apparently dangerous territory to take sides and offer a brief set of thoughts. As our Lord informs us to whom much is given, much is demanded (not requested) in return. To the one who receives universal and immediate jurisdiction, that same one must render an account for all under his care. In such an instance, the Holy Father should dread to hear the pronouncement of Christ on His Throne of Judgement. To Peter was given the whole world and all that is contained within. Such an immense responsibility lies heavy on the shoulders of the bishop of Rome, successor of that poor Galilean. We must admit that a great grace of state is, without doubt, conferred upon this fisher of men, but a greater degree of holiness is demanded without any possibility of appeal.

 It will not do to confer universal dominion on the Vicar of Christ and deny him responsibility for anything. The episcopal order is of divine origin and must not be considered to be mere delegates of a neglectful pope. He can not dispense with them, in justice, at his leisure, be vindictive in suppressing them, nor can he shelter himself from criticism at their expense. This latter point appears to be the methodology of Michael Voris, where he is conscious of it or not. Our Church Militant TV friend may rightly blast the bishops of being faithless, effeminate, cowardly, enamoured of the media spotlight, but they are merely in the mould of the former Jorge Mario Bergoglio. I would certainly like to discover Voris' opinion of that former cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires and the sham of a Catholic territory he left behind.

With such visibility that modern technology provides, foolish, unguarded words by a pope can cause immense damage and confusion, particularly when they are recklessly uttered by a man who appears to have arrived in the Eternal City unscathed by any notion of sound theology. Doesn't Voris ridicule Cardinal Dolan, who plays the buffoon before Meet the Press? Yet, who has greater popularity among the media and metropolitan elite than the pope himself? Who has prostituted themselves more to opinion formers and hack activist journalists? It is an act of great injustice to bypass the pope and lay blistering blame on the Cardinal Archbishop of New York for doing what would please the soul of Francis. He will no judged no more harshly than Bergoglio.

Let the Faith be upheld, preserved and handed on. Let God be glorified and the pope will save his soul and a multitude of his children.

 Perhaps it was better when technology was as limited as the lifespan of the pontiffs? Perhaps we were more fortunate when the popes wouldn't travel much further than St Paul Outside the Walls? 

Let the pope be the pope. Let him speak like the pope, dress like the pope, teach like the pope, sanctify and govern like the pope. His personality is no more than straw.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Reflection on Prayer

                                                         (St. John of the Cross)

In prayer, it is not that we persuade God to act but rather He swiftly moves our will to His. 

Reflection on Interior Humility

                                                   (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI)

The truly humble man is oblivious to his wearing of red shoes. 

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Reflection on Spiritual Progress

Advancement in the spiritual life will come when the soul learns to love God Himself more than the consolations He supplies. 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Reflection on Charity

                                                          (St. Thomas Aquinas)

Charity, the bond of perfection, quickens us to the One we already possess. Such is the beginning of eternal life.

Theological note: Properly speaking, sanctifying grace as the formal and actual participation in the divine nature is the possession of eternal life. It is for this reason that it is known as the semen gloriae. We must be careful not to confound charity with sanctifying grace as the former resides in the faculty of the will while the former is a habitual quality that permeates the essence of the soul. This actualises the obediential capacity of the soul for the supernatural. Nevertheless, no man can attain to God who has fallen away from charity which unites man to his proper end, namely God. Sinning against charity ipso facto, destroys habitual grace. Conversely the man who loves God above all, possesses this incalculable treasure within him.