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Month: January 2017

The Vessel with the Pill – Who do You Trust?

The Vessel with the Pill – Who do You Trust?


Having completed another session in recitation of poetry with the little ones – they remember everything from ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ by Alfred Lord Tenyson, to ‘Jabberwockey’ by Lewis Carroll, and so much more – it is time to try something else.

“What next?”

“The Vessel with the Pessel!”, comes the cry from the balcony!

“Yes! The Vessel with the Pessel!”

It’s not actually a piece of poetry but the genius behind the composition, and more so the recitation, is well worth the effort. Being the melancholic-choleric, however, this piece leads me to think of higher things. Or should I say, more depressing things – the staple diet of the hopeless!

Yes, even something as hilarious as Danny Kaye’s brillance and humour can be turned into a mediation on the end of the world!!! How does one take this memorable scene from the 1950’s movie, ‘The Court Jester’, and turn it into another “read at your peril” piece? Here’s how. (And remember, you’ve been warned – this will be anything but jolly!).

What is at the heart of the scene?

Think about it.

Don’t you see it? Well, put on your melancholic “The End is Nye” spectacles and look again.

See it now? Exactly – total confusion. (Well, not total but bordering on it – if it were total confusion we wouldn’t see the humour in it).

It’s like a scene from the 2025 movie ‘Death of a Cardinal’, which will probably never be made but if it were it would show the utter confusion (and then subtle assissination) of the 2017 ‘give-us-the-Catholic-Faith-Catholics’. The confusion that arises from having been abandoned and left with almost no one to trust. Yes, Faith is of things unseen but since Our Lord instituted a visible-invisible reality called the Church then it is through the visible that the faithful move to the invisible, and when the visible head of the Church becomes ‘a source of confusion’, as one author recently said, then that which is crushed is trust,and what results is confusion. Confusion reigns were there is little trust.

‘The vessel with the pessel?’ He does not know which vessel – he doesn’t know what is to be trusted and what is not? Even more tragic: who can be trusted. It’s all a complete farse, of course, but doesn’t it sound like today?

It is trust that is no longer to be found amongst men and women. Woman’s March? Do you trust it? President Obama – did you trust him? Or now his successor – why is he hated? It’s because he’s not trusted. Who would trust a man who says he’s married three times? And how can you trust anybody if you listen to every voice claiming to be true? I can bring forward as many facts ‘for’ or even ‘against’ any one you can mention. I’ve heard people denounce Mother Teresa and exalt Stalin; I heard people exalt every single pope and denounce their own kith and kin. Today: no one is trusted until proven guiltly; everyone is guilty before the trial begins – except for those who are demanding the accused by hung. God has no chance on the internet!

So where has it gone? Where is trust? Are children now the only ones who trust? Yes, I suppose so – or those who have become like little children. And you know what, it seems like the dictatorship of relativism revolves around destroying the trust of children. The promoters of mistrust, the cynics, want to get a hold of them and indoctrinate them with a mentality of mistrust: don’t trust the police; don’t trust politicians; and especially, don’t trust your parents (or Catholic priests). Easy money.

But they never say to them: ‘Don’t trust those who are saying “Don’t trust!”‘ Funny that.

And why is it so easy to break down the trust of little ones?

One word: suffering.

Tell children how their suffering comes from a mean source; from someone who cannot be trusted. Quickly you can atheize them; smashing their hopes and dreams. ‘Life is a bitch and then you die. Eat, drink, and be merry…then kill yourself. There is no-one who will hold your hand while you suffer. God does not exist – and if he did he wouldn’t care about you!’ This is the diet they are fed. More easy money.

And it starts deep down, in man’s fallen human nature – the propensity to do evil (even when masked as something good like serving humanity simply for the sake of it). It is then compounded in the technological/medicalized age of contraception: man eat women, women eat man – and if anything lives between them, kill it. The culture of death in every home where contraceptive use turns the gift of the marital act into a form of mutual masturbation. Sodomised-sex flows from contraceptivised-sex as sure as night follows day. Trust? Forget it: this is smash and grab.

The vessel in the pessel is the poison of contraception. The multiplier of mistrust is the Pill.

Told you it wouldn’t be jolly.

Still, enjoy the movie!




Isn’t it great to feel alive – I mean, really feel it?

A few years ago a friend was in a serious car accident. It was a miracle that he survived. That’s when it’s great to have friends – they prayed like Carmelites and he pulled through!!!

When he walked out of the hospital six months later the head doctor smiled and said;

“Yes, Mr. Smith, I think only God in Heaven knows how you survived.”

But that wasn’t enough for my friend. He loved to run. He had been as fit as a fiddle before the accident.

“If you hadn’t been so fit you wouldn’t have survived either,” the doctor had also said.

So his goal – after being at home with family, after crying with his wife and children, and after thanking God for the little things – was to run in his hometown’s mountains. And he did.

It took him over a year, and by the time the next Spring came around, and the first snows were melting he ventured out alone. It was the being alone that he was afraid of; the fear of collapsing out somewhere in the hills after all he’d been through.

But he did it. And when he ran, slowly at first, but then with more pace, his heart was beating like a big drum. He could feel the blood pumping through him, and as he turned his favourite corner – over looking his favourite view – he cried out: “I’m alive! I’m alive! Praise You Holy Trinity – I’m ALIIIIIIIIIVE!”

“Oh, look Mum”, he then heard, “It’s Mr. Smith. He’s alive.”

It was his neighbours out for a walk!

He smiled. They smiled. And then they all laughed.

It was then that he realised: Being fit is a gain; and it’s good to be fit again – but being alive is even more wonderful!

I’m Not “catholic”

I’m Not “catholic”

Have you ever met someone who loves Our Lady, loves going to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, tries to get to Confession twice a month, and the Holy Mass daily, reads the Sacred Scripture often, and can quote popes, saints, and Church history as if he were talking to his mother? Not to mention being fluent in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew – not to mention a host of languges picked up from his ‘travels.’ Seems like a pretty good Catholic – wouldn’t you think? Oh, I forgot, working with Mother Teresa’s people and being in the St. Vincent de Society are also features of his life. If you ask him, however, is a he a Catholic he’d say: “I used to be, but now I’m no longer welcome.”

It’s a remarkable response. If you ask, “What did you say?” or “Pardon?” or simply, “Why?”, you’ll hear an answer that leaves one wondering: “Is this true?”

Here’s what I heard recently, delivered in a calm, almost sorrowful tone, but one at the same time with deep authority.

“I used to be a Catholic. When I was little I was an altar boy and wanted to be a priest. Then things happened.”

I started to fear the worse, “Oh no, not another child abuse story.”

“No, it’s not what your thinking. All the priests I knew when I was a boy were great men. They were mostly Irish. Fr. Murphy was my favourite – he was our Parish Priest. He used to be a boxer, and when he was a young priest some local lads spat on the then parish priest’s cassock. Fr. Murphy punched them back into Mass! No, the priests I knew were all faithful. None of them ever taught rubbish, and they would always be there to hear my confession. I couldn’t have asked for more. Especially when home on leave.”

I began to realise there was something else.

“It wasn’t the priests that changed. It was ‘the changes’ that changed them, and they in turn changed every around us. I don’t think they meant it – well not the ones I knew. I tried to remain faithful even when almost everybody else left. Maybe it was because I was away so much that I could step in an out of the chaos. I think I’m the only one from my old school class – there were about 30 of us – who still comes here. I loved the Mass. I loved Adoration. But I was eventually told by some other priests: ‘Your being selfish with your narrow minded ways.’ I probably was. War can make one very selfish. I kept coming. I kept listening and hoping they were right. I even became a big pope promoter since I had a strange, non-Catholic, idea with regards to him. When we were little we learned to sing hymns that honoured the Pope and the Faith. The new priests (and the new lay people – people I thought were like me since they stayed) told me that those hymns were wrong. ‘The theology is wrong’ is what they said. We got new hymns, or I should say, ‘songs’. I kept coming, even although any half-educated Catholic could tell you the ‘theology’ of the new hymns-songs was anything but Catholic.”

Then he stopped. Tears were now in his eyes, even although he was still calm and measured. What was this all about?

“Then they brought in the ladders, and the work men. ‘We’re just going to do a few alterations to update things.’ That’s what the new priest told us. ‘So we’ll have Mass in the hall for the next few weeks.’ I kept coming.”


“I kept coming even when they took us back to the Church for what they called ‘Mass’ – or rather ‘The Eucharist’. I kept coming, even although Our Lady’s statue was gone when I returned; and I heard people were told to leave their rosaries at home during the new mass. I kept coming when on leave even although the Tabernacle was gone, and even although the beautiful Crucifix was replaced by a figure of something unrecognizable. I kept coming. They told me the pope wanted it this way, but while on duty I couldn’t find it in the official texts that I would read in the original languages.”

When old people cry I don’t really know where to put myself. I’ve been with people in places of war. I’ve been with the soldiers who have told me of the atrocities they have committed. I have been with mothers’ whose babies have died. When old people cry, however, I feel a deep sense of hopelessness – as if their whole lives have been wasted; as if all wisdom is gone. When old soldiers cry I listen.

“Why do you still come?”

“I try to love God with all my heart, my soul, my mind, and my strength; and my neighbour as myself for the love of God. That was the Catholicism I was given from my parents and grandparents; from good teachers and good priests – but now I’m not ‘catholic’. I don’t see anything here left from what they gave to me. Maybe it’s my ‘dark night’ of the senses. God knows. What I know is that someone decided to do the things that happened here. What ‘catholics’ believe today is not what I was taught: they call it ‘Catholic’ but I call it ‘catholic’. How it happened I don’t really know, but the Protestant friends I grew up with now say to me: ‘Ah John, it’s good that you Catholics have become like us. We’re all God’s children.’ And I wonder, ‘Have we really become Protestants.’ I think so. The ‘catholics’ I know are ‘protestants’ but they don’t know it because they don’t know what protestantism is, or it’s more recent name of ‘modernism’. Fr. Murphy wouldn’t recognize the parish he lived and died for, and neither do I. But why do I keep coming? Well, when I was small I learnt three prayers – besides the usual ones: an Act of Faith, an Act of Hope, and an Act of Charity. I’ve learnt lots of things since but most of it is ‘straw.’ No one ever told me not to remember them, so I simple think about them when the ‘catholics’ are doing their thing. I remember that God is Three Divine Persons, and that all the Truths the Church teaches are from Him because He ‘can neither decieve nor be deceived.’ God is the God of principles. If the priest, or any other ‘catholic’ speaks rubbish I simply hear those words that remind me that God cannot decieve or be deceived. In fact, when I tried at one time to be a ‘catholic’ – especially with my papolatry – I hit a brick wall. I couldn’t make myself believe new teachings as if they were true. Neither my reason nor my faith would sleep with a contradiction.”

“And hope – how do you hope?”

“When I hear falsehoods I don’t dispair because I say: ‘Oh my God, relying on your infinite goodness and all powerful mercy, I hope to obtain the gift of Heaven, the means to achieve it, and remission for all my sins through the merits of Jesus Christ.’ My hope is not in something men will do, it’s what God will do through His Church. I don’t presumme on His mercy, nor do I despair about His Justice. They stand together. I’ll be punished for my sins – that is just and right. Life in this fallen world is a penal time, but if I trust in His goodness then that punishment will be filled with Mercy. It will be His grace that saves me if I persevere to the end. I’m not a ‘catholic’: I tremble at the thought of having to stand before God, because I have rejected so great a love. ‘Lord, I am not worthy…’ I keep coming because I’m not a ‘catholic’. God doesn’t change, even when change it is all the fashion. It is contrary to His nature.”

I was lost for words. “Does it make you sad, or angry? What do you feel about it all?”

He smiled.

“It’s not about my feelings. I have three obligations to fulfill. All my other ones are gone: my wife is long dead, the children are grown up, life is now in it’s winter years – I’m not expecting a phone call to go any more special operations. Yet, my obligations are what they always were – even when they more specified in marriage and fatherhood, and military service. I must know, love, and serve God. Those are the duties of every Catholic. It is the young ones I mourn for – they are no longer given principles from which to operate. Principles, those foundations for human actions, are being smothered in them. Nor are they given the divinely revealed principles on which to live lifes in accord with God’s law. He commanded me through the Church to live as I have lived. When I was a P.O.W. in the War – His principles were the same. It was the same in the Gulag, and later in Korea. When I was caught and held by the Viet Cong – I had His principles. All through my life I have had His principles from which to operate. When I acted against them I knew: my conscience passed judgement and, by His grace, I confessed my sins. When I saw others acting against them I confessed my sins, and heard my grandmother’s lesson: ‘Remember, John: there but by the grace of God go I.’ She had no modern theological ‘linguistic event’ contradicting her reason. My job was to work with men in battles, and not to leave them behind. I kept going because of His principles. Sadness? Anger? My feelings? They are not the measure of winning a war. It is God’s Church – they can’t destroy it. Souls are being lost because few are dying for them; few have the ‘perfect love of God and contempt for self’, as St. John of the Cross says.

“St. John of the Cross? Do you read him much?”

Again he smiled.

“Do you know what he said is the ‘exercise’ that is ‘the sum and root of all virtue’? He said that, ‘…the way of God consisteth…in one necessary thing only, in knowing how to deny [oneslf] in earnest, inwardly and outwardly, giving [oneself] up to suffer for Christ’s sake, and annihilating [oneself] utterly.’ As the iconoclasts destroyed the parish church I was given the grace to suffer with Our Lord. When they came for the altars and statues He drew me deeper into His Passion. When they destroyed the Sacred Music, He allowed me to share in His suffering the sounds of derision and blasphemous sermons. Hearing men cursing and screaming obsenities in battle cuts deep into the soul. When they refused to fight for marriage and the family – standing by as the children were slaughtered, the marriage bond attacked, and the marital act defiled – I remember men in battle who froze at the sight of death. It gave me a compassion for those who look for glory in the wrong places, and are seduced by the world’s promises of peace. There is no peace in this life: only the peace of fighting for Our Lord against ones fallen human nature, and being faithful to one’s duty. When they taught eutopian and banal doctrines I remember the imbecile tactics and commands given by career leaders. Their folly cost many lives, and I prayed for the souls of the dead – especially those still living but living in mortal sin. God gave it all to me. Why? Well, it is all being given by His Providence to lead me to Him. Even the present debacle: more non-Catholic teaching and behaviour being sold as Catholic. I’ve seen it all before, but it is still painful to watch. I must need more purification for my sins; and if not Our Lord will use the suffering it brings for the salvation of souls. Even to save one soul – would that not be the greatest feat any soldier could do in battle?”

“Surely you’re a Catholic, John”, I insisted.

Again that lovely old smile from an old soldier who had fought, and still fights, based on principles. (I always wanted to ask him about his life as a soldier but…somethings you don’t ask).

“Yes, I’m a Catholic, but not a ‘catholic’. I was left behind; no-one came back for me but I was never alone since my Guardian Angel stood by me. We were trained never to leave anyone behind – this was toughest in the jungle. ‘Never abandone your brother’, is what we learned.  Are there many Catholics left behind? Well, I don’t think they’re welcome here any more. I know they just smile at me – the old special forces man who still prays his rosary in Latin. I suppose it’s only the ‘being nice to each other’ that unites us now. It is certainly not faith and morals. Do you remember what they did with the Mass – I mean THE Mass – when it was finally recognized as being a treasure that could not be abrogated. Well, in this diocese and in most others, they played lip service to what fed our souls for generations. Even when we were fighting in Burma the priest did every thing possible to make it as truly fitting of the worship that is pleasing to God. Worship in spirit AND in truth! Those of us who asked for it to be restored to it’s proper place were laughed at, or accused of being devisive. Every other group is accomdated or should I say, given ‘pastoral accompaniment’ but old soldiers need not apply. It’s the principles that cause the problem. One bishop – a ’68er – said to me while laughing: ‘You’re too rigid, John – and the pope is saying it now too!’ I just replied, ‘He’s right, My Lord (he doesn’t like being called ‘My Lord’ so I call him it as often as I can!). Yes, the Holy Father is right – I’m too rigid, I can’t run my ten miles everyday!!! It’s those principles, or maybe it’s the genetic entropy!’ Smile and pray for him, that’s what I do. He was never taught how to spell ‘soul’ in seminary, so why should I think he’ll be interested in saving mine. Yes, I’m not a ‘catholic’ as the world sees it, as most of those around me see it, or even as that bishop sees it. I have been blessed all my life with so many graces and being a ‘left behind Catholic’ is also one. My hope  that as St. Joan (my patron in more ways than one!) said that if ‘…I’m not in a state of grace, He’ll put me there; and if I am, may He keep me there.’ Afterall, there are only two kinds of human souls: those in a state of grace, and those that are not. As a a Catholic, I know which state I want to be in when He comes for me.”

“What if the Pope against you?”

“I was a soldier most of my life. I recieved orders, and obeyed them, only when they were rooted in principles. It’s the same with any pope: if his teaching is not rooted in the perennial principles then it is not a teaching that can be believed – you cannot believe in ‘square-triangles’, or glasses of whiskey made out of cyanide. That’s the problem with questions of marriage today: the Church should have simply said when people were, as they say, ‘redefining marriage’, ‘Sorry folks – metaphysically impossible!’ Problem? Yes, reason has been abandoned, and so the Church has nothing to use to present the truth in season and out of season. I don’t worry about popes, however, since the Church’s teaching is clear. Benedict XV – one of my favourites – once said:

Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: ‘This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved’ (Athanas. Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim ‘Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,’ only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself.

I keep coming here because I try to live that – without contradicting what Our Lord has taught through His Church for two thousand years.”

[The above conversation is based on various characters I have known. Does John really exist? Since ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers are not the ‘catholic’ thing you’ll have to take a Catholic answer: No! Is this piece reflective of what many people I know have encountered? Yes!]



When Does the BBC Push Children to Kill?

When Does the BBC Push Children to Kill?

I’m no fan of the BBC. I don’t think I ever have been. Maybe it’s because I’m a stingy Scot who doesn’t like to give money to groups that I have no interest in. Thankfully, because I don’t have a T.V. I don’t have to contribute to the propaganda machine known as the British Broadcasting Company.

Where does the animus come from? Well, early life experiences can form bad habits that go very deep. Glasgow was a strange city to grow up in. Catholics from Irish backgrounds were not allowed to be Scottish. The peer pressure was to be pro-Irish. Whatever that meant it didn’t mean respecting anything British. The BBC used to play the national anthem (‘God save our gracious Queen…’) at the end of every day when broadcasting ended. In many a home the T.V. was quickly turned off as invectives were hurled in its direction. What’s more the Union Flag was the one favoured by Glasgow Rangers Football Club’s supporters. Catholics need not apply. Most of this was pathetic.

The Irish thing – ‘armoured cars and tanks and guns’ and all that horror – was never far away. In fact, for some of our relatives in was litterally across the street. The BBC, meanwhile, were at the forefront of the propaganda against us – we felt it; we smelt it; we knew of it. They hated us and we hated them. God forgive us all.

As the years passed and I became involved in matters of justice (Amnesty International, CND, and the most important one of all – justice for the child in the womb) I began to join a few dots. Working in voluntary post as the media officer for a prolife group, I came to see how corrupt and corrupting the BBC tends to be. At prolife events – where we’d have the numbers in attendance (and the police would confirm them) the BBC always seemed to manage to half the figure. In interviews the pro-injustice advocate always received a big smile and more ‘air-time’ as they called it. Off camera it was amazing how the old pals act was everywhere. It was remarkable who went to school with who, and who was drinking with who. They didn’t give a tuppence about justice of any true sort. Parties, booze, drugs, and sex – oh, and a story for the Party on the side. And this was all before they convinced and conned people into thinking: “We are Media!”

“What does he think of the BBC?” I once asked a friend whose brother worked for them in London.

“Oh, he hates it. If you’re not living ‘the life-style’ you’re excommunicated. He says that the smell of incontenence pads in the elevator is sickening.” Some facts never seem to make it into ‘the news’ – like the cost to the British tax payer of certain ‘life-style’ choices. Still, the British tax-payer has blood on his hands too; the revolutionaries in the old Beeb have ensured that to be the case. It’s an old tactic from the old boys school, worked out to work perfectly every time. No one can fight the Polit Bureau’s central figures since they simply remind each clown in the mob of who has blood on his hands. “Smile boys, you’re on camera – our camera!” Caught.

A place where death and despair stawk the corridors of lust – lust for power; lust for fame; lust for dominance. Plastic people melting in the fires of self-absorption. Who will reach out and bring them the love and truth that they need?

The BBC is also a very subtle engineer of public consensus, using everybody and anybody to manipulate minds to think about nothing but what it has cunjured up. It is not surprising that George Orwell worked in Room 101 when he was part of the BBC. The latest double-speak is pure genius, as well as being wicked beyond imaging. How many lives it will destroy I cannot even guess at, but I realise the young man who was once known as Bradley Manning has immense need of the truth in order to be set free from the lies surrounding him – before it is too late.

Is there anyone standing up against these lies? Is there any one standing up for that little boy Bradley Manning. Justice and truth stand or fall together.

Watch the piece above again. Notice how cleverly the BBC twist a twisted man’s life and play along with the game they are saying is ‘normal’. First, it introduces Chelsea. Then a history lesson for all the children watching. [“Now, you who think you are boys and girls, listen to good old Mother Beeb – your fairygodmother”] ‘BORN Bradley Manning’ [“Did you hear that, children? BORN. Yes, that doesn’t mean anything really – remember your lessons in the factory. I mean, school.”]

Then the story of what ‘the low ranking’ member of the US military heriocally did – stole (opps!), down-loaded information. The point: the character being presented did something big. But this character is at this point neither Bradley or Chelsea. Even Mrs. Clinton is giving ‘air-time’, sounding sympathetic to the cause.

And now for the BBC genius: “Manning’s supporters said SHE was ‘a whistle-blower’.” The image behind these words read on the screen, ‘Free BRADLEY Manning.’ Oh yes, I get it now: Bradley is free when he is she. [“Are you all on the right page, children, page number 1984?]

[“Listen in for the rest of your lesson lemons,…I mean, children”]: ‘…after the trial Bradley announced she’d be known as Chelsea and live as a woman…’ [“Yes, children, it is as simple as that: you decide, no-one can tell you anything; don’t trust anyone…except good old you know who”].

[“Did you see how cruel they were to our dear Chelsea”]: ‘…she’d been held at a male prison…’ [“They didn’t respect HER rights. You must fight this attitude wherever you find it. Fight, I say, fight!]

[“Look at the way our dear sister fought and how she…”]: ‘…successfully lobbied the US Army for hormone therapy…'[“Remember you are entitled to everything – no-one is allowed to say, ‘No’, to you.”]

I wish I was making this up.

Is there any hope at all. Have the BBC and it’s CEO allies captured all of reality and are in the process of destroying everything. The answer to that is: “No! No! No! And a million other No’s!” Like all those driven by hubris there is always a chink in their armour. The armour of self-defence, built from fear. It is what will cause the whole pack of cards to collapse. The slip that leads to their down-fall (and it will come down someday, in God’s good time, since every empire will pass but His Kingdom) is where there is mention of the fact that during Bradley Manning’s trial his lawyers ‘said that their client was suffering from GENDER IDENTIFICATION DISORDER’.

Look up the name of Dr. Joseph Nicolosi – his work is in the area of G.I.D. They have tried to ban such acts of kindness rooted in the truth.

Someone will look it up, and someone will find their way back from the abyss. Reason will prove stronger than the invitation to irrationality proposed by ‘the good old beeb.’ Someone – even one soul who hears the truth abut how this disorder comes about, and what can be done to bring order into ones life regarding one’s sexuality – is a victory the BBC cannot prevent.

Will many survive this war for our children? Only God knows. Meanwhile the push for a blessing on self-hatred continues. The two attempts by Bradley Manning to committ suicide are mentioned in order to complete children’s lesson: “You are the final arbitar on who, what, and when you are. You are God.” The pushers of death are in our midsts – if we have T.V. Will Bradley Manning find himself again, or will he kill himself? The BBC’s answer is clear – “We will support him/her/it/whatever in whatever it/her/him decides!” It is the answer scripted by the BBC to be used by their men-lackies on another battle field.  Ask Bradley Manning’s Guardian Angel to help him.

You can hear that I’m no fan of the BBC but I pray for my enemies and those who persecute me everyday. The BBC are well up there on that list. God bless every one who is associated with it – may He open the eyes of the blind, and set captives free.


In the Face of Dubia – Charity, Charity, Charity!

In the Face of Dubia – Charity, Charity, Charity!

Did you ever think that you’d find yourself in a position similar to some of the great Saints? Maybe you never thought that you’d be living through a tragedy in the life of the Church as great as that faced by St. Catherine of Sienna and St. Bridget of Sweden. Yet, as these words are being written – words that probably will not make much of a difference and disappear off into cyber space – the Church is faced with a tragedy as great as any She has ever faced. The writing is on the wall: Catholics who consider themselves faithful to the Pope are firing off shots against each other. The situation of the four Cardinals, in this veritable ecclesiastical civil war, is very telling indeed. They are accused of being unfaithful to the vow of fidelity to the Holy Father by those who a few years ago were snubbing the very same sacred office. Interesting.

Now, it is pretty obvious to most people that there are lots of things being said that are not being said in charity – but since there has been an embargo placed on all judgements  the result is that reasonable conversation is in danger of being suffocated. This is even more so the case when a leading ecclesiastic makes the nominalistic claim that God can act in an unreasonable manner when it comes to basic arithmetic. Catholics, once known for both their intellectual rigor and chartity, are in danger of losing all sight of reality due to a personal opinion expressed rhetorically in a now famous question that shuts down the second act of the mind: judgement.

Has the present Holy Father many critics who are acting unjustly? Well, to answer this the present writer will need to ignore the famous rhetorical question. It, afterall, was a rhetorical device used to re-echo Christ’s teaching when He said, “Do not judge, lest you be judged” (Mt 7:1); or again when He says to the adulterous woman in St. John’s Gospel, “Has no one condemned you?” (Jn 8:10). Yet, Our Lord also instructed His followers to judge. He says in Jn 7:24 “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” Furthermore, he expects every priest to pass judgement on poor sinners in the confessional. How else will they be able to say, “By the ministry of the Church may God grant you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins…”? You can’t forgive a sinner unless you judge him to be a sinner! Our Lord commands a just judgement. This is what must be given whenever one is called upon to make a judgement. Hopefully, the following words will be of this later kind of judgement.

Has the Holy Father been slandered by Catholics in recent times? Undoubtedly so. One priest I know intimated that this is being confessed to him regularly. Have all the Holy Father’s critics been slanderous? That would be unjust to make such a claim. Especially if that claim was directed against those who take very seriously the task they have been commissioned with to serve the Church. Take, for example, the work of the 45 theologians who critiqued thoroughly the recent Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation. They were being faithful to the work of the theologian as laid out in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s 1990 Instruction. Indeed, their work was clear and precise in both it’s format and content – a breath of fresh air among much theological literature these days. Likewise, the questions raised by the eminent philosopher, Professor John Finnis, and his contemporary, the moral theologian Dr. Germain Grisez, are asked from the perspective of duty to the role they have in the life of the Church. For them, asking questions is part of their ‘job description’, so to speak, and anyone who says they shouldn’t needs to ask why it is then that theology is known as “fides quaerens intellectum” – faith seeking understanding. They are not asking questions in order to be obnoxious or facetious, but rather to assist the faithful in a clearer and simpler understanding of the great mysteries of the Faith. When they themselves are personally looking for clarification on certain points they have a right to turn to the Church’s bishops – the Teachers of the Faith – or even to the Holy Father himself. It takes humility to do so, and gives due respect to the sacred office of bishop. If they did not they would just ploughing ahead with empty words and be giving their own opinion. This is what many Catholics have been subject to in recent generations – the false opinions of self-proclaimed teachers in the Church. Recently, a theologian known to this author said he wouldn’t teach a course of Christian Marriage because he was no longer sure what the Church was teaching. This is not a sign of rigidity but honesty. The Cardinals’ questions when answered – if they are answered – may allow him to know where he stands.

Some have accused the Cardinals of unfaithfulness, or simply imprudence in their acts. In the Church, the Pope alone can judge them, and He has not done so. Maybe respects their right to ask when they think it is appropriate, so as to assist him in his duties. Likewise theologians who are presently divided over many things, but are united in the essentials, may ask in charity.  Some have reserevations about many things the present Holy Father has said; while others have concerns but not as many. Some see no problems whatsoever. So amongst the men (and women) who seek to give their intellectual genius to the service of the Church’s Magisterium – so as to assist the Bishops in their primary function of teaching the Faith – their is disgreement. This is not something completely knew. When it comes to how to address particular difficulties in a particular document they have various opinions, and they take various approaches.

What then of Cardinals Burke, Brandmueller, Caffara, and Meisner – are they acting contrary to their role as counsellors of the pope in the governance of the Church? To their credit they have acted with dignity in the face of accusations of heresy and betrayal, but that is an aside. Their role of counsellors is not made easy in an age of instant access to everything pope do and say. Can you imagine trying to keep up with recent popes? The poor Holy Fathers have said more things that will be forgotten than will ever be remembered, most of which has been personal opinion on everything from presidential elections to world soccer championships. Catholics have been subjected to, and often conditioned into, an understanding of the papacy that is far from what the Faith teaches regarding it. They are their own enemies on this matter. Ultramontanism (and now superstar papalolatry) are causing much confusion. One may even dare to say that those who have no love of the Faith are exploiting the natural Catholic tendency to be faithful to the pope. It’s easily done. Fortunately, the four cardinals are men of deep faith and erudition who know and feel the heavy weight of the oath of fidelity they have sworn to the Holy Father. This is why they take into consideration a distinction such as material heresy (simply being mistaken in a statement about the Faith) and that of formal heresy (the deliberate pushing of error when warned about the error). They are not shouting on the internet, “Pope Francis is an anti-pope”. Anyone who does is wrong.

One may think the Cardinals are overstepping the mark by asking for clarifications from the Holy Father concerning some things he has written. That itself is a judgement. It is either a false judgement based on a misreading of the facts or a even a rejection of them; or is it a true judgement. If it is true then the Cardinals are in the wrong. Since they have expressed themselves clearly, however, one must give them a fair judgement. They have neither spoken in an ambiguous manner, nor in a manner contrary to charity, but have instead simply asked for the sake of the Church that clarification be given to certain crucial questions. Others may have more questions; and others may be hoping the questions cause the bark of Peter to capsize; while still others claiming to be with the pope may be hoping to recreate the papacy in their own image and likeness in order to push forward some eutopian agenda. Claiming there are two popes, for example, is a novelty that Catholics can legitimately stand against by simply calling the former pope, “Bishop Ratzinger.” No disrepect is meant. There is, after all, only one visible head of the Church: a body with two heads is a monster.

The Church has seen nearly all of it before – and Catholics would do well to read more of their own history to know what can and cannot be considered the Catholic way of acting. The four Cardinals are in no way acting contrary to what the Church expects of them – they give  an example of charity, clarity, and courage. The later virtue being so sadly lacking in many leaders today.

The Cardinals’ carefully thought out questions are crucial to the very fabricate of the Faith. “Yes” or “No” answers to these questions all revolve around whether Jesus is true-God and true-Man. Every question concerning the Church’s supernatural treasurary of Faith touches upon this fundamental truth. If a Catholic cannot answer whether Jesus is God Incarnate or not with a resounding “Yes!” then the Church has serious, serious problems. Maybe the Cardinals’ request for clarity will assist others in answering as clearly as Our Lady did to the Angel Gabriel.

How is the Pope to act in the face of the current situation? The same applies to him as to any other Catholic called to teach the Faith: charity and clarity. But what if he’s not a philosopher or a theologian? What if he’s not a natural teacher? People may try to say the previous popes had advantages on these fronts. This is a characterture. The previous two popes taught the Faith – sometimes well, and in other places poorly. Their personal skills assisted them on some points but not on everything. The Holy Spirit didn’t speak every time either of them spoke. No pope has ever had the gift of speaking the truth all of the time. They do make mistakes, but fortunately all the various members of the Church Militant are able to give him a little nudge in charity – when the opportunity arises – and remind (or even educate him) in what pertains to the Faith and what does not. The relationship between the Teaching-Church and the Taught-Church, so speak, involves learning and relearning at times what is contained in the Deposit of Faith. Popes can forget the Faith; someone else can remind them of its contents. Popes can be mistaken on matters of Faith and Morals; others can – in charity ask him to think again. And if a pope pushes an error then a formal correction can be given in charity. It has happened before.

The four Cardinals are asking for simple answers so as to dispell the confusion. Bishops are consecrated to teach, and the Holy Father can ask for assistance in teaching clearly as the Supreme Teacher of the Faith. His own personal strengths and weaknesses as a teacher shouldn’t come into the discussion – there are enough people who truly know the Faith to be able to assist him. And if he really wasn’t sure, and was looking for divine assistance he could give ex cathedra statements in response to the questions being asked. That might seem a bit extreme but at least they’d be no doubt as to what was of the Catholic Faith. Yes, infallibility is a negative charism but it guarantees that under certain conditions the Pope, and Bishops in commmunion with him, will not teach error. It doesn’t guarantee that they will teach what they are supposed to when they should (or that they will not teach what they shouldn’t under other conditions). The Holy Father has everything he needs at his disposal to be able to teach clearly: it is called the Church.

Part of the Holy Father’s problem seems to be that there are those around him making silly statements which are of no help to anyone. Spin doctors and talking-heads do not seem to be assisting the Church in Her mission to ‘go out to the whole world and teach’ all that Our Lord has taught. Faith and reason seem to be lacking in many quarters. Prayer and fasting on all fronts may help – but the enemy has long since convinced Catholics that the Cross is not to be mentioned, especially in pastoral situations!

Catholics in previous ages often never knew in such detail of the divisions amongst leading churchmen, but today – as Providence would so have it – we have a ringside seat. Or maybe, its an internet-side seat! How should one respond? Judge justly. The old dictum taught in schools of theology stands firm: ‘in essentials unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; and in all things, charity.’ And for those who think the four Cardinals are causing division then maybe a little history lesson, courtesy of Youtube, might help clarify things. One wonders if a dubium should be sent to Cardinals Kasper, Marx, and several other German prelates who have backed a certain proposal from the very moment that the Sankt Galen ‘mafia’, as Cardinal Kasper boasted, got its man, to ask them if this is how the Vicar of Christ, the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, the Bishop of Rome, the Servant of the Servants of God, the Primate of Italy, the Metropolitan of the Roman Province, the Sovereign of the Vatican State, and the Partriarch of the West, should be treated – especially by his fellow countrymen. Why have they all now become so pope-friendly? Oh yes, and as the dear Cardinal from Vienna would remind us, we have a genuine development of doctrine with a linguistic event that allows one – after careful pastoral discerment of course – to treat one’s Father in Christ as a piece of dirt. Shame on them! And this isn’t even half of the story.

Lord have your Mercy on us all, especially on me.


Man: The Judging Thing!

Man: The Judging Thing!

Sanity is seeing things for what they are!

Here’s something worth pondering. Read it for your children and their children’s sake. Read it to your children! For the sake of those you love (and even for your enemies) – get in touch with reality again:

‘This introduction [to St. Thomas Aquinas’s commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysiscs] concludes with a defense, against the Sophists, of the objective validity of reason itself, and of reason’s first principle, the principle of contradiction. He who denies this principle affirms a self-destructive sentence. To deny this principle is to annihilate language, is to destroy all substance, all distinction between things, all truths, thoughts, and even opinions, all desires and acts. We could no longer distinguish even the degrees of error’ (Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, Reality: A Synthesis of Thomistic Thought).

For love of God, your neighbour, and yourself – live by the first principle. Man, afterall, in a judge of reality – not the maker. Get a life; judge in truth.