By The Hermits, Mar 24 2015 9:41PM
This is one of the most wonderful feasts in the Church’s calendar. Why is it so wonderful? It is wonderful simply because it is a feast about wonder, acceptance of God’s will, and total surrender, which is more than simple acceptance. And this on the part of a young girl who may have been as young as 14, but was anything between that and 16 years of age.
On this innocent young girl hung the fate of the Human Race. God through the agency of the Archangel Gabriel asks Mary will she be the mother of the Messiah, the Redeemer, and God. For someone who was the very epitome of humility such an extraordinary thing as an Archangel appearing to you and asking you to be the Mother of the Messiah would be overwhelming enough, but when the realization that you were called, not only to be the Mother of the Messiah, but that the Messiah was to be the Redeemer of the human race, and also the Son of God, must have been absolutely crushing. It is not for nothing that Holman Hunt’s painting of the Annunciation shows Mary almost retreating from Gabriel in holy fear. This is possibly nearer the truth than the exquisite paintings of Fra Angelico which capture the heavenly quality of the encounter. To hear the words of the Angel must have been something akin to a vast explosion of light, terrifying and electrifying. Mary would have felt the Fear of God, but because she was without sin, it would not veer off into terror on the one hand or pride on the other.
By saying “Yes!” Mary accepts the crushing vocation of, being not only the Mother of the God Man, but the Mother of the whole human race, because she is the New Eve, who comes to begin the great return of the Human Race to God. Eve was tempted by Satan to want more knowledge than was good for a human being and, in colluding with her, Adam caused the Fall of the Human Race. Gabriel comes, not with a temptation but with an invitation, something more extraordinary and so dazzlingly joyful, namely the vocation of being the Mother of God. We are not told that Mary saw a vast array of all the Heavenly Court with Gabriel singing “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will” which is what the shepherds at Bethlehem saw. However what she experienced must have been far more amazing. How can we puny mortals, and sinners imagine, in our wildest dreams, what Mary felt; something quite beyond ecstasy? Thus a veil of silence rightly falls over this part of the conversation with the Angel.
Mary, in accepting to be the Mother of God, accepts all the joys and sorrows, the suffering, and humiliations and passion of her Son. She becomes the Mother of every child, and she will suffer with every child. She will see her beloved children making mistakes. Some will become great saints, many will be simply good Christians, who will enter the halls of Heaven, but there will be many, whom she will not be able to save by her prayers, for like her Son, Jesus, she can never force her children into Heaven. They must enter through their own wishing to do so.
It is as if Mary is given the key to Heaven when she says her “Fiat” to Gabriel. That key she will treasure as Jesus is conceived in her womb. That Key she will place in her heart. It will remain there until the moment when the spear pierces Jesus’ Heart on the Cross, and the sword is driven into her own heart at that same moment. Then she will hand the Key to her Son for only he can open the gates of Heaven.
Mary’s Motherhood, so intimately linked to her virginity, enables her to bring to perfection both innocence, purity, wisdom, and a great sacrificial love. These are gifts that are so needed today. Where is the innocence, the purity, the wisdom, and the sacrificial love. Everywhere in the West, and in such non-Christian countries as Thailand innocence has fled. And in Moslem lands where is the truly sacrificial love. There may be warriors willing to go on Jihad and slay the infidel, but that is not sacrificial love, that is Holy War, something of a contradiction in terms, and sadly there is little holy about it. Wisdom too has disappeared from the face of the Earth. It has been sacrificed on the altar of what is called science and technology. It’s acolytes are a science, which knows no ethical constraints, genetic engineering, eugenics, the changing of sex. Of course truly changing sex is impossible, as everyone who is a child of God is either male and female, and true hermaphrodites are very rare, and may be alluded to, when Jesus mentions people born as eunuchs; who knows there are so many mysteries that we cannot understand, and we should not pry into them? We should remember the words of God in Genesis, “Let us make man to our own image and likeness” (Genesis 1: v.26). Before we are female and male, we are in the image of God. In the image of the Trinity. Man must not usurp God’s omnipotence and say whether a man can become a woman, or whether two men can marry, or two women do the same. This is a terrible evil. It is like spitting in God’s face. This is what the West is doing. Like some violent teenager, the West is defying his Father, not only with bad language but also with evil deeds. There were only two teenagers, to use that term anachronistically, who were perfectly obedient, and they were Jesus and Mary. It is there total obedience that brings about the return of Man to God, and the ability to become more and more like the image of God. One sees this in the life of those great saints, who have the shining face of Tabor, who are truly transfigured by their obedience.
This transfiguration began with Mary’s “Fiat”, and it is spreading throughout the darkest parts of Human history since the Incarnation, and the darker it becomes, a deep and brilliant light begins to emerge. It may be like flashing lightening, or it may be like the molten lava erupting through the darkness which reminds us of the Pillar of Fire and the Pillar of Cloud which guided the people of Israel through the desert. It may be like the star studded night sky, or have all the lustrous beauty of a full Moon, or it may be like the Sun in all her phases, or it may simply be tiny candles in the dark; “The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:v. 5) or even more telling is the Vulgate of St. Jerome, who translates the verse as “And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
The Isis executioners who killed St. Milad Saber Adly Saad and his 20 companions, the Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya just under a month ago, could not comprehend the light in the dark, and the stars in the darkest of nights. What their Islamic executioners did not see when they cruelly decapitated these noble and simple Christians was Christ and his Mother, who took them by the hand and led them to Heaven. It was because of Mary’s “Fiat” that this could happen in this way, and though foreordained from all Eternity, Mary was free to say “No.”, but she did not, and for all eternity we will thank her for that perfect “Yes!” that was made by that most perfect of creatures, who was human and Immaculate.
By The Hermits, Mar 24 2015 2:59AM
We, in the educated civilized West, are a gullible people.
We believe scientists and other 'experts'.
But not all the scientists and experts. Just the ones accepted by the media and the Government.
In my 'past life' I was a scientist, or to be precise a surgeon.
If I had believed every scientific paper I studied, I would have believed opposing views on every subject. Hardly a safe way to operate on patients!
Instead, we were taught to read every research paper with a critical mind, going to the sources, reading the opposing views, considering thoughtfully the findings, musing on them, analysing them, in religious terms meditating on them; until one came to a decision about what to believe, and how much weight to put on the validity of the findings. Then, and only then, did one put one's practice, and therefore other people's safety, into the hands of the new theory or method. And even then, accepted scientific 'facts' would be overtaken by new evidence, and the critical evaluation would have to be repeated.
As any scientist would tell you, scientific 'facts' are not actually facts at all, they are theories which are very probably true. Every 'fact' is measured by its probability. No scientific theory is given a probability factor of 100% true or a zero chance of it being false, to do so simply wouldn't be scientific! And they are right. Because real Truth is only in God.
So 'gender theory' is only that, a theory. And theories always have counter theories. But we in Britain, and in the rest of the Western world, are not allowed to hold the opposing theory that gender is given by God through his creative genius via our chromosomes. In fact there are many scientists who do believe this, who have writen papers and articles on this, but will we find these views in our papers or on the mainstrean media? - No. Because if the papers printed them the papers would be prosecuted, or persecuted, for 'hate language'.
And it is not just the 'gender theory' that is given protected status in this country. Evolution, global warming, and the necessity for children as young as five needing sex education in schools are all theories which are not allowed to be questioned. What has happened to informed debate? Who decides which theories are not to be questioned, and what opinions are tolerated and which opinions are persecuted?
But now, at last, Pope Francis has started to make statements about the gender question and homosexualism. Or, to be more accurate, now the statements he has made earlier are being collected and published. At last!
The following quotes are taken from today's Life Site News article:
Speaking Sunday with young people on his voyage to Naples, Italy, Pope Francis spoke of the “ideological colonization” of families seen throughout Europe and the West.
“Gender theory is an error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion," he said. “So the family is under attack.” As to how to deal with the “secularization” or the “ideological colonization,” the pope said he does not have the answer.
The comments echo those made in an in-flight interview Pope Francis gave while returning from Manila in the Philippines on January 19, 2015. Francis lamented the Western practice of imposing a homosexual agenda on other nations through foreign aid, which he called a form of “ideological colonization” and compared it to the Nazi propaganda machine.
Asked by a reporter to explain the phrase “ideological colonization,” the pope gave an example from 1995 when, he says, a minister of education in a poor area was told she could have a loan for building schools so long as the schools used a book that taught “gender theory.”
"This is ideological colonization,” he said. “It colonizes the people with an idea that wants to change a mentality or a structure." This ideological colonization, he added, “is not new, the dictators of the last century did the same.” "They came with their own doctrine. Think of the BalilLa (The Fascist Youth under Mussolini), think of the Hitler youth."
The first comments from Francis along these lines were in an October 2014 interview that was only published in January 2015 in the book “Papa Francesco: questa economia uccide” (‘Pope Francis: this economy kills’).
In it the pope speaks of modern-day "Herods" that "destroy, that plot designs of death, that disfigure the face of man and woman, destroying creation." Giving examples of these, he says: "Let's think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings. Let's think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation."
"With this attitude, man commits a new sin, that against God the Creator. … God has placed man and woman and the summit of creation and has entrusted them with the earth. … The design of the Creator is written in nature."
The full article may be found here.
And here is a link to just one of the articles quoting the research you don't find in the mainstream media about gender identity disorder in children: "Will Jack be happier if we all pretend he's Jill".
By The Hermits, Mar 22 2015 10:10PM
I wrote this article, if my memory serves mer correctly, when our community was living on the Isle of Mull back in 2005
The tremendous success of the Film epic of Lord of the Rings could not simply be put down to a remarkably faithful adaptation of the story for the screen, but to something else; the need for heroes and indeed heroines. In fact the women who acted the roles of Galadriel, namely Kate Blanchett, and Liv Tyler who acted Arwen Even Star, did not seem put out at the lack of action in their roles. Having constantly returned to this great Saga, for that really is what it is, since the age of 11 and I am now 54, I am struck not only by the vastness of the work, the extraordinary realism of a fanstasy world, which is really no more fantastic than the Arthurian Romances, but also by the heroic qualities exhibited by the hobbits, in particular by the two ring bearers Frodo, and his ever faithful Sam. Without wishing to be facile the world of the Lord of the Rings is a world where men are men and women are women. This sounds politically incorrect, but that is no bad thing. Surely we should all wish to be politically incorrect. Politics has really little place in the heroic world, which is a place where courage has convictions, and those convictions are worth dying for. The sheer flamboyance of courage could never be politically correct for if politics is the art of the possible, then heroism is indeed the art of the impossible.
Our heroic hobbits Frodo, Sam, and their enthusiastic fellow hobbits Pippin and Merry would like nothing better than to stay at home and enjoy what hobbits enjoy best, eating, drinking and smoking their pipes (the latter is so politically incorrect that the films might end up getting banned!). However it is impressed upon Frodo by Gandalf that if the ring of which he, Frodo, is the reluctant possessor, is not destroyed, there will be no eating, drinking, smoking or lazing about; there will be simply a world made terrible beyond belief by Sauron, the Dark Lord, who is already beginning his conquest of Middle Earth, in which the Shire is no longer a small forgotten part.
Frodo who is the Ring Bearer really wants to make the journey to Mount Doom and destroy the ring by himself. However his gardener, Sam, has overheard the story of the Ring, while Gandalf has been recounting it to Frodo. Gandalf having discovered the eavesdropping Sam hauls him through the window, and decides that Sam should accompany Frodo on his epic journey. Sam’s faithfulness, which is total, displays great heroism, especially towards the end of the arduous journey. However the two hobbits do not go alone, but are assisted by others who make up what comes to be known as the Fellowship of the Ring.
For those who do not know the book, or the film, and there can’t be many, the fellowship is made up of Aragorn, and Boromir, the former the returning King, the latter a failed hero, but hero nevertheless (They make up the human dimension of the Fellowship) along with Merry and Pippin, the elf, Legolas, the dwarf Gimli, and finally Gandalf, who is the leader of the group. This group “The Fellowship of the Ring” braves terrible odds, get broken up, and finally is, unbelievably reunited at the end of the book, with the exception of Boromir, after Frodo has destroyed the ring, almost reluctantly and only with the aid of the pitiful Gollum, Gollum of course was once, before he was captivated by the Ring, a hobbit like Frodo.
The sheer scale of the battles, brilliantly transferred to the Screen show men, elves and dwarves fighting heroically to save a world from evil whatever the cost. The last time that such heroism was displayed to such an astonishing degree was in the Second World War, where on every side heroism was shown in all its magnificence, as was cruelty was in all its malice. People were willing to die for their beliefs, and it is encouraging that even in the incomprehensible wars in the Balkans and the Gulf, heroism is not dead.
Many people try to read into the Lord of The Rings their view point. The New Agers, the Neo Pagans, Rock musicians, and finally Catholics; the last category is eminently explicable because Tolkien was a Catholic, but did not see his saga as a Christian allegory, unlike C.S. Lewis’s Narnia Chronicles, which apparently were Christian allegories.
People got very excited and said Lord of The Rings was the greatest novel of the 20th Century, which seems to have somewhat missed the point. It is rather like saying that The Illiad, Odyssey, or Aeneid were the greatest novels of their time. We are not in the world of the novel, we are in the world of epics, sagas, and above all we are in the world of the hero, and the warrior, albeit reluctant warriors, like Frodo, and Sam, who are forced into their unwanted roles.
Aragorn, the King Warrior par excellence, spends most of his life being, not a warrior, but a ranger, protecting the little world of the Shire and trying to outwit Sauron, who is determined to retrieve the terrible ring that he forged, and with which he can wield world domination. Aragorn fights because he has to, not because he wants to. He owes more to Medieval Christian chivalry, than to the Norse Sagas, or Greek Epics. He is more an Alfred, than an Achilles. Both he and Frodo have distinctly Christ like qualities, the hidden Kingship of the former, and the via Crucis of the latter.
Where then are the warriors of today, the spiritual warriors in the Church, and in the World? If as some say the 20th Century is the Left Wing Century (You might make a similar case for the 18th Century) then it is instructive to find that the great Left Wing Icons, with the exception of Mao, were not brave soldiers. Lenin was, apparently a coward, Stalin a bureaucrat, and Trotsky an intellectual. Whatever one may think of Hitler, he was a brave soldier in the First World War, and however much the left might detest Franco, there is no doubt as to his bravery, and brilliant qualities as a general. Mussolini also was noted for his bravery, and pace his critics made a very brave death.
Why are we no longer soldiers of Christ? Forty years ago any child being prepared for confirmation was told that this is what they would become, this applied to both sexes. The sacrament shorn of such symbolism seems to lurch from a charismatic theology, that appears weak, and then heads for nowhere. This is not helped by Bishops’ conferences administering it at different times, namely either before or after communion. However let us return to the soldiers of Christ. We children of yesteryear knew instinctively that we were in a battle with the devil, but Karl Rahner’s anonymous Christianity, unwittingly or even perhaps wittingly, began to destroy the missionary zeal of the Church. Missionaries didn’t really have to bother about saving souls, because pagans could save their souls by doing good works and following their consciences. So Catholics became easy going Pelagians. The argument runs rather like this “God is so merciful, so loving, that he cannot refuse anyone Heaven; therefore we all, Catholic, Christian, heretic, and pagan will have no difficulty”. The problem with this argument and few ever think it through, is those who are damned have reached such a state, when they die, that damnation however dreadful, is infinitely preferable to being with an all loving God, whose very presence for all eternity would make their own evil unutterably painful. Hell would be better.
The Catholic, who is happy to disregard the hard sayings of Christ about Hell is like someone who has thrown away the instruction manual for a plane, and thinks that through sheer good will he can make the plane fly; at this point we find ourselves in a world of unreality. Christ informs us that there is a Hell and we must do our best to avoid it and it requires heroism. Christ says very definitely the following: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life and those are few who find it.” (Mt. 7: 13-14) If we accept that Hell is a horrific reality, then if one has an ounce of compassion one will do as much to prevent a single person from going to Hell as is possible. The saints, great or small, see themselves as being on a mission to save souls and this requires all the heroism of self renunciation, compassion and a recklessness that would be worthy of any hero in any of the great sagas.
What then are the implications for the Catholic and Christian? Well one could say the answer to all this is that the New Catechism must be taught comprehensively at an early age and then we will be alright. Unfortunately the old penny Catechism was taught comprehensively until about 1966, and many of those who taught it lost their faith. Why was this? It would appear that after two dreadful World Wars a world weariness and cynicism enveloped many Catholics and then they were ambushed by the delights of new technologies, better medicine, an amazingly high standard of living and the ease and vast choices of the consumer society. Against such comfort the Church looked paltry, Man was fast becoming his own Saviour.
However the conversion experience that many a Charismatic, and Evangelical will undergo would render the Catechism somewhat dry, which of necessity it is. It is hardly like reading and exhilarating novel. However we cannot do without it. It is like the manual for flying the plane and is the tradition of the Church in miniature. Returning to our allegory of life in Lord of The Rings; the Conversion experience is something joyful and wonderful, like our friends setting off from the Shire. It may have its ups and downs. You see our four hobbit friends avoiding the Black Riders with difficulty at the Brandywine River, being almost eaten by carnivorous trees, and being attacked by the Black Riders on Whethertop. However when the party arrive in Rivendell things seem much easier.
In the 21st Century Catholic Church we find parallels in of all places our Churches and Chapels, religious houses and retreat centres. Comfortable chairs in our Churches and Chapels encourage spiritual sloth and slumber rather than worship. When we go to Church, we are coming into the presence of the Living God, we are not going for a cosy chat in someone’s lounge, sitting room, or worse drawing room.
The Chapel or Church is not a venue for a drinks party, some coffee morning or Church Bazaar; at times one could be forgiven for thinking so. It is a momentous encounter with the Great King and his friends at The Last Supper, it is the gazing upon his crucified and agonized body on the Cross, and it is the overwhelming presence of his Resurrection, and it is the adoration of The Lamb in Heaven. It far surpasses the glory and the grandeur of Lord of The Rings. However the epic does tell us something about the kind of heroism we must possess.
At Rivendell Frodo heroically says that he will go to Mordor alone; an impossible task for a tiny hobbit. He is not allowed to do so, and he is given a company to go with him. So too at Mass we would be far better to imagine that we were in the hall of some great Lord, being sent out into the world to do great things for him. “The Mass is ended, go in peace” should paradoxically be a battle cry, rather than an excuse to start talking loudly while indulging in unwarranted jocularity.
We should leave Mass with a firm resolution to do whatever God wants of us. This is neither an excuse to lead a devotional life, devoid of substance and as a conduit for an emotional exercise in sentimentality, nor is it about feeling wonderful and spiritually self regarding on a Directed Retreat ( These retreats seem to have more to do with counselling techniques than anything else), and it is definitely not about politicized Justice and Peace Groups that have little to do with the Church’s social teachings. No it is first and foremost a terrifying battle with self. It is Antony of Egypt struggling in the Desert with his own demons, and the real thing, namely the devils themselves. It is Stephen Langton, and the early Cistercians labouring under terrible hardships. It is Francis terrified out of his wits by the devil in the cave near Assisi, and it is Ignatius nearly going mad in the cave at Manresa. It is a Gethsemane experience.
In Gethsemane Christ was appalled at our sins and the price he had to pay for them. With us it is the enormity of our ingratitude and selfishness which must, if we wish to be his disciples, shock us into a discipleship that must cost us everything. The Thérèse’s and the Margaret of Costello’s are heroic but on one level the Francis’, Augustine’s, Ignatius’s and Xavier’s are the norm, when it comes to what one might call masculine spirituality; namely the very obvious spirituality of battle; and of course both Francis and Ignatius were soldiers, the former pretty useless, the latter very competent.
To be a warrior for Christ above all means profound humility; not a word that one hears often in seminaries or religious houses these days. In fact it seems very often that male religious houses of formation, and seminaries have more of the air of a university student community, or worse a boarding school, and there is no real intellectual discipline or discipline for that matter. The post World War 2 era has seduced our religious and priestly life, in the West, at any rate with an embarrassment of material riches, and made it a sort of parody of Eden in which we are subjected to a life of ease on the one hand, and bureaucracy on the other.
How can one be a spiritual warrior if one is prepared for such an adventure by being a recipient or teacher at endless seminars, or conferences? If Encyclicals and major Church Documents were discussed, but so often they are not, it would be alright. For the most part priests and religious who should be (perish the thought in our bland egalitarian world) the leaders in the Church, instead subject each other to sociological, psychological, and redefined spiritualities of a dubious nature, and wonder why everyone is still abandoning their vocation. Perhaps the reason is this, that unlike our mythical friends in the Lord of The Rings, we will not lay down our lives either metaphorically or physically for Our Lord and King. Cushioned with comfort, our senses satiated either with food, drink, or the media, we collapse into a profound spiritual doze, and we slumber happily on until suddenly a voice in the night cry is heard “Behold the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.”(Mt 24:6). Will not this call at least frighten our leaders in Church into action? Will they not realize the one thing necessary of Mary of Bethany, that we must sit at the Lord’s feet and ask how we might best serve him? For it seems to me that we have not girded our “loins with truth” we have ungirded them with lies about self fulfilment and self affirmation and about feeling good. We have not put on “the breast plate of righteousness”, but have hawked about dubious ideas in moral theology especially in the area of sexual ethics. We have not shod our “Feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace” but talked loudly about Liberation Theology, and produced a missiology which is not about spreading the gospel, but more about a social gospel, which has little to do with redemption. The “shield of faith” has been discarded for every philosophy that has come out of a secular stable, and the Fathers, especially Augustine are little understood, as sceptics tear the Bible to pieces and ignore the tradition of the Church who is the interpreter of Scripture. The “darts of the evil one” have achieved their purpose and have made many a priest and religious a de facto agnostic, and so the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit” are nowhere to be found for the darkness is profound.
And so it is hoped that the new movements, which are by no means perfect, will produce, through their challenging life styles, heroes, heroines, and warriors for the Faith. This will hopefully revive the older religious congregations that have sunk into a morass of respectability and comfort, not to mention heterodoxy and will from the apparent dying embers of the Church produce wonders.
It will happen on the Battle field of the Liturgy, not as it is being fought out at present by ICEL, and bishops and Cardinals, but on the Battle field of Calvary and in the Liturgy of the Apocalypse:
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed which no one knows but himself. He is cald in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.” (Rev. 20: 11-13)
By The Hermits, Mar 18 2015 10:57PM
The great crisis that is afflicting us is twofold. It is a crisis about what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman, and whether we have a right to change this meaning either legally, morally, of physically. The second part of this crisis is that at some of the highest levels in the Church, cardinals, bishops, priests, religious, theologians and philosophers seem to be colluding with the present humanist/atheistic vision of man, which is corrupting in the extreme.
God made Man in his image. We do not have the right to change that image. We cannot turn Man and Woman into a caricature of God. Such action is evil, and the progeny of pride. However much the exegetes try, with cunning, to explain away the creation of Eve, they must either accept Eve’s birth from the side of Adam, or they must dismiss all of the Creation story in Genesis as a myth. This is based on the fallacious view, that evolution, and the pseudo science that supports it, is true. Neither are true, and Michael Behe, one of the Intelligent design school scientists, says that the making of the eye cannot be produced by evolution:
Now that the black box of vision has been opened, it is no longer enough for an evolutionary explanation of that power to consider only the anatomical structures of whole eyes, as Darwin did in the nineteenth century (and as popularizers of evolution continue to do today). Each of the anatomical steps and structures that Darwin thought were so simple actually involves staggeringly complicated biochemical processes that cannot be papered over with rhetoric. (Darwin’s Black Box, p.22)
Genesis is not a myth as the Fathers of the Church realized, and Woman was given to Man to be his helper, but so that there would be a true equality and complimentarity Genesis says:
Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2: vv.24-25). It is only with the Fall that Eve becomes subordinate to Adam. God tells Satan what the relationship between woman and himself will be.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.(Genesis 3:v.15)
Then God tells Eve what her relationship to Adam will be.
To the woman he said,
I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth your children,
yet your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.(Genesis 3: v.16)
This shows that woman’s submission to man was as a result of the Fall.
Joseph who is, in some ways, the New Adam, as I have said on numerous occasions before, recapitulates in himself, Adam’s service and authority. He is the least worthy to be head of the Holy Family. Both Jesus and Mary realize this, as does Joseph himself, but he has learnt that great lesson.; it is humility. He is strong because he is humble, he wields authority correctly because he is humble, he guides because he is humble. Joseph, like his foster son Jesus, immerses himself totally in the Father’s will, and in doing so participates in the Father’s authority, and because Mary, the New Eve, is also totally humble, and also Immaculately conceived, she is happy to be under Joseph’s authority, as she sees in it the Father’s authority, which is the authority of Mercy, the authority of Charity.
Feminism, more than any other ideology, resembles Eve’s thirst for the knowledge of good and evil, a false wisdom, because what God wanted from Man and from Woman was their love, for the simple reason that he wanted to pour out his love totally upon them. Eve wanted to know what it was to be like God, to know how he operates. She was interested in God’s activity, not his love. She was interested in his power, what he could do. Eve was the first person to treat God as an object. From then on men and women have fallen into the trap of seeing people as things, not as persons capable of love. Thus with the Fall manipulation entered the World.
Joseph is the great foe of feminism, and the great model of what men should be. He protects the infant Son of God, he protects the Mother of God. He protects the Church, and ultimately all those people who want to protect the family, which is the core of civilization. It is time that the Feminists realized this. It is time that Catholic feminists realize that their quest is useless, and what they should be looking at is the Love of God, and his desire to share intimately in our lives. It is time for all those in the LGBT to admit that what they so often lack is a true father, and that their only Father is God, and their only foster father is St. Joseph. This lesson must be learned by all macho men as well, namely that brawn is not what it is all about, but unremitting service, and unending love. If men begin to imitate Joseph, they will change the World, if they do not the present crisis in the World will become terrible and the destruction will be great . There is still time, but it is running out. St. Joseph terror of demons, and protector of Holy Church pray for us.
By The Hermits, Mar 16 2015 10:39PM
The French say of the English that “They are trivial about the serious and serious about the trivial”. No doubt Timothy Cardinal Dolan thinks that it is quite right for him to be the Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick’s day parade in New York, even though at this late date and with a few hours to go before the parade begins, sincere Catholics are asking him not to lead the march. I fear that procrastination is the thief of time with the somewhat embattled Cardinal .
Quite what St. Patrick would have made of this would be hard to know, but yet again the Church in the West appears to inhabit an unreal world. It is a world of slogans like the famous “Make Poverty History” several years ago, when we saw the bishops of Scotland stand behind the banner looking both pleased and slightly uncomfortable. How can one make poverty history until the End of the World. Certainly the prophecies regarding the Grand Monarch would indicate that when he comes to bring a period of peace to the World, which seems to be the era of peace prophesied by Our Lady of Fatima. De Blasio, the Mayor of New York said he would not attend the march because of the fact that the LGBT group could only have one banner. Does anyone think of what St. Patrick would have to say about this? So many supposed practising Catholics, and some will be Cardinals, bishops , priests, and religious, have become silly and sentimental. It is one of the greatest tragedies that the wonderful Irish monasticism inaugurated by St. Patrick’s great mission to the Irish began to wane with the coming of the Viking invasions at the end of the 8th century AD, and had all but disappeared by the time of the English invasion under Henry II in the 12th.
Certainly there was a wonderful resurgence of Irish religious life in the 19th century, but it was nothing compared to golden age of Irish monasticism, which along with Anglo Saxon monasticism was able to convert Europe. It simply did not have that great contemplative quality that was the power house of Irish Christianity from the age of Patrick until the coming of the Danes. The Irish monks, along with their English and Welsh counterparts were extremely penitential, and now are the Irish religious, the English, the Scots, the Welsh, or any of the European religious particularly penitential;? For the most part they are not. Do we have a terrible sense of the evil of sin? No, we do not. Do we feel that we are all going to Heaven? Well apparently we do, if that very orthodox and fine Cardinal, Cardinal Pell is to be trusted on this. He said “We Catholics generally believe that there is a hell. I hope that nobody is there.” Well such a hope is in stark conflict with the hard sayings of Christ. Also from a classic Catholic point of view, you cannot be a Catholic and not believe in Hell; if you do, you simply cease to be a Catholic and become a heretic. The problem now in the Church is that there are, in the West at any rate, a vast amount of Catholics, who are de facto heretics.
As Cardinal Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Dolan cannot afford to be trivial about the serious. The members of the LGBT who take part in the St. Patrick’s day parade have nothing in common with St. Patrick who would have been appalled at what their life styles stood for. Cardinal Dolan is in grave danger of falling into the English way of being trivial about the serious.
Now if one looks at St. Patrick’s Breastplate in its original form rather than in the stirring version arranged by Charles Villiers Stanford one is given a very rude awakening. Let us look at verses 6 and 7. We will find that we are in for a shock.
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many
I invoke today all these virtues,
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.
For all the charm, and sparkling quality of the Irish, for all their poetry, profoundly nostalgic music, for all their zest for dancing, singing, and fighting, there is this side of them bequeathed to them by Patrick, whose capture at the hands of pagan Irish pirates, and his subsequent enslavement for six years in that strange and terrible servitude, was the crucible in which the Irish were born anew in Christ. In many ways Patrick gives birth to the Ireland of Celtic monasticism, though he was not a monk himself. And perhaps the loss of this great monasticism to the less passionate Benedictine monasticism has been a loss for the Catholic Church. If the Irish had not come under the English boot, then their monasticism would have re-emerged and profoundly converted their Viking invaders.
For it is their intense idiosyncratic monasticism that links them with the Desert Fathers, and with the Orthodox East. That passionate monasticism is what the West needs today, and which a St. Patrick’s day parade in New York is simply a parody of all that Patrick stood for and what the Irish people are. St Patrick, bring your sons and daughters to the truth of who they are and what they can be, namely true apostles of Christ to the darkened and depraved West.
By The Hermits, Mar 12 2015 9:23PM
As we come closer to the Synod on the Family which will take place in October this year there is a sense of impending doom. Where does this sense come from? Is it that some of the prophecies by saints and seers regarding the run up to a chastisement coming upon us, appear, in part, to be true; namely that Moslems will create problems in the West. More worryingly the Venerable Bartholomeus Holzhauser, a 17th century German priest, who was a mystic and a seer, said that the time we are living in will see the Latin Church rent apart by heresies. Though Holzhauser prophesies doom and gloom for the fifth age, in which we are apparently living, he shows us a Church, glorious beyond belief, emerging from the fifth age and ushering in the sixth. Does this resonate with the final secret of Fatima? If the Church is to be strengthened for the time of great suffering which is just round the corner, saints and holy theologians must tackle the three enemies of the Church
The first enemy of the Church is Evolution, which has never been proved, and is a pseudo science, and those who have influence in the Vatican must for conscience’s sake do something positive in taking a favourable view of Creationist scientists. It speaks ill of the Vatican that several years ago there was a meeting in the Vatican of evolutionary scientists, and creationist scientists were not allowed to join. This is truly remarkable as creationist scientists are much closer to traditional Christianity, both East and West, than is evolution which is the hypothesis of the non believer, and of course Darwin loses his Christian Faith embraces philosophical materialism and then comes up with his brand of evolution. Who will help defeat this most attractive philosophy, for that is what evolution really is? Not most Catholic theologians and philosophers, alas. They are so determined to be up to date, but theology should not be up to date. It must be profound; that is all that matters. We must turn to the Orthodox East who have not so easily been seduced by the siren of Evolution. The person, who can help us most here, is that great American Russian Orthodox monk, Seraphim Rose, whose book Genesis, Creation, and Early Man should be on every parish priest’s desk, in every seminary, and in every religious house. This book is magnificent and someone should send a copy to the Pope. Hopefully he will not be too busy to read it.
The second enemy of the Church is the whole dark and deceptive world of Scripture Scholarship, which was born into 19thcentury Germany and has poisoned most of the wells of Catholic Scripture scholarship. This “Higher Criticism” as it is known is lower criticism, because it looks at scripture as it would look at Shakespeare criticism. It objectifies the Word of God, and that you cannot do, because the word of God is something supernatural, it is not simply yet another ancient text. This objectification, this craze for analysis, most probably started with Aquinas, who would be appalled at the bitter progeny that his scholasticism has spawned.
The third enemy is the adulation of sex among so many Catholics, especially among those who are feminists. Precisely because they, and most Catholics, do not have a real appreciation of what the first created world was like, and what paradise was about, and what Adam and Eve were like, their whole understanding is distorted, perverted, and corrupted. When Adam fell , the human intellect was greatly damaged because of pride, and that corruption of the intellect goes on in most Catholic universities throughout the World. Once a true understanding of marriage is rediscovered, then marriage will be seen in all its beauty and nobility, and sex will have a much more modest role in marriage and be seen for what it is; the procreation of children. Marriage has never, until recently, been seen as some sex romp.
Unless Evolution and false trends in scripture scholarship are swiftly anathematized, then there will be little left of the Catholic Church, and the Protestant Churches of the West. We may see something quite wonderful however and that is the Orthodox helping the Papacy to find its true voice again. At the moment the Pope is surrounded by the strangest of advisers, which even a fairy tale would find difficult to concoct.
So over the next few weeks on our website, I hope to deal with these three enemies by using the witness of the Fathers of the Church to help us. They come before Aquinas and later theologians, and are the great guides for the Church, and speak with a voice that is closer to the Apostles than are any other theologians in the later ages in the West. The West, tragically has lost her way. It will be the Orthodox East that will help her to find the way.
By The Hermits, Mar 3 2015 10:06PM
Amid the mayhem of the World at present, when we see a priest suing a laymen because the latter objects to the former's heretical opinions; when we see a minor opposition politician gunned down in Moscow and war edging nearer by the day; when we see American police killing more and more innocent people, and when we hear the rumour, or is it a rumour, that the British Army will come under the U.S. we need something to cheer us up.
I wrote the following fairy tale in 2005, and I seem to remember it is actually about the Church, but how and why it is about the Church, and how the story line unfolded, I do not really know. At the time we were living on a beautiful part of the Isle of Mull overlooking Iona, and the Atlantic and very close to Iona, and Staffa. Perhaps it was the great beauty of the scenery that inspired the story. Now when the Church is in such peril perhaps this story is a sign of hope.
THE JEWELER AND THE CROWN
There once was a lame jeweler called Bani who lived with his seven brothers in a cottage in the forest. The reason why they lived in a cottage in a forest was for the simple reason that the Kingdom was ruled by a wicked Governor who had ousted the rightful King from his throne. The King was in hiding or in a far away country, but no-one was sure where.
On a stormy night when the jeweler and his brothers were relaxing after their evening meal, the door was flung open and a man rushed in heavily cloaked and booted and spurred. The jeweler tried to raise himself and greet the stranger, but before he could the man fell to the ground unconscious, clearly exhausted beyond belief. One of the other brothers rushed forward to aid the man, while another plied the unfortunate stranger with brandy to revive him.
Once the stranger had come to his senses and had been given something to eat, the jeweler begged him to tell his tale.
The stranger told the brothers that he had come from a far away city in another country with a letter from the King, who was living as a poor artisan, but was trying to rally support to regain his throne. The King had fallen in love, but the girl who had won his heart had a father who insisted that if his daughter was to marry a King then she must have a crown. The exiled King protested that he had no money “That is you affair said the girls” father, no crown, “no bride and no queen”. The brothers, who were listening with wrapt attention to the stranger’s tale, were most indignant at the father’s demands. “My dear jeweler” the stranger continued “The King has asked that you make the crown for his bride but he can give you no payment yet, until he has regained his kingdom. He has three years for the crown to be made, but if by then he has no crown, the girl will be married to the richest man in the land, who courts her daily. In three years time I will return. What do you say?” The brothers to a man cried “yes” but the jeweler was silent for a long time; “Yes” he said, but with a seriousness quite at odds with his brothers’ enthusiasm. “Then I will be off” said the stranger “for the Governor’s spies are all about and my life will be in danger.” Will you not stay the night?” asked the jeweler. “No I must be off”. The eldest of the seven, for the jeweler was the oldest of them all, escorted the stranger to the door and bid him farewell; then the friend of the king rode into the darkness of the night.
The next day the jeweler called his seven brothers together. He said to them “The task I have been given is beyond my strength. I have never before made a crown, and we have no money to pay for the gold or the jewels. I cannot mine the gold, nor can I quarry for jewels. You will all have to help. Now the jeweler’s brothers from the eldest to the youngest were called by the following names, Azgad, Bezai, Michmas, Pashur, Keros, Talmon, and Padon.
To Padon, the youngest and the strongest, Bani said “You will have to go and mine the gold”, to Talmon he said you must find the emeralds from the islands in the Southern Seas; to Keros, he said“You will find the sapphires in the mountains of the Moon”. Then he said to Pashur. “You must go to Persia and there you will find diamonds the size of eggs.” To Michmas he said “You will find rubies red as blood in the desert lands to the south. “Bezai” he continued “You will go to the country of the birch trees and there you will find amethysts the like of which you have never seen before.” To Azgad he said “You have an almost impossible mission. You must go to the farthest most reaches of the North and go to the King who lives there and ask where the seven pearls of the seven stars are to be found.”
The next day the Jeweler embraced his brothers and bid them farewell as they went on their journeys, and returned to his work.
Within a few months the exuberant Padon returned loaded with gold. “We could make several crowns with all this gold.” “We could indeed” replied Bani who immediately began to work on the crown with the gold his brother had brought.
At the end of the year one starlit night in December Talmon appeared carrying a little leather pouch containing emeralds that shimmered like grass and moss on a bright Summer’s evening in the gardens of the Mountain realms. In May of the following year a weary Keros arrived and nearly falling from his snow white horse, he emptied a little basket on to his brother’s work table. Out of the basket fell sapphires that looked as if they had fallen from the sky. Deep blues that reminded one of the sky after Sunset on a midsummer’s evening, and others that looked like night.
And so Bani worked away at the crown adding the new jewels as they arrived. Then in August when the heat in the forest was so oppressive to make work on the Crown almost impossible Bezai arrived with amethysts of such a purple hue that you have never seen. “That was more difficult than I thought, after all it is not far to the country of the birch trees, but the amethysts were difficult to find and more difficult to quarry” said Bezai to his brother.
Then for months no other brothers appeared and Bani and the brothers who had returned were all filled with anxiety. Bani would spend days working on the crown helped by his brothers. He said little, but his brothers could see he was anxious for Pashur, Michmas, and Azgad as indeed were they all. “They will return” said the brothers, “But will they return in time?” asked Bani somewhat fearfully. The brothers were silent for they did not know.
Bani continued to work on the Crown which looked more and more beautiful by the day, but still the other brothers returned. In December of the third year on a night when the snow lay thick upon the ground Pashur arrived starved and cold carrying a bag of white and yellow diamonds that flickered like the stars above on a Winter night. “The King of Persia heard of my quest and was so filled with compassion for our King, when he heard of his plight, that he gave diamonds from his jewel house picking out the best he could find.
The Christmas the brothers spent together was tinged with sadness. “When will our brothers return and when will the King be married and the Queen crowned? “When indeed” thought Bani When indeed?”
In March when the daffodils began to blossom a tired and weary and very parched Michmas arrived carrying rubies that looked like fire and blood. “Indeed” said Michmas “searching for these rubies in the desert was like going through fire and shedding all ones blood.”
And so the weeks marched remorselessly on, and Bani and his brothers worked on the crown in silence, with fear in their hearts and hope fast receding. The crown had to be finished on 13th June, and it was now the first of that month.
“Shall we send out scouts for our brother?” asked Pashur on that day “No” said Bani “But go to the watch tower at the edge of the forest, and send us news when Azgad returns from the mountains of the North.
The days passed and there was but a day to go when a horn was heard at midnight. The brothers jumped out of their beds at the sound and all cried “Azgad has returned. Running out of the house the brothers saw Azgad and his brother riding on a horse white as the moon at its fullest.
All the brothers crowded around and helped Azgad down with the aid of Pashur, for he was weak beyond belief. “Have you got the seven pearls?” the brothers cried “Yes” Azgad said almost inaudibly, “But I never thought I would”
When the brothers had carried Azgad inside and laid him down to rest and fed him, and given him wine to warm him, he told his tale.
“I travelled for a year and a half before I came to the Lands of the North. I crossed mountains that were sharp as blades, and my feet were often cut to pieces, and the cold was terrible beyond imagining. Then I had to cross seas of ice that were like glass, and felt nothing ,and I thought of nothing; it was too cold to think. I simply knew that I had to do something of great importance, and often I forgot even who I was. I had arrived in the winter months when all was night and day had fled to the lands of the Sun. I met few people and felt friendless and bereft. When I asked the way to the King of the North’s castle, people looked at me as if I was mad, and indeed I began to feel mad.
Then on a June day when darkness had fled to the farthermost South of the World and all was light, I came across a little girl carrying a basket with flowers, the like of which I had never seen before. They were like large forgetmenots. “Do you know where the King of the North lives?” I asked the little girl “Goodness gracious” said the little one “He has been dead for centuries, and his castle is a ruin, did you not know?” “No” I replied forlornly and in hopeless desperation I said “Do you know where the seven pearls of the seven stars are?” “Goodness me of course I do” the little girl replied, to find them is quite easy”, and with that she whistled and said “You must let them come to you, and the only way they can is if the great white swan comes and takes you to them, there is no other way, but she usually comes when I whistle.”
A few minutes later a huge swan of great beauty appeared on the waters by the ice flow on which the little girl and I were standing. “What does the pilgrim want?” asked the Swan “He wants the seven pearls of the seven stars” the little girl said “Then he wants the impossible, however I will see what I can do. Get up on my back and I will take you as best I can to the place of the seven pearls.” I did as the Swan bade me.
I remember little of the journey. We voyaged in sunlit seas, but found nothing, and the Swan kept saying “It is an impossible task; the seas are silent. They do not seem to care about the seven pearls and do not even think they exist, but I know, but I can’t remember the place of the pearls” she said dolefully.
Then one day when I had all but given up and in fact it was only a few days ago, we came to an island of great Cedars, which I thought was strange as islands in the Southern Seas, for that was where we had voyaged to, where not the places to find Cedars.
“Ah I remember now” said a delighted Swan “This is the place. As I got off the Swans back and walked across the sand of the sea shore she said to me “You will not need me now. You will find the great oyster and all you have to do is prize it open. It will be surrounded by seven lilies which are the seven stars.”
The Island was not large and hurrying towards the centre, I came across a glade shaded by the great cedars, and in the centre of the glade was the great oyster shell but it had been opened and the pearls had gone. The seven lilies’ heads were drooping as if overcome with grief at the theft. Standing not far away from the lilies and the shell was a tall woman clothed in blue. “Do not fear all is not lost, go and look at the shell.” I obeyed the woman’s instructions, and passing through the circle of lilies I knelt down and looked at the shell, and saw nothing. “All is lost.” I said and then I wept and wept, until I had filled the shell with my tears. Exhausted with weeping and overcome with failure to obtain the pearls for the crown for our King’s bride, I looked into the shell and all my tears had evaporated and there glistening in the sun’s rays that filtered through the Cedars were seven pearls, one of which was incomparably more beautiful than all the others. I could not believe my eyes, but then I heard the voice of the woman, but saw no-one. “The pearls are yours, they are the children of your tears.” I took the pearls and placed them in my pouch, and for sheer exhaustion fell asleep. When I awoke I felt someone shaking me and then I saw Pashur and joy returned to me once more.”
When Azgad finished all the brothers clapped and cheered and hugged their brother for now the crown could be finished. Bani and the other brothers worked all night and all next day, and on the following morning, the morning of the 13th the Crown was finished.
As Bani and his brothers were eating breakfast suddenly a trumpet was heard. “The King’s messenger has come” they all cried, but when there came a knock at the door, not only was it the King’s messenger who entered but the King, and not only the King but his bride to be. The brothers fell silent with wonder, and Bani said “It is our long lost sister” “Then” said the King “You are my brothers”. Everyone was astonished especially the spouse’s father, who was positively amazed.
The coronation of the Queen was a magnificent affair, and her crowning that took place after the wedding caused great joy and enabled the King to return to his country, And his eight brothers in law were given all the rights of brothers of the King.
Whenever the Queen wore her crown nothing looked more beautiful than the great pearl surrounded by diamonds and sapphires in the centre of the cross that surmounted the Crown.
By The Hermits, Feb 24 2015 9:43PM
It is extremely difficult to understand both the World and the Church at present. Both seem to be very unbalanced. Passions run high and words cascade down waterfalls of emotion. If we are to look at two areas we will see that balance seems to have fled, or more importantly wisdom has.
The first explosion of passion has emanated with the whole debacle regarding the behaviour of the Apostolic Commissioner to the Friars of the Immaculate, who is the Capuchin Father, Fidenzo Volpi, sent personally by Pope Francis to sort out the problems of the Friars of the Immaculate. (It should be Brother; having been, myself, a Capuchin for many years, they are meant to be called Brother. I have no knowledge of Brother Fidenzo, but then I did not travel much as a Capuchin.) One wonders why the Pope hasn’t sent one of the Friars of the Immaculate to sort out the Capuchins and the Friars Minor, whose lack of poverty is in stark contrast to the wonderful poverty of the Friars of the Immaculate.
As a hermit and an outsider all I can see in this awful suffering; the bitter cup that the Friars of the Immaculate have to drink, is a hatred for traditional Catholicism (I am not putting it with a big T. I am trying to be balanced). It seems from what I can gather that some of the young friars had to take an oath to accept all that Vatican II said. Now this is very strange, if it is true. In the other Councils you would have “Anathema Sit” after a declaration of doctrine, which warned that if you denied the doctrine you would be anathematized. However, we are told, till we are blue in the face that Vatican II was a Pastoral Council. It is precisely because it was so pastoral, and I think it was Cardinal Suenens who pushed the whole pastoral approach, that we are in the dreadful mess we are in today, with the disastrous Extraordinary Family Synod of October last year, and the Family Synod, this year, which will be far more extraordinary and possibly dramatic in the extreme. Father Volpi is supposed to have refused priest friars of the Immaculate from asking to be dispensed from vows so that they could become diocesan priests. This is totally against Canon Law. What is the Pope up to appointing such a man? The situation has been aggravated because it appears that Fr. Volpi has blackened the name of th Manelli family, who are relatives of Fr. Stephano Manelli, the founder of the Friars of the Immaculate.
Now there have been scandals with regard to two of the founders of “The Beatitudes Community”, and also with regard to the founder of “The Community of St. Jean”, but I have not heard that they have been as harshly treated as have the Friars of the Immaculate.
It seems that Fr. Volpi will find himself in a rather uncomfortable position as he is now being sued by the Manelli Family. I wonder if the court will call the Pope as a witness. As he is head of the Vatican State, I think it is unlikely.
However the Pope seems to be unfairly criticized by some regarding his recent remarks regarding the Ukrainian Catholic Church. As it is made up of both Latin Rite, and Greek Melchite Rite Catholics there will obviously be tensions. Heavens above the depressing Latin Liturgy cannot compete with the Greek Melchite Rite one. That the Pope is calling for Peace hardly makes him Pro Russian and Anti Ukrainian. However if one tries to talk to journalists about history one is simply wasting one’s time in the main. If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times, it was in Kievan Rus that Russia was baptized. It’s a great shame that Moscow became so powerful, as the Muscovites were “the new boys on the block”. Kiev should really be the capital of Russia, and that should sort everything out. However the mutual distrust of the Russian Orthodox and the Ukrainian Melchite Rite Catholics is truly tragic, and though I am personally a Russophile, I think that the Russian Orthodox has treated the Ukrainian Eastern Rite Catholics very badly indeed with all those forced conversions in the Stalinist era. The Pope really must try and do his best to reconcile the two churches.
Once again I must reiterate, all that Vatican II needed to do, if it wanted Mass in the Vernacular was to translate the 1965 Mass, which no-one ever talks about. It wasn’t in for long. However we poor fickle human beings never do something simple, we just complicate things with our own distorted malfunctioning, and sometimes malicious imaginations. Let us all learn that incredibly difficult virtue, humility. Let us this Lent try and be honest, and not devious, transparent and not opaque, sincere and not insincere. Let us become like little children, and so in that spirit I will give you Bushy’s Song from my book “The Catmoot”, which is sung to the tune of “When I go out of door” from Patience, which is the duet between Bunthorne and Grosvenor.
A RE-WORKING OF WHEN I GO OUT OF DOOR,
When we go out abroad,
We cats so many and more,
All jumping and turning,
And dancing and purring,
We’ll follow Our Good Lord.
He will lead us to a place
And show us his gracious face.
We will fly in the sky,
And sing praises on high,
As we follow in his wake.
A Gaudium et Spes young man,
A Nostrae Aetate young man,
An ultra-theological, new philosophical
Out-of-the way young man.
Conceive me if you can,
A Vatican II young man:
A progressive type,
With a sneer and pipe,
And a priestly patter pan;
Who thinks folkloric “pops”
More fun than Sunday “tops”
Who’s fond of his dinner,
And doesn’t get thinner
On clerical wine and chops.
A Vatican II young man,
Not a Council of Trent Old Man
A steady and “Constance” no time for such nonsense
A Vatican II young man.
An up-to-date young man,
An aggiornamento young man,
A Teilhard de Chardin, so charming parlando,
A Roman Curial man,
A Modernist trained young man,
A very delectable, highly respectable,
A sickly and thin old man,
A grieving and sad old man,
At a Church gone so batty, its thoughts gone so scatty,
A foot in the grave old man!
A Chalcedonian man,
A Lateran IV old man,
A feisty old cardinal who knows all the articles;
A tower of strength old man.
Receive me if you can,
A loyal and orthodox man,
Who takes the tradition and all its munitions,
For the sake of the Son of Man.
Bushy’s song whose tune and original lyrics are to be found in Bunthorne and Grovesnor’s hilarious duet at the end of Act II from Patience. Gilbert was sending up the whole aesthetic movement, which was best exemplified by Oscar Wilde and James McNeill Whistler.
The lyrics are a send up of much of Vatican II, which though a great Council on one level was disastrous on many others, due to vagueness and a hopelessly optimistic view of modern man. I have had to incorporate some of the lines of Gilbert’s as it would be hard to better them, and I do not have the talent to better him.
All: A Guadium et Spes young man. Guadium et Spes was the flagship document of the Council. Parts of it were criticized by Cardinal Heenan as being banal, and that is very accurate. Reading them they have the feel of a sanctified United Nations document, or something that a pious member of the social services might come up with. It is like so much of Vatican II utterly enraptured with man, and putting God, albeit unconsciously in the wings, so to speak.
Nostra Aetate was the document on dialogue with Non Christian religions. It was a small document, but it has created a mine field of theological problems and great havoc. Its gestation and final emergence as the document we know began its career as a result of a meeting between Jules Isaac, a famous French Jew and John XXIII. It was a meeting of hearts and not of minds. Jules Isaac was a modern metropolitan man, although old by then, and John XXIII thought he was talking to a Jew of the Old Testament. This misunderstanding was fuelled by various interested parties for the next several years, which by turns was tragic and farcical. The main villain of the piece, and there were many, was the maverick, and immoral Irish Jesuit Malachi Martin, who ended his days in the late 90’s, or early this century as a highly orthodox man, who was living with his mistress!!!
An ultra theological, new philosophical, out of the way young man. This is the modern priest, whose formation is weighed down with huge doses of academic theology, usually of a highly dubious nature, half baked psychology, and once again is man centred. It was Good Pope John’s wonderfully optimistic, and happy nature that opened the first session of the Vatican Council by saying that the Church no longer needed to condemn error because modern man was so reasonable that he would be persuaded by the Catholic Church’s teachings. This opened a Pandora’s Box. 11 days later the Cuba crisis erupted onto the world stage. However the optimism rippled throughout the Church then and in the following decades and still is here, but optimism and hope are two different things. Optimism led to the most madcap schemes for the formation of priests, and religious and goodness knows who else, and ended up causing chaos, much of which I have witnessed, and it usually has led to a loss of Faith and the destruction of vocations and marriages. The whole problem is that unwittingly The Second Vatican Council, or its movers and shakers, were infatuated with man. The philosophy taught in seminaries would include anybody but Aquinas as far as I could see. We studied most of the German philosophers, some of whom would not have been remotely interested in God. The out of the way young man, could be the trendy priest, the rebel priest, the Marxist revolutionary, the purveyor of permissiveness and goodness knows what else, but he was and is certainly not priestly. I am not sure whether that is worse than the bureaucratic priest who has been in the Church since Constantine.
Who thinks folkloric “pops more fun than Sunday “tops”. Church music in the Western World has suffered both in its Catholic liturgies and Protestant liturgies. For the most part it has been dreadful. Folk masses, which do not use folk music at all but ersatz American folk music, which as far as I can see was created by Pete Seeger. Country and Western would have made more sense, as the great Country and Western singers are often devout Christians. Though Popes have reiterated the importance of Gregorian Chant and polyphony, their words have fallen not so much on deaf ears, but rebellious ears, and this is what is meant by Sunday “tops”. A Shaman would have a better idea of liturgical music than most modern Catholic Clergy, I am sad to say.
The Council of Trent was after Lateran IV, the greatest council since the schism between the Catholic West and the Orthodox West. A famous Anglican Canon, Donald Alchin said to me many years ago that no Church during the Reformation reformed itself more thoroughly than the Catholic Church. The Tridentine Church ends with the opening of the Vatican II, and quite what this era will be called is hard to say.
The Council of Constance in many ways prefigures Vatican II. It had to re-unite the Latin Church so it held that a Council was higher than a Pope. It wanted the Church to be governed by Councils, or some of its members did. However when Martin V was elected Pope, he put paid to that and the Pope then was once again governing the Church.
Aggiornamento is the Italian for “updating”. This became a mad craze. In every department of the Catholic Church had to be updated. Architecture, habits, theology, philosophy, and even marriage!
Teilhard de Chardin The famous French Jesuit along with the famous Austrian theologian and Jesuit Karl Rahner, have done untold harm to the Church. Teilhard has taken in brilliant theologians, and a vast army of religious and priests. His theology to a simple child would be nonsense. It is the Emperor’s new clothes. Teilhard was, as far as one can see, nothing more and nothing less than a dishonest Palaeontologist. He was involved with the Piltdown hoax, for which he could be forgiven, as he may well have been duped. But he was involved with Peking Man with an English palaeontologist. His English Palaeontologist colleague who wrote the definitive bibliography on all the writings to do with the find, failed to incorporate into the bibliography the work of a French Palaeontologist, who looking at the supposed humanoid’s remains concluded that the site was a prehistoric kitchen and the bones were monkeys’ bones. Teilhard’s theology is meant to be Scotist, but the truth is, it is all fantasy. Sadly such fine although dubious theologians as de Lubac thought his work wonderful. Teilhard is the the theologian of Evolution, which makes him something equivalent to a theological oxymoron.
Historico-critical young man. 19th century German theologians are the villains of the piece when it comes to Scripture Scholarship. Their fundamental thesis was, unless it is scientifically verifiable then it can’t have happened. In the realms of philosophy it is known as logical positivism, and it is very dull, and wrong. Miracles do happen of the most astounding nature, but they do not happen with enough frequency to convince 19th century German theologians, or such English philosophers as A.J. Ayer, and people like Richard Dawkins. The end result of such literary criticism is that Jesus ends up just as a great and good man. This leads to Modernism.
A Modernist trained young man. Modernism is the logical outcome of the historical critical method, and evolution, namely that religion is just a subjective thing. The great truths of Christianity simply become wishful thinking. The famous modernist Catholic is George Tyrell S.J., and the most famous Protestant theologian who was a modernist was Bultmann, who flourished in the 20’s and 30’s. The great scourge of Modernism in the Catholic Church was St. Pius Xth, who is now considered by many Catholic Clergy from Cardinals down to ordinary priests as being antediluvian. The great Protestant opponent of Modernism is the giant Karl Barth, of whom Pius XII said, was the greatest theologian since Thomas Aquinas!!!
A sickly and thin old man This stands for all those who are faithful to the Ancient teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church that cannot be changed without changing the nature of the Church. Thankfully the Second Vatican Council was only a Pastoral Council, which just to complicate things produced two Dogmatic Documents Lumen Gentium and Dei Verbum, which were both orthodox, but had unfortunate loop holes that could be used by the unscrupulous and were.
A Chalcedonian man One of the greatest councils of the Church, second only to Nicaea. It was called in the mid 5th Century when Leo The Great was Pope. It stated that Christ had two natures Divine, and Human.
Lateran IV This was the Council that recognized such new religious orders as The Franciscans, Carmelites, and ultimately the Dominicans. Guided by the most powerful Pope that ever lived, namely Innocent III it did much to reform the Medieval Church.
A feisty old cardinal describes the much maligned “Conservative” cardinals such as Ottaviani, and Siri of Genoa among others, who were not the dreadful dinosaurs that the revolutionary theologians such as Yves Congar, and Rahner would have us believe. The Cardinals were men of irreproachable morality which could not be said of Rahner, and some others.
Thankfully to be truly Christian one does not have to be a theologian, but one must accept the great truths of the Faith, which are all expounded in the first 800 years of the Church’s life and ends with the Seventh Ecumenical Council, Nicaea II, which takes place in 787.
Bushy’s song does for the nonsense of much modern Catholicism what Gilbert did for the aesthetic movement of Wilde and Whistler. I know that Pope Francis has received it and seems to have read some of it!!!
By The Hermits, Feb 18 2015 9:01PM
In the last several weeks we have been subjected to some remarkable utterances, and remarkable projects.
Let us look first at the utterances. On February 2nd Archbishop Henryk Hoser said the following in an interview with the Polish paper Niedziela:
I will tell you brutally. The Church has betrayed John Paul II. Not the Church as the Bride of Christ, not the Church of our Creed, because John Paul II was an expression, an authentic voice of the Church; but it is the pastoral practice that has betrayed John Paul II.
On February 8th Cardinal Burke gave an interview to France2, and here is part of what he said:
-[Interviewer:] How do you intend to place pope Francis on the good path?
-[Burke, in Italian] On this, also one must be very attentive regarding the power of the pope. The classic formulation is that, "the Pope has the plenitude, the fullness, of power." This is true. But it is not absolute power. His power is at the service of the doctrine of the faith. And thus the Pope does not have the power to change teaching, doctrine.
-"[Interviewer:] In a somewhat provocative way, can we say that the true guardian of doctrine is you,
and not pope Francis?
-[Burke, in Italian:] [Smiles, shakes his head] We must, let us leave aside the matter of the Pope. In our faith, it is the truth of doctrine that guides us.
-[Interviewer:] If Pope Francis insists on this path, what will you do?
-[Burke, in Italian:] I will resist. I cannot do anything else. There is no doubt that this is a difficult time, this is clear, this is clear.
-[Interviewer:] Is it painful?
-[Burke, in Italian:] Yes.
(translated by Rorate Caeli)"
On February 11th in answer to a plea from PETERFIVE, for guidance with regard to the Synod on The Family later this year, Archbishop Athanasius, every bit as doughty as his namesake, responded with characteristic bravery:
"It is a sad truth that we are in a time of great crisis in the Church. God is with us, however. You have asked me what the faithful can do to combat the errors spreading through the Church. I would like to answer with some suggestions:"
The Bishop then goes on to suggest projects that will, hopefully, save the day.
1) by creating “groups of true Catholics, scholars, families, and clergy who will spread courageously the full Catholic truth, especially on the Church’s teachings on the family, on nature, and the commandments of God” who will use all the resources of the modern world to do this, especially the Media.
2) Organize scholarly symposiums and conferences.
3) Create a movement of Catholic families, of ‘domestic churches’, to witness, defend and spread the integral faith and the teaching on family, marriage, and the order of nature.
4) We have to illuminate “the truly Gnostic and revolutionary character of the ‘Kasper agenda’ demonstrating the Divine doctrine on marriage and its practice throughout the two thousand years of history of our Church. We should inspire the faithful with examples of holy husbands, families, children, and teenagers.”
5) For the struggling Catholic, examples of conversions from “adultery, divorce, or sodomy.”, both past and present are needed.
6) Catholic husbands, families and single persons “must write to the pope, to their bishops, and to the competent dicastaries of the Roman curia notifying them of heretical, semi-heretical, or Gnostic pronouncements of ecclesiastical persons or events...”
7) Organize “a great national and international net of prayer through Eucharistic adoration, pilgrimages, solemn Masses, intercessional and penitential processions with themes such as ‘The Holiness of Family and Marriage’, ‘The Call to Chastity’,” and other themes revolving around marriage.
8) Pray that we be given holy popes and bishops.
This seems an excellent programme. It just needs enthusiastic Catholics to get to work. There is no time to lose. However one of the people that we should be writing to Rome about, is Cardinal Marx, who in a recent interview, seems to be uttering heretical balderdash.
"I am astonished that most of our young people, and also Catholic homosexuals who are practicing, want a relationship that lasts forever,” Marx told America. “We must begin with the main points of the doctrine, to see the dream: the dream is to have a person say, a man and woman say, ‘You and you, forever. You and you, forever.’ And we as church say, ‘Yes, that’s absolutely OK. Your vision is right!’
“So we find the way. Then perhaps there is failure. They find the person, and it is not a great success. But life-long fidelity is right and good.”
He added, “The church says that a gay relationship is not on the same level as a relationship between a man and a woman. That is clear. But when they are faithful, when they are engaged for the poor, when they are working, it is not possible to say, ‘Everything you do, because you are a homosexual, is negative.’”
Cardinal Marx seems unaware that bad people can do good things, but if they persist in their sinful lives, they are not going to be saved. Also the insinuation of this particular excerpt is worrying when it uses such words as faithful. Such faithfulness has nothing to do with the faithfulness of marriage; it is a caricature. It bears less of a resemblance than paste to diamonds. No-one seems to want to think, or if they do, they wish to distort the true meaning of the words they are using.
It is left to such a fine bishop as Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga, a Ukrainian and former Archbishop of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, to expose just how awful things are, and why such bishops as Cardinals Kasper and Marx can flourish today:
"One can observe at all levels of the Church an obvious decrease of the “sacrum”. The “spirit of the world” feeds the shepherds. The sinners give the Church instructions for how she has to serve them. In their embarrassment the Pastors are silent on the current problems and abandon the sheep while feeding themselves. The world is tempted by the devil and opposes the doctrine of Christ. Nevertheless the Pastors are obliged to teach the whole truth about God and men “in season and out”............In our days the voice of the majority of the bishops rather resembles the silence of the lambs in the face of furious wolves, the faithful are left like defenceless sheep....In times of the crisis of the Church God has often used for her true renewal the sacrifices, the tears and prayers of those children and servants of the Church who in the eyes of the world and of the ecclesiastical bureaucracy were considered insignificant or were persecuted and marginalized because of their fidelity to Christ. I believe that in our difficult time this law of Christ is being realized and that the Church will renew herself thanks to the faithful inner renewal of each of us."
And so as Lent starts today in the shadow of the martyrdom of the Coptic Christians in Libya, the threat of ISIS to invade Rome, and a very fragile truce, just holding in Ukraine, let us like the people of Nineveh do penance for our sins which have allowed such dreadful evils to flourish. If I was to single out one sin that seems to have been largely to blame for this terrible state of affairs, I would say it is a type of spiritual sloth that has brought about a terrible indifference, and allowed evil to luxuriate. This failure is one that most of us share in. We have been too insular, and even good groups in the Church should have been calling others to repent and did not. Such language today seems outmoded, and even not a few orthodox Catholics have perhaps not done as much as they should have done. Hopefully we will not be like the foolish virgins, who when awakened, found their lamps lacking oil; that oil of charity, zeal for the salvation of souls, zeal for the truths of the Gospel, but above all zeal for the Gospel.
By The Hermits, Feb 10 2015 1:54AM
This petition is on Life Site News.
I would strongly encourage you to visit the site to sign the petition, (the link is here, and at the end of the appeal below)
Filial appeal to Pope Francis on the future of the family
In view of the Synod on the family to be held in October 2015, we filially address Your Holiness to express our fears and hopes regarding the future of the family.
Our fears arise from witnessing a decades-long sexual revolution promoted by an alliance of powerful organizations, political forces and the mass media that consistently work against the very existence of the family as the basic unit of society. Ever since the so-called May 1968 Sorbonne Revolution, a morality opposed to both Divine and natural law has been gradually and systematically imposed on us so implacably as to make it possible, for example, to teach the abhorrent "gender theory" to young children in many countries.
Catholic teaching on the Sixth Commandment of the Law of God shines like a beacon in the face of this ominous ideological objective. This beacon attracts many people -- overwhelmed by this hedonistic propaganda -- to the chaste and fecund family model taught by the Gospel and in accordance with natural law.
Your Holiness, in light of the information published on the last Synod, we note with anguish that, for millions of faithful Catholics, the beacon seems to have dimmed in face of the onslaught of lifestyles spread by anti-Christian lobbies. In fact, we see widespread confusion arising from the possibility that a breach has opened within the Church that would accept adultery -- by permitting divorced and then civilly remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion -- and would virtually accept even homosexual unions when such practices are categorically condemned as being contrary to Divine and natural law.
Paradoxically, our hope stems from this confusion. Truly, in these circumstances, a word from Your Holiness is the only way to clarify the growing confusion amongst the faithful. It would prevent the very teaching of Jesus Christ from being watered down and would dispel the darkness looming over our children's future should that beacon no longer light their way.
Holy Father, we implore You to say this word. We do so with a heart devoted to all that You are and represent. We do so with the certainty that Your word will never disassociate pastoral practice from the teaching bequeathed by Jesus Christ and His vicars -- as this would only add to the confusion. Indeed Jesus taught us very clearly that there must be coherence between life and truth (cf. John 14:6-7); and He also warned us that the only way not to fall is to practice His doctrine (cf. Matt. 7:24-27).
Asking for Your apostolic blessing, we assure You of our prayers to the Holy Family -- Jesus, Mary and Joseph -- to enlighten Your Holiness in these crucially important circumstances.
The link to sign the petition is here.
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