Balkanization

map.balkans3

My initial reaction to Austen Ivereigh’s assertion that a cabal of converts is seeking to subvert Pope Francis’s programme was wonderment that anyone could be certain in this loquacious pontificate what that programme might be.

But I was wrong. A pattern is emerging and it is one of fragmentation. The Holy Father, it seems, is bent on what one might call the Balkanization of the Church.

In the certain knowledge that some national churches or individual bishops would not follow suit, Francis has given encouragement, in the aftermath of Amoris Laetitia, to those who intend to take a liberal (or as he would say ‘merciful’) line on the admission of divorced persons to Holy Communion.

Now he has extended the role of episcopal conferences in the preparation of local language translations of the liturgy.

The effect of such action, if it continues into other spheres, will be to reverse the policy of Benedict XVI, which was to deny any such role to episcopal conferences, and to affirm the primacy, historically and ontologically, of the Universal Church.

Those of us in the Ordinariates cannot but view this Balkanization (or Anglicanization) of the Catholic Church as a recipe for disintegration and ultimate schism and decline.

Current popular Papolatry does not mitigate but, paradoxically, assists this process.

Punch Up

Pope Francis

When Pope Francis emerged, during his recent pastoral visit to Colombia, with a black eye, the Press naturally assumed some domestic accident – or worse, an incident involving a clash between his security guards and organised crime. But not so.

This blog can exclusively reveal that the Colombian police attribute the assault to a single young man – a traditionalist Catholic priest said to be connected with a terrorist cell close to Cardinal Burke.

Closed circuit television pictures have been posted on the internet, but so far the assailant has evaded capture.

Said an eye-witness account, Dolores de Alimeira, who was standing by the Popemobile: ‘He just leapt forward with a loud cry of ‘Et cum spiritu tuo’, and gave the Pope an almighty punch.’

‘In a moment the young man had disappeared into the crowd. No one saw where he went – which is strange considering the fact that he was wearing a cotta with half a metre of Brussels lace, a feriola and a saturno.’

Exegetical

Television - JEEVES AND WOOSTER

‘I say, Jeeves,’ said I, putting down a copy of the Church Times which I had inadvertently taken from the library table at Blandings, supposing (mistakenly as it turned out) that it might contain tips for the 11.30 at Wincanton. ‘What do you make of gay bishops?’

‘I have Sir, no hesitation in saying that such a person could not possibly exist.’

It is Jeeves’s usual, habit, I have noticed, to employ a touch of the ontologicals, especially when he is on a sticky wicket.

‘But come on, Jeeves’, I said, ‘it’s down here in black and white in this church paper thingy. The Bishop of Grantham, it says, swings entirely the other way. And what is more, he is shacked up with another pansy. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury knows all about it.’

Jeeves appeared to be unperturbed by this revelation.

‘I have it on good authority, Sir – in confidence from another gentleman’s gentleman, and so bound by the utmost discretion– that though the relationship is close and enduring, there has been no – ermm – well – hanky panky.’

‘I should hope not, Jeeves. But how in the world could the Archbishop of Canterbury know that? Does he move in the same circles as you?’

‘Oh, no Sir, most certainly not. I surmise, therefore, that it was merely a charitable assumption on his part.’

‘Charity my foot!’ I replied irascibly. ‘Either they’re at it or not.’

‘In other circumstances, I would agree, Sir; but these gentlemen, it appears, are in a relationship best described as “theological”.’

‘Poppycock, Jeeves!’ I replied, ‘theology my hat! Isn’t the Bible clear about these things ‘Thou shalt not…’, ‘Caesar’s wife…’ and all that.’ (I was certain of my ground, if a little shaky on the details.)

‘Alas no,’ said Jeeves with an air of effortless superiority. ‘Sir has obviously not grasped the purpose of modern theology, which (as I understand it) is to show that the Bible means the opposite of what it actually says.  It is called the science of hermeneutics.’

‘Homoneutics, did you say? Well I for one am having none of it!’

And with that crushing riposte, I determined to put a fiver on ‘Pride of Killarney’, at 10 to 1 in the  two-thirty.

Poenitentia

Westminster_Abbey_-_Thomas_Hosmer_Shepherd

Following the example of the Government’s ‘Turing’ Law’, whereby those convicted of sexual offences now removed from the statute book are automatically pardoned, it has been announced that the Church of England is to adopt a similar policy of pardon and rehabilitation.

At a special service in Westminster Abbey clergy who were dismissed or unfrocked for what was then termed ‘gross indecency’, and their relatives, will receive formal apologies from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

The Archbishops, in specially commissioned copes of sackcloth, will symbolically empty bowls of ashes on each’s heads.

The preacher (yet to be announced) is roumoured to be a woman bishop in a committed civil partnership.

The music chosen for this unique service will include two pieces by Benjamin Britten, including a little known motet ‘Who am I to judge?’ – in what may be its first performance in this country. It will end with a rendition, by Sir Elton John, of the song ‘I am what I am’, with its poignant allusion to Genesis 3.14.

Said an official spokesperson: ‘We hope that this solemn occasion will nevertheless be an event for families of all varieties.  There will be a reception afterwards in the Methodist Central Hall attended also by the President of Conference. Music will be provided by a multi-ethnic choir of transgendered schoolchildren from Church of England schools from across the country.

Exclusion Zone

Logo_2111127b

Can an orthodox Christian ever again become the leader of a British political Party?

The question, I suppose, was first raised by the resignation of Tim Farron as leader of the Liberal Democrats. But the issue has come to the fore again with recent statements by Jacob Rees-Mogg about his opposition to abortion and same sex marriage.

Rees-Mogg is thought of by many as a rising star of the Conservative party. He is educated, eloquent and witty. His views, even when unpopular, are rational, well presented and forceful.  The Speaker has described him as’ incorrigible’. He has effortlessly bested David Dimbleby and Andrew Neil in television debate. His scornful condemnation of George Osborne’s proposed ’emergency’ Brexit budget was worthy of Pitt the Younger or of Benjamin Israeli.

What is wrong with him, then? It is, quite simply, his religion.

He is an orthodox Catholic who seeks to behave accordingly. He ‘does religion’, not in the Cameron mode (‘like Magic FM in the Chilterns, it comes and goes’); but faithfully and with conviction.

Political correctness has, I think, rendered it impossible that such a man could be Prime Minister or a senior minister – or indeed (though he would never want it) even Archbishop of Canterbury

The Jesuit Brief

 

73668_palace_vicen_lg

           The Pandaemonium Club

 

My Dear Wormwood,

I could not agree with you more. The Nashville Statement is a serious blow to our cause. Gender confusion has without doubt been our most successful recent tactic in undermining the enemy. But it is gratifying to note that your own assiduous work with Fr James Martin SJ has saved the day.

Jesuits make willing and amenable patients (as you have discovered in the case of Bergoglio).

The key to success in these matters is never directly to contradict any saying of the enemy. Rather to take an authentic saying out of context, exaggerate its importance and elevate it to a guiding principle.

The enemy, as everybody knows, goes on a good deal about judgement, fire and brimstone, gnashing of teeth and all that.  But our task is to major on the other side of his (in my opinion) immature and unbalanced personality. We must emphasise compassion and tolerance, which humans find very attractive. ‘Judge not that you be not judged’ is the line to go for, especially since you already have Francis on your side.

Once you have established that there is no significant difference between tolerance and indifference, almost anything goes: abortion, euthanasia, paedophilia, even genocide. No crime is so heinous that it cannot confidently be left to private judgement.

And, of course, the family – the very heart of the enemy’s moral strategy – can then be effectively dismantled, autonomous choice by autonomous choice, with no possible recourse to divine or natural law.

It’s perfectly diabolical! I trust that your sterling work will be suitably acknowledged by Her Infernal Majesty. A KCL&B* at the very least.

Your admiring uncle,

Screwtape
Permanent Undersecretary to the Ministry of Offence.

*Knight Commander of the Order of Lucifer and Beelzebub, the highest award made in the Infernal Civil Service – Editor

Shooting Starlet

is (1)

Twenty years on and the flowers and teddy-bears keep coming. What was it about Diana?

Clearly, she was a very glamorous clothes-horse; and her interview with Martin Bashir – if nothing else – showed that she was a mistress of dissimulation and guile.

Diana’s death, of course, was tragic, but not unusually so. Not compared to the fate of those innocently caught up in a terror atrocity, or whose aeroplane dropped unexpectedly from the sky. Having cut loose from the family into which she had married – ‘the firm’ as they all call it – she chose to live by the Press. So she died by the Press. It was her conscious choice.

Her life became compulsive viewing for a nation of couch potatoes, albeit spiced with a more glamorous version of the adultery and promiscuity which has become the cultural norm.

She died in the company of Dodi Al Fayed (and of course his father mourned him); but in truth it could have been one of a number of others – Hewitt, Carling etc. The only thing that was certain about Diana’s spectacular trajectory was that it had to end. And the only question was how the ending would come.

In trying to be herself she had unknowingly transformed herself into something other – into Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe rolled into one. The flowers, the teddy-bears and the widespread hysteria naturally followed.