28 September 2008

Fruits Of Ecumania

Damian Thompson continues his series on Futurechurch with an article about ecumenism, which quotes a fascinating and learned article by the philosopher Thomas Pink. The article is worth a serious read, but I was taken by a comment by (I think) Tom Pink himself:
"The real problem is simple. The reforms of Vatican II have become associated in the minds of many committed young Catholics in the UK and the US with, what can we say? - disaster, meltdown, destruction, annihilation, utter balls-up, that sort of thing. The legacy of the Council (rightly or wrongly) is increasingly discredited. Simple as that. These neo-traddies really do not want to know, except that it would be nice if such a horrible thing never happened again.
And in many cases, they are indeed very, very angry. Fergus Kerr, I suspect, does not begin to understand this fact. But, as Francesca has sensed, the anger is deeply there, mixed in England with contempt for a local Church management that they now sense is actually beginning to be very frightened of them; and this anger will be a major shaping influence on the Church in the future, for good or ill."

27 September 2008


Since when has Archbishop Nichols been moonlighting as a rock musician? He must be good too - this photo shows him moments after receiving the Polar Prize from the King of Sweden.

Update: a correspondent points out that His Grace has never been seen at a Pink Floyd concert. Conclusive or what?

23 September 2008

The Westminster Stakes - More Worries

I had thought that Damian's Week of Protest was aimed at heralding the announcement of the next Archbishop, and thought that if he was on to something, then so would Paddy Power be. If something is in the air, it smells bad.

Timothy Radcliffe (in whose canditature I refuse to believe, though I increasingly wonder if I'm like a child with eyes tight shut and fingers in ears) shortens to 7-2, odds at which Archbishop Nichols is threatened (or would be, if Paddy was on the inside track).

Abbot Hugh Gilbert slips slightly, while Abbot Christopher Jamison positively leaps into contention.

A bit more money raises Mgr Curry from 40/1 to 18/1, while Bishop Declan Lang (a South Coast Bishop!!!) enters at 33-1, alongside Fr Edmund Power (whom I know nothing of) and Fr Tom Quinn at 100-1 (quite possibly some sort of joke which I haven't got).

The key points here are Radcliffe shortening, Jamison shortening, and Lang entering the lists. People - please God! not people in the know - have swung towards the liberal end of the spectrum: the dark side of the magic circle.

This is quite worrying.

Rt Rev Vincent Nichols 13-8 (5-4) (2-1) (7-4) (2-1) (7-2)
Fr Timothy Radcliffe 7-2 (6-1) (10-1) (6-1)
Rt Rev Kevin McDonald 8-1 (6-1) (5-1) (7-2)
Dom Hugh Gilbert 9-1 (8-1) (6-1) (4-1)
Bishop William Kenney 10-1 (9-1) (8-1) (15-2) (6-1)
Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon 10-1 (8-1)
Very Rev. Fr. Ignatius Harrison 10-1
Fr Christopher Jamison 11-1 (25-1) (20-1)
Rt Rev Alan Hopes 12-1 (10-1) (8-1) (6-1) (11-2)
Rt Rev Arthur Roche 12-1 (10-1) (12-1) (10-1) (12-1)
Fr T Finigan 16-1 (10-1)
Cardinal Pell 16-1 (12-1) (10-1)
Rt Rev Peter Smith 16-1 (12-1)
Mgr Curry 18-1 (40-1)
Fr Aidan Nichols 20-1 (14-1) (12-1) (11-1) (5-1) (6-1)
Bishop George Stack 20-1 (16-1)
Rt Rev Michael Evans 22-1 (20-1) (16-1)
Rt Rev Patrick Kelly 25-1 (16-1) (14-1) (12-1) (10-1) (12-1)
Bishop John Rawsthorne 25-1 (20-1)
Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald 25-1 (16-1) (14-1) (12-1) (10-1) (12-1)
Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue 33-1 (20-1) (16-1)
Rt Rev Bernard Longley 33-1 (20-1) (16-1) (14-1) (12-1)
Rt Rev Declan Lang 33-1
Fr Edmund Power 33-1
Fr Tom Quinn 100-1
Bishop John Patrick Crowley Non-runner (33-1)

21 September 2008

Are They Coming Into The Open?

I was alerted by an interesting Portuguese site to the existence of a proudly "antitraditionalist" site; it is in fact called "Antetridentino" and is subtitled: "Against Traditionalism". The rather offensive photo I've attached is up there on the website banner. If your Portuguese is up to it, take a deep breath, say a prayer to St Michael the Archangel, and dive in.
"In Portugal, happily, there are few outlets for traditionalism", the author of the site congratulates himself and his fellows at one point.
This isn't "against" traditionalism in the sense of being sort of the other way inclined, or preferring English to Latin: this is "against" in a really contrary sort of way.
"The Institute of the Good Shepherd is a very recent foundation with few members at present, but, unfortunately, people from all over the world wish to join it. The process of creating the IGS was a shameful act by the Ecclesia Dei Commission."
You are beginning to get the point.
What interests me is that this is the first time I have been aware of somethng that attacks Tradition directly: head on; and does so from a point of view defined as Catholic. Fr Z (whom God preserve!) has found something similar in this weekend's Catholic Times. Might we be approaching the tipping point?
As another, much greater, writer put it:
"But now, splendidly, everything had become clear. The enemy at last was plain in view, huge and hateful, all disguise cast off. It was the Modern Age in arms. Whatever the outcome there was a place for him in that battle."

17 September 2008

Bishop Of Neuquén; Bishop Of Leeds

I wasn't excessively pleased with myself, once I saw the number of hits on Sitemeter and where they were from. I was worried that I had possibly traduced a Bishop by not looking up his side of the story, and by publishing one that put him in a bad light. My worry was excessive.
According to the local newspaper, which prints the dialogue between the Bishop and the young people who defended his Cathedral, the Bishop himself tried subsequently to pour oil on troubled waters.
Whenever there is a large group of people gathered together, he says, there is always the risk that a tiny minority might try to make something of it. The press gathers at a particular place and if anything is going to happen, it will be magnified out of all proportion. Nobody, the Bishop feels, should place too much importance on what had happened (ie on what we see in the video) because what we should be looking for in everybody is the way in which we can grow in mutual acceptance and tolerance, even when we have ideological differences.
Now: this is sad, and it is wrong on so many counts. But it was interesting to note that somebody had linked this film to what is happening with the Diocese of Leeds and the closure of parishes there.
I wonder, tentatively, if there is a problem with the ecclesiology of some of our Bishops: that Bishop Roche, just like Bishop Melani, and goodness knows how many others don't know what Bishops are actually for. They portray a vision of Bishop that is somehow superior to that of the priest as social worker, and make the episcopal office that of a regional manager with responsibility for the definition of social attitude in his region on behalf of the Board, with a few additional functions on the side like responsibility for Confirmation when there is no Vicar General available, Ordination when it can be a concelebratory function, and Prophetic Leadership of a Local Church in Communion with Christ and his Vicar beyond time. The additional functions are a bit problematic.
This is why Episcopal Conferences as constituted are such an abysmally awful idea: all they can do is weaken the individual who carries the personal responsibility for his Church and dilute the layman's perception of what that responsibility is and should be. It's hard to imagine the selection of a Bishop who will break out of this magic circle: but let's pray that MO'C's successor will be the one. Let's have Bishops who are Bishops again!

15 September 2008

News From Neuquén: How To Behave Heroically

Some young men gather in front of the Cathedral in Neuquén in Argentina to protect it from the approaching demonstration. The Bishop, a 70 year old Salesian called Marcelo Melani comes out to remonstrate with them: he shouts and yells at them to go away or at least, if they feel they need to pray, to go inside the Church. They ignore him by beginning their Rosary, and he dashes away to lock himself inside. That is the point at which this film starts.

They were insulted, spat on, manhandled, and they didn't resist: they prayed; they prayed "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death". They prayed with heroic serenity, for it might have seemed to one or two of them that the hour of their death might be near. They copied Jesus.

H/t to Francisco José Fernández de la Cigoña whose lack of respect for the Bishop is made manifest in expressive detal to those who can read Spanish.

A Year Of Summorum Pontificum

This did the trick for me last year - it still does.

In the myth,
in the deep-down maze of the cave,
he went to find the Minotaur.
And before he went
he took a reel of twine:
a trick to traipse the return trip
back to the world of sense and sunshine.
It was sound thinking:
be enticed by new chance and challenge,
but keep in touch
with your place of origin.
Don't let your past be lost,
or it'll cost
your future.
John Hegley - from Uncut Confetti

14 September 2008

Food On Board

Somebody asked me what the food was like. This was lunch: a salmon salad for starters, followed by a steak and mushroom pie, with champ and cabbage, and then a chocolate pudding. I stuck to the white wine, resisting the temptations of the bar.

I have the idea that a bar on board an aircraft is the sort of thing that belongs to big aircraft of the early 1950s - I certainly hadn't originally expected to find one on board a plane in the 21st Century.
And I didn't resist temptation for the entire eight hours of the flight.

13 September 2008

Flying On September 11 ...

... was exactly like flying on any other day. Even flying into Washington was no different to what it's normally like. That's the way to show terrorists that they haven't won!
Flying back on September 12, and arriving at Heathrow on September 13 made for a tired blogger: I haven't done North America as (effectively) a day trip before: I don't recommend it. Though if you do, Virgin's Upper Class is a nice way to let Mr Beard take the strain.
Anyway, a completely unfair contrast between our two countries: one of these is two minutes out of Heathrow; one of these is two minutes away from Dulles; which is which?

09 September 2008

Cardinal Pell: News

According to La cigüeña de la torre, Cardinal Pell has been named President of the Synod of Bishops, in the place of Cardinal Gracias who is "unable to attend". (Is he ill? Does the persecution of Indian Catholics make his absence impossible?) The Pope obviously enjoyed his trip to Australia: is he softening the Cardinal up for something nearer Rome?

08 September 2008

The Westminster Stakes: Something Slightly Worrying

I won't reprint the entire list: it is the same as it was here with two differences. Fr Edmund Power, the Abbot of St Paul Outside The Walls has entered the lists, but after the publicity in the Catholic press for the Pope's visit to his monastery for the Pauline year, and the fact of his nationality (and the puff from Fr Blake), I expect that his 33/1 is speculative.

Much more worrying is that the money continues to go towrds Fr Timothy Radcliffe: his odds have shortened to 7/2. Why am I worried?

My guess is that this book is being managed by Paddy Power in two ways. First, by paying a modest retainer to a priest of the Westminster Diocese who is known to Paddy (either he likes a flutter himself, or he knows or is related to somebody who works for Paddy at HQ in Ireland), Paddy gets close (how close depends on who the priest is) to what Damian calls the Magic Circle and who they think the Pope will choose. There are three factors here: how good is Paddy's expert's contact list; how accurate is the guesswork of the people he knows; and how well does the contact understand the various dimensions of nuance that are in play?

The second piece of management is more blatant and less subtle: where is the money going? The more money put on any candidate, the more Paddy will have to pay out if that candidate wins; so a fall in a candidate's odds means that money is being placed in sufficient quantities to make Paddy want to cut his potential losses.

Why on earth would anybody be putting money on Fr Timothy Radcliffe? Why on earth would his odds be shortening? Why isn't Paddy offering 100/1 against the certainty that Fr Radcliffe will get nowhere near the Westminster cathedra?

I'd like to pretend that I think that this is Paddy's way of attracting money: but I think that there is a stable group out there who think that Fr R is in with a serious shout.

06 September 2008

Guilty Apologies

Philip sent me an award which I knew not with what to do.
So I did nothing.
This scarcely expresses gratitude.
And the civility quotient was somewhere around zero.
So my apologies to Phil, especially as he is probably not at a point in his life when "taking it on the chin" is just the sort of thing he is looking for.
So the bad joke is for him:
Q: What do you call a vegetable a dinosaur has jumped on?
A: Squash.

A First Fruit ...

...of the reconciliation of the Redemptorists of Papa Stronsay seems to be the reconciliation of Confiteor, a former follower of the SSPX who, led by the example of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, has also returned to a position of full loyalty to the Pope and to Rome. And how!

He explains his background here, and proposes a "Pro Papa League" here: the League's function is to use the Internet to organise prayer for the Pope.

These are well worth a look.