Just how Catholic is the Catholic Herald… How Faithless the Bishops?

From Gloria TV…

Damian Thompson, editor-in-chief of the Catholic Herald announced (Twitter, July 4) that “the new owners” and he “do not agree on the future direction of the company.”

The Catholic Herald is owned by the British businessman Rocco Forte, a non-practicing Catholic, and German born Princess Michael of Kent. Both are very much part of the British establishment.

To explain his stance, Thompson pointed to his interview with Raymond Arroyo last week on EWTN [see video below] where he criticised the forthcoming Amazonian Synod and called to “cancel this wretched ‘synod’.“

Thompson will do weekly podcasts for The Spectator, where he is an assistant editor, and be “free to tell you what I really think”.

His “first tweet as a free man” criticized Francis concerning the new Viganò revelations,

“It’s now obvious that Pope Francis is deeply implicated in terrible scandals. My concern isn’t theological: it’s the spectacle of a corrupt pope, something I never expected to see in my lifetime.”

Comment:

The Catholic Herald is often described (to me, at least) as the most orthodox of the current crop of Catholic newspapers.  In the above interview, Damian Thompson slices through the weakness of the UK Bishops in matters of pro-life and he is rightly outspoken about the forthcoming Amazon Synod of Bishops, offering concrete examples of major concern, not least the shocking justification of infanticide on “cultural” grounds by the author of the Synod’s working document, Austrian Bishop Erwin Kräutler.  Damian Thompson calls for the Amazon Synod to be cancelled.  Catholic Truth adds its voice to this call to cancel what is designed to cause huge scandal.  

A major weakness in the interview, however, is Damian Thompson’s analysis of the Bishops of Scotland…  He considers them, despite tending to be left wing… as, nevertheless,  “in many ways, quite strong and fearless”.  Oops!  We’ve missed that!  Must’ve been out for lunch that day!

I’ve emailed Raymond Arroyo to ask him not to seek the views of English commentators on our Bishops, because they do, invariably, think that the Scottish Bishops are sound;  this is mostly because of their occasional pro-life statements. When commentators abroad paint this misleading picture of our Bishops, it undermines our efforts to fight the crisis in the Church here in Scotland. I mean, providing safe spaces for LGBT pupils in Catholic schools can hardly be classed as “strong and fearless” – can it? 

Share your thoughts – are you still buying/reading the Catholic Herald.  If so, when, on this earth, will you learn!  

Separating The Mass From Its Purpose…

From the Catholic Herald, 8th September, 2017…

Matthew Schmitz is right that young Catholics are more traditionally-minded. But that doesn’t always mean the Old Rite

Everyone, including Catholics, wants to figure out millennials, the much-maligned generation to which I undeniably belong. 

Last week, my fellow native Nebraskan Matthew Schmitz wrote a piece for the Catholic Herald entitled “The Kids Are Old Rite”. Schmitz argued that the younger generation today – us millennials – are trending increasingly traditional, much to the dismay of some older, more liberal generations of Catholics.

On that point, generally, I don’t disagree. I see in myself and among my fellow millennial Catholics a desire to return to more orthodox practices, teachings and ways of thinking. We saw what happened when our parents’ generation flung open Pandora’s box – sexually, religiously, morally – and we’re not loving the results. Divorce, abortion, and the breakdown of the family have had less than desirable effects on the society we’ve inherited.

In particular, the quotes from Archbishop Augustine DiNoia that Schmitz included on the subject were spot on:

My sense is that these twenty- and thirty-somethings have been radicalised by their experience … in a way that we were not.” After “God-knows-what kinds of personal and social experiences”, they have come to know “moral chaos, personally and socially, and they want no part of it”. A sense of narrow escape guides their vocations. “It is as if they had gone to the edge of an abyss and pulled back.

However, the piece implies that young people are increasingly preferring the Old Rite – the Traditional Latin Mass – over the Novus Ordo, and that the “liturgy wars” of old will now be divided along generational lines.

But based on my experience, and that of my peers, I don’t think it’s true that we’re clamouring for the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) in large numbers. I also don’t think we’re interested in reviving the so-called “liturgy wars” of old.

I have some friends who prefer the TLM, or the Byzantine rite. But they’re still the exception, rather than the norm, among my wide circle of Catholic friends that comes with living in a Catholic millennial hub like Denver.

My TLM friends think that the old rite is beautiful, but they aren’t going to go so far as to “shove it down the throats” of others, as one of my friends put it.  
 
From what I have seen, the Traditional Latin Mass appeals to some Catholics, but I don’t think it will ever become the norm again. I personally prefer the Novus Ordo Mass, because it’s the form with which I grew up and with which I am most familiar. I’ve gone to public school my whole life and have never formally been taught Latin, and so I prefer a Mass I understand.

An unscientific poll of my young people friends tends to agree – we haven’t been taught Latin like the previous generations, and we don’t see what’s wrong with a prayerful and reverent Novus Ordo Mass.

Judging by the ever-growing crowd of young people at the Novus Ordo Mass I attend weekly, at which we chant the opening antiphons in English and have incense galore, we’re looking for reverence, but at a Mass we understand.

In true millennial fashion, however, I’d like to take a moment to check my privilege.

As a daughter of the notoriously traditional Lincoln Diocese in Nebraska, I never felt the need to seek out more reverent, prayerful forms of Mass, because the Novus Ordo Masses I grew up with were lacking in neither. Similarly, when I made the move to Denver three years ago, I had little trouble finding a Novus Ordo Mass that was celebrated beautifully and reverently.

I realise that the story might be different if I had lived in other dioceses. Given the choice between the Latin or a questionable liturgical dance Mass, I’d choose Latin any day.

At the end of the day, it’s hard enough to be a young Catholic today, that I think most of us recognise that can’t let “liturgy wars” bring us down.

Do you feel closest to God while wearing a veil and chanting Latin? Great. Is the Novus Order Mass in English, with the promise of coffee and donuts afterwards, the only way to get your butt into a pew on Sunday? More power to you.

We’re just happy you’re here, because we want you to meet Jesus.    Source – Catholic Herald, 8/9/17          

                                 

Comment:

Support for the above thesis / praise for the novus ordo came from an unexpected source in last week’s Catholic Herald – none other than Dr Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society (LMS):

“Rather than throw every parish into confusion with a new top-down reform, it is better to foster the existing liturgical pluralism, which includes the reformed Roman Rite [Ed: the novus ordo, the new Mass], the Ordinariate Use, the growing presence of Eastern Catholic Rites, and the pre-conciliar Latin liturgy, now widely available once more. Among these, surely, we have something for everyone… the liturgy should not be a battlefield, it is a table at which the Catholic soul is nourished.”  Joseph Shaw: After the ‘liturgy wars’, a pluralistic truce? Catholic Herald,  1/9/17.

What seems to have been forgotten by these writers is  the fact that the Mass is not for us.  This appears to be an error peculiar to our times, for although there are various rites within the Church, the novus ordo alone appears designed to cater for personal whims of taste and fashion of various types – for example, popular music, lay activity.  But the Mass is not for us, in that sense.  The Roman Rite  was approved centuries ago by the Church, in the form we now term “the traditional Latin Mass”  for the purpose of offering true worship to God – not because the locals found it entertaining, or held their attention or suited their imagined “spiritual” needs. 

So, how can this concept of “pluralistic truce” be justified in the current crisis of Faith in the Church?  Is the Mass primarily a “table at which the Catholic soul is nourished” or an altar on which the Holy Sacrifice of the Lamb is re-presented to the Father in order to offer Him true worship, which is wholly orthodox and pleasing to God… Does our often superficial “enjoyment” of Mass in the vernacular, easily understood with popular music and easy on the ear and conscience homilies, trump our duty to offer the worship which has nourished saints and martyrs down the centuries, and is manifestly pleasing to God? Think: “by their fruits…” 

In summary: what’s your take on a “pluralistic truce”?    But before you answer, check out this critique of the new Mass

Correcting Cornwell Again…

Catholic Truth blogger, Athanasius, submitted the following letter to the Catholic Herald, in an attempt to correct yet another attack on Pope Pius XII by the pseudo-journalist John Cornwell. We’ve discussed his writings in the past here
When you’ve read the letter, please vote in the poll to tell us whether you think the Editor of the Catholic Herald published this letter or not. Then share your thoughts on why – against all the evidence to the contrary – John Cornwell continues to defend his unconscionable attacks on Pope Pius XII…

Letter from Martin Blackshaw, aka Athanasius…

In an attempted rebuttal of Fr. Leo Chamberlain’s observation that “Hitler’s Pope” received warm reviews in the liberal press, as opposed to harsh reviews from knowledgeable experts, John Cornwell offered Professors Owen Chadwick, Paul Preston, Denis Mack Smith and Saul Friedländer as “academic specialists on the period” who praised his book (Letters, March 17).

The problem with this defence is that all of the aforementioned are left-leaning, non-Catholic revisionist historians who have little regard for the Catholic Church. Indeed, Friedländer abandoned Catholicism to become a leading left wing Zionist in Israel.

Mr. Cornwell then went on to describe the Reichskonkordat as “the international treaty negotiated by Pacelli and Hitler in the summer of 1933”.

In fact, the concordat in question was negotiated by Cardinal Pacelli, representing the Holy See, and Vice Chancellor Franz von Papen, on behalf of President von Hindenburg and the German government. Hitler’s signature is not on the agreement and neither he nor his Nazi Party are mentioned in it. This is very important to note as it demonstrates how Mr. Cornwell slants his presentation of events.

In a further misrepresentation he proposes that the Reichskonkordat was agreed to by the Nazis on the understanding that the Catholic Centre Party would be abolished, but only after it had voted in favour of the Enabling Act that handed Hitler his dictatorship.

In response to this common revisionist error, historian Michael Phayer writes: “the view that the Concordat was the result of a deal that delivered the parliamentary vote of the Catholic Centre Party to Hitler, thereby giving him dictatorial power (the Enabling Act of March 1933)…. is historically inaccurate”. (The Catholic Church and the Holocaust (1930–1965), 2000, p. 18).

In truth, there is not a shred of historical evidence supporting a link between the Enabling Act of March 1933 and the Reichskonkordat signed on July 20 of the same year.

Hitler’s dictatorship was actually sealed in February 1933 with the ‘Reichstag Fire Decree’. From that date it was only a matter of time before he intimidated his way to full control of the Reich. The dissolution of opposition political parties was well underway by then and the Catholic Centre Party knew its days were numbered.

The Nazis were viciously anti-Christian, as well as anti-Jewish. Cardinal Pacelli knew this and acted “with a gun at his head”, as he put it to one British journalist, to preserve the Church in Germany as best he could under the circumstances. One of Germany’s leading Cardinals of the time, Cardinal Faulhaber, concurred when he declared “With the concordat we are hanged, without the concordat we are hanged, drawn and quartered”.

History vindicates both Churchmen in that by the end of the war Dachau concentration camp held so many imprisoned catholic clergy that it had its own barracks. Others were not so fortunate; those many priests and religious who were murdered when their churches, monasteries and convents were ransacked and desecrated by the Nazis.

The trouble with revisionists like John Cornwell is that they are unable to distinguish between martyrdom and suicide. It seems they also have difficulty in separating truth from falsehood.

I still remember the consternation of Fr. Peter Gumpel, vice postulator of the cause of Pius XII, during a telephone conversation I had with him when Hitler’s Pope was first published. According to Fr. Gumpel, John Cornwell lied when he said he had been given privileged access to secret Vatican archives on Eugenio Pacelli that shocked him and prompted him to write Hitler’s Pope.

The truth is he was only granted access to publicly available archive information that covered the period 1912 – 1922. There is no mention in those documents of Hitler or the Nazis.

I don’t know about anyone else but that revelation of Fr. Gumpel tells me all I need to know about Hitler’s Pope and its author. END.

 

 

Joanna Bogle Explains Third Secret

Protestantised Catholic Owns Up!

There was a time when I thought I’d never say this, but I’m worried that I’m, how shall I put it, turning Protestant. The awful thought dawned on me when I realised that although my parish church has a Door of Mercy – going through which, with appropriate prayers, would give me an indulgence – I’ve never actually been through it. Not once. I do know about the doctrine of the Church’s treasury of merits which underlies the teaching, but a stubborn little voice inside me says that the mercy of God is boundless, and accessible to all, door or no door, indulgences or no indulgences.

...The religious practice of indulgences reawakens trust and hope in a full reconciliation with God the Father, but in such a way as will not justify any negligence nor in any way diminish the effort to acquire the dispositions required for full communion with God. Although indulgences are in fact free gifts, nevertheless they are granted for the living as well as for the dead only on determined conditions. To acquire them, it is indeed required on the one hand that prescribed works be performed, and on the other that the faithful have the necessary dispositions, that is to say, that they love God, detest sin, place their trust in the merits of Christ and believe firmly in the great assistance they derive from the Communion of Saints. Apostolic Constitution on Indulgences, Indulgentiarum Doctrina, Pope Paul VI, January, 1, 1967

…The religious practice of indulgences reawakens trust and hope in a full reconciliation with God the Father, but in such a way as will not justify any negligence nor in any way diminish the effort to acquire the dispositions required for full communion with God. Although indulgences are in fact free gifts, nevertheless they are granted for the living as well as for the dead only on determined conditions. To acquire them, it is indeed required on the one hand that prescribed works be performed, and on the other that the faithful have the necessary dispositions, that is to say, that they love God, detest sin, place their trust in the merits of Christ and believe firmly in the great assistance they derive from the Communion of Saints. Apostolic Constitution on                      Indulgences,                   Indulgentiarum Doctrina, Pope Paul VI, January, 1, 1967


Of course it’s excellent that people are thinking about mercy – as you go through the door you’re meant to reflect on how to receive it from God and extend it to others – but I’m not moved by the symbolism myself. Not to put too fine a point on it, I’ve come to the pass of going straight to God without the aids extended by the Church.

Being a naturally sectarian Catholic, this is a troubling development. Next year is the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation, an event I propose to mark by wearing funereal colour. But underneath the black and purple, I find myself sympathetic to bits of the Protestant project. The idea of the priesthood of all believers, squarely based on St Paul, is not antipathetical to an ordained priesthood, and never fails to cheer me up, especially when people complain about the dearth of vocations. The priestly character of all the baptised is rather a comfort, don’t you think, when it turns out, yet again, that the institutional church has failed to deal with some egregious scandal.

Actually, the most egregious ones of all, the child abuse scandals, have not had the effect of unsettling my faith in the slightest, notwithstanding my seeing that rather overrated film, Spotlight. I mean, things were worse prior to the Reformation, no? And every human institution is bound to be flawed one way or another.

All the same, now that we know about the inability of the Church, notably the bishops, to recognise the compulsive psychology of child abusers, it does make you question Cardinal Newman’s insistence that because of its longevity, the Church has seen everything and knows everything about the nature of man, which was the same in the 5th century as it was 1500 years later. In fact the Church, notwithstanding encountering the phenomenon of paedophilia again and again over the course of centuries, has been remarkably bad at identifying its character. Making the same mistake over the course of 2,000 years may be consistent but it’s not inerrancy. Secular institutions and other religions were just as clueless, but the Church is held to different standards.

And then there’s the fundamental aspect of Protestantism: the reliance on Scripture. I don’t buy the notion that a believer just needs a Bible, but it does unsettle me that Catholics are so much less scripturally literate than paid-up Protestants. Bishops in the Anglican synod quote cheerfully from the Old Testament; I never hear Catholic priests preach from it. Bertie Wooster in PG Wodehouse won a prize for Scripture Knowledge; I mean, he was bound to be CofE, wasn’t he? The one exception I know is a priest from Kerala in India who baffles the congregation in my home parish in Ireland by actually asking them questions about the Old Testament. Where he comes from, this is normal practice; here, young Catholics are familiar with perhaps half a dozen or so episodes from the Hebrew Scriptures and that’s it.

And what about popular devotion? I respect it, of course, but there are times when I can see why Protestants find it too close to superstition. There are those prayer cards to the Sacred Heart or Saint Anthony that you find in the back of churches which assure you that if you say the prayers specified a given number of times correctly, your prayers are bound to be answered. That’s more like magic than prayer. And while I have an instinctive devotion to Our Lady, I do feel uneasy at the extent to which devotion to the Virgin has overshadowed that historically given to other scriptural saints – John the Baptist, say. And places like Medugorje, which lots of people find beneficial, present the Virgin in a very different guise from the Mary of the Gospels; it puts me off.

Naturally, I’d never actually be anything but a Catholic. As James Joyce said, when he was asked why, given his disaffection with the Church, he did not become a Protestant: “Madam, I have lost my faith; I have not lost my self-respect”. But although I intend to die a Catholic, I’m becoming a Protestant sort of Catholic. Worrying, I know, but there it is.  Source: Catholic Herald

Melanie McDonagh is comment editor of the London Evening Standard 

Comment:

Melanie McDonagh is not alone in her Protestantised Catholicism. We have one some-time blogger who has bemoaned the Catholic custom of venerating relics. Same mindset.  However, my first thought on reading the above article in today’s Catholic Herald was: “at last! They’re coming out openly in the Catholic press and admitting that they’ve been Protestantised. It’s a start!” 

Don’t get me wrong.  There is no requirement on Catholics to avail ourselves of the Church’s treasury – whether it be devotions to particular saints, indulgences or the veneration of relics.   Still, I think there is something significant, not to say very sad, about such a public disavowal, perhaps especially in the  case of Melanie McDonagh’s Protestantised view of Our Lady – notable, not least because she selects the unapproved, indeed, hoax phenomenon of Medjugorje, as an example of the kind of Marian piety that she rejects! Still, if she means she dislikes pilgrimages to approved shrines such as Lourdes, Fatima, etc., lighting candles, submitting petitions, taking Lourdes water, buying Fatima rosaries – that sort of thing – then, yes, to quote her own words, she IS “turning Protestant” –  a true daughter of Martin Luther.  

Again, of course, we are not bound to accept or have devotion to each and every approved apparition (although it is important to note Pope Benedict’s statement that Fatima places an obligation on the entire Church). Whatever, it is a very strange Catholic who would express Protestant sentiments towards any of the Marian shrines and devotions.  And it is a very sad thing, indeed, to read an article, penned by a Catholic journalist, in a Catholic newspaper, joining battle with the Protestant revolutionary, Martin Luther, to attack the doctrine of indulgences. 

Click on the image to read Pope Paul’s Apostolic Constitution on Indulgences, and tell us if you agree.  Or maybe you share Melanie McDonagh’s dislike of indulgences, and other Protestant leanings?   

Confessions of an ex-traddie (as if…)

The very telling article below is the work of Damian Thompson (pictured), associate editor of The Spectator and editorial director of the Catholic Herald, who is widely regarded as a “traditionalist” Catholic journalist.  We, at Catholic Truth, have always considered him to be about as traditional as a mobile phone, so we smiled on reading the “conversion” story below, remembering his enthusiasm for the then Archbishop Nichols to be given the red hat as a reward for organising the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to England. Very “traditional”, yes? At one time, prior to Vatican II, we didn’t use labels to describe different types of Catholic.  One was either a Catholic or a Protestant.  Indeed, in the north of Ireland they tell the story of the Hindu who was stopped in the street by a young boy who asked whether he was a Catholic or a Protestant. When the man replied “I’m a Hindu”, the lad looked puzzled and responded: “Well, are you a Catholic Hindu or a Protestant Hindu?”  So, consider, in this conversation, what it is that makes someone a “traditional” Catholic as opposed to any other of the more recent brands.  But first, read the story of the “ex-traddie” who never really was…    

I used to be too snooty to appreciate an 'ordinary' Mass. Now lay ministers, altar girls, even an exuberant sign of peace – they don't bother me in the least

I used to be too snooty to appreciate an ‘ordinary’ Mass. Now lay ministers, altar girls, even an exuberant sign of peace -they don’t bother me in the least

 

At the Easter Vigil, I found myself with my right hand resting on the right shoulder of a young friend, David Oldroyd-Bolt, who was being received into the Catholic Church. On his left shoulder rested the hand of my former Daily Telegraph colleague Dr Tim Stanley, a historian who is also television critic of this magazine.

We were David’s co-sponsors. The priest anointing him was Fr Julian Large, who in a previous incarnation was also a Telegraph journalist; in those days he was still an Anglo-Catholic – or “dyed-in-the-wool Protestant”, as I used to tease him.

David had been an Anglo-Catholic, too, and I’m afraid I subjected him to the same ribbing. That may have been why he did me the honour of asking me to co-sponsor him: at least that way he could prove to me that he’d done the right thing.

What a way to enter into full communion with the Holy See! I don’t just mean the comedy of being surrounded by former and current Telegraph hacks: the service itself was magnificent.

Not since the heyday of the Borgias have such finely wrought gold vestments been displayed to the faithful, worn by clergy with hair parted with rulers and trimmed with the utmost severity by Geo F Trumper of Jermyn Street. Plus vintage specs of a design that even Pius XII might have thought outmoded.

You’ll have worked out that the church was the London Oratory, where they don’t exactly rush the Triduum: I was there for two and a half hours. Services at the Oratory have a grandeur all of their own – choreographed to a standard that you won’t find in Rome or, indeed, Old Rite ceremonies staged by the Latin Mass Society. (Not to be mean, but I’ve never seen so much flapping and semaphoring as I did at the last LMS Requiem I attended.)

Also, counter-intuitively, there’s a refreshing absence of High Church campery at the Oratory. This is a function of the seriousness of its theology: it preaches the Magisterium with a purity that contrasts starkly with the waffle emanating from certain members of the College of Cardinals. You’re never far from the Four Last Things in an Oratorian sermon.

I’d forgotten what an enormous church it is. I ordered my Uber from the front row and by the time I reached the door it was waiting outside. But before I scuttled off I said to David: “Next Sunday, go to an ordinary parish. Then you’ll really get a sense of what you’ve joined.”

This wasn’t meant as an insult. I’ve always liked the title of a book of essays for would-be converts edited by Joanna Bogle: Come on in… it’s awful! When that was published, 22 years ago, the average liturgy was awful and my goodness I banged on about it. But even then, before the “Benedictisation” of worship that is beginning to rub off everywhere, there was a warmth about the celebration of Mass and the welcome afterwards that was and is distinctively Catholic. (That I was too snooty to appreciate it was my loss.)

In the past few years I’ve been reintegrated into the ordinary Catholic Church. The process began when a musician friend started taking me to the low-key Sunday evening Mass at Farm Street. But things really picked up when I began regular attendance at the church opposite my flat, St Mary of the Angels, Notting Hill. My parish priest is the lovely Mgr Keith Barltrop, who has banished the last remnants of BCM (Bad Catholic Music); on Friday the shivers ran up my spine when, as I queued for the Adoration of the Cross, the organ struck up a familiar ground bass and I heard the Crucifixus of Bach’s B Minor Mass, exquisitely performed by a small choir that must have had professional singers in it. I fought back tears, which is how it should be on Good Friday.

Thanks to Fr Keith, there are proper candles in the sanctuary and a “Benedict Cross” on the altar. The servers are nicely drilled. But lots of them are girls and at every Mass there are lay ministers of Holy Communion. The sign of peace can be quite exuberant.

And it doesn’t bother me in the least. These are signs of the comforting “ordinariness” of worship that takes me back to my Catholic childhood. Indeed, the longer I attend, the more I realise that the cradle bits of my Catholicism never went away, though they’re not necessarily very edifying.

For example, my hearts leaps – just as it did in 1975 – when I hear the priest say the words, “the fount of all holiness” because it means he’s gone for the Second Eucharistic Prayer and it’s the shortest. Worse, I groan when the priest settles down for his moment of private prayer after Communion. The 13-year-old in me still thinks: come on, Father, we’re so tantalisingly near the end.

Also, to quote the great Ed West in a tweet, “Hearing the words ‘The Mass is Ended, go in peace’ = instant dopamine squirt”.

I’m not going to try to justify these sentiments to David, my new fellow Catholic; you can’t expect a convert to understand. But they don’t really matter, either, because short Masses can be very uplifting. Parish priests, please note.

Damian Thompson is associate editor of The Spectator and editorial director of the Catholic Herald

This article first appeared in the April 1 2016 issue of The Catholic Herald