Tag: Benedict XVI

Doctrinal Feelings

Doctrinal Feelings posted in Eleison Comments on May 21, 2016

Last week’s “Comments” (EC 461) will not have been to everyone’s taste. Readers may have guessed that the unnamed author of the long quote was of the same sex as the also quoted St Theresa of Avila (“suffer, or die”) and St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi (“suffer and not die”), and the anonymous quote may have seemed excessively emotional. But the contrast with Pope Benedict’s feelings quoted the week before (EC 460) was deliberate. Whereas the man’s text showed feelings governing doctrine, the woman’s text showed doctrine governing feelings. Better, obviously, the woman putting God first, like Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane (“Father, let this chalice pass me by, but not my will . . .” ), than the man putting feelings first, and changing the Catholic doctrine and religion into the Conciliar religion.

The surprising contrast highlights that the primacy of God means that doctrine comes first, whereas the primacy of feelings means that man comes first. But life is not about avoiding suffering, it is about getting to Heaven. If then I disbelieve in God and worship Mammon instead (Mt. VI, 24), I will disbelieve in any after-life and I will pay for more and more expensive drugs to avoid suffering in this life, because there is no other life. And so the Western “democracies” create one ruinous welfare State after another, because the surest way for a “democratic” politician to get elected or not is to take a stand for or against free medicine. Care for the body is all that is left in the life of many a man who has no God. Thus godlessness ruins the State: “Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Ps. CXXVI, 1), whereas “Happy is that people whose God is the Lord” (Ps. CXLIII, 15). Religion governs politics and economics alike, any false religion for their ill, the true religion for their true good.

On the basis of his October interview (EC 460), Benedict might reply: “Yes, but what use is a religion that fewer and fewer people believe in? On modern man the Catholic religion of all time has lost its grip. Yesterday’s doctrine may be as true as true can be, but of what use is it if it no longer speaks to man as he is today, where he is today? Doctrine is for souls, but how can I speak to contemporary man of redemptive suffering or of the Redemption, when suffering makes no sense to him at all? The Council was absolutely necessary to recast doctrine in a form intelligible to men as they are today.”

And to this position implicit in Benedict’s interview, here might be an answer: “Your Holiness, doctrine is for souls, yes, but to save them from eternal punishment and not to prepare them for it. Doctrine consists of words, words express concepts, concepts are ultimately of things real being conceived. Your Holiness, are God, man’s immortal soul, death, Judgment, and the inevitability of eternal salvation or damnation realities outside my mind? If they are realities independent of myself, have any of them changed since modern times? And if they have not changed at all, then do not the doctrines expressing them express also, together with the doctrine of original sin, a real danger for every man alive of falling into Hell? In which case however unpleasant the realities may feel, what possible service do I do for my fellow-men by making the doctines feel nicer, so as to disguise the eternal danger instead of warning him about it? Of what importance are his feelings compared with the importance of his grasping, and assimilating, the true doctrines, so as to be blissfully happy and not utterly tormented for all eternity for all eternity?

But in our apostate world the mass of men want only to be told fables (II Tim. IV, 4) to put a cushion under their sins. The result is that to keep the moral world in balance, there must be a number of mystic souls, known to God alone, who are taking upon themselves acute suffering, for Christ and for their fellow-men, and it is a fair bet that most of them are women.

Kyrie eleison.

Christian Feelings

Christian Feelings posted in Eleison Comments on May 14, 2016

How can it even have occurred to Pope Benedict that God the Father was cruel to God the Son by making him pay for the sins of the world (cf. EC of last week)? “I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptised,” says the Son himself, “and how am I straitened until it be accomplished” (Lk. XII, 50). St Theresa of Avila wanted “to suffer or die,” but St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi wanted “to suffer and not to die.” The following quote may present that Christian understanding of suffering which is lacking to modern Benedict:—

Who can I tell what I am suffering? Nobody on this earth, because it is not a suffering of this earth and nobody on earth would understand. The suffering is a sweet kind of pain and a painful kind of sweetness. I wish I could suffer ten times, a hundred times more. For nothing in the world would I want it to stop. Yet that does not mean I am not suffering. I suffer as though I were gripped by the throat, clamped in the jaws of a vice, being burnt in a furnace, pierced to the very heart.

Were I allowed to move, to be on my own, so that I could jump and sing to let loose what I am feeling inside, because the pain is truly felt, it would be a relief. But I am pinned like Jesus on the Cross. I can neither move, nor be on my own, and I have to bite my tongue in order not to satisfy people’s curiosity with my sweet agony. To bite my tongue is putting it mildly. Only with a great effort can I control the impulse to let out the cry of supernatural pain and joy which wells up within and wants to burst out with all the force of a blazing flame or gushing water.

The face of Jesus, clouded over with pain as Pilate shows him to the crowd, attracts me like the spectacle of some disaster. He is in front of me and looks at me, standing on the steps of the Pretorium, his head crowned with thorns, his hands tied in front of the idiot’s dress given him by Herod to ridicule him, but in fact clothing him in a whiteness that befits his perfect Innocence. He says nothing, but everything in him is speaking, calling to me, asking me for something.

For what? He is asking me to love him. I know that that is it, and I give it to him until I feel I am dying with a sword piercing through my chest. But he is still asking me for something that I do not understand. And I wish I understood. Not understanding is torture for me. I wish I could give him everything he wants, even if I had to undergo an agonising death. And still I cannot give it to him.

His face, filled with pain, attracts me and fascinates me. He is beautiful enough when he is the Master or when he is Risen from the dead. But seeing him then fills me merely with joy, whereas seeing him in pain fills me with an unfathomable love, unmatched even by a mother’s care for her suffering creature.

Yes, I do understand. Compassionate love is the crucifixion of the creature that follows its Master all the way to the final torment. It is a tyrannical love, blocking out all thought of anything other than his pain. We no longer belong to ourselves. We live only to console his torture, and his torture is our torment which literally kills us. And yet every tear torn out of us by the pain is dearer than a pearl of great price, and every pain of his we can enter into is more sought after than any treasure.

Father, I have tried to tell you what I am going through, but I try in vain. Amongst all the visions that God has given me it will always be the sight of his suffering that will lift my soul to the seventh heaven. To die of love while gazing on his suffering – what death could be more beautiful?

Kyrie eleison.

Continuing Damage – II

Continuing Damage – II posted in Eleison Comments on August 3, 2013

Besides arguing that the Doctrinal Declaration of mid-April last year was refused by Rome and so is of no further interest, people claiming that there has been no significant change in the Society of St Pius X also resort to the three bishops’ recent Declaration of June 27, which was obviously designed to reassure people that the SSPX lifeboat is undamaged and still perfectly seaworthy. However, souls wishing not to drown need to take a closer look.

It is the 11th paragraph which has become notorious. In brief, the bishops here state that they intend in the future to follow Providence, whether Rome soon returns to Tradition, or it recognizes explicitly the right and duty of the SSPX to oppose in public the Conciliar errors. Now this “whether” clause is out of the question because nothing short of a divine intervention is going to make the enemies of God, firmly established within the Vatican, let go of their Council. We come to the “or” clause. What can the bishops have meant by Rome “explicitly recognizing” the “right and duty” of the SSPX to oppose the Council?

The obvious meaning is that Rome would grant to the SSPX some official status within the mainstream Church, or some form of canonical regularisation. Some such recognition is obviously what the SSPX leaders have been striving for ever since they adopted the ideas of the Parisian think-tank, GREC, well over ten years ago. But when those leaders in April of last year largely accepted Rome’s terms for such a recognition, they created such a storm of protest within the SSPX that they were forced to pretend that they no longer want any such recognition based on the mid-April terms. Then what can the “or” clause of June 27 mean?

Within a few days the French District Superior put to them exactly that question. He was told that the “or” clause does not necessarily entail any official recognition, but merely the eventuality of a weak but Catholic Pope being on the one hand Catholic enough to recognize the SSPX’s “right and duty,” etc., but on the other hand too weak and isolated within Rome to be able to impose on the Romans any official recognition, etc. And the District Superior at least appeared to be content with this answer when he immediately transmitted it to the priests of his District.

Well, knock me over with a feather! Firstly, who, just reading the text of June 27, could ever have guessed that this was what the bishops had in mind? And secondly, what in the text of June 27 excludes a range of other possibilities that the bishops would accept in the name of “following Providence”? Given that on June 17, 2012, Bishop Fellay wrote to Benedict XVI that he would continue to do all he could to pursue a reconciliation between Rome and the SSPX, what in the text of June 27 excludes the cunning Romans eventually making to the bishops such an offer of reconciliation that – always in the name of “Providence” – they could not refuse?

Good luck to anyone who accepts the interpretation of the “or” clause given to the French District Superior. However, there are many of us who will remain unconvinced that the leadership of the SSPX has given up on its mad dream of reconciling irreconcilables. Until clear proof to the contrary, we will assume that those leaders remain, however unwittingly, intent upon turning the SSPX lifeboat into a deathboat. And when everyone drowns, they will make it all the ocean’s fault!

Kyrie eleison.

Asian Journey

Asian Journey posted in Eleison Comments on June 15, 2013

A number of readers complained at the “Eleison Comments” of two weeks ago on authority being crippled. From its argument that on this side of the “imminent Chastisement” no further Catholic Congregation can be founded on a normal Catholic basis, they concluded that I believe there is nothing more for a bishop to do than to wait for God to intervene. But in that case why did I just spend two weeks in Asia, and why am I now in Ireland? Likewise they conclude that I will never consecrate another bishop. I say – God willing – just wait.

In fact there is a great deal for a bishop to do to visit and encourage souls striving to keep the Faith when Headquarters of the Society of St Pius X is obviously still intent upon taking it into the arms of Conciliar Rome. On June 17 Bishop Fellay wrote to Benedict XVI, “I do intend to continue to make every effort to pursue this path (of reconciliation with Rome) in order to arrive at the necessary clarifications.” And in the same vein, “Unfortunately, in the present situation of the Society” Rome’s counter-proposal of June 13 to his Doctrinal Declaration of mid-April “will not be accepted.” Then it would have been fortunate if the Society had accepted Rome’s terms?

Against this written evidence (made public by Headquarters) of Bishop Fellay’s on-going determination to sell out the Archbishop’s Society, we have quotes of his to the French District Superior that the “unfortunately” he only wrote “for the sake of the Pope,” and to the Carmelite Mother Superior in Belgium that he “never intended to pursue a practical agreement with Rome.” Alas, Bishop Fellay has such a track-record for adapting his words to his audience that quotes like these by no means disprove his intention to sell out the Archbishop’s Society. His astonishing ability to move the mental furniture around in his mind deserves an “Eleison Comments” all on its own, but in the meantime is it any wonder if what is coming to be called the “Resistance” is rising spontaneously all over the world?

Between May 24 and June 6 I visited with Fr Chazal a good part of his flock of some 400 souls, and I gave over 50 Confirmations in South Korea, the Philippines and Singapore. Fr Chazal is a character. He has brilliant insights and is very funny into the bargain. If ever you meet him, ask him to do his imitation of an Indian politician (he says the Indians are tough, and “can take it”).

In South Korea the Society’s change of direction caused a harsh split, with the result that the donor of the original chapel merely donated another. I had the pleasure of performing the marriage of the donor’s daughter. In the Philippines, just as I arrived, an older priest who fled the Newchurch years ago to work with the Society was fleeing the Newsociety to work with the Resistance. He looks like being entrusted with the beginnings of a seminary which Fr Chazal wants to launch, and he will in addition have his work cut out for him in centres throughout the central Philippines. In Singapore, a show-case in the East of Western-style materialism, still a good Chinese family with their friends have a firm grip on the change from the Society to the Newsociety. Truth will undermine this ExSPX, as Fr Chazal calls it, just as truth is undermining the Newchurch of the Novus Ordo.

Here are many souls to sustain on their way to Heaven. Do I have any candidates offering themselves for consecration as bishops?

Kyrie eleison.

Doctrinal Declaration – II

Doctrinal Declaration – II posted in Eleison Comments on April 13, 2013

The Doctrinal Declaration of April 15 of last year, drawn up by the Superior General (SG) of the Society of St Pius X as a basis for the Society’s reintegration into the mainstream Church, has emerged nearly one year later into public view. It was designed by the SG to please both the Conciliar Romans and Traditionalists (“It can be read with dark or rose-coloured glasses,” he said in public). It did please the Romans who declared that it represented an “advance” in their direction. It did not please Traditionalists who saw in it (what they knew of it) such ambiguity as to represent a betrayal of Archbishop Lefebvre’s stand for the Catholic Faith, to the point that they considered that the Romans need only have accepted it to destroy his Society.

In fact when the SG met the Romans on June 11 in Rome to receive their decision, he fully expected they would accept it. Numerous observers speculate that if they did not accept it, it was only because the intervening publication of the April 7 Letter of the Three Bishops to the SG warned the Romans that he would not be able to bring the whole Society with him into the bosom of their Conciliar Rome, as he may have given them to understand he would do, and as they wanted him to do. They did and do not want another split to start Tradition all over again.

Be all that as it may, space remains here for nothing but one major argument that the proposal of the Doctrinal Declaration, had it been accepted by Rome, would have destroyed the SSPX. Archbishop Lefebvre declared, and proved, that Vatican II was a break or rupture with previous Church teaching. On that premise arose, and rests, the Traditional Catholic movement. So, confronted by the on-going resistance of that movement to his beloved Vatican II, Benedict XVI proclaimed at the outset of his pontificate in 2005 the “hermeneutic of continuity,” whereby the Council (objectively) contradicting Tradition was to be (subjectively) so interpreted as not to contradict it. Thus there would be no break or rupture between it and Catholic Tradition!

Now see the seventh paragraph (III, 5) of the Doctrinal Declaration. It declares that Vatican II statements difficult to reconcile with all previous Church teaching, (1) “must be understood in the light of Tradition entire and uninterrupted, in line with the truths taught by the Church’s preceding Magisterium, (2) not accepting any interpretation of those statements which can lead Catholic doctrine to be exposed in opposition or rupture with Tradition and that Magisterium.”

The first part here (1) is perfectly true, so long as it means that any Conciliar novelty “difficult to reconcile” will be flatly rejected if it objectively contradicts previous Church teaching. But (1) is directly contradicted by (2) when (2) says that no Conciliar novelty may be “interpreted” as being in rupture with Tradition. It is as though one said that all football teams must wear blue shirts, but football team shirts of any other colour are all to be interpreted as being nothing other than blue! What nonsense! But it is pure “hermeneutic of continuity.”

Now, do the soldiers holding the last fortress of the Faith that is organised worldwide realize what their Commander is thinking? Do they realize that his solemn declaration of SSPX doctrine shows him to be thinking like an enemy leader? Are they happy that they are being led to think like the enemies of the Faith? All ideas must be Catholic, while non-Catholic ideas will be “interpreted” as Catholic. Wake up, comrades! Enemy thinking is in Headquarters.

Kyrie eleison.

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday posted in Eleison Comments on March 30, 2013

Holy Saturday in the life of Our Lord was that day between his appalling death on the Cross and his glorious Resurrection, when his human body, lifeless without its human soul, lay in the dark tomb, unseen to human eye. Our Lord’s enemies seemed so successfully to have crushed him that the Incarnate God was in complete eclipse, and only the faith of Our Lady in her Divine Son remained unshaken. All his other followers she had to sustain, because even the most devout of them felt bewildered and lost.

Now as being the Mystical Body of Christ, the Catholic Church follows the life’s course of his physical body. Down all its 2,000 years of history the Church has always been persecuted by the enemies of Christ, and in many parts of the world at various times it has been virtually wiped out. Yet surely it has never been going into complete eclipse like it seems to be doing today. God designed his Church as a monarchy, to be held together by the Pope, and we have just seen a Pope resigning, no doubt in part because he himself, mesmerized by modern democratic thinking, never fully believed in his own supreme office. Taking the papal tiara off his coat of arms, and signing himself always as “Bishop of Rome,” whatever were his intentions when he resigned in February, he surely helped, humanly speaking, to undermine the divine institution of the Papacy.

Certainly by Benedict XVI’s resignation and by the succeeding conclave the enemies of Christ will have been doing all they could for their part to undo the Papacy. By a just punishment of God for the universal apostasy of our age, they have received from him a great power over his Church. They have been working for centuries to get a stranglehold over the Vatican, and they are now entrenched there. With no intention of giving way to a pious little Society, they are, as Anne Catherine Emmerich saw in a vision 200 years ago, dismantling the Church stone by stone. Humanly speaking, today’s followers of Our Lord have as little seeming hope as they had on the original Holy Saturday.

But no more than Our Lord himself is the Catholic Church a merely human affair. In 1846 Our Lady of Salette said about our own times: “The righteous will suffer greatly. Their prayers, penance and their tears will rise up to Heaven, and all of God’s people will beg for forgiveness and mercy and will plead for my help and intercession. And then Jesus Christ in an act of his justice and great mercy will command his Angels to have all his enemies put to death. Suddenly the persecutors of the Church of Jesus Christ and all those given over to sin will perish, and the earth will become desert-like. And then peace will be made, and man will be reconciled with God, Jesus Christ will be served, worshipped and glorified. Charity will flourish everywhere . . . The Gospel will be preached everywhere . . . and man will live in fear of God.”

In other words, God will most certainly resurrect his Church from its present distress. When the eclipse becomes still darker, as it is sure to do, let us merely hold more closely than ever to the Mother of God, and let us resolve now not to weigh upon her then by our disbelief, as did Our Lord’s Apostles and disciples on the first Holy Saturday. Let us undertake to rejoice her Immaculate Heart with our unshakeable faith in her Divine Son and his one true Church.

Kyrie eleison.