Category: Eleison Comments

Latest Encyclical

Latest Encyclical posted in Eleison Comments on December 15, 2007

To illustrate what is appealing and what is most dangerous in Pope Benedict’s latest Encyclical Letter, Spe Salvi (“By hope we are saved” – Rom. VIII,24), here is a comparison.

In a river flowing fast towards a deadly waterfall, men are happily swimming and drifting downstream, apparently unaware of the danger. On the bank one man has tied a rope to a firmly rooted tree, and he cries out to the men in the water to grab hold of the rope which he is throwing out to them as their last chance of rescue. But the men in mid-stream seem deaf, and few grab hold of the rope.

Seeing this lack of response, a second man on the bank unties the rope from the tree, fastens it around his waist and begins to wade out towards the men in danger, hoping that by getting that much closer to them he can make himself heard. Alas, the current sweeps him too off his feet, and too late he realizes that he will share the fate of the doomed drifters.

The river is our swiftly passing life in this world. The men in mid-stream are the mass of its inhabitants, drifting blithely towards eternal damnation. The tree is the saving doctrine of Catholic Tradition, thrown out afresh to each age by the rope of the Magisterium. The first man represents Catholic Traditionalists. The second man represents Conciliar churchmen like Benedict XVI, who in their concern to reach modern man have untied their teaching from Tradition and tied it to themselves. But in this condition they can no longer rescue modern man, they can only perish with him.

The appealing side of Benedict XVI and his latest Encyclical is his evident and sincere desire to reach out to modern man by, for instance, his abandoning of the classic precision of concepts such as faith, hope and redemption (no less!), in order to “refresh” their content in a way meaningful to humanists today. However, such humanizing gravely foreshortens and distorts the Church’s divine doctrine. Immensely dangerous, to take just one example, is the strong suggestion (Section #46) that “the great majority of people” go to Purgatory, and so are saved. Our Lord said on the contrary, “Many are called but few are chosen” (Mt.XX,16), and “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat” (Mt.VII,13).

Holy Father, you are drifting to destruction, and you risk taking many souls with you. We pray for you!

Kyrie eleison.

Flogged Fathers

Flogged Fathers posted in Eleison Comments on December 8, 2007

Last week Eleison Comments suggested that, as the prime remedy for the scarcity of vocations to the Catholic priesthood (or Brotherhood or Sisterhood), family fathers should set a leading example of true piety in the home. But that was not to say that today’s young fathers are alone to blame. Let me quote again from the non-Catholic friend in England, quoted in EC#12 on “Family Destruction,” commenting this time on today’s workplace:

“The way the world now works has made it harder for the young people in the work-force. Most of them cannot afford to buy their own homes, given the state of the property market. At work they have to cope with the pressure of instant communication, the ignoring of time-zones leading to unbelievably long working hours, the increase in graduate numbers and therefore the competition for worthwhile jobs, the influx of immigrant workers, the short-term contracts offered by employees, the regular “360-degree” appraisals once you have got a job, the number of courses you are required to take to keep yourself up to speed in that job, the Americanization of the work-place, the loss of “paternal” employees and collegiate perspectives because of the influence of the multi-national companies in the labour market, the cocaine culture prevalent both in the work-place and in after-work socializing, the threat of AIDS.

“Against this you can balance advantages like maternity and paternity leave, carefully structured dismissal procedures which offer more protection than our generation had, and better health and safety standards. But all of the young people I know, i.e. my own children and those of my contemporaries who are in good jobs, absolutely flog themselves to death, well-paid though they may be.”

My friend surely speaks from experience, of a steadily increasing daily pressure, surely global rather than just English. And what is that pressure? – Mammon.

Conclusion? A total – and global – way of life is stifling vocations just as it is disabling young men for fatherhood and young women for motherhood. Such a way of life is suicidal. And doomed. Young fathers, think. And act.

Kyrie eleison.

Scarce Vocations

Scarce Vocations posted in Eleison Comments on December 1, 2007

In the up-coming edition of « Credidimus Caritati », the trimestrial bulletin of the Latin American Seminary of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), will appear some interesting remarks of an Argentinian deacon due to be ordained priest in three weeks’ time. He is asked by the interviewer what he thinks the present lack of vocations is due to. Here is his reply:—

“It seems to me that one can speak of the lack of vocations either amongst Catholics attached to the SSPX, or amongst Catholics who are for whatever reason more or less far from Society positions.

“Amongst the latter, it is clear to see that the farther away they are from the true doctrine and Faith, the fewer will be the vocations, because the modern world catches hold of such men or women the more easily that they belong more to the world and less to Our Lord. Generally speaking, the religious Congregations closer to the SSPX are those that have the more vocations.

“Amongst SSPX Catholics, it seems to me that youngsters born and raised within the SSPX, with a few praiseworthy exceptions, develop a split personality, one side Traditional and the other side modern. The Traditional side comes from parents, relations and friends who have struggled to keep the Faith as best they could, and have wanted their children to follow in their footsteps, continuing the struggle. Where the modern side comes from is obvious – today’s world swamps the youngsters in all kinds of enticing novelties to get them for itself. The youngsters are aware of the clash in their own lives and try to combine the two sides as best they can. Add in the lack of a serious prayer life and the lack of resorting to the sacraments, and the result is that the youngsters grow used to living with a split personality, it comes to seem quite normal, even comfortable, and who wants to have to quit a comfort zone?”

Simple. Clear. What is the solution? Family fathers must so fortify true religion in the home, especially by their own example, that the false glamour of the world is out-gunned, and loses its power to attract. That requires a real effort, but it can be done. St. Joseph, Patron of the Church and of vocations, help!

Kyrie eleison.

“Excommunications”

“Excommunications” posted in Eleison Comments on November 24, 2007

As rumors circulate that Rome may soon lift the “excommunication” of the four bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, declared by Cardinal Gantin on the occasion of their episcopal consecration by Archbishop Lefebvre back in 1988, it may be opportune to set the record straight on one or two points.

First and foremost, those “excommunications” were, from the moment they were declared, neither valid, nor to be taken seriously. A valid Church excommunication can only take place either positively (“ferendae sententiae”) or automatically (“latae sententiae”). It is positive, when Church authorities declare by a judicial sentence (in the good old times with a solemn ceremony of “bell, book and candle”) that the offender no longer belongs to the Church. It is automatic, when the offender so clearly breaks certain Church laws incurring excommunication that by his action alone (“ipso facto”) he has put himself out of the Church.

Now in 1988 there was no positive excommunication by judicial sentence or ceremonial expulsion. Nor was there, by Canon Law, any automatic excommunication, because the Archbishop acted for the good of the Church (New Code, canon 1323, number 4), and even if he was objectively mistaken in thinking so, he will still not have incurred the full rigour of the law, in this case excommunication, because he was certainly subjectively convinced in thinking that he acted for the good of the whole Church (New Code, canon 1324, §1, number 8). Therefore there was no excommunication at all.

What Rome did was to declare, without judicial sentence or ceremony, that the excommunications had been automatic, when by Church Law they were not. It follows that the Society for its part cannot ask for the “excommunications” to be lifted by any form of words which might imply that they have ever been valid.

On the other hand any unilateral lifting of the “excommunications” on the part of Pope Benedict XVI, whatever form it may take, would, in his circumstances, be a courageous act of justice. All the neo-modernists would hate him for it, unless they hoped it would help to dissolve Tradition’s resistance, but Almighty God would certainly reward him for his restoring of truth, especially if his intention was upright.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on your Church!

Kyrie eleison.

Fasten Seatbelts

Fasten Seatbelts posted in Eleison Comments on November 17, 2007

Prepare to fasten your seat-belts for the year 2008! It is always risky to announce dates for dramatic events in the future, because if they do not then happen, the doom-dater has only discredited himself. However, there is a triple convergence for next year which may be at least an “orange alert.”

First and foremost there is the pressure building towards a Third World War, which may well be the beginning of the long-deserved chastisement of a globe turning its back on God. On the side of the United States there is an insane pressure group beating the war-drums for an attack upon Iran, when more and more now know that the disastrous attack upon Iraq was only made possible by fraud (9/11) and lies (WMD). On the side of Russia, President Putin has backed his good reasons for condemning any such attack with the threat to resist it.

But the West’s vile media silence the reasons and step up the war-drums. President Bush announces he wishes to “prevent Iran’s nuclear capacity” before he leaves office – end of 2008 – and in 2007 we see a mounting economic and financial crisis within the USA and in the world which risks presenting him no later than 2008 with a virtually irresistible temptation to “busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels” (Henry IV, Pt II).

Secondly, two years ago Fr. Paul Kramer quoted in the “Fatima Crusader” a German priest (living) who may be privileged with prophetic gifts from Heaven, and who has foretold 2008 as the year for the outbreak of WWIII.

Thirdly, one of the four girls from Northern Spain who saw Our Lady in Garabandal many times between 1962 and 1965 is reportedly giving March and April of 2008 as the months of the Great Warning and Great Miracle respectively. We shall see.

The prophecy from Germany and report from Spain are worth no more than they are worth (nor less), but the realities from the USA and Russia are for real. It does no harm to take a little more seriously still our constant need to “pray without ceasing” (I Thess. V, 17).

Kyrie eleison.

Agreementitis – II

Agreementitis – II posted in Eleison Comments on November 10, 2007

The argument in favor of the SSPX “coming in from the cold” and “getting back into the Church” can also be expressed in this sort of double proposition: all great clashes in the Church have always finished in some sort of compromise – what other solution is possible for the long-standing discord between the SSPX and Conciliar Rome?

As to the first part of the proposition, one might agree to some compromise if it were not the Faith at the root of this discord. To help out the Pope, or to restore the good name or canonical status of the SSPX, some compromise might be conceivable, but not if the Faith is at stake, because the Catholic Faith is that body of objective supernatural truths without (an at least rudimentary) belief in which, no soul can be saved (Heb. XI, 6).

But is the very Faith involved in the so far 37-year struggle of the SSPX? Yes, says a distinguished German theologian, Professor Johannes Dörmann, who is quite independent of the SSPX. After prolonged and professional study of the complete speeches and writings of John-Paul II, he recognized and declared that “Lefebvrism” was not just about Latin or the liturgy, but about the very foundations of the Faith. Indeed. Being another form of subjectivism, Neo-modernism turns any rock of truth into plastic.

As to the second part of the proposition, there being no other solution possible than some kind of compromise, one may reply that there are problems which man can make and which God alone can solve. An elephant can fall into an elephant-trap, but not by himself climb out again. In Noah’s time, mankind had so “corrupted its way” (Gen. VI, 12) that the Lord God was driven to wash it out and virtually start all over again.

In the Sodom of today’s Church and world, have not merely human solutions been made similarly impossible? When in the troubles of the near future enough human beings get down on their knees to beg the Lord God to rescue them, then through his Mother he will do so. Meanwhile the bounden duty of all Catholics belonging to the “remnant chosen by grace” (underline the “by grace” – Rom. XI, 5), is not to let anything, love of Rome or family or life or whatever, take precedence over safeguarding the true Faith, which is an obedience to, and love of, the true God. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us!

Kyrie eleison.