Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Reform not this way or his way:

Reform this way and it is happening now with the reform of the reform but within continuity:

The Catholic Church is certainly in a major shift today and it appears throughout the world. It would seem to me to be a time very similar to the period of the Protestant Reformation and also the period of the Great Schism.

Part of the Protestant Reformation had very little to do with religion and a great deal to do with secular politics and who controlled what.

Does that sound familiar? The reformation that post-Catholic progressives want in the Church blends in very well with the secular agenda of liberal politics, especially as it concerns the "pelvic issues." These are artificial birth control, abortion, no matter what stage of pregnancy, sterilization and the like. It also includes medical ethic issues such as stem cell research, genetic manipulation and the like. It includes same sex marriage and transgendered acceptance as normal. It includes just about everything that the Catholic Church opposes. It is all political and who controls what.

It also has to do with euthanasia and end of life decisions. If the mandate of President Obama stands, I would clairvoyantly see in the future the Church's self-insurance policies paying not only for abortions, but also late term abortion and infanticide as well as drugs to induce euthanasia for those who need this "preventive health care" in this case preventing life! Don't laugh, progressive post-Catholic Catholics, many of them radical nuns and sisters would support this kind of outrage.

It also has to do with women deacons, priests and bishops.

Certainly part of the Reformation was very religious and born of a sense of frustration with the corruption of the Church of that period, often where politics trumped religion. It certainly had to do with the sexual immorality of the clergy and their poor formation and the selling of indulgences and a whole host of other bad behavior by the institutional Church. There are parallels today. There was also liturgical abuse.

The SSPX issues in some ways are like the Great Schism but not as big. But there is politics involved there too, just like in the Great Schism. For the SSPX it is all about the complete rejection of the French Revolution and its effects on the Church.

Through it all though, the Great Schism and the Protestant Reformation the true Church of Christ was able to regroup, counter-reform and re-establish.

The same will hold true for today's similarities with the Great Schism and the Protestant Reformation.

Our counter-reformation today is the Reform of the Reform within continuity. That does not imply going backwards but going forward in a new way and as Vatican II actually intended.

Legitimate authority will be reasserted as it is now being done with the radicals of the LCWR (long over due) and has been done with the Legionaries of Christ, the Jesuits, Father Charles Curran and Father Hans Kung and others of their ilk.

The Liturgy will continue to be renewed and a modified renewal of the Ordinary Form of the Mass will occur with the issuance of a revised missal within the next FIVE years. But this missal is already being celebrated in many places especially at the Vatican by the pope himself.

These are the best of times and the worst of times and quite exciting. As for me, I'm a papist and proud to say that I am. For only by following the pope and one's bishop and his obedience to the pope will we have Church unity and true renewal. Obedience to the pope, your personal bishop and all the bishops in union with the pope is in the areas of faith, morals and canon law (Church discipline)is expected of every Catholic. Of course this demands some modicum of humility to set aside one's personal preferences and personal infallibility. Otherwise we become neo-schismatics like the SSPX or neo-liberal protestants, like radical, post Catholic, catholic members of the LCWR and their ilk.

Not that I can speak for God, but God has said of these sorts of infidelities of the neo-schismatics and the neo-liberal protestants (i.e. post Catholic, catholics):

Revelations 3:15,16 “I know your works... I will vomit you out of My mouth." Now that won't be a pretty mess!


John Nolan said...

Apart from not being schismatic, the SSPX is quite right in not buying into the French Revolution myth. it was a disaster for France on almost every level. Most nations tend to mythologize their history for polemical reasons (think, for instance of the English tendency to glamorize the Tudors, and the popular Hollywood take on the American Revolution as exemplified by films like 'The Patriot').

It was hardly surprising that Simon Schama's 'Citizens - a Chronicle of the French Revolution' (1989) did not go down at all well on the other side of the English Channel. No-one likes seeing his myths debunked.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

When I took "Napolean and the French Revolution" in college, my professor, Dr. William Glover, said on the very first day of class: "I dare say that most of my colleagues on this campus, and most history professors around this country, would say that the French Revolution was a marvelous event. I,on the other hand, believe it was a terrible thing...the culmination of the very worst effects that Enlightenment rationalism can produce. We will continue to pay the political price for it for decades to come...."

Anonymous said...

Tough talk there padre. I appluad your courage to cut to the chase.

Regarding infanticide and are so right...these unthinkable actions are on the brink of happening.

The confusion of "How will Medicare pay for it?" is having the intended effect of leading the naive to accept the concept of euthanasia. I saw that first hand with a conversation with an elderly man just yesterday.

Talk of Infanticide is already worldwide...their argument is that if it's ok to perform abortion anytime before delivery...then what's the difference if you do it just after delivery?
They call it "After Abortion" meaning abortion after delivery...they won't outright call it Infanticide.
Sick, Sick, Sick, Sick


Marc said...

The SSPX are not schismatic. If you read Abp. Lefebvre's Open Letter to Confused Catholics, he has an excellent exposition of the impact of ideas of the French Revolution finally coming to fruition in the Church during the Second Vatican Council. It is quite convincing. Here is his schema in a nutshell:

Liberty --> Religious Liberty

Fraternity --> Ecumenism

Equality --> Collegiality

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I didn't call them schismatic, but neo-schismatic and if and when they are brought back into the full communion of the Church, meaning the canonical suspension of their clergy is lifted, there will be others in this group who won't come along and they'll still be neo-schismatics.

Templar said...

Count me too among those who dispise the French Revolution, The Enlightenment, and all that these so called "people's victories" are professed to be.

And the SSPX have never denied the Pope, whither in person or office, and have pledged obedience and practiced obedience to the Pope on all lawful matters since their inception. If one looks for Schism in the Church during this period look to those who created the Novus Ordo Missa in 1970, they are quuite the bit more schismatic than the SSPX will ever be or could be.

Ostro Picta said...

There tends to be so much grey historicity on all sides with regard to the French Revolution and its fruits.

I confess (as a convert and graduate of a secular university – which, granted, can darken an objective view of the Church) my opinion of the Church in this period is clouded. I still drift to my view of the Church (from the French Revolution to the reunification of Italy) as an institution clinging to its temporal power in Italy vis-à-vis a Europe in which it is used as a pawn for dictators and the elite.

I see the same romanticized view with regard to a particular view of France (and the Church) before the Revolution. Opinions such as this ignore the social reasons for the Revolution itself (and one of the first fruits of the Revolution, Marx). Overall, beliefs of their sort ignore (or down-play) the human suffering which made these upheavals possible. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying the “other-side” is sainted either (or that it did not bring about more human suffering).

I compare it my own personal view (to take it out of politics, sort of, for a moment). For example, Friday is the optional memorial for Saints John Fisher and Thomas More. I grew-up with the A Man for All Seasons image of Thomas More. And the film is true in spirit to More (albeit a little fuzzy on the complexity of More’s character). I found myself defending by hagiographic view of More when reading Peter Ackroyd’s biography.

Archbishop Lefebvre is a man of times with his views of French history and culture. It would be very surprising (given his background) that he would not be sympathetic to the Extreme French right-wing and monarchists (not always the same people).

Anonymous said...

Would that the loyalty professed by the SSPX to the Pope--and their continual reference to the papal magisterium--were shared by all the bishops and all the chanceries in the world (in many of which it is said that they automatically deep six everything that comes from Rome).

Anonymous 5 said...

I think I have to disagree with both Fr. McD and Templar on the schism issue. Templar, Grant's attack on the third day at Antietam was masterful. (Wait . . . different thread. Reboot.) SSPX isn't about the rejection of the papacy or the hierarchy as such, as Templar notes. But I'd disagree with him that the modernists are schismatic. Indeed, since their goal is to co-opt and take over the Church, including the hierarchy, schism is the last thing on their minds. They're heretics, pure and simple. The furthest they're willing to go is to call the hierarchy irrelevant, but that's purely an expediency. Give them control of that hierarchy--a parish or a diocese, for instance--and they wield that power like a hammer (Kneel for Communion and you're excommunicated, etc.).

Gene, I never had the pleasure of taking Dr. Glover, but I agree with him to a large extent.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

OP, your last sentence hits the nail on the head in terms of ultra-conservative Catholicism of the pre-Vatican II period and some of the folks in the SSPX movement who lean toward fascism, Bishop Williamson of the SSPX a sign of this sad situation. But during the time of the rise of Fascism and Nazism in Europe, there were many collaborators with them amongst Catholic ultra conservatives and the antisemitism of many (and some in high places) in the Church. Vatican II attempted to address this in a very serious way has this antisemitism of Catholics profoundly damaged the Church and made so many in Europe turn toward secularism and the principles of the French Revolution. I would not discount this as a bad influence on Vatican II but one that was meant to bring the Church out of that anti-Semitic ultra-conservatism that has spawned the collaborators of Catholics with Fascism and Nazism.

Templar said...

Anon5: LOL, Grant, 3rd day at Antietam....that's funny. But I'll gladly accept your position that Modernists are Heretics vice Schismatics.

OP: I'll grant the social reasons drove the French Revolution, much as social reasons drove the American Revoltion. Where the French failed and the Americans succeeded was in allowing the mob mentality to rise to the surface. Killing the King (God's preresentative on Earth); attacking and supressing God's Church all speak volumes in my mind to the wide gulf between the two revolutions. The American Revolution fought to defend the people's God given rights, and the French Revolution fought against God for the raw empowerment of the people.

As for me, I consider myself a Monarchist. Some automatically assume that is the same as Fascist, and perhaps it is, although I am hesitant to say so. I don't believe in democracy, on the whole I think the average person is too stupid and lazy to be allowed the privledge of the vote. Any Monarchy, or even Dictatorship, provided it is based upon the Catholic Faith, would be vastly superior to any other form of Government currently employed in the world, to include our own Representative Republican form of Government.

The French Revolution was the beginning of the end of a Civilized World, and the end of it was the Versailles Treaty that dissolved Hapsburg Monarchy in Austria.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

YIKES, the McCarthy in me wants to resurrect him to go after Templar! :)

TCR said...

Templar, I can understand your reasoning to a point, but as G.K. Chesterton so aptly said, Tradition "is the democracy of the dead...All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man's opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man's opinion, even if he is our father."

Henry VIII, on the other hand, would applaud your sentiments.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

"Take Me Out to the Courtyard"
(to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game")

Take me out to the courtyard
Take me out with the crowd.
We'll have the best revolution yet,
We'll kill the King and Marie Antoinette.

Oh, take me out to the courtyard
There's the old guillotine.
How the blade flashes and heads do fall,
We'll have the most Liberty of all...

Oh, come on out to the court yard,
Where we'll all have a ball,
For it's off, off, off with their heads
In the old courtyard!!
Every time I think of the French Revolution, I think of the conspirators in Julius Caesar when, after murdering Caesar, they cried, "Let us go forth to the market place and, waving our red weapons oe'r our heads, shout peace, freedom, liberty!!"

Ostro Picta said...

Oh dear, lol.

1. Templer, I think we are going to have to agree to disagree. It is very easy to prefer systems in which one has never lived. I much prefer the secular mess of American government to any Catholic dictatorship (or monarchy). The Church is always the loser in these situations (e.g. Vietnam and the Philippines). No dictatorship (or absolute monarchy) can ever aid the Church in the long run. Why? Men being weak creatures will use the Church for their own ends; some in the Church will do the same to the systems in question.

2. Templer, what about the American Declaration of Independence (and the snippets Jefferson was forced to cut-out)? This document is squarely aimed at George III’s sovereignty as king. It is not as if Parliament had no good reason (or need) to tax. And, for the vast majority of people in the colonies, the taxes affected them very little. One argument (I do not agree with) is a minority of wealthy farmers and business men whipped-up the average citizen to turn them against their rightful sovereign, George III. Unless, of course, you support the Stuarts (joke).

3. “I would not discount this as a bad influence on Vatican II but one that was meant to bring the Church out of that anti-Semitic ultra-conservatism that has spawned the collaborators of Catholics with Fascism and Nazism.” Well said Father!

D. Diderot said...

Were those Catholics wo were anti-Semitic, ultra-conservative Nazi and fascist collaborators "assisting at" the Tridentine mass when they went to church on Sundays and Holy Days?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

DD, more than likely like those molesting priests and sisters who assisted at the Ordinary Form of the Mass since the 1970's. It is a mystery isn't it.

M. Robespierre said...

"Any law which violates the inalienable rights of man is essentially unjust and tyrannical; it is not a law at all."

Templar said...

Sure weak sinful mean would use the Church for their own ends in a Monarcy or Dictatorship. Kind of how weak sinful men use the hurch for their own ends in a Democracy ora Republic. Corruption and sin, and abuse of power will always be with us, what's the difference?

I prefer Monarchy because it's efficient. I detest Democracy because it is inefficient. Nothing devised by man will ever be perfect, so let's at least work on efficiency. Will it lead to horrible abuses (yes it will) but it will also lead to grand achievements. The only societies which have imparted lasting achievments upon the world have been Monarchies and Empires. Even America, the greatest of Democracies, is falling apart at the seams after a measly 225 years existence. We creak along in stagnation, incapable of making even critical decisions of national importance becasue everyone wants to be heard, every individual has a "right". It's silly really. It's an illusion.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Robespierre, which inalienable rights of man and who is defining them? LOL...

Anonymous 2 said...

I am not a professional theologian, philosopher, or historian, but an amateur at best, so I should probably be quiet. However, as always, I seek correction by those who have more knowledge and wisdom than I.

Speaking, then, as an amateur, I have always preferred what I understand to be one respectable interpretation of St. Augustine on the relationship of the City of Man (founded on love of self) and the City of God (founded on love of God) – that the former cannot simply be identified with the secular world and the latter with Holy Mother Church, but that, in historical time, the two Cities interpenetrate and interweave within both the secular world and the Church. It should be no surprise, then, that throughout history we see the sad results of sin in the activities and government of both.

That said, I would like to think, and I believe, that the Holy Spirit is far more reliably effective within Holy Mother Church, the Bride of Christ on Earth, than within the secular world, and therefore that Church governance is appropriately organized on a different basis than secular government.

In the secular sphere, then, government must be organized differently. Is democracy perfect? Of course not (and we mortals will never create Heaven on Earth), but we can always quote Winston Churchill to good effect on that point:

“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

The genius of the American form of government, born in a very different kind of Revolution from the much more sanguinary, brutal, and iconoclastic French Revolution, is that it applies the adage “Divide and Conquer” with great wisdom, where what is divided is power and what it is sought to conquer thereby is the worst abuses of that power. Of course, the patient is ailing at the present time, and any physician who would restore her to health must formulate a complex prescription (including ensuring a properly educated and civically virtuous leadership and electorate, among many other ingredients).

I was asked once to give the naturalization address to new citizens. I found no better way to conclude it than to quote the wonderful words of “America the Beautiful,” with its emphasis on virtue and God’s grace. Father, can we add these inspiring words to our contemplation during these two weeks (I imagine we will be singing them in Church for sure at an appropriate point)?

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Nicely stated, Anon5. Churchill was Catholic, by the way...

Ostro Picta said...

Templer, so much of that “silliness” depends on whether an individual is in a majority or a minority position within a particular society. The interconnection between church and state throughout the Church’s Western history is prime example enough of how belief in Christ can be effected by the morality of a state that has the blessing of the Church. But I completely understand where you are coming from. I am more of a Hamiltonian than a Jeffersonian.

That was a very good quote Anonymous 2. Hurrah for checks and balances.


Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

I'm sorry, nicely stated Anon2. I get my Anonymi mixed up. However, I believe Anon 5 could have made the same statement. Now, you see how much better you sound without Millie's bad influence...LOL!

rcg said...

I am not convinced the form of American Government the quotes refer to is the one in effect today.

Templar said...

Democracy as it existed in Churchill's England wasn't true democracy (thank God) really, so one must take his reference with a grain of salt. the Monarch was still very much the Head of State in Churchill's Day, and England still very much an Empire. The peoples representatives were from a very limited class of people, propertied and with a sense of investment in the country and her affairs. Under those terms Democracy could actually be managed.

And Gene, Churchill was CoE, although I dare say he would be one of the ones fleeing to Rome today.

OP: My brother and I always end up spitting Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian at each other in pseudo disgust with each others political views LOL.

John Nolan said...

Neither Fascism (Italy) nor National Socialism (Germany) were ultra-conservative; they were really Marxist 'heresies' and the erstwhile Marxist Mussolini's model for one-party government was that of Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Franco's Spain was decidedly conservative, but it would be stretching a point to call it fascist.

In Britain Sir Oswald Mosley had the ability to lead either the Conservative or Labour parties but embraced fascism in the belief that the old politics had failed and that fascism was the politics of the future. If the terms 'right' and 'left' which date from the French Revolution still have any meaning, then Fascism and Nazism, being revolutionary movements, belong on the extreme left.

Regarding the Church's temporal power remarked on by Ostro Picta, the existence of the Papal States was a means for the papacy to maintain its independence when Italy was the 'cockpit of Europe'.

John Nolan said...

Ireland had her own Fascist movement in the 1930s, General O'Duffy's Blueshirts, but even its most ardent members had to concede that the cry 'Hail O'Duffy!' didn't quite have the ring of 'Heil Hitler!'

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Templar, I stand corrected on Churchill. I had somehow gotten the impression from one of my books that he was Catholic ( I think his mother was). I remember thinking thjat was odd at the time. I have read a couple of his bios, but one just coverred WW II. The other was Manchester's, but I don't remember much talk about his religion. Thanks.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene: Thank you for your gracious comment, but there is no need to apologize for confusing me with Anon. 5, who I agree could have made the same statement, and likely more eloquently. I confuse myself all the time. In fact, I have a sign in my office that says: “I may look busy but I’m just confused.” Re Steven, I hope that he too would agree with the statement, but I will let him speak for himself when he comes back online.

Templar: I might want to quibble with you just a bit about the power of Parliament vis-a-vis the Monarch at the time Churchill made his famous utterance about democracy (1947), but I do think you are on to something very important.

If I understand the matter correctly, Churchill said this as Leader of the Opposition during a debate in the House of Commons in which he was opposing the Labour Government’s proposal to reduce the blocking power of the House of Lords from two years to one. I believe his point was that allowing the elected government in the Commons such increased power would actually be dangerous for the liberties of the British people and indeed for democracy properly understood. A fuller quote is as follows:

“We accept in the fullest sense of the word the settled and persistent will of the people. All this idea of a group of supermen and super-planners, such as we see before us, “playing the angel,” as the French call it, and making the masses of the people do what they think is good for them, without any check or correction, is a violation of democracy. Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time; but there is the broad feeling in our country that the people should rule, continuously rule, and that public opinion, expressed by all constitutional means, should shape, guide, and control the actions of Ministers who are their servants and not their masters.”

I believe the fuller quote supports my basic point about the value of checks and balances such as we have, in theory, under the U.S. Constitution. In that respect the American form of government is structurally more conservative than Parliamentary forms of government tend to be. For this reason, I have always supported the power of the House of Lords to delay legislation and thus provide time for further reflection and deliberation. For the same reason, I also supported the pre-Tony Blair era composition of the Lords in which the hereditary peers had more power than they do today.

Like most everything else in the creaky old “unwritten” (there are, in fact, some important historical texts) British Constitution, the powers and composition of the Lords were the result of British “muddling through” various moments of crisis to create something that, while not the result of “rational planning,” was eminently “reasonable” and, moreover, something that worked, not to mention something that honored history and tradition in a manner that also represented an appropriate accommodation to modernity. Much the same could be said of the current British Constitutional Monarchy. I trust that Burke would approve. As I understand it, there is ongoing discussion in Britain regarding further possible reforms of the House of Lords.

I would be interested in John’s thoughts about all this. Does my account sound right to you?

But Templar (and rcg): Agreed, the American patient is ailing in many ways and needs treatment to restore her to health. Part of that treatment, perhaps the most important part even, is to pray for her good recovery (and her related recovery of the good through virtuous leadership and citizenship).

Anonymous 2 said...


BTW, In case you missed it, during her recent four day Diamond Jubilee, in a spirit of trans-Atlantic reconciliation, Queen Elizabeth announced the “Forgive and Forget” Program under which any Americans who swear allegiance to Her Majesty by July 4 of this year will receive a full pardon with ancestral retroactive effect to the time of the Revolution. Applications should be sent, in triplicate, to the following address:

Mr. M.E.L. Gibson, C.B.E.
Forgive and Forget Program
1776 If You Believe This, You’ll Believe Anything Street,
London WC 1
United Kingdom

Templar said...

Anon2, I love teh fuller version of the quote and the back ground info, I had never seen or headr that before.

I understand the attachment to checks and balances, and agree in principle that was what crafted for the US by Mr. Madison is, as written, a thing of beauty. But in practice it is no longer relevant. The US Government, which was never really Democratic, does not function as designed. The checks and balances system was designed not only to divide the powers of the Federal Government into branches, but also to balance the powers of teh 50 seperate states against the potential for Tyranny from the Central Government. States Rights and States Powers are now a joke in the US, and the only checks and balances that remain are between the branches of the Federal Government, and even today as a quick glance at the news will say, are simply ignored. We live for all intents and purposes under an "almost" Dictatorship, but once diametrically oppossed to the Catholic Faith. if we're not going to practice real representative Government I would rather live under a Catholic Monarch. Hell I'd rather live under Franco than what we have now.

Anonymous 2 said...

Thanks for that observation, Templar. Yes, of course you are right that the genius of the Founders’ “Divide and Conquer” strategy is the division and dispersal of governmental power among many different power centers – a vertical division of powers between the federal and the state governments, as well as a horizontal division of powers within the federal government (replicated within state governments too), also entailing appropriate checks and balances. Of course, our circumstances have changed dramatically in the intervening two and a quarter centuries – technologically, economically, socially, and politically. Moreover, the patient (our republic) is definitely ailing today. However, she has been sick before (never more so perhaps than in the early 1860s, but not only then) and has recovered.

I do want to remain optimistic about the prospects of a good recovery today as well, while recognizing my own previously conceded quixotic tendencies towards idealism. As suggested earlier, the patient presents a complex ensemble of symptoms indicative of a complex of ailments, which will in turn require a complex prescription to cure (and we must continue to work for cure, must we not? Otherwise, we still have until July 4 to contact the above address =)).

Of course, different physicians will have different prescriptions to offer. The ones currently having care of the patient (i.e., the current crowd in Washington D.C. and the forces that act upon them, and often their counterparts at state level too) seem to be so intent on squabbling amongst themselves and/or on self-seeking that the health of the patient is all but ignored.

However, I continue to hope for the restoration of a robust civic virtue, focused on the common good rather than self-seeking, among both political leaders and ordinary citizens. To be sure, many other ingredients are necessary as well, and ideally they should all be administered together. Regarding the particular issue of the proper vertical balance of powers in today’s very complex circumstances, the Europeans (within the context of the European Union) have committed to adaptation of the venerable Catholic principle of subsidiarity, at least on paper (and, I believe, to some extent in practice too). Could we not do the same perhaps in trying to find a workable principle for vertical power balancing?