General Discussion (5)

ImageIf 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.  Readers have occasionally gone 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 before posting here, please and thank you!

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


To read General Discussion Thread (1) click here (2) click here (3) click here
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491 responses

  1. Thought I’d kick-start the new general discussion thread with this sinister news (link at bottom) about the ideology-driven, political lobbying of people who are in fact supposed to be running the Scottish NHS.

    SNP ministers are under major pressure from Scotland’s health chiefs to ensure all pupils learn about gay marriage in sex education lessons even where it is against their teachers’ or parents’ religious beliefs.

    What place does gay “marriage” have in sex education classes? For a start, what homosexual do together is not sex – for sex(ual intercourse), you need a person of each gender. Bodies of the same sex are not physically (or biologically) compatible, in the way bodies of opposite sex are.

    And what has any of this got to do with the NHS? One can only deduce that everything is hunky-dory in Scotland hospitals, so good in fact that the staff are actually scratching around for something to occupy them (!).

    And I assume the NHS must face no budgetary pressures either, if they can waste time and money on this kind of guff?

    And if the NHS must speak about homosexuality, does it not have a moral obligation (not to mention a basic NHS duty) to warn people of the very many negative health outcomes associated with such behaviour, like it does with smoking and excessive drinking?

    Health chiefs also protested against the guidance recommending pupils learn about “the values of a stable and loving family life”, arguing this was insensitive to those youngsters who did not grow up in such an environment.

    Some objected to the phrase “both sexes” being used, stating this was “problematic” for youngsters who are transgender or transsexual.

    Their intervention means ministers are already under pressure to water down the protections they promised for opponents of gay marriage barely three months after the controversial legislation was passed at Holyrood.

    In the same vein, next time we have an Industrial Health and Safety presentation at work, I will object and say that this is insensitive to careless, dangerous and reckless workers. 😉

    It really is quite shocking to see the kind of perverted dull-wits we have in high places in society.

    The great irony is that if an unbiased, fact- and evidence-based presentation – referencing human biology – was given to students regarding homosexuality and its health outcomes, the same ideologues would quickly be crying “bigotry”.

    • Gabriel Syme,

      That report is something else. As you say, if an unbiased and factual presentation was given to students regarding homosexuality, that would be a different matter but they want to pretend it’s normal.

      I’ve read somewhere that the gay lobby will not be content until heterosexuality is wiped out. They want homosexuality to be the normal way of life. To me, it looks like they are getting their way.

    • I totally agree with you GS, as well as other bloggers. Sodomy cannot be considered to be normal sexual intercourse. For a start there’s no gender complimentary, nor is it geared to the production of children. It’s a tragedy if a man and his wife can’t biologically reproduce, but they can have sex the way nature intended it, and maintain a loving spiritual union. Two men can have a parody of sexual intercourse, albeit a vile parody. As the great Archbishop of Brussels said: ‘homosexuality is not normal sex, in the same way that anorexia is not a normal appetite’. Homosexuality is an aberration, and this evil lobby will not be happy until they have stifled all opposition, indoctrinated children and forced Churches and other denominations to accept this ‘sin that cries out to Heaven for vengeance’.

      Psalm 1: ‘The Lord knoweth the way of the just, and the way of the wicked shall perish’.

  2. It does indeed look as if they’re getting their way, and I can only understand why if I conclude that hardly anybody who does the sodomites’ work for them by obediently accepting and constantly using the word ‘gay’ when speaking of their bestial perversion, doesn’t understand what the ‘gay’ person actually does. Personally I’ve never needed a religious argument – a biological one suffices. The trouble is that to actually describe what a sodomite does in clinical terms is so disgusting that nobody ever does so describe it.

    • Christina,

      I apologise, you are completely right, none of us should use “gay” without putting it in inverted commas. I can be very lax about these sorts of things but they are a signal of acceptance. I definitely do not accept what they do as being normal, so I will start using inverted commas when I use “gay” in future.

      I very much agree with you that the biological argument suffices, nobody needs the religious argument to show that homosex is unnatural.

      What I have found when I’ve said that however, is that people answer that “heterosexuals” do disgusting things too. You can’t win!

      • Josephine, I absolutely didn’t intend to take you up on the use of the word gay. My post was done without reference to what had already been posted as I feel very strongly that most people trot out the PC line without ever facing the reality of what sodomy is. I do agree about that response that you get – it has been found on this blog in the past when sodomite trolls have entered discussions. Such an argument is too specious for words. Sodomy is a hideous perversion whatever the gender of those wallowing in it. As Gabriel Syme says in his excellent first post on this thread, it has nothing whatsoever to do with sex.

      • I thought he felt disgusted about being homosexual- I didn’t know he participated in such acts.

    • Gabriel Syme,

      Can Rorate be trusted any more? They speak of “multiple sources” for this information but they never say who their sources are. After the untrue report about Bishop Fellay meeting the Pope, I’m not ready to take their word for anything. When the same news comes from another source, I’ll think about it, although if it is true I can’t see why the FI would want to be under a diocesan bishop. None of them are particularly fond of the old Mass.

      • Margaret Mary,

        I agree its a good idea to verify any online news, undoubtedly.

        I may be wrong, but perhaps some in the FFI feel they will have more freedom under a Diocesan Bishop, thanks to the provisions of Summorum Pontificum. Currently they are an Order of Pontifical Right, meaning they are governed directly by the Vatican – and Francis is choosing to mess them about dreadfully. But this is only speculation of my part.

        As for Rorate not naming sources – I agree with that policy, though I do appreciate it may be frustrating or cast doubt on reliability. I think people giving information could face modernist retribution if named.

        • If that’s the case, then they’re hopelessly mistaken. Summorum Pontificum means sweet fanny adams to almost all diocesan bishops. If a diocesan priest attempts to offer the Traditional Mass without prior permission from his bishop, he will be forced to leave the priesthood. That is the case in Glasgow Archdiocese. I know, because I know most of the Trad-leaning diocesan priests here, several of whom know how to say the Traditional Mass. They’re terrified of the the archbishop and his lieutenants and they point blank refuse to say the Traditional Mass.

          • Miles,

            I think of those “trad-leaning” priests every time we pray for vocations at the SSPX Benediction: O Lord grant us priests; O Lord grant us holy priests; O Lord grant us many holy priests (and finally); O Lord, grant us many holy religious vocations. It’s becoming clearer by the minute that heroism in priests is essential. And, currently, certainly in the archdiocese of Glasgow, pathetically absent if priests are “terrified” to offer the old rite Mass for fear of annoying their archbishop. However, I don’t buy it. Here’s why.

            Archbishop Tartaglia is on record saying that he has no objection to his priests offering the TLM, but he just wants to know who they are for the record, so to speak. As far as I know, those priests who do provide the Mass under Summorum Pontificum, have not suffered in any way since he became Archbishop, so I’m afraid those “trad-leaning” priests to whom you refer may be making excuses, erring on the side of caution with an eye on their future “careers”. I wish I could afford to send each one of them a copy of the life of their patron saint, John Vianney, who prayed that he was willing to accept every suffering imaginable, if only God would convert his parish. Their weakness of character is lamentable. With bells on.

            • Ed

              How often is benediction offered at SSPX glasgow?

              Is there still weekly masses in the a Traditional rite in Immaculate heart?.

              • NT,

                Benediction is offered on the second Sunday of the month, after Mass at the SSPX chapel in Glasgow. Is this your way of hinting that you want me to buy you coffee/tea after Mass on Sunday as well? I’ll have to stop recruiting for the Society pronto or I’ll have no money left!

                No, to the best of my knowledge, the priest who took over the Una Voce Mass at Sacred Heart, does not offer a weekday Mass. Only the Sunday, 9.45.a.m.

              • Immaculate Heart (Barlornock) has weekly latin masses at 6.15pm Tues, 12 noon Wed, 6.15pm Thurs.

                (I have visited the Tues/Thurs masses before, but never Wed – so maybe confirm that time is indeed correct).

      • That’s certainly true.

        Although I wonder if increasing numbers are becoming less hostile to the mass of all time, if still not exactly mad keen on it.

        The new Archbishop of Liverpool recently said that he liked the latin mass and was happy to say it. Though he did bend over backwards to stress it must not be ‘divisive’ and all that nonsense. Why do they never say Disco / Balloon / Roller-Masses are divisive?

        And I have heard that the Archbishop of Glasgow says he is not hostile to his priests offering the latin mass and limits his interference to insisting that the “main” Sunday mass of a parish must always be a Novus Ordo affair. (Though I believe most Glasgow priests who offer latin masses, still only do so privately.)

        Perhaps I have rose tinted specs on?

        • That’s absolute nonsense. +Tartaglia hates the Traditional Mass and his priests are de facto forbidden to say it, except one, who says it twice per week on weekdays, and one other priest, but that doesn’t count, because he is +Tartaglia’s lieutenant who was chosen to replace the original priest, presumably for the purposes of spying on us Trads. I know this is true, because I have spoken to several of +Tartaglia’s priests and they are terrified, absolutely scared out of their wits. They are required to get permission, this was admitted to me by a priest. It’s one of the reasons I went over to the SSPX.

          • I was told this by a priest, who said that ++Tartaglia told him recently that it is the right of priests to offer the mass. I appreciate others may have had different experiences, but I do not understand why ++Tartaglia would vary his policy if that is the case.

            Don’t get me wrong, I am not claiming he is an avid supporter or even a mild fan. I do think he is better than Conti and (before my time) Winning in this regard.

            Certainly ++Tartaglia does nothing to promote the mass, to his discredit, and certainly it is obvious that the sole Diocesan Sunday TLM (which he inherited from Conti) is a mere sop designed to split the congregation of the SSPX more than anything. (Apparently there is not even a holy day TLM provision associated with this congregation.)

            What will be really telling about his attitude is whether he will choose – in the forthcoming Diocesan reorganisation – to see Glasgow Churches become Wetherspoons pubs / Flats, or to invite traditional orders to take them on. I would expect the former, given he is not energetic in promoting the mass as it is.

            It would be very Christian of the Diocese to gift or sell (token price) a large unneeded Church (of which there will be several) to the Glasgow SSPX, but then pigs might fly! (I even have several buildings picked out already, to indulge myself in sweet dreams!).

            • (Apparently there is not even a holy day TLM provision associated with this congregation)

              Please note I was referring to the Diocesan TLM congregation there, not the SSPX – sorry if that was unclear.

          • Miles,

            There are two priests in Glasgow who offer the TLM and a third who is still learning it (plus the “lieutenant” to whom you refer). The archbishop doesn’t want it, we all know that, but the numbers are not sufficient to worry him too much. Three priests offering it only on weekdays is no big deal in his modernist mind.

            Once they start offering it on Sundays – WOW… that would be the time to be “terrified”.

            But since he’s not exactly spoilt for choice with priests coming out of the woodwork, (while parishes are closing down all around us) I’d love to see him tell the young priests (to whom I think you refer) that they’re sacked for offering the old rite. I doubt it very much.

            But note: more and more people are abandoning the diocesan TLM to join us at the SSPX chapel, so it’s the “lieutenant” who might find himself sacked any day now 😯

            • more and more people are abandoning the diocesan TLM to join us at the SSPX chapel

              That is good news! (I have noticed new faces and also heard others say it!)

    • I read it earlier.

      These priests surely can’t be so naive? Do they realise that diocesan priests have been engaged in a war for the Traditional Mass for nearly five decades? That’s the part of the whole reason Ecclesia Dei communities and SSPX exist in the first place. How would they be better of joining them? They will have to get permission to offer the Traditional Mass in their diocese, which in most cases they won’t get, in spite of Summorum Pontificum, which Bishops laugh at. I could understand FSSP, ICKSP etc. but diocesan? Actually, most diocesan bishops are worse than Volpi! Is Roratae talking crap again?

    • The following is copied from a comment from the AngelQueen blog. I am uncertain of its veracity. I post it here simply to offer another perspective on the FFI/ RorataeCaeli information. If this is true, it would appear RorataeCaeli is publishing inaccurate information again. Who to believe? …


      Franciscans of the Immaculate are saying Rorate Caeli story is not true.

      “Rorate Caeli: More lies about us”.

      The English speaking traditionalist website “Rorate Caeli” reports in a post of 14 May 2014 that 100/150 friars have asked Rome for “dispensation from vows.

      There are actually only about a dozen priests and as many students in temporary vows of the total of 378 friars.

      This news serves to create agitation and encourages those already hesitating through the psychological dynamic of suggestion.

      The fifteen clerics after two months have not yet found a welcoming diocesan bishop, so this is simply a sabotaging and destructive strategy of former superiors who, for ideological reasons and personal interest, do not wish to see the present crisis end.

      • Thanks for that link Miles – It goes to the FFIs own website where the statement is, so we obviously have no choice but to believe the Friars themselves.

        So it looks like the actual number involved is perhaps 20-30 rather than 100-150 (?).

        To be fair to Rorate they did say “possibly 100 – 150” (looking back I have left out the “possibly” when posting the link – though not with any specific intent!).

        Thank you for the update, it will be interesting to see how Rorate responds.

        I wonder if the fact that no Bishop has welcomed the ‘refugees’ involved is indicative of an attempt to try to “drive them out” or into the arms of the SSPX (perhaps Rome sees that as a way of compartmentalising traditionalists? – if indeed that’s who these men are, which is likely imo)

        It is interesting to compare this episode with the original one which saw a number of Friars – who themselves turned out to be a mere handful – launch the complaint which led to all of this.

        • If there really were “crypto-Lefebvrian” tendencies in the FFI, which as you will remember was the original charge, then wouldn’t they all have gone over to the SSPX already?????????

          • Perhaps not – surely the more “crypto-Lefebvrian” tendencies there are elsewhere in the Church, the better, if the whole/wider Church is indeed to return to tradition?

            It could be that they will go over now though, if no Diocese will take them.

  3. Can anyone recommend membership in the Blue Army of Fatima or the Militia Immaculata? I suspect that the former has been discussed before, and has become modernist, but for the MI, the original charism still speaks of converting ‘sinners, heretics and especially Masons’. Doesn’t sound that bad does it? I’ve always admired St Maximilian Kolbe.

    • Yes. Both are excellent. The Legion of Mary is something different altogether. But with these, you aren’t required to attend meetings or submit to false, modernist ideas. The Blue Army do not believe that the consecration of Russia has been performed, however, this does not stop you from fulfilling the promises:

      1.)To offer up every day the sacrifices demanded by one’s daily duty to the faithful observance of God’s law
      2.)To say five decades of the Rosary daily while meditating on the mysteries
      3.)To wear the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a sign and reminder of personal consecration to our Lady and
      4.)On the first Saturday of five consecutive months, with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, confess and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep company with Our Lady for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary.

      The daily offering mentioned, is traditionally the following:

      O my God in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary (here kiss the brown scapular). I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the altars throughout the world, joining with it the offering of my every thought, word and action of this day.
      O my Jesus, I desire today to gain every indulgence and merit I can and I offer them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate – that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Precious Blood of Jesus, save us! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

      So yes, I would do the above. And I would fulfil the MI promises as well, wearing the miraculous medal and praying for the conversion of sinners etc.

      You may do all these things without joining MI and BA just as most people pray the Rosary without joining the confraternity.

      • With respect, I disagree, Miles.

        The Blue Army has done immense harm to the Fatima cause and absolutely everything on your list can be done without membership of their organisation.

        I notice that you acknowledge this yourself at the end of your comment, but I think it is very important for our new convert not to risk being poisoned with nonsense about Fatima. Also, it is a slap in the face to Fr Gruner to encourage membership of those groups which have done so much damage to the cause of Fatima.

        So, while I dislike having to contradict you, my advice to CC is to avoid the Blue Army like the plague. To the best of my knowledge, every group purporting to be promoting Fatima (including/especially the Blue Army) – with the sole exception of Fr Gruner’s apostolate – preaches that the Consecration has been done and the Third Secret fully revealed. They are therefore withholding the full truth from their members and should not be supported.

        Since we have a thread on Fatima currently open, these comments should really have been posted there. May I remind everyone that is says at the top of this General Discussion thread that we should always check for a topic thread before posting here, as these GD threads fill up very quickly. Thanks.

        • Yes. Sorry, that’s what I meant. Don’t join Blue Army because they are ‘false friends of Fatima’. But do the promises, because this is what Our Lady wants: i.e. Rosary, Scapular, First Saturdays etc..

    • CC, the Blue Army has its very own chapter, chapter 4, in Christopher Ferrara’s book, False Friends of Fatima. Proceed with extreme caution.

      • Yes, but Father Gruner strongly advocates the promises, which Blue Army do not have copyright on. That was my recommendation to CC, do the promises!!! I even said to him, do the promises because you don’t have to join to do them.

  4. I’ll be moving to Glasgow for work and I found this great blog.

    My first and perhaps most important question is, where can I find a Tridentine mass in Paisley (where I’ll most likely end up living) or Glasgow? I don’t have a car, but it’s easy for me to get to a train and head straight into Glasgow Central station and then take some form of transport from there to, I presume, most places in Glasgow. Barring that, are there any solid, ad-orientem Novus Ordo masses around, or is that really too much to ask for in the post-Protestant atheist wilderness that is Scotland?

    • Runcibleman,

      Welcome! Welcome to Scotland and to our blog!

      As far as I know, there are no Traditional Masses in Paisley – if I find that I’m wrong about that, I will let you know right away.

      But why live in Paisley when you could live next door in Glasgow? 😀

      In any case, people come from all over the place to our Traditional Mass at the SSPX chapel in Glasgow – details here.

      There is a TLM offered by the archdiocese of Glasgow (for the sole purpose of preventing people coming to the SSPX Mass!) and that is in Sacred Heart parish in Bridgeton, 9.45.a.m. (same time as the SSPX Mass). However, as I’ve said elsewhere on this blog this evening, more and more people are abandoning the diocesan TLM for the SSPX chapel because the entire Faith is available there (SSPX chapel) – you cut out the modernism with which every diocesan parish is infected these days. The sermons you will hear will be pure Catholicism, and you will, from time to time, hear the priests talk about the crisis in the Church whereas diocesan priests (and editors of the “Catholic” newspapers) talk/write as if the Church were in good health and thriving.

      So, come on – we want to meet you (and your wife and children) and buy you coffee/tea in our little tearoom after Mass. You know it makes sense 😀

      We’ve had lots of new people coming recently so you won’t feel strange. Especially after you’ve met us lot – you couldn’t possibly be stranger than us!

      We are unable to recommend a novus ordo – I hope you understand. If you don’t understand right now, you will after a few consecutive attendances at the Masses offered here

      • Thank you.

        I have had mixed experiences with SSPX in the past and am rather partial to FSSP, but sadly it seems they only operate in Edinburgh. That said, I am willing to come along. Alas, I have no wife and children, so it’ll just be one transplanted bachelor coming.

        In any case, it won’t be any time soon as I am not yet in Glasgow (other than a few short trips I’ve had to the city). I am set to start work there in August, so I’ll be in the area from mid-July onwards if all goes to plan.

        I chose Paisley because the train connections to Glasgow Central are superb if Scotrail is to be believed (and based on my past experiences a few times that I have used them on previous trips between Glasgow and Edinburgh, it is very decent compared to train service in the US).

        Meanwhile, Glasgow seems to be have only poor value propositions when it comes to renting places to live. I have been in Glasgow for a few days, and viewed an inordinate number of places that I carefully screened out beforehand, and the end result was that I found nothing, at least nothing that was actually desirable as a place to live and relatively affordable. Paisley however, on the one day I went out there turned up a fantastic place where I wouldn’t be oppressed by post-Protestant hooligans or the wonderful 70’s and 80’s crypto-communist architecture that seems to dominate Scotland’s urban areas. Sure, 00’s soulless architecture leaves much to be desired, but at least I have trees with foliage to see outside instead of oppressive concrete monoliths.

        So, I’ll come along to St. Andrew’s as it seems like the best (and indeed) the only option, starting this July.

        • Wonderful! We look forward to meeting you. And if Pope Francis sends for me in July, I’ll tell him he’ll just have to wait until August…

    • Welcome Runcibleman!

      The SSPX have a Church (St Andrews) on Renfrew Street, Glasgow City Centre. It is a short walk (15 mins or so) from Glasgow Central Station. Sunday mass is at 9.45am. Masses during the week as announced.

      There is a scattering of Glasgow Diocesan latin mass provision, (1 sunday mass, a few weekday masses in various places), but here we would all recommend you come to St Andrews on Renfrew St! Some St Andrews mass goers already come from Paisley area.

      I do not think there is any TLM provision in Paisley, though others may correct me.

      • Ha, 202 Renfrew Street will be very close to my place of work, about half a mile on foot. Walking there from Glasgow Central is also very easy. This is why Paisley is so good for me: Far better connection to inner Glasgow than many parts of Glasgow proper, I’d say!

      • Runcibleman,

        That page from our website is a little out of date – there is now a Sunday Mass at Sacred Heart, Bridgeton, 9.45.a.m. but the priest who offers it, does so because he was asked by the archbishop to do so. I doubt very much indeed if he’s crazy about having to do so.

        Also, it’s a little more difficult to get to, I think, than the SSPX chapel which is a ten minute (at most) taxi ride from Central Station. I don’t know anything about public transport (too far above the hoi polloi for that, I’m afraid) so maybe others can provide information about buses (to Renfrew Street! I’m nothing if not persistent!)

      • Runcibleman,

        Editor is right that Sunday mass at St Andrews (SSPX) is much easier to get to from Glasgow Central, than is Sacred heart (Diocese). St Andrews is walkable from Central Station whereas Sacred Heart is a bus journey from there.

        To Sacred Hearts further discredit (!) it is in an area – Bridgeton – traditionally considered hostile to Catholics. Though it must be said, like all of Glasgow, these fierce reputations are now much more legend than present reality I have heard it said in jest that the only reason the Diocese agreed to a TLM in Bridgeton is because they thought the location would put people off!

  5. Gabriel and Editor,

    Thank you for your replies. It would appear my perspective has up to now been too critical of the diocesan bishop and too positive of the priests. This is due to me being mislead by a careerist priest who made it very clear to me that it was the “archbishop’s sentiments” that prevented him from hosting the Traditional Mass at his parish. Given his record, it was foolish of me to have believed him. I don’t know why this didn’t become apparent to me when he was made a bishop. All I can say is, he constructs a very good view of himself, which his hard to de-construct, even when presented with evidence. I am finally convinced now that he is a careerist. I believe you. I understand that the issue lies equally, if not more with the priests.

    I withdraw my harsh words about the archbishop which would appear to be inaccurate. I am now more disillusioned with our priests.

    Editor, I know of another Glasgow priest who is literate in the 1962 rite, whom you aren’t aware of. Apart from Immaculate Heart and Sacred Heart, who is the other priest who offers a weekday TLM in Glasgow? The only one I can think of has stooped due to moving into a care home.

    Obviously folk will leave Sacred Heart Bridgeton for SSPX. They aren’t stupid. They will know that theirs is a ‘sanctioned’ Mass, offered by the ‘lieutenant’, who was constrained to do so, not for love of the Faithful or the TLM, but for ‘surveillance’, the previous parish priest having been usurped. I can’t know for sure, but I suspect the ‘luitenant’s’ interior disposition is not nearly as Traditional as the kind of priest who would effort the TLM voluntarily. The parishioners will have sensed that as well. I did. It was him replacing the other one that finally made me cross over to SSPX. So I can well believe people are crossing over from Bridgeton because I did! Also, did anyone every wonder why Bridgeton is at the same time as SSPX, 9.45am? Seems somewhat strategic.

    • Miles,

      I wouldn’t want to divulge the name of the third priest who is currently learning the TLM just in case (a) it doesn’t happen in the end and (b) in case he doesn’t want to be named. If he advertises a public Mass, then I’ll be going along and “out” him thereafter!

      But don’t worry about “harsh words” about the archbishop of Glasgow – he is no friend of the traditional Mass or traditional anything else and he has been less than honest with people who have written to him (when he was Bishop of Paisley) seeking provision of the TLM. He asked one of our bloggers if, due to his (young) age, his desire for the TLM wasn’t really just an “affectation”. He’s no angel, believe me, but I do not think he’s bothered about a handful of priests offering the traditional Mass, especially if it remains available only on a weekday.

      • I figured as much. These wolves who somehow became shepherds (in name only) aren’t beneath deceitful practices like that.

        Allowing TLM, but only on weekdays, knowing full well that then for the Sunday obligation the traditional-minded faithful will have to endure the clown masses and the extracurricular ministers of the eucharist or whatever those laymen are called who have the sheer audacity and ignorance to believe they are entitled to “participate” in administering Holy Communion. That is just something that is only meant to be licit in extraordinary circumstances is being popularized as ordinary and acceptable.

        The sooner these corrupt old crooks pass from this world to the next, I’m sorry to say, the better for the masses they have misled for decades. The mobs are easily reintroduced to the extraordinary form, I’d safely wager. They are sheep anyway, and sheep follow mindlessly.

        • Runcibleman,

          I’ve just posted a video of Archbishop Schneider being interviewed on the subject of Communion in the hand on the new priesthood thread. How any priest who watches that video can continue to allow what you call “extracurricular ministers…” and what another of our bloggers terms “extraordinary monsters” (!) beats me.

          As you will see, even in such circumstances as were permitted in the past, a lay person had to wear white gloves and use pincers to administer Holy Communion.

          If you scroll down to near the end of the thread, you will see the video.

  6. Editor,

    Rather unfortunately Bishop Schneider has not been elevated to Archbishop, but please pray for that to happen. I met him at the FSSP seminary in Germany and can honestly say I have yet to meet a more holy and humble prelate. I shall hopefully meet him again next Saturday in London where he a keynote speaker at an LMS function.

    • Benedict,

      Thank you for correcting my “slip of the tongue”. I’ve quoted Bishop Schneider many times on this blog, and posted the video interview, so I should know his title by now. In any case, thank you for your vigilance. I couldn’t help the thought springing to mind, however, that it would be wonderful if my critics were half as vigilant in writing to correct the errors of the bishops and clergy as they are to pick up my typos. 😀

  7. Dear editor,

    Having read the numerous posts above on the provision, or otherwise, of the TLM in the Archdiocese of Glasgow, I thought it would be of some interest to your readers to be given an update from Aberdeen.

    The Bishop here has made provision for a monthly Sunday Missa Cantata to be offered at the Sacred Heart Church in the city of Aberdeen at 11:00 am on the 2nd Sunday of each month. Masses will be offered by priests of The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (F.SS.R.).

    • Benedict,

      I don’t know why your posts went into SPAM, can’t see any reason for it, so please accept my apologies on behalf of WordPress. As you will realise, I deleted the duplicates to leave only your original comments.

      • At Pluscarden Abbey I witness the most bizarre liturgy ever. Absolutely all in Latin, and in Gregorian chant. You’d think it would be Traditional then? No: There was communion in the hand and the altar was facing the people. Very incongruous. So, when people say Bishop Gilbert is traditional, I say hardly. Latin and plainsong do not make a man Traditional. Not nearly. For a diocese that contains an entire Traditional religious community, one a month is still appalling.

        • Miles Immaculatae

          It is by no means a “most bizarre liturgy”. It is more in keeping with the envisaged VII Mass than any other I have come across. See my response to Petrus with respect to “once a month”.

          Really, those who knee jerk and are on the peripheral of almost anything especially when they post without a modicum of research or knowledge truly bring this blog into unnecessary disrepute.

          • Huh?

            Modicum of research?

            I attended the Novus Ordo Mass at the Manchester Oratory for some time, and here is the strictest, most Traditional interpretation of the Novus Ordo imaginable, including birettas. I assure you, the liturgy at Pluscarden is no where near on the same level. Nowhere near.

            A bit of Latin and Gregorian chant do not make the Mass conform with the ‘Mass the council fathers intended’ (whatever the hell that is, we’ve all heard this so many times). In every other area, their liturgy is as deficient as it is anywhere else.

            • Miles,

              There is more to a Mass than wearing birettas and, if you are not aware of this, religious orders such as Benedictines, Dominicans etc. do not wear birettas as their habits have cowls.

              • I am aware of this. I don’t care about birettas one bit. I mentioned them to demonstrate how different the Oratorian fathers’ Novus Ordo is to other Novus Ordos, since birettas tend to be associated exclusively with the Traditional Mass.

      • Thank you Petrus,

        I was awaiting some purile response with respect to “once a month”. Actually the reason is that the F.SS.R. have so many other commitments they are only able to offer their service once a month.

        Now I await an equally “interesting” response.

        • Benedict,

          Those priests live on a small island off the Isle of Stronsay. There are a handful of Catholics on the island and an SSPX affiliated priest is there to cater for them. Therefore, I’d like to know the details of these “many other commitments”.

          Are they offering the Traditional Latin Mass somewhere other than Aberdeen on the other Sundays? If so, surely that should be advertised so that the Aberdeen faithful may travel there if at all possible. I know the Aberdeen readers of Catholic Truth would make a lengthy journey to attend a TLM – at least one of them fairly regularly travels to Edinburgh for Mass.

          So, where are the FSSR priests offering Mass on the Sundays when they are not in Aberdeen?

          • Dear Editor,

            Where? Why New Zealand. They have a very active community there where half of their priests are based to fulfil their many commitments – with the full permission and support of the Bishop in Christchurch N.Z.

            Indeed another brother of the community was ordained to the transitional diaconate by the diocesan Bishop there in April.

            I trust this answers your question.

            • Isn’t it sad that the monks have more freedom to celebrate the Traditional Mass 10,000 miles than they do in their home diocese?

              I find your comment about the Mass at Pluscarden very bizarre. Where, in any Vatican document, is Communion in the hand sanctioned?

              • Ah, the negative response; how atypical. Do they not have freedom in their own Diocese? Have you asked? Are you in communication with anyone of import in that diocese? Were you even aware of their mission in NZ?

                Negativism – such an easy cop-out type response.

                With respect to Communion in the hand at Pluscarden please read my post carefully. I was quite clear in stating “is more in keeping with…..”

            • Benedict,

              I am puzzled by your response. You came on here to tell us that there was now a monthly Sunday Mass in Aberdeen, offered by the FSSR and that they could not manage more often due to many other commitments. I enquired about those “many other commitments” in Aberdeen. I didn’t mention New Zealand.

              Are they offering the TLM in other parts of the Diocese of Aberdeen, apart from the city itself and if so, where? Our readers would gladly make the effort to attend, I know that.

              • Editor,
                The FSSR community may have their base in the diocese of Aberdeen but, as is the church, a community/order may have other locations/missions where they carry out God’s work, to which we must always be thankful.

                Is the Shetland Isles not in the diocese of Aberdeen?

                • Yes, but you have to cross the sea to get there. Who is expected to do that every Sunday morning?

                  Every Latin Rite Catholic in the world should be able to have access to the Traditional Mass within one hour’s journey. Except, Mongolia, or Iceland, or the Falklands etc. But this is Scotland. There are hundreds of priests and parishes. Yet there are many of us who cannot attend Mass on Sundays, as is the case for me, since there are no TLM in Cheshire. It’s not like I live in Mongolia, there is a Catholic Church half an hour way.

                  • I have been to Iceland and sung the traditional rite Benedictine office in the Cathedral in the capital Reykavik so please do not disparage those small countries.

                    If there is no provision for the TLM in Cheshire may I respectfully advise that perhaps you should begin to converse with that Bishop. But please do so in a considerate way; most certainly not in the strident manner in which you converse on this blog. You might be pleasantly surprised – unless you have already burnt your bridges with him; then it will understandably be more of an uphill struggle and require a degree of humility which I’m sure you possess.

                    • I wasn’t disparaging those small countries. These countries are known to be sparsely populated, which is a geographical reality, not an insult. The diocese of Aberdeen is more densely populated in comparison.

                  • It all depends where you live in Cheshire: there are 2nd and 3rd Sunday TLMs in Altrincham and Tarporley respectively, not to mention the New Brighton TLM every Sunday. In Salford, other than the SSPX Mass, there is only one TLM on a Sunday – transferred from The Holy Name to St. Chad’s. The provision is totally inadequate of that there is no doubt.

                    Re the hybrid NOM by the clergy at The Holy Name, who have now moved to St. Chad’s, they did at least provide early and evening week-day Mass for workers – attracting fifty or so at a time. Their Sunday TLM, now at St. Chad’s, also brought the TLM to a large body of the local student population – seventy to an hundred congregation.

                    Clergy of a Traditional orientation tend to be hamstrung by their bishops, the diocesan mafia and parish busy-bodies and tread a perilous path.

                • Benedict,

                  I would presume you have more intelligence than to believe that an occasional Mass on Shetland and a monthly Mass in Aberdeen suffices to get the FSSR priests off the hook.

                  Just to be clear – are you telling us that they can’t say more Masses because in between these monthly city Masses and occasional Shetland Masses the priests are off working in New Zealand? Is that what you are telling us?

                  Or is it, as I strongly suspect, that your dear friend Bishop Hugh Gilbert (to feature in our next edition, yet again) refuses to allow any more than the one monthly Mass in the hope of keeping the useful idiots who will be going about the place praising him for his wonderful generosity, uncritically on side?

                  Honestly, folks, you have to laugh.

                  • Dear Editor,

                    I might be wrong here but the small community of the FSSR are, to the best of my knowledge, serving more locations in Scotland, even on an occasional basis, that the mighty SSPX with their hundreds of priests.

                    By the way I only asked for a monthly Mass so the Bishop did not refuse anything.

                    You stated in a response not to be personal and rude to Miles. May I ask that you too follow your post as I find “useful idiots” rather personal and rude about myself and fellow Catholics in the Aberdeen Diocese.

                    Please and thank you.

                    • “I might be wrong here but the small community of the FSSR are, to the best of my knowledge, serving more locations in Scotland, even on an occasional basis, that the mighty SSPX with their hundreds of priests.”

                      The SSPX only have two priests in this country and serve churches in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Gateshead and a Mass Centre in Aberdeen. On many (we in Scotland would say FAR TOO MANY) occasions one of the priests has to go to help out elsewhere leaving one priest to say Sunday Mass in the three churches.
                      On the other hand the FSSR say Mass every Sunday on Stronsay and mass once a month in Aberdeen and Lerwick and they have more priests in Scotland than the SSPX.

                    • Benedict,

                      It was Lenin who said “useful idiots” – I was merely quoting him and since he had no interest in the TLM, you mustn’t take it personally 😀

                      As for only asking for a monthly Mass – shame on you. You must know that we are obliged to attend Mass weekly, not just monthly, so what is the point of only asking for a monthly Mass? Are you happy attending the novus ordo on three out of four Sundays? Therein, you identify one major difference between those who attend Society chapels and the Una Voce brigade.

                    • “The mighty SSPX”. I’ve never thought of them that way. I think I like it. 🙂

                    • Vianney,

                      Thank you for your response on the paucity of SSPX priests. I did not realise they were in such a bad way in Scotland. Have the others in the UK gone over to + Williamson? For your information the FSSR have the same number here in Scotland (the others are currently serving overseas) and I think even you will agree that there is a very big difference between living on a small island and commuting to that of jumping in a car and driving on major roads between cities.


                      Unlike some who sit on their hands and contrary to your presumption that I am part of the UVS brigade, I attend a Sunday Mass by travelling to Aberdeen, St Andrews, Stirling and Edinburgh (I serve at three of those locations) thereby fulfilling my obligations.

                      Quoting Lenin eh? I knew you were won’t to extreme views on occasion but being a closet Commie? well it was a good job I was sitting down when I read that.

                      Just back from a meeting in Glasgow today where I saw a Gazebo being erected in the main pedestrian thoroughfare between QS and Central Stations, proclaiming the way of Islam and handing out Korans etc.

                    • “I did not realise they were in such a bad way in Scotland. Have the others in the UK gone over to + Williamson?”

                      None of the priests have “gone over to Bishop Williamson.” There are 11 priests in the UK, 9 in England and 2 in Scotland. If the Scottish priests were left in peace to minister in Scotland there could be more Mass Centres but they continually have to go to help out in England, Ireland, Wales, Norway. Sweden and Denmark.
                      I was told by someone who has a relative in the FSSR that there are 3 priests on Papa Stronsay but even if, like you say, 2 priests, they only have one Sunday Mass on Stronsay so there is nothing to stop the other priest from travelling on a Saturday to another part of the country to say Mass on Sunday.

        • What about all the other priests in that diocese? That there is no weekly Sunday TLM and provision for TLM on Holy Days is criminal. Absolutely criminal. There is absolutely no excuse for this. Even the Archbishop of Glasgow, of all people, gives us at least one weekly Sunday Mass! The Bishop is an excellent Latinist, I know, I’ve met him. Why doesn’t he just do it himself? Get the Papa Stronsay lot to teach him the rubrics if he doesn’t already know them.

          Catholics have a positive right to the Traditional Mass. If a bishop fails to provide this, he is objectively sinning. Once a month is not sufficient. The Sunday obligation is weekly.

          • Miles Immaculatae,

            You have met bishop Hugh? Wonderful, I’m sure you came away much more informed – if not it would not be of his making. I have met him for over 30 years so know him a trifle more than your good self.

            Your ever strident tone implies that you have not too many years behind you – ah, to be young again. “absolutely criminal”, “Stronsay lot”, “objectively sinning”. Lovely catch phrases which can equally be applied to not taking your five a day veg/fruit, energetically walking for 2 miles a day, taking you blood pressure pills regularly – all equally “objectively sinning” against your health and spiritual wellbeing.

            • Benedict,

              You have made personal remarks, been very rude to Miles Immaculatae, who, to his credit, has not responded in kind. Stop it.

              His “tone” is NOT “strident” but if it were, it’s not your place to tell him so.

              Do I make myself clear? Please and thank you.

              • Editor

                I had been wondering why, indeed, “Benedict” bothers to post here at all, until I read his approval of the ignorant rubbish posted by “John Collins,” a pompous exercise in politely torching straw men whilst posing as some sort of expert, and reaching nonsensical conclusions based on the most breathtakingly vapid illogic.

                I concluded that Benedict is here for no other reason than to do his part to try to destroy Tradition, by using the corrupt party line to malign those who uphold Tradition. And thank you, Petrus, for you insightful perspective, down below, on Benedict (Arnold?)’s presence.

            • Was the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Saint Pius V, Quo Primum, not strident?

              By this our decree, to be valid in perpetuity, we determine and order that never shall anything be added to, omitted from, or changed in this Missal. . .At no time in the future can a priest, whether secular or order priest, ever be forced to use any other way of saying Mass. And so as to preclude once and for all any scruples of conscience and fear of ecclesiastical penalties and censures, we herewith declare that it is in virtue of our Apostolic Authority that we decree and determine that this our present order and decree is to last in perpetuity and can never be legally revoked or amended at a future date [. . .] And if anyone would nevertheless ever dare to attempt any action contrary to this order of ours, given for all times, let him know that he has incurred the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

  8. Does anyone know if the Eiffel Tower
    once had consecrated Hosts buried around it? When I was very young someone told me that a Mason on his deathbed repented and told the priest where the Hosts had been buried. I was also told that the Hosts had been found and that the Bishops did public reparation.
    No one I’ve ever asked has heard of this. So is it true?

    • 3LittleShepherds,

      You got my curiosity going so I Googled Freemasonry, Eiffel Tower, Communion Hosts, and I did get a result but when I clicked on the link it was a Remnant article from years ago and I couldn’t find the bit about the Eiffel Tower. However, it looks like there was something going on there, as you say.

      • Josephine

        Thanks. I googled alot of different combinations of words but didn’t come up with anything. I’ve never come across the remnant link.
        I kind of remember seeing a picture of priests or Bishops at the Eiffel tower but I’m not sure if my memory is correct about that.

    • Christina,

      I’m always impressed with the video of Bishop Schneider on Communion in the hand, but I’d like to know if he authorises it in his diocese and does he allow or use Extraordinary Ministers? You’d think we’d have heard about complaints if he was going against the rest of the bishops on this.

  9. Miles, there are no TLM in Cheshire. Last time I looked, Wallasey was in Cheshire! The ICKSP shrine church of SS Peter ,Paul and St. Philomena is in New Brighton, Wallasey. Have a look at the link I gave at 12.06pm today and find all the Masses celebrated in England and Wales by the arrangement or consent of the local ordinary. Apart from those, the SSPX chapel in Liverpool is not a million miles away from the furthest outposts of Cheshire, and nor is the chapel in Manchester.

    • Well actually it’s in Merseyside now, but Wallasey is in the furthest western tip of Cheshire. Cheshire’s big and my family live in the east of it, nearer to Manchester. I go to Manchester and Liverpool SSPX chapels, but I don’t have a car so I rely on public transport, and it’s still quite far. Trains are only every two hours on a Sunday.

  10. I’ve never accepted all those metropolitan borough conversions! For me, Wallasey, where I was born, is in Cheshire, and the town where I live now is in east Lancashire – not Greater Manchester! I hadn’t realised you have to rely on public transport – that’s hard, and you have my sympathy. We ought to get ourselves organised to offer lifts, even occasionally, as I’m pretty sure that some folk drive from east Cheshire (Macclesfield? Crewe?) to the New Brighton Masses and to both SSPX Masses.

    • Are you from Rochdale? I think we might have met before.

      My family live in Knutsford, but usually I live in Glasgow, where I study.

      For me the border changes make sense, but I was born in 1989. My family are from Altrincham originally, so I am very used to people who still insist Altrincham is in Cheshire, and NOT Manchester.

      • Miles, yours and the following few posts have made quite an enjoyable little interlude except for the murderous bits No, I don’t live in Rochdale but in Mossley, and, as you will know, Petrus, that is right on the Tameside/Saddleworth border, and I live a couple of miles from Saddleworth Moor which is forever writ large with Hyde in the annals of infamy.

  11. I think we should all be very grateful to Benedict for coming back to blog. He has done tremendous good in the short time he has been here. His posts are the perfect illustration of why Catholics should avoid attending Mass at the FSSP. They are happy to accept the scraps from the Bishops’ tables. These quasi Traditionalists, nice as they are (and Benedict is very likeable!) are part of the problem, not the solution.

    • These neo-Traditionalists, such as you mention, give the impression that the Traditional Mass for them is merely an aesthetic preference, a penchant (dare say I an ‘affectation’), which may be satisfied by the odd monthly Mass here and there. Perhaps this is why indult Masses are dominated by fuddy-duddy types, who learned classics at their grammar schools, and who pursue antiquarian interests, and listen to Palestrina or whatever (I am not dissing these things, I will surely end up as one of them). What they fail to realise though, is that for us, the Traditional Mass is an inherent part of our Catholicity, and a monthly Mass will not do. This is not because we are ungrateful, it is that us lot can only live as Catholics by the Traditional Mass alone, the Novus Ordo will not do, it will not do for us, not ever. We don’t go to the Latin Mass for the Latin and the baroque chasubles, we go for the true unadulterated Catholicism!

        • We all have our secret penchants. Myself, I like cuckoo clocks. Luckily for me, Knutsford houses the world’s largest collection of antique Black Forest cuckoo clocks, the Cuckooland Museum. My love affair began when I went on a secondary school German exchange to Baden-Württemberg. Absolutely incredible.

          My grandmother was in to spoons.

          • Clocks are another favourite of mine. There’s an “antique” shop in the West End that sells a lot of clocks.

    • At the Edinburgh SSPX Chapel we occasionally get people from the FSSP Mass coming to Sunday Mass. They say that we have a parish atmosphere which the FSSP doesn’t have and they also complain that the FSSP Mass is more like a concert because the choir master uses it as a platform to perform his own compositions. If we had a morning Mass quite a few who go to the FSSP would come to us.

      • This was precisely one of the reasons that swayed me towards the SSPX when I was in my ‘on-the-fence’ period. At the local ‘indult’ Mass I felt like I was going out of my way, being singular, like a guest in someone else’s parish. Whereas at the SSPX chapel, the Traditional Mass was integrated into the entire parish life, as it should be for a Catholic.

  12. I’ve skimmed various topics and there’s little re the new Bishop of Motherwell. Do we have a decent Bishop with trad leanings who will attempt to inject some pious life into the diocese or is it the same mould witnessed in other diocese leadership?

    • Michelangelo,

      We don’t have a thread on the new Bishop of Motherwell because he’s the “old” Bishop of Argyll and the Isles and no friend of Catholic Tradition. There’s really nothing to say about him – hence no thread. Believe me, had there been a glimmer of hope, I’d have posted a thread in a heartbeat.

  13. Anyone seen this before?
    The Prophecies of Blessed Elizabeth Canori Mora

    Ed: Many thanks for this link, Westminster Fly. I’d never heard of this Sister, and since it is possible that her revelations may be overlooked on this thread, I’ve opened a topic thread on the subject using the video, attributing to your good self for alerting us to it. Thank you again. Please, would anyone who wishes to comment, do so on the new thread. .

  14. At the Rosary tonight someone asked me if I’d heard about a sedevacantist Mass Centre that had opened in Glasgow, I said I hadn’t. I’ve had a look on the web and came across the site for the CMRI and they have it listed there. No address, you have to email the Armour family for details. Has anyone else heard about this? I didn’t think that anyone in Scotland was daft enough to be taken in by sedevacantism.

    • First I have heard of it Vianney, is this a successor to the defunct St Kentigern society?

      • Not as far as I know. The resistance group aren’t sedevacantists but it could be that this other group are trying to mussel in. From what I’ve been told the CMRI are a bad lot. There has been a lot of scandal surrounding them including the murder of one of their nuns. We don’t want their type here.

  15. One of the CMRI nuns was murdered in her convent a few years ago. I think it was in Washington state. From what I’ve heard nobody was ever charged but it was widely believed to have been an inside job.

    CMRI means Congregatio Mariae Reginae Immaculatae, Congregation of Our Lady Immaculate Queen.

  16. “Pitié pour l’Église!”
    About the beatification of Paul VI next October, it was planned eleven years ago already; I wrote at that time to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, probably as many others:


    Paris, 10th September 2003


    It seems that Paul VI should soon be beatified. The implementation of this project would be a serious mistake. The division of the Church caused by Vatican II would increase and I wonder if, on balance, it is not for some, the desired goal! Clearly, in the mind of many people, John Paul II would be hopelessly discredited. I fear that he will lose all credibility and through him, more importantly, the papacy itself and sustainably.
    It should nevertheless be remembered that Paul VI raised and completed and endorsed a devastating Council as some call real “brigandage”. Such historians as Yves Chiron and theologians demonstrated it in various well documented works.
    I do not deny that Paul VI could be recognized as a Saint. God only knows. But in the current context, his beatification could sow confusion in the mind of many people and would be seriously damaging to the Church and, consequently, to souls. It is not bold, but caution which is a cardinal virtue.
    The Church is holy and one and indivisible. One should not venture to break this unity by acts as useless as harmful.

    Il paraît que Paul VI devrait être bientôt béatifié. L’exécution de ce projet constituerait une grave erreur. La division de l’Église provoquée par Vatican II n’en serait qu’aggravée et je me demande si, tout compte fait, ce n’est pas, pour certains, le but recherché ! De toute évidence, dans l’esprit de nombreuses personnes, Jean-Paul II se trouverait discrédité irrémédiablement. Je crains qu’il n’y perde toute crédibilité et à travers lui, plus grave encore, la papauté elle-même et durablement.
    Il ne faut tout de même pas oublier que Paul VI a relancé, mené à son terme et cautionné un Concile dévastateur que certains qualifient de véritable « brigandage ». Des historiens tel Yves Chiron et des théologiens l’ont démontré dans divers ouvrages très documentés.
    Je ne nie pas que Paul VI pourrait être reconnu en tant que Saint. Dieu seul le sait. Mais dans le contexte actuel, sa béatification pourrait semer le trouble dans l’esprit de beaucoup de monde et serait donc gravement dommageable à l’Église et, par voie de conséquence, aux âmes. Ce n’est pas l’audace, mais la prudence qui est une vertu cardinale.
    L’Église est sainte, une et indivisible. Il ne faut pas se risquer à rompre cette unité par des actes aussi inutiles que préjudiciables.

  17. This is a question directed to those who are knowledgeable about the workings of the SSPX:

    The society’s seminaries offer one of the most outstanding scholastic educations in the world. In spite of this, I assume, because of their canonical situation, these seminaries are not able to confer canonical degrees, e.g. the Licentiate of Sacred Theology etc..

    Does this mean, that outside of the society, priests and former seminarians are not able to demonstrate merit for their studies? Also, are Society seminaries’ programmes accredit by any secular universities, in order to get around the problem of not being able to confer their own degrees? (i.e. Heythrop College may award canonical degrees, but if it couldn’t, its degrees are still accredited by the University of London.)

    I am sure the Society’s priestly candidates don’t care about this, but it just seems unfair, that in a culture that values post-nominals, they go unrewarded.

    (Editor: you are highly credentialed in Religious Education, do you know?)

    • It might help to recall the classic workings of a university, taken from a knowledgeable n Italian laudation, honoris causa, in a continental university ( The chap started out with an undergraduate degree, passed on to his first independent work with a short dissertation, then moved on to postgraduate studies. He chose Benedict XIV for his doctoral work – more or less a classic choice of a subject big enough to be interesting and to produce source materials but still small enough to be feasible. He defended a thesis on «Il governo della Chiesa nel pensiero di Benedetto XIV – Papa Lambertini». This in due course became two books, Benedetto XIV (1740-1758) e la gerarchia ecclesiastica, Roma 1976 (103pp) and ‘Il governo della Chiesa nel pensiero di Benedetto XIV’, Roma, 1977 (207pp). So a young student starts and a fully-fledged scholar emerges.

      Contrast this with Pius X. He was, undoubtedly, the worst educated bishop of Rome in modern times, so ill-educated indeed that he had to be given special dispensation to become a bishop. His profound ignorance of the wider world led him into all sorts of disasters, from a pointless conflict with France, to an evil persecution of an unfortunate Irish Jesuit, and to the ill-judged exposure of young children to the rigours of ‘confession’ which is, arguably, at the heart of the current epidemic of child abuse. None of this caused him the slightest intellectual doubt since he had no formed intellect in the first place.

      So the Dead Pope’s Society cannot have it both ways. Either follow in the distinguished footsteps of Dr Bertone or sign up as an out-and-out fundamentalist, trading in obscurantism and peasant superstition. It is entirely possible to lecture uncritically from dead theologians and to ask ‘students’ to absorb dead ideas like so many parrots. A parrot of the dead is of no particular use to the wider world but there are ways and means of letting Catholic religious study at reputable universities: Oxford has Jesuit and Dominican halls and Christ’s and Corpus in Cambridge have always been willing to make special arrangements and there is now a residential hall near Johns – all intended to get round the problem of coeducational colleges. But what cannot be changed is the intellectual process – it is difficult to imagine forming an SSPX member into a critical scholar and then suppose he would remain a member. For a school, Blackfriars and Campion are one thing but even a second-division university like London could not touch SSPX with a bargepole.

      So, at a guess it will have to be Miles, Cardinal Immacultae, STD (wicked modernist), doctor honoris causa, or poor unrewarded Fr Immaculatae (out-and-proud obscurantist) who has lost his post-nominals.

      It is sometimes better not to tamper with natural ignorance.

      • Oh I see.

        Who wants STD written after their name anyway? Now their’s a suspicious acronym if their ever was one.

        Just ironic isn’t it, the SSPX probably offer the best theological formation in the world.

      • Er..I think you mean Bishop as opposed to ‘bishop’. The latter is what Catholics use to refer to members of the anglican non-hierarchy, as they do not have validly ordained priests, just blokes, and some wimmin in fancy dress. An inevitable consequence of the ‘reformation’, during which a large section of the European population lost the right to call themselves Christian.

        I don’t know if you have problems processing basic information, but we are not ‘Roman Catholics’. No such animal I’m afraid. We are Catholics. The word ‘Roman’ was added by Protestants to form the erroneous branch theory, which came with the false idea that all churches are different branches of one big Church. I doubt Our Lord had the church of England or the Lutherans in mind when He gave St Peter (the first Pope dontcha know) the keys of Heaven.

        As for the ‘Dead Pope’s Society’ comment, you are just showing your own ignorance and stupidity. Nuff said on this score.

        Likewise, when you deride Pope St Pius X, one of the greatest Popes in history, you also show your ignorance. He did what was in his remit. When he issued ‘Vehementer Nos’, in response to the Law of 1905, he was defending the Church in France from attacks by a Freemason dominated and Atheistic government, who began to discriminate against Catholics in all sectors of society, even in the military. Catholics in the military and civil service were monitored for their devotion. Several orders, including the Assumptionists were expelled, and Cardinal-Archbishop of Paris, Monseigneur Francois-Marie Richard was evicted from the Archiepiscopal Palace.

        Also, the Confession of children is not at the heart of sexual abuse. It is the sexual deviance of men with homosexual and paedophile tendencies getting into the Seminary. Confession is great grace, and it was intended by St Pius X to extend this sacrament to youngsters so that they would receive this grace. Don’t rely on John Cornwell, a bitter man, for objective commentary on the Papacy. His views on Pius XII have been discredited.

        • Catholic Convert

          The barrage of flak is neither here nor there but your French History strikes one as being suspect in detail – your remarks elsewhere about there being no Solemnes foundation in England said it all. Apart from Farnborough, Quarr on the Isle of Wight was funded by the ex-Empress dowager. Both still exist.

          There is no getting away from the fact that Quarr reflects the complete dog’s dinner his successor made of Leo XIII’s policy to France, inept handling creating a needless crisis. Perhaps the saddest place to visit in Quarr is the monastic cemetery where, almost within sight of France, a whole generation of exiled Solemnes monks are buried in some corner of a foreign field. When the old ignoramus died, the Solemnes survivors were able to return home under Benedict XV’s saner policies and their new house became English.

          The papacy has choices in foreign policy and some lines (and some popes) are more intelligent than others: the only pity is that innocent French religious were sacrificed in an aberrant policy phase before educated common sense reasserted itself.

          The point in question here is there is a choice in intellectual formation: a broad and open preparation within the conventional path to a doctoral degree as against a narrow and closed process of lower level indoctrination. A formed and independent scholar (Dr Bertone, under attack on another thread, is as good an example as any) is able to lead in a particular way, to assess a situation and to judge how best to act. An Old Believer (Don Sarto was the classic) has the convenience of needing neither to assess nor judge but simply to act on gut instinct. Now saying that is not, actually, to deride or decry the man – it is praising him in the terms he himself would have wished to be praised – a simple peasant clinging to the faith of his uneducated ancestors and condemning any newer intellectual view, which he understood no better than they did, as being ‘modernism’. It so happens that Pius X has been the one and only man in recent history to be elected bishop of Rome without having completed his education.

          In the present context, he is a sort of patron saint of the half-educated and, in selecting their patron, the Lefebrists presumably gladly espouse his anti-intellectualism. There is no harm in being an out-and-proud holy but brain-dead Old Believer, parroting the words of a Dead Pope’s Society: it is just a matter of being honest about the game one is playing – real archaeology or pious legends of dubious saints.

          The choice for the professed Romanist is between accepting the authority of a living bishop of Rome, who is always liable to think, and (‘having thunk’) share his thoughts, or clinging grimly to the dead words of dead theologians and dead popes from whatever obscure period of history takes the fancy.

          • Dr William Oddie, in one of his Catholic Herald blog posts, once intimated that Traditional Catholics weren’t bright.

            Who cares? We’re in it for the religion, not the academe.

            As a university student myself, I can tell you much of what the learned classes write is codswallop anyway. Especially Theology departments.

            But all the sciences and humanities are affected. I was coerced into asserting before my classmates that I thought gender was a social construct.

            Gender doesn’t exist, gender is a social construct.
            Gender doesn’t exist, gender is a social construct.
            Gender doesn’t exist, gender is a social construct.

            You can say it as much as you want. You can write as many papers on it as you want. You can’t make it true. Having a degree in it doesn’t make it true.

            The idea you to must be credentialled, have written theses, and be well connected in academic circles to have an intellectual opinion on the faith is simply intellectual snobbery.

            It is a trait that ordinary folk find insufferable, vile. It’s not humble, and it is condescending.

          • Dowden,

            Pope St Pius X wasn’t that much of an ‘ignoramus’ because he was the rector of the Treviso Seminary and in 1880 he began to teach dogmatic and moral theology at the same Seminary. He did require a papal dispensation from Leo XIII in order to be elevated to the Bishopric because he did not have a doctorate, as you say, but does an absence of a doctorate make you mentally inferior, or necessarily a bad Pope? I don’t think so. The fact is Giuseppe Sarto was not an aristocrat, and came from an impoverished background, and had to walk many miles to school. His father was a meagre postal clerk and even after he was elected Pope, his sisters remained in poverty in Rome. I think it is wrong to deride his intellectual capacity given his poor background, and reduced access to education. He completed all of his seminary education hence he was ordained.

            In the Catholic Church we obviously ‘cling’ to the words of ‘dead theologians and dead Popes’. It is called Sacred Tradition, which is equal to Sacred Scripture, as tradition has it’s origins in Scripture. We’re not like Anglicans, were they make it up as they go along. Modernists who prefer to move with ‘the times’ are guilty of the sin of pride.

            • I wouldn’t worry about it CC. Le Curé d’Ars was apparently a thicko, him and Saint Joseph of Cupertino. And Saint Bernadette of Lourdes was positively retarded (well according to the more worldly intellectual types).

              Nevertheless, these illustrious saints excelled in the studium of the Lord. Their mystical understanding of God surpassed that of any theologian.

              There are plenty of churchmen who had doctorates who have tragically lost their souls. What are credentials in eternity?

      • Dowden,

        I am popping in just to say you could not be more wrong about Pius X if you sat down to read the idiot writings of John-Brain Dead-Cornwell.

        As it happens, I am reading a life of Pope Pius X right now and he is a giant, intellectually and pastorally. His generous nature – he gave generously to the poor and went hungry himself so to do – and his wonderful sense of humour, together with his inspiring preaching made him a more than worthy candidate for canonisation.

        People who think worldly academic certificates are the most important thing and the best measure of someone’s intellect are not, frankly, too bright themselves. Indeed, they’re usually not playing with a full deck, know what I mean Dowden?

        As for your comparison with Cardinal Bertone… Well, so far I’ve not reached the bit in the life of Saint Pius X where he is under Vatican scrutiny for his allegedly dodgy financial dealings, but I’ll let you know when I get there. Pity, that. Maybe if he’d done a Maths Degree Pope Saint Pius X could have worked something out in the dodgy dealings department. Oh well. We can’t ALL be that clever I suppose…

      • Your comments regarding the education of Saint Pius X are nothing short of disgraceful. What has education got to do with anything Saintly?
        You come across as the worst type of snob. Why do you find it necessary to title yourself ‘Doctor’ on an internet blog?

        Let me tell you that Jesus Christ was an apprentice joiner. His dad was working class too.

        I wonder if I might be allowed to appendage my informal internet moniker with the fact that I gained my Masters in Latin and Greek or my undergraduate Philosophy Degree or even my Teaching Degree?

        But no that would make me out to be something that I’m not. The more I know the more I know I don’t. You might want to try it sometime. Best served with humility.

    • Miles,

      What do you mean when you say that I am “highly credentialed in Religious Education”?

      Signed Curious, Glasgow…

  18. Could someone please inform me as to where I could obtain the Chaplet of St Philomena. I asked Ed in a private email but she said that she’d never heard of it, which surprised me.

  19. Miles, that’s an excellent point that you raised. I too, in postgradutae work in Adult Education, had to absorb the rubbish being churned out by the current flavour of the year ‘thinkers’ and regurgitate it in an uncriticised lump for the examiners – despite having lived much of my teaching career amidst the debris of their failed ideas and the resultant growing illiteracy of the population. Do it right and heap yourself with honours, dare to question the current academic fashion and accept the consequences. This is far from Newman’s idea of a university and goes against most of its ideals, e.g., that the range of its teaching should be universal and is inconsistent with restrictions. Today, ‘Catholic academia’ is restricted to modernism as its very core and, will not tolerate opposition. Hence the scorn heaped upon traditionalists, and upon those who believe in the revelations of Fatima. Hence the omission of ‘St.’ when referring to Pope St. Pius X – the scourge of the modernists. The idea is that if you claim they’re all thick, you have a good enough reason to deny them access to higher (‘Catholic’) education.

    John Dowden, way back on May 22nd at 5.17pm, purporting to show the ‘classic workings of a university’ provides an interesting illustration, certainly, of the current workings of a ‘CATHOLIC’ university, where the honours (even if merely honorary) are heaped obsequiously upon the supremely ‘progressive’ Cardinal Bertone for towing the party line. If I have understood correctly, the honorary title of ‘Doctor of Law’ of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, was conferred upon the Cardinal in order to express ‘esteem and recognition of his activities that have made an extraordinary contribution to the development of the studies of Canon Law’ in the direction of the reforms of Vat. II ‘regarding the relations between the Catholic Church and the international community’. The Senate of the University gushingly opines that Cardinal Bertone ‘….transmits the truth of the Gospel in ways clear and comprehensible to contemporary man’, (yeah), and that ‘thanks to the meetings with communities of different cultures and religions (he builds) bridges of unity and love between people of diverse cultures and religions. Living, in daily life, the joy that comes from a profound confidence in God (he has) opened to the world, and shown to the young, hope and a Christianity full of joy’.

    Can you imagine an SSPX priest being admitted here, even though it claims to be:

    …… an open university, because within its walls there is also a place for representatives of other religions and for those at the stage of searching for God. The existence of a Catholic university is indispensable for the development of Christian thought, which, as a matter of fact, helps a human being to fulfill his/ her sense of life. A high educational level of the University, which is an achievement of many generations of professors and students, research done at the highest level, combined with the education of the young with regard to moral values, are the priorities of our University.

    P.S The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin has also given an honorary doctorate to Kiko Arguello (!)

  20. Just out of interest do traditional groups still confer minor orders, i.e Deacon or Sub-Deacon on a permanent basis, i.e not transitional between the Priesthood?

  21. Encouraging words from Bishop Athanasius Schneider, (as reported by Fr Blake), regarding the threat of the Bergoglio-Kaspar groovy gang changing teaching regarding communion and the divorced and remarried.

    I also agree with what he said when questioned by a couple of lay people on Sunday at West Grinstead about the possibility of the Synod changing the Church’s teaching on the reception of Holy Communion by the divorced and remarried he said, ‘It was impossible’, when a lay woman pressed him and asked, ‘… but what if the Synod and the Pope actually did change the Church’s position?’

    From what I recall he said that that would be a departure from the teaching of the Lord, and they would be wrong, a Synod is not Infallible teaching, and no Pope can teaching something which clearly contradicts the Lord. If he does, on this matter, he is in error and, on this matter, we cannot follow him.

    What +Schneider says – and echoed by an English Diocesan Priest – is essentially the position of the SSPX – in that we follow the Pope, but not when he offers us garbage.

    It is good to see non-SSPX Bishops and Priests starting to say this kind of thing openly; maybe these latest novel ideas are the straw which will break the camels back.

    My own fears about the synod are summed up in this article which attacks the “pessimism” of Francis regarding marriage:

    My prediction is that the synod will issue a document strenuously claiming to affirm the indissolubility of marriage, while instituting a practice that contradicts it. The remarried will be encouraged to examine their consciences and consult with pastors in the hope of having Communion. The practical effect will be a new perceived “right” for the divorced to approach the altar, and much acrimony for any pastor who objects in any case, not only from his parishioners, but from his bishop as well.

    • Gabriel Syme,

      That’s very interesting indeed about the Bishop and the English priest saying exactly what the SSPX say about papal errors – I wonder if they’ll be excommunicated? Or, hereafter described as “schismatic”?

      • Indeed Editor, the question should be put to officials, asking them to clarify their difficulty with the SSPX position, if it is also espoused elsewhere but without receiving sanction.

    • Does +Gilbert possess any actual power to censure Msgr. Loftus? Surely Msgr. Loftus came from a very nice English sinecure
      Pately Bridge [Leeds Diocese] and is long retired. Just wondering!

      • Sixupman,

        Every bishop has responsibility for the material which is written by Catholics in his diocese. Canon Law is quite clear on that – # 826 applies because – apart from anything else – Mgr Loftus publishes in the Scottish Catholic Observer.

        In any case, can you imagine if Mgr Loftus were, God forbid, accused of child abuse instead of faith abuse, the furore that would result if the Bishop of Aberdeen said “have a word with the Bishop of Leeds – nothing to do with me…”

        Pontius Pilate eat your heart out…

        • I live in the Diocese of Leeds. One of England’s many dead sees. Only 20% Mass attendance, whilst very few regular TLMs. Keep up the good work. We are awaiting a new Bishop, please pray for Catholic Convert’s Parish Priest. He is friendly to Latin (he uses chant in the NO) and supports the FSSP, and he gave me the green light to attend a diocesan tlm.

    • “My prediction is that the synod will issue a document strenuously claiming to affirm the indissolubility of marriage, while instituting a practice that contradicts it. The remarried will be encouraged to examine their consciences and consult with pastors in the hope of having Communion. The practical effect will be a new perceived “right” for the divorced to approach the altar, and much acrimony for any pastor who objects in any case, not only from his parishioners, but from his bishop as well”.
      You are absolutely right, Gabriel LD

  22. Just a quick question regarding the Little Office of the BVM from Baronius Press. Does it have any misprints, in the most recent editions that are currently on sale? The reason I enquire is because in my copy of ‘True Devotion’, there are two minor misprints, such as ‘arid’ instead of ‘and’, which I can put up with.

  23. I stumbled across this article just now, linked from another site, and – well, to be blunt – I think it’s a very nasty piece indeed.

    I, personally, go out of my way to speak to newcomers in our traditional chapel and to invite them into the tearoom. I know others do as well. We make a point of inviting anyone we see sitting alone to join us at our table. Every time. I’m less and less impressed with Rorate Caeli.

    • I look forward to the day when I’m up in bonnie Glasgow, and you can let me sit at your table and buy me a cuppa 🙂 After all, you are very gracious, not to mention glamorous and witty.

          • CatholicConvert

            Are you sure you want that much coffee with your sugar?

            Also, congratulations! Please remember me in your prayers.

            • Congratulations? Regarding what? No luck has befallen me of late, apart from my Easter reception. I hope that’s what you are referring to, unless you’ve got a crystal ball, and are delivering pre-emptive congratulations on a future win on the lottery.

      • “After all, you are very gracious, not to mention glamorous and witty.”

        Do we have a new Editor?

    • It’s the same in our chapel, we have some people who make it their job to speak to strangers and make sure they pick up a Mass book and know that lunch is available in the café after Mass. I have to say that I’ve never found an unfriendly traditional chapel.

      • Vianney,

        Having said that, I had an email today from a very pleasant sounding gentleman who reads this blog but isn’t signed up to comment. He told me that a few weeks ago he visited our Glasgow chapel, went into the tearoom, stayed for a few minutes only and then left, without anyone speaking to him. He saw me talking to people in the porch area and didn’t like to interrupt. I was late into the tearoom that day. Murphy’s Law. Please, everyone, take note that I do not consider it to be “interrupting” if you visit our chapel and approach to introduce yourself. I’m absolutely delighted to meet our readers and visitors to the website and blog. Anyway, I like to think that if he’d waited a little longer somebody would have spoken to him, because it shouldn’t depend on a small group of us befriending visitors.

        And I have to admit, I’ve always found the Edinburgh chapel very friendly as well. Even that annoying man who runs the bookshop is friendly. And it’s the one place in the capital city where they don’t greet you with: “you’ll have had your tea of course” (in Glasgow, visitors are always greeted with “you’ll have your tea of course…) but that could be because they want your money. Their soup and sandwiches don’t come cheap 😯

        • I think everyone should make an effort to talk if they see a stranger. I know that if visitors come into the café and sit at a table there are two or three people who make a point of going over to sit beside them. I have to say that I’ve never found the man in the bookshop annoying, in fact, I think he’s very charming. And, If you think a pound for a bowl of home made soup and crusty bread is expensive then I’ll never accept an invitation from you to eat. You’ll probably take me to the Salvation Army soup kitchen.

            • It was a Salvationist. They said that even though the soup was free you still complained it was too expansive.

              • Vianney,

                That Salvationist is originally from Edinburgh, you know. He told me that double glazing is doing great business there because parents hope that their children won’t be able to hear the ice-cream van when it comes round…

                • Well it’s no working as there’s always a queue when the ice cream man comes here.

                  • But, isn’t it true that where you live they don’t have windows, they’re all boarded up (new fashion?)

                    I’m being very naughty keeping this going as I’m always complaining that the GD threads get filled up so quickly so, enough already!

                    • One of the big differences between Edinburgh and Glasgow is that when you hear gun shot in Edinburgh it’s the one o’clock gun.

                    • Haha Vianney, that’s hilarious! My husband always comments on a Saturday night: “how many murders will there be in Glasgow tonight!”

  24. I was looking through old SSPX UK newsletters and noticed a sacramental record of a baptism having taken place at Traquair House, Peeblesshire.

    I had not heard of Traquair before so looked it up online (very interesting Catholic connections).

    I noticed on the Traquair webpage that, between April and September there is a monthly evening mass at the House Chapel.

    I assume this mass is a TLM (looking at the chapel pics)?

    Who serves this Chapel, is it the Carluke Priory? (I notice the location is not far from Carluke)

    Thanks if you have any information.

    • Gabriel Syme,

      I’ve never heard of Traquair, and since it’s not listed on the SSPX UK chapels list, and never mentioned by the priests when they speak about covering the various chapels in Scotland and north of England, I doubt very much if it is anything to do with the Society. Sorry I can’t be more help. Correction: sorry I can’t be ANY help 😀

      • No problem, Editor, thanks for your reply.

        I guess the SSPX Baptism must have been a one-off event organised by the Family (you can use the Chapel for such occasions, according to the website).

        Peebles is in the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh, so I guess its not likely we west coasters would know much about this mass.

        Maybe the mass is something to do with Una Voce, or simply served by the local Diocesan priests (listed online as Fr Basil Clark MA STB and Fr Wojciech Rybka SVD)??

        I think I fancy visiting this Traquair sometime , it sounds very interesting:

        Dating back to 1107, Traquair was originally a hunting lodge for the kings and queens of Scotland. Later a refuge for Catholic priests in times of terror the Stuarts of Traquair supported Mary Queen of Scots and the Jacobite cause without counting the cost.

      • I am astounded that a Scottish teacher, especially a CATHOLIC Scottish teacher has never heard of Traquair!! I thought every Scot would have known the story of the Bear Gates at Traquair in Innerleithen which will remain closed until a Stuart King returns?

        • Magdalene,

          I hang my head in utter shame. I didn’t even know we were expecting a Stuart King to return. What am I LIKE 😯

          • Madam Editor! I am APPALLED that you have never heard of Traquair, It is a precious part of your Scottish heritage, and even more precious as part of our Catholic heritage. I love the place, and would urge you to visit. You’ll no be disappointed lassie.

            Signed: A Sassanach (sp?)

        • Hi Magdalene,

          I’ve never heard of this either, im very interested though – do you have any more info or a website to recommend?


        • This reminds me of a particular Sir Walter Scott novel… a great one too, maybe even his best.

    • Gabriel, the family of the baby stay in the between Peebles and Innerleithen and hired the chapel for the baptism. The little girl concerned was at Mass in Edinburgh n Sunday. The chapel at Traquair has never been vandalised so even when the Novus Ordo is said there the priest has his back to the people.

      • Ah, thanks for the info Vianney.

        Have you visited the chapel / house / grounds?

        Worth a visit?

        • I have visited it a few years ago and it is worth a visit especially for a Catholic or those with Jacobite sympathies. The Maxwell Stuart family remained loyal to the Faith at the reformation and Mass continued to be celebrated there. Queen Mary stayed there in 1566 and her rosary and crucifix are on display. Prince Charles Edward Stuart visited in 1738 and as he departed the Bear Gates were closed after him and have never been opened since. They will remain closed till the rightful royal family are restored to the throne. The present chapel was built after Catholic emancipation and is small but very nice. There is also a brewery so there’s a reason for our dear Editor to pay a visit.

          It is also the oldest inhabited house in the country.

          • Vianney,

            “They will remain closed till the rightful royal family are restored to the throne”

            My mother has told me often that I’m a right royal nuisance, so could I be the rightful heir to the Scottish throne? I will put in my claim after September if the independence YES campaign wins. That would be one way of keeping a close eye on Alex Salmond.

            • Editor, if you sit on the throne, I mean the one in the throne room and not the smallest room, just don’t expect people to bow and curtsey because European monarchs don’t expect that sort of thing. Traditionally the Scots monarch was the first among equals ( later stolen by Americans for their presidents) and was the guardian of the people’s rights. You would have to be a true mother of the nation. Do you still want the job?

          • I think the Windsor’s are the legitimate rulers. If they become Catholic, what does it matter if they are Bourbon or Wittelsbach? It’s not who they’re related to, but what they stand for, and what faith they confess. It’s more likely the Prince of Wales will confess Islam anyway, but I digress.

            I have never particularly thought the Tudor-Stuart concept of Machiavellian absolute monarchy is at all Catholic. That’s not the kind of country I would want to live in. This remnant article explains it well:


            As you say, the monarch in the Christian commonwealth ought be first among equals, the guardian of liberty and a just society, defender of the poor. A Catholic monarchy needn’t be a monarch as such, I think a republic would be equally legitimate.

            Anyway, isn’t the President of the USA basically just a monarch, except in name?

    • Great Pretender,

      Alex Salmond’s not on the list but then I suppose he’s too busy preparing for the New Scottish Order to worry about the NWO.

      (I thought that up all by myself…)

  25. I seem to be having trouble with books from Baronius Press. My book on the True Devotion to Mary is of very poor quality. For a start there are several misprints, and the binding is of poor quality. This book has hardly been opened (due to little due to recent essays, exams etc), yet the binding has weakened. I have had other non-religious books for years, all have been read on numerous occasions, and are in fantastic condition, as if I bought them yesterday. For a company that blows sunshine up it’s own backside, it’s shocking. Am I the only person who is having this trouble??

    • I have never had any such difficulties. You are unlucky. All my Baronius books are of exemplary quality, binding and typeset. If the binding has broken, I would send it back for a replacement.

  26. Dowden

    I’m not sure how seriously you expect readers to take your frequent rather lofty statements on matters academic, statements which at times give a fair impression of being patronising. I also suspect there is an element of provocation. Your posts of May 22, 5.17 pm and May 23, 1.55pm offer rather pungent examples.

    It’s fair to say that scholarship and respect for academic principles involves thorough, objective research into subject matter, marshalling of facts and evidence in drawing a coherent and reasonable conclusion, and presenting evidence-based theories or opinions in a rational, coherent way. I’m sure Newman, Chesterton and Monsignor Ronald Knox have expressed things more eloquently, but I don’t think they would object to these as basic principles.

    Frankly, Dowden, the above posts seriously undermine any claims to lecture anyone here about scholarship, let alone pass judgement on the academic rigour of the priests of the Society of Saint Pius X, to say nothing of casting baseless, ignorant, and distasteful aspersions on the intellectual standing of the Society’s patron (“ill- educated”, “no formed intellect”, “old ignoramus”, “patron saint of the half educated”).

    The implicit suggestion that any scruffy “yoof” strolling, mid-morning into the library to work on some post grad dissertation, looking as though he has just woken up from two days sleep on a sofa, somehow holds an intellectual or educational edge over the Pope responsible for Pascendi is more than slightly ridiculous. Let those who wish to cast judgment on the great Saint’s powers of intellect read that particular encyclical and examine all the other abundant evidence.

    Honestly, Dowden, the blatant errors contained in your posts, and your neglecting to attempt to substantiate your claims, suggest that anyone stepping into the groves of academia with a determination to pursue a similar approach to the standards of scholarship would be faced with the prospect of a swift and fruitless release back into the community. Rather that make some attempt on a record for length of comment, the French secular powers’ breach of the 1801 Concordat, the treatment of the apostate Jesuit, George Tyrell, and the sainted Pope’s defence of the Deposit of the Faith against the assault of the Modernists might be better dealt with in separate posts.

    I’m sure some here consider that such ill-informed statements do not merit a response, should be ignored and forgotten about. Fair enough. There is a danger though that some readers may be confused and disturbed by such errors. Even in the case of very ordinary laymen such as this blogger, such errors offer Catholics an open goal when it comes to “teaching moments”. Most of all, there is a compelling need to defend, to best of our limited ability (personally speaking), the good name of a truly, absolutely, outstanding Vicar of Christ against ignorant, outrageous, baseless, and unsubstantiated slurs.

    No other Pope in history is known to have passed through all the grades of the Hierarchy before ascending to the Chair of Peter. The fact that this did not involve spending time at University is not admissible as evidence of lack of intellect or learning. As has been pointed out before, young Giuseppe Sarto was an exceptional student to the end of his days in the Seminary. At the conclusion of his first year, he earned the following commendation:

    “In discipline second to none, of the greatest ability, (blest) with a very great memory, and (giving) the highest promise.” (Pius X, Fr. Hieronymo Dal-Gal, p.8). “Eminent in study, in diligence and piety,” wrote Archbishop Zamburlini of Udine, “he was a model for all in the Seminary.” (ibid p. 10).

    The rector of the Padua Seminary wrote to the rector of Treviso, “Sarto left nothing to be desired. On the contrary, he gave a continual example of gravity and excellence in piety and conduct. In a word: may God grant us more young men of this calibre” (cited in Saint Pius X, by Yves Chiron, p. 26).

    “He (the future Pope) would have preferred to attend classes at the university faculty of theology rather than those in the seminary, in order to simultaneously to follow a course in oriental languages…To do this he would have to live elsewhere. The Bishop of Treviso would not allow this since young Sarto’s “free place” was in the seminary, and not elsewhere” (ibid, p 20).

    The Pope who would found the Biblical Institute “had already- at the age of 19- sensed the importance of reading the sacred texts in the language in which God had inspired them” (ibid, p. 21).

    I trust that readers of objective mind and good will have grasped the point: enforced lack of a University degree was no indication of lack of the required ability and application, much less grounds for some charge of “anti-intellectualism”. As stated previously, the abundant evidence of the saint’s great mind can be read by anyone.

    The absolute necessity of natural intellectual accomplishments on the part of the successors of the apostles is rather open to question. A cursory acquaintance with the New Testament is enough to take that in. Over the last fifty years, there have been at least three successors of Peter whose academic achievements are unlikely to be called into question by those now occupying the major seats of modern learning. Objectively speaking, those Popes have overseen a catastrophic breakdown in Church governance and religious life, almost universal liturgical abominations, and, putting things charitably, a totally inadequate and ineffective safeguarding and transmission of the Faith. The “auto destruction” and “silent apostasy”, arguably resulting in significant measure from the manifest failure, for whatever reason, to imitate Pope Saint Pius X, have endangered literally billions of souls.

    As for his appointment to the episcopacy, the only dispensation that Monsignor Sarto sought from Pope Leo XIII was to be spared the task, before humbly accepting his cross. “What a Calvary! I can but say with Jesus, ‘Not my will but Thine be done’” (Dal-Gal, p.53).When asked by his mother why he was so sad while all in his home village rejoiced, the saint replied: “Mother, you do not realise what it means to be a Bishop- I shall lose my soul if I neglect my duty.”

    Of course, defending the reputation of a great Pope against ill-informed criticism offers a welcome opportunity to speak of his many virtues, or rather to let first hand witnesses speak.

    It’s a fair bet that representatives of the Argentine diplomatic service were never anything other than a hard bitten, unsentimental bunch. Ambassador Senor Daniele Garcia-Mansilla has this to say:

    “The first impression the Servant of God made on me was that here was a man from whom piety emanated. I could not restrain my tears- a sensation I had never before experienced. I must add that of all the Popes whose acquaintance I had the honour to make, none made a deeper impression on me than Pius X”. (quoted in Pius X, by Father Hieronymo Dal-Gal, p. 180)

    In view of the accusation that the great saint was somehow responsible for the grievous persecution inflicted by the agents of Masonry on the Church in France after 1906, it might be fitting to close with a quote from a suitably qualified son of the “Eldest Daughter of the Church”. Monsignor Baudrillart, a member of the French Academy, and future Cardinal, visited Pope Pius in Rome every year from 1907 to 1914 offered this testimony:

    “His appearance, his words and his personality manifested his generosity, firmness, and faith: generosity revealed to man, firmness the leader, and faith the priest, the Pope, the man of God. A more spiritual man it would be hard to imagine. ‘Deus providebit’, which was ever on his lips, characterised the faith burning in his soul. When he had made a decision he did not worry about the consequences any more, in the knowledge that God would change insignificant and passing evil into useful and permanent good. He seemed to have a special intuition for always doing the right thing. Calm and unperturbed, he pointed out evil wherever he came across it, and he never allowed fear of men to make him deviate from the path of duty. Never was there a Pope who fulfilled more perfectly the role of reformer. Ever faithful to his principle ‘Instaurare Omnia in Christo’ he set about and accomplished his task with incomparable energy. While Governments feared him, the people loved him and were inspired with confidence by his fatherly spirit.” (ibid, p.179-180)

    • Leo,

      Your latest posts to Dowden are fantastic. I think they are summed up in this extract from yours at 5.19pm today:

      “The implicit suggestion that any scruffy “yoof” strolling, mid-morning into the library to work on some post grad dissertation, looking as though he has just woken up from two days sleep on a sofa, somehow holds an intellectual or educational edge over the Pope responsible for Pascendi is more than slightly ridiculous.”

      That really is it in a nutshell. I notice you are saying somewhere else that there will be complaints about the length of your posts – no way. I am sure that other bloggers value them as much as I do, because they are always treasure troves of factual information about the faith, in this case about the saintly Pius X.

      Thank you most sincerely, Leo.

  27. Dowden

    With respect, I don’t think you are in a position to pass judgement on a fellow blogger’s French History being “suspect in detail”. You have more than once seen fit to present ill-informed and unsubstantiated judgement on the dealings of Pope Saint Pius X with the enemies of Christ in France (“His profound ignorance of the wider world led him into all sorts of disasters, from a pointless conflict with France…”, “inept handling creating a needless crisis”, “innocent French religious were sacrificed in an aberrant policy phase before educated common sense reasserted itself”). Not for the first time, you have declined to even point in the direction of anything resembling evidence to support your charge.

    In view of the tidal wave of concerns engulfing faithful Catholics in these times, relations between the Vicar of Christ and the secular, or rather secularist, powers in France in the late nineteenth early twentieth centuries might not be a pressing interest at this moment in time. Nevertheless, given the ever more open attacks of the powers of darkness, it can’t be said that those events are irrelevant to modern times.

    A bit of background might be useful. As early as 1869, Leon Gambetta, a Freemason, had urged the separation of Church and State in the famous Programme of Belleville (Saint Pius X, by Yves Chiron, p. 161).

    There followed decrees against unauthorised religious congregations (March 29, 1880), a law suppressing the observation of Sunday rest (July 12, 1880) an law on compulsory education and the laicising of education (March 28, 1882), a law authorising divorce (July 27, 1884), a law laicising the personnel in state schools, (October 30, 1886) a law of associations (July 1, 1901), which forbade religious congregations to exist unless they were authorised, and making the existence of the others dependent on the goodwill of the political authorities. The French government ignored protest from Leo XIII against the latter. Previously, in his 1892 encyclical Au milieu des sollicitudes, the Pope had denounced the “vast conspiracy planned by certain men to annihilate Christianity in France.”

    It’s quite clear what the any Pope of that era was going to be faced with. The persecution of the Church by Mason-influenced governments was under way in France long before the 1903 conclave. The fruits of the diabolical programme were very evident. In 1880, 38 male religious congregations were expelled (Unholy Craft, by Arnaud de Lassus, p. 133).Due to the law of associations, there were 8,200 closures of schools between July 1901 and December 1903 (Chiron, p. 164). The exile of Religious Communities from France in 1901 was proof that the good will of Pope Leo had been snubbed and that his effort at reconciliation had failed.

    Emile Combes, President from 1902, and a Freemason, determined to provoke a breach with Rome in order to achieve his aim of separation of Church and State, “a lay society, unencumbered with all clerical subjection”(interview in London National Review, March 1905, cited in Chiron, p. 164).

    It’s beyond reasonable argument that the deterioration in relations between the secularists of France and the Holy See were, by unilateral orchestration, well under way before Pope Saint Pius X became Supreme Pontiff. The offending party didn’t even try to hide their bad faith. In a speech delivered to the Senate in March 1903, Combes cynically stated that:

    “To denounce the Concordat just now without having sufficiently prepared men’s minds for it, without having clearly proved that the Catholic clergy themselves are provoking it and rendering it inevitable, would be bad policy on the part of the government, by reason of the resentment which might be caused in the country. I do not say that the connection between Church and State will not someday be severed; I do not even say that that is not near. I merely say that the day has not yet come.” (Pope Saint Pius X, F. A. Forbes, p. 96).

    The secularists’ programme of provocation included a visit by the French President to the King of Italy in Rome, as well as French political interference in the course of scandalous allegations against two French Bishops, who resisted summonses to Rome. When the Pope persisted in his duty to interview them concerning a matter of ecclesiastical disciple, not diplomacy, the French government used it as a pretext for breaking off diplomatic relations (Pius X, Father Hieronymo Dal-Gal, p. 171). The false claims about the Pope, made in confidence to the French ambassador by a Cardinal who had been overlooked for promotion didn’t help matters.

    Finally, on December 9 1905, the separation of Church and State in France finally became law. There was no hasty over reaction from Saint Pius, but a measured response over time which included three encyclicals, a religious response in the form of the consecration of 14 bishops, and then the examination of the law’s practical consequences, which included Church property becoming State property, controlled by locally elected “cult associations” who would take possession of Church property. Such an arrangement was obviously “contrary to the divine constitution of the Church, Her essential rights and Her liberty” (encyclical, Vehementer nos). These cult associations, independent of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, could be made up of laymen hostile to the Bishop and clergy. The Church was clearly held to ransom by the fear that the State would put the Church’s property to other use if agreement was not forthcoming.

    Pius X did not reject the new the cult associations hastily but waited to see how the law would be applied, wanted to have the issued studied by legal experts, and sought the views of the French Bishops at a plenary assembly on 30 May to 1 June 1906 (six months after the law was enacted), before condemning this attack against God-given constitution of the Church two months later in the encyclical, Gravissimo Officio.The French bishops had pronounced against the cult associations as the December law envisaged them, by a majority of 72 to 2 (Chiron, p. 179).

    The Pope, as much as anyone was aware of the likely vicious retribution in consequence of rejection of the policy of appeasement, and refusal to be forced by the Church’s enemies down the path of ruin of the Church in France. To maintain that the despoliation and confiscations were somehow the responsibility of the Pope is a bit like suggesting that the Poles were responsible for the Nazi onslaught on their homeland in September 1939.

    “No other course of action was left open to Us without greatly offending Our conscience. Fearlessly, therefore, we look to the judgement of history, for it was never Our intention to humble a civil power or oppose any particular form of Government, but merely to defend the rights of the Church founded by Christ Jesus Our Lord” (encyclical, Une fois encore, January 1907).

    The ordeal inflicted on the Church in France undoubtedly led to frustration of the aims of the enemy and vindication for the Pope. There was no “Gallican” or “republican” schism. Rather Separation had the effect of attaching the clergy and laity of France more closely to Rome.

    “Our bishops, priests and people,” wrote George Fonsegrive in 1913, “are absolutely devoted to Rome and obedient to the Pope. After the passing of the Separation Law all the order of the Pope were immediately executed…every attack on its members attaches them more strongly to the source and centre of their life. Religious life is everywhere increasing in depth and intensity” (Forbes, p. 102).

    In answering baseless and ridiculous claims about “profound ignorance of the wider world”, the coming months offer a timely opportunity to contrast the political and diplomatic perception of Saint Pius X with the madness and incompetence that engulfed Palaces, Cabinet offices, General Staff HQs, and newspaper offices across Europe a century ago. “I see a great war”, Pope Saint Pius told his sisters from time to time. His Secretary of State, Cardinal Merry del Val gives the same witness. “I can testify that Pius X on many occasions predicted the unleashing of the Great War in Europe…As early as 1911 and 1912 the Holy Father spoke of an imminent conflict, and he referred to it in terms that made a deep impression on me” (cited in Chiron, p. 298).

    On the Roman question, gestures of goodwill by Pope Pius X laid the groundwork for the eventual signing of the Lateran Treaty. The French ambassador to Rome, Barrere, was realistic enough in 1904, to acknowledge “the continuation of Pius X’s personal policy, which favours, not conciliation above everything else, but a de facto rapprochement with Italy” (cited in Chiron, p. 258).

    There are probably going to be complaints to management about the length of this post. I will though seek justification in an unapologetic effort, given constraints of time and limited ability, to defend the reputation of a Pope, truly worthy of the title Great, as well as the hope that readers of this blog will be spared the casting of further ill-informed, unsubstantiated slurs on that reputation.

    I really do hope that we will hear no more talk of “inept handling creating a needless crisis”, or “profound ignorance of the wider world”.

    • Leo,

      “There are probably going to be complaints to management about the length of this post”

      There definitely won’t be any complaints from me! I’ve just read your two posts above and they are unbelievably educative. I was frustrated reading Dowden’s attacks on Pope Saint Pius X and knew they could not possibly be right but didn’t have the answers to hand to challenge him. Thank you so much. Unlike Dowden, everything you say is well sourced and can be relied on as true history. I knew, just from Pascendi, that Pope Saint Pius X was highly intelligent (and as you say intelligence does not mean everyone has to have a university degree.)

      I can’t wait to read the others on the list! Thank you again.

  28. “Heresy has been called a canker: “It spreadeth like a canker”. (2 Tim. 2:17) As a canker infects the whole body, so heresy infects the whole soul – the mind, the heart, the intellect and the will. It is also called a plague; for it not only infects the one contaminated with it, but others who associate with him. Truly the spread of this plague in the world has injured the Church more than idolatry.” – Saint Alphonsus Liguori, The History of Heresies


    Your ill-informed and unsubstantiated attack on Saint Pius X on May 22, 5.17pm included the charge of “an evil persecution of an unfortunate Irish Jesuit”. I presume this unnamed individual is the convert who apostatised, George Tyrrell.

    Tragically, Tyrrell on all available and indisputable evidence was a pertinacious heretic who failed to recant, even on his deathbed. His name may not be widely mentioned nowadays, but along with fellow excommunicated priest Alfred Loisy and layman George Blondel, he can be identified as one of the “heralds” of the Invasion of the Modernists which has wrought previously unimaginable destruction in the Church and danger to souls over the last five decades. But for their “heirs”, discussions on this blog might even be confined to serene and edifying “devotional” threads or discussions on inspirational pastoral letters and encyclicals which clearly articulated Catholic Truth.

    While with the Jesuits, Tyrrell “was almost expelled before taking his final vows. His superior saw in him a violent self-will that made him unfit for the Society…In 1899 the Jesuit General in Rome condemned an article Tyrrell has written as unorthodox” (Partisans of Error, by Michael Davies, p. 35). The Jesuits actually expelled him in 1906, a year before he launched his attack against Pascendi.

    Tyrrell was very much the forerunner of the Modernist termites and sappers who wished to stay within the Church while they carried out their programme of destruction.

    Before his death, Tyrrell acknowledged that the revolution had been halted, if temporarily, but “he hoped that the day would come when ‘thanks to a silent and secret preparation we shall have won a much greater proportion of the army of the Church to the cause of liberty’ (Davies, p.73). Davies quite rightly states that substituting “error” for “liberty” would match the current crisis with Tyrrell’s aspirations.

    Loisy described Tyrrell’s posthumous book, Christianity at the Cross-roads as “a prophesy of revolution” (Davies, p. 74)

    Tyrrell’s open attack on Pascendi in two letters to the Times left the Holy See and his Bishop with no alternative, if they were to drag him out of his errors. Remember, in those days, pastors did actually see the salvation of souls as an absolute priority. Tyrrell’s attitude of defiant rebellion is best summed up by the prideful words he addressed to the fatherly Bishop Amigo in a letter of 1 November 1907:

    “However life is too short and busy to be wasted in wrangling over words; and my experience of the last two years convinces me that any further correspondence with Pius X or his representatives would be worse than futile” (Davies, pp 81-82).

    In a brilliant post about the Jesuits before Christmas, Christina mentioned the late Father Malachi Martin book entitled, The Jesuits. I would say that this book is pretty much essential reading for anyone who wants to get a real grasp of the descent into apostasy of the Jesuits in particular, and the Modernist crisis in the Church in general, and also get some idea of what makes the present Successor to Peter tick. Even starting off at the chapter devoted to Tyrrell is enough to grasp the scale of the nightmare.

    “What makes Tyrrell’s case most relevant in any assessment of a large number of Jesuits today – as well as an equally large number of theologians and bishops – is the uncanny resemblance between their views and Tyrrell’s views, between their attitude to papacy and Church hierarchy and Tyrrell’s attitude” (p. 275).

    “It is certain that Tyrrell did not believe that Jesus was God made-man. He did not believe either in the resurrection of the body or in the existence of Hell or Heaven” (p. 279). Martin then quotes the words of Tyrrell that very succinctly demonstrate the apostate’s errors:

    “We cannot frame our minds to that of a first century Jewish Carpenter”.

    Tyrrell denied papal infallibility, the Church’s teaching authority, Divine Revelation through the Bible, and a raft of other Church dogma.

    If anyone thinks the Modernist toxins of Tyrrell and others are buried in a previous age just consider the following insights from Martin, insights which get more relevant by the day.

    “The true Catholic, according to Tyrrell, ‘believes in humanity; he believes in the world. To deny that God is the primary author of all intellectual, aesthetic, moral, social, and political progress seems to a Modernist mind the most subtle and dangerous form of atheism’” (p. 279).

    Tyrrell expressed the view that “to feel the relation of fraternity between the various members of the religious family…is to be a Catholic”; for “Modernisn acknowledges among the religions of the world a certain unity of variety” (p. 280).

    Don’t let anyone think that the crisis in the Church today is some sort of manifestation of haphazard, accidental, imprudent bumbling and foolishness motivated solely by efforts to be on good terms with everyone.

    One last brilliant quote from Martin:

    “Without a doubt, were Tyrrell alive today, he would not be beyond the pale, but would be flourishing in a professor’s chair at a Jesuit university or seminary” (p. 283)

    Says it all, really.

    I don’t know how “unfortunate” readers will consider Tyrrell to have been Tragic,it certainly appears, in the only matter that counts. I trust readers can judge for themselves on the charge that he was the victim of some so-called “evil persecution” on the part of those who in Christian charity tried to save him from himself and drag him back into the Barque of Peter, outside of which there is no salvation.

  29. “Guard the deposit committed to thy trust, avoiding the profane novelties of words and opposition of knowledge falsely so-called” 1 Tim 6:20


    Your post of May 23, 1.55pm certainly managed to cram in an above average amount of unsubstantiated and unsustainable assaults against reality and truth. You either compared Saint Pope Pius X with, or as it appears, actually called him “a simple peasant clinging to the faith of his uneducated ancestors and condemning any newer intellectual view, which he understood no better than they did, as being ‘modernism’.” You charged him with “anti-intellectualism”. Once again nothing remotely resembling serious evidence that would stand up to any sort of scrutiny is presented.

    The fact that these slurs are not original doesn’t make them any less objectionable. Talk of “parrots” is a more than a little hard to take.

    As Pope, Saint Pius X expressed acute awareness of the grave responsibility of office in his 1906 Encyclical Pieni l’animo:

    “With our soul full of fear for the strict account we shall have to give one day to the Prince of Pastors, Jesus Christ, with regard to the flock entrusted to us by Him, we pass our days in continued anxiety to preserve the faithful, as far as possible, from the most pernicious evils by which human society is at present afflicted.”

    The virtue of charity cannot contradict truth.

    “Catholic doctrine tells us that the primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be, nor in the theoretical or practical indifference toward the errors and vices in which we see our brethren plunged but in the zeal for their intellectual and moral improvement as well as for their material well-being…” – Pope Saint Pius X, Our Apostolic Mandate.

    In exercising his office as Christ’s Vicar on Earth, the sainted Pope did nothing more than fulfil his duty to safeguard and transmit the Sacred Deposit of the Faith as very clearly proclaimed at Vatican I.

    “For the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the Apostles and the new deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth.” Vatican I, see Denzinger 1836

    The “simple peasant clinging to the faith of his uneducated ancestors” jibe is very revealing, Dowden. Do you propose that someone compile a catalogue of social classes for the Saints and Doctors of the Church going all the way back to the Holy Family? Do you think that Our Lord got it wrong in his choice of disciples?

    I don’t know about you, Dowden but I claim no automatic superiority in sanctity or religious knowledge over any semi-literate farm labourer or scullery maid of a hundred years ago. I’m certain that very few of the Kantian Modernist mind rot infested inhabitants of academia in these days of the Zombie Apocalypse can do so. In passing, it might be of interest to know that the previously mentioned convert turned apostate George Tyrrell had his interest in the Faith awoken by his mother’s maid.

    The words of a long list of Popes can be produced as evidence of the papal duty to adhere to Tradition. Not that it matters, Dowden, but would you consider either Saint Pius X’s predecessor or successor as “a simple peasant clinging to the faith of his ancestors”.

    Do you have any response to the words of the latter:

    “Nor do we merely desire that Catholics should shrink from the errors of Modernism, but also from the tendencies, or what is called the spirit, of Modernism. Those who are infected by that spirit develop a keen dislike for all that savours of antiquity and become eager searchers after novelties….
    The law of our forefathers should still be held sacred: let there be no innovation: keep to what has been handed down.” –Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922), Encyclical Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum, November 1, 1914

    Can you produce any evidence, Dowden, that Pope Pius XII or Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange OP who were responsible for the 1950 encyclical, Humani Generis were somehow guilty of “anti-intellectualism”. To make such an attempt really is to invite ridicule. That particular encyclical can be seen as a prime example of continuity, a strong addition to the bastions and weapons against Modernism that were in place thanks to Pope Pius IX’s Quanta Cura and Pascendi.

    “For truth and its philosophic expression cannot change from day to day…Let no Christian therefore, whether philosopher or theologian, embrace eagerly and lightly whatever novelty happens to be thought up from day to day, but rather let him weigh it with painstaking care and a balanced judgement, lest he lose or corrupt the truth he already has, with grave danger and damage to his faith.” – Humani Generis #30

    The old chestnut hurled at Pope Saint Pius X about “anti-intellectualism” is another example of fantasy and ignorance washing against the hard rock of evidence.

    As mentioned in an earlier post, as a nineteen year old seminarian, Giuseppe Sarto realised the importance of studying Oriental languages. As Pope, while being a determined opponent of rash exegetical works, he was an enthusiastic promoter of Biblical studies. Factual evidence reduces to powder claims of an aversion to scholarship and “anti-intellectualism”.

    “Just as one must condemn the temerity of those who, more anxious to follow the taste for novelty than the teaching of the Church, employ critical procedures that are excessively free; one must also disapprove of the attitude of those who will not, in any way, risk breaking with the current scriptural exegesis, even when- providing that the faith remains sound- the wholesome progress of studies commands them to do so; you have set your course, most felicitously between these two extremes.” – Letter of Pius X to Monsignor Le Camus, January 11, 1906.

    In 1904, in his Apostolic Letter Scriturae Sanctae, the Pope affirmed his desire to “promote the study of Sacred Scripture more and more amongst the clergy.”

    Two years later in another Apostolic Letter, Quoniam Re Biblica, he wrote that the professor of Sacred Scripture “will assimilate all the genuine progress of this science and all the discoveries of modern scholars, but he will leave to one side the adventurous commentaries of innovators.”

    In 1909, in line with his predecessor’s initiative, the Pope founded the Pontifical Biblical Institute. Forty years after his death, praise came from the unlikely figure of Cardinal Giacomo Lercaro who wrote that “the number of documents relating to Holy Scripture which the holy Pope issued with his authority, was greater than any other pope had published.”

    Father Leopold Fonck, a German exegete, was head of a Higher Course of Sacred Scripture for clerics already possessing diplomas in theology was set up at the Pontifical Gregorian University. During an audience with the Pope on January 10, 1909, he was struck by the Pontiff’s enthusiasm and by “the exact nature of his knowledge” on Biblical studies.

    During the audience the Pope gave the following encouragement:

    “I do not think that we can be content to teach the ancient doctrines with old methods, spurning genuine progress. Without distancing ourselves from antiquity in matters of principle, we must nevertheless take account of new approaches in matters of form and method, not following the modernist method, but in a modern way in a good sense.”

    I’ll leave it there. I think readers have, at this stage sufficient evidence to make up their minds about “parrot” and “old ignoramus” slurs, and charges of “condemning any new intellectual view” and “anti-intellectualism”. Anybody wishing to do further should read the excellent biography of the sainted Pope by Yves Chiron, entitled Saint Pius X.

    The words of a Father P. Semaria, exiled to Brussels on account of Modernist. By 1930, he had obviously become perceptive and wise enough to offer the following evaluation:

    “The rhythmical movement of studies in philosophy, history and natural science which was promoted by Leo XIII, even if it was temporarily slowed down, was not stopped by the action of Pius X, let alone by his intention. In fact, the condemnations uttered by Pius X were already anticipated in the warnings and anxieties of Leo XIII. The Church remains courageous in condemning error and facing up to every truth. Each phase of her 2,000 year history brings battles to be fought, duties to be embraced, for the glory of the Father and for the good of humanity. In the Pope of the Encyclical Pascendi, and in other acts of his pontificate condemning Modernism, we see the vibrant reality which Saint Paul so well describes as sollicitudi omnium ecclesiarum- which is the charge committed to Peter” (cited by Chiron, p. 245)

    • Leo,

      You offer some 6,500 words in multiple posts and there is perhaps some 600 words of support from the resident choir – this reply has to rather shorter and without the advantage of home-team support but there is no harm in knocking the ball about.

      The comment that one is in ‘no position to pass judgement on a fellow blogger’s French History being “suspect in detail”’ is clearly mistaken. To say (as the young man did) that Solemnes has no house in England misses a whole chapter: Farnborough Abbey became the French imperial mausoleum and Quarr Abbey is significant in both English and French history. This Solemnes house still exists, an important, if entirely unintended, contribution to English life (a similar tale can be told for Scotland). We know where the bodies are buried.

      To stand among the French graves at Quarr is, very simply, to see where the bodies had to be buried. When a competent pope, Benedict XV, took over again, the exiles returned home. It is certainly possible to quote any amount of stuff about how Pius found himself ‘forced’ by his tender conscience to do this or that to his discomfort and others’ disaster – the historical fact remains that that his predecessor worked hard to contain an escalating dispute and his successor had the wit to resolve it. The nature of the job is to resolve solve problems diplomatically, not ratchet them up. The French monks of Quarr are, beyond dispute, the bodies needlessly buried in some corner of a foreign field.

      As to academic qualification, the wisdom of both the English and the Roman churches was to insist a new bishop hold a doctoral degree: we are not first-century Palestinian Jews and our fishers of men need to meet other standards of intellectual and administrative competence. Otherwise the result is a man promulgating a text he could not himself write: the actual author of your much-praised Pascendi appears to be an obscure neo-medievalist whose surviving draft is written in Italian – for the convenience of those whose Latin was not up to it. Yes, Don Sarto had a disadvantaged background but no worse than Dr Roncalli, whose determination and scholarship carried him through to be Patriarch of Venice. No amount of hagiography or ingenious apology can disguise the fact that Papa Sarto was unqualified to be a bishop, let alone Patriarch of Venice, in terms of the ordinary rules of the day. He required a dispensation for his want of qualification and the Roman church has, in her wisdom, never repeated the experiment: the electors of Dr della Chiesa, Dr Ratti, Dr Pacelli, Dr Roncalli, Dr Montini, Dr Luciani, Dr hab. Wojtyła, Dr hab. Ratzinger and Dr Bergoglio (ABD?) undoubtedly knew where the bodies were buried and learned from the mistake.

      This is not to say that the politically inept are not saintly – that is a quite separate issue. To take the Quarr example, Dom Hockey was an historian of great sanctity. His heroic virtue, in the days of post-war chocolate rationing, was to save his sweet ration to dispense to novices whom he saw were flagging in the struggle to persevere in their profession, and would benefit from a bit of personal encouragement. This was an outstanding expression of the Solemnes notion of seeking God in community and of the essential Benedictine idea of family, ideas which the tragic exiles of Pius X had brought over with them from France. At the same time, sanctity was no qualification for high office, and Dom Hockey was never elected abbot. The unknown (to our blogger) Solemnes ‘detail’ is a microcosm of French and European history and, saint or no saint, the man who failed to resolve the growing crisis can fairly be seen as inept. A generation of Solemnes monks had the misfortune to live – and some to die – in saintly exile and in Quarr the bodies are buried.

      The other body, George Tyrrell, was an Irishman who, having decided to convert to Rome stuck by his decision. He fell victim to a McCarthyite culture of denunciation, encouraged by Papa Sarto and his cronies (and later discovered by Dr Roncalli from the archives). But Tyrrell was rescued from the worst of the malice by a stroke of good fortune – an aristocratic Anglo-Irish religious who saw Sarto for what he was and rescued his intended victim. A malicious cabal pulled every string they knew to deny the poor man a Christian end but, in the providence of God, the English church was free to do the decent thing. Praise Papa Sarto as much as you like, we know where the body was buried, in an English churchyard, safely beyond the reach of foreign medievalism.

      One can quote Roman-Catholic hagiography endlessly and it is no doubt edifying – but it is striking that Chadwick, the Cambridge scholar who has studied the popes of the period from sources in the Secret Archives is never cited: W.O. Chadwick, A History of the Popes 1830-1914 (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1998). Dr Chadwick happens to be an Anglican parson, Regius Professor Emeritus – and holds the OM. Sir Owen gives the standard account of the period and it is difficult to imagine why anyone would prefer to cite inferior or partisan sources. In particular, it is somewhat peculiar to cite Cardinal Baudrillart. The man was a notorious collaborator and a cardinal actually helping to enlist French troops to fight for Hitler was going a bit far, even by the outré standards of the French Catholic right. Still the fact that the traitor died during the war saved Dr Roncalli the invidious task (as nuncio) of rescuing yet another prelate from the guillotine afterwards. But Dr Roncalli, who knew the works of Pius X, was in no doubt where the bodies were buried.

      The Dead Pope’s Society has chosen a patron and the choice is appropriate. French reactionaries – many of them in the hallowed tradition of the French collaborators – hark back to the good old days. No harm in that, a schism is sometimes better out than in. But schismatic acts should be acknowledged for what they are and if a little schismatic group wants to march off back down the road to reaction, good luck to them. It is only a point of view, but a perfectly tenable one, that they have chosen as patron the most reactionary, least experienced and worst-educated bishop of Rome of modern times. Mark you, from what we see here on this blog, they might as well have opted for George Tyrrell, since their adherents feel free to pick which papal pronouncements they wish, in their own private judgement, to accept or reject. This canonization but not that one.

      So, quickly if not briefly, Leo, congratulations on a brave attempt to defend what to outsiders seems the indefensible. Better perhaps to accept the man, medievalist out-and-proud, for what he was. The defence is bound to be unconvincing – anyone who looks, for example, at Quarr or Petre’s biography of George Tyrrell, and the simply unchristian treatment which Pius X (and his secretive henchmen) meted out, knows all there needs to be known. The effects of these witch hunts stifled thought into the 1960s. In these days of themed historical tours, one could do quite a good trek round Britain – Pius X: where the bodies are buried.

      But, to catch the Latin theme … qui nos Georgii fidelis tui meritis laetificas: concede ut, per eum beneficia poscimus dono tue gratie consequamur, quia protexisti a conuentu malignantium et a multitudine operantium iniquitatem. .

      • Dowden,

        Did you READ Leo’s posts? He trounced your every single argument to show that Pope Saint Pius X was very much an intellectual and was very much in tune with world events – before others, he foresaw the coming of the second world war.

        I am sorry to say that you have a very naïve faith in bits of papers handed out by universities. They are not the only or even the main measurement of someone’s intellect. Most of the rubbish churned out by the “academics” of our day are proof positive of that.

        I make no apology for saying that the very fact that you are not a Catholic and do not have a Catholic grasp of either the papacy or sanctity, means that you will never be able to see the truth of these matters.

        Leo did a fabulous job of showing up the falsity of your non-arguments. To even speak of Pius X’s “henchmen” shows that you just haven’t got a clue about the papacy.

        Leo gave us umpteen sources for his statements. You give none.

        So much for academia.

        • I meant that say Pius X had “henchmen” shows Dowden doesn’t have a clue about the papacy of the great saint Pius X.

          I wish to add also that if my remarks about Dowden not being a Catholic are considered to be personal remarks, I apologise. I don’t know how else to make the point but if they are offensive, please editor remove that portion of my comment.

          • Michaela,

            Your remarks about Dowden not being a Catholic, are not offensive but are, in fact, accurate; the reason why he can speak so appallingly and with such ignorance about the greatest pope saint of the twentieth century and certainly one of the great pontiffs of all time, is essentially because he is not an informed Catholic.

          • Michela,

            No, it is unlikely that anyone willing to blog is going to take offence, so no need to worry on that score. It is to be hoped however that you are prepared to take as well as to give robust criticism. One piece of advice: go easy.

            Fire off a categorical statement that your target has cited no sources, categorically ‘none’, and there is a chance he might ask just what you think those references to ‘Chadwick’ and ‘Clarendon Press’ or ‘Petre’ and the ‘Tyrrell biography’ meant? The better universities teach students how to write without offering hostages to fortune: ‘you give none’ offers an open a goal.

            So too, just before you launch into some daft question about whether someone has read (or upper case READ for the unsubtle) a post, it might be an idea to speculate as to where exactly the names ‘Tyrrell’ or ‘Baudrillart’ popped up from – they were not in my original post (although Leo caught the Jesuitical allusion). So chances are that I did read (READ) Leo’s (numerous and long but technically competent and interesting) posts. Ask a rhetorical question and you invite the obvious answer. The better universities teach students how not to offer hostages to fortune: why would anyone mention ‘Baudrillart’ but for reading (READING) Leo’s posts?

            And go easy on the ‘refutation’. You say ‘Pope Saint Pius X was very much an intellectual and was very much in tune with world events’ and you attribute to Leo the view that before others, Papa Sarto ‘foresaw the coming of the second world war’. Leo is a wise old bird and picks words intelligently; you, very clearly, have some tricks to learn. Read (READ) the post and you might notice Leo’s reference was to a ‘great war’ (indefinite article, lower case), tightened to the cardinal-secretary’s ‘the Great War’. And that, although you read it carelessly, means predicting the First World War, not the Second. There was even a helpful hint in the word ‘immanent’ which in Papa Sarto’s time sort of suggested 1914 not 1939 – in the diplomatic and military world of the 1910s it took no particular intellectual genius to see there was very much a problem. The better universities teach students how not to read accurately so as not to offer hostages to fortune: so, given that you don’t see what ‘immanent’ implies and cannot tell the difference between the second war and the first, do you still think you are competent to judge when a point has been refuted? Just asking.

            And yes, no, I do not happen to have been born a Roman Catholic – a native Brit by ancestry. But as the Roman-Catholic church (although not, it seems, the schismatic SSPX ecclesial body) teaches, ‘elements of sanctification’ and all that …. The assumption that one has to be Roman-Catholic or SSPX-Catholic to understand the papacy is, simply, daft. I have to be a bigoted celibate Italian to understand Leo’s Joseph Lemius? A fourteenth-century baron to understand the Arbroath letter famous in Scottish history? Reading? Empathy? Imagination? Even (dare one say it?) academic formation?

            You might affect to despise intellectual formation. Try it and then let us know if you have changed your mind. The real Dr Dowden made a pretty fair attempt at understanding the medieval Scottish Church, not that he was Scottish, not that he was medieval, just that TCD (England’s brave attempt to bring sound education to Ireland) had taught him his trade – the medieval Scottish Church was his masterpiece and it is not that easy for journeymen, let alone apprentices, to refute craftsmen.

            • Dr John Dowden,

              I don’t think anybody despises intellectual formation but there really isn’t much intellectual formation in universities these days. Right through education there is great care not to “form” minds. That’s anathema to modern philosophy of education. The emphasise now is on encouraging free thought, although that’s soon clamped on when the thinker starts to question the new absolutes. Pro-life doctors, for example, are being advised to leave the UK to find work.

              In other words, nobody needs to go to university for intellectual formation. In fact. From the quotes given by Leo from scholars who knew or studied the life of Pope Pius X, I think he was very definitely intellectually formed. He had a great mind and a holy soul. I’m really sorry you don’t seem to appreciate that.

      • I don’t want to sound cheeky, but does anybody care? I mean, Winston Churchill didn’t have a degree. The Bronte sisters didn’t have degrees. Bill Gates doesn’t have one either.

        On the other hand, Dr Gillian McKeith, the quack nutritionist has a degree. You know, that peculiar women who used to examine people’s turds on Channel 4.

        I can’t believe anybody would be so shallow as to estimate the intellectual merit of a person based on their credentials.

        St John of Ávila was a university drop out, he never graduated. (The illiterate) St Teresa of Ávila, St Catherine of Siena and St Thérèse of Lisieux didn’t graduate with doctorates, yet they are all honoured as doctors of the Church.

        You know the difference between scholarship and wisdom?

        “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals could believe them”, said George Orwell.


        I remember watching a video with Richard Dawkins, wherein he opined on the possible evolutionary origins of homosexuality. One of his hypotheses was called The Sneeky F***** Theory

        You’d need a PhD to fall for that sort of codswallop.

      • Dowden

        I think I might actually have exceeded 6,500 words so I won’t complain about long posts per se, as long as they stick to the point, and provided reliable supporting evidence.

        I understand, Dowden, if you were limited in time to respond. That happens to everyone. It was therefore, just a little bit surprising that much of your comments actually failed to address some of the main points of my previous posts. It’s not unreasonable then to claim that as concessions. I’m happy to let readers decide for themselves. Home team, away team, any team at all; anyone of an open mind and good will is welcome to take issue as far as I’m concerned. And unlike many blogs, Editor actually allows people to have their say.

        Before getting on to more substantive issues, I might address a couple of points you raised. Certainly, Popes have collaborators when encyclicals are written. That is perfectly normal. I actually gave the example of Pope Pius XII and Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange OP previously. In the case of Pascendi, I believe the man who helped the Pope was Father Joseph Lemius, a consultor to the Sacred Congregation for Studies from 1888, and a close associate of the future Cardinal Mercier. The fact of these matters is that the Pope of the day is the one who has the last word on an encyclical and makes it his own.

        Fair play to you, Dowden on knowing about Cardinal Baudrillart. Whether or not it was the deep impression the Commune left on him, his burning opposition to Bolshevism led him to speak of a “crusade pleasing to God”. I could give you another embarrassing quote but I won’t. All of which is less than relevant to this discussion.

        As a Frenchman, his praise of Saint Pius X is hardly likely to be overstated if the Pope had been guilty of “inept handling creating a needless crisis” and inflicting misery on the Church in France. A member of the French Academy, the Cardinal’s academic qualifications were above reproach. I don’t think anything needs to be added on that particular point.

        I don’t think anyone is going to make right wing claims for the Parisian newspaper, L’Humanite. Here is their judgement:

        “The Pope is dead. It must be said that he was a great Pope. His policies were very simple, namely, to restore the values of faith with an apostolic firmness. He was able to conduct these policies with authority because of his simplicity of soul and the indubitable sincerity of his virtues. However he is judged, it must be said that Pius X has been a great Pope.”

        My statement, Dowden, that you were in “no position to pass judgement on a fellow blogger’s French History being ‘suspect in detail’” was based solely on your ill-informed, and unsubstantiated charges concerning the attack by the powers of Masonry on the Church in France and Saint Pius X’s handling of that attack. It still stands.

        Pope Leo XIII’s had indeed “worked hard to contain an escalating dispute”, but he was unsuccessful. I think I have given sufficient uncontested evidence. You appear to be suggesting, Dowden, that faced with the destruction of the Church’s divine constitution, and subjugation to the State, Pope Pius should have adopted a policy of appeasement of the secularists and failing that he gave the poor precious lambs in the French government no alternative but to expel religious orders. Please.

        “If the French state could unilaterally abrogate an international treaty, what was to stop other governments following suit, which would not only send the entire edifice of Vatican diplomacy crashing down, but open the floodgates to anarchy in international affairs?Moreover, Pius correctly noted the frenetic succession of French cabinets, Combes’ two years in office being what passed for longevity. What was to stop a future French regime unilaterally altering the term of separation, just as Napoleon I had tacked on the Organic Articles to the Concordat” (Earthly Powers, by Michael Burleigh, p. 363)

        The enemies of the Church, who sought to create a split between the French hierarchy and Rome, were frustrated in their scheming, no doubt in part because they did not know the measure of the man they were dealing with. Clemenceau admitted as much: “Diplomats had foreseen much of what happened, but no one conceived what resistance the Pope would show to the new law.”

        Implying that Pope Saint Pius X was somehow to blame for the persecution of the Church by French secularists by stating that his successor Pope Benedict XV “had the wit to resolve it” is a nice try, Dowden. I think the reason for the resolution isn’t very difficult to figure out. In 1914, their persecution programme having backfired, the French government had a glaringly obvious self-interest in restoring diplomatic relations.

        Finally, I am slightly puzzled, Dowden, by your repeated claim that “Papa Sarto was unqualified to be a bishop”. I’d like to see the evidence that “he required a dispensation” to be appointed to the episcopacy. Also, you appear satisfied with Pope Leo XIII’s conduct of diplomacy with the political Freemasons in France, but question his judgement when it comes to his appointment of Monsignor Sarto to the See of Mantua and later Venice. Strange, that.

        At this stage, Dowden, I think I’m going to have to leave dealing with some of your outrageous statements on the subject of George Tyrrell, Bishop Amigo and Maude Petre until another post.

        • Leo,

          Your question is everywhere in the internet – first up (Google has this sinister trick of seeing one’s actual location and selecting accordingly) was a German website: ist Pius X. der einzige Papst im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, der keinen akademischen Titel erwarb (weder Dr. jur. noch Dr. theol.)

          That meant a dispensation was required under the existing (then uncodified) canon law; he had needed another one earlier for age. The uncodified rules are all there in Mansi – TCD certainly has a copy. The dispensation is not unusual, the document is pretty well common form where the cardinals, meeting in consistory, petition that the candidate, although unqualified in law, has nevertheless demonstrated outstanding qualities, blah, blah …. All a bit like an Oxford aegrotat.

          France is all very much at a tangent to my own work and interests, so the only general reading I have done is Sir Owen’s doorstopper of a book which is standard fare in the English universities and in Anglican training schemes. For France, the thing to read was ‘Church and State after the Dreyfus Affair: the Separation Issue in France’ by Maurice Larkin (London: Macmillan, 1974) but I have not kept well enough in touch to know if has been superseded. It is solid enough to stand the test of time.

          This one started on a very narrow front with Solemnes and Catholic Convert’s regret there was no house in England. There is – and it has a special scheme to introduce young men (interns) to spirituality. It was simply surprising to discovery someone reading French history had skipped these chapters. Quarr tells an interesting story – a microcosm is good enough for me: I don’t want to get into a macro-debate on French history which would never be resolved. I don’t doubt a partisan publisher might accept your line uncritically and I am sure a partisan crowd will root for the home team at Parkheid but proper discussion has to be balanced.

          Your position is entirely one-sided – that much shows up in what you use (and what you don’t use – Dr Chadwick and Dr Larkin go unmentioned). So, to you, the French Church is blameless and the Roman Church is blameless – it is all down to these evil socialists, masons, modernists and whatever other bogeymen people care to mention. You are careful not to raise the issue but the French right is not coy about mentioning the Jews in this respect.

          Dr Chadwick paints a bigger picture of a papacy struggling to adjust to the loss of temporal power and of the tensions implicit in its diplomacy (East European Roman-Catholic peoples resented the Vatican’s conciliatory attitude to German and Russian power). Pius IX and Pius X were especially interested in re-asserting control over appointments – essential to rig the voting for the Vatican Council and to make it clear the road to promotion was to be a rigid reactionary, preferably Italian-speaking and trained in Rome itself. Leo XIII and Pius X, Chadwick argues, also saw the chance to carve out a new role in more purely religious leadership, abandoning territorial pretensions.

          All of this would have brought tension with France but the key thing which you have chosen not to mention is Dreyfus and, for Dr Larkin, this is key. The Roman-Catholic Church brought enormous trouble on its head by mishandling this – the local leadership was, frankly, outrageously anti-Semitic and mired in the various royalist and imperialist plots. The ill-paid officer corps had far more than its fair share of religious extremists and the threat of a military coup was real.

          What Dr Larkin established, however, is that the French governing classes had no actual wish to push this one – the legislative drafting was always permissive, intended to provide the basis of compromise. In the complex inter-relationship between the Radicals, the Catholic Right and the Vatican, Pius X surprised everyone by his stance. A man who had no doctorate, no diplomatic experience and did not know the Curial system was a complete wild card and the consequences of the unexpected intransigence were disastrous. Quarr is how it all shows up in England.

          Dr Larkin went digging in French provincial archives and threw up a mass of details on the disastrous impact of it all on the French church – detailed charts and maps showing the geographical differences of an outcome the French government never for one minute intended. Now that is not the way you or the partisan sources you rely on see it, but it is a well-researched and non-partisan academic view.

          When a better educated, less intransigent man came along, the tensions were resolved. Dr della Chiesa was the classic pattern for the modern age: like Don Sarto in having had substantial pastoral responsibilities but unlike him in having doctoral formation, curial experience and having served in diplomatic postings. With the right man in post, the Solemnes monks soon left Quarr for home. Had a different man been available in the first place they would have been home far sooner.

          Be it Solemnes monks or Tyrrell, England has become the resting place of quite a collection of the victims of Pius X. The graves would make an interesting themed tour, but not one perhaps for the parish outing of the Lefebrists’ Glasgow group.

          • Dr John Dowden,

            You accuse Leo of being “one-sided” but that’s a description that definitely fits your posts, with respect. I was dismayed to find you writing again about the “victims” of Pope Pius X. There were no “victims”. That word itself to me says that you are very biased, very anti-Catholic.

            You refer to Dr Chadwick, Larkin etc. Are these Catholics?

            • Margaret Mary

              Leo and I happen to be cast in the same mould. He would not attack me and I did not and would not say he was one-sided – the game is to tackle the ball not the man. I said his position was one-sided.

              There is a difference between advocating a point of view using impartial sources and basing a partisan argument on partisan sources. I know nothing about Dr Larkin although I have been to some of Dr Chadwick’s seminars but the point is he worked in the Vatican Archives and he is published by Clarendon (the name says something).

              David Knowles was a church historian and Regius Professor at Cambridge. Ditto Sir Owen. One is an Anglican parson, one was a Roman-Catholic monk but, in published academic work, denomination is irrelevant (and will be unknown to referees and publishing house readers who judge submissions).

              It is the quality of the source that counts – how one then uses it in a mere blog is another matter. The sources tell you what Tyrrell suffered and who his persecutors were. If you then want to argue he was not a victim, you will struggle (I think) to argue that line convincingly but you can try. Equally explaining why French monks died at Quarr but went home under Benedict XV might be possible without mentioning Pius X but Dr Larkin does give an impartial base for argument.

              • Dr John Dowden

                Is this the Owen Chadwick you mean – author of “A History of the Popes 1830-1914 (Oxford History of the Christian Church)”

                If so, one critic said some of his work contains factual errors and another critiqued it as “biased” although not I’m sure in which direction. Not that it matters, as “bias” suggests non-academic, as I’m sure you know.

                I notice you don’t comment on this quote from Leo:

                “I don’t think anyone is going to make right wing claims for the Parisian newspaper, L’Humanite. Here is their judgement:

                “The Pope is dead. It must be said that he was a great Pope. His policies were very simple, namely, to restore the values of faith with an apostolic firmness. He was able to conduct these policies with authority because of his simplicity of soul and the indubitable sincerity of his virtues. However he is judged, it must be said that Pius X has been a great Pope.”

                Re. Tyrrell – those who are not Catholics (and even some who think they are) do not understand that reining in dissenters is not making them “victims”. God has elected that His truths are necessary for salvation and so it is not charitable to allow people like Tyrrell to languish in their errors. I think that’s one of the handicaps of the purely academic – those without the supernatural dimension in their judgments. They make worldly judgments, as we see with those who think we are all “homophobes” for speaking against sodomy and “judgmental” for saying divorce and remarriage is wrong. Tyrrel was a Catholic priest and had no right to deny Catholic doctrines. Look at the fuss in the news if a politician refuses to accept the policies of his party. Nobody complains that they are “victims” when they’re made to resign as we all realise that if you join a political party you abide by the rules and policies. How more important is that when the “rules” come from God?

          • I’m afraid you’ve got hold of the wrong end of the stick here Dowden. I have not studied French history that far back. We studied Vichy and the immediate preceding years in a course with only 10 lectures (there were several modules). I have never studied as far back as 1905. I was unaware that there was a Solesmes abbey in the UK. I found that out without your gracious, yet at the same time patronising help.

      • Dowden,

        Leo corrected ALL of the errors which you repeat above about St Pius X, so, like Michaela, I’m wondering if you read his posts at all. Throwing in some Latin doesn’t hide the fact that, put bluntly, Dowden, you do not know what you are talking about regarding Pope Saint Pius X. Having an academic Degree is not the be all and end all (I’ve got two, for goodness sake) – they give them to anybody who can pay…

        Leo gave you chapter and verse from various academic works on the subject of Pius X’s indisputably great pontificate, thus correcting all your unsubstantiated claims and errors. You refuse to recant, however, and simply repeat them, always without a single source to substantiate your false allegations. My advice to Leo is to wipe the dust from your feet and move on.

        Readers will be pleased to know that Leo’s brilliant refutation of Dowden’s attacks on Pope Saint Pius X will appear in the form of an article in the July newsletter.

        • Well, if it indeed a refutation and moreover a brilliant one (and who am I to argue with your detailed analysis?), why limit its circulation to the Lefebrists? Sensible course is to submit it to one of the refereed academic journals. That way a qualified and impartial editor, and a couple of anonymous referees will, double-blind, crawl over the text and judge its quality. As I am sure you know from your own academic publications, the process tends to throw up improvements even in the work of the most brilliant of us. So send the brilliant piece to a refereed journal and see what they make of it. That way, were a piece to see the light, others could reply.

  30. Dowden

    You have made the rather outlandish, not to say ill-informed, irrational and provocative claim that:

    “The choice for the professed Romanist is between accepting the authority of a living who is always liable to think, and (‘having thunk’) share his thoughts, or clinging grimly to the dead words of dead theologians bishop of Rome, and dead popes from whatever obscure period of history takes the fancy.” -May 23, 1.55pm

    If words have any meaning, you have grasped nothing from the Church’s teaching on the immutability of doctrine, as expressed since Apostolic times by Saints, Fathers of the Church, Doctors of the Church and Popes right up to Vatican II. Unless you have missed the much repeated evidence on this blog, it appears as though you are determined to languish in the slow learners’ class.

    Quite frankly, any child above the age of reason should be able to grasp that truth does not change. The five times tables and the law of gravity will change before Divine Law and Truth will change. To suggest or imply that a successor to Peter “liable to think” is somehow mandated to change constant Church doctrine is to suggest that the Vicar of Christ is nothing more than some sort of guru or cult leader.

    “Remember your prelates who have spoken to word of God to you; whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation, Jesus Christ, yesterday, and today; and the same forever.”- Hebrews 13: 7-8

    Truth does not change, whatever tactics the Modernists employ.

    Of course the disciples of Modernist apostate George Tyrrell will choose instead to cling to his pride dripping words concerning truth:

    “…it is always and necessarily we ourselves who speak to ourselves and who (aided no doubt by the immanent God) work out truth by ourselves.” (Scylla and Charybdis, p. 281) (cited in Michael Davies’ Partisans of Error, p. XV). Davies gives the logical interpretation of what Tyrrell has just said: “In plain words, God is ourselves.”

    Our Lord instructed the first Pope to “confirm thy brethren” in the faith (Luke 22:32).He didn’t tell him to do a bit of brain storming to see if he could come up with any new ideas. When Saint Paul was tipped off his horse on the road to Damascus, he didn’t hear any voices saying that the Church would benefit from his ideas. He was well and truly reduced to humble submission.

    G.K. Chesterton, in his own inimitable way, expressed judgement on the idea of changeable doctrine, a judgement that surely no Catholic can disagree with:

    “An imbecile habit has arisen in the modern controversy of saying that such and such a creed can be held in one age but cannot be held in another. Some dogma, we are told, was credible in the 12th Century, but is not credible in the 20th. You might as well say that a certain philosophy can be believed on Mondays, but cannot be believed on Tuesdays.” – Orthodoxy, p. 135

    I’ve already referred to the abundant evidence of saintly teachers concerning the immutability of doctrine throughout the Church’s history. They have been presented regularly on this blog. Are you now going to put forward the private judgement, Dowden, that all these Church Fathers, Doctors and Popes were anti-intellectual, ignorami who suppressed orthodox and divinely guided learning until the Invasion of the Modernists liberated the Catholic faithful?

    Repeating the words of one of those Doctors should be sufficient here:

    In the 4th Century, St. Vincent of Lerins explained what constitutes the proper development of Catholic doctrine:

    “Let, then, the intelligence, science, and wisdom of each and all, of individuals and of the whole Church, in all ages and in all times, increase and flourish in abundance; but simply in its own proper kind, that is to say, in one and the same doctrine, one in the same sense, and one in the same judgment.”

    Rather than being contradicted, that teaching on Tradition was dogmatically and infallibly enshrined in Vatican I, which teaches in the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius:

    “Hence that meaning (sensus) of the sacred doctrine must always be retained which holy mother the Church has once declared, and we must never abandon that meaning under the appearance or in the name of a deeper understanding.”

    The need for papal vigilance concerning the presentation of sound doctrine is not a modern phenomenon. Pope Clement XIII’s warned in his 1761 encyclical, Dominico Agro, that none of the faithful should have “extraordinary opinions proposed to them, not even from Catholic doctors; instead, they should listen to those opinions which have the most certain criteria of Catholic truth: universality, antiquity, and unanimity.”

    Concerning Popes who are tempted to enthusiastic overindulgence towards untrammelled thinking when it comes to carrying out their duty as Vicar of Christ, another Doctor of the Church sets forth the guiding principle, again totally in line with constant Church teaching:

    “What is found to have its origin in the opinion of some Holy Father or particular Council is not a Divine Tradition, even though it should be celebrated throughout the entire Church. For if we did not attend to this rule, we should have to admit without certain foundation, new revelations regarding faith or morals, which has been always abhorred and impugned in the Church by men the most attached to religion. Hence, the sovereign pontiffs, the Councils, and the Fathers, have been most careful to reject all novelties or new doctrines on matters of faith, which differed from those that had been already received.”
    – St. Alphonus Liguori, Exposition and defense of all the points of Faith discussed and defined by the Sacred Council of Trent, Dublin 1846, Pg. 51

    The Dominicans did the needful in the case of Pope John XII.

    On reading ignorant and unsubstantiated attacks on the reputation of one of the great Popes, or indeed any of the other great papal defenders of Catholic Truth, men who have zero chance of being canonised while the Modernists occupiers remain in place, I’m reminded of following words in Pascendi:

    “There is little reason to wonder that the Modernist vent all their bitterness and hatred on Catholics who zealously fight the battles of the Church. There is no species of insult which they do not heap upon them, but their usual course is to charge them with ignorance and obstinacy…For them the scholarship of a writer is in direct proportion to the recklessness if his attacks on antiquity, and of his efforts to undermine tradition and the ecclesiastical magisterium…The young, excited and confused by all this clamour of praise and abuse, some of them afraid of being branded as ignorant, other ambitious to rank among the learned, and both classes goaded internally by curiosity and pride, not infrequently surrender and give themselves up to Modernism.”

    Perhaps bloggers here might take solace from those words.

    I don’t know if anyone is still reading. This blogger certainly has no claims on readers’ valuable time. What does matter is to speak up in some way, however inadequately, when the name of one of the truly outstanding pastors to succeed Peter is baselessly and ignorantly attacked in a really objectionable manner.

    Finally, finally, a question: Can anybody recall any large, meaningful, universal centenary celebrations throughout the last eleven years? Where have the “hermeneutic of continuity” people gone? What have they got to say about this?

    Saint Pius X, ora pro nobis

  31. Leo,

    “I don’t know if anyone is still reading”

    I’m still reading! And I’m sorry I’ve come to the end of your fantastic posts.

    I detect a bit of annoyance, quite legitimate, that nobody else has tackled Dowden on his attacks on Pope Saint Pius X, when you say: “What does matter is to speak up in some way, however inadequately, when the name of one of the truly outstanding pastors to succeed Peter is baselessly and ignorantly attacked in a really objectionable manner. ”

    I now feel ashamed that I didn’t go to look for some details to answer Dowden’s accusations against the great Saint Pius X. I won’t make excuses but I don’t think I, for one, could have answered Dowden half as well as you have done. I think we all owe you a huge debt of gratitude for sharing your time and knowledge on this blog.

    I join in your prayer – Saint Pius X, pray for us.

    • Josephine,

      I’m still reading Leo’s posts, too! I could never have countered Dowden’s attacks on Pope St. Pius X, with Leo’s eloquence and knowledge, but I should have said something. 😦

      Thank you, Leo, for your outstanding posts!

    • Oops sorry Josephine, I didnt see you had posted this link before I duplicated it!

      I think its encouraging news, though I agree Francis is an incomprehensible character.

      Maybe he was impressed to read of the undoubted humility and holiness of ++Lefebvre, while still holding modern ideas about the liturgy and certain teachings.

  32. So if the pope was so impressed, why wouldn’t he meet with Bishop Fellay in audience? Wouldn’t he want to talk to Bishop Fellay? Apparently all the pope did some time ago was say hello to him.

    And he’s read the biography twice? Wow, that’s quite impressive for being such a hefty tome.

    • +Fellay previously stated he has never asked for an audience with Francis.

      The previous meeting turned out to be only a brief encounter while passing in a dinner hall. +Fellay was actually meeting / dining with Ecclesia Dei Bishops, one of whom insisted on introducing him to Francis when an opportunity arose.

  33. I know Rorate has not got the best press here recently, but they have an interesting article today: reporting what +Fellay said about Francis, the day after their brief Vatican encounter.

    – +Fellay says Francis has twice read the autobiography of ++Lefebvre, (the one written by another SSPX Bishop), and was “pleased” by the book. He says Francis is “against” what the SSPX represents, but he is impressed by the life of ++Lefebvre.

    – +Fellay reveals that, as a Cardinal in Argentina, Francis helped the local SSPX with a visa requirement. Apparently the Argentine Government likes to make trouble for the SSPX and tries to refuse them visas on grounds they are not Catholic – they need Bishops to vouch for them. Cardinal Bergoglio agreed to vouch for their Catholicity – having being approached by he local SSPX superior – saying this was self-evident. However, the local Nuncio sided with the Government, thus nullifying Bergoglios intervention. But now, as Pope, Francis has said he will work to resolve this ongoing Argentine problem for the SSPX. (the Society has already chased him up about this!). +Fellay has said he will wait and see.

    Of course, if Francis tells the Argentine Government that the SSPX are indeed Catholic, then surely this brings a final end to the “schism” rubbish – though I bet sections of the Catholic media would not report it.

    • Sorry everyone – Josephine has already posted this link above, I didn’t see it before posting (doh)!

    • Oh, and of course, the SSPX Bishop wrote a biography of ++Lefebvre, not an autobiography.

      Hah – that poster was a disaster!

  34. So the pope is just like Benedict XVI. A few traditional leanings sprinkled here and there, mixed with a lot of modernism.

    Well in that case, we must beg God that He gives the Vicar of Christ grace to repent of all modernist heresies and act like a true pope.

  35. Prior to the Second vatican Council, and before the reformists took over and eviscerated religious life, did monks, nuns and religious Priests where their habits exclusively, even when outside of the monastery or the convent. I know that several habits, such as the Carmelite and Dominican are quite cumbersome with the cappa.

    All I can say is that before Vat.II I NEVER saw a monk, nun, or any other religious, who was not wearing his/her full habit. Most of them were indeed cumbersome and hot, and the nursing order nuns, particularly missionaries, must have found them a bit restricting, but I never heard any complaint. It goes without saying that priests were never seen without a black suit and Roman collar.

  37. I have a priest friend who doesn’t even have non clerical clothes in his wardrobe. Except for his pyjamas, of course. He wears his priestly clothes at all times, even when gardening.

  38. This is a report from the Royal College of Psychiatrists – who say upfront that homosexuals are not “born that way”.

    This is a recent report, dated April 2014, so it’s a wonder it’s not been given any publicity (at least I’ve not seen any).

  39. Does anybody know if the Le Pen family are linked to traditionalist Catholicism? I know that Marine Le Pen supports secularism, ostensibly to reduced the influence of Islam, but I enclose two articles that state Marion Marechal-Le Pen participated in the Chartres pilgrimage with the SSPX.

    • Catholicconvert1,
      I am not sure that Jean-Marie Le Pen “is linked to traditionalits”, what I am sure is that he sympatizes with them as many ordinary catholics in France…
      In some occasions, I saw him attending Saint Pius V Mass, notably at his meetings of commemoration.
      As far as Marine is concerned, I don’t think so (?).

      • Lionel,

        I read somewhere on le blog that you attend Mass at the Basilique Du Sacre-Coeur in Paris, but have you ever attended the St. Pius V Mass at St Nicolas Du Chardonnet?

        • catholicconvert1,
          Yes indeed, I used to be a Mass-servant to Mgr Ducaud-Bourget and I was already when he was desserving as almoner at the Hospital of Laennec.
          Now I am at ten minutes of the Basilique du Sacré Coeur and Saint Nicolas du Chardonnet is far away in the South area of Paris. Therefore it would take me almost one our to get there…

  40. Josephine, I thought the Royal College of Psychiatrists IS saying they’re born that way! it ‘considers that sexual orientation is determined by a combination of biological and postnatal environmental factors’. What are the biological factors if they don’t mean ‘born that way’? I’m not trying to be awkward (awkward? Moi? Never!).

    • They are not saying biological factors are the exclusive cause of homosexuality.

      It must be remembered, that even from a Christian perspective, that the formation of human character involves the following five factors: environment, biological inheritance, free will, diabolic interference and divine grace.

      I have no doubt biological factors can sometimes predispose certain persons to homosexuality more than other people.

      I do not believe RCPsych are advocating the ‘born that way’ theory, otherwise they would have said homosexuality is caused by biological factors, which they didn’t say.

      The same can be said for alcoholism: alcoholics may be biologically predisposed to the condition, which does not per se mean they were born that way.

      • What would you say to two men, who whilst having the homosexual inclination, but who lived together in a chaste relationship, without ‘consummating’ their relationship? Think of it as a ‘brotherly relationship’.

          • It wasn’t only intended for you to reply, it was just part of the discussion concerning the nature of homosexuality. I didn’t think it was random. However, if they are not primarily ‘born that way’, should we condemn them to a life of loneliness? I think that one can be in a chaste relationship, regardless of one’s ‘orientation’.

            • I think the attitude that a person must be in a sexual relationship in order not to be lonely and unfulfilled is the symptom of a disordered and relationally broken society. We see this in the secular culture’s derision of the sacred vocation of celibacy, which is often viewed as a perversion in itself.

              Of course, everybody needs friendship, community and communion, and I think this is especially important for persons with homosexual problems. I don’t think anybody would disapprove of this!

              Based on what I know about the subject, the complexes underlying homosexuality do not constitute a problem with the opposite sex. Instead, any healing should seek to reconcile conflicts with the same sex, which have been damaged by low self-esteem, or more specifically ‘low gender esteem’. If this is dealt with, unmanageable feelings of loneliness will be normalised.

              • Thank you for that answer. I wasn’t referring to a sexual relationship, I was referring to people who have the same sex attraction who live as ‘companions’, but without a sexual element, in an environment of chastity.

                • Dear CC

                  One should not place oneself in a situation which places oneself in an occasion of sin. For two people who have a sexual attraction to each other to live together is, to say the least, foolish,as such a situation could facilitate grave sin.

            • According to specialists in the subject like Joseph Nicolosi and other NARTH associated therapists, establishing normal friendships with the same sex is essential to healing of the homosexual condition.

  41. I recently acquired a Miraculous Medal.

    I already wear a small crucifix on a chain – is it acceptable to attach my Medal onto this existing chain?

    Thanks for any advice!

    • Gabriel Syme,

      I’ve never heard of a rule that said you couldn’t put the medal on the same chain as another medal or crucifix. I’m sure that is OK. But, if you are told differently by some expert or other, don’t quote me. I will deny it hotly… 😀

      • Thanks for the advice Editor!

        I would prefer to attach it to my existing chain, as I am loathe to end up like “Mr T” with masses of chains around my neck!

        • Gabriel Syme,

          Yes, I think too many chains around your neck, so soon after those handcuffs (Gabriel was married in the recent past, folks!) might be just too much 😀

          Have you reached that point in your marriage, yet, Gabriel Syme, where you agree with Groucho Marx, who said: “I was married by a judge; I should have asked for a jury”? 😀

          • Haha perish the thought Editor! 🙂

            (I dare not say yes, incase my wife reads my posts here! :P)

            • Ha Ha.

              I courted, engaged and married my wife within the space of 15 months, forgetting the old saying festina lente or marry in haste, repent at leisure. Of course the latter adage only applies now to those who hold to the sanctity of marriage as that which has its ups and downs, peaks and troughs. It’s a real shame to see marriages dissolve so soon after being born.

              It all worked out well for us and the five weans. The weans came later, by the way.

    • Does your Miraculous Medal have the French inscription around the edge: ‘Ô Marie, conçue sans péché, priez pour nous qui avons recours à vous’, or in Anglais, ‘O Mary conceived without sin, pray for those who have recourse to Thee’. I’ve been looking for one with the French inscription. Where did you get your’s?

      • CC,

        Mine has the inscription in English, not French. I got it from a Church shop in Glasgow (St Mungos).

        I expect you could get one with a French inscription from here:

        The shop is based in Lourdes. Most are not cheap from here, but the cheapest one is slightly over £1. (Mine was only 60p if I recall). And you would have P&P costs to add.

        I would use the contact form to check with the shop that the one you choose definitely has the French words; because some of them are described as “French medals” others as just “Medals”.

        (But if they are coming from Lourdes, then they are all French in one sense!)

    • you are kidding, right? do you really think God or Our Blessed Lady care how many medals you put on one chain?

      • I didn’t actually mention God or Our Lady, or what they might think, I was only asking what normal / common practice was.

        I don’t think its worth getting worked up over 😉

  42. Dowden

    Any debate has to have a time limit. While this exchange is accelerating towards the revolving and pointless stage, there are other arguably more important discussions going on. While the persecution of the Church in France over the course of more than three decades at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth may not be at the forefront of readers’ minds there are a couple of principles highlighted here that should be relevant to any debate- presenting a case on historical fact and the “quality of source” and use of “impartial sources” to use your words, Dowden. More on that later.

    We have made some progress, I believe, as your earlier intemperate slurs directed against one of the great Popes, have, I think, been dismantled and are fading in the rear view mirror. Certainly some of your previous language resembled that of someone who had completed a brief correspondence course in Church History with the Dawkins, Cornwell, and Kung College of Malicious Ignorami.

    In a nutshell, it’s fair to say that you appear to hold or rather hurl the view that if Pope Benedict XV had succeeded Pope Leo XIII directly at any particular point between 1903 and 1914, the persecution of the Church in France which followed the separation of Church and State in 1905 would have been avoided. Readers of this blog are still awaiting a glimpse of a suggestion of something approaching evidence that any objective, scholarly historian would put his name to remarks directed against Saint Pius X such as “his profound ignorance of the wider world led him into all sorts of disasters, from a pointless conflict with France…”, “inept handling creating a needless crisis”,and “innocent French religious were sacrificed in an aberrant policy phase before educated common sense reasserted itself”. In contrast, historical facts and evidence (what you have termed “stuff”) have been put forward to demonstrate the intentions and programme of the aggressors, the culmination of a decades long programme. The compelling self-interest forced on the secularists by the outbreak of the First World War weeks before Pope Benedict XV was elected has been mentioned. Any number of “qualified and impartial” historians and “anonymous referees” can “double-blind, crawl over” the facts at leisure. Those facts won’t change.

    “Contra factum non argumentum est”, in the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

    You are certainly striving to close the length of posts deficit, Dowden, and have obviously spent a fair bit of time on some fairly chunky posts, including that of May 30, 12.19pm. No complaints from me on word counts, although yet again, you have ignored to dictum drilled into every teenage exam sitter’s head: “stick to the point”. Which is quite strange, coming from someone who places such store by academic qualifications. Certainly at a higher level, there would be some white knuckle use of tutor’s red biro.

    Not that regulars here will be greatly shocked by your use of evasion and diversion tactics, Dowden. Side shows, smoke bombs, rabbit holes, provocation; we’ve seen it all before. That’s not banned of course, but when I read jibes about “schism” and “Lefebvrists” I usually stop reading, sensing lack of knowledge and/or ill will.

    You’ll agree, Dowden, that the history of the Third Republic, any segment of it, is the stuff of multiple doctorates, not blog posts. Mentioning “the Jews” and dragging the Dreyfus Affair, very important as it was, and which convulsed France between 1894 and 1906 really is straying off the central point of this exchange. Also, you may consider “socialists, masons and modernists” as “bogeymen” but that does not change the fact that they are integral to the issue under discussion.

    You are causing quite a degree of puzzlement and confusion, to me at least, Dowden. You talk repeatedly about academic standards and qualifications, and yet ignore evidence, the currency of any scholar’s work, produce none of substance yourself and stick rigidly to an unsustainable viewpoint. You have quite rightly spoken of “impartial sources” while accusing me of “basing a partisan argument on partisan sources”. And yet you claim Maude Petre’s biography as evidence in the defense of the apostate George Tyrrell. Petre is about as partisan a source as it’s possible to get. I intend to say more about that in a future post (I hasten to add that I’m not making any allegations of moral failings in their close friendship).

    Logically, unless you are implementing a blatant double standard here, Dowden you cannot make charges about partisan sources. Your credibility has, I suggest, crashed and burned on this issue. Trying to stick a “partisan sources” label on my earlier posts, appears to me like an attempted pirouette out of a head on crash with historical facts.

    Anyone can skim my posts to make their own mind up. I have included the page of numbers of laudatory biographies of the sainted Pope, for the simple reason that some readers here may also have them, and may like to do further reading themselves. The evidence from those biographies which I have presented is from the primary sources, or is simply historical facts. The fact that it has “passed through” an admiring biography does not render less relevant, or even “partisan”. That would be an absurd point of view to apply generally.

    I haven’t relied simply on repeating the opinion of a favourably disposed author. Cardinal Baudrillart’s testimony was virtually the only evidence that could be described as “partisan”. I have explained exactly why I included it, twice. As some sort of balance, I presented the testimony of a Parisian Socialist Newspaper. Michaela has been kind enough to refer to that.

    Elsewhere I have presented historical events and the words of some of the protagonists themselves, as well as others with no particular incentive to praise the Pope unjustifiably. As an aside, I hope no one would consider that the testimonies of the 240 witnesses who were interrogated and gave statements on the life and virtues of Pope Pius X are worthless or would be inadmissible on the grounds of being “partisan”.

    I’ve no complaints whatsoever, Dowden, about you raising the issue of objective scholarly historians and the “quality of source”. I did in fact quote Michael Burleigh in my post of May 30, 2.21 am. While I don’t agree with everything I have read from him, I think he scores pretty well when it comes to scholarship and objectivity. As I recall, he has addressed the defamation of Pope Pius XII in a balanced and reasoned manner. He must however be at the inevitable and fundamental disadvantage suffered by all non-Catholic historians when dealing with the subject of the Church. Granted all the good will and objectivity in the world, there cannot, automatically, be a full understanding of the divinely ordained nature of the Mystical Body of Christ. Visible as it is, the Church cannot be seen as merely some human, worldly organisation. Success by the standards of the world is not the true measure.

    “God does not want our lies. The historian will be all the better able to manifest the Church’s divine origin, so far transcending all that is purely terrestrial and natural, in proportion as he is faithful to keep back nothing of the trials which she has had to experience in the course of the ages through the frailty of her children, and sometimes even of her ministers. Studied in this fashion, the history of the Church in itself affords a splendid and conclusive proof of the truth and divinity of Christianity.” – Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical, Depuis le Jour, to bishops and clergy of France, 1899.

    I can’t comment on Chadwick and Larkin as historians, but I’m grateful to Michaela for her post concerning the former (May 30, 11.42 pm). I will put forward the name of Monsignor Philip Hughes as a widely respected Church historian. While he wrote approvingly of Pope Leo XIII’S programme of ralliement, he did concede that for Pope Pius X “to have acquisesced in the further acts of the anti-Catholic regime in France would have been mere futile ‘appeasement’” (A Popular History of the Catholic Church, p. 238)

    “No single Pope since the Council of Trent brought about so many important, and needed changes in Catholic life.” (ibid pp 239-240)
    “Pius was a man of most holy life, a model parish priest, a model bishop, and a model Pope. From the moment of his death there was a great movement to secure his canonisation…It is hard to exaggerate what the Church owes to the many personal initiatives of his short eleven years’ reign” (p. 241).

    That’s the testimony of a Church historian who cannot be described, Dowden, as a “partisan source” on the issue under discussion. He did not advocate a return to the ancien regime “throne and altar” political arrangement.

    Here is his verdict, expressed in the 1958 edition of his book, A Popular History of the Catholic Church, on the consequences of the French secularists’ breech of the Concordat.

    “Immense sacrifices were now, everywhere, the order of the day; and their fruit was a revival of a quality, on a scale, never seen before.” (p. 239)

    Throughout Church history there have been times of martyrdom, of the white and red variety. Judging the outcome through the lens of the world is not the measure to use in the case of Mystical Body of Christ. In conversation with a nervous Cardinal, Pope Pius X replied by pointing to a crucifix: “I look at the Cross.” How many non-Catholic historians can genuinely understand the significance of that?

    Certainly, there was mixed opinions, in France and Rome, and understandable trepidation amongst the clergy of France at the prospect of persecution. They did remain firmly loyal to the Pope, though. To trust in the good faith and long term good will of what Hughes described as a “fanatically hostile government” would have required the naivety, or worse, demonstrated by the appeasers of Hitler a generation later.

    Readers, or any objective, scholarly historian can go back and judge the facts that I have presented in my posts of May 28, 5.20pm and May 30, 2.21am and point out any factual errors. I’ll be genuinely grateful. Against a fact there is no argument. I’m also grateful for the endorsement of our French blogger, Lionel.

    Just remember, Dowden, that religious orders were expelled from France four years before Monsignor Giuseppe Sarto was appointed a bishop by Pope Leo XIII. Against a fact there is no argument.

    In a speech delivered to the Senate in March 1903, President Emile Combes cynically stated that:

    “To denounce the Concordat just now without having sufficiently prepared men’s minds for it, without having clearly proved that the Catholic clergy themselves are provoking it and rendering it inevitable, would be bad policy on the part of the government, by reason of the resentment which might be caused in the country. I do not say that the connection between Church and State will not someday be severed; I do not even say that that is not near. I merely say that the day has not yet come.” Against a fact there is no argument.

    There was no “Gallican” or “republican” schism, to the chagrin of the secularists, following the break in diplomatic relations. Against a fact there is no argument.

    You haven’t commented, Dowden on the fact that the outbreak of World War I, less than a month before the election of Pope Benedict XV applied to the French government, an overwhelming stimulus towards reconciliation. The outcome would undoubtedly have been no different if Pope Pius had lived longer. Whatever about possession of the theological virtues, the brains trust of the Quai D’Orsay was not overrun with naïve, other worldly innocents when it came to protecting French interests. They quickly repositioned an unofficial envoy to the Vatican. Britain also returned an envoy to the Vatican, in December 1914.

    One other minor complaint, Dowden: I think you are being a bit unfair towards the Isle of Wight. It’s not the natural habitat of mosquitos, I’d imagine. I believe it is still popular with the yachting set, and it was, what a coincidence, popular with Royalty during the era under discussion. Devil’s Island the Isle of Wight ain’t.

    And I still haven’t got back to Tyrrell and the surrounding issues. Your unsubstantiated vitriol on that subject is in my opinion, totally out of order, and further undermines your credibility during this discussion.

    We will be getting there.

    • Leo,

      “Readers, or any objective, scholarly historian can go back and judge the facts that I have presented in my posts of May 28, 5.20pm and May 30, 2.21am and point out any factual errors. I’ll be genuinely grateful. Against a fact there is no argument.”

      You have said it all in a nutshell there, and I concur completely. All of your posts answering Dr John Dowden have been excellent because jammed with facts which were thoroughly sourced and I have learned loads from them.

      • Leo,

        Please add my name to that list. Your posts are always genius in quality and so easy to read – a rare combination. I greatly value all the work you have put in to protect the reputation of the great and holy Saint, Pope Pius X.

        • Margaret Mary

          Thank you too, and not for the first time! Now I’m really embarrassed.

          It’s the subject that matters. Where the subject is the great and holy Pope Saint Pius X, even a very ordinary layman like yours truly should be able to get something right without much effort.

          • Leo,

            I wish your fan club would take a rest. You’ve had enough pay rises for one year. Check in again after Christmas (2019…) 😀

  43. Sorry Editor, I’m on a flying visit, but wish declare my fanship also before I go. Leo, I’m glad you’re going to get on to George Tyrrell. I couldn’t believe Dowden’s claim (amidst all the incredible non-partisanship waffle), that Tyrrell was a victim, and that someone (was it Michaela?) would be hard put to it to prove otherwise! I may be away for a week and a bit, but I can catch up when I get home. I hugely admire your patience, as well as all the other qualities that bloggers have mentioned, also the fact that you’re not deterred by the dozens of haphazard departures from the point (and language) that characterise Dowden’s posts. Even if I had your patience and breadth of knowledge I’d be too intemperate to attempt a reply on this civilised blog. And so for now ‘e solo un arrivederci’, as Dowden might say, or ‘tarrawell’ from one of us less cerebral bloggers.

    Here is the latest bombshell to hit us …front page ….Really how much ,More can people take ?
    May I ask you to contact ?
    Every contact will count as have no fear the anti life brigade will be flooding all and sundry with congratulations ..anything that chips away at every little vestige of decency
    Thank you

  45. Christina

    I don’t know if you read my previous comments about George Tyrrell on May 28, 5.25pm, amongst all the rest, in which I referred to your excellent post before Christmas about the Jesuits. I’m sure you’ll agree that the utterly false portrayal of Tyrrell as a victim of a “cruel” and “reactionary” Rome, a sort of mythical Modernist “martyr”, appears to be as close as it gets to immutable “dogma” where the “enemy within” are concerned.

    Readers may be inclined to dismiss Tyrrell, Alfred Loisy, and Maurice Blondel as figures from the past. The reality is that their influence has now reached into every parish and virtually every home due their revolting heirs running amok for the last five decades.

    As stated previously, Tyrrell was expelled from the Jesuits, a year before Pascendi was issued.

    Cardinal Mercier of Malines in his brief treatise entitled simply Modernism, while acknowledging that in writings published by Tyrrell “there is much that is edifying”, stated that the former Jesuit was “the most expressive of its (Modernism’s) tendency, he who has seized its true significance and who is perhaps the most profoundly imbued with its spirit”.

    “Tyrrell, who was intent only on the interior workings of the conscience, neglectful of dogmatic traditions and ecclesiastical history…, renewed an attack analogous to that of the apostate Döllinger.”

    “Revelation, he (Tyrrell) says, is not a doctrinal deposit confided to the guardianship of the teaching Church of which the Faithful will receive the authentic interpretations at various times when an authoritative announcement is required; it is the collective life of religious souls, or, rather, of every person of good will who aspires to an ideal above the material ambitions of the egotist. … But the true inner religious life remains the supreme gui+de in matters of faith and dogma.”

    This summation is vouched by Tyrrell’s work, Scylla and Charybdis, as previously quoted.

    Pascendi drew the obvious conclusion:

    “The doctrine of immanence in the Modernist acceptation holds and professes that every phenomenon of conscience proceeds from man as man. The rigorous conclusion from this is the identity of man with God, which means Pantheism.”

    Before his death, Tyrell realised that the battle had been lost, yet he was still hopeful. In a letter dated 24 August 1908 he wrote to a friend of his “thanks to a silent and secret preparation we shall have won a much greater proportion of the army of the Church to the cause of liberty”.

    Alfred Loisy, a fellow excommunicated priest, wrote that both his own book L’Evangile et L’Eglise and Tyrrell’s Christianity at the Cross-roads “can rest together in the graveyard of heresies”.

    “Yes or no, do you believe in the divine authority of the Church?” asked Cardinal Mercier. “Do you accept outwardly and the sincerity of your heart what she commands in the name of Christ? Do you consent to obey her? If so, she offers you her Sacraments and undertakes to guide you safely into the harbour of salvation. If not, then you deliberately sever the tie that unites you to her, and break the bond consecrated by Her grace. Before God and your conscience you no longer belong to her; don’t remain in obstinate hypocrisy a pretended member of her fold. You cannot honestly pass yourself off as one of her sons; and as she cannot be party to hypocrisy and sacrilege, she bids you, if you force Her to it, to leave her ranks…The Modernism condemned by the Pope is the negation of the Church’s teaching.” (see Pope Saint Pius X, by F A Forbes, pp 119-120 )

    “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, but offend in one point, is become guilty of all.” – St. James 2:10

    Pope Leo XIII, in his 1896 encyclical, Satis Cognitum, teaches this in so many words: “Nothing is more dangerous than the heretics who, while conserving almost all the remainder of the Church’s teaching intact, corrupt with a single word, like a drop of poison, the purity and the simplicity of the faith which we have received through tradition from God and through the Apostles.”

    Duplicity and deceit are amongst the hallmarks of the Modernist system. Unlike other heretics throughout Church history whose furious an unambiguous attacks on doctrine ensured rapid expulsion from the sheepfold, the Modernist revolutionaries were and remain resolutely determined to remain circulating amongst the sheep in their attempt to form the Church of Christ to their own dark ways. Truly this modus operandi cannot but be inspired by the serpent, the father of lies.

    “I hate arrogance and pride, and every wicked way, and a mouth with a double tongue.” – Proverbs 8:13

    Pope Pius VI recognised the art of the deceivers more than century before Pascendi, in his 1794 Apostolic Constitution, Auctorem Fidei:

    “[The Ancient Doctors] knew the capacity of innovators in the art of deception. In order not to shock the ears of Catholics, they sought to hide the subtleties of their tortuous manoeuvers by the use of seemingly innocuous words such as would allow them to insinuate error into souls in the most gentle manner. Once the truth had been compromised, they could, by means of slight changes or additions in phraseology, distort the confession of the faith which is necessary for our salvation, and lead the faithful by subtle errors to their eternal damnation.”

    On September 26 1907, Tyrrells indignant protest against Pascendi was published in the Italian newspaper Il Giornale d’Italia and there was another long protest in The Times of September 30 and October 1, in virtue of which he was excommunicated on October 22.

    The myth that an obscurantist and repressive papal court was trying to crush the voice of “enlightened” intellectual seeking of Catholic truth is eloquently and emphatically dispelled by the words of the renowned non-Catholic philosopher Benedetto Croce, writing in the same Italian journal which by the was reputed to be the vehicle and organ of Modernism.

    “Modernism, according to Minocchi, claims to distinguish between dogma’s real content and its metaphysical expressions, which he regards as something accidental, just as the different forms of language which can translate the same thought are accidental. This comparison is the first and principal sophism of the Modernists…

    “Modernists are free to transform dogmas according to their ideas. I myself exercise this freedom…The difference is that when I do it, I am aware of being outside the Church, outside all religion, whereas the Modernists stubbornly proclaim to be not only religious, but Catholics. If, trying to escape from the consequences of their principle, and sympathizing with positivists, pragmatists and empiricists of all kinds, they claim not to believe in the value of thought and logic, they will necessarily end in agnosticism and scepticism, doctrines which can be harmonized with a vague religious sentiment, but are hostile to all positive religion…My good Modernist friends must excuse my enjoying this situation; I shall hardly have such good fortune again to be in agreement with the Pope.”

    Another Italian philosopher, Giovanni Gentile, also shed eloquent light on the aims of the Modernists in his defence of Pascendi:

    “Catholicism will never be able to turn into the negation of itself, as Tyrrell and Loisy wished. This truth, so distasteful to the Modernists, resounds throughout the Encyclical of September 8, 1907, from beginning to end. It is a magisterial summary and magnificent critique of the philosophical principles of all Modernism. The Encyclical’s author has utterly penetrated and very exactly interpreted the doctrine which is found disseminated in Modernism’s philosophical, theological, apologetical, historical, critical and social demands; he can be said to have judged it from a higher point of view. As for Loisy’s ripostes, they make a pitiful showing in the face of the philosophy expressed in the Encyclical…The Modernists must learn that a Pope’s work cannot be judged according to the criteria of that rationalism which, down the centuries, has always ended up in heresy. To make such a judgement would be as logical as approving a king’s achievement insofar as it contributed to the proclamation of a republic.”- (Critica, May 20, 1908)
    ( Both of the above quotations can be read in Yves Chiron’s, Saint Pius X, Restorer of the Church, p. 211)

    Miss Maude Petre has been put forward as a witness in the attempt to propagate the falsehood that Tyrrell has claims to some sort of victimhood status. Dowden has put forward her biography as evidence.

    The following might appear to some to be tedious and unnecessary detail in the overall scheme of things, but I suggest it might be useful whenever next the long discredited Modernist slur is cast against good pastors, whose prime concern was the saving of the soul of a wandering sheep.

    As well as being his biographer, Maude Petre was Tyrrell’s friend, confidant, and apologist. He spent much of the last years of his life at her home in Storrington, Sussex. Tragically, she was arguably, even if inadvertently, his worst enemy.

    In an appendix to his excellent little book, Partisans of Error, Michael Davies has included copies of some correspondence between the much defamed Archbishop Amigo of Southwark, and Father Xavier of the Premonstratensian Fathers who ministered to the Catholics of Storrington, on one side and Tyrrell and Maude Petre on the other. The false and continuing portrayal of Tyrrell as injured innocent and the Bishop as heartless tyrant can be seen to be utterly unfounded.

    Archbishop Amigo and Father Xavier showed exemplary pastoral solicitude and kindness towards Tyrrell in their efforts to get him to retract his errors before facing his Maker. In that they were doing no more than their duty. That is as clear as can be from the written evidence. Two years previously, in the wake of his excommunication, Tyrrell had flung the Archbishop’s pastoral concerns back in his face in a letter of 27 October 1907:

    “If however my offence lies in having protested publicly, in the name of Catholicism, against a document destructive of the only possible defence of Catholicism, and of every reason for submitting, within due limits, to ecclesiastical authority…for such a protest I am absolutely and finally impenitent.”

    The Archbishop’s reply expressed the following sentiments:

    “I am exceedingly sorry to see the attitude which you take towards the Holy Father. I have as you know tried to be friendly to you, and even in these painful circumstances I did my duty as kindly as possible…
    “I shall be only too pleased to see you here and show you my kindness and my anxiety to help you.”

    In the final days of his sudden illness, it was evident that Maude Petre did not wish Tyrrell to retract. She did all in her power to ensure that only priests of Modernist sympathies ministered to the dying man. In a letter to The Times, published 3 days after his death, she practically boasted that there had been no retraction. A week later, having tried to browbeat Father Xavier into defying his bishop and giving Tyrrell a Catholic funeral, she claimed in a letter to Archbishop Amigo that “Father Tyrrell did not have any retraction to make”.

    In between, Archbishop Amigo explained to Tyrrell’s brother his sad duty to forbid a Catholic burial.

    “Some repentance is necessary. Instead of that we have the positive statement from Miss Petre showing that he would not have retracted, and though he speak to her and others nothing has been reported to me about a retraction. However feeble he was, some sign of sorrow about his attitude to Modernism could have been obtained.”

    It’s appropriate to give the last word to a Father John Chapman OSB, writing to protest against an editorial in The Times, answered the charge that “the agents of the Vatican, who excommunicated the Abbe Loisy and drove Father Tyrrell to his grave, are not yet satisfied” with the following:

    “The Pope has been concerning himself with the boundaries between Christianity and unbelief. I do not suppose the writer of the article on ‘persecution’ prefers unbelief; but I suppose him to have misunderstood the Pope. An Anglican dignitary of moderate views who much dislikes papistry, showed me a book he bought against the Encyclical Pascendi. ‘Do you know,’ he said, ‘I must say I thought the Pope right all the way through’. The Pope has been defending the beliefs of the multitude as well as the ages against the extravagances of a few; and we of the rank and file, who nothing to do with the government of the Church, to whom ‘the Vatican’ is a mere name, who are ignorant of the game of diplomacy, are full of gratitude for being thus protected, and we believe that the Pope is fulfilling his first duty in thus protecting us.”

    We of the rank and file still have much reason to be grateful to a great and holy Pope.

    • It is getting on for three out here and you are getting well ahead of me in posts: what the rank and file make of such detailed historical discussion is anybody’s guess. It is not that I cannot see where you are going wrong just that I am struggling to find time to post. Quickly, and before you offer too much more from M. Chiron, Leo, you did challenge readers to point to any error in what you write.

      I think you are adrift on Europe in 1939 and on the reasons why relations with France (in her new frontiers) improved for France once Pius X/Merry del Val was gone. But not to overburden things, let’s try just this one for quality. You write:

      [Pius] ‘… sought the views of the French Bishops at a plenary assembly on 30 May to 1 June 1906 … before condemning [the law] … two months later in the encyclical, Gravissimo Officio. The French bishops had pronounced against the cult associations as the December law envisaged them, by a majority of 72 to 2 (Chiron, p. 179).’

      The first problem here is accuracy. Pius X (or, in reality, Merry del Val) only mentioned a ‘délibération presque unanime’ – the figures were not revealed. Read Pius X-del Val’s words and the associations are ‘telles que la loi les impose’. The next difficulty is that the French bishops had discussed whether associations were acceptable ‘telles qu’elles ont été établis par la loi de Séparation’. Frog is not my strong suit but I do not see any sort of ‘envisaged’ in that phrase or how the most inept school student could get ‘December’ out of ‘Séparation’. In any case the French bishops talked about ‘the Law of Separation’, the Pope-Secretary says ‘the Law’. Does your M. Chiron speak French?

      The last little problem in your presentation is the interpretation of these inaccurately translated words. While almost all the French archbishops and bishops duly pronounced against the associations set up by the Law ‘of Separation’ in theory, the resounding majority then voted (48 to 26) against the pope’s recommendation and in favour of setting up associations to manage the properties in actual practice and went on to devised the exact name for these proposed associations (voting 49 to 25 against Pius).

      Your presentation of the episode misrepresents the historical truth and is, incidentally, a gross abuse of the French language. Pius X was ill-qualified, ill-prepared and ill-informed but the French bishops (whom he had not consulted as a group before condemning the law) were obviously not so ignorant. It was therefore the minority not the majority that was for Pius X (25-6 individuals as against 48-9). It seems that the French cardinals and the archbishops, to a man, threw their weight against Pius X: the senior bishops all rejected a foolish reading of the political situation. The disastrous Pope-Secretary combination might be daft enough to want to sink the French church financially but the mutinous crew saw no sense in giving ‘a rousing cheer’ as the good ship Ancient Daughter went down.

      Obviously, your gross misrepresentations of the historical truth and the abuse of the French Language are not actually your doing – you merely follow your M. Chiron. Slipshod hagiography from an SSPX bookshop should not however be offered to an unsuspecting audience as history. It was Don Sarto not Dr Sarto and it looks very like M. Chiron not Mr The Doctor Chiron – and in both cases the inadequacies of basic training tend to show.

      Your great and holy pope had his fair share of ignorance of the game of diplomacy and, in acting as del Val’s mouthpiece, he ended up lying through his teeth (not perhaps that he had the wit to know that). Vatican diplomacy began with Peter’s three-fold denial – once del Val’s deception was seen and his diplomatic letters were discovered, the mendacity became obvious and a gallic cock crew.

      Oh lee!

      • Dr John Dowden,

        I am not an historian but I can’t help but notice that you criticise Leo’s source (Chiron) without giving the source of your own information. I find it difficult to tell if what you are saying is a fact, or your own opinion. For example, you say “The first problem here is accuracy. Pius X (or, in reality, Merry del Val) only mentioned a ‘délibération presque unanime’ – the figures were not revealed.”

        How do you know that? Leo is not making up figures and if his source has done that, you should be able to give another source to show that.

        As things stand, Leo is still the one who has provided sources for his statements while you remain the one who hasn’t given a source but just refutes Leo’s sources. With respect, that’s just not good enough.

        I also object strongly to you calling Pius X a liar. Adding that perhaps he had not the “wit” to know that is just another insult to his intelligence. Leo has demonstrated clear as a bell that Pius X was a man of great intellect and diplomatic skill. I haven’t seen anything in any of your posts to convince me that Leo is wrong.

        • Margaret Mary,

          If someone says “Pius X (or …Merry del Val) only mentioned a ‘délibération presque unanime … and the associations are ‘telles que la loi les impose’” that, pretty obviously, is from their French text. If the bishops said ‘telles qu’elles ont été établis par la loi de Séparation’ that has to be a quotation. How do you imagine figures 48 to 26 against or 49 to 25 against could be made up?: were they untrue, they could be instantly refuted by any scholar who knows the field – the touch of humour quoted in ‘a rousing cheer’ is the trademark of the distinguished Cambridge historian who has made the field his own. And the quip on Simon Peter’s denial is a typical quotation from a Cardinal Secretary of state who worked under Pius XII. So, if you or Leo or anyone else knows the field, it is pretty obvious which book published by the Cambridge University Press the stuff must have come from. But a blog is not an academic journal, I am not defending a DPhil thesis or writing academic prose and, here, academic citation becomes absurd. I can, if you would find it helpful, send the full glorious detail when I get home from work but it is merely the blindingly obvious points, sourced from the standard historical secondary work: not for sale on the FSSPX website which is flogging M. Chiron’s pious tome.

          If you object to someone calling Pius X a liar, is the objection that he is not a liar or that you don’t like people telling truths which you find uncomfortable?

          I did allow for the fact that it was Pius putting his name to del Val’s words and that he did not know how to challenge an advisor who, although a very peculiar man (in more senses than one), was much better informed – which does not mean he briefed his boss fully or honestly: think of a sort of Cardinal Umberto briefing Papa Hacker in an episode of ‘Yes, Your Holiness!’. As I mentioned, del Val’s duplicity was explicitly exposed when the French government got hold of the legation’s papers.
          The whole of Pius X’s letter is a calculated (quite carefully calculated) deception. It does not begin to give the real reasons for the decisions (they were discreditable and a close diplomatic secret) and the tale of the bishops’ meeting was utterly misrepresented. The stupidity of Pius X in assuming that it would be possible to spread misinformation about something which 70-odd men knew about and two-thirds of them disagreed with is surprising in a man of business. The honest thing to have done was simply to have kept quiet – “I am doing this (daft as it seems) because I am a despot and this is what I want to do”: honest, brief and without the interminable tedium of a mendacious letter.

          I am pretty certain Leo is aware of none of this sorry episode (he is sticking to ‘Catholic’ writers and following them fairly uncritically). I am not so sure about M. Chiron – he may not know the scholarship or he may know about the mendacity and be keeping quiet so as not to spoil his pretty picture of the saint. A more mature approach would see that telling the lies he felt he had to tell was just a diplomat doing his job and has no bearing on personal sanctity – that might be a bit too sophisticated a concept for the simple minds of FSSPX.

        • Margaret Mary,

          Since you ask for chapter and verse, and if anyone else is remotely interested, if people want a source, or background, there is The Cambridge History of Christianity: Volume 8, World Christianities c.1815-c.1914 (Cambridge University Press) ed. Sheridan Gilley and Brian Stanley, which has an outline of the episode by contributed by McMillan (pp 229-32).

          Dr Larkin speculated on what might have happened had Leo XIII failed to survive his operation to have a growth removed, without anaesthetic, from his left buttock and Rampolla succeeded him, sitting more comfortably on Peter’s chair. In a sense absolutely nothing could have been worse than the mess Pius X made but there is a new book just out, J. Pollard, ‘The Unknown Pope: Benedict XV (1914-1922) and the pursuit of peace’ which suggests della Chiesa might have been able to help had he been Secretary or even deputy to almost anyone but del Val (p. 21). A more popular work, but one which has a good feel for ecclesiastical politics (and del Val was nothing if not a power queen) is M. Trevor, ‘Pope John: Blessed John XXIII’ (Gracewing Publishing, 2000) – she comments (p. 74) that ‘when it comes to the pinch, catholic authoritarians find it almost impossible to believe they can be wrong’.

          The standard work in this field is, however, by the late Maurice Larkin, and my posts have (I imagined rather obviously) been based on his work. First of all he set things out in his unpublished PhD dissertation, M.J.M. Larkin, Trinity College (Henry VIII’s foundation), University of Cambridge. This was followed up by an academic article in the Journal of Modern History and then expanded into full-dress book form in his Church and State after the Dreyfus Affair: The Separation Issue in France. London: Macmillan, 1974 (a French edition appeared as: L’Église et l’État en France. 1905: la crise de la Séparation, Toulouse : Privat, Bibliothèque historique universelle, 2004). Professor Larkin finally re-stated the history of it all, using much of the language of his earlier book, as ‘Religion, Politics and Preferment in France Since 1890: La Belle Epoque and Its Legacy’ (Cambridge University Press, 1995, reprinted 2002) which was based on a series of lectures delivered at Queen’s, in Northern Ireland. Here, Dr Larkin also explored the networks of reactionaries-army and freemasons-republicans and the interaction of these groups – themes not without relevance in Ulster.

          I have used the 1974 book simply because there is a copy lurking on my shelves: the whole sorry episode is recounted in detail, pp 191-206 and endnotes pp 278-81. Others may find the newer, Cambridge UP, version more accessible.

          Pius X’s letter was issued in Latin and in a French edition (quoted above). For some reason which I cannot fathom, the Vatican Website does not give either the Latin or the French texts, only an English translation.

          The papers taken by the French government from the former Nuncio hold the letter from Cardinal del Val instructing the legation on how to try to bluff its way out by being economical with the truth: Archives de France [Archives Nationale], Archives de l’Assemblée Nationale, Chambres de Députes, 1027-1036/ Sc25, p. 76, 26 August, 1906.

          The prelate who lost his patience over what he called ‘lies of heavy calibre’ was Mgr Lucien Lacroix, bishop of Tarantaise, who tipped off Le Temps. The scandal erupted when the paper ran a scoop, 24-5 August, 1906, plastered over the front pages. The good bishop, following the illustrious example of both Cardinal-Secretary and Pope then denied he had leaked the crucial information (Le Temps, 11 April, 1907) – a denial not untrue since he had not actually done the deed personally but through an intermediary. He was driven to resignation by local extremist supporters of Pius X but restored and honoured under Benedict XV.

          Mgr Lacroix did demonstrate nevertheless that Pius X and Merry del Val (they never formally denied his version of events was true) had taught the French Church invaluable lessons in diplomacy. They were (as you say) men of diplomatic skill – diplomacy that branch of the art of lying which almost succeeds in deceiving one’s friends without quite deceiving the opposition.

          Don’t worry about it, at this level it is not lying, just doing the job that has to be done: even in Scotland, Keith, Cardinal O’Brien made a name for himself with his resounding condemnation of what had to be condemned.

  46. Dowden

    Your recent posts have treated us to another little heat surge, if not, unfortunately, a similar degree of illumination. Rather, the same off topic diversions and evasions and slurs that we have come to expect.

    This exchange could go on until after Christmas, without being of any interest or benefit to anyone. In my posts of May 28, 5.20pm and June 1, 1.23am, as well as other posts I have, I think, put forth a reasonable amount of verifiable, sound evidence. At this stage, I’m satisfied to let regulars here or anyone else of open mind and good will compare them with what you have offered.

    Frankly, Dowden, you haven’t remotely begun to offer anything resembling a hint at a start towards attempting to engage with the substantive issues raised, whether it is to disagree with them in a meaningful way, or acknowledge them. So be it. It’s not a big deal. Readers can make their own minds up.

    I doubt anyone here is expecting you to pretend you are “defending a DPhil thesis or writing academic prose”. Personally, I’ve no complaints if bloggers demonstrate the communication skills that most children have mastered by the time they reach their teenage years. Grasp the facts. Express your views clearly. And offer readers some persuasive evidence. I don’t know if simply mentioning the title of a book and telling someone to go and read it counts for much. It’s not likely to get very far in an exam or debate setting.

    And snide remarks and patronising barbs aren’t a particularly persuasive tool either, Dowden. They tend to put into greater relief the weakness of one’s argument.

    I’m not sure what you problem is with my use of Yves Chiron’s biography of Pope Saint Pius X. I’m happy to recommend it. As I recall, virtually everything I have taken from the book, as well as other books, relates to facts or well-founded opinions acceptable to any fair minded person exercising judgement. I’ve also quoted, amongst others, the widely acclaimed non-Catholic historian Michael Burleigh, as well as from Monsignor Philip Hughes’ 1958 edition of his Popular History of the Catholic Church, first published in 1939. Neither of them, it is safe to say, carry, or carried SSPX colours.

    As for “slipshod hagiography”, again readers can make up their own mind. With respect, Dowden, as I have pointed out before, you have forfeited any claims to making pronouncements about what is admissible or not on the matter of sources, in view of you presentation of Maude Petre’s biography on the subject of George Tyrrell.

    In your comments to Margaret Mary on June 4, 9.50pm you gave your own selection of books. By my reckoning you specified a total of twenty pages of text and four of endnotes. Surely, combining that with whatever Chadwick has to offer, it wouldn’t have been a daunting exercise to select and present some informative evidence, of interest to readers, if it is in fact the case that those scholars support the charges that you have repeatedly cast against Pope Saint Pius X. Again, I’m sure people have drawn conclusions by now. And you haven’t answered Michaela’s query over Chadwick.

    In your post of June 4, 1.49am you wrote that you thought I “was adrift on Europe in 1939”. I don’t know if that was about my earlier reference to appeasement, but I think it’s more likely you meant 1914. Not a big deal.

    You also levelled a charge of “gross misrepresentations of the historical truth and the abuse of the French Language”.

    Quite simply, the Law of Separation had been passed on 6 December 1905. Hence the use of the words, December law. I trust that settles concerns about “abuse of the French language”. As for “have been established” versus the use of “envisaged” in a reference that isn’t even a paraphrase. Whatever. Readers can make their own minds up on the abuse of language claim.

    Concerning misrepresentations, or indeed “gross misrepresentations of the truth”, well you need to break that down, Dowden. I’m a bit perplexed. 72 bishops out of 74 looks like “presque” unanimous to me. You have conceded that- “While almost all the French archbishops and bishops duly pronounced against the associations set up by the Law ‘of Separation’ in theory…”

    And before you sound off about Chiron again, that’s the breakdown cited by Othon Guerlac of Cornell University in the Political Science Quarterly, Volume 23, no. 2, June 1908. Again, not an SSPX witness. Definitely.

    Chiron actually gives a breakdown of 59 to 15 compared to your 49-25 split. I’m a bit surprised there were as many as 15 opponents to compromise. Hostages usually express a preference for the negotiation option. The Pope as we all know, took the decision not to negotiate with Masonic terrorists and numbers runners.

    The bishops, it has been said, thought there was a chance something similar to the arrangement introduced in Prussia in 1875 could be organised. Chiron has mentioned the pragmatism of the five ruling Cardinals. There was no shortage of public disagreement in France concerning the course to take. Those at the sharp end, understandably weren’t relishing what lay ahead. It’s worth noting in passing that all but 14 of the bishops had been appointed by the secular French powers. I’m not casting aspersions, but it’s worth remembering. That’s all.

    You haven’t seen fit to include what “the pope’s recommendation” was that you claim the bishops voted against, Dowden. Again, in the absence of verification, readers can be forgiven for drawing conclusions.

    The consultant process was only that. The Congregation of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs was split 5-4 in Rome, against acceptance.

    The final decision was the Pope’s. As Michael Burleigh’s words have shown, the Supreme Pontiff had a bigger picture to look at than had the locals in France. The Vicar of Christ also had a supernatural outlook. Appeasement towards an act of aggression against the Church’s Divinely ordained hierarchical structure, and subjugation of the Church to lay powers were going to be resisted whatever the coercive forces ranged against Her.

    Here again is the verdict of Monsignor Philip Hughes, expressed in the 1958 edition of his book, A Popular History of the Catholic Church, on the consequences of the French secularists’ breech of the Concordat.

    “Immense sacrifices were now, everywhere, the order of the day; and their fruit was a revival of a quality, on a scale, never seen before.” (p. 239)

    “And for this (the Pope’s)decision there were, from the ecclesiastical point of view, three grounds. One was the failure of the law of 1905 to recognize, in so many words, the authority of the ecclesiastical hierarchy.Another was the abrupt fashion in which the French government broke off its diplomatic relations with the Vatican. The fact that the government consistently ignored the pope during the drafting of the bill was a third.” (Othon Guerlac, as cited above)

    Recalling the way the religious congregations were treated in 1901 wasn’t likely to increase the Pope’s confidence in his adversaries’ good faith.

    As long as the law remained as it was, the Holy Father forbade the French Catholics to try any form of association which did not promise, in an “unmistakable and legal manner, that the divine constitution of the church, the immutable rights of the Roman Pontiff and the bishops, as well as their authority over the property necessary to the church, especially over the sacred edifices, will be forever insured in those associations.”

    Much has been made of the differences of opinion amongst French Catholics. The Pope’s judgement was drew endorsement from unexpected quarters. A French Lutheran jurisconsult, M. Armand Lods, wrote in a Protestant review:

    “The more closely I study them, the more convinced I am that it was impossible for the pope to accept the associations cultuelles. In accepting them he would have allowed the government to impose a Protestant organization on the Catholic Church.”
    -Foi et Vie, August, 1905.

    And Emile Combes, of all people,likewise stated, in a sensational article published by the Neue Freie Presse of Vienna, in January, 1907, that “the famous theory of associations of worship fits very badly with the essential principle of Catholic belief.”

    Bishop Fulbert-Petit of Besancon drafted the hoped for association of worship compromise on behalf of his fellow bishops. Within months the same Bishop,in a pastoral letter of January 29, 1907, appeared to have changed tack,and summed up the objections against the powers given to the Council of State : “A tribunal composed exclusively of laymen, Christians, freethinkers and Jews, empowered to pronounce as final court of appeal on a question which only the ecclesiastical authority has the mission to decide! It is an intolerable incursion of the civil power . . . .”
    See The Nineteenth Century and After, June, 1907.

    In a letter to the Comtesse de Franqueville,the same year he added that, while the majority of bishops had thought it possible to find a ground of conciliation and said so freely, at the same time they respectfully submitted their opinion to the judgment of the pope, promising to abide by his decision.

    Your statement, Dowden that “it seems that the French cardinals and the archbishops, to a man, threw their weight against Pius X: the senior bishops all rejected a foolish reading of the political situation” is nothing but an absurd, unfounded tilt at reality.

    Once the decision was made the Church in France united unequivocally behind the Pope as has been pointed out before. The bonds were only strengthened.Virtually the only dissident, I believe, was Bishop Lucien Lacroix, a man with a very definite Modernist and anti-Rome axe to grind, supporter of arch Modernist Alfred Loisy and also the two scandalous Bishops at the heart of the issue responsible for break in diplomatic relations. I would caution readers towards a healthy skepticism and awareness when it comes to relying on His Lordship’s leaks to Father Albert Houtin. I think “partisan” is a very apt description of the Bishop’s attitude, and attempts to discredit the Holy See. It obviously didn’t work with his fellow countrymen.

    Your claim that Pope and Secretary of State “might be daft enough to want to sink the French church financially” is probably one of your most outrageous claims to date, Dowden. I can’t see Dr. Maurice Larkin approving. Long range psychoanalysis, and posthumous at that. “Want”? Seriously. Again readers can make up their own minds.

    Similarly, the “mutinous crew” claim flies in the face of all that happened after August 1906, as I hope readers will need reminding. If there was any spirit schismatic mutiny the secular would have falling over themselves to fuel it. Slinging clergy out on the streets wasn’t likely to foment a Gallican revival.

    Fears for the material loss to the Church were indeed realised. What those without an appreciation of the supernatural nature of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, do not recognise, or choose not to acknowledge is the great gains.

    The Church “regained its freedom and the full control of episcopal nominations that had been earlier transferred to the State by the Napoleonic Concordat. The choice of Pius X (“between the ‘good’ and the ‘goods’ of the Church I chose the former”, the Pope is reputed to have said), who later gained the approval of Aristide Briand, the inspirer of the law (“the Pope was the only one to see things clearly”, he wrote), cancelled in one blow three centuries of Gallicanism, of national Church, bringing French Catholicism back, from the point of view of discipline, to full fidelity to Rome.”- Gianpaulo Romanato, 30 Days, Issue No. 4 2006

    “No other course of action was left open to Us without greatly offending Our conscience. Fearlessly, therefore, we look to the judgement of history, for it was never Our intention to humble a civil power or oppose any particular form of Government, but merely to defend the rights of the Church founded by Christ Jesus Our Lord” (encyclical, Une fois encore, January 1907).

    The ordeal inflicted on the Church in France undoubtedly led to frustration of the aims of the enemy and vindication for the Pope. Again, there was no “Gallican” or “republican” schism. Rather Separation had the effect of attaching the clergy and laity of France more closely to Rome.

    “Our bishops, priests and people,” wrote George Fonsegrive in 1913, “are absolutely devoted to Rome and obedient to the Pope. After the passing of the Separation Law all the order of the Pope were immediately executed…every attack on its members attaches them more strongly to the source and centre of their life. Religious life is everywhere increasing in depth and intensity” (Pope Saint Pius X, Forbes, p. 102).

    I’m doubtful if all this is going to hold people’s attention. This issue is a side-show, and a micro level sideshow at that. I’m not prepared, Dowden, to go running around in ever diminishing circles on this or other questions that distract from the main issue. If you are not prepared to produce evidence for readers here, there is not much point in prolonging this.

    In your ill-informed and unsubstantiated attacks against Pope Saint Pius X concerning his dealings with France as well as his combatting of Modernism, you have made unfavourable comparisons with his successor. It is worth recalling that when a Father Mauro Serafini was having an audience with Pope Benedict XV, the Pope reportedly said to him: “Now that I am sitting on this Chair, I see very well how right Pius X was. While I was the Sostituto in the Secretariate of State, and even while I was Archbishop of Bologna, I did not always share the thought of Pius X, but now I have to realize how right he was.” – Disquisitio of the Historical Section of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, p. 127.

    Nothing need be added.

    • “Frankly, Dowden, you haven’t remotely begun to offer anything resembling a hint at a start towards attempting to engage with the substantive issues raised, whether it is to disagree with them in a meaningful way, or acknowledge them. So be it. It’s not a big deal. Readers can make their own minds up.”

      And this reader has certainly made up her mind.

      Thanks Leo for your thoroughly documented yet easy-to-read comments in response to Dowden’s attacks on Pius X. I now repeat my exhortation to you, however, to shake off the dust. Dowden is an Anglican who thinks popes should be as accommodating to politicians and the changing mores of society as are the Justin Welbys of this world. Pope Pius X was revered by everyone who knew him as a priest, bishop and pontiff, and not because he was a popularity-seeker but because he was a great priest, bishop and pontiff. He did his duty and, as Christ warned, that is enough to merit the hatred of this world (“As the world hated Me, so it will hate you”) – a hatred displayed, lamentably, in Dowden’s posts denigrating this great saint.

      So, thank you Leo, but please do now shake off the dust. You admitted yourself that “This exchange could go on until after Christmas”, so shake off the dust as I say – otherwise, you’ll miss Christmas 😀

    • Leo,

      A point by the way (mentioned only because you chose to raise it): 1939 meant 1939, no need to correct it to your 1914. It so happened I read your piece near the old Slovak-Hungarian border and it struck me there that your uncritical view of poor innocent Poland was not one that many contemporary Czech, Slovaks, Ukrainians, Russians, Lithuanians or (had they survived) Jews would have accepted: remember Těšín! I wouldn‘t mention it except that you are trying to score a (fairly desperate) point. As you say not a big deal, so why raise it?

  47. Leo

    Another point by way of a second epistle to Leo, is Michaela on Chadwick (or for that matter Michaela on L’Humanité). It is worth dealing with now simply because you try to make some issue of it rather than to let these things pass – the points were obviously insubstantial. Michaela said one critic (unnamed) said Dr Chadwick’s (unidentified) work contained (unspecified) errors and another (unnamed) critic said he was (in some unidentified way) biased. What can one reasonably be expected to do with that?

    But, since you try to make an issue of my letting it pass, the fact is anyone who publishes on any scale is likely to see some error slip through: one’s own best efforts, editors, publishers’ readers, copy editors and proofs never get the sigma six. But if the strike rate is, say, one slip per 10,000 words that is no big deal: it just says we are all of us fallible – Larkin, translating from French, once confused his millions with his billions.

    Revd Dr Owen Chadwick, CH, has worked in the Vatican archives, has published widely, is a Fellow of the British Academy, a KBE, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, a distinguished head of distinguished house (which he set on its path to now being the best of the undergraduate colleges academically) and Regius Professor Emeritus. Last, but not least, he has been an ordained clergyman of the English church for seven decades and that surely says something about his standards of honesty. Three rugger blues suggest he knows how to play fair.
    Michaela gave us an insight into her own competence to judge the work of a distinguished historian by reading your quotation ‘The Great War’ as meaning ‘The Second World War’, so deftly transforming Pius X’s immanent (but obvious) apprehension of war, into a divinely inspired long-range war forecast. Refuting a slur on Chadwick from such a source did not seem worth the bother.

    • Leo,

      And for a third epistle (before attempting the real issue), things are tedious enough here without refuting every mis-statement. But letting something pass seems only to ensure that it pops up again as meaning something more the second time round than it did the first. I have, you say, “forfeited any claims to making pronouncements about what is admissible or not on the matter of sources, in view of you[r] presentation of Maude Petre’s biography on the subject of George Tyrrell”.

      Way back, Michaela claimed I had mentioned no sources. I simply replied that Petre on Tyrrell had been mentioned and was a source. It was you who then said Petre is about as partisan a source as it’s possible to get. I said only it was a source, not that it was impartial. And source it is. You may not like the lady but Father Tyrrell was her pet project, the great love of her life and she tended his posthumous flame lovingly, a bit like Victoria with her dear dead Albert. She had access to his autobiographical fragments and (in the manner of countless other Victorian and Edwardian ladies) she produced a classic, two-volume life of the late lamented: Professor Brown has discussed the genre extensively in his study of the economy of salvation. In such historical research every contemporary ‘Life’ has a claim to be considered. She may not be to your taste but she was well qualified. She trained in Rome and as one of her Brideshead-type relatives famously announced “Maud has gone to Rome to study for the priesthood”.

      This debate is getting a little bit uneven, since ordinary readers are not particularly engaged while Lefebvrists are passionately caught up in these issues: FSSPX is close to making a demi-god of Pius X and a demon of his bête noire “modernism”. With a bit of experience one learns to identify the bees that buzz in Lefebvrist bonnets but the casual visitor to the site is entitled to see fair play. However much you dislike a source, however strong its partisanship, a two-volume life, written by a contemporary, has to be admitted as a source.

      As a matter of fact you might be surprised at the people who get to make pronouncements on sources these ecumenical days, even in continental Roman-Catholic seminaries, so you count as one of the few dissatisfied customers so far: just remember a source, is a source, is a source.

      How it can contribute to a discussion of Tyrrell is another question.

  48. Leo

    I don’t know about taking till Christmas – it sort of depends when you feel like throwing in the towel. Your second seems all in favour of that while you might still be able to call it a draw: the disadvantage of the general discussion thread is that the referee cannot easily close it down at a point convenient to the home team.

    Pius X’s frequent ineptitude and occasional duplicity are no sort of issues for historians – he was very obviously inept and it is foolish to expect anything but duplicity in diplomacy and high politics. Facts as you say are facts and there is little point in trying to defend every last disreputable little detail in the life of an undoubtedly great and holy man – Thomas Cranmer is a good benchmark for the great ecclesiastic-statesman-martyr type, warts and all.

    But since you raise objections and insist on citations, here goes (the editor might like to consider a footnotes option if you insist stuff is to be referenced). A selection of the things your raise.
    If, as you think, Chiron gives a breakdown of 59 to 15 compared to the 49-25 I quoted, there is no mistake this end: one might suspect ‘15’ is a careless misprint for ‘25’ – but if you still think ‘December’ is a faithful translation of ‘Séparation’ who is bothered about mere accuracy in detail? The alternative is that Chiron or you or the pair of you are confusing the issue with the known 59:17 split on a quite separate and even less contentious proposal to adopt model statutes (carefully drawn to control the lay associations) [Larkin 1974: 174-5].

    There is no reason to be surprised there were as many as 15 (or actually 25) opponents to compromise and no reason to suppose anyone was held hostage: there were a dozen intransigents (never promoted once the government got their measure) among the episcopate: the usual monarchist, pro-army, rabidly anti-Semitic suspects. And Pius had been able to appoint a dozen or so of his own men, who functioned as Orwellian Alsatian pups – so together the numbered a couple of dozen ardent right-wing papalists [Larkin 1974: 280].

    To say as you do, that ‘all but 14 of the bishops had been appointed by the secular French powers’ is not quite accurate: under the concordat (which Pius X, allegedly, wanted to protect) Rome made the appointments on nomination and was free to reject unsuitable candidates. The French authorities did not have much of a choice – the ministry felt like a gallic hen sitting on ducks’ eggs, bitterly disappointed every time when her latest brood of bishop waddled off Rome-ward.

    “The pope’s recommendation” you ask about was not, in practice, to set up legal corporations even on a trial basis: your verification if verification is actually needed is Larkin [1974: 279, citing instructions from Pius X, Paris Archiepiscopal archives].

    As you say, the final decision may have been the Pope’s (or it may have been Merry del Val’s) but neither he nor the secretary had any right to misrepresent the French bishops as supporting him/him/them in the misleading terms Gavissimo officii deliberately uses.

    The policy misjudgement was to reject the offer by the French state of transitional payments and pensions for existing clergy, the transfer church properties to local legal entities (as trustees) and to hand over 2,000 presbyteries and palaces worth nearly half a billion (412m) [scholars slip occasionally: Larkin 1974: 170 says half a million francs]. The established French churches may have been victims of freemasons and socialists but the contemporary Irish church fell to a rabble of nationalists and emancipated MPs and the Welsh church was brought down by an unholy alliance of liberals and dissenters. Change was in the air but it was wanton stupidity to reject government compensation: Benedict XV, Pius XI, Gasparri and (even) Pétain slowly and partially recovered what could have been had without a fuss in 1906 [Larkin 1974: 216-23].

    The view that “it seems that the French cardinals and the archbishops, to a man, threw their weight against Pius X’ is hardly ‘an absurd, unfounded tilt at reality’ – it is the scholarly best guess as to which individuals were the majority (48/9) and which the minority (26/25): only the speakers can be identified – the rest is informed guesswork [Larkin 1974: 280].

    You say the claim that ‘Pope and Secretary of State “might be daft enough to want to sink the French church financially” is probably one of your most outrageous claims to date, Dowden. I can’t see Dr. Maurice Larkin approving. Long range psychoanalysis, and posthumous at that.’ Nice try, Leo, but if readers want to make up their mind, read Larkin’s far from posthumous comments about the ship going down [Larkin 2002: 66] and see what they can see Dr Larkin saying – with his signature sense of humour.

    So, Leo, it might well have been better for you to accept the simple truth, thousands of words ago, that Quarr (and Tyrrell’s grave) show the visitor to England monuments to the ill-judged policies of an ill-qualified and ill-informed man. No big deal (and no surprise) there: the issue is a side-show indeed for historians. Pius X was being economical with the truth or Papa Hacker put his name to the duplicity of Cardinal Umfredo, or a bit of both. No surprise in any of that.

    But where people have invested in a theological myth, not historical fact, it does become an issue for them. When the process of canonisation was mooted, Cardinal Gasparri saw that, while the issue of the secret Thought Police could be excused (because of Pius X’s lamentable grasp of what was going on), the notorious misrepresentation the truth in Gravissimo officii was more of an obstacle (Gasparri thought a potentially decisive obstacle) – the church ought not to canonise deception. So, historically, the episode is no more than the routine skulduggery of high politics but for the hagiographer, it goes to a key issue of integrity of Pius [Larkin 1974: 191] and indeed del Val [Larkin 1974: 205-6].

    Larkin is lenient on Pius and suggests that it was an ‘unnecessary’ burden on the French church for del Val to require ‘self-mutilation’. Professor Larkin [1974: 206] made a careful choice of word here: when Merry del Val was not devoting his time to playing billiards with the rough boys of the Trastevere slums of Rome [Larkin, 1974, 201], he seems to have been quite a fan of self-mutilation. The wonderful circle of Pius X.

    Why bother to defend a hopeless, if pious, case in a bout where you are on a sticky wicket? Listen to the supporters!

    • Dowden,

      I’ve read through all of your latest posts in (non) response to Leo and I can only repeat to him my earlier advice – shake the dust. Nobody is going to convince Dowden that he is biased to the point of bigoted against our great Saint, Pope Pius X.

      Your disgraceful accusations that Pius X is duplicitous and other lies, sits very uncomfortably with your claims of academic objectivity.

      Anyone who has read through your posts, Leo’s factual responses with documentation to match, and then your replies to his responses will note your cute twisting and turning of the facts, the way your ignore what you can’t answer and your patent hatred of Pius X.

      Leo, shake the dust. That’s a command. And I command that my wish be your command!

  49. Speaking of Cardinal Merry del Val here’s the Litany of Humility he composed. I know most everyone on here probably knows it but isn’t it hard to say! Actually it’s so instructive because it shows what pride is and reveals our hidden pride. Plus you can understand that all of our fears and unhappiness come from pride. Obtaining humility gives us peace and happiness.

    Litany of Humility

    O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
    From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the desire of being loved,
    Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the desire of being preferred to others,
    Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the fear of being ridiculed Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.
    That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

  50. I’m happy to comply, Editor, in shaking the dust off.


    I’m quite happy to get to the judges verdict right now. Most of them are totting up their score cards, I’m sure. The referee really should be stepping in because you appear to be seeing stars and slightly punch drunk. Having been through the ropes, and having even tried the odd low blow and bit of thumbing, your defence of your original charges against Pope Saint Pius X doesn’t, with all due respect, amount to boxing eggs. It’s over to the judges.

    I understand your point about spending time on trivial matters. There are plenty of substantial issues to discuss. But then you can’t help going back to this translation non –issue concerning legislation passed in the month of December 1905. Extraordinary.

    Mindful of Editor’s words about shaking off the dust, there are also a few bits of mud that have to be dealt with. You seem to be a bit confused on the issue of citations, Dowden. It’s not a lot to expect that readers are given even a glimpse of a few words directly from the scholars you claim to back you up. Why so coy? Does everyone have to buy their own copies? I think readers at this stage are not going to simply accept a page number as some sort of cover for you to hold forth. It’s nothing personal, and you may be relaying an historian’s view accurately, but it invites scepticism. Again, I can’t imagine your sources using your language, Dowden.

    The following might amount to a bit of sweeping and scraping of dust and other stuff, but it needs to be said. You are misleading readers and covering your tracks by your recent comments on sources, Dowden. You are the one who raised the issue of “advocating a point of view using impartial sources and basing a partisan argument on partisan sources” and trying to hide from my points by implication. Read your comments to Margaret Mary on May 30, 1.28pm again.

    I don’t think I’m alone, Dowden, in noticing your very recent introduction of the charge of “occasional duplicity”, “being economical with the truth” and putting his name to another’s “duplicity”, “notorious misrepresentation” and “deception”. I’m surmising that it’s because your other arguments, which you have declined to defend in a meaningful way, have been dismantled.

    My post of June 6, 1.56am should help readers, as should reading the short encyclical in question, even if only paragraphs 2 to 5.

    Paragraph two stated “that We ought to confirm fully by Our Apostolic authority the almost unanimous decision of your assembly.” To repeat, you have conceded, Dowden that “while almost all the French archbishops and bishops duly pronounced against the associations set up by the Law ‘of Separation’ in theory…”And again that’s the breakdown cited by Othon Guerlac of Cornell University in the Political Science Quarterly, Volume 23, no. 2, June 1908

    “With reference to the associations for public worship as the law establishes them,” articles 4 and 8 of the legislation were the really objectionable points, and they weren’t just theory.

    Paragraphs 3,4 and 5 of Gravissimo appear to deal with the option of the compromise that Bishop Fulbert-Petit of Besancon was delegated to draft (Othon Guerlac, ibid).

    I realise all this detail might be off-putting for readers. Perhaps applying some principles of basic logic might help. The French Bishops hold a meeting to vote on their attitude to the promulgated legislation and the issue of a compromise arrangement. The results are conveyed to the Pope, who makes a final decision two months later, and conveys that decision in the form of encyclical addressed to those very same Bishops. If your outlandish charges of “notorious misrepresentation”, or “deception”, or “being economical with the truth” hold any water, Dowden, it would be a monumentally imbecilic thing for anyone in the Pope’s position to do: trying to misrepresent, publicly, to the Bishops the decisions of those very same Bishops. If that was the case, logic dictates that all of the Pope’s moral authority would have reduced to smithereens. Any expectations of a defence of the Church in France led by the Bishops would have evaporated immediately. As we know, the moral authority of Pope Pius only became stronger in France.

    I have dealt quite clearly with the issue of the support of the Bishops and clergy of France once the Pope made his decision. You appear to ignore the evidence of Bishop Fulbert-Petit of Besancon previously provided as well as that of other witnesses, as well as historical reality, post 1906. Talk of a French mutiny is fantasy. If it was reality, the Church in France would have disappeared into the schismatic abyss. You are indeed seeing stars, Dowden.

    You provide no evidence from Dr. Larkin to support you claim that Pope Pius and Cardinal Merry del Val “might be daft enough to want to sink the French church financially”. Again, where’s the justification for the word “want”?

    I think, Dowden you are a long, long way behind on points.

    What do the judges say?

    • Leo,

      If I may count myself one of the judges, I say you have won the debate about Pope Pius X hands down. Your posts have been full of facts supported by sources, including non-Catholic sources, historical sources.

      I’m sorry to have to say that Dowden simply took up an anti-Pope Pius X stance and threw allegations around without any verification.

      I do remember editor saying that Dowden means well and I think in charity I have to say that too, although I was very disappointed at the attacks he made on one of our great popes ever.

      Thank you for your comments, Leo. I would not have known the half of all that information without your responses to Dowden.

      • Well said, Margaret Mary.

        I can’t think of anyone judging the exchanges between Dowden and Leo, who would come to a different conclusion.

        Leo, I’m very pleased indeed that you are shaking off the dust. There’s only so much anyone can say to A.N. Other determined to stick to an erroneous (with bells on) position before it becomes repetitious and tedious. Of Dowden persists, I will post a comment to direct readers to you previous comments, all of which answer everything anyone could ever possibly want to know about Pius X – and Dowden, God bless his tartan socks. Dowden, if you don’t have tartan socks, let me know. Tartan socks will be provided!

        The hatred displayed by Dowden towards Pius X is really incomprehensible. He appears to think that only “Lefebvrists” think highly of and indeed revere the saint. Incidentally, the label “Lefebvrists” is used by the Church’s enemies, within and without – in their common cause – to suggest a small band of followers of the great Archbishop Lefebvre. Apparently, they do not know that the Archbishop led a Society of priests (not laypeople) and that there is, therefore, no such grouping as “Lefebvrists”. The proper name is the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX)

        Anyway, nobody could accuse EWTN of being pro-SSPX so, to round off and confirm the truth of all that Leo has established on the subject, here is the EWTN take on Pope Saint Pius X. Enjoy!

        PS Dowden – no hard feelings. We love you really 😀

    • Leo

      Congratulations. You have made a really good point. It is indeed almost incredible that Pius X would have been stupid enough (‘monumentally imbecilic’ as you say) to issue a statement which any one of 76 different people would be able to show was untrue. It is incredibly stupid and you do make a fair point – such a fair point indeed that I had already made it up the thread. The stupidity in trusting the bishops would stay quiet is incredible. Exactly what I have been trying to say.

      Pius X had an idea that he was a simple pastor of a simple and docile flock. So if a deception is cleverly enough worded (and del Val was a past master of verbal manipulation – among other peculiar hobbies) the simple sheep might fall for it. So, again congratulations, Leo, you and the supporting flock of ewes and ewe lambs, are bleating obediently the line that almost all the bishops were against the idea of forming associations. In honest English they were 2 to 1 in favour. In papal Newspeak they were ‘almost all’ against. Yes, of course. PopRom and SecSta did not lie, blackwhite only requires doublethink.

      You asked for books, you got books. You asked for citations, you got citations. Now you want quotations – could I please type in long passages from a copyright book? Again, nice, if fairly desperate try. No, check the citations – you will get few pickings there.

      ‘Tone’ is a problem for you but, difficult as it may be for you to imagine, it really is Larkin, not me. Perhaps I should have given a few longer quotations to let people get a feel for Larkin’s style on this topic. Thus he says “it has made [del Val] the subject of charges of dishonesty, and it has indirectly caused critics to question the integrity of his master, Pius X … this [was seen] as a serious and possibly decisive obstacle [to canonization] … the historian is therefore treading on egg-shells” [‘Éminences Grises et Cardinaux Verts’, p. 191]

      Even so, Larkin sees the funny side: his language is amused. Thus it was “essential that the crew should give an enthusiastic cheer as the ship went down” (p. 191) many bishops “wanted to cut the corners of the via dolorosa and give the associations a try” (p. 192) while influenced “by intellectuals and a Gallic respect for material comforts [the bishops] were a shifty bunch who could not be counted on to make chivalrous gestures of uncertain utility” (p. 192). Following Pius X, del Val repeated the disinformation (which you swallow) about “all the French bishops except two”. And as Larkin notes, even while del Val spoke, ”the cock crew” and Lacroix denounced the “lies of heavy calibre” (p. 204). Larkin then quotes (p. 205) a long passage from del Val (which the French government had, unfortunately for him, intercepted) instructing diplomats to stick to their mendacious line. Larkin asks why ”a man of the moral awareness of Merry del Val should resort to this sort of procedure and why Pius X, a future saint of the church, should have put his signature to an encyclical of such doubtful veracity …. it clearly would have been better had nothing been said about the assembly at all” (p. 205). Larkin concludes the mendacity was intentional (p. 206): “it is tempting to be censorious about the deceptions of churchmen, especially when they claim to be guardians of the truth” but when it came to mendacity he [del Val] had eminent predecessors … “Cardinal Tardini was fond of saying ‘Vatican diplomacy really began with Peter’s denial of Christ’”.

      So, I’m sorry if you find the language unacceptable but it is Larkin (quoting cardinals and bishops) not me. It is interesting, however, that even today, despite detailed historical research to establish the truth some few faithful sheep are still willing to be deceived. If people prefer myth to history, there is clearly not much that can be done by merely rational argument.

  51. Do you know who has welcomed Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Gare du Nord? Harlem Désir, an ex-convict. What a shame!

  52. Elements of the media are equating Catholic schools to ‘Muslim’ schools – when discussing the Birmingham problem.

    If only Catholic schools taught Catholicism it would be a change.

  53. This is a question which has come up around a continuing discussion I am having with some acquaintances around SSPX. This might have been discussed before, so I apologice if I’m going over old ground.

    Basically, the attack (and it was an attack) on the SSPX and my interest in them which came about through the TLM, was that they were a nasty bunch of anti-semites with hatred running through their veins: thats the gist of it anyway.

    Someone mentioned the funeral of an SS Captain and that the local bishop had refused to conduct a catholic funeral ceremony. My point was that regardless of the heinous crimes, someone baptised in Christ’s name and had received sacraments has a right to a Christian funeral. he will be judged by our Lord at the gates of Heaven. I was not sure whether Canon Law supported my position or not. I was told that the Church refuses to give Christian burial to Mafia heads etc.

    Any clarification on this would be great. Thanks.

    • Stephen,

      That is typical of the enemies of the SSPX – they just do not think.

      Canon Law prohibits a Catholic funeral for a manifest public sinner. My memory of the case you mention, is that the man repented at the last but that his sins/crimes, alone out of all the sins/crimes committed around the world, were unforgiveable. I can’t recall the details but I think that’s the gist of it. However, I do recall that when Stephen Gately, the young Irish celebrity, died suddenly, in unsavoury circumstances, he was given a Catholic funeral in Dublin, with the world’s media listening as the priest praised him – and his homosexual partner – to the skies. No problem there.

      The same thing happened in Scotland at two public funerals for well known homosexuals who died suddenly; one a former Catholic priest and Westminster MP, and the other a well known Glasgow lawyer. In the case of the MP, Bishop Tartaglia (then of Paisley) actually took a personal interest in organising the funeral. He had earlier made headlines by saying Catholics had to be prepared to go to prison if the “gay” dominance got worse (yeah right. Count him out, it’s obviously the rest of us had to be prepared for jail!)

      The young lawyer, who died suddenly while abroad on business, had contracted a Civil Partnership, not something that was broadcast during his lifetime when he was wheeled out routinely for commentary on news items, always in the role of the “well known Catholic lawyer…” His funeral took place in St Aloysius Jesuit Church in Glasgow, and the “great and the good” were there in droves. A Catholic Truth research officer went along to provide a first hand report and sitting full square in front of him was none other than Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister who, at that time, was pushing through the same-sex marriage legislation and “fighting off” alleged opposition from the Scottish Bishops. As our research officer said, Salmond must have been grinning from ear to ear watching what was going on, and realising that he had the same-sex legislation in the bag. Every time the priest expressed his sympathy for the lawyer’s parents, he expressed his sympathy, too, for his “partner” by name. Disgraceful.

      Yes, Stephen, Canon Law is conveniently ignored when it suits – as long as the sin is politically correct, that’s fine with the modernist Catholics who populate the pews these days.

      Hope this clarifies. I don’t have time to double check the case you mention but you can be sure of this – that it’s a case of your friends clutching at straws.

      The charge of anti-Semitism is also levelled at the Catholic Church, remember. Seems anyone who thinks the Jews should convert to Christ, is an anti-Semite these days. Trouble is, the mission to convert them goes all the way back to Our Lord Himself. Presumably your friends think the He was anti-Semitic, as well. Gimme strength!

      • Thanks.

        Yes, well clutching at straws is one way of putting it. It was rather a vernacular attempt at linking the SSPX with Nazis and Fascism, but the syllogism failed.

        I simply pointed out that Stalin being an atheist had nothing to do with atheism. I myself was an atheist until quite recently but considered myself to live everyday values as close to Christianity as you can get.

        I also hear the same tripe levelled at Catholicism from atheists who cite him as a Roman Catholic.

        It’s really pathetic. Clutching at straws as you say.

        • Quite the sleuth, Stephen! I’d forgotten about that thread!

          A detail: I notice you use the term “RC” and since I’ve found that most people do not know the origin of this useage I’m including this article to explain why I have never used it and discourage others from doing so.

          I should be elsewhere shortly but was interested to know that you are married with five children – you will meet other young families when you eventually move back to Glasgow and, hopefully, make it to our chapel. There are quite a few. If the priests haven’t managed to find a bigger church before you arrive, they’ll definitely have to buy one then!

  54. Hi Stephen,

    I do not have a recent source to link to, but to the best of my knowledge, the figure is about 750,000. I have seen online estimates in recent years ranging from 500,000 to 1,000,000. But today it is generally accepted that “close to one million” currently attend their Churches globally.

    The figure is growing all the time however, and so estimates which do appear are always probably somewhat low / out of date. In my time with the SSPX, I have never been aware of a local census being carried out, mostly likely because the Priests are run off their feet by having to regularly say mass in multiple locations.

    The heartlands of the Society are France (where perhaps one fifth of all its Priests are stationed) and North America. I understand that in some parts of France, the SSPX dominate, as the Novus Ordo Church has shrivelled away – I expect this pattern will become increasingly familiar elsewhere too.

    It is building a head of steam in other places too – notably (in my own knowledge) Eastern Europe. As the Society gathers momentum around the world, there are new “firsts” all the time. For example, last year the Society ordained its first Kenyan priest.

    The figures for the structure of the SSPX globally are more concrete. In December 2012, the Society claimed 561 priests present in 32 countries and active in 33 more, 750 Mass centres, 119 religious brothers, 185 religious sisters, 215 seminarians in six seminaries, 42 pre-seminarians, 100 schools, and 2 university-level institutes.

    Of course, these totals will have grown further in the 18 months since the figures were released.

    Hope this info is of some help!

  55. A certain Lionel seems to have a bee in his bonnet ..or maybe it’s a case of bats in his belfry 😀

    Sorry Editor ..I couldn’t resist!

    • Burt,

      That’s a different Lionel. Our regular Lionel goes by the username Lionel (Paris) so you’re in the doghouse now – or, after reading Leo’s post and visiting the link below, I think that ought to be “stables” !

    • Leo,

      Utterly beyond the pale. This comment at the end of the photo-gallery says it all, really:

      “During the French Revolution, churches were used as stables to demonstrate the contempt of the revolutionaries for all religion- now we know how the modernists of the Church in Besançon think about the Faith once delivered to the eldest daughter of the Church, France.”

  56. Learning about all of the Pre and Post VII gets a bit confusing. If you wish to stick with tradition what recommendations do you give on the following…
    1) Missal
    2) Breviary
    3) Bible
    4) Catechism

    • Stephen,

      Dr John Dowden is not a Catholic so I will make some suggestions to answer your questions, if I may.

      1) The Missal used by most people (I think) who attend the traditional Latin Mass is the 1962 missal (although it has RC plastered over the front, being American, and they don’t seem to bother about that the way we do, having the Reformation on our doorstep! Editor may not recommend the 1962 missal for that reason but it’s the one most of my friends use.

      2) I’m not sure about Breviary but if you ring Carmel Books (England) they could tell you. They are listed on the Links page of the Catholic Truth website. There may even be an email address, I can’t recall.

      3) The Catholic Bible is the Douay Rheims.

      4) I think the Baltimore Catechism is mentioned here a lot as being excellent. You can also get the Catechism of the Council of Trent or St Pius X. I’m sure Carmel Books can supply them all for you, either them or Angelus Press (USA)

        • Stephen,

          Use the Douay Rheims version. As for the Catechism use Baltimore version no. 3. It is very reasonably priced and available from Baronius Press. Catechism of St Pius X is available from Carmel Books. I buy all my books from Baronius Press.

    • Stephen,

      Sorry, I meant to respond to your questions earlier.

      Margaret Mary has given you very good suggestions – as for the 1962 Missal, she’s right about the front page but I do use it myself although I did eventually get round to buying a missal cover to obliterate the RC on the front page ! All the rest, spot on from MM.

      Here are a couple of links to help you – Angelus Press in the USA and this one which came up when I Googled “Traditional Catholic bookshops in Australia”…

  57. Quickly,

    1. No Latin missal can be “traditional” (missals are medieval and western innovations) and vernacular translations were traditionally banned till late Victorian times. If you are after traditional texts, you need a “sacramentary” – the Henry Bradshaw Society (with the retired Abbot of Quarr in charge) prints accurate editions of ‘traditional’ liturgical texts.

    2. Pius X mucked around (unintelligently) with the “traditional” texts, so you need to find something older to be traditional – HBS again or if you want the Scottish Use is the “Aberdeen Breviary” printed in a Latin facsimile in the middle of the nineteenth century. No breviary or “portfel” is really “traditional” in the sense of being genuinely early. A lady who use to teach Vulgar Latin has brought out a score and CD of the reconstructed Sarum office for St Mungo of Glasgow.

    3. The traditional Latin text is the Vulgate but Pius V mucked about (inexpertly) with that and the whole thing is turned into pseudo-classical Latin. Some editions are so inaccurate the Inquisition got the job of suppressing them. There are facsimiles of earlier texts from incunabula. It is all pretty pointless unless you can actually read Latin – the authentic “tradition” is to read the scriptures in the vernacular – that is what the Anglicans and the Orthodox do – and Latin was, at one time, the plebeian vernacular in a Rome where the educated population read Greek.

    4. Again no Catechism is “traditional” – they are a sixteenth-century innovation – Cranmer’s English text is quaint and Hamilton’s Scots text is stiff going. The Creeds are the “traditional” formulae of the undivided church and the Orthodox are content to avoid modern western innovations.

    It is not that easy for people in 2014 to be genuinely “traditional” and, apart from antiquarian amusement it is not easy to see the point. Still, it is nice to see someone ask about tradition on a traditionalist blog – trick is to get behind Pius X and Pius V if you really want that ol’ time religion.

    • Dowden,

      Gerragrip. What was the first century Didache, if not the first Catechism?

      I’m not commenting on your insulting remarks about Popes Pius V and Pius X – I know from comments coming to me verbally and in emails that your anti-Catholic bigotry is now clearly visible for all thinking people to see.

    • Dr. Dowden, you are becoming tiresome. I don’t even bother to read your posts now as they are just more of same.

      Is there not some doctoring or something which you could do to allay your obvious idleness?

      I don’t understand why editor doesn’t block you; every other Catholic blog would.

      • Crofterlady,

        Calling Pope Pius X unintelligent and other insulting things is a sign of diabolical hatred. We should pray for Dr John Dowden, not give as good back again, with respect.

    • Dowden,

      U have already been told by me that the CONTENT of catechisms is traditional teaching, that is the whole point. Again you appear unable to grasp the core issue. Unbelievable.

      As for “not possible to be traditional in 2014” – you really are confused, Dowden.

      Don’t have time for more right now, but I just have to say … gerragrip.

      You are really trying to justify Anglicanism but you never will. THAT false religion lays no claim to Tradition and I suspect that is the source of your angst on this. If you can only prove that Catholicism has no claim to Tradition either, home and dry.


  58. Editor,

    I will pass on the charitable invitations to drop dead but the grip is fine (this end at least). It was worth a try to answer the questions actually asked but if people want to think translations which were illegal before 1870 and supplanted by 1970 are “traditional” books then there is not much mere reason can do to dispel myth.

    Your quick rebuttal was quick indeed but mistaken. Back, dear lady, to your Greek: there is a difference between written teachings (for the educated) and oral instructions (for the illiterate to learn by rote). There is no doubt that the educated world of late antiquity had all sorts of texts which could be read for instruction – the Didache (it might be second-century) fits in to this educated tradition of antique civilization. It is well known to Anglicans interested in liturgy (since Gregory Dix used it extensively) but that does not make written treatises catechisms – the Greek word refers, explicitly, to oral instruction – the familiar dialogue of learning stuff by heart.

    So better not to mislead readers just to score a debating point. Look at the dictionaries, and the very word ‘catechism’ is sixteenth century. If the word did not exist in the English language (or in Scots) before then, chances are the thing itself did not exist. Read the statutes of the Scottish Church from one end to the other (and some of us have) and there is no mention of catechisms from the 1240s to 1550.

    Then came the first Scottish example (sometimes inaccurately called the ‘Twa penny faith’): ‘The Catechisme, That is to say, ane commone and catholik instructioun of the christin people … set furth be ye maist reuerent father in God Iohne Aschbischop of sanct Androus.’ It is the first of its kind, designed to be read out loud by a perhaps not very well trained vicar to his largely illiterate flock. The style of rote learning still exists in Continental Europe and, with Corpus Christi coming up, thousands of children have been reciting their lessons – understanding them is another matter. If you think about it, this kind of relatively inexpensive literature could only circulate (and the text be kept free of copyists’ errors) after printing had been invented, not before the 1500 for Scotland.

    So, back to your Greek, the Didache is a written text, aimed at the still literate word of the Roman Empire – a Catechism is oral and aimed at a half-barbarous peasantry after the Dark Ages.

    I suspect it is a waste of time suggesting the pundits here actually check things out in the Scottish Catholic History Society’s work before they utter, but a chap called Thomas Winning discussed the first catechisms years ago and his discussion is still worth reading.

    So, if anyone happens to be interested in tradition rather than myth, there were no catechisms known to the Scottish Church before 1550. The truth of it remains that for Scots the ‘traditional’ Catechism, if 1552 is old enough to be traditional, is Archbishop Hamilton’s tome. It is not exactly short but interesting – not least for the fact that it only mentions the pope once. Funny old thing tradition once you start to understand it.

    • Dr John Dowden,

      Respectfully, I think you are confusing the issue. When Catholics ask for a traditional Catechism they just mean a Catechism where the traditional faith is reliably published. It’s not about the word “catechism”.

      I also am horrified that anyone here would tell you to “drop dead” – I cannot find that so would you post the date and time of that, as I would like to see it for myself. That would be shocking.

    • Your comments on this blog are very intellectually pompous at times. I don’t mean to be nasty, but I do think you could be a tiny little bit more humble. You even put Dr in your name. Showing off and know-it-all-ism is very unappealing to simple folk like me.

  59. Chap was asking for a recommendation for the traditional text – Hamilton is it. Reliability is not for me to judge.

    The editor started a hare that a first/second century-text might count.

    I am OK with old Scots but that horrible Gasgow dialect often defeats me – where a couple of locals invite me to ‘haunt a hoose’ I imagine it means passing to the other side first. Or perhaps just the famous invitation from the Princess Royal to ‘naff off’.

    • Dowden,

      I think you understood perfectly well that by asking for a reliable catechism the enquirer meant a reliable source of traditional Catholic teaching. Your launch into the history of the word “catechism” was a surprise but then we’re used to your surprises by now. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, and presuming that you really didn’t know (or had forgotten) that from the earliest times, the Church kept a written record of doctrines to be believed I thought I would mention the Didache as the earliest known document, the first “catechism” in fact. Either late first or early second (but probably first) century. You don’t get much earlier than that. Hamilton’s not for us, Dowden. We want a tried and trusted Catholic record of the traditional doctrines of the Christian religion.

      I’m not crazy about Glasgow dialect myself, veer rather towards the “I hate this accent” end of the scale. However, I do enjoy Glasgow humour and even though the original “advice” to “haunt a hoose” came from an Edinburgh blogger, it could be mistaken for Glasgow banter. And if you know anything about Glasgow banter, you will know that if a Glaswegian wants to tell you to “drop dead” they’ll say so in plain English (or Glaswegian…) “Haunt a hoose” was obviously a joke. Lighten up, our Dowden. Lighten up. 😀

  60. I think we need to distinguish between accent and dialect (and even slang)
    I am sometimes bemused when people correct, in this instance Glaswegians, for using what they think is slang when it is in fact a perfectly legitimate dialect of English which has it roots often in Scots, Norse etc.
    A good example of this is a word used like greet (cry). People think that this is slang. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Old Icelandic’Saga of Hrafnkel the priest of Frey’ tell us of the ‘Greeting-Moor’ – the place where an old man bursts into tears is called ‘Gratsmyrr’: and greeting is still used in northern English and Scotland in places for weeping.
    There are hundred of examples like this that are the result of an evolved tapestry of language and cultural movement that make the Glaswegian dialect simply rich and varied. I pull my hair out when I see people trying to mimic a Posh/Queen’s English dialect especially with an RP accent.
    Anyone who open a Burns anthology and thinks it in some way less than a Dryden anthology because of the language is a fool.
    Slang on the other hand especially when combined with a nasally apsect, is not for me.

  61. Does anyone have any recommendations for more fruitful spiritual reading? I personally sometimes have trouble concentrating (although that’s more of a personal defect), but what can one do to create an optimum atmosphere for spiritual reading?

  62. Editor, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of St. Olga of Kiev. But her story is inspiring. She was a pagan monarch in Kiev, and lived in the 800s. She was infamous for murdering thousands of people. In other words, she committed genocide.

    She converted, repented, and was baptized in Constantinople. Her grandson was St. Vladimir.

    It’s inspiring, because no matter how much we sin, or how grievous we sin, God can and will forgive us for these sins if we are truly sorry. NO ONE is beyond help or hope as long as there is life in them.

    So when the pope does bad things like praying with non-Catholics or whatever, when he sins, he too can be forgiven.

    • Thurifer,

      That’s a lovely story about St Olga. I’ve heard the name but not heard the story – wonderful. Yes, the infinite mercy of God is truly inspiring. One of my favourite comments from one of the great priest saints, is the observation that even (especially!) in the case of the greatest imaginable sinner on his deathbed, it is as if Our Lord has his ears to the lips of the sinner for the slightest sigh of repentance. In my better moments it gives me a great deal of hope. Most of the time I’m wondering how I’ll cope with the heat. Note, no smiley face! 😦

  63. Editor,

    Can I bring your (and everyone else’s) attention to this article by Louie Verrecchio:

    If he’s right it would seem there are the makings of a systematic attempt to ‘reinterpret’ (I.e. discredit) St Pius X. The mind boggles at the new levels of mental gymnastics which will be expected of the already well-confused faithful.

    LV quotes this example of the sort of thing we might expect, from Fr Bernard Ardura O.Praem.:

    “The Church in which we believe, is inspired by the Holy Spirit in a context that is not by some accidental cause, but contains the substance of teachings inspired by the Holy Spirit, and therefore, we don’t have to relativize these realities, which are fundamental, because otherwise, we would have to put into discussion all we believe.”

    Perhaps it lost something in translation – like all possible meaning!

    St Pius X, pray for us!

    • Confitebor Domino

      Shocking – I’ll read that article in detail a bit later but that these faithless modernists are attacking the great saint Pius X is about as diabolical as it gets. Thanks for posting that. Will check it out asap.

    • Well I’m not shocked at all by it, since they are reinterpreting everything else. Everything is cart before horse. How can you honour tradition by reinterpreting it by modernist standards?
      That’s like saying we will honour marriage but in light of our modernist insights and superior intellect, we will have marriages that are rolling yearly contracts, renewable by mutual agreement at anniversary.
      (Now wouldn’t that suit a few people) ie Marriage is for life, yes, but for the life of the contract. That sounds very modern to me. 😉

      • Stephen

        You really shouldn’t put ideas like that into their poor befuddled heads. 🙂

        • Yes. Good point. Editor, do our local Vassals read this blog? Don’t wan’t Kasper to find more theological material to play with. 🙂

      • Stephen,

        I made the decision some years ago to never ever to lose my sense of shock, never to become de-sensitised to the destruction of the Faith and true morals in society. Of course, I understand that you really mean that nothing surprises us anymore, and that is sadly true.

        • Of course. Hard to not get cynical. I couldn’t imagine what years of defending the truth would do to me!

    • Confitebor Domino,

      Try to be accurate. “If he’s right” might be a big if. Check it. There is nothing quite like “Catholic Truth” for intellectually slipshod posting.

      Be accurate or you make a nonsense of an honest man’s words – but that tells us more about you and “traditionalist” source you follow than anything else. The little chorus of unthinking agreement does not disguise the fact that you (or the source) wrench the text out of its tightly composed context. The sentence you quote was the third of three; the first two are essential to the whole point. What actually was said was intended to explain modernism to (post-modernist) readers who would not understand the concept. Thus, to be accurate, the point was

      “For example, different ideas were promulgated in the particular, cultural context of the time. But today, we don’t have to relativize these different views on the doctrine. Pius X, we can say, was working in a particular context. The Church in which we believe, is inspired by the Holy Spirit in a context that is not by some accidental cause, but contains the substance of teachings inspired by the Holy Spirit, and therefore, we don’t have to relativize these realities, which are fundamental, because otherwise, we would have to put into discussion all we believe.”

      Be accurate: the difficulty has nothing to do with translation, everything to do with selective quotation: leave out “a” and “b” and any syllogism will collapse.

      But being inaccurate does let you make fun of the poor man who trying is best to explain a philosophical and theological point. You (more seriously) misrepresent his standpoint. Read the whole text with half an ounce of honesty or common sense and an accurate reading is that the man is actually trying to defend Pius X against a charge he failed to understand what he condemned as ‘modernism’. The argument is actually that this one aspect ought not to obscure the positive reforms, e.g. of the Curia or (Chadwick’s point) the movement from a defunct temporal state to a spiritual force. I happen to think the charges are valid but it is wholly unfair to misrepresent the writer you misrepresent. He is actually a Pius X fan trying to rescue Papa Sarto’s reputation 100 years on.

      From what I have seen recently, we have been offered inaccuracies of ever species. Misquotation, mistranslations, a refusal to face facts on Vatican mendacity, plagiarism and a load of nonsense on Ogilvie’s last words and his being “disembowelled”. Continental Romans are gearing up for Corpus Christi with all the smooth, well-ordered precision of people who know what they are doing as they process: their insular colleagues hardly seem able to take a step without tripping up on some mistake. Us, mistake, what mistake? How dare a proddie suggest such a thing!

      Anyone for renaming this blog “Scottish Catholic Inaccuracy”?

      • Dr John Dowden

        I figured you wouldn’t be able to resist another opportunity to bash St Pius X!

        Thank you for posting the full quote, which I admit I hadn’t seen last night. (I did make clear that I was quoting second hand, btw.)

        Now let’s see what Fr Ardura says. “…we don’t have to relativize these different views on the doctrine. “, which he follows immediately with “Pius X, we can say, was working in a particular context.” Erm, isn’t that relativizing?

        Then he does indeed go on to construct an alleged syllogism which is, in fact, contained entirely in the third sentence (so, in fact, I deceived no one by omitting the first two). However, ‘A, but B, therefore C’ is not a syllogism of any recognized kind. I still maintain that that sentence is devoid of any discernible meaning! (In fact the first clause appears grammatically unsound.)

        As for your contention that Fr Ardura is a fan of St Pius, I would suggest that ‘he did A which was good and B which was also good but horribly misunderstood C(Modernism)’ is not the attitude of a genuine fan.

        I will be delighted to be proved wrong – but I ain’t holding my breath!

        • Confitebor Domino,

          Sorry to keep you holding your breath but I have had a couple of days dominated by clearing my desk for another posting.

          I have to try to be polite here – tolerance of the blog’s resident heretic and schismatic is prone to wear thin. Yes, in my private opinion, Ardura makes little sense but it was offered as a piece of Catholic theology, syllogisms and all, and it is only fair to judge it by the standards of Catholic theology. It is every bit as good as many a scholastic piece – read the drivel Aquinas offers on whether angels can travel from A to C without passing B and you will see what nonsense there can be in scholasticism and syllogisms. The Romans overdo philosophical training but that is what they have done ever since Leo XIII and Pius X fastened the dead hand of neo-scholasticism on clerical education. Ardura makes as little or as much sense as any hapless victim of this style of intellectual training.

          And the poor man was actually trying to explain what “modernism” was which (since it didn’t exist outside Papa Sarto’s perfervid imagination) is not an easy thing to do, especially addressing a post-modernist audience.

          You want to be convinced Ardura is a fan of Pius X, how about “… truly a great reformer, a great innovator … He reformed the Roman Curia … was more aware than other papal predecessors that the state of the pontificate had to go forward and could not go backward … he had this central idea in his ministry that the mission of the Church is spiritual, and must inspire the life of the world, renew the world … all the activities of Pius X were reformative, as he worked to promote the Christian life, that of the person, and peace”. Ardura then goes on to praise his musical reforms, sacramental reforms and the great codification of law. If Ardura is not a fan, who is? The Vatican has just put out a thumping great four-volume collection of Pius X texts from the Secret Archives: I know traddies are a paranoid lot but when it comes to praise for Pius X it really is a case of per ardua ad astra.


          • Dr John Dowden

            Thank you for getting back to me.

            Moved on to bashing St Thomas now, have you! It’s true, of course that sound logic doesn’t guarantee sensible conclusions, only coherent ones. But unless you have suddenly acquired expertise in the locomotion of angels you are a brave man to argue with the Angelic Doctor.

            Perhaps, in due course, we shall find out what was actually said at that ‘study day’ and that may answer the question of whether Fr Ardura is really a fan of St Pius or not. If I discover that I have misjudged him you will be the second person to know (unless your’e bugging the confessional! :smile:)

            • And now our resident hostile has taken to disparaging Saint Thomas Aquinas.

              I’m out of here…

  64. I am now a very fortunate owner of a 1945 Ed. Of a St Andrew Missal, given to me gratis by a very kind Priest of the SSPX in Brisbane. Does anyone else use this Missal and is there anywhere around Glasgow that sells covers for them?

    • Stephen,

      I believe Athanasius used to use that missal before generously giving it away to priest visiting from Ireland who attended one of the Society Masses.

      I don’t know anywhere in Glasgow that sells covers for missals. I had to get mine from Angelus Press and they were advertised to fit the 1962 missal, not the St Andrew’s. Nor do they sell them in the Edinburgh chapel, as I tried there before ordering from America. Sorry about that. You might want to email Carmel Books (England) in case they can supply a cover for you.

    • There were more than enough doubts about Garabandal before this. Patently false. Editor did a thread on it a while back.

    • I’ve added a couple of comments to that blog – the useful idiots who give credence to every alleged apparition drives me crazy. At a time when the Church is already struggling to fight off sceptics and critics round every corner, between fast track canonisations and manifestly false apparitions, it’s getting more and more difficult to keep a straight face when trying to explain these ludicrous nonsensical through to farcical events.

  65. I’ve always been perplexed that some big names believed that this “apparition” might be true. It’s ridiculous, just like “The Poem” and other stuff.

    • I see that some of the followers of Garabandal are starting to make excuses already. There’s a big difference between Faith and Wishful Thinking.

    • 3LittleShepherds,

      I note that Padre Pio is listed among the “big names” who alleged believed in Garabandal, but he is one of those people who is attributed to have said all sorts of things, without any verifiable evidence to support the claim. So, I never pay any attention when he is quoted if the subject matter is either ambiguous or a matter of opinion. In any case, saints were not infallible human beings and we are free to disagree with them on matters not “of the Faith”.

  66. I’ve been away from Scotland for around 15 years or so and to be honest haven’t really had my finger on the pulse of things politically and even less so in matters concerning religion.
    But having an increased awareness now, I’m rather shocked at the state of things in the Catholic Church. Just from listening to in-laws, Chapels are closing down, parish priests are normally on there own: this can’t be great for the Catholic community to say the least. Then there is the whole calamity around Cardinal Keith O’Brien, which must have been a kick in the teeth to the Catholic population across the whole of the UK. Then I read about the Fr. Matthew Despard goings-on. Things don’t look good.

    • Stephen,

      Things are NOT good. Not remotely. Yet Cardinal O’Brien’s successor (Archbishop Leo Cushley) told the media soon after his arrival in Edinburgh that the Church here is not in crisis. Everything’s just absolutely fine, it seems. So, he’s going to be about as much use as the proverbial chocolate teapot.

      Our newsletter was launched in 1999, Feast of St John Ogilvie (10 March). It was launched because the polite letters sent to the bishops from a number of concerned lay people were either ignored or ridiculed. Some of those concerned Catholics had been writing since the day Vatican II ended – one had actually gone to Rome during the Council! Another – who became our first Treasurer – had been a personal friend of Cardinal Gray (Edinburgh) and the Cardinal had phoned him daily from Rome during the Council. So, informed Catholics like these, who loved the Church, were insulted for their efforts to persuade the bishops to act to quell dissent and liturgical abuses in their parishes.

      So, what to do? Deference in private didn’t work, we thought, so let’s try some very public plain speaking. Enter Catholic Truth.

      The bishops immediately adopted a policy of “ignore them and they’ll go away”. I hope they’ve noticed that it didn’t work. We enjoyed his discomfiture on BBC television news on being made a Cardinal, when O’Brien was confronted by the interviewer with the following question: “…. But not everyone is pleased at your appointment… What do you say to the Catholic Truth group?” To which the Cardinal, clearly taken aback, said that he “felt the same way about us that we felt about him” – later, I was able to point out in our newsletter that he was wrong. We cared about his soul and the state of the Church. He, on the other hand, didn’t give a toss about our souls or he would have corrected us, written or spoken to us privately, to “put us right” – instead of choosing to ignore us and hope that we’d go away (with, in his mistaken view, our false beliefs/wrong ideas. Very charitable, NOT).

      Anyway, that’s how bad things have been and continue to be, Stephen, as you’ll find out yourself if you ever take it into your head to write a letter of concern to any Scots Bishop. The pattern goes something like this:

      Letter No. 1 receives polite reply, thanking you for your concerns and promising these will be dealt with or saying they have been dealt with.

      Letter No. 2 usually results in a slightly more frosty response, pointing out that your persistence suggests that you’ve not understood the bishop’s reply to your first letter. Content of first reply repeated.

      Any further letters will result in a curt reply consisting of a sentence or two chiding you for your lack of charity and basically telling you to mind your own business, and then – with a final flourish – you will be informed that the bishop will not be replying to any more letters from you on this subject.

      You just gotta love bishops…

      • Thank you for your reply. Yes, those ‘learn to know your place, pleb’ letters are not helpful. I hope Cardinal O’Brien finds peace. His failings demand our prayers especially more so when his position called for more integrity than was shown in his words and deeds. Very sad.
        I’m just back from Mass: first time at a Sung Mass. Quite beautiful. During the sermon the priest reminded us that no matter the calamities of the Church that we might be going through, the Church and Christ will prevail. All we can do is keep to tradition and evangelise the truth
        I can sense that that is what his going on here at Catholic Truth.

        • Stephen,

          I’m really glad that you enjoyed the Sung Mass. I personally prefer them to Low Masses. Obviously there is silence at Low Masses, but there is also, and I hope I don’t sound contradictory here, a certain ‘silence’ at a sung Mass also, that creates an atmosphere truly conducive to prayer and personal devotion.

        • Stephen,

          I agree with you that keeping tradition and evangelising is what is gong on here at Catholic Truth. It’s reliably Catholic which is what attracts most of us to it, I think I’m right in saying.

      • Oh editor this made me smile. I’ve had all three of those letters numerous times. Now I don’t even get a reply.

  67. Does anyone know if the Pope still distributes Agnus Dei discs? I am under the impression that Paul VI discontinued them (surprise, surprise…NOT!!!) in the early 1970s. I wonder why he did this when they were an exceptionally popular, and dare I say, valuable sacramental. Also, is the Seven Dolors devotion the same as the Servite Rosary? The reason I am asking these two questions is because I bought the Baltimore Catechism No. 3, and I’ve been reading the section on Sacramentals.

    • Catholic Convert 1,

      I’ve never heard of Agnus Dei discs, so I Googled it and got links to ebay mostly, and the discs seem to be music discs. Is that what you mean?

      I’ve also no idea bout the Seven Dolours being the same as the Servite Rosary – I think if you’re using an American catechism, these must be customs and sacramental that are in use locally. I’ve definitely never heard of any of the things in your post but interested to learn more, if you can teach me.

      • Fidelis,

        God bless you!

        Agnus Dei discs are made from melted wax, and are put into oval moulds, and imprinted with a Lamb (hence the name, Agnus Dei) and a Cross at the front and a Papal coat of arms at the front. here is a link that may explain things better: There were several ‘promises’ associated with these important and popular sacramental:

        1. They cancel venial sins and purify from the stain left by grievous sin after it has been remitted in the Sacrament of Penance.

        2. They banish evil spirits, deliver from temptation and preserve from eternal ruin.

        3. They are a protection from a sudden and unprovided death.

        4. They dispel fears occasioned by evil spirits.

        5. They are a protection in combat, and have power to ensure victory.

        6. They deliver from poison and from the snares of the wicked.

        7. They are excellent preventatives against sickness and are also an efficacious remedy — especially in cases of epilepsy.

        8. They hinder the ravages of pestilence, of epidemics and infectious diseases.

        9. They quiet the winds, dissipate hurricanes, calm whirlwinds, and keep away tempests.

        10. They save from shipwreck and the danger of lightning and floods.

        These promises were issued by Popes Urban V, Paul II, Julius III, Sixtus V and Benedict XIV. Why the Pope (Paul VI) would discontinue such a popular devotion is beyond me. Also, I looked on Ebay earlier, and the same items of music came up. If you scroll down on this link, you can see a photograph of Pius XII blessing the beeswax:

        The Seven Dolours devotions is a devotion oriented around the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady on the occasions when she saw Our Lord’s blood spilt. You meditate on each medal and the mysteries, as it were, are 1. the circumcision of Our Lord, 2. the flight into Egypt when Herod sought to kill Him, 3. the day Mary lost the Child Jesus in Jerusalem, 4. when She met Him carrying the Cross, 5. when She saw Him die, 6. when His Body was taken down from the Cross and 7. when Our Lord was put in the sepulchre.

        The Seven Dolours, nor the Agnus Dei are unique to the USA.

        Please pray for me, on this glorious feast of Corpus Christi. I enclose two pieces of music for all to enjoy.

        • Catholicconvert

          Those sound very interesting. I’ve never heard of them either. I googled Price Catholic Agnus Dei Sacramental and some sites came up.

        • Catholic Convert 1,

          Just to be clear, I know that Agnus Dei means Lamb of God – I’ve just never heard of the discs. I also know that the Seven Dolours are the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady (one of my favourite pictures) but again I never heard of any connection between that devotion and the Servite Rosary.

        • Catholic Convert,

          Well, par for the course, not quite accurate – today is not Corpus Christi, Thursday ways. Britain may be slipshod on these things but the continental Romans and the continental Anglicans stick to tradition – in best ecumenical tradition we share churches so we share calendars.

          And yes, devotees of the The English Hymnal, have all been playing through the hymn you recommend. A terribly ecumenical gesture of you since the hymn was written by John XXII whom ill-informed traddies are abusing on another thread.

          The clever thing about the Truro hymn is that the English translator managed to fit the English text to the exact rhythm of John XXII’s Latin, so all the traditional tunes fit. And of course Truro is one the newest cathedrals for the English Church – kitted out in English surplices rather than those indecent Roman things.

          So thanks and congratulations on your ecumenical choice of music: you may not have forgotten your English heritage completely. I am sure traddies all will be delighted to have a chance to enjoy John XXII from the English Hymnal courtesy of a great Anglo-Catholic choir.

          • Dowden, why are you such a dull-wit? I am quite well aware that Corpus Christi was on Thursday, but it is indeed, and now you are showing your obvious ignorance, a moveable feast, and was, in my parish, moved to today, although it was also commemorated on Thursday. Not ecumenical at all. I have no regard or respect for the erroneous beliefs of the choristers. I just happened to very much enjoy their rendition of it. I have not forgotten my English heritage, that’s why I converted to Rome. As you know, England is Our Lady’s dowry, and England was originally under the spiritual, ethical and moral guidance of the Pope before a schismatic Church was forced on the English by a sexually deviant King. Anglicans are as English as haggis! Truro is one of the few Cathedrals of the Anglican ‘church’ that was actually built by Anglicans. The rest, such as at York, Westminster Abbey, Winchester and Wells were all stolen by the Anglican heretics and schismatics. Lastly, I have no regard for John XXII’s erroneous beliefs on the Particular Judgement, I just like the hymn.

            Nothing ecumenical about little old moi.

            Sorry to disappoint.

            • Aye, and it pains me that Glasgow Cathedral is no longer a Catholic Church. Had a wee laugh at this letter posted in the Herald, signed A. Burke (1986)

  68. Telegraph blogger Tim Stanley (a Catholic), has reported on the apology of the (US) Associated Press, regarding their sensationalist fantasy story / hatchet job regarding the Catholic Orphanage at Tuam, Ireland

    In stories published June 3 and June 8 about young children buried in unmarked graves after dying at a former Irish orphanage for the children of unwed mothers,

    The Associated Press incorrectly reported that the children had not received Roman Catholic baptisms; documents show that many children at the orphanage were baptized.

    The AP also incorrectly reported that Catholic teaching at the time was to deny baptism and Christian burial to the children of unwed mothers; although that may have occurred in practice at times it was not church teaching.

    In addition, in the June 3 story, the AP quoted a researcher who said she believed that most of the remains of children who died there were interred in a disused septic tank; the researcher has since clarified that without excavation and forensic analysis it is impossible to know how many sets of remains the tank contains, if any.

    The June 3 story also contained an incorrect reference to the year that the orphanage opened; it was 1925, not 1926.

    The (UK) Guardian has quietly added a low-key footnote to its own hatchet job:

    The headline and introduction of this article were amended on 10 June 2014 to better reflect the fact that the children’s remains are believed to have been buried in a disused sewage tank. This fact has yet to be proved, as do the facts behind how any such mass burial may have come about.

    As yet there has been no such clarification on the Herald Scotland hatchet job, which is still incorrectly reporting that:

    In keeping with Catholic teaching, such out-of-wedlock children were denied baptism and, if they died at such facilities, Christian burial.

    among other inaccuracies and suggestions.

    It has come to pass that this media story has been show up for an anti-Catholic hoax.

    I encourage readers and the Catholic Truth magazine itself to raise press complaints over the lies printed by the Herald, Guardian and others (I certainly intend to). Both the mentioned rags have a long history of smearing the Catholic Church and they are long over-due being taken down a peg or two.

    • Gabriel Syme,

      Many thanks for that alert. I hope bloggers do make a fuss. Unfortunately, I just cannot devote the required time to this – a particularly busy week ahead – but I do encourage others to do so. The Herald is an unashamedly anti-Catholic rag so the more who write in the better.

    • This fact has yet to be proved, as do the facts behind how any such mass burial may have come about.

      And yet they continue to write toxic dross which is highly inflammatory and undermines the Church. But wouldn’t do to let such obstacles get in the way of a nice juicy headline. And I was thinking that the Daily Dribble was the worst Anti-Catholic rag in town…

  69. Is it right to be paranoid when you see ‘oversights’ like this ?

    On a Vatican website how can such an oversight occur? Demonstrated incompetence or wilful knavery?

    • Summa,

      I call that downright evil. Evil.

      There’s no way that I was ever going to refer to JP II or John XXIII as “Saint” – never. Seeing that scandalous activity on the Vatican website has only served to reinforce my determination NEVER to refer to either of them as “Saint”.

      Pope Saint Pius X, however, is a very different kettle of holiness. The real thing.

      • Do you think in any way that could be an oversight?

        I have double checked just now and there is nothing on the Pius X page about being canonized either.

        I’m going to contact them.

        • Nope. In my opinion, it’s deliberate. The two canonisations were political in nature, nothing to do with sanctity, just a means of quelling all “dissent” from Vatican II. Pope Saint Pius X – as they know full well – would condemn the errors of Vatican II with every ounce of his holy energy, so his worthy canonisation is not to be recognised. Scoundrels.

          Glad you plan to contact them but don’t expect a reply. If you do receive one, be sure to let us know.

  70. I see that the Pope has had a meeting with some of the Franciscans of the Immaculate:

    The article just confirms what we’ve always suspected – that they are being punished for straying too close to tradition.

    “Francis also said that he had wanted the closure of the theological institute within the Franciscans of the Immaculate (STIM), so that the seminarists would study in the pontifical theology faculties of Rome.”

    Which, being interpreted, is ‘We haven’t spent all that time and effort to stuff our seminaries full of arch-modernist professors just so you lot can bypass them!’

    • Yes, I read that here with commentary. It’s interesting that certain key players were not included in the meeting.

      This is a really scandalous event in the modern history of the Church.

    • Boston’s St. Anthony’s Shrine — administered by Franciscan Friars, members of the same religious family as Cardinal O’Malley — had announced they would have a pro-LGBT booth at the Gay Pride Festival.

      It would appear that Commissar Volpi has been let loose on the wrong bunch of Franciscans!

          • Disgraceful seems an understatement.

            I, too have emailed Cardinal Sean O’Malley and I’ve added a comment at the end of the blog article. Outrageous behaviour from those priests, but the buck stops with Papa Francis – as I said in my comment at Josephine’s link above – because his ridiculous “who am I to judge?” was just begging to go viral. Nobody, surely, is seriously surprised that his bad example is being followed by those, including priests like the St Anthony Franciscans, who are homosexually inclined.

            • I am currently discussing what I think are ‘gaffs’ by Pope Francis with some liberal Catholics who harp on about his answers being exactly the way Jesus’ answers would have been and that he is so humble etc. They also are all in favour of pastoral interpretations and solutions for the Church.
              They are protestants all but in name.

              • Summa,

                Well then, your friends need to accept the fact that for 1,950 years the Church has been wrong on just about everything. The Holy Spirit cannot contradict Himself so what was condemned by previous popes cannot suddenly be good. Either the Church was wrong for the majority of its history and therefore Christ failed in His promise to send the Paraclete, or the Church has taken a wrong turning these past fifty or so years.

                In short, if it’s only in the past 50-ish years that the Holy Spirit has been enlightening popes, we all have a problem. For us, it’s how to shake off that 1,950 years of Catholic teaching, and for them, it’s how to square the circle of contemporary “enlightenment” versus almost two centuries of dogmatic teaching on Faith and Morals from all the big names in Christianity.

                Give them this message from moi, please – gerragrip!

    • Summa,

      At least those priests are priests “in good standing” not like those bad SSPX priests who refuse to deny a single dogma of the Faith and are now suspended. Let’s not forget who the good guys are here. As long as they’re “in good standing” with their bishop, (if not remotely in good standing with God) that’s the main thing.

      Truly, you couldn’t make it up…

  71. I noticed something amusing during a recent visit to the Catholic Herald.

    William Oddie has an article headed:

    The Pope opines that war is how the great world economies ‘keep their balance sheets in the black’. I repeat: shouldn’t he be more careful with what he says?

    Originally, that very article carried a slightly different headline:

    The Pope nonsensically opines that war is how the great world economies ‘keep their balance sheets in the black’. I repeat: shouldn’t he be more careful with what he says?

    Ha! He must have got his knuckles rapped by some hidden power!

    However, Oddie still has the subheading:

    Much of what he says in his public statements appears not entirely intellectually well thought through; at times it is even totally incoherent

    Look, they have left the “nonsensically” part in the amended articles web-link, haha!:

    (doubtless an oversight on their part!)

  72. Look at this new seminary being set-up in France, Frejus-Toulon Diocese.

    “Missionaries for Europe” the scheme is called, and it will teach seminarians both forms of the latin rite. It is aimed at attracting Priests from “the Americas” (for France) and offers Thomist formation.

    It is the idea of Bishop Rey and the site mentions a “Fraternity of St. Joseph the Guardian” who I have never heard of before. But it seems they were founded in Chile:

    I understand that even before this, Bishop Reys Diocese had a good record of vocations (in modern France anyway).

    Bishop Rey was one of three French Bishops who signed a letter supporting Pope Benedict when he lifted the excommunicated status of the SSPX Bishops:

    How do bloggers view this development?

    • I generally give a cautious welcome, but once you become aware of the scandalous historical suppression of the vetus ordo and compare it with the novus ordo, the problems of the new mass are hard to stomach and I would rather that it wasn’t promoted at all.

      • Yes I think a cautious welcome is a good idea.

        At first, I thought it an attempt to undercut the SSPX (which is very strong and successful in France) but was reassured by the fact that Bishop Rey has a positive view of the SSPX (given his support of Benedict XVIs moves regarding them).

        I agree with what you say about the new mass; anytime I attend it these days (very rare and through some necessity) I cant help but think of the experience chiefly as a form of penance.

    • Gabriel Syme

      A French seminary teaching the traditional rite – zut alors!

      Perhaps those stories we hear from time to time about SSPX congregations starting to outnumber novus ordo congregations in France are starting to ring true 🙂

      • Gabriel…I would expect that most of these “missing” non-practicing Catholics (90%+) are novus-ordo raised cultural/nominal Catholics. They probably don’t even know about the existence of the SSPX, or mass of all time.

        Yes, spot on. I can vouch for that.

    • Gabriel, I clicked on the seminary link you provided and this struck me… Priests cannot strive to be liked; they must strive to save souls.

      Simple but profound! A few weeks ago I new couldn’t make it to the TLM so I took my kids to the OF Vigil Mass at our local Diocesan chapel. The priest walking down the aisle ‘high-fiving’ the kids and the chatty welcomes and jocular mood, dismayed me. I mean I know the guy meant well, but was he doing well? I think there was an unconscious but nevertheless underlying irreverence to the whole Mass. I would never go back.

      • Summa,

        That’s what the clergy today think is making the Mass “relevant” to the young. Either that or their own social life is dull as ditch water. Maybe a bit of both.

      • I mean I know the guy meant well, but was he doing well?

        I sympathise. I have endured dancing-priests, pop song singing-priests, children’s entertainer-priests and Julian Clary-alike comedian-priests.

        The latter almost had me praying for my own death during the mass. I say mass, but it was really a camp comedy routine. The congregation was roaring and hooting with laughter throughout. I saw one man actually weeping with laughter. So much for the ‘august sacrifice’, then.

        Fair play to the camp comedian-priest – his ‘horror’ (i.e. modern Church building) was packed to the gunnels – a rare sight in Scotland these days. But for me ,it seemed that people were coming more to be entertained and catch up with friends, than to practice the Catholic religion.

        I think the problem is that most modern priests do not really understand their role or what they are supposed to be. They think they are voluntary social workers everybody’s friend etc. Their toes would curl to think of exerting authority or saying “no” to someone. I think it is due to how poor their seminary training would have been, in the confused post-V2 years.

        I have found that there is a significant difference in how traditional priests understand, present and carry themselves compared to the modern lot. That is not to say that they are cold, authoritarian or humourless, of course not – rather I mean that they clearly understand the importance and dignity of their role and so take it very seriously.

  73. Joey Lomangino has just passed away.

    This is a major blow for the Garabandal movement.

    It would seem that Garabandal is not supernatural.

  74. I have just devoured the latest newsletter. Brilliant! This is free? Where’s the catch? 🙂

    • Summa,

      Thank you sincerely – I’m genuinely surprised. This edition has been a struggle to produce from beginning to end, with hitches at every turn right up to and including this moment – problems at the printers re. the hard copy – long story…

      So I’m very pleased that you have found it helpful. Thanks for your charity in providing feedback. Much appreciated.

      • Every issue of Catholic Truth is a tribute to its authoress, our devoted Madame Editor. I have not yet been able to read the current issue, being on a camping trip with Mrs Leprechaun under lowering clouds and frequent heavy showers and having severely limited communication facilities in Aixe-sur-Vienne, but we know we shall not be disappointed when we eventually get home to read it.
        On the bright side there will be an SSPX Mass in Limoges 8 miles up the road on Sunday.
        A la votre and God bless.

        • Leprechaun,

          There is a beautiful photo of you and Mrs Leprechaun in the current issue on your wedding day! It’s relating to a piece about wedding dresses and your wife’s is gorgeous, and so is the other bride who was only married recently, her dress is beautiful as well. I think it’s a great idea to show modest wedding dresses on beautiful brides. I am going to be showing that page around to some of my young female relatives!

        • Love your beautiful wedding photo …and yes the traditional wedding gowns were so beautiful and modest .
          Interesting to read your happy story I sincerely hope there are many more in store for you thank you so much for sharing

  75. Our wonderful pro-lifer, Wendy Walker, sent the following information and link.

    Laud this Priest who they even admit and write
    “has been working on Population issues for years”?

    I really hope ALL good people will speak up against this
    Does HLI know ?

    Especially when you see this “Priest ” receiving the Award .from abortionist Un Officials

    HORRIFIC to see and read. END.

    I hope someone will make an effort to write to the Vatican about this scandal. New names, new “thorns in the flesh” would be good. If they keep hearing only from the same old, same old, they write us off as “extremists.” Just holding to Catholic doctrine and morality is “extremist” these days, of course.

    • Editor, I haven’t heard of this priest/surgeon before, but I cannot find anything about his work other than that he has for many years been active in treating obstetric fistulae, and it seems that it is for this work – i.e. promoting the health of those women afflicted with this appalling and neglected condition in Africa – that he is receiving the award. He doesn’t seem to be involved in the usual ‘population issues’ – abortion and birth control. Is the problem that he should refuse an award from such an organisation, or does Wendy Walker know more about his activities?

      • Dear Christina
        Thank you for your reply ..yes he does operate for fistula but it states he has been involved in population issues for years and population issues are just that totally opposite to The Churches teachings I have searched the web he seems connected to a U N supported group called JHPIEGO..their site is horrendously anti life with talk of safe abortion and so called contraception there other sites about him but they are in Italian which I cannot speak ..How can a Priest be involved with these sort of people just amazes me and revolts me too I only found this info today so I do not have all the facts about him yet ..hope this helps you as they say in the old adage if you mix with dogs you catch their fleas

      • Christina,

        That was my own first thought on reading the report that he wasn’t involved in population suppression, abortion and birth control, but then I thought, nobody’s going to get a UN Award for anything to do with population issues if he’s upholding Catholic teaching on the evils of contraception and abortion.

        I think any Catholic, especially a priest, who accepts a UN award on population issues, has to be asked for an explanation. I know I wouldn’t accept an award from them in any circumstances. The UN is an evil outfit, working to reduce the world’s population by almost any means.

  76. I sent the following letter to The Scotsman newspaper a couple of weeks ago but it didn’t get published due to email issues at my end. Regardless, I thought I might put it on the blog to highlight to others the very grave danger this SNP government represents to the integrity and sacrality of the family in Scotland.


    In typical political double-speak, Nicola Sturgeon recently assured the Scottish people that they will have a say in the Constitution of an Independent Scotland. What she did not say, however, was that an SNP government will only take on board the wishes expressed by the people if they happen to coincide with its own.

    I was one of a large number of Scots who participated in the SNP’s online consultation regarding ‘Gay marriage.’ Like the majority who took part in that exercise, I opposed the government Bill. And what was the response of the SNP to this majority opposition? It disregarded the result of that democratic process and forged ahead with its own agenda.

    Now we have the highly controversial ‘Guardian for every child’ policy, a policy of State intrusion into family life unparalleled anywhere in the world outside of Communist China and North Korea.

    Were the people of Scotland consulted about this radical State intervention into family life, an intervention which fundamentally declares Scottish parents to be untrustworthy in the raising of their own children? No, there was no democratic process whatsoever.

    I am not a political animal by nature, having general disdain for all the major parties in the UK. But this business with the SNP is altogether different from the usual run of the mill politics. This is arrogance in the extreme and the people of Scotland should beware this less than subtle slide into totalitarian rule. END.

    • Athanasius,

      That’s a first class letter, so no wonder it wasn’t published. I hear that The Herald is pro-independence so The Scotsman probably is, as well, and that letter just blows the SNP credibility out of the water.

    • Voting is always a conundrum for people who actually take the time to read party policy. Unfortunately few do.
      I wonder what strategy folk here take in helping to inform their decisions. In Scotland you have the option to not vote, which is undoubtedly a great help when faced with an assortment of evils to choose from. Here in Australia, you are legally bound to vote and are fined should you not.
      I think I read somewhere recently that as a Catholic you should vote for the party that is likely to sow less evil in society, which in my understanding is a little like utilitarianism whereby you vote for the greater good. Then again, didn’t Russell Kirk warn against the dangers of utilitarianism.
      I think that there are too many poor choices in offer for the voter. There are no traditional choices. The Tories have abandoned the family for the God of Capitalism and the others have hung on the coat tails so not to look out of touch.
      by the way, I’m not necessarily talking about the UK here, Australia is probably much worse than anything you have.

      • Summa,

        I’ve always been appalled at the Australian law which forces people to vote in elections. That’s a major interference in the conscientious decisions of individuals. I’m afraid I’d be fined, big time, if we had that law. We can’t force people to accept Christ as their Saviour, so I’m darned if any politicians should be permitted to force me to vote if I don’t feel, in conscience, that I can vote. I wonder if Australians are permitted to destroy their vote in the privacy of the voting booth (presuming there is privacy in the voting booth.)

        We prefer not to get into party politics here, because that can result in bad feeling but to answer your point about “lesser evil” that is exactly the position of the bishops here, a position with which I cannot agree. What is the point of having great housing and employment policies, if babies in their mother’s womb are in danger of being butchered because we have state-sanctioned murder of children in their first nine months of life? Or if marriage and the family unit can be re-defined at will by politicians? I cannot, in conscience, vote for any of the current parties on offer – not one of them has taken a stand against all of the immoral policies being peddled today, across the board. In fact, there’s no real difference between any of the parties here now. Even the SNP who say they want independence from England, laughably still want to be subject to their Queen, share their currency and continue to serve in their army. Could you make that up? 😀 If there really is a “yes” vote we’ll be about as independent as a new born baby.

        Let’s take a hypothetical example: had they known what he was planning in the concentration camps during world war II, would it have been OK for the German people to vote for Hitler if they approved of his housing and employment policies while discounting his policy of gassing of people who didn’t pass his “Master Race” test? Didn’t think so.

        I repeat. No government has the right to interfere with our consciences. The Australian government, with respect, is doing precisely that with their insistence on voting or being fined. Sheer nerve. I feel very sorry for Catholics over there but the Bishops should not be tolerating that situation. They should be insisting on the rights of conscience not to have to vote for evil, if – presuming the situation there is the same as it is here – Catholics feel that they are bound, in conscience, to abstain from voting in any particular election.

        Here endeth the lesson 😉

        • Well I’m fairly sure they cannot identify you from the voting card so to leave it blank or deface it is an option. It is however a legal obligation to vote, so you must turn up and go through the motions for democracy. There is some irony in that. The electoral body check after the election that you have voted and if not you get fined.

          I see what you are saying concerning assessing rights and wrongs. For many if not most people, their code of ethics is not handed down as Truth from the Church. So who knows whether they think abortion is worse than having fluoride put in their water.

          Probably a good idea to stay away from politics, like you say 😉

          • No idea about Australia but in the UK we COULD be identified from our voting paper, but I have no idea under what circumstances anyone would want to.
            I would NEVER fail to turn up at the polling station, unless it was absolutely impossible for me to attend, but I have occasionally spoilt my paper by writing “none of the above” and briefly stating my reason. One advantage of that is the the returning officer usually shows the spoilt papers to the candidates, so it is one way of being heard.

    • Athanasius,

      The Scotsman sometimes takes longer than most to publish letters so you never know. I wouldn’t give up hope just yet, but thank you for sharing your excellent letter with us here.

      If it is being censored, that is disgraceful, but what’s the bet that letters to the Catholic Herald challenging their (yet more) “pro-gay” leanings, apparent in their banner headline this week, will be heavily censored. If any get through, I’ll be amazed.

      The headline reads: Avoid ‘extreme reactions’ to gay marriage, Vatican tells Catholics. (Ed: note neither “gay” nor “marriage” is in inverted commas) and then underneath: FAITHFUL URGED TO SHOW ‘RESPECTFUL, NON-JUDGMENTAL ATTITUDE’ WHILE UPHOLDING CHURCH TEACHING. (laughable in the extreme. Having undermined the teaching to the point of no return, we’re then exhorted to “uphold” it! How, precisely?)

      And I, for one, having absolutely no intention of watching my “extreme language” because Pope Francis’s predecessor, Pope John Paul II, whom he saw fit to “canonise”, told me to do the very opposite of what he, Pope Francis recommends. John Paul II said “now, more than ever, we must call things by their proper name… abortion is murder.” (Evangelium Vitae)

      And ditto with homosexuality. Just as I will continue to call a burglar a burglar and exhibit a VERY judgmental attitude to his bad behaviour so with the unnatural behaviour of homosexuals. They are doing something gravely immoral, they are – in the words of St Paul speaking about sexual sins in general – sinning against their own body. Why is “the Vatican” not encouraging us to spell out that deadly fact? Why sweep it under the carpet? Are we to keep quiet about other sins? All sins? Or just the sin of homosexuality?

      All of this baloney about “mercy” and “extreme reactions” and being “non-judgmental” is all the excuse these inept and ignorant “Catholic” editors need to censor serious letters from informed Catholics. So watch for some real censorship in next week’s anything but Catholic Herald.

  77. Just wanted to plug They Have Uncrowned Him by Abp. Marcel Lefebvre. Great read. One thing struck me towards the end of the book when he spoke about the tendency of the modernists in the Church to neutralize the missionary spirit of the Gospel by their insistence of talking to those of a non Catholic persuasion first rather than trying to convert them ie ecumenism. That sums up for me the depths of how far liberalism has struck at tradition. You can see it everywhere. The Vatican bending over backwards (though not reciprocated) to jews and muslims in the most ingratiating manner and for what reason? All in the spirit of ecumenism. How about the top brass of Rome, bending over backwards to right the wrongs of the deviants who have infiltrated the Church and embarrassed it? Fat chance of that happening. But as Abp. Marcel Lefebvre says, you must stay positive and believe that the Holy Virgin’s Immaculate Heart will triumph.
    The other anchor that Abp. Marcel Lefebvre recommends is Thomistic Theology especially through the Summa Theologica. I think this is important to remember during this period of diabolical disorientation.
    Anyway I suppose many of you have read this, but just in case you haven’t, I humbly recommend it. 🙂

  78. Summa,

    Thanks for that plug for They Have Uncrowned Him – don’t be shocked, but I haven’t yet read it myself so will be doing so asap.


    Wendy Walker, our indefatigable pro-lifer is keen for us to write to whoever we can in the House of Lords to object to the Assisted Suicide Bill being proposed by Lord Falconer. Click here to read more

    Lord David Alton is opposing it so it would be good to at least write to encourage him to stick to his guns


    As usual, I will be closing down this GD thread before it reaches the 500 mark, so be sure to save all your comments from now on in case you are caught out in mid-sentence.

    • It’s a great read but unfortunately it will make you angry. That’s how I felt reading it. But still, a cracking reference book for the traditional Catholic.

    • Editor, I thought Summa was referring to Summa Theologicain in his last sentence! (would insert a grinning smiley if I could remember how).

      • Christina, to make a smiley face you just type a colon : then write the word smile or grin without leaving a space and then add another colon : again without leaving a space. I repeat colongrincolon and this should appear when you post your comment (but not before) 😀

  79. I received the following email today (complete with pictures of the litigants, but they have not copied below) – this good news was on the local Scottish TV news today and will be again I imagine at 10.30pm for those who can check it out. If you recall, we ran a thread on the disgraceful new law introduced to give every child in Scotland a “named person” who could over-rule parents. Here’s the up to date report today:

    Named Person legal challenge launched

    A legal challenge backed by NO2NP to stop the Scottish Government appointing a ‘state guardian’ for every child in the country up to the age of 18 was launched today.

    Legal papers formally challenging Holyrood’s controversial Named Person plans were lodged at Edinburgh’s Court of Session this morning.

    There was widespread interest as national news networks such as the BBC, STV, The Scotsman and The Herald, plus a host of other local networks, gathered outside the court to watch the crowd of concerned parents and other groups hand in the documents.

    The legal action asserts that the Scottish Government is acting illegally and exceeding its powers by setting up the Named Person scheme.

    The court case is being funded by more than 70 different sources. The court papers were lodged by The Christian Institute, the Christian charity CARE (Christian Action Research and Education), The Young ME Sufferers (Tymes) Trust, and the Family Education Trust.

    They have been joined in the case by parents James and Rhianwen McIntosh from Bonnybridge and Deborah Thomas from Comrie.

    Critics of the scheme, which is contained within the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, say it contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights.

    Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, which is one of the petitioners in the case, said: “This marks the beginning of a landmark case which has implications for every family in Scotland. We are making a stand for all mums and dads who are doing their best for the children they love.

    “We are not prepared to stand by and watch as the roles of parents and their rights to a family life are diminished and trampled over by an authoritarian big brother government intent on making its presence felt in every living room in the land.”

    NO2NP will be staging a series of public meetings across Scotland as support for the campaign spreads. Events will take place in Glasgow, Dundee, Stirling and Inverness, with more expected.

    Watch out for your invite! We hope to see you at one of the forthcoming events.


    The NO2NP team

  80. Wendy Walker, our resident pro-life activist, asks for signatures on this petition.

    Wendy also asks that we pass on the link to ALL our contacts.

    I’ve just realised that the final paragraph of this petition asks for several people to sit with this judge – but that is already happening, so this looks like quite an amateur production. Anyway, if you think it will make a difference, sign away!

  81. I don’t know if you folk have discussed the alleged Yugoslavia Apparitions on here, so pardon me if I’m covering old ground. I mention this as I have just read Medjugorie: A warning by Michael Davies. The whole thing smells of rotten deceit, money making nonsense that is sure to sucker a few million gullible. And if there’s money to be made, where else? Especially during a holiday season, where people can freely travel? Just google ‘A lone pine tree stands in a Field in Alabama’.
    You couldn’t make it up (except of course in this case)
    Being of the unsaintly kind myself, I nevertheless pray for all involved in this blight on the name of Our Lady. I fear for their souls.

    • Summa, many times we have discussed the Medjugorje hoax – and all the official documents from the diocese of Mostar can be read on our website, Links page. Recommended reading…

      • Ah, thanks, I’ll have a look. I think I know what I have done wrong now. I have searched the blog using the spelling Medjugorie with no results.

  82. I had a wee bit of time today to spare and I found myself rummaging around the The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.

    Two things struck me: On their links page there are no links to the SSPX in the Traditional Orders section.
    Under ‘Publishers and book-sellers’ there is no link to Angelus Press whilst all the other publishers of traditional missals are linked. This is quite odd considering that the 1962 Missal from Angelus Press has widespread praise for its comprehensiveness.

    On their listings of Traditional Masses offered throughout the country, there are no SSPX Masses.

    More silly games?

    • Summa

      You must remember the ‘Rules of Toleration’ imposed by the hierarchy:

      1. Don’t criticize Vatican II
      2. Don’t say anything positive about the SSPX (let alone promote the Society)
      3. Don’t criticize the hierarchy.

      Even minor breaches are likely to lead to sweeping sanctions – just think about the situation with the FFI or the scandalous treatment of Fr Wylie in New York.

      Is it really that surprising that the LMS fails to mention the Society?

      All the ‘regularized’ societies (FSSP, Transalpine Redemptorists etc) are hamstrung by the same rules.

      • CD says You must remember the ‘Rules of Toleration’ imposed by the hierarchy:

        I didn’t know about RoT 😉

        But yes, naive I was surprised/

    • Comment removed

      Editor: Please do not post links to sedevacantist sites on this blog, nor promote that error in any way. I removed the inverted commas from around the word Pope in one of your first posts here, suspecting what you have now clearly demonstrated, that you adhere to the error of sedevacantism. Our in-house rules are very clear – we do not want anyone promoting sedevacantism. Do NOT – I repeat – promote that error on this blog. Please and thank you…

    • Summa,

      If the LMS were seen to be in any way sympathetic to or supportive of the SSPX their toleration within the dioceses would be over. It’s only because they are a means of keeping people AWAY from the Society that they are tolerated at all.

  83. Now you see it, now you don’t – and now you see it again!

    Remember the infamous first interview with Scalfari (‘Proselytism is solemn nonsense’ etc). The Vatican, as you will recall, eventually removed it from their website when every one expressed concern that the Pope should have said such things.

    Well it’s reappeared again – . (h/t Mundabor )

    So what are we supposed to think now? Are they conceding that the Pope really did say these things? If not what’s the point of putting it back up?

    And you thought you were confused!

    • CD,

      Actually, the interview has disappeared again. Christopher Ferrara over at The Remnant has written a very interesting piece on the matter. Click here

      Somebody is definitely up to something over there at the Vatican website, and I doubt it’s the webmaster… 😀

      • This gives a whole new meaning to spinning the Pope’s (alleged) words 😀

        What the heck is going on over there?

        • CD,

          Hilarious! Why didn’t I think of that. Drives me nuts when others come up with stuff that should be on the “editor’s use only” shelf 😀

          As for your concluding question – here’s one in return: wouldn’t we all like to know the answer to that one? 😯

  84. Mundabor 11:15 to-day “Wheat & Tares” NOM sermon: would dearly love to know church and preacher, hope his bishop does not find out!

    LMS/SSPX: LMS must toe diocesan line, or else!

    Eponymous Flower raises +Williamson on Vatican/SSPX deal, wrong as usual, just stirring it? Surely, it all took place weeks ago. Who would trust Franciscus in the light of FFI example?

    • Sixupman,

      Here’s the link to the Wheat & Tares sermon – but I didn’t see any mention of a priest preaching on it – the blog author, Mundabor, writes about listening to the priest delivering the sermon in a “loud and theatrical voice”, but what follows is HIS (Mundabor’s) two reflections on the Gospel, not what his NO priest said.

      As for Bishop Williamson being wrong again – and that spectacularly so – I receive his “Comments” and saw that nonsense about a deal having been struck. I read no further. I wouldn’t waste cyber space discussing his baloney.

  85. As our Popes kiss Korans, suck up to Jews, bow down to Protestants, take blessings from heretics, sell off our Churches to violators of the 1st commandment, Christians are persecuted in the Middle East without a whimper from the Catholic West.

    • Summa,

      Too true. We saw a brief TV news report today about the Catholic woman sentenced to death for allegedly converting from Islam who has now been freed and has visited the Pope in the Vatican.

      I couldn’t help wondering if she is aware of the Pontiff’s fluid relationship with the dogma “outside the Church there is no salvation” and if he would be honest enough to tell her she needn’t have been prepared to give her life for her Faith, that she would be going to Heaven anyway, no matter what her religion…

      And notice, too, that at no time – certainly in any of the news reports I read and heard – was she described as a Catholic ; always, she was a Christian being persecuted..

  86. Eponymous Flower reports that, having already ordered an apostolic visitation into a Diocese in Paraguay – which has been experiencing a vocations boom, connected with the traditional mass – Pope Francis has now suspended Priestly ordinations there:

    Francis does everything in his power to hamstring, undermine and embarrass the Church – all the while lavishing the highest praise on his friends the heretics.

    His pontificate is proving a very poor one indeed and Its a wonder that he has any defenders left.

    • Gabriel,

      Thanks for this alert – that is utterly amazing. It’s not just a case, then, of a pope mistakenly pursuing ecumenism as a means of winning people to the Church, but – from what you report above – a pope who appears to think that Traditional Catholicism is a problem to be stamped out.

      If’ I’m over-stating the case, would someone please explain why. Right now, that’s how it looks to me.

      As to why he has any defenders left; again, it seems to me that the only explanation can be that some folk just will not say “I was wrong” (about Pope Francis) and I was wrong (to be a papolatrist). Pride, in other words, Gabriel, pride.

      Happily, though, more and more people ARE waking up. We had another family come to our SSPX Mass for the first time on Sunday and said afterwards in the tearoom “This is where we’ll be coming from now on.” Another Glasgow parish loses excellent parishioners because they are fed up with the emptiness of the new Mass and because they want to hear the fullness of the Faith preached. What did they think of the sermon on Sunday? “Excellent”. They have come home. I believe others will follow, slowly but surely in some cases, quick as a flash if they’re “Francis-watching”.

    • What you seem to be failing to mention is that their is a Priest, the Diocesan Vicar General no less, by the name of Carlos Urrotigoity, who is identified by the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania as a ‘serious threat to young people’. It seems that the Papal Nuncio ordered his removal. Obviously there are some things that are not quite above board.

      However, the action taken by the Holy See is drastic to say the least, as evidenced by banning ordinations. If you have a splinter in your thumb (i.e Fr. Urrotigoity), you don’t cut off the whole arm. The Bishop, a Priest of Opus Dei, is very traditional and has done a great deal to renew Catholic life, and it seems to Holy See is ‘killing two birds with one stone’, by removing this individual and restraining traditionalist growth.


      • CC1

        Fr Lombardi has issued a statement in which he confirms the ban but gives no reason for it. (1)

        According to this ‘clarification’ Fr Urrutigoity had been relieved of his duties as VG prior to the visitation – so he appears to be a red herring.

        Elsewhere there is a claim that Bp Livieres recently publicly accused the Abp of Asuncion of being a homosexual. (2)

        Perhaps I’m thick (it has been alleged!) but I fail to see how suspending ordinations could possibly be an appropriate response in either case.

        So either there is something we are not being told or this is what it appears to be – another attack on folks with a ‘traditionalist drift’.



  87. The latest rumblings in advance of the forthcoming synod, a from a book length interview with Gerhard Muller.

    Müller: “These Theories Are Radically Mistaken”

    Encouraging noises this time, though I recall Francis’ pals have allegedly tried to restrict Mullers involvement at the Synod.

    Muller also rejects the notion of taking communion being left to peoples own conscience, saying that this had been already rejected by the CDF in 1994.

    • Thank goodness that some sense has come from a Priest in the Roman ‘mainstream’ Hierarchy. Are there more out there like this cardinal, or is he and one or two others just lone voices in the desert?
      And as a worried Catholic myself, I appreciate his stance on what is mercy and what is not. I fear that it will become the get out of jail card for anyone and his dog, during this papacy.

      • Hi Summa,

        There are some good Cardinals indeed. My favourites are probably Malcolm Ranjith (Sri Lanka) and Raymond Burke (USA). The (recently retired) Cardinal Meisner (Germany) I know little of, but he criticised Francis ‘to his face’, so he cant be all that bad.

        Sadly however, many of these find themselves marginalised at present, while the Maradiagas of this world are allowed free rein, as are various “yes men”.

        However they can still speak out against Kaspar and co – I know Cardinal Burke has very explicitly; as have Cardinals Mueller (Germany), Caffarra (Italy) and Brandmuller (Germany) to name a few.

        Editor is right however that we should pray and wait and see what develops at this synod, before praising anyones efforts.

        I find it encouraging that Bishop Athanasius Schneider said openly in England recently that Catholics “could not accept” a change such as Kaspers proposes and warned of schism; yet the main threat is some vaguely worded bodge-job, (as is likely), leaving things up to the predictable discretion of weak local Bishops.

    • Gabriel Syme,

      Cardinal Muller is saying some surprising things these days – quite a turnaround because he was billed as a liberal with bells on when first appointed to the CDF. He certainly is way out of line when it comes to the SSPX – read here

      Then there is the interview he gave to the dissident National Catholic Register and to the more subtle neo-conservative Catholic Herald which is, astonishingly, published on the Vatican website: here’s an extract –

      “The role of the Congregation [for the Doctrine of the Faith] therefore, is first and foremost to support that mission of the whole Church. Obviously, to do that today means that we have to defend the faith from the assault of secularism and materialism…” Read entire interview here

      There you have it. Forget about heretics trying to destroy the Church from within – they can get on with it. The CDF is aiming its fire at the straw men of secularism and materialism – probably sounds good to those who don’t realise that the Church has no authority over “secularism” or “materialism”.

      So, while it’s great that he is taking a stand against the arch-heretic Cardinal Kasper, I wouldn’t read to much into it. It comes under the heading of “thank God for small mercies” 😀

      Oh and we’re not there yet. Let’s wait to see what sort of “solution to the problem” of marriage breakdown/reception of sacraments is reached at the October Synod. Members of the Hierarchy, as we know, have been known to do an unexpected turnaround from time to time!

      • Hi Ed,

        Yes, I remember Mullers appointment to the CDF being greeted with skepticism and certainly it is right to reminder us of concerns about him.

        I guess I am pleased to hear anyone speak out against Kasper and his wacky theories, but of course you are right that we should wait and see what happens before opening the champers!

        On the same topic, Ignatius Press in the USA are releasing a book collecting together the criticism of Kaspers proposals from 5 Cardinals and 4 University Professors.

        Apparently its being published multi-language and is due out before the synod begins. Lets hope it has the desired effect!


        • Gabriel,

          I fully understand your happiness at seeing Cardinal Muller standing up to Cardinal Kasper. I am delighted as well, and it may be that seeing how things are steadily worsening, Cardinal Muller has seen the light, and not before time. It just pays us to remember that we’re living in a state of smoke and mirrors. The synod will be a turning point. We can be sure of that and let’s just hope it’s Muller on the winning side and not Kasper!

  88. When I go to order the Little Office of the BVM from Baronius Press, is it the 3rd edition which I should order, because earlier editions, I am given to understand have many typos etc. I just want to know before I fork out the money.

    • CC,

      I intend to purchase this book too and as far as I am aware, only the 3rd edition is available from Baronius (having some improvements over earlier editions).

      (I am disappointed Baronius don’t do a manual of indulgences!).

  89. Just wanted to highlight an excellent website for anyone wanting to know more about the Catholic Church & the faith. It is The Legion of St. Joseph, for those who may not know this was founded by a group of young Traditional Catholics, most of whom are associated with the Society of St. Pius X. it contains articles, videos and some printable leaflets explaining matters relating to the Eucharist and the family.

    • Spiritus,

      Thank you for that link – I took a quick tour and it looks great. I’ll publicise it on our homepage as a news item. Just what Ireland needs (the new website, I mean, not our publicity!)

      And while I’m on the topic of great sites, one of our younger bloggers – Chopin, from the USA – set up a Google page for us some time ago and it now has 15 followers. You can check it out here.

      I’ll be giving that a plug on the website as well. All go!

    • Spiritus,

      As promised, we did advertise your new website on our homepage, and here on the blog, of course, but don’t mention it…oops! You didn’t! 🙂

  90. In the Gospel of Luke it states that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost in Nazareth:

    ‘And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, [27] To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’ s name was Mary’.

    It says that after the Visitation, Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem where Jesus was born. After the Presentation/ Purification, they all went back to Nazareth.

    Whereas in the Gospel of Matthew it does not say where He was conceived, but rather that He was born in Bethlehem. Then Joseph took Mary and Jesus and fled to Egypt to avoid the wrath of King Herod, and then they went to Nazareth to fulfil the prophecy of the Messiah being a Nazarene, and also to avoid Herod Archelaus.

    Why does Matthew not mention that Jesus was conceived in Nazareth?

    • Catholic Convert,

      I think the gospel writers didn’t write exactly everything that is in every gospel. Just what they thought necessary.

      • It’s just puzzling as to why Matthew didn’t mention the Visitation/ Presentation/ Purification, or why Luke didn’t mention the Massacre of the Innocents or the Flight into Egypt. They are pretty big things. Likewise Matthew’s account of the reason why they left Bethlehem was to escape Herod. In contrast, in Luke’s account, they started in Nazareth, and instead went to Bethlehem for the ritual ceremonies to be performed, and then went to Nazareth because it was their home, not to escape Herod Archelaus or to fulfil any prophecies, as Matthew said.

        • Catholic Convert,

          There’s no error in the Scriptures and the differences reflect the different emphases of the evangelists, their readership and various other simple reasons. I’m about to close this thread now so if you wish to re-post your question on the new General Discussion thread, I’ll answer in some more detail there, although not quite sure how soon. I’m up to my eyes at the moment with various domestic matters and the small matter of trying to get the September edition off the ground.

          However, if you are still puzzled and want more detail – and nobody else has responded (times like this one wonders where all the clergy are) then I’ll do my best to assuage any fears you may harbour. For now, I’ll say merely – don’t worry. Worry not. Sacred Scripture is inerrant and inspired in the sense that the Gospel writers recorded what God wanted them to record. I recommend you read the landmark encyclical on the subject of the study of Sacred Scripture, Providentissimus Deus. You will find it really helpful, I’m sure.

    • CC,

      Just briefly, to touch on your closing question, July 31st, 12.10pm – differences such as you highlight here reflect the different readership being addressed by Matthew and Luke. St Matthew was writing primarily for the new Jewish Christians and so he begins his Gospel by tracing Jesus’ royal line, choosing to begin with the genealogy because that would seem more important to him than the location of Nazareth. Luke, on the other hand, addresses his Gospel to a particular person, probably an important Roman official, so his content reflects that fact. Luke seems to be an organised person, paying attention to dates and details – God uses each individual evangelist to see to it that all that He wishes to be recorded, is recorded.

      As I’ve said below, if you wish more detail on this, please-repost on the new General Discussion thread and I will respond asap.

  91. I am not able to access the Carmel books web site – anyone else have this problem, or are they (or I?) having some issue? (I hope they have not “gone under”!!!?).

    • Gabriel

      Yes. I tried a little while ago and all I got was a blank page – no idea what the problem is.

      • CD & Gabriel,

        There’s a telephone number for Carmel Books on our website, links page, if you want to ask them about the website.

        N O T I C E . . .

        This thread is now closed, folks. Please move on to General Discussion thread number (6).

        Thank you.

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