Part of the Catholic Truth series, Thinking Through Catholic Truth – The Big Questions…Answered.
Part of the Catholic Truth series, Thinking Through Catholic Truth – The Big Questions…Answered.
Blogger, Benedict Carter writes:
Apparently Russia is now a Christian country and Putin, the champion of Christian values, is in Syria solely to protect the Christian population. Putin is the Traditionalist’s friend because he has banned homosexuality. He should be supported simply by virtue of his enmity to our own godless Western leaders. Orthodoxy is a safe haven for the Traditional Catholic as the Catholic Church lurches towards apostasy in the form of liberal Protestantism, rampant Modernism and (soon) open schism. Fr. Malachi Martin said that “salvation will come from the east” so this means that Modernism in the Church and Vatican II will be swept away by Russia and then true religion will be restored. After all, according to Joanna Bogle and others, Russia has already been converted. (Funny that the period of peace doesn’t seem to have accompanied this conversion Joanna, but I suppose we can’t have everything).
Over the last eighteen months to two years these views have been heard more and more openly on some Traditionalist sites and blogs. Sadly, what these views have in common is that they are so full of factual inaccuracies, false assumptions and ignorant claims that this latest blip on the Traditionalist radar constitutes a material danger and really should be dismissed before it becomes an accepted part of the global Traditionalist mind-set.
The Remnant in the USA has on several occasions pushed the ideas in question. Although to be fair to him Michael Matt, the Remnant’s Editor, has in one or two recent articles rowed back somewhat from his earlier position (which tended to canonise Putin and ascribe to him a divine mandate of some sort), nevertheless he has led the way in promoting the trend in question, even banning posters who sought to balance his and others’ speculation and even pagan-like numerology (the 100 years meme) with a dose of Russian reality.
My objective is to show that these views about Russia are all false, resting as they do on a total lack of understanding of the current nature of Russia and of its so-called Christian revival. Suffering from a sense of helplessness and even despair at the vacuity of Western policy, and the state of the Church and society, it is my contention that those who hold these views are investing an inchoate hope in a “false Messiah” and that this hope will surely be dashed. Indeed, ultimately I hold that those who place their hope in Putin and Russia are guilty of a serious spiritual fault in that they are putting their trust in politics and in a man rather than in Jesus Christ.
My own interest in this subject comes from my own long association with Russia. Having been a student of its literature and history from my early teenage years, in the middle 1990’s I started what was to be a twelve-year plus period living in the former USSR. During that time I lived for nearly three years in Central Asia and then more than ten years in Moscow. I speak Russian, I am married to a Russian, I owned a business in Russia, I know the history of the country and of the Russian Orthodox Church. The years I spent there changed me profoundly. Russia will be part of me until I die. I therefore consider myself well-qualified, at least amongst Traditionalists, to comment on Russian affairs.
Since 1991, it’s true that around 6,000 churches have been built or rebuilt. Ancient monasteries and convents again contain many religious. It is normal for many Russian Orthodox to attend Easter and Christmas liturgies and popping into a church to light a candle is an unremarkable activity. Around 75% of Russians are now baptised. The country’s leadership appear with high prelates on TV on important feasts and all dutifully make the Sign of the Cross (albeit badly) at the appropriate moments. There is a genuine piety to be found among believers. And as everyone knows, Russia has enacted a law preventing the advertising or marketing of homosexuality. All this is of course to be applauded. But does it mean that Russia is now a Christian country? What is the state of Russian society? This should tell us how real is Russia’s Christian life.
State of Russian Society
State of the Orthodox Church
As ever, the Orthodox Church is the creature of the State. It has been so since even before the Church’s submission to Tsar Peter and his suppression of the Patriarchate. Imagining the Russian Orthodox Church without the crutch of the Russian State is impossible. In return for the State’s provision of tax benefits, cash, Presidential and Prime Ministerial time and constant TV exposure, the Church plays the part of chief cheerleader for the Russian regime. It has always been thus and it certainly is now. Both parties gain but one does wonder who or what the Russian Orthodox Church really worships. Is it the Holy Trinity or the Russian State?
For some, the Russian State undoubtedly comes in first place. For Father Vselovod Chaplin for example, America is Satan, Britain is his chief demon and God demands nuclear warfare against both. And, according to Chaplin, Russian women should have their reign of debauchery ended by the practice of universal female genital mutilation. This oaf has said so many mad things that the so-called philosophy of “Eurasianism”, as developed and taught by Alexander Dugin, seems almost sane in comparison. For Dugin, by the way, the SS was the perfect society and as usual for fanatics of Slav nationalism, the chief enemy for him is the Anglo-Saxon, which means Britain and America. Today’s Russia is semi-fascist and so is its national Orthodox Church.
There is much else that is deeply rotten in the Russian Orthodox Church. Apart from the very ugly nationalist ideology and greed for material reward (remember the Patriarch and his $450,000 watch?), anti-Catholic sentiment remains very high. As told directly to me by a Catholic priest in Russia (and confirmed by an Anglican), some years ago the Catholic Archdiocese in Moscow had to go through the local Anglican vicar to arrange meetings with the Patriarchate. The Catholic side would state what subjects it wished to discuss, the Patriarchate would say how many BMWs and Mercedes it wanted in return for the meeting. (Ecumenism Russian Orthodox style …).
No, the Russian Orthodox Church inspires no confidence. It is this body that is to save the West? I think not. In fact, despite its high position in State and society, it may well have already entered a period of decline only two decades after the fall of Communism.
Putin is lauded as a strongman who runs rings around Western leaders and makes them look foolish. There can be no doubt that he is a clever man. But consider: if you do not operate by the norms of international law, if you are prepared to lie and cheat your way to your objectives, it is an easy thing to surprise those who do operate by the norms of international law and those who do more or less, in their dealings with each other, tell the truth and act honestly. Thus Putin is a very strong tactician but no strategist. Russia may contain much of genius but in global terms, whatever its showing in Syria (a Russian success only possible because Obama reneged on his “red line” promise) its influence is that of a regional power.
Led by thugs and gangsters, Russia has no vision beyond its own preservation. This indeed is the real key to understanding Russian policy. Russia is an almost-failed State governed by serial liars, thieves and Secret Police operatives. I can personally confirm that FSB officers still, to this day, have a statuette of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the mass murderer who founded the CHEKA, on their desks.
Is Putin a believer? He may be, it’s truly difficult to say. I think he probably is, but that this belief does not prevent him from doing all manner of murder in the interests of his true god who is Mother Russia. God for the Orthodox is a strongly Slavic nationalist deity.
Did Putin ask the Pope to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart? I do not believe it for a moment. The Orthodox Church is extremely hostile to Fatima and Putin would not antagonise the Patriarchate unnecessarily. Nevertheless, does Russia have a role to play in the cosmic battle currently being fought? Yes, it does: Our Lady has told us so. If the Consecration does not come as Heaven wished it, then instead of being converted, Russia may well play the part of being the instrument of God’s punishment on an unfaithful, godless world which has long since been soaked in Russia’s own atheistic, Bolshevik errors. It is interesting that some pre-Revolutionary Orthodox prophecy supports a very old traditional reading of Scripture which states that Gog and Magog is Russia.
We can see I think that the real attraction of Putin to Traditionalists is that he provides clarity whereas our own leaders are mired in leftist social engineering (through mass immigration) and political correctness, and thus are imposing on us a revolutionary globalist ideology that is straining our system and very civilisation to the limit. Similarly, the attraction of the Orthodox Church to many Traditionalists is the beauty of its liturgy and music. But do either of them offer the West anything that we cannot better find by restoring what has been taken, both from our society and from the Church? I strongly believe not.
The waters have been badly muddied for the Traditionalist by those useful idiots in the modern Church who hold that Fatima is fulfilled and Russia has already converted. Aside from the asinine suggestion that Our Lady would be pleased by the conversion of Russia to a schismatic sect, the reality of Russian society today cannot but exclude the possibility of Fatima’s completion. I myself am not so hard on this question as many Traditionalists: I am quite able to accept that the 1984 Consecration might have led to the fall of Communism and a partial conversion of Russia; however, this was not what Our Lady requested, desired or promised. That there is no period of peace is self-evident. So the likes of Joanna Bogle not only fool themselves but sadly many others too and the popularity of Putin among so many Traditionalists is at least indirectly and in part due to this false Fatima propaganda.
Following Putin and trusting in Russia is a dangerous temptation and one that must be resisted. The true solution to our woes, which are real, is the restoration of a truly Catholic (= Christian) civilisation, not the adoption, out of despair, of a rotten schismatic and heretical Orthodox one.
VATICAN CITY – Everyone experiences doubts about the faith at times – “I have” many times, Pope Francis said – but such doubts can be “a sign that we want to know God better and more deeply.”
“We do not need to be afraid of questions and doubts because they are the beginning of a path of knowledge and going deeper; one who does not ask questions cannot progress either in knowledge or in faith,” the pope said Nov. 23 at his weekly general audience.
Pope Francis said that although the Year of Mercy has concluded, he still wanted to continue his general audience reflections on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
With fewer than 10,000 pilgrims and visitors present and with rain forecast, the Vatican moved the audience indoors to the Vatican audience hall. Click here to read more
Am I alone is not having experienced “doubts” about the Faith? Maybe I was taught, too thoroughly, that wilful doubt is one of the chief sins against the Faith (Scottish Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Chapter XXVIII, The First Commandment – Section 1: the Worship of God, # 541)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), # 2088 teaches that the first commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it. There are various ways of sinning against faith: Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness. End of extract from CCC
I was taught that God cannot deceive, and thus, we are obliged to accept, in the spirit of Faith, what He has revealed. Obviously, such Faith is accepted in the context of learning about the nature of Church, that the authority of the Catholic Church comes from God, and that, thus, there is no need for “doubts”. Of course we should continue to study and read about the Church, but not in a spirit of asking God to prove Himself to us. It has become a fashion to doubt, the implication being that unless we entertain doubts we are somehow less intelligent that those who do. The opposite is, in fact, true. It is entirely against the nature of true Faith to entertain doubts. The legitimate questions which arise, and to which we seek answers, are not “doubts” so it is a pity that Pope Francis is using the word and encouraging the idea that it is a good thing to doubt.
Personally, I think that Pope Francis is confusing the duty to keep ourselves educated in the Faith through study and prayer, with doubting, which is, as indicated above, one of the chief sins against the Faith. What do you think?
SAINT MARGARET MARY ALACOQUE, VIRGIN—1690 Feast: October 17
In seventeenth-century France the faith of the people had been badly shaken; there was rebellion against the Church and neglect of its teachings; the rise of Protestantism and the spread of the heresy of Jansenism both had a part in the weakening of the structure built up through the ages. But as every threat brings its response, so now there rose up fresh, strong forces to counter these trends. Three famous religious, who are today venerated as saints, were particularly effective: John Eudes and Claude de la Columbiere were French Jesuit priests and writers; Margaret Mary Alacoque was a simple nun of the order of the Visitation. Their special work was to popularize the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. To represent this trio and this movement, we have chosen Margaret Mary Alacoque.
She was born in 1647 at Janots, a small town of Burgundy, the fifth of seven children, of Claude and Philiberte Alacoque. Her father was a prosperous notary; the family owned a country house and farmland, and had some aristocratic connections. Margaret’s godmother was a neighbor, the Countess of Corcheval. As a small child Margaret spent a great deal of time with her, but these visits were brought to a sudden end by the death of the countess. The father died of pneumonia when Margaret was about eight, and this was another severe shock to the little girl. Claude had loved his family dearly but had been short-sighted and extravagant. His death put them in hard straits. However, Margaret was sent to school with the Urbanist Sisters at Charolles. She loved the peace and order of the convent life, and the nuns were so impressed by her devotion that she was allowed to make her First Communion at the age of nine. A rheumatic affliction kept her bedridden for four years. During this time she was brought home, where some of her father’s relatives had moved in and taken over the direction of the farm and household. She and her mother were disregarded, and treated almost as servants. This painful situation grew more acute after Margaret’s recovery, for the relatives tried to regulate all her comings and goings. Not allowed to attend church as often as she pleased, the young girl was sometimes seen weeping and praying in a corner of the garden. It grieved her deeply that she could not ease things for her mother. Her eldest brother’s coming of age saved the day, for the property now reverted to him, and the family again had undisputed possession of their home.
Philiberte expressed a hope that Margaret would marry; the girl considered the step, inflicting severe austerities upon herself during a period of indecision. At the age of twenty, inspired by a vision, she put aside all such thoughts and resolved to enter a convent. While awaiting admission, she tried to help and teach certain neglected children of the village. At twenty-two she made her profession at the convent of the Visitation at Paray-le-Monial. The nuns of the Order of the Visitation, founded in the early years of the seventeenth century by St. Francis de Sales, were famed for their humility and selflessness. As a novice Margaret excelled in these virtues. When she made her profession, the name of Mary was added and she was called Margaret Mary. She began a course of mortifications and penances which were to continue, with more or less intensity, as long as she lived. We are told that she was assigned to the infirmary and was not very skillful at her tasks.
Some years passed quietly in the convent, and then Margaret Mary began to have experiences which seemed to be of supernatural origin. The first of these occurred on December 27, 1673, when she was kneeling at the grille in the chapel. She felt suffused by the Divine Presence, and heard the Lord inviting her to take the place which St. John had occupied at the Last Supper. The Lord told her that the love of His heart must spread and manifest itself to men, and He would reveal its graces through her. This was the beginning of a series of revelations covering a period of eighteen months. When Margaret Mary went to the Superior, Mother de Saumaise, with an account of these mystical experiences, claiming that she, an humble nun, had been chosen as the transmitter of a new devotion to the Sacred Heart, she was reprimanded for her presumption. Seriously overwrought, Margaret Mary suffered a collapse, and became so ill that her life was despaired of. Now the Mother Superior reflected that she might have erred in scorning the nun’s story and vowed that if her life were spared, she would take it as a sign that the visions and messages were truly from God. When Margaret Mary recovered, the Superior invited some theologians who happened to be in the town -they included a Jesuit and a Benedictine-to hear the story. These priests listened and judged the young nun to be a victim of delusions. Their examination had been a sheer torture to Margaret Mary. Later a Jesuit, Father Claude de la Columbiere, talked to her and was completely convinced of the genuineness of the revelations. He was to write of the nun and to inaugurate this devotion in England.
For many years the nun suffered from despair, from self-inflicted punishments, and also from the slights and contempt of those around her. In 1681 Father Claude returned to the convent and died there the following year. Margaret Mary was appointed assistant and novice-mistress by a new Mother Superior who was more sympathetic towards her. Opposition ceased-or at least was restrained-after an account of Margaret Mary’s visions was read aloud in the refectory from the writings left by Father Claude, who had taken it upon himself to make known to the world the nun’s remarkable experiences. That she was finally vindicated was to her a matter of indifference. When she was forty-three, while serving a second term as assistant superior, Margaret Mary fell ill. Sinking rapidly, she received the Last Sacraments, saying, “I need nothing but God, and to lose myself in the heart of Jesus.”
Although the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was practised before this time, it now gained a strong new impetus through the work of Father John Eudes and the writings of Father Claude. The Sacred Heart is regarded as “the symbol of that boundless love which moved the Word to take flesh, to institute the Holy Eucharist, to take our sins upon Himself, and, dying on the Cross, to offer Himself as a victim and sacrifice to the eternal Father.” The cult first became popular in France, then spread to Poland and other countries, including, at a later period, the United States. The first petition to the Holy See for the institution of the feast was from Queen Mary, consort of James II of England. The month of June is appointed for this devotion, and since 1929 the feast has been one of the highest rank. Source
I sometimes wonder if there are many modern Catholics who still value devotions such as the Nine First Fridays. Does anyone know? What about the Catholics in your circle of family and friends – do they ever mention “doing the First Fridays”? Do the diocesan priests ever preach about this devotion? Have YOU made the Nine First Fridays? If not, why not?
August Newsletter online early – click on image above to read…
note: this post published on 21 July (not 19th as per sidebar)
For years, the Scots faithful have been told that the Church is thriving in the aftermath of the Vatican II “renewal”.
Clearly, that has not been true at any point post-Vatican II. Throughout this alleged “springtime” in the Church the Bishops failed, by every objective measure, to deliver a healthy, faith-filled Church. That’s their job. To teach and promote the Catholic religion, which means, in turn, quelling dissent and correcting error. They refused, consistently, to do so and now they are forced to admit their failure. Having closed our seminaries, one and all, having overseen clergy being “educated” by heretics galore, both during seminary training and through continuing “in-service” events, they are now having to recruit priests from “wherever” – to quote the Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia – to replace those who have married wives, bought oxen, you name it.
But, will he? Recruit priests from “wherever”, I mean. You kidding? There will be no “traditional” priests recruited by him or any other Scots Bishop. They’d sooner we attended a Protestant church than an SSPX chapel. Hence, it’s unlikely that the challenge issued on page 20 of the August newsletter will be taken up – can’t see the Archbishop of Glasgow handing over one of his churches earmarked for merger, closure or demolition to the Society of St Pius X, can you? Better to stick with the “missionaries” from far flung parts like India – at least they’re from the Vatican II sector and will engage only in the “new evangelisation” – that is, “evangelisation” in the name of the ever elusive new “springtime”, in pursuit of the non-existent “renewal”.
So, should the Scots faithful receive an apology from the Bishops who have misled us for so many years now? Surely, the Bishops should apologise for turning truth on its head by telling us that the dramatic lapsation from the Faith, the abandonment of priestly and religious vocations, the closure of churches, the heretical meetings permitted in parishes, the false teaching given in schools and pulpits, and all the other scandals are nothing to worry about; surely they should apologise for peddling the falsehood that these signs of decay are, in fact, signs that the Holy Spirit is leading us forward into a Church where the laity is more active – by which they really mean lay people, especially women, could, and should, run around the sanctuary playing at being priests. We are, surely, due a very loud and sincere apology for the falsehood that these signs of decay are the work of the Holy Spirit? No? Well what about an apology for insulting our intelligence, because those of us who don’t fit the description “useful idiots” know perfectly well that the Holy Spirit could not possibly be responsible for the decadent state of the Catholic Church in Scotland (or anywhere else) today.
A sincere (public) apology to God and to the faithful for all of the above, and more; an equally sincere and public expression of repentance for neglectfully allowing the Church of Christ to fall into decay; a firm determination to restore the Catholic religion in all its traditional glory – now there’s a recipe for a “new springtime”… Which, if any, of the Scots Bishops might be up to that challenge?
The hymn to St Andrew (lyrics below) will, hopefully, ring out in Catholic churches across Scotland today, and remind us of the need to sincerely pray the sentiment in the final verse, that Scotland yet again may love the faith, entire and true…
To teach the truth the Master taught,
to tread the path he trod
was all his will and thus he brought
unnumbered souls to God.
When Andrew’s hour had come,
and he was doomed, like Christ to die,
he kissed his cross exultingly,
and this his noble cry:
“O noble cross! O precious wood!
I long have yearned for thee;
uplift me to my only good
who died on thee for me.”
The faith that Andrew taught once shone
o’er all this kingdom fair;
the cross that Jesus died upon
was honoured everywhere.
But times once changed and Andrew’s name
was for a while forgot;
the cross, though set in kingly crown,
became a sign of shame.
St Andrew now in bliss above,
thy fervent prayers renew
that Scotland yet again may love
the faith, entire and true;
that I the cross allotted me
may bear with patient love!
‘Twill lift me, as it lifted thee,
to reign with Christ above.
This thread is simply to mark the Feast Day of our national saint, so good wishes, favourite hymns and prayers, videos, even (good, clean) Scotsman jokes are welcome here! Happy Feast Day everyone!
A study commissioned by a protestant organization has found that Christian youth groups, with an infantile approach to the faith and a focus heavily on being “hip” to this fallen culture, are a predominate factor in driving many young people from Christianity. Mind, this study looked at Christians in general and not Catholics, but the Church has mimicked disastrous protestant programs in recent decades and has reaped the same whirlwind of devastation:
A new study might reveal why a majority of Christian teens abandon their faith upon high school graduation. Some time ago, Christian pollster George Barna documented that 61 percent of today’s 20-somethings who had been churched at one point during their teen years are now spiritually disengaged. They do not attend church, read their Bible or pray.
According to a new five-week, three-question national survey sponsored by the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC), the youth group itself is the problem. Fifty-five percent of American Christians are concerned with modern youth ministry because it’s too shallow and too entertainment-focused, resulting in an inability to train mature believers. But even if church youth groups had the gravitas of Dallas Theological Seminary, 36 percent of today’s believers are convinced youth groups themselves are not even biblical……
……..“Today’s church has created peer dependency,” McManus says. “The inherent result of youth groups is that teenagers in the church are focused on their peers, not their parents or their pastors. It’s a foreign sociology that leads to immaturity, a greater likelihood of sexual activity, drug experimentation and a rejection of the authority of the Word of God.
I was going to go on about the Prussian school model and the isolation from the family it tends to engender in children (indeed, it was designed to do just that), and how it is unsurprising that when Christians – including the original Christians, Catholics – perpetuate this model by dividing up families and having special Masses for this group, special programs for that……it tends to be self-defeating.
The family is the Church in microcosm. As goes the family, so will go the Church, and vice versa. Anything that tends to negatively affect the family – such as educating children away from parental influence, with huge emphasis given to how their peers perceive them – will negatively effect the Church. Lifeteen Masses, CCD, teen youth groups with often highly questionable programs – all these things at least tangentially weaken family unity. They also help further inculcate children in the culture of peer dependence noted above, and when many young adults today are not just unfaithful regarding their religious duties, but are out and out atheist-communist enemies of the Faith, it is not surprising that so many of these young souls fall away.
So many of these programs are adopted almost unthinkingly, in a spirit of imitation that demonstrates both a lack of understanding of the Faith and of human nature. Catholic parishes have “vacation bible schools” because protestant sects have them. They even use the same, protestant-generated teaching materials! That’s just one small example, I could continue on and on through the entire panoply of mimicry. It shows how deranged from the right understanding and practice of the Faith so many in positions of authority in the Church have become.
Anyway, go to Mass as a family. Don’t go to goofy, gimmicky “special” Masses. Home school. Pray together daily. Carefully monitor your kid’s activities, especially on the computer. You can’t guarantee you’re children will remain faithful throughout their lives, but if you do the above, demonstrate virtue, and avoid obvious vice you will immeasurably increase the likelihood that your kids won’t fall away from the Faith. Source
I could not be less surprised at the above findings. If anything insults the intelligence (and potential) of young people it’s keeping them rooted in their limited experience and catering for their imaginary need for perpetual entertainment. Or maybe you disagree?