Saturday, December 15, 2012


Why in the name of God and all that is holy, was the following removed from the Post Vatican II Requiem Mass? Does it not capture the sentiments of the horror of death when we are separated from God and loved ones?

Libera Me

íbera me, Dómine, de morte ætérna, in die illa treménda:
Quando cœli movéndi sunt et terra.
Dum véneris iudicáre sǽculum per ignem.
Tremens factus sum ego, et tímeo, dum discússio vénerit, atque ventúra ira.
Quando cœli movendi sunt et terra.
Dies illa, dies iræ, calamitátis et misériæ, dies magna et amára valde.
Dum véneris iudicáre sǽculum per ignem.
Réquiem ætérnam dona eis, Dómine: et lux perpétua lúceat eis.

English Translation:

Deliver me, (Wouldn't Liberate Me, be a better translation?) O Lord, from death eternal on that fearful day,
When the heavens and the earth shall be moved,
When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.
I am made to tremble, and I fear, till the judgment be upon us, and the coming wrath,
When the heavens and the earth shall be moved.
That day, day of wrath, calamity, and misery, day of great and exceeding bitterness,
When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.
Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord: and let light perpetual shine upon them.

There has been a lot of talk lately and once again about gun control and who and who can't purchase them. It does appear to this American priest that we Americans are gun-crazy and our gun culture leads to home violence and the type of demonic violence we have just experienced.

But we also have a problem with mental health and a reluctance to institutionalize on a permanent or long term basis those who are a threat to themselves and to others. We emptied our institutions in the 1980's and the reluctance to revisit common sense solutions concerning the mentally ill has led to a proliferation of street people and crime.

But I do think that those who are criminally insane either temporarily or permanently and are inclined to copy-cat killings are egged on by our out of control news media that has turned news into entertainment.

Is it necessary to have round the clock news and news specials on the very day that a tragedy hits and all the facts are muddled and people are in a state of shock?

And today many national reporters think that the best television interview is one where the one being interviewed breaks down and cries. They believe too that the best film footage is the horror on people's faces when they find out that their child is the one who was killed. These newscasters think showing the initial reaction makes for good reporting and good news skills.

I'm not saying there shouldn't be reporting of a big news story. It just shouldn't be taking place as the news is in progress and it shouldn't be turned into a reality show for the country's sick entertainment.

The next mass murder will take place because the one who is now plotting it sees how much attention it will bring to him and that he can go out in a blaze of national and international news coverage. The notoriety may be just too much for him not to want to avoid.

Finally from the perspective of faith, I realize that many people are brought closer to their faith when these things happen but many others are pushed away. Perhaps our sanitized Catholicism and Christianity in general today has not prepared people for the harsh realities of sin and death. Nor have we prepared our people to deal with the demonic. If our theology of Church and Jesus is all about hand-holding Christianity and singing kumbaya songs to comfort us and all we hear is Pollyanna, Charlie Brown theology, how can we cope with why Jesus came and was crucified?

Perhaps the Spanish Church in pre-Vatican II times with its emphasis on the sufferings of Christ needs some sort of resurrection in our Catholic psyche.

As well, in the post below, I have excerpts of Faure's Requiem based on the Extraordinary Form's Requiem Mass. I also include the Gregorian Chanted Dies Irae, Day of Wrath.

How much better do the words, if not the melody capture the sentiments of true Catholic theology at the time of death, especially tragic, senseless death.

The Ordinary Form's Funeral Mass might see the following replacing the actual liturgical words of the Requiem:

1. In place of the Introit "Requiem Eterna" why not just sing "Be Not Afraid."

2. Let's remove the Kyrie altogether from the Requiem Mass

3. Let's remove the Day of Wrath altogether from the Requiem Mass and sing Alleluia for the Gospel Acclamation

4. Let's sing "On Eagle Wings" in place of Pie Jesus

5. Let's get rid of Libera Me altogether and sing in its place "For All the Saints"

6. Let's get rid of In Paradisum and sing in its place "Going Home"

When we do this sort of thing to the Liturgy, whether it is the Requiem, the Nuptial Mass or the typical Sunday Mass, can't we see and experience how we have substituted banal tripe for authentic liturgical spirituality? Can't we see how we have lost a sense of the sacred and made the Liturgy into horizontal confab?

The traditional Requiem sung in plain chant or more solemn versions of Gregorian Chant captures the sentiments of our heart and pierces it. Our culture that wants a quick fix in time of pain and grief does not want the soul piercing depth of spiritual reality that the authentic Requiem brings to the grieving soul and purges it with its haunting, sobering reality.


Gene said...

Connecticut has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. They are not being enforced and they do not work.

There are now many people on the streets who should be locked up in institutions. But, the liberal do-goods whined about "institutionalization" so now they are all in group homes (with notoriously poor staffing and control), or they are "homeless."

Political correctness and stupid laws restricting background checks and personal investigations of weird or crazy people allow many nuts to slip through the cracks.

Existing gun laws are more than adequate, but they must be enforced. They are not.

Punishing law abiding citizens who own guns for the behavior of crazies and criminals is simply wrong and stupid.

Criminals will never give up their guns. They will always have access through importation, black market, theft, etc. With relatively little machinery and some metal crafting skills, guns can easily be made "underground."

The whole gun control thing is a Leftist ruse of disinformation aimed at de-constructing individual rights and giving government the ultimate control of our lives and society. It is very similar to the de-construction of the Mass and liturgy.

So, arm responsible adult LEO's or veterans and put them in schools. That is what Israel has done. Assign and pay National Guardsmen to serve in schools. Dress them in civilian clothes and tell them to smile. Or, let teachers carry.

Do not use rent-a-cops or these wastoids from so-called "securty" agencies." They could not hit a barn from inside and they have no training to speak of. Get serious.

This occasional type of gun violence is a symptom of the decay of our morals and culture, the de-emphasis upon family and Church, and the head-in-the-sand mentality of social workers, parole boards, judges, and politicians. Gun control is like taking aspirin for cancer. If I want to kill a whole bunch of people in a school or mall, I can easily do it with a baseball bat, a machete, or a simply devised home-made bomb. You cannot keep a determined nut from killing a whole bunch of people unless there is someone there with a gun who knows how to use it.

A loaded gun, carried concealed by a law abiding citizen is no threat to anyone.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

"A loaded gun, carried concealed by a law abiding citizen is no threat to anyone."
True, until that law abiding, peaceful person, goes into a rage against his wife who he just discovered cheated on him and in a moment of temporary anger and insanity pulls out that gun and kills her and himself as well as his children.

I agree the gun laws we now have are adequate but are not enforced, but we also have a gun culture, a wild west attitude and a media that glorifies violence, denies death and seeks empty means to deal with actual violence and death happening on our streets, in our homes and at our schools all too frequently.

Templar said...

Tobacco causes 53x more deaths per year than firearms! When as a nation will we do what's right and ban smoking?

Medical Errors cause 20x more deaths per year than firearms! When as a nation will we do what's right and ban Doctors and Hospitals?

Alcohol abuse causes 11x more deaths per year than firearms! When as a nation will we do what's right and ban alcohol? (oh that's right we did once, there's a wonderful lesson to revisit in that as it pertains to gun control).

Motor vehicles cause 4x more deaths per year than firearms! When as a nation will we do what's right and ban cars?

We are not "gun crazy" as a nation. We are a nation founded on the principle that only an armed and informed population can defend itself against Tyranny. Tyranny in this case is spelled GOVERNMENT.

Banning guns is more the solution to violence than banning spoons is the solution to obesity.

Joseph Johnson said...

I very much agree with you about the problems with the way we handle the mentally ill.

I am the Solicitor-General (prosecuting attorney) for the State Court of Ware County and for the Waycross Municipal Court. These are the misdemeanor and traffic courts for my city and county.

As I'm sure you are aware, the criminal court system is not designed to deal with the problems associated with mental illness but we often have contact with such people. It is not unusual to have seriously mentally ill people appear in court who are "off their meds" (mental health medications) and, in many cases, if they had taken these "meds" as prescribed they might not have committed the behaviors that brought them to court. It is certainly also true that there are some who really should be living in an institutional environment and for whom medication is just a band-aid and we cross our fingers and hope nothing really serious happens.

Our misdemeanor sentences only last twelve months or less so a mental health compliance condition as part of a sentence of probation would expire with each sentence. The offender then may get back off his/her meds after completing a probated sentence and we end up seeing them again in court. Medications for people "on the outside" (whether or probation or not) are state-paid (and usually more expensive and what they really need to live as normally as they can) while medication for county jail inmates are county-paid (usually less expensive but not what they really need--but designed to more or less calm them down in the jail environment).

Georgia law has a procedure known a involuntary outpatient commitment. This is the next best thing to institutionalization as it is court-mandated mental health treatment with a provision that a patient in noncompliance can be arrested and forcibly medicated if it is found that they have stopped taking their medications. This procedure requires a finding by a probate judge that the patient has been found to be a potential harm to himself or others (based on a doctor's opinion). These orders last twelve months but can be renewed near the end of each twelve month term and continued for years on end, if needed.

As prosecutor, whenever I encounter defendants that I believe meet this definition, as a part of sentencing, I recommend that the judge have them evaluated for this commitment process by the local mental health agency. If so, I then prepare the necessary petition and file it with the probate judge (which is another court entirely) and advocate commitment. This is not normally part of my job description as a prosecutor but I have taken it on in hopes of ensuring that these people get the help they need and, hopefully, to keep them out of criminal court in the future and better protect the public. It won't solve the problem completely but it may help on the margins.

Henry Edwards said...

What is the meaning of life in a culture where it is acceptable in polite society to favor infanticide by the millions? Why 24-hour TV coverage of these isolated events, but no notice of babies butchered daily by the thousands? How do these occasional but rare acts of random violence by mentally disturbed individuals compare with continuous institutionalized violence by presumably normal people? Which actually says something about our society?

Templar said...

Exactly Henry! Thank you! We kill 4000 unborn a day in this country, start putting that on the news and 20 kids killed once a year or twice a year by a lunatic will pale in comparison.

Gene said...

That is exactly the truth. The murder rate in this country is around 55 per million...that is a very small percentage....IF you do not add abortion statistics. Add those in and see what you get.

Now, since guns are tightly controlled in Europe, they are lamenting the "knife culture" that has arisen. I guess when they ban knives, it will be a "baseball bat" culture or a "sharp stick" culture. This is mindless irrationalism...treating the symptom and not the disease.

Marc said...

Joseph, I am a career public defender currently representing death row inmates. Previously, i was representing defendants accused of violent felonies in Macon.

I could not agree with you more that mental health issues are the main cause in tragedies such as this and a contributing factor in a huge number of criminal cases. The general public remains blissfully unaware of this as the undercurrent of our criminal justice system as it is all too often swept aside because the system is not equipped to deal with it in even a remotely meaningful way.

There is little attention paid to solving the problem of inadequate mental health treatment in Georgia or Alabama (where I'm currently practicing). I'm sure this is a national problem.

The problem of mental health is related to a further problem, as well: poverty that leads to a tortuous childhood that either causes or exacerbates serious mental health conditions.

I'll say it this way -- if a middle-aged, middle-class home maker can have anxiety necessitating prescription medication, imagine the mental state of an unemployed, impoverished young man who grew up being sexually abused by his mother's boyfriends while she watched and did nothing... These problems are bigger than we are. But, before we can even start to fix them, we have to see there's a problem.

Thank you for your service, Joseph. Sounds like you're doing good work there in Ware County.

My Rocket Launcher said...

Just because we are doing many things wrong doesn't mean that we should be doing this also wrong. Just because we are stealing doesn't mean we should stop murdering.

I've started this campaign to fight for "Our rights to carry rocket launchers".

Through this I'm trying to create awareness on how ridiculous are the gun supporters campaign. Hope you visit my site and help spread the message.

Pater Ignotus said...

The craziness associated with guns in our culture is the belief that more guns mean less crime and, therefore, greater security.

This is a perverse lie that has been pushed by the gun lobby to convince Americans that we can be safe only if every granny, teacher, usher, judge, or preacher in the pulit is carrying a gun.


"Regions and states with higher rates of gun ownership have significantly higher rates of homicide than states with lower rates of gun ownership." [Matthew Miller, Deborah Azrael & David Hemenway, Rates of Household Firearm Ownership and Homicide Across US Regions and States, 1988-1997, 92 Am. J. Pub. Health 1988 (2002)]

"Where guns are prevalent, there are significantly more homicides, particularly gun homicides." [David Hemenway, Private Guns, Public Health 65 (2004)]

"Americans own an estimated 270 million firearms – approximately 90guns for every 100 people. [Small Arms Survey, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City at 39 (Aug. 2007)]

We are ALREADY as heavily armed as any population has ever been, yet the gun-related crime continues.

Templar said...

LOL and the Clarion Call of the Bleeding Heart Liberal is sounded. Enter Kavanaugh right on cue.

The largest standing Army on the planet is the NRA, 4 million plus members sporting over 3 million of what liberals mistakenly call "assault rifles". Come get us :)

John Nolan said...

The texts for the Requiem Mass were standardized in the Tridentine reform; prior to that there was a greater variety. A lot of these older chants have been restored, although I agree there are too many options. One chant for the final commendation (and it has St Gall neumes, so is first millennium) is 'Libera me Domine, de viis inferni, qui portas aereas confregisti'. Another chant 'Cum Lazarum resuscitasti' has as its verse 'Qui venturus es iudicare vivos et mortuos, et saeculum per ignem'. I agree that most Catholic funerals are anodyne at best and embarrassing at worst, and their ethos is fundamentally protestant, although lacking the solemn grandeur of the Book of Common Prayer.

Regarding gun control, the UK has the most restrictive laws on the planet, and yet gun crime, often linked to black gang culture, is on the increase. After WW II there were a lot of guns in circulation, but criminals knew that those who killed with a firearm were hardly ever reprieved. And it wasn't a question of twenty-five years on death row and endless appeals; three weeks after sentence there'd be an 8am appointment with Albert Pierrepoint.

Still, the idea that any nutcase with a driving licence can purchase a veritable arsenal over the counter is a touch worrying.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

John, the availability of guns and to nut cases is the most worrying aspect of this. Why in the name of God and all that is holy did his mother need all the guns she had if these were in her name in fact and then so easily accessible to a deranged child?

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - Why? Probably because the gun lobby has convinced many Americans that having guns is a way to be safe and secure, that arming more poeple with guns is a way to reduce gun violence, and that the "government" is plotting to take away the guns you have, so you'd better buy more.

People who are afraid - or made to feel afraid - are easily manipulated by pernicious lies.

Templar said...

Father, she legally owned 2 9mm side arms and one M4 style rifle, that is hardly all that much. The mother was reportedly an avid, and practiced gun owner, although I will confess it "appears" (we do not know the facts yet) that her weapons were not adequately protected to keep the autistic 20 year old away from them.

Be that as it may, when the economy collapses, and it surely will as anyone with a basic understanding of math and the desire to look into it can see for themselves, households will want a minimum of one shotgun, one scoped rifle, enough semi-automatics to outfit the rest of the household, and if you can afford it, side arms for the lot of you, with a bare minimum of 300 rounds per weapon.


When US credit is worthless, and there is no one there to underwrite the fake money we produce, and the urban hordes start getting error messages on their EBT cards, it will take less then 1 week for the food supplies in urban areas to be drained, which will lead to rioting. When the rioting starts it spiral out of control quickly as the urban hordes move out from the population centers looking to steal what the Government no longer can give to them.

Anonymous 2 said...

Templar, I enjoyed your listing and its rhetorical flourishes. However, I submit that you set up a bunch of straw men. No-one reasonable is suggesting a ban on firearms. What reasonable people are suggesting is reasonable regulation. Or perhaps, as Gene suggests, what is needed is enforcement of existing reasonable regulation. A complete ban seems out of the question anyway, given the Second Amendment and its interpretation by the Supreme Court.

Whether what is needed is reasonable regulation or enforcement of existing regulation I leave to those who have studied the issue more than I have. But one doesn’t need to be an expert to see there is a problem that needs to be fixed. These high profile tragedies may be the actions of the mentally disturbed, but does this explain the more than 9000 gun-related deaths each year in the U.S.? Compare that figure with the 20 or so in Britain each year (equivalent to 120 adjusted for population). I agree that the overall murder rate in the U.K. is worryingly high (although the overall murder rate in the U.S. is almost four times greater). Clearly, then, the ready availability of all manner of firearms is only part of a much deeper and bigger problem, but it_is_part of that bigger problem.

We will only be able to make progress on this issue, as on so many others, if we get ideological fanaticism, misinformation, and money out of it, and get sound principle, good information, and wise decision-making into it.

And before someone uses the “L” word in response to this comment, let me ask a rhetorical question of John Nolan, although I would be happy for him to respond to it: What do you think the Tory Party (i.e., the British Conservative Party), as the traditional party of “law and order,” would say to any suggestion that we allow all manner of people to run around with all manner of firearms? More than a touch worrying indeed!

Anonymous 2 said...

From your last comment, Templar, are we to infer that you would be in favor of reasonable gun control of the economy were in better shape? And it may be worth observing that those mobs will be even more dangerous because they will have firearms.

Let us pray that we never see your Hobbesian dystopia realized. In that regard, even for those who favor the minimalist state, surely law and order is a legitimate government function, indeed_ the_ primary government function. That is why the armed forces, the National Guard, and the police have weapons.

Gene said...

"When seconds count, the police are only minutes away."

The straw man is the one simpletons like Ignotus and the anti-gun Brady Bunch set up. They have this image of hordes of bug-eyed survivalists waiting to swoop down out of the mountains of Idaho with "assault rifles" (what is an assault rifle anyway)and lay waste to fun-loving homosexuals and abortion supporters everywhere. Or, they have nightmares about good ol' boys all over Ga. and Alabama taking pot shots at people for fun. "Eeewww, eewwww, guns are evil...ooohhhh, guns kill people." Funny, none of my guns has ever sneaked out of the house and killed anybody.
Guess what, I am going out Monday and purchase a Browning Hi Power 9MM pistol. I have always wanted one. It was the preferred weapon of the British SOE and the French underground during WWII, and is still one of John Browning's true masterpieces. I have always been a Model 1911 .45 caliber pistol fan and have carried one (legally) for years. But, I think I will especially enjoy having one now. Also, as an in your face to Obama and the rest of you whining morons, I am going to buy about 500rounds of ammo. Hey, maybe I'll buy some liquor (moonshine, of course) and sit on the porch and cling to my Bible while I shoot at stuff.
I'll probably send some money to the NRA, as well. Along with the Republican Party and the Catholic Church, that is the only organization I support financially...unless you count the money confiscated from me by the Government.
I would like to see several million more firearms out there in the hands of law abiding citizens, if for no other reason that it bothers some of you so much. LOL!

John Nolan said...

There were few restrictions on firearms in the UK until the 1920s and the right to bear arms was part of the Common Law (in which case it applied to the colonies and later the United States). I always believed that the Second Amendment had more to do with organized militias than private gun ownership which in any case was allowed under Common Law, but I may be wrong on that. The present UK ban on all pistols (even those of .22 calibre) was a knee-jerk reaction to the Dunblane school shootings in 1996. It has led to an absurd situation where the Olympic shooting team have to practise in Switzerland (where all able-bodied men are reservists and keep arms and ammunition at home, and where there is hardly any gun crime), a Royal Marine was given a lengthy prison sentence for bringing back a disassembled weapon from Iraq as a souvenir, and last week a senior NCO in the SAS (no less) was released from prison only after a public outcry. His offence - possession of a pistol and ammunition.

So the only people armed in Britain are criminals and toerag crack-dealers from inner-city sink estates, and the police, who have taken to swaggering around looking like Robocop and end up shooting the wrong people. Unlike Templar, I fail to see why a female schoolteacher needs enough hardware to start a small war (was she afraid that al-Qaeda might come knocking at her door?) but as a former TA officer who was trained in the correct and safe use of firearms it is a bit galling to be told I cannot join a gun club and legally own a pistol.

Anonymous 2 said...

Thanks for that helpful update from the U.K., John. Without knowing more, my initial reaction is that what you describe sounds like unreasonable regulation, absurd even.

When I was doing pupillage at the Bar in the late 1970s, I joined the Marylebone Rifle and Pistol Club in London (While living in Germany, I had discovered a talent for marksmanship and I enjoyed target shooting). I used only the Club issue firearms and never applied to own a gun of my own. Friends of mine at the Club who did own guns explained to me that before a licence was issued the police would come to their house to inspect the premises and make sure the guns were secure. That sounded like_reasonable_regulation.

Here is a link to a Wikipedia article, which will give interested readers as much as (and doubtless more than) they would ever want to know about the history, current status, and sociological context of gun control in the U.K.

Are you sure you could not join a gun club? They don’t seem to be banned. But Wikipedia is not necessarily reliable (although it has markedly improved over time).

Templar said...

Anon 2, I respectfully beg to differ. The Socialist hordes that call themselves the "progressives" or democrats, almost to a man would readily vote for a full and total ban of weapons by law abiding citizens. If anyone thinks anything other than the bloodbath that would ensue should they try to enforce such a ban keeps them from doing it, they are lying to themselves. The Left believes the "State" knows best, and individuals can't be trusted with anything, let alone weapons.

As for my Hobbesian scenario, it's a matter of when not if. Both parties are as guilty of spending like drunk sailors on liberty, and as soon as China gets tired of buying $1Trillion in Treasury Notes a year, the house of cards collapses and Hobbes enters the stage. If no meaningful effort by the Government to reduce spending (real spending, not slowing the growth of debt that they like to call spending cuts) happens in the current negotiations, don't be too shocked if US credit gets down graded again. But whether it does or not, the important part is that, someday, something will happen that will trigger massive chaos. World debt, solar flare EMP, pandemic, take your pick; and when that happens there will simply not be enough Military or Police in this country to protect you. If you can not protect yourself you will be a victim, period. Police response plans in the most sophisticated cities in the world (like NYC and LA) have riot response plans that call for mobilization and containment in 24 hours. In today's world of twitter and text messaging the truth is that mobs can coordinate faster and more responsively than police can. They can assemble a mob, and be gone before the police can even begin to respond. Remember LA when the cops were not convicted for beating a black guy? Riots so bad, the police just pulled back and didn't contest the area until the violence petered out. In a case of collapse of food, banking, or electricity you can forget about that violence petering out.

So, in the long run, no if the economy were in better shape I would still not be in favor of any gun control measures. I want nothing from the US Government but what the Founding Father's saw fit to charge them with, namely to provide for the common defense against outside invasion, and to regulate trade. Everything else, and I do mean EVERYTHING, should be the purview of the States.

Templar said...

John Nolan: The 2nd Amendment, as ratified, reads thus: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

This has been challenged on the grounds you allude to (it has more to do with a militia then a citizen) and in all cases (as recently as 2008) the US Supreme Court has ruled the opposite is true. The wording is important, militia being referenced as a prefatory clause, while the operative clause references the people, the militia being a subset of the people, it is the people's right to keep and bear arms. Period.

And all of the founding Fathers, to include Washington, Jefferson, and Adams made it clear in their personal statements that the right to bear arms was as a last defense by the people to protect against tyranny. It's placement as the 2nd Amendment is crucial, as the most Prized Amendment (the first) is entirely dependent upon the 2nd for it's existence.

Gene said...

Britain is a socialist sump. They have gone from one of the greatest nations on earth to a tiny back water of a country that is winding down like the little playthings they used to make for their children. It is heart breaking to watch. Obama and his ilk want the same thing for the US. Please do not use Britain for a measure of anythinng.

John Nolan said...

Thanks, Templar. However, if it is a Common Law right to bear arms, then that stands unless modified or superseded by Statute Law (as it has been in the UK to an absurd extent).

Gene, all the PC nostrums which trump common sense (feminism and gay rights, for example) originated on your side of the pond. It is the size of the USA and her federal structure which militates against the socialist nanny state, but for how much longer?

At the height of her economic power (the mid-19th century) Britain had to accept that she could not exert any more than a peripheral influence over what happened even in Europe. The USA, despite being the only remaining superpower, is equally impotent in the Middle East, Iran and North Korea. As far as Kim Jong-Un and his Chinese allies are concerned, you are a backwater. Welcome to the real world.

Gene said...

Yes, John, but neither Britain nor the US has to allow it to remain that way. You are correct about all the PC nonsense originating over is a result of a European egalitarianism (from which Britain has a bit of distance)born of the French Revolution which has found its way into our society. It is unfortunate and I hope it is eradicated by sound Constitutional Republican (not the party) thinking before it is too late...if it isn't already. I lament Britain because, in many fundamental ways, America is England.

Anonymous 2 said...

That is a very interesting comment, Templar. At the deepest level the issues you raise are intractable. The movie to see on all this is, of course, The Mission, with Jeremy Irons and Robert De Niro. Now wouldn’t I love for St. Josephs to arrange a showing and subsequent discussion of that one!

Gene said...

Why The Mission? What it said to me, other than being another liberal "anti-Imperialist" movie (libs love those because they like to equate conservatives with Imperialists), it only points out that a well-armed populace is the only bastion against tyranny. Oh, yeah, there were the poor Third World "noble savages" oppressed by evil white men and the Catholic Church sort of looking away and then some Priest said, essentially, "ain't it awful." Please. Give me a break. Another stereotypical "Hollywood" liberal moralism with two nut case lefties, de Niro and Irons. ad vomitus.

Padre Ignotus said...

"The Mission" does a good job portraying the historical reality of the Jesuit "reducciones" established in South America in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Jesuits overcame the then current view of how "noble savages," who were, in fact, being oppressed by evil white men, should be seen.

Recognizing in them the dignity God gives to all humans, the Jesuits protected them as best they could until political practicalities, based on human greed, led the king of Spain to cede to Portugal territory in which the reducciones were located. Somewhere between 100,000 and 300,000 were baptized into the Catholic faith before this extraordinary experiment in evangelization ended.

With that transfer of power came a king who did not recognize the "savages" as humans and the closing of the reducciones. The Indios returned to the forest, having been victims of European power struggles between two "Catholic" monarchies.

I have shown and discussed "The Mission" in previous parishes - it is certainly worth the effort.
For more information on the Jesuit missions, see

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus,

For all its faults, The Mission told it right and must be the only film made in the last forty years which shows the Catholic Church in a favourable light. The Jesuit 'reductions' in South America were based on an ideal of equality under God but obedience to his Church which is sadly anathema to most modern liberals and multiculturalists.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene, regarding my reference to The Mission, I am sorry you seem to have missed the entire point of that reference, not to mention most of the point of the film. Recalling our exchange on the later thread, perhaps it is a little more complex than it appears. =).

Gene said...

John, I did not think the film showed the Church in such favorable light.

Gene said...

Ignotus, So, what were you attempting to convey in your showing and discussion of the film?

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - History.

John Nolan said...

Gene, few of the great British public who watched the film could make head or tail of it, being equally ignorant of history and theology. The eighteenth century saw the Church challenged by bureaucratically efficient nation states with an anti-clericalist agenda. When Clement XIV bowed to political pressure and dissolved the Society of Jesus in 1773 it was, in the words of Eamon Duffy "the papacy's most shameful hour". Yet the papacy outlived all its enemies (many of whom, then as now, were inside the Church).

When the papacy is strong, the Church gains. When the papacy is weak, she loses. The weakest papacy in the last 200 years was that of Paul VI and we are atill living with the consequences. No doubt PI's discussions will cover this. To view the film simply in terms of personal redemption or pacifism versus violence is to miss the point.

Gene said...

Yes, Ignotus, history...with twentieth century attitudes and values read back in. That is how history is mostly done now. The arrogance of Modernism is unfathomable, as if we have attained some moral height from which we might retrospectively make everything alright by feeling guilty enough and beating up on ourselves for being white and for Western Culture (read white culture) for producing most of the highest achievments of civilization. Meanwhile, thousands of babies are aborted daily, and governments become more oppressive on a daily basis (our's especially), and primitive savages in the Middle East are given weapons of mass destruction. Yeah, right. Go flog your guilty white self, Ignotus. I'll bring the salt for your wounds...

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - While you want to ignore or white wash history, I embrace it. Why? Because I believe as the Church believes that Grace Builds On Nature.

I don't carry any guilt for the evils that were committed by our ancestors. I acknowledge them, because, well, those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it.

I also make no attempt to make history conform to any comtemporary moral standard(s). I understand that "The past is a foreign country and they do things differently there."

You rationalize the grotesque and un-Godly treatment of "noble savages" by saying that Western culture has produced the highest achievements of civilisation, but you don't want to acknowledge that we did this on the backs of slaves, on the mistreatment of the "savages" we discovered in the New World, and on the theft of the precious natural resources we found.

Your view is corrupt and your reasoning perverse. I don't share it and hope to goodness I never will.

John - "The Mission" opens up a wide array of thought provoking concepts. In discussions I try to focus on the power of grace to overcome sin, both personal and corporate. I think this is one of the central messages of the film.

The final scene, in which the cardinal, seated at a desk and making his report to the Holy See, simply turns and looks at the audience, the "Well, what would you have done?" question is, to me, clear. It is a legitimate question, the answer to which has meaning in the moral decisions we make today.

Gene said...

Thank you, Ignotus, for proving my point.

John Nolan said...

I would like to add a point here. I was brought up to respect a priest on account of his ordination which authorizes him to stand 'in persona Christi' and offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This would apply to a priest with whom I might disagree on a number of issues, liturgical or theological (and as an educated layman I have the right to voice my disagreement). However, I would never indulge in the ad hominem and quite frankly downright rude attacks which I feel Fr Kavanaugh has has been subjected to on this blog, and which, to his credit, he has responded to with admirable patience and restraint.

Gene said...

Well, John, life is tough. When Ignotus is in persona Christi, I respect him and the Christ he represents. God works through him in spite of his modernist/Leftist/ possibly agnostic views. Donatus was, indeed, wrong.
On the blog, I will not walk on eggs around him just because he sports a collar. He has been obnoxious, mocking, condescending, and disrespectful to Fr. MacDonald and others on here from the beginning. He dodges questions, offers impertinent answers, and is a theological lightweight. I do not trust him and consider him to be a prime example of the post Vat II Priest we abhor. Clear enough? Good.