Tag: St. Francis Xavier


GREC – III posted in Eleison Comments on April 6, 2013

Wishing to put himself in the place of God, modern man seeks to replace God’s order of the world with his own. But God’s order is real, outside of and independent of man’s mind. So modern man unhooks his mind from that reality, and selects from it only such pieces as he wishes to build into his own fantasy. Now the highest order of God’s Creation is best expressed in his Church’s doctrine. Therefore all churchmen or laymen today undergoing the influence of everything “normal” in the world around them suffer from a deep refusal or ignorance of the nature and necessity of doctrine.

Here is the essential problem of GREC, as presented in two previous issues of “Eleison Comments” (294 and 295). The Groupe de Réflexion Entre Catholiques was founded in 1997 in the salons of Paris to promote friendly meetings and exchanges between Catholics of Tradition and Catholics of the mainstream Church, in order to create a climate of mutual trust and respect which would facilitate a reconciliation between them, and an end to their unnecessary estrangement. Such a purpose gravely overlooks the importance of doctrine, not necessarily with malice aforethought, of which God is judge, but whatever foolish men may think, doctrine can no more be left out of account than can reality.

In Fr. Lelong’s book on GREC, For the Necessary Reconciliation, he tells how two Society of St Pius X priests and its Superior General “made a decisive contribution to the launching and continuance of GREC.” Even before it was launched, Fr. Du Chalard gave to Fr Lelong a friendly reception in his SSPX priory, and “in following years never ceased to support GREC in a discrete and attentive way.” At the launching of GREC, Fr. Lorans, then Rector of the SSPX Institute in Paris and exercising from Paris a decisive influence from then until now on SSPX publications, welcomed the idea of “dialogue between Catholics,” and very soon obtained from the SSPX Superior General in Switzerland approval for his participation in GREC. From then on Fr. Lorans played a leading part in all of its activities.

Those activities began on a small scale and in private. In May of 2000 was held GREC’s first public meeting to which Fr. Lorans contributed, with 150 people attending. Meetings became more and more frequent, with SSPX priests participating. Church authorities at the highest level were regularly consulted and kept informed. Fr. Lorans for his part made possible “a contact of deepening trust” and friendly exchanges with the SSPX Superior General. From 2004 GREC meetings were opened wider still to the public, and in September of that year a “theological working group” was set up with Fr. Lorans participating, and another SSPX priest and a theologian from Rome, both of whom would later be taking part in the Doctrinal Discussions between Rome and the SSPX from 2009 to 2011. GREC may well have seen in these Discussions the realization of its fondest hopes – at last the theologians were meeting in a climate which GREC had done so much to create “for the necessary reconciliation.”

Thanks be to God, the Discussions gave back to doctrine its proper primacy. They demonstrated that between Catholic and Conciliar doctrine is an unbridgeable gulf. But was GREC’s way of thinking then blocked within the SSPX? Far from it! SSPX Headquarters switched overnight from “We pursue no practical agreement without a doctrinal agreement” to “There can be no doctrinal agreement, so we pursue a practical agreement”! Alas, the springtime uprising of protest last year from within the SSPX was smothered and confused again at the General Chapter of July, but SSPX HQ’s continued pursuit of a practical agreement has hardly been smothered.

“Our help is in the name of the Lord,” in particular in the Consecration of Russia. Nowhere else.

Kyrie eleison.

Hopeless Escape

Hopeless Escape posted in Eleison Comments on November 20, 2010

Currently showing in London (Tate Modern) is an exhibition of another great master of modern art – or is that a contradiction in terms? – the French painter Paul Gauguin (1848–1903). Men need pictures, as they need a vision of what life is all about. Today, electronics largely supply the pictures, but in Gauguin’s time painters still had an enormous impact.

Born in Paris in 1848, Gauguin after various travels and occupations became at the age of 23 a stockbroker, and two years later he married a Danish woman who gave him five children over ten years. At this time painting was for him only a hobby for which he had talent, but after a failed attempt in 1884 to go into business in Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, he abandoned his young family in the following year and returned to Paris to become a full-time artist.

In 1888 he spent nine weeks painting together with Van Gogh in Arles, but it ended stormily. Back in Paris he was not gaining enough money or recognition, so in 1891 he set sail for the tropics, “to escape everything artificial and conventional.” The rest of his life, except for one prolonged return to Paris, he spent in Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands, colonies then of French Polynesia in the South Pacific. There he produced most of the paintings on which rests his fame, but still he was fighting against Church and State, and only his death in 1903 prevented him from having to serve a three-month prison sentence.

Like Van Gogh, Gauguin began to paint in the somber and conventional style proper to later 19th century art. However, as with Van Gogh and at about the same time, the colours became much brighter and the style rather less conventional. In fact Gauguin was the founder of the Primitivist movement in art, and soon after his death had a considerable influence on the brilliant but also rebellious Picasso. Primitivism meant going back to primitive sources, because Europe felt as though it was burnt out. Hence the turning to African and Asian models, a notable example being “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” of Picasso. Hence Gauguin’s flight to Polynesia in 1891, where he regretted the intrusion of Catholic missionaries, and where he studied and built into his art pagan gods of the local pre-Catholic mythology, including several quasi-devilish figures.

But does the vision of the Tahitian paintings of Gauguin, which are surely his best, represent a viable solution to the problems of the decadent West which he spurned and left behind him? One may think not. The paintings now on show in the Tate Modern exhibition are original and colourful, but the Tahitian people he paints, mostly young women, remain somehow torpid and dull. Gauguin’s Tahiti may be an escape, but it is not a hope. Gauguin may have been right about the decadent West, but the earthly paradise he fabricated in his Polynesian art left him restless, and he died still rebellious. There remains some problem that he has still not solved.

Interesting is the fictional version of his life by the well-known English 20th century writer, Somerset Maugham. See next week’s “Eleison Comments.”

Kyrie eleison.

Sleepless Pope

Sleepless Pope posted in Eleison Comments on May 15, 2010

Conciliar Rome’s radical misunderstanding of what the Catholic Traditional movement is all about, was illustrated once more in Paris last Wednesday when Cardinal Kasper, head of the Vatican department for relations with other Christian churches and with Jews, gave a press conference. From the Reuters report let me quote as faithfully as possible what the Cardinal thinks, summed up in five propositions, and then comment.

1) The doctrinal discussions presently taking place every two months between four theologians of Rome, and a bishop and three priests of the Society of St Pius X, are not proving easy. 2) The main problem is the concept of tradition. “Do we want a living tradition or a petrified tradition?” asked the Cardinal. 3) He said he is for this dialogue with the SSPX, but it has to be on Rome’s conditions and not on those of the SSPX. 4) If an agreement is to be reached, the SSPX will have to make concessions, and it will have to accept the Conciliar reforms. 5) Without an agreement the SSPX will have no official status, its priests will not be recognized as Catholic priests, nor will they be allowed to exercise their ministry.

(1) Of course it is not proving easy to reconcile 2+2=4 (Tradition and the SSPX) with 2+2=4 or

5 (Vatican II and Conciliar Rome). We are in the presence of two profoundly different

conceptions of arithmetic, of two just as profoundly different conceptions of Catholic Truth.

(2) 2+2=4 is truth, unchanging and unchangeable, therefore “traditional.” 2+2=4 or 5 is a brand

new arithmetic, as “living” as one likes, but utterly unreal, and so not traditional at all.

(3) If one is discussing true arithmetic, it will be on true arithmetic’s terms and not on the terms

of either party discussing, even if one of the parties takes its stand on those terms.

(4) Who wants, or needs, to arrive at an agreement that 2+2=4 or 5 (Vatican II)? Only

merchants of fantasy who no longer care for true arithmetic!

(5) If “official status,” “recognition as priests” and “being permitted to minister” all depend on

accepting that 2+2 can be 4 or 5, then all such “status,” “recognition” and “permission” are

being bought at the price of Truth. But if I sell off the Truth, how can I still have it to tell it?

And if I can no longer tell the Truth, what kind of a priest can I be, with what kind of a ministry?

Therefore in conclusion, it is not just on “tradition” but on the very nature of truth that these Romans and the SSPX part company. Changing truth, these Romans have lost the Truth, in fact they are, at least objectively speaking, murdering it, as Macbeth “doth murder sleep” (II,2). Indeed in the same Reuters article the Pope is quoted as having said that the SSPX problem “robs him of his sleep.” Holy Father, do believe that the Truth is far above the SSPX, which is no more than one of its tiny momentary defenders. Every one of us in the SSPX wishes you all kinds of well, especially to sleep well. It is not the SSPX, but murdered Truth, which is keeping you awake at night.

Kyrie eleison.

Double Virtuality

Double Virtuality posted in Eleison Comments on June 13, 2009

Most, if not all, of you know that in the early hours of June 1 an Air France jetliner with 228 souls on board fell out of the sky on its way from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. An extraordinary event? Or is not the extraordinary thing rather that not all of these 100- to 150-ton monsters fall out of the sky? Has not man’s technology virtually mastered reality?

The technology of these aerial Leviathans is indeed something to be marvelled at. Every day now thousands of them all over the world defy gravity to climb six miles high and blast hundreds of passengers at a time over mountain ranges, across vast oceans, from continent to continent, mostly in complete safety. The crashes always make headlines in the media, but they are so rare when compared with the total number of flights that the passengers may fear, but never think, that they will crash.

So with confidence they step into the monsters’ bellies at the airport of departure, stepping off earth and its real time-zones into the virtual world of soothing sounds, plastic meals and – virtuality within virtuality – “in-flight entertainment,” meaning, more and more, your own selection of movies in your own seat. Wrapped in this cosy cocoon of all-embracing technology, one has, normally, only the plane’s occasional shudder or change of its engines’ pitch to remind one that there is outside, starting only a few feet away, a potentially deadly reality, not always perfectly tamed . . .

 . . .What must those last moments have been like inside the cabins of Air France # 447? Horrible to imagine! Eleven days later the exact cause of the crash is still not known. Did blocked speed sensors so confuse the fly-by-wire computers as to cause erratic changes of speed, highly dangerous on flying into turbulence? Lucky for the passengers and crew if the plane broke apart on high, so that the instant de-pressurisation will have deprived them of consciousness for the several-minute tumble through darkness down to certain death on impact with the water, which behaves in the circumstances like concrete!

Or were they unlucky? Of the 228 souls on AF 447, how many will have had the need to make a perfect act of contrition before losing consciousness? Of these, how many will have had the necessary faith and presence of mind, not overwhelmed by panic and fear, to do so? In brief, how many were ready to save their souls? Concerning the moment of death, Our Lord tells all of us, “Watch ye therefore, for you know not when the lord of the house cometh . . .lest coming on a sudden, he find you sleeping” (Mk.XIII,38). And concerning apparently random accidents he says, “Except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish” (Lk,XIII,5). Penance enough today is to live by our Faith. Still too much? Anything less is haunted by AF 447.

Kyrie eleison.

Pursuing Truth

Pursuing Truth posted in Eleison Comments on June 6, 2009

The loss of truth is a hallmark of modern times. People seem to believe either that truth does not exist (“What is truth?” asked Pontius Pilate), or that it exists but is not important, or that it exists and is important, but cannot be discovered by the human mind. Whichever way, let us eat, drink and be merry, because if falsehood is as good as truth, then wrong is as good as right, which makes me free to do as I like.

What is truth? Truth is the matching of mind and reality. There is truth in my mind when what is in my mind matches or corresponds to what is outside it, in reality. For nobody seriously believes that there is no reality outside his mind (unless he is mad), because for instance nobody whose car-engine stops does not lift the hood (or bonnet) to find out the cause. Then truth for me exists whenever what is in my mind matches external reality.

Is this truth important? Of course it is. My survival in this life depends from minute to minute on knowing what air is really breathable, from day to day on knowing what food and drink are really consumable, and my happiness for eternity depends upon knowing if God really exists, if he really is the granter of that happiness, and if he really lays down certain conditions for me to obtain it. If on any of these points there is falsehood and not truth in my mind, either I die in a few minutes, or in a few days, or I miss happiness for all eternity. Of course it matters whether what is in my mind corresponds to the reality outside it!

But can the human mind always know the truth? Indeed sometimes it cannot. But usually in pursuit of the truth, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Often if men do not find the truth, it is not because it cannot be found, but because there is not a real will to find it. Take for instance the present difficult and expensive hunt for the evidence which will tell why the French airliner crashed between Rio de Janeiro and Paris. They may or may not finally tell us the truth, but find it they will, because the safety of future flights may, as far as we know, depend on it.

Let nobody pretend that any truth could not be found when there was a way to find it. He merely demonstrates his lack of will to find it. There is a great lack of such will in what is still called “Western civilization.” That is why it is Satanic (Jn.VIII,44).

Kyrie eleison.

Colonial Charm

Colonial Charm posted in Eleison Comments on August 23, 2008

A brief visit to Goa, former Portuguese colony half-way down the western coast of the Indian sub-continent and now a full member-state of the Republic of India, revives within me a great nostalgia, a great debate and always the same great conclusion: the Lord God is not a little lap-dog to be put on a leash!

The 1,429-square mile enclave of Goa was conquered by the Portuguese in two stages, in 1510 and 1546, as an essential link in a chain of supply-stations for their ships travelling between Europe and the Far East for the spice trade, which then brought with it immense wealth. The conquest still shows in a ring of well-designed and well-built forts surrounding the Old City of Goa, and largely visible today. The wealth still shows in a few sumptuous churches of the Old City, dating back to the early years of the Portuguese settlers when the spice trade and their Catholic Faith were in their hey-day. Goa was the base of operations in the Far East for St. Francis Xavier, whose body rests in one of the great churches. Goa is where he wanted to be buried. He still watches over it.

From the 18th century onwards Goa lost its importance for trade, but the Portuguese remained, because they had put down deep roots and had created what some have called the “Rome of the Orient.” They had successfully converted the local population. At one point they even destroyed all Hindu temples. The result was a Catholic enclave in the warmth of the tropics, peaceful and happy, with an administrative order typical of the colonies prior to their de-colonisation, and with a special charm of which traces remain to this day. Hence the nostalgia.

But time moves on. By mid-20th century the adoration of “liberty” and the onward march of “independence” was spelling the death of the European colonies and empires. At least in the Portuguese, Spanish and French empires the conquest of souls for Heaven had been a driving motivation, evident in Goa, but it is now failing in “Rome of the Occident” itself, as it puts into practice the revolutionary Second Vatican Council. Where God the Father was being stripped of His Fatherhood, any kind of paternity or paternalism was being correspondingly outlawed, and that included all paternalism of colonies and empires. “Colonialism” and “imperialism” were to be replaced by scruffy tourism and disordered socialism. Religion, or irreligion, rules.

So in 1961 the combined army, air force and navy of the new Indian Republic took over the enclave of Goa. Hinduisation is proceeding apace, Goa has been moved into the modern world, and Hindu temples are being built everywhere, with the encouragement of the Catholic priests. But is it the fault of the children or the fathers? Was not a mosque built recently right next to St. Peter’s in Rome?

Kyrie eleison.