To God be All Glory

Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 28 March 2017 - 12:43:49 | by admin


Deep Calls Out to Deep

Rorate Caeli posted an uplifting video a few days ago from the recent Silence and Song retreat, which was run during the season of Epiphany, by the Australian Sacred Music Association, at the Benedict XVI Retreat Centre in Grose Wold, New South Wales.

By the way, a big ''Hello!'' from us to all our readers who faithfully click here each day from Australia and New Zealand. Our prayers are with you as you keep the Faith down there; and especially during this time of Cyclone Debbie.

That retreat and video must have been positively saturated in the monastic prayers, because it is so very clearly a conduit of grace. The film has the inherent power to move the heart and bring forth deep interior longings for the love of the Most Holy Trinity.

When all is said and done, this is really the heart of authentic Catholicism; which is the only religion that has the power to both inspire and truly fulfill the deepest longings of the human heart for God. That has always been Catholicism's deepest attraction.

Quite simply, the Church gives us Christ; and He draws us into the mystical communion of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

To the extent that Catholics become immersed in that mystery, they become sources of attraction; calling others into communion with Christ in the Church.

How much more that is so with those who have been consecrated and invested with Christ's sacramental power as popes, bishops and priests.

Three Troubling Things...

Several hours after watching that powerful video at Rorate Caeli, I read three pieces of news regarding Pope Francis, including: his reception of EU leaders at the Vatican; his time before the Blessed Sacrament for the Feast of the Annunciation; and his very public visit to a portaloo in Milan.

Let us briefly consider each of these in turn.

A ''New Humanism''

In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, Pope Francis received 27 European heads of state to the Vatican.

From a Catholic perspective, that event got off to a decidely unusual start when Pope Francis placed his right hand across his chest, covering his pectoral cross in the process, and bowed three times before the gathered leaders.

Just as an aside, the placing of the right hand on the chest is also the ''heart sign'' or ''sign of fidelity'' in freemasonic lore.

In his speech itself, Francis added another chapter to the growing number of examples where Christian roots are being claimed as a vehicle for ''a new European humanism''. Of course, this is not the first time that Francis has spoken on this theme himself: having already presented it in an Angelus address during February 2015; at Florence in November 2015; describing it as his ''dream'' to European bishops in Sarajevo; and using similar language at the conferral of the Charlemagne Prize in May 2016. I am sure this is not an exhaustive list.

We even had a more local example of this theme being promoted when, just weeks after that Charlemagne Prize meeting, during a post-Brexit ''Come Together'' at St. George's Hall on 5th July last year, Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool Tom Williams preached his remarkably similar version of his own ''dream'' of the city of Liverpool giving birth to a ''new humanism''. This address was adroitly described recently, by the Liverpolitanus blog, as an example of '' 'humanistic' dog-whistling, with the token references to Jesus and to God bolted-on to the speech in the last two paragraphs, as though as an afterthought!''

Getting back to Francis' speech to the EU leaders, he urged Europe to reconnect with its Christian roots, if the ''Western values of dignity, freedom and justice'' were not to prove largely incomprehensible.

Those who wanted to, could placate themselves that they had heard something orthodox-sounding from Francis at this point. However, his very next words strike as a radical contradiction of the permanent teaching of the Magisterium regarding the Universal Kingship of Jesus Christ and the place and duties of the state before Him. For Francis contended: ''The fruitfulness of that connection will make it possible to build authentically secular societies, free of ideological conflicts, with equal room for the native and the immigrant, for believers and non-believers.''

Secular societies?!!!

At the very least, this utterance takes no account of the rights of God in Christ, the truths of revealed religion, Original Sin, Concupiscence, Actual Sin, spiritual warfare or even the natural limitations of the human condition. It does, though, take even further the problematic views of the secular state which Francis had already outlined in his interview with the French La Croix, in May 2016.

It also represents another afront to the Magisterial teaching of the Church, which is so clearly proclaimed in Magisterial documents, such as Pope St. Pius X's Vehementor Nos and Pope Pius XI's Quas Primas. The latter of which teaches, ''When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony'' (QP 19).

Instead of Christ the King, it seems that Francis would short change us with something less than Catholic Truth; thus leaving us with nought but ourselves; or in this case, whoever wields power in the EU...

No Prie-dieu
The internet was filling up yesterday with reportage of Pope Francis' visit to Eucharistic Adoration, during the Feast of the Annunciation, whilst in Milan.

As so many others have already lamented, this visit was distressing due to Francis' request for a chair instead of a prie-dieu, his comportment during Adoration, his lack of liturgical vestments, his failure to remove his zucchetto, and the fact that members of the hierarchy attending on him remained standing throughout.

It is sad to relate, but this state of affairs provides one more piece of troubling evidence to add to those we gathered in last summer's article, Why Doesn't Pope Francis Kneel Before the Blessed Sacrament?

The above-pictured spectacle certainly presents a stark contrast to the many photographs and videos of Pope Benedict XVI, and to all the other popes who have lived during the age of film, whilst they were present before the Blessed Sacrament.

As in our above discussion of the EU meeting in Rome, it seems that Francis would lead us not to Christ, but to only look to ourselves; or more specifically in this impoverished case, to look only at him.

Bog Standard - Public Portaloo  
Perhaps nothing sums up this trajectory more than the unprecedented spectacle of a reigning Pontiff, dressed in full papal whites, heading into a plastic portaloo at the back of a crowd of onlookers; many of whom captured the moment for, ahem, posterity, on their cameras, phones and tablets...

Of course, there is no need to go into great detail describing why this is all wrong. No pope, queen or head of state has ever before put themselves into such a degrading situation as this.

Naturally, everyone has to take care of calls of nature, but to uphold the dignity of their state, this has always been taken care of in a dignified and private manner to preserve the necessary mystique of the office being held by leaders in both church and state.

Given the proximity of these low-rent toilets to the crowd in Milan, it appears that this was another calculated Francis-gesture to show us all that, hey, he might be sitting on the throne and all that, but he is just like one of us. And nothing more.

In light of so many other similar stunts, of which this must rank as the most boorish, it is hard not to also see this as an attempt to degrade the conception of the papacy in the eyes of ordinary folk. That such a result has been achieved can be witnessed in on-line footage of policemen and laity laughing like schoolchildren at the indignity of seeing Francis emerging from the portaloo and wiping his hands on some handywipes being proferred by his aides...

Of course, Francis cannot really degrade the papacy by any of his acts. The institution of the papacy is much bigger than all of that. The only one he really degrades with these actions is himself. He comes across as being coarse and unpriestly in his comportment.

The sad thing is though, this leaves many people looking only at themselves, when they see Francis appearing to be so much one of us that he fails to point anywhere beyond himself; much less to the awesome mysteries of the Person and Works of Christ.

Nothing But Themselves

When I was at Ushaw seminary in the late 90's, there was a student there who had reached the diaconate at that time. He used to stand next to the celebrating priest at Mass and make silly faces about him to get his friends to laugh. It became like a ridiculous double act, with the priest as straight man to his gooning jester. I could never understand how a man training to be a priest could act in this gravely sacrilegious manner. It was so unjust to see him sail through to ordination, when orthodox students were getting it in the neck for being reverent in chapel.

On Monday nights, we had to endure the irreverences of ''group night''. This meant Holy Mass being offered on a coffee table, by a priest sometimes in lay clothes, with students lounging around the floor on bean-bags. This deacon once lay with his back to the knee-high Tabernacle on its low plinth and giggled through Mass like a schoolgirl. He refused to wear his diaconal vestments, and tried to grumpily push away the Gospel with the words, ''Why should I read it? One of you read it!''

Except for Confession, or to attend a scheduled Traditional Latin Mass, I very rarely have cause to go into ordinary Novus Ordo parishes these days; although I was quietly praying in one recently. In the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and loud enough for all around to hear, this former student, now a priest, suddenly came over to me and loudly scoffed that it was ''Bl...y ridiculous!'' that people went to the Traditional Latin Mass (he used the actual word...).

I share this story because, in common with all that is written above, it gives another example of a priest who gives us not Christ but only himself.

Go Beyond to Christ!

This brings us back to where we came in today. We know that, in the end, this desacralizing approach will never win. The longings for God and His Eternal Truth, which He has planted deep in the human heart, will always come to the fore eventually. This is why so many people are increasingly being drawn to the Traditional Latin Mass, Dogmas and devotions of the Catholic Faith.

Let us each be fed by Christ in the Holy Eucharist, Confession, Sacred Scripture, the Traditional Missal, Divine Office and Rosary as frequently as we can.

Don't let us only look at those who merely show us ourselves or, which is still worse, only themselves... May we always go beyond to find Christ, Who is all in all! 
It seems appropriate to conclude with those famous words uttered by, then, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger on German radio in 1969.

''But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret...

... And so it seems to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. It may no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but it will enjoy a fresh blossoming, and be seen as man's home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.''

Dedicated to Christ, Who is all, and in all! (Col: 3:11). 

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