General Discussion (12)

If there’s something of interest in the news that’s not covered in one of the topic threads, or you have a question to ask, a comment you’d like to  make about anything under the sun, more or less, this is the thread for you. However, please check first, to ensure that you haven’t missed a topic thread or another thread where it would be appropriate to post your comment, as the GD discussion threads fills up very quickly.  Readers, all too often, go straight to the General Discussion thread to post news that is already the topic of a thread or to ask a question that is already being discussed elsewhere. So, do your Sherlock Holmes – at the very least check the side-bar – before posting here, please and thank you!

group-discussion-tips

Feel free, also, to share your favourite spiritual reading books, prayers and devotions.Whatever.   Enjoy! 

To read previous 10 General Discussion Threads, click on the links listed below.
(1) click here  (2) click here  (3) click here  (4) click here  (5) click here
(6) click here 
(7) click here  (8) click here (9) click here (10) click here
(11) click here 

29/9: Feast of St Michael, Archangel…

The St Michael Prayer is said at the end of every traditional Mass…

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host - by the power of God - cast down into hell, Satan and all wcked spirits, who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

Holy Michael the Archangel,
defend us in the day of battle.
Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
by the power of God –
cast down into hell, Satan and all wicked spirits,
who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.    Amen.

 

Comment: 

In my own experience from discussion with modernist/liberal types, angels are generally dismissed as “mythical”.  I can think of at least a couple of the self-styled “experts” on all things Catholic and theological, who have appeared on TV to participate in a conversation about angels, only to mock the very idea that angels exist. Yet there they are, throughout Scripture, both Old and New Testaments.  If you’ve noticed this reluctance to acknowledge or speak about angels, tell us.   And tell us, too, if  you have a devotion to a particular angel – maybe your Guardian Angel:  tell us about it, and share any stories, novenas or special prayers you may know about, which will cultivate devotion to the angels – and to St Michael, in particular, in the days leading up to his Feast on Thursday, 29th September. 

Was William Shakespeare A Catholic?

Click here to read a report of the Vatican’s view that William Shakespeare was, very likely, a “crypto-Catholic”

Father Stephen DeLallo, SSPX, presents the opposite case, as set out in the Catholic Encylopaedia – The Religion of William Shakespeare

 

Hamlet Act 1, Scene 2

Hamlet Act 1, Scene 2

 

(1) Arguments against Catholicity taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

 1) His own daughters were baptized in the parish Anglican Church as he himself had been, and were brought up as Protestants, the older daughter, Mrs. Hall, being apparently rather Puritan in her sympathies

 2) In 1608, he stood as godfather to a child of Henry Walker (who was an eminent London musician)

 3) In 1614 he entertained a protestant preacher at his house

 4) He was very familiar with the Bible in a Protestant version

 5) The various legatees and executors of his will cannot be identified as Catholics

 6) He seems to have remained on terms of intimacy with Ben Johnson, despite the latter’s disgraceful apostasy from the Catholic Faith which he had embraced for a time

 7) During his residence in London from 1598 – 1604, he lived at the house of Christopher Mountjoy, a refugee French Huguenot who maintained close relations with the French Protestant Church in London

 8) Even if his sympathies were with the Catholics, he made little or no attempt to live up to any Catholic moral convictions, as is seen in the immorality in many of his writings, and in various historical testimonies about his personal depraved morals

 (2) Complete Article from the Catholic Encyclopedia

 Of both Milton and Shakespeare, it was stated after their deaths, upon Protestant authority, that they had professed Catholicism. In Milton’s case (though the allegation was made and printed in the lifetime of contemporaries, and though it pretended to rest upon the testimony of Judge Christopher Milton, his brother, who did become a Catholic) the statement is certainly untrue (see The Month, Jan., 1909, pp. 1-13 and 92-93).

 This emphasizes the need of caution — the more so that Shakespeare at least had been dead more than seventy years when Archdeacon R. Davies (d. 1708) wrote in his supplementary notes to the biographical collections of the Rev. W. Fulman that the dramatist had a monument at Stratford, adding the words: “He dyed a Papyst”. Davies, an Anglican clergyman, could have had no conceivable motive for misrepresenting the matter in these private notes and as he lived in the neighbouring county of Gloucestershire he may be echoing a local tradition. To this must be added the fact that independent evidence establishes a strong presumption that John Shakespeare, the poet’s father, was or had been a Catholic. His wife Mary Arden, the poet’s mother, undoubtedly belonged to a family that remained conspicuousl yCatholic throughout the reign of Elizabeth. John Shakespeare had held municipal office in Stratford-on-Avon during Mary’s reign at a time when it seems agreed that Protestants were rigorously excluded from such posts. It is also certain that in 1592 JohnShakespeare was presented as a recusant, though classified among those “recusants heretofore presented who were thought to forbear coming to church for fear of process of debt”. Though indications are not lacking that John Shakespeare was in very reduced circumstances, it is also quite possible that his alleged poverty was only assumed to cloak his conscientious scruples.

A document, supposed to have been found about 1750 under the tiles of a house in Stratford which had once been John Shakespeare’s, professes to be the spiritual testament of the said John Shakespeare, and assuming it to be authentic, it would clearly prove him to have been a Catholic. The document, which was at first unhesitatingly accepted as genuine by Malone, is considered by most modern Shakespeare scholars to be a fabrication of J. Jordan who sent it to Malone (Lee, Life of William Shakespeare, London, 1908, p. 302). It is certainly not entirely a forgery (seeThe Month, Nov., 1911), and it produces in part a form of spiritual testament attributed to St. Charles Borromeo. Moreover, there is good evidence that a paper of this kind was really found. Such testaments were undoubtedly common among Catholics in the sixteenth century. Jordan had no particular motive for forging a very long, dreary, and tedious profession of Catholicism, only remotely connected with the poet; and although it has been said that John Shakespeare could not write (Lee, J.W. Gray, and C.C. Stopes maintain the contrary), it is quite conceivable that a priest or some other Catholic friend drafted the document for him, a copy of which was meant to be laid with him in his grave. All this goes to show that the dramatist in his youth must have been brought up in a very Catholic atmosphere, and indeed the history of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators (the Catesbys lived at Bushwood Park in Stratford parish) shows that the neighbourhood was regarded as quite a hotbed of recusancy.

 On the other hand, many serious difficulties stand in the way of believing that William Shakespeare could have been in any sense a staunch adherent of the old religion. To begin with, his own daughters were not only baptized in the parish church as their father had been, but were undoubtedly brought up as Protestants, the elder, Mrs. Hall, being apparently rather Puritan in her sympathies. Again Shakespeare was buried in the chancel of the parish church, though it is admitted that no argument can be deduced from this as to the creed he professed (Lee, op. cit., p. 220). More significant are such facts as that in 1608 he stood godfather to a child of Henry Walker, as shown by the parish register, that in 1614 he entertained a preacher at his house “the New Place”, the expense being apparently borne by the municipality, that he was very familiar with the Bible in a Protestant version, that the various legatees and executors of his will cannot in any way be identified as Catholics, and also that he seems to have remained on terms of undiminished intimacy with Ben Johnson, despite the latter’s exceptionally disgraceful apostasy from the Catholic Faith which he had for a time embraced. To these considerations must now be added the fact recently brought to light by the researches of Dr. Wallace of Nebraska, that Shakespeare during his residence in London lived for at least six years (1598-1604) at the house of Christopher Mountjoy, a refugee French Huguenot, who maintained close relations with the French Protestant Church in London (Harper’s Magazine, March, 1910, pp. 489-510). Taking these facts in connection with the loose morality of the Sonnets, of Venus and Adonis, etc. and of passages in the play, not to speak of sundry vague hints preserved by tradition of the poet’s rather dissolute morals, the conclusion seems certain that, even if Shakespeare’s sympathies were with the Catholics, he made little or no attempt to live up to his convictions. For such a man it is intrinsically possible and even likely that, finding himself face to face with death, he may have profited by the happy incident of the presence of some priest in Stratford to be reconciled with the Church before the end came. Thus Archdeacon Davies’s statement that “he dyed a Papyst” is by no means incredible, but it would obviously be foolish to build too much upon an unverifiable tradition of this kind. The point must remain forever uncertain.

As regards the internal evidence of the plays and poems, no fair appreciation of the arguments advanced by Simpson,Bowden, and others can ignore the strong leaven of Catholic feeling conspicuous in the works as a whole. Detailed discussion would be impossible here. The question is complicated by the doubt whether certain more Protestant passages have any right to be regarded as the authentic work of Shakespeare. For example, there is a general consensus of opinion that the greater part of the fifth act of “Henry VIII” is not his. Similarly, in “King John” any hasty references drawn from the anti-papal tone of certain speeches must be discounted by a comparison between the impression left by the finished play as it came from the hands of the dramatist and the virulent prejudice manifest in the older drama of “The Troublesome Reign of King John”, which Shakespeare transformed. On the other hand, the type of such characters as Friar Lawrence. or of the friar in “Much Ado About Nothing”, of Henry V, of Katherine of Aragon, and of others, as well as the whole ethos of “Measure for Measure”, with numberless casual allusions, all speak eloquently for the Catholic tone of the poet’s. mind (see, for example, the references to purgatory and the last sacraments in “Hamlet”, Act I, sc. 5).

 Neither can any serious arguments to show that Shakespeare. knew nothing of Catholicism be drawn from the fact that in “Romeo and Juliet” he speaks of “evening Mass” Simpson and others have quoted examples of the practice of occasionally saying Mass in the afternoon, one of the places where this was wont to happen being curiously enough Verona itself, the scene of the play. The real difficulty against Simpson’s thesis comes rather from the doubt whether Shakespeare was not infected with the atheism, which, as we know from the testimony of writers as opposite in spirit as Thomas Nashe and Father Persons, was rampant in the more cultured societyof the Elizabethan age. Such a doubting ors keptical attitude of mind, as multitudes of examples provein our own day, is by no means inconsistent with a true appreciation of the beauty of Catholicism, and even apart from this it would surely not be surprising that such a man as Shakespeare should think sympathetically and even tenderly of the creed in which his father and mother had been brought up, a creed to which they probably adhered at least in their hearts. The fact in any case remains that the number of Shakespearean utterances expressive of a fundamental doubt in the Divine economy of the world seems to go beyond the requirements of his dramatic purpose and these are constantly put into the mouths of characters with whom the poet is evidently in sympathy. A conspicuous example is the speech of Prospero in “The Tempest”, probably the latest of the plays, ending with the words:

 “We are such Stuff

 As dreams are made on, and our little life

 Is rounded with a sleep”.

 Whether the true Shakespeare speaks here no one can ever tell, but even if it were so, such moods pass and are not irreconcilable with faith in God when the soul is thrown back upon herself by the near advent of suffering or death. A well-known example is afforded by the case of Littré.  End of Catholic Encyclopaedia article.

Comment:

Historians and other societal “experts” consider that the religious references and beliefs expressed in literature, drama etc. make an important contribution to us in our attempts to understand the past. Many have researched the religion of Shakespeare, therefore, given his standing in the world of English language and literature as a poet, playwright and actor.  But, does it really matter whether or not Shakespeare held to Catholic beliefs, albeit secretly? If, as many argue, it is important to contextualise the religious references in his work, why is it important?  Do these references really tell us much about the history of the Reformation period?  Do  you think that William Shakespeare was a Catholic? If so, what makes you so sure?  

American Editors Accuse Pope Francis

Your Holiness:

The following narrative, written in our desperation as lowly members of the laity, is what we must call an accusation concerning your pontificate, which has been a calamity for the Church in proportion to which it delights the powers of this world. The culminating event that impelled us to take this step was the revelation of your “confidential” letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires authorizing them, solely on the basis of your own views as expressed in Amoris Laetitia, to admit certain public adulterers in “second marriages” to the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion without any firm purpose of amending their lives by ceasing their adulterous sexual relations.  PopeFrancispensivecropped

You have thus defied the very words of Our Lord Himself condemning divorce and “remarriage” as adultery per se without exception, the admonition of Saint Paul on the divine penalty for unworthy reception of the Blessed Sacrament, the teaching of your two immediate predecessors in line with the bi-millenial moral doctrine and Eucharistic discipline of the Church rooted in divine revelation, the Code of Canon Law and all of Tradition. [from Part 1]

Click here to read all three parts of the Letter & Liber of Accusation at Catholic Family News. The page opens at Part III, with links to Parts 1 & 11.

 

Comments invited   

 

Fatima Prophesy, Bows & Arrows…

Extract from the published part of the Third Secret of Fatima taken from Vatican website…

OurLadyofFatimaAnd we saw … a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him  Source (Emphasis added)       

Now read the following extract from An excerpt of a speech given by Christopher Ferrara at the Fatima Center Only the Pope Can Save Washington Conference, September 22 – 24, 2015 published in the Fatima Crusader (Winter 2015)

Unparalleled Church Crisis

Certainly that element of the Secret that predicts an unparalleled crisis in the Church – I mean the text the Vatican has withheld, wherein the Blessed Virgin explains the meaning of the obscure vision published in 2000 – would have been clearer in 1960. In that year revolution was beginning in both the Church, with the calling of the Second Vatican Council, and the world at large, which underwent an accelerated descent into total depravity. (Anyone who is old enough to remember those days will recall that the Sixties were a time in which it seemed that both the Church and society had crossed over a threshold into a state of affairs the once Christian West had never seen before.)

Today, so many large pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place that even the smallest pieces are now readily fitted into the picture. For example, the Synod on the Family, where we see precisely that “the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from enemies outside, but arises from sin in the Church.” …

And yet, one small but seemingly important piece of the puzzle has always seemed odd and completely out of place to me. It is Sister Lucia’s revelation that in the vision of the “Bishop dressed in White” the future Pope’s executioners “fired bullets and arrows at him.” Arrows? What is the meaning of this reference to such primitive weaponry? One might be tempted to think that surely Lucia must have stumbled here, that Our Lady could not possibly mean literally that a future Pope would be hunted down and killed by men wielding bows and arrows.

Here too, however, developments over the passage of time seem to have allowed us to fit even this odd little piece into the bigger picture – with a resounding and quite chilling confirmation of what is actually the great significance of a seemingly incongruous detail. “We Will Conquer Your Rome, Break Your Crosses, Enslave Your Women” … ISIS

Consider first a recent article in the ISIS magazine Dabiq, quoting a fanatical Imam who “prophesies” as follows: “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted.”

Next consider a recent article in the Italian daily Il Giornale, which may well provide one of those precise historical clues that clarify a prophecy as its fulfilment nears (like the ripening fig tree that heralds the coming of Spring, to use Our Lord’s parable of the advent of the Last Days).

The article reports on an “e-book” being distributed to Muslim militants that provides instructions to prepare for the conquest of Rome by learning to use various weapons, including “home-made bows and arrows.” The idea is to stockpile weapons whose possession is not currently illegal so that they can be employed in urban guerrilla warfare. As the instruction manual states: “The advent of the war for the conquest of Rome will consist primarily of the urban guerilla in the cities and streets of Europe.”

Suddenly the reference to a Pope of the future being slain by bullets and arrows falls into place in the grand puzzle that is being completed before our eyes. Can we be certain this is so? Without the Virgin’s own explanation of the vision – for which the Vatican has substituted the ludicrous “interpretation” of the Vatican Secretary of State – we obviously cannot be. Then again, it is always prudent to examine the signs of the times when Heaven itself has given us a warning of impending disaster – a disaster to which nearly the entire hierarchy remains oblivious as they persevere in the ruinous course of the past fifty years of drift and decay in the Church and widening apostasy in the worldSource

bow-and-arrow

Comment:

It is true that we really only begin to make sense of prophecies as they unfold; hence, when news came that Pope Benedict, on abdication, intended to retain the papal dress, those familiar with the Fatima prophecies immediately recalled that part of the prophecy where the children saw “a bishop dressed in white” and their “impression that it was the Holy Father” – quite different from their other clear references to the Pope.  

Christopher Ferrara, rather surprisingly in my view, appears to assume that this “Bishop dressed in white” who is to be killed IS the reigning Pope, but with two “Bishops dressed in white” currently in Rome, surely a doubt arises as to the identity of the Bishop of the vision – certainly, if this event is to occur during the lifetimes of Pope Francis and the abdicated Pope Benedict. 

However,  the fact that Muslim militants are being exhorted to learn to use and to stockpile bows and arrows, enables us –  in the current frenzy of Islamist attacks in Europe – to make sense of the reference to “arrows” in the Fatima prophecy which has long puzzled us all.  And to consider the rather obvious question: Is the Islamists’ ambition to conquer Rome not far off?

Is there, in fact, a connection between (a) the increasing numbers of ISIS terrorist attacks in Europe (b) the Fatima warning about the death of the “Bishop dressed in white” (c) the exhortation to Muslim militants to learn to use and to stockpile “arrows” and (d) the forthcoming 100th anniversary of the Fatima prophecies in 2017?  I can’t help thinking the answer is obviously “yes” – but what do you think? 

Pope Benedict: No, No, NO Regrets!

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI “never became so human” as he does in a new book interview he has given the German journalist Peter Seewald, a work which achieves a “final deconstruction” of how both friends and foes have seen him in the past.

This is according to Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, Benedict’s personal secretary, in a Sept. 12 address at a launch of the book in Munich.

Entitled Benedict XVI — Last Testament, the 200 or so pages of conversations were published in various languages last Friday and will be published in English in November. Seewald has previously interviewed Benedict for Salt of the Earth, God and the World, and Light of the World.

Archbishop Gaenswein, who is also prefect of the Pontifical Household, drew particular attention to two key passages relating to Benedict’s resignation which he described as especially “illuminating” and “new knowledge.”

The book, as Archbishop Gaenswein pointed out, tackles three key areas: “the roots of the reasons and motives” and the “exact circumstances of Benedict’s puzzling resignation”; his relationship with Pope Francis; and the German Pope’s “personal point of view” on the different “crises and ‘scandals’ of his papacy.”

Regarding his resignation, Gaenswein states that the Pope Emeritus reiterates that “it was not an escape” and insists that “nobody” was demanding his resignation. “It was clear to me that I had to do it and that this was the right moment,” Benedict says in the book. “It was a complete surprise for everyone.”

Benedict says he “knew: I can’t do it anymore” and saw that the time had come to “disengage from the large crowds of people and adjourn into this greater intimacy.” It was “not an inner flight from the demand of the faith, which leads the people to the cross,” he explains in the book. “The step is not a flight but another way to remain faithful to my ministry.”

Asked if he ever regretted resigning, he replies: “No. No, no. I see that it was right every day” and that everything went even better than he had planned. For this reason, he said he couldn’t see himself as a failure. As to theories that some wanted him out and manoeuvred him to resign, the Pope emeritus replies curtly, “total nonsense!” Click here to read entire article

Comment:

Apart from wishing that someone would explain how a pontiff who “resigns” from his office is not flying from the duty of that office, but simply finding “another way to remain faithful” to that office, my reaction to the above report was to ask…

Surprised, anyone?  

Only those who mistakenly believe that Pope Benedict was a “hard-liner” and a “traditionalist” could possibly be surprised. Catholic Truth readers and bloggers have long known that Pope Benedict is a modernist, albeit a modernist with a tad more of the dignified demeanour befitting the papal office than we’ve witnessed to date in his successor. 

So that’s the question for us to ponder in this thread. Given Pope Benedict’s reported remarks about his willing “resignation”/abdication and his praise for Pope Francis, is there anyone in the house who is actually surprised to read the above extracts from this latest book? 

USA: Will Donald Trump Hillary?

animatedflagusaThe Church has established Catholic principles of voting and we  have always been exhorted to use our vote carefully, but definitely to vote.  Click here to read a very good article on this subject.

However, note the following editorial update, September 2016:  

“…In the past 9 years since this article was penned by Fr. Peter Scott, the political landscape of the United States has degraded at an alarming rate. Democrats who claimed to uphold the sanctity of marriage at the time this article was written have now all but unanimously changed course. Even Republicans who, for the most part, could be counted on to provide basic Christian values, have begun to embrace these sins against nature, and many are supporting abortion under certain circumstances. It is in this current climate that we wish to explicitly clarify what Fr. Scott implied above – in a political contest or election where both / all candidates support objectively evil legislation, abstaining from the voting process, or leaving sections of a ballot blank, would be perfectly acceptable and even encouraged.

Comment:

How might an American Catholic use his/her vote in the forthcoming national Election, to avoid displeasing God?

WILL Donald Trump Hillary, or will the notoriously pro-abortion-up-to-birth Mrs Clinton trump Donald?

Is it unthinkable that any Catholic would vote for Hillary Clinton?  Indeed, is it possible for a conscientious Catholic to support either candidate?   

donaldtrumphillaryclinton

Militant Humanism On The Move…

HUMANISTS have launched a legal challenge to give pupils the right to opt out of religious observance in Scottish schools.

The Humanist Society Scotland (HSS) is to seek a judicial review at the Court of Session in Edinburgh after the Scottish Government rejected calls for a change to the current rules which permit only parents to opt out on their children’s behalf. The move follows a recent review by the United Nations Children’s Rights Committee which recommended the parental right to opt out of religious observance should be extended to young people.

militant-atheists-cp

Click here to read report in full in Herald Scotland

 

Comment:

It’s really comical to think that humanists are spending a stack of money to remove religion from the lives of young people, when the Scottish Bishops and Catholic education “experts” are making a very good job of it themselves.  You have to laugh. 

However, two matters spring to mind on reading the above Herald report. Firstly, whatever happened to tolerance and diversity?  Are parents who don’t want their children indoctrinated with LGBT propaganda to have the same right to opt out, as that proposed for religious observance by the Anything-But-Religion-Goes Brigade? Secondly, I object to the term “humanism” – it’s male dominated.  Why, in the 21st century, is the term not modified to something like “huWOMANism?”  Are “huWOMENists” less important than huMANists?  

To what, I ask myself, is the world coming?  Your thoughts welcome…