CHAOS IN THE CLEMENTINE HALL
The International Organization for the mutual understanding of atheistic scientists, pagan scientists, and Christian scientists, for the improvement of the Planet’s ecological, social, and philosophical interaction’ or the IOASPSCS was one of those international organizations that had been springing up ever since its parent the United Nations had been formed after the second world war, and like its parent was profoundly dull, and ultimately not in sympathy with Christianity, and certainly not with the Catholic Church. How could it be, when the United Nations was at one and the same time a secular imitation of Medieval Christendom, and the harbinger of the One World State so beloved of the globalists and the "population control" people. It was both a strength and a weakness of the 20th and 21st century Papacy that Popes felt that they had to try and have a dialogue with every conceivable organization on the planet. No better illustration of this can be found when a member of the Curia went to see Pius XII about something, and found the Pope with his desk piled high with books. The Curial official asked the Pope what all the books were. The Pope replied “Gas”. He felt that as supreme pontiff he had better study the latest in "Gas" as the next day he would be addressing a meeting of gas experts, . In the bewildering world of 21st century science, things would be even more complex than in the 1950’s, but the same mentality prevails. It is significant that in the Gospels, Jesus was simply proclaiming the one thing necessary “The Kingdom of God”.
And so the Holy Father Pope Francis, caught up in the labyrinth of science, social science, political science and every other conceivable science that dominates man in these dark times, found himself facing this strange concourse of scientists. Of this very strange group some were hostile to Christianity, because they were secularists, humanists, atheists, or pagans. Others were hostile to the Catholic Church, because although they were Christians they did not like the Church. Rather oddly due to a terrible blunder in the founding and naming of IOASCSPS, and to the detriment of political correctness, the Jews and the Moslems though included were not named, which resulted in them being in a no man’s land. Thus in the hall were Moslem scientists who ranged from serious hostility to Christianity to a benign indifference. Then there were the pagan scientists, who were there and wondered what all the mutual understanding was about anyway. The devout orthodox Jews who attended the meeting were, as usual puzzled by Christians, who in truth they felt were heretics. 'Pagan' in a modern setting seemed rather rude, but it was shorter than non-Christian religions, which would have made the title of the group even longer, and as the title was the creation of some absent minded member of the UN, at least no-one was blaming the Catholic Church, which made a change.
The Pope, however, was concerned, not so much about the meeting, but by the non-appearance of Archbishop Ganswein, who was the head of the Papal Household. Archbishop George Ganswein was not only a good man, with charming manners, but was utterly efficient; that he was not at the meeting was extraordinary. The title of the talk that was being given in the presence of the Pope was “What and Who is God for the atheist scientist in his relationship with Christians and Pagans?” a peculiar topic to say the least. It was given in Italian by a scientist from Khazakhstan. This did not bode well for two reasons, first that Astana, the new capital of Khazakhstan, seems to be built on Masonic principles, and secondly because the scientist’s Italian was completely incomprehensible. The Pope looked mystified, as did most people.
A curial Cardinal had nodded off to sleep, and a cross looking bishop looked unhappy with the whole affair. The President of the organization, a Norwegian scientist, who spoke excellent English, then got up to thank the scientist for his paper. He then asked the participants for questions. It looked as if it was going to be a laborious and tedious affair, and the Pope was looking worried. “Where is George Ganswein?” he muttered under his breath. The answer came in the most extraordinary way. For a moment there was complete blackness, and a sound like a steam train driving through a tunnel. People crouched down terrified or were frozen to their seats. It must be noted that the entire papal entourage remained absolutely calm, as did all the Christian scientists. It lasted just a few seconds, and then everyone gasped, as daylight reappeared, for there floating above the heads of the participants was the Halcyon with its animal, human, and angelic crew.
The Pope looked up with a look of gentle rebuke, and absolute relief, and said “Your Excellency, you finally got here.” Archbishop George, smiling one of his winning smiles, said with almost English understatement, “I am afraid I was detained by the saints and the angels, and above all by the cats”. “But what is Pope Benedict doing on a donkey?” asked the Holy Father, “Well he isn’t up to dancing!” At this point Pope Francis wondered if there wasn’t an inseparable mental divide between Europe and the Americas. The participants at the meeting were looking on with varying reactions. The atheists were looking aggrieved. Some were shouting. “What’s this hoax?”. “Other’s were saying “Typical of Christians”. One voice said “Is this yet another publicity stunt of the Pope?” An Indian scientist said “Well it all seems quite normal to me.” “Man you must be crazy!” shouted a big bullish American. He was just about to say G.. when Lizzie jumped from the Halcyon straight on to his head and said very sharply “We will have no swearing here, please!”. Then with, what can only be called a supernatural leap, ended up on Pope Francis’ lap; as she was not a lap cat, this was a sign of great reverence and affection for the supreme Pontiff. Lizzie then turned to Archbishop George and said “Dear Archbishop can you bring everyone down, as I think the angels have to take the Halcyon away on another mission, and we won’t be needing it anymore.”
At this point the Khazakhstani speaker who, not surprisingly, was an eminent professor in some obscure department of human biology, and was a very large man, got to his feet. “What do you mean by interrupting this very important conference, where we are discussing matters of the greatest import. It is outrageous?” “Now you listen to me good Sir” said Lizzie “The World and the Church is full of words, endless discussions, endless documents, and it is doing most people little good at all. Archbishop Helder Camara rightly said 'The world is full of beautiful words, what it needs is beautiful deeds,' and I should add to that; we need the truth. We cats are not here to discuss, we are here to tell you human beings to stop talking, and spiritually grow up, but I presume that you are an atheist by the tone of your exceptionally boring talk, which, I am sorry to say, we all heard.” and hear she turned back to look at the Holy Father, “I am afraid we sort of kidnapped Archbishop George, and for our purposes kept him back. Any way he does have to look after Pope Benedict.” “Oh I quite understand” said Pope Francis, who however looked completely nonplussed.
The scene before the meeting’s gaze was for the atheist inexplicable, but not for the Jew, the Moslem, or the pagan. The five angels manning the ship were beating their golden wings majestically, and all the animals, both celestial and feline were waiting to disembark. One of the angels let down the ladder, and then Pope Benedict on his newly acquired donkey arrived with Archbishop George to greet Pope Francis. Meanwhile the rest of the cats disembarked, and the three bears looked very happy with each other’s company, as they accompanied the two cardinals, one bishop, and the four priests. Cardinal Goodfellow was so wreathed in smiles that Pope Francis could hardly believe it. “Your holiness” he whispered to Pope Benedict, who had dismounted from the donkey and had gone up to embrace him. “What has happened to Cardinal Gloomyface?”. Pope Benedict replied “He’s had a conversion experience, a cat conversion you might call it, and is now Cardinal Goodfellow. It’s amazing the effect cats have on people. I think the Archangel Michael gave him his new name” “Oh” said Pope Francis, and was wondering whether Pope Benedict had gone mad, or he was going mad. At that moment Contessina had jumped up on to Pope Benedict’s shoulder, “Oh Holy Father what an exquisite room, Ah it sends me into positive raptures of delight. So elegant and beautiful so, so...” . The cat was not able to finish the sentence, as the bears wanted to meet Pope Francis. “Now, Holy Father” said Pope Benedict let me introduce these bears to you. Now here is Hans, St. Corbinian’s bear, Vasily, St Sergius of Radonesh’s bear, and Yuri, St. Seraphim of Sarov’s bear. Knowing your love of Orthodoxy, I don’t have to explain”. The bears warmly greeted Pope Francis with real bear hugs, which makes a change from the human version.
The cats, with the exception of Lizzie and Molly, were having a wonderful time. A Moslem professor had made friends with Bushy, or to be more precise, he had made friends with the Moslem professor and found the good man’s lap most congenial. Methuselah was flying around with great enthusiasm affectionately dive bombing anyone who looked angry, or unhappy, while all the time croaking “It’s not that bad, cheer up. I am sure the Pope will give you a good dinner.” Some of the participants looked on with horror, dinner was the last thing on their minds (some just wanted a stiff whisky or gin and tonic to steady their nerves, others needed a cigarette) and most of them quickly fled the hall. Other participants drifted away looking as if they were the mildly injured victims of a bomb blast. The Press were taking endless photographs for what would be the biggest scoop of the year, the decade or even the century, before the Halcyon having disgorged its passengers, lifted itself up and disappeared with the angels through the roof. One of the photographers, a sunny American man said "gee whizz man, who would believe this back home?" Who indeed? Members of the Papal entourage were trying to pacify irate members of the conference, but to little avail. The prominent feeling among the conference members was of shock and a dismal failure on the part of the Vatican organizers. It simply confirmed them in their anti Catholic stance. So much for IOMUASPSCS; it seemed to be showing its true colours, it couldn’t care a fig for dialogue with Christianity, let alone Catholicism. One cardinal was howling and shouting, “I’m ruined, my life is in tatters." “Things must be bad in the Church, when Cardinals behave like this” said Molly somewhat drily. ”Do you have your handkerchief Dolly? I think the poor man needs it.” “I seem to have lost it. I think I left it behind on the Halcyon. Oh dear, I’m getting like Brother Stephen, absentminded. What would Brother Damon say?” (Brother Damon had a horror of absentmindedness seeing it as a great defect to be corrected; if necessary severely.) Then suddenly from nowhere her handkerchief appeared, and she trotted daintily (she had twinkle-toe paws) over to the distraught Cardinal and offered him her hankie, but the man was too upset to take advantage of Dolly's kind offer, and kept hitting his head on the wall.
Pope Francis, by this time was feeling not quite himself, which was hardly surprising, and said “I must sit down”. Beppe in the mean time was talking to Cardinal Boniface. “I’m not sure what we are meant to be doing here, do you?” he asked. The Cardinal happily said “I am not sure that you have to do very much, nor I for that matter. It really is the cats’ mission, and all we have to do is support them.” In the meantime Lorenzo had gone up to a lady Professor, who was French, and was trying to engage her in conversation. She was very glamorous, and very charming, but obviously her secular credentials had taken a terrible drubbing with the appearance of angels and talking animals. Like France her country,, apostate daughter of the Christian West, and mother of secularism, the poor woman was trying to keep some semblance of normality. Before she could say anything Lorenzo had offered her his paw and said “May I introduce myself... I am the wolf of Gubbio, and my name is....” but before he could give the woman his name she started screaming, dropped her handbag and ran for her life. An orthodox Jew, a Maths professor from the United States, said “Well it really does look as if the Lion and the Lamb have lain down together after all” whereupon he found a beautiful white lamb on his lap. “Well I never” he said. It was at this moment that the saints made their appearance.
Dazzlingly radiant, the four great reforming saints, Hildegard, Bridget, Catherine and Colette approached the now dazed Pope Francis, and bowed to him. He was so taken aback that he stood up, opened his arms to Heaven and promptly sat down again. Turning to Pope Benedict, her Abbess' sceptre in her hand, St Hildegard proclaimed: "Your Holiness Pope Benedict, before we get to the real reason for this meeting, you have something that you must say whilst the Press are present."
Obeying this almost Royal Command, for such it seemed, Pope Benedict put a comforting hand on Pope Francis' shoulder and turned to the auditorium. "St. Hildegard is correct, it is time for me to state publicly that I fully support, and that I am fully subject to, His Holiness Pope Francis. You, who know me, will already be aware of the truth of my statement, but because of my voluntary reclusion others may not be fully aware; but in this time of danger of schism, as shown by the presence of St. Colette, St. Bridget and St. Catherine, I must make it absolutely clear that I am standing beside the true and only Pope, and that is my dear friend and spiritual son, Pope Francis. After his election I made my submission to him in private as I was not in the Conclave, but now I will happily repeat it under the eyes of the Press." So saying Benedict turned to Pope Francis and knelt in front of him to kiss his papal ring. Hans and Archbishop George rushed over to help Pope Benedict back to his feet and Bishop Grey pulled up a chair for him to sit on.
“And now my dear cats, you have now come to the most important part of your mission, you must tell The Holy Father what you think is wrong and what must be done. He is a busy man, so be brief, and then we can all be continue on the next stage of this important mission. Lizzie you may begin.” and with these forthright words from St.Catherine, Lizzie began. (It must be added that all the papal entourage, with the exception of the weeping Cardinal, had disappeared, and so the only people in the somewhat empty, even desolate Clementine Hall, were the two cardinals, one bishop, four priests, and the rest of the celestial company and the cats, the Moslem Professor, the American Jewish Professor, the Indian Professor and the Press. Pope Francis was now sitting upright, and was all eyes and ears.
“Dear Holy Father, we cats love the human race very much. We love you and the Church, and all Christians, and we love all that is good in the world and hate all evil, but being cats we know what man is like. One moment he is an angel, and the next moment he is a devil, and we can find both things in one person. We cats listen and observe” “Here, here,!” said Bushy very loudly and then fell back to sleep on the Moslem Professor’s lap. Lizzie continued. “We cats are realists, and we are not sentimental. Pope John XXIII, that most lovable of popes really did think that he could have a dialogue with the world and the unbelievers, but who were the unbelievers, not all those who belonged to the ancient religions of Asia, the Americas, or the ancient gods of the Africans, not a bit of it. These unbelievers were apostate Christian intellectuals throughout the West, or Westernized members of ancient cultures like Mao, who some say was a baptized Christian. So the dialogue with the world was like a parent trying to talk to their adolescent son, or daughter, who is convinced that he or she is adopted. It was bound to be a dialogue with the deaf. Have you not, dear Holy Father, recently given two interviews? one with Civilta Cattolica, and the other one with La Republica, the latter is reported as being somewhat inaccurate. You felt that you did not have to emphase preaching about sexual immorality because the teaching of the Church is clear, but Holy Father, in Western Europe and North America there has been little teaching on purity and sexual sin. In fact the Catechism is a dead letter, a dead book for most of these Catholics. Certainly the majority of priests in our country do not speak about these things, through fear of the reaction of their congregations, or wanting to be popular. Yes we must preach the beauty of the Gospel, and in that you are every inch the Jesuit, but the traditional Franciscan and Dominican preaching would be different. St. Francis de Sales is one of my favourite saints, but his was a gentleness that demanded great strenght, and real holiness. All the great saints had a horror of impurity, and if my memory is correct, dear St. Catherine here said that the devils blush at homosexual vice.” Here St. Catherine smiled wrily, and said nothing. The Pope noticed her reaction.
Lizzie continued. “If it is one of the four sins crying to heaven for vengeance; for the love of God, and for the salvation of souls, surely it must be preached against. You cannot tell the homosexual that he or she is in the process of coming to the truth. You must say what Christ said to the woman taken in adultery; ‘ “ Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.” ’ (John 8: 10-11). Surely, while stressing mercy, you must confront them with God’s law, for did not God forbid Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil? What seemed such a little sin was not, because it was disobedience. St. Bernardine of Siena, one of the greatest preachers of all time, preached against homosexuality with great ardour, for it was rife in 14th century Italy, and he did not like talking about it; none of us do. But why was Italy so much a prey to this vice? because it was one of the wealthiest and most urban parts of Europe. Nothing changes, for as always homosexuality is the vice of a sophisticated urban society, such as we have today in the West.
You were reported by Eugenio Scalfari, and some doubt the truthfulness of parts of the interview, that one of “the most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old” but surely what is one of the worst evils is the loss of Faith, and the apostasy of the so called civilized world. I hardly think that our lovely friend St. Colette was worried about youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old people, when she had her dreadful vision of the Church and the world in her anchorhold in Corbie. It is enough to make good cats weep when we see the folly of men. I might also add that Eugenio Scalfari was brought up as a Catholic and lost his Faith. He is hardly an atheist born of atheists, or a communist born of communists. Holy Father speak as Christ spoke. He did not mince words about sexual sin or any sin. You consecrated your Papacy to Our Lady of Fatima, but what did Our Lady say there? She said that most people went to Hell because of sins of impurity. If you consecrated your Papacy to Our Lady of Fatima, should your preaching not be based very much on the message of Fatima, which seems to have been largely ignored by most bishops and priests?
You say how wonderful Vatican II is, but why is that in England, on the eve of Vatican II the Catholic Church was growing wonderfully and steadily with 12,000 conversions a year, and yet after the council it has been going downhill all the way? Is it because the Catholic Church had become like the Bolshevik Party. “What was true yesterday is no longer true today.” The Orthodox churches, especially the Russian Orthodox Church have remained utterly faithful to tradition, but have we? Have we made development and progress the be all and end all? Have we become like Eve, fascinated by knowledge, wanting to know good and evil? Has not your own Jesuit Order, in recent years, been mesmerized by the apple that so enchanted Eve? And why with the Traditionalists being so upset by what you say, and the fear which they have; that you do not take the Old Mass seriously, has no one asked the simple question. “Did the laity want the Old Mass done away with, and something new in its place? No-one asked the Laity what they thought. It was hardly democratic in a supposedly democratic world to treat the majority of Catholics, namely they Laity with such contempt. Do the experts know better than the Faithful? After all it was the laity who kept the Faith when the Arian heresy broke out, and the bishops almost to a man became heretics or semi-heretical. Do you not know that in the velvet glove of liberalism is to be found the iron fist of tyranny? Are we not witnessing this throughout the World, and has the Church been unaffected? Could the Old Mass not have been translated into the vernacular, much as the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom has been throughout the Orthodox World? Why did Mass have to be celebrated facing the people, when in the ancient Church, both priests and people faced the East where Christ the rising Sun appears? Why do so many priests treat the sanctuary as a T.V. studio, a film set, or a stage where they can perform and entertain? If they had their back to the congregation there would be none of that. Why do we have to endure such dreadfully bad and profane music in Church, which once again is part of the secular entertainment industry? Has the Media completely dominated our lives? Why does it appear that even Popes tentatively endorse the utterly unscientific theory of Evolution which even many scientists find fault with? And why has Ecumenism had such a terrible effect on Catholics' understanding of their Faith, especially in the lands from which we come? The dialogue with non-Christian religions has been almost disastrous for the missionary charism of the Church. It has left most people in the West thinking that these millions of non-Christians really don’t need to convert, they will get to Heaven anyway! How does your wonderful vision of young people preaching fit it with that? Does it not all smack of double standards? You may think that the Church is in a wonderful state, but I fear that you are whistling in the wind. The Church has entered the Garden of Gethsemane, and you humans will soon all be tried by fire.
I am truly sorry to have gone on for so long. I know you are a man of prayer and love our dearest Mother Mary. I realize that you are trying to bring God’s love to as many people in the World, and this is wonderful. I know that you are trying to convert as many people as possible, to be open to as many as possible, but Christ did not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfil it, and there are those who fear that you might be giving mixed messages to the Catholic World. If a little child is in danger of killing itself by drinking bleach, or putting its fingers in the light switch, you will pick it up, and spank it, not because you do not love it, but to prevent it from killing itself. It is just as true, especially with regard to sexual sin, which is so alluring, and so pleasant, and so poisonous. Millions are drinking the poison. What are you going to do about it?
The animals all clapped, Pope Benedict looked thoughtful, as did Archbishop George. The two cardinals were in prayer, and the Cardinal who had been weeping, brightened up and quietly sneaked out of the Hall. The priests looked solemn, and Bishop Placid looked peaceful. A great silence on fell on everyone, and the saints looked on. Everyone felt very serious.
Pope Francis said nothing, and there was a faraway look in his eyes, as if he remembered something that he had forgotten, a smile played on his lips. There was a great rush of golden light into the Hall, a sound of thunderous singing, and there was Michael the Archangel, gleaming with golden armour studied with rubies, his wings thrashing the air, and with a great spear in his hand. He shouted in a loud voice “Arise we have work to do.”
Pope Benedict who had been praying, looked up, as did Archbishop George, only to find that they and Monsignor Grey and his fellow priests were the only people in the Hall. Pope Benedict felt something nuzzling him, and there was St. Francis of Paola’s donkey. Pope Benedict said to Archbishop George, “Do you know his name, I’ve forgotten it!” “And so have I” said the good Archbishop. Monsignor Grey suddenly felt very emotional, and a tear came to his eye. He felt in his pocket for a handkerchief, and found he had lost it. Then looking down on the ground he saw a handkerchief; it was Dolly’s. He dabbed the tear away, blew his nose, and said “That’s better” The other priests looked on and smiled. They were at last finding out who they really were.
Archbishop George said “Your Holiness, you look very tired. Would you like to go home?” “Oh yes that would be very nice? Shall we have a nice cup of tea á L’Anglais?” asked the Pope. “What a good idea.” said the Archbishop. “I think the donkey had better join us.” “Indeed he should. We’ll have to find him some hay and oats.” The donkey bowed his thanks then said, "Holy Father, may I offer you a ride?" The Archbishop helped the Pope onto the donkey, and they made their way out of the Clementine Hall, and headed for home.