Deja Vu

The old ones are the good ones.

By insisting that a Bresit extension should be dependent on either a second referendum or a General Election the EU is recycling an old tactic ( see HERE WE GO AGAIN below). That the Irish are eager to go along with the stratagem – which is precisely what the EU did to them in 2001 – only goes to show how much they must hate the British.

That the EU is the enemy of democracy and national sovereignty is apparent from the following list of national referenda cancelled or over-ruled:

  • Denmark, 1992
  • Ireland 2001
  • France, 2005
  • Netherlands. 2005
  • Ireland 2008
  • Greece, 2016
  • Netherlands 2016
  • Hungary 2016

Quod erat demonstrandum.

Franciscan

What is it about Francis of Assisi which attracts the loonies and the heretics?

Pope Francis has made his namesake the saintly patron of the Amazonian Synod. Why? Could it be because he is rapidly being transformed into a heavenly proponent of ecology? (A medieval Greta Thunberg; but then so in a sense is Greta Thunberg). An exemplar of ecumenism? A pioneer of dialogue with Islam and so with other religions?

None of this is defensible from a sober account of the life of the man from Assisi. Francis was, above all a man of his age, understandably innocent of the modish concerns of the twentieth century. It insults him to link his name with the syncretistical junketings which recently invaded the Vatican gardens.

Reichskirche

„Ohne Juda, ohne Rom bauen wir Germaniens Dom“  Georg von Schönerer (1842-1921)

Nobody can deny that the Germans have form.

Hot on the heals of Bismark’s Kulturekampf came Hitler’s bid to recreate the Catholic Church in the image of the Third Reich. Now Reinhold Marx, with his ‘synodical path’ is hell bent on conforming Christianity to the mores of the new metaphysics. The words of Jesus of Nazareth on marriage, and the teaching of the Church Universal on homosexuality are to be put to the vote of a ‘synod’ of clergy and laity. How that synod will be selected and constituted is by no means clear. But, as Cardinal Brandmüller has warned, its conclusions may be the beginnings of a schism which will spread elsewhere.

Brandmüller is right. Not only because infidelity is catching, but because the causes which motivate this self-selected synod (mainly concerns about sex and sexuality) are those which focus the struggle which is taking place in all Western societies between Christianity and the emerging post-Christian consensus.

This ugly consensus outlaws the rationally held opinions of the (recent) past and turns them into phobias. Its own opinions it reformulates into dogmas. Who dares predict what new dogmas may emerge from this new Synodical Path?

Transgender

Is there no end to the effrontery of these people?

Not content with repeated attempts to geld God, the feminist cohorts are now proposing something more difficult and more controversial. They are proposing to make a woman out of James Bond. Jane, as she will no doubt be known, will, of course, replace the beloved philanderer with an entirely different character.

The truth is that a female Bond is no more plausible than a female crucifixion. Stories take their shape and significance from the character of their protagonists. And nothing is more determinative of character than sex.

Like Jesus, the dashing, swashbuckling James is a product of his own time. In his case, as always, transgenderisation is deracination.

It would be tragic were the arch-enemy of SMERSH to be finally defeated by the massed hordes of the WOKE.

Mafioso

Inspector Montalbano awoke to the unfamiliar rattle of passing trams. In something of a daze, he opened the curtains of his budget room in a hotel in Melbourne. Fog! This was far from the continuous sunshine promised by the glossy brochures in the travel agent in Montelusa. But he was not here, he reminded himself, for pleasure. Montalbano had deserted his beloved Sicily (and a long-awaited holiday with Livia) to track down (and bring to justice) the Australian branch of a ‘family’ who had repeatedly crossed his path back in Vigata.

The Sinagras thought themselves untouchable. From their seventeenth century villa near Caltanisetta their web of intrigue spread to all corners of the country and to all parts of the world. It was the Sinagra’s involvement with the finances of the Holy See which had recently interested Montalbano. A colleague in Rome had drawn his attention to their complicity in the ‘removal’ of the recently appointed Chief Accountant.

Like the European Union, the Vatican (as everybody knows) is a stranger to audited accounts. Just as Pope Francis’s financial supremo, Cardinal George Pell, was getting to the bottom of things, Signor Paolo Alfieri, the Pope’s recent appointment, was found in the wreckage of a blue Alfa Romeo which had crashed into the Tiber. Both Alfieri and his passenger were killed.

Not content with silencing the auditor, the Sinagras had determined to rid themselves of Pell himself. Only then would their systematic programme of embezzlement be secure. It was at this point that the Australian branch of the Family proved invaluable.

Don Baldissero, the family head in Australia, had extensive contacts (as Sinagras invariably do) with senior figures in the Victorian constabulary and legal establishment. It would be easy to entangle Pell in legal proceedings in Melbourne. which would require his return from Rome. It was this covert entanglement which Montablano had been sent to investigate.

Montalbano had just returned from the buffet breakfast. and was cursing the saints for the lukewarm, limpid coffee, when the telephone rang.

Who knew he was in Australia? He picked up the receiver. An emollient, almost priestly voice answered.

‘My name is Alfonso Parolin. I am chaplain to Don Baldissaro Sinagra. The Don presents his compliments. and would be delighted to see you this afternoon at the Villa Sinagra, just out of town on the Ballarat road. You will recognize it by the large copy of Michelangelo’s David at the end of the drive.’

That was all. The priest put down the phone abruptly and Montalbano was left assessing the situation. No sooner had he arrived in the country, than he was being summoned to a meeting with his principal adversary. Of course he must go.

***

The concrete David was unmissable. Beside it were impressive wrought iron gates which opened on his approach. Montalbano sped along the curving driveway amd stopped beside an impressive flight of steps leading up to an intimidating front door. The door opened automatically and he found himself in an huge courtyard, dotted with large pots of oleanders. At the far end was an elegant bench with silk cushions and a small table with three glasses.

‘Welcome!’ exclaimed Don Baldissaro, as his chaplain wheeled him across the gravel. I have been looking forward to meeting you for a long time. My brother speaks well of you. He says that for a policeman you are civilised and intelligent’.

Montalbano took the old man’s hand. and sat down as directed.

‘You will not mind my chaplain Fr Alonso accompanying us?’

‘I have asked you here to save you both time and energy. You want to know how we silenced Cardinal George Pell. and I will tell you.’

‘When it became apparent that his interference in our business with the Vatican Bank was likely to be troublesome, the Family had an international conference call. It was Arturo in Chicago who made the capital suggestion that we make use of the current paedophile scandals to end Pell’s useful life at the Vatican. He gave us the template. Some American priest had been convicted of raping a boy in his sacristy. The details were lurid but implausible; a conviction was secured nevertheless.’

‘We realised that it was not beyond our means, here in Australia, to play the same game. We identified two men (over whom we had some sort of hold) and fed them the details of the American case – drinking communion wine, rape in sacerdotal vestments and the rest. From there on it was plain sailing. We have, as you would expect, excellent relations with the Victorian Police. We knew that they would take up the case with alacrity.’

‘The only hitch was when one of the men got cold feet, and confessed to his mother that the whole child molestation story was a put up job. He promptly and inconveniently died. Would a jury convict on the uncorroborated evidence of one alleged victim, we wondered? It was hard to tell. But my dear Montalbano, no one should underestimate the visceral anti-Catholicism of the Australian public! In no time we had the press on our side (with little in the way of intimidation, I have to say). And when it came to the appeal, we had no fears.’

‘Pell is in gaol, the Vatican finances are back in our control, and all things considered, nothing could have been simpler. Until you came on the scene our involvement was not even suspected by anyone.’

‘But I don’t understand,’ said Montalbano, ‘why are you telling me all this?’

‘To save you the fruitless pursuit of evidence. You will find none. The Vatican will close ranks, the Victorian legal establishment will never admit so egregious a miscarriage of justice, and the so-called victim will make enough from the press coverage to keep him in comfort for the rest of his life. It is a crime which nobody committed, and unlike your Sicilian adventures, nobody is dead.’

‘And now, if you will excuse us, we must go. Fr Parolin always says Mass for me at five o’clock.’

The Death of Brexit

Though the judges of the Supreme Court denied that Brexit was at issue; and though the litigious businesswoman Gina Miller claimed that the decision was about the sovereignty of Parliament, everyone knows the opposite to be the case. Brexit was the context, Brexit was the bone of contention and stopping Brexit was the motive behind the litigation.

The case turned, as the judgement made clear, on the PM’s motivation for proroguing Parliament. To establish, beyond reasonable doubt, a man’s motives for an action is a tricky business. But what is more remarkable – some might say unjust – is the failure of the Court to question and examine the motives of the plaintiff.

Boris Johnson, in justifying the prorogation, may (or may not) have concealed his real motive behind the pretence of desiring a Queen’s speech. Gina Miller is just as likely to have concealed the intention to thwart Brexit behind an affected concern for the authority of Parliament. Why, we must ask, were the PM’s motives the subject of learned scrutiny and Miller’s not?

The subsequent claim of the opposition parties that Johnson‘s action was ‘illegal’ demands further scrutiny. How could a man avoid transgressing a law which did not exist until defined by the Supreme Court after the event? One, moreover, which might (or might not) subsequently have been devised to outlaw the very action he was contemplating?

Contrary to its own posturings, the Supreme Court was plainly acting politically. Its motives – though clouded with verbiage – are apparent to the meanest observer.

Syncretism

The above photograph has been greeted in some traddy circles with cries of alarm. Certainly it raises concerns about the questionably syncretistic intentions of some Indian clergy. But the true seriousness of the incident only becomes apparent when it is put into the context of wider developments.

Once it was the unspoken assumption of Catholic ecclesiology that ‘one size fits all’; that the Catholic doctrine was a seamless garment which applied in every culture and clime. This obviously did not apply to the adventitious trappings of religion – the liturgical furniture, as one might say. But it most certainly applied to the cardinal doctrines. They were, as Fr Austin Farrer wittily described them, like inebriates returning from a party. Mutual pressure held them upright: remove only one, and all would end in the ditch.

This is no longer the case.

Doctrine is now, by some, deemed to be subject to geographical variation. Orders, for example, hitherto deemed universal – the very fabric of unity – are now thought to be subject to local, cultural modification, so that those who are priests in one place might not be acceptable (or deemed to be such) in another.  What is deemed in one place to be an adulterous relationship might properly be accepted as godly and righteous in another.

This volte face is generally explained by the demands of ‘evangelisation’. In order for it to take root the faith must be indigenised, and certain tenets and practices adapted to local conditions.

This – not the wearing of saffron robes – is the real syncretism. And it is more likely to be found in the prosperous Churches of the West, surrounded as they are by godless paganism, than in missionary outposts set amongst rival religions.