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Monday, April 30, 2007

A Brief Summary of Fundamental Theology

I. The Deposit of Faith

Public revelation ended at the death of the last Apostle. The fullness of all revealed truth had thereupon been delivered into the world. Until the end of time, no living human being will ever possess the comprehensive and transparent knowledge and understanding of the deposit of faith that was possessed by the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, this knowledge and understanding was transmitted in its entirety to the whole body of the Catholic Church where it subsists in its entirety and will continue to subsist until the end of time. The Catholic Church on earth consists in the whole body of persons endowed with the supernatural faith of Christ. This faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. That truth consists at least in the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation without which the saving words “Jesus is Lord” either cannot be uttered or have no meaning.

Those persons possessing this supernatural faith are ipso facto (and whether they know it or not) united in communion with the bishop of Rome, the successor of St Peter and are possessed either of the character of sacramental baptism or at least an implicit desire for it. These persons and only these persons constitute the Catholic Church upon earth and those among these persons alone whose faith is at the moment of death animated by supernatural charity will be saved. In this body subsists the deposit of faith in its entirety.

All the doctrines of the faith besides those of the Trinity and the Incarnation are connected to these two by logical or historical necessity because they establish the identity either of Christ or of His Church. However, the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation alone suffice to accept Jesus as Lord and God. The constant and knowing denial of any of the other doctrines is incompatible with the supernatural virtue of faith but their but their unwitting omission is not.

For an adult to receive the theological virtue of faith it is necessary that, moved by grace, he perform an act of faith. For an infant it suffices that the theological virtue is infused into him by the sacrament of baptism. However, if he is to retain this virtue he must make an act of faith by the time he reaches the age of reason, and this he cannot do unless the faith is preached to him.

II. The Magisterium

There is however, unlike in the case of the Apostles between the day of Pentecost and the time of their deaths, conjoined with this deposit of faith a great admixture of error, ignorance and confusion. In order therefore that the deposit of faith should never perish from the earth there is bestowed upon the Bishop of Rome and the Bishops in communion with him the purely negative guarantee that their final decision as to what does and does not belong within the deposit of faith and what is and is not an acceptable expression of it cannot err. Because this guarantee is purely negative it behoves the Bishop of Rome and those Bishops in communion with him, before making such an irrevocable judgement, to have comprehensive recourse to the sources of the faith and to the belief of the entire body of the faithful. Without this recourse the supreme judgement of the Bishop of Rome and those bishops in communion with him and of the Bishop of Rome alone remains undiminished in authority and unimpaired in its content but unless the failure is involuntary he or they have sinned against the Spirit by putting the Lord to the test.

III. Sacred Scripture

Before the death of the last Apostle a portion of the deposit of faith had been set down in 27 books by five of the Apostles and three of their disciples under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit such that every statement of their human authors contained in those books is a statement of God himself and is entirely without any error whatsoever. Together with the revelation made to Moses on Mt Sinai and the recapitulation of it made by the Prophets, Scribes and Historians of the Old Testament (which enjoy the same privilege) these 27 books, making in total 73, constitute the only directly inspired writings in existence. From the moment of the completion of the last book of the New Testament, a moment preceding the death of the last Apostle, there has been and will be no further inspired writing on this earth. This inspiration attaches to the autograph texts of the Sacred Scriptures in their original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. The substance of these texts is faithfully contained in the Latin text of the Clementine Vulgate which alone of all versions of Scripture is guaranteed by the supreme authority in the Church to be free of all error in faith and morals.

IV. Sacred Tradition

These 73 books however, do not and were never intended to contain the whole of the deposit of faith, and this for two reasons. First, because no text without its context and interpretation can successfully convey its content and so the Sacred Scriptures in order that they might successfully convey that portion of the deposit of faith consigned to them have need of an infallibly guaranteed context and interpreter. Second, this being the case, that context must itself form a material part of the deposit of faith. This oral tradition of belief, aspiration and practice resides infallibly along with the full content of the scriptures in the whole body of the Catholic Church and this infallible interpreting authority resides in the Bishop of Rome and the Bishops in communion with him in the manner already delineated. Before the end of the first millennium of the Church’s existence the whole of the oral tradition providing the context of the sacred writings and transmitting that portion of the deposit not contained therein had also been confined to writing. Those bishops and other members of Christ’s faithful of the first millennium who died in the odour of sanctity and who consigned to writing the content of the oral tradition, albeit without inspiration and with some admixture of error, are called the Fathers of the Church. Though each capable of error taken singly, the unanimous verdict of the fathers, because it is that of the whole body of the primitive Church, is incapable of error and is binding upon Christ’s faithful in all succeeding ages.

V. The Perennial Philosophy

It was the purpose of Almighty God in taking upon Himself human nature and revealing Himself to the world that He should deliver in principle the whole and in fact a remnant of the human race from the dominion of the fallen angels to which they have subjected themselves by their sins. It is the determination therefore of these enemies of the human race and of those men who remain either in whole or part their instruments to obscure, pervert and were it possible to obliterate the deposit of faith in order to prevent the emancipation of mankind. In this task they have no more effective device than to formulate errors contrary to the deposit of faith in the very language of the deposit itself. Because of the duty incumbent upon the Magisterium – the Church’s infallible doctrinal tribunal – not to put the Lord to the test it is not until such an assault upon the deposit has been attempted that in the general course of events it will make a final decision concerning the manner in which the teachings of the Church must be expressed. The infallible definitions of the Church’s Magisterium must therefore of their nature be expressed in a language other than that of scripture.

Because the revelation of Jesus Christ concerns the manner in which God has saved and is saving His creatures; and because of His assumption of the created nature of mankind; and because the deposit of faith must be communicated to and understood by the minds of men, the terminology in which the Magisterium irreformably defines the articles of faith is and must be common to God and creatures. It is therefore essential, if the deposit of faith is to be transmittable in its entirety and is not to succumb to obscurity and perversion, that the terminology employed by the Magisterium be in harmony with that employed to articulate the body of those necessary truths still available in principle to man in his present bondage. This work of harmonisation by its very nature, and consequent upon the negative guarantees possessed by the Magisterium and lacking to human reason, can be undertaken only by members of Christ’s faithful well versed in the truths of revelation and the definitions of the Magisterium taking these truths and definitions as its rule. Those persons whom the Magisterium has judged to have undertaken this work successfully are called the Doctors of the Church and presently number 33: three women and thirty men. Pre-eminent amongst them is St Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic and Universal Doctor, by the time of whose death this work of harmonisation was on the side of nature substantially complete. This body of natural truths is known as the Perennial Philosophy.

The capital theses in the philosophy of St. Thomas are thus not to be placed in the category of opinions capable of being debated one way or another, but are to be considered as the foundations upon which the whole science of natural and divine things is based; if such principles are once removed or in any way impaired, it must necessarily follow that students of the sacred sciences will ultimately fail to perceive so much as the meaning of the words in which the dogmas of divine revelation are proposed by the magistracy of the Church. Teachers of philosophy and sacred theology therefore who deviate so much as a step, in metaphysics especially, from Aquinas, expose themselves to grave risk of error. Thus, the doctrine of any writer or Saint is approved by the Church only to the extent that it agrees with the principles of Aquinas or is in no way opposed to them.

As of this moment therefore in the progress of history from Pentecost to the consummation of the world the Catholic faithful are possessed of five resources in the assimilation, comprehension and transmission of the deposit of faith. They are possessed of the writings of the Doctors of the Church who are presented to them by the Magisterium as exemplars of the transmission of the deposit of faith. They are possessed of the accumulated definitions of the Popes and Councils to whose terminology they are bound and whose form and content is guaranteed by God to be free of all error. They are possessed of the 73 books of inspired scripture in their surviving manuscripts insofar as these correspond to the autographs and of the Latin text of the Clementine Vulgate which is guaranteed to be free of all error in faith and morals. They are possessed of the monuments of the Fathers of the Church who in their unanimity cannot err. And finally, they are possessed of the Perennial Philosophy by which the unalterable meaning of that deposit is forever preserved from error and corruption.

The purpose of this, then, is not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; but rather, that through the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles, the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed differently, may never be understood in any other way and that we might hold to our dying breath the faith of the Fathers faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard it inviolate, in no way deviating from it in thought, word or deed.

This then is the faith of the Church. It is not proposed to the human race that they might engage in idle speculation or yoke it to alien philosophies but it is proposed to us that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this we may have life in His name.

Goalkeeping Error

Kilmarnock's Alan Combe helps Aberdeen's Darren Mackie. The third goal from Aberdeen's 3-0 victory on Saturday. Sent in by one half of the former patter noster team.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith on Sacramentum Caritatis

More frankness from the Archbishop who tell it like it is!
"A careful look at Sacramentum Caritatis convinces me more and more that it is not only a treasure trove of information, inspiration and a truly pastoral yet deeply theological reflection on the Eucharist but, more so, a document that seeks to bring to completion that which was truly desired by the Second Vatican Council and its document on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium. The post-conciliar reform of the Liturgy, though laudable in some aspects, had not been all that faithful to the spirit of the Council. "
Article discovered on Fr Finigan's blog and pointed out by Berenike.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Asymptotic Magisterium

It used to be said that Pius X described Modernism in Pascendi better than any actual Modernist could have done himself. Those days are gone. The 'Pontificator' has posted an article by someone called Alvin Kimel whose description of Catholicism is so perfect an account of Modernism as could never be rivalled.

History might go on for ages, we are told, and so we might well still live in the early church. The church progresses in it's knowledge of the truth and so can never really know accurately even the truths necessary for salvation. For two thousand years it has been believed that infant baptism was essential because without it any infant who died would be excluded forever from the beatific vision. But now we are watching 'the development of Catholic doctrine in action' and it turns out all human beings are automatically saved unless they reach the age of reason and commit an actual sin. Doctrines, even doctrines necessary for salvation, shift their meaning by 180 degrees. But don't worry coz this isn't 'a counter-example to the claim of the Catholic Church to be the authoritative and reliable steward of revelation'. After all, 'what is truth' as an early modernist once said. How ignorant the Apostles, Fathers and Doctors were, how wrong Pius X was when he said,

"The absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way."

Fr Kimel (a former anglican vicar and implacable foe of ' St Augustine and his Calvinist and Jansenist followers') tells us that,

"…the paragraph of Laetentus caeli that addresses baptism and original sin is not formulated in the language of solemn definition: it does not call for an irrevocable act of faith ..."

Allow me to quote the text,

Laetentur caeli, Decree of The Ecumenical Council Of Florence (1438-1445)

"In the name of the holy Trinity, Father, Son and holy Spirit, we define, with the approval of this holy universal council of Florence, that the following truth of faith shall be believed and accepted by all Christians and thus shall all profess it: … that the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with but with unequal pains. We also define that…."

Not a whiff of the extraordinary magisterium there clearly….

Council of Florence - Baptism only remedy for original sin in infants

The Ecumenical Council Of Florence (1438-1445)

"The holy Roman church, founded on the words of our Lord and Saviour, firmly believes, professes and preaches that … With regard to children, since the danger of death is often present and the only remedy available to them is the sacrament of baptism by which they are snatched away from the dominion of the devil and adopted as children of God, it admonishes that sacred baptism is not to be deferred for forty or eighty days or any other period of time in accordance with the usage of some people, but it should be conferred as soon as it conveniently can; and if there is imminent danger of death, the child should be baptized straightaway without any delay, even by a lay man or a woman in the form of the church, if there is no priest, as is contained more fully in the decree on the Armenians. "

Sacrosancta Romana Ecclesia, Domini et Salvatoris nostri voce fundata, firmiter credit, profitetur et praedicat... Circa pueros vero propter periculum mortis, quod potest saepe contingere, cum ipsis non possit alio remedio subveniri, nisi per sacramentum baptismi, per quod eripiuntur a diaboli dominatu et in Dei filios adoptantur, admonet, non esse per quadraginta aut octoginta dies seu aliud tempus iuxta quorundam observantiam sacrum baptisma differendum, sed quamprimum commode fieri potest, debere conferri: ita tamen, quod mortis imminente periculo mox sine ulla dilatione baptizentur, etiam per laicum vel mulierem, in forma Ecclesiae, si desit sacerdos, quemadmodum in decreto Armenorum plenius continetur

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Multitracked ?German sings and mimes

This is very funny, if you have a reasonable connection and sound and some time to waste go to the link in the title.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Defined Teaching of the Church on Limbo

D493a "The Roman Church teaches [...] that the souls of those who depart in mortal sin or with only original sin descend immediately to hell, nevertheless to be punished with different punishments and in disparate locations..."

John XXII, Nequaquam sine dolore (November 21, 1321)

D693 "...the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains."

Ecumenical Council of Florence, Decree for the Greeks - Laetentur Caeli (July 6, 1439)

So it is definitely not ok to say Limbo does not exist. It is ok to argue how comfortable it is. But is it ok to say it is empty?

It is clear from scripture that Hell is not empty and that 'many' go there and 'few' do not.

"For many are called, but few are chosen." Matthew 22:14

The majority of human beings who have ever lived may well be un-baptised infants. If they are all automatically saved then the majority of the human race are saved. Nice thought but contrary to scripture.

"And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day; just as Sodom and Gomor'rah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire." Jude 1:6-7

Were there no infants in Sodom? Were there less than nine? It seems unlikely. Yet, God promised he would not destroy Sodom if there were ten just men there. If all un-baptised infants are saved then they must be justified prior to death. Yet God destroyed Sodom and sent its inhabitants to Hell.

Just remembered - Edinburgh pro-life chain

This Saturday (28th April) - standing on Princes Street holding non-threatening placards as a silent witness.

Rosary 10am, Sacred Heart Church, Lauriston Street.

Assemble 10.45am, King's Stables Rd.

11am-1pm on Princes Street.

You don't have to stay the whole time, and can drop in for a bit any time!

Warning: frivolous post

Since I have no interesting or intelligent thoughts on Limbo, John Paul II or Marxism, and can't think of anything intellectual or edifying to say - this would seem to be the perfect time not to post.

Ah. Oh well, carry on regardless -

On revisiting old haunts: Do not have a good reason to return to a place of past happiness in good weather. In a season of sun, sandstone, and snakes-head fritillaries, one is apt to forget all the good reasons why one left. That apart, I am very sorry to report that the ladies' loos in the Old Bod have been refurbished. In itself unexceptionable, you might think; but in fact this means that an ongoing bodice-ripper, among other quite interesting and remarkably non-obscene graffiti, has been tiled over and lost to the world. Alas. (Also the taps are irritating now. But that's less important.)

This post on the lovely Dress A Day is about professional dressing (can one wear a frock to work?), and relates vaguely to my ongoing concerns about what academic females are meant to wear. Tweed, mismatched ties and unbrushed hair looks fine on chaps. For ladies, it's trickier. Just one reason why academic gowns should be more widely used. Anyway. Possibly of interest to, well, women who work. Um.

Monday, April 23, 2007

John Paul II's debt to Marx? (KES debate continued)

[link to original in title]
Published online at 21.02 on 24th March 2006
This text follows the article in The Tablet of 14th January 2006; see also the KUL institute's reaction here.
Jonathan Luxmoore and Jolanta Babiuch sent the following clarification to KAI (Catholic Information Agency) in response to its news article about the meeting of representatives of the John Paul II Institute with the Grand Chancellor of KUL:

In the KAI article Archbishop Życinski misrepresented our views as given in the article published in the British Catholic [sic – translator’s note] weekly The Tablet on 14th January.

The article concerned the unpublished two-volume work of Fr Wojtyła entitled Catholic Social Ethics. Since the majority of readers will not have read our artilce, and also since we were not given the possibility of replying directly to the Archbishop’s criticism, we would like to respond in this letter to the accusations made.

The article contains an analysis of lectures given by the Rev. Dr. Wojtyła at the Jagiellonian University at the beginning of the 1950s, which are collected in the work called Catholic Social Ethics. In our opinion, this work of around five hundred pages is of important historical significance for the understanding of the intellectual formation of the future pope. It contains a detailed analysis of marxism and proposes a Christian reply to Marxist claims.

Initially there was difficulty in confirming the authenticity of the work’s authorship. Currently several authorities, including the Insitute of John Paul II at KUL and the John Paul II Foundation in Rome have confirmed that the author of Katolickia Etyka Społeczna was indeed Fr Wojtyła. Independently of these affirmations, our analysis of the text supplied further evidence for this conclusion. The above reasons led us to conclude that it was important to write about this for the Anglo-Saxon reader.

In the article we presented two fundamental arguments. First, that the Rev. Dr. Wojtyła had a wide acquaintance with the subject of marxism (as indeed with other philosophical traditions). Secondly, that already as a young priest he had begun “reflections on the subject of ‘moral victory’ over the communist power” and developed a Christian reply to Marxism. Like many intellectuals of the post-war generation Fr Wojtyła showed a gret sensitivity to social problems and like many in those times he used “the language of the period”.

However the views we present are a long way from the statements attributed to us and criticised by Archbishop Życinski.

Nowhere in the text of our article did we state that Wojtyłą had “left-wing sympathies”, or that he represented “the position of the Left”. Moreover we consider it inappropriate to identify the views and teaching of Karol Wojtyłą with any particular political orientation. We said that Wojtyłą was interested in and studied “the ideas of marxism”. That scholars take an interest in and research ideas does not mean that they sympathise with or support them.
The article did not concern “the teaching of John Paul II” but the earlier work of Fr Wojtyła. We wrote that Fr Wojtyła taught phenomenology as a “kind of antidote” to marxism. The personalism he studied can be considered as “ a counterproposition to marxism”. In his analysis Fr Wojtyła showed how certain ethical categories had been exploited and deformed by marxism, including that of the understanding of the alienation of the person. Fr Wojtyła argued against, among others, the marxist understnading of social class, the class war and “political revolution”. The unique nature of Catholic Social Ethics, as we state in our article, lies in something quite contrary to that of which AbpŻycinski accuses us, namely in the remarkable ability shown by Fr Wojtyłą in deconstructing the concepts of marxist social philosophy and in recreating their Christian significance.

Regarding the reaction of George Weigel to our article we would like to say that he did not argue with our interpretation of Catholic Social Ethics but asserted that the contents of Fr Wojtyła’s lectures was taken from Fr Piwowarczyk. Assertions of this kind ought however to be backed up by an analysis of the text, and since Mr Weigel neither speaks nor reads Polish it is difficult to accept his assertion as authoritative.

What strikes us as particularly important in the tex published by KAI is the declaration that the John Paul II Institute will publish Fr Wojtyła’s work (in, we hope, its entirety).

At the same time we are concerned by the resolution to “counteract false interpretations of the views of the Pope in various stages of his life” Of course, different interpretations are possible and held. We hope that after the belated publication of the Rev. Dr. Wojtyłą’s lectures readers will have many different opinions, which they will be able to present and exchange freely.

Jonathan Luxmoore and Jolanta Babiuch, Oxford, 20th March 2006

A similar clarification was received by the Rev. Andrzej Szostek. Taking up the discussion he wrote:

Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, Catholic Social Ethics and Marxism
Notes on the margin of the article “Karol Wojtyłą’s forgotten text” The Tablet, 14th January 2006, by J. Luxmoore and J. Babiuch

The article “Karol Wojtyła’s forgotten text published by J. Luxmoore and J. Babiuch in The Tablet has already provoked a reaction from George Weigel, author of the well-known biographical monograph on John Paul II, Witness to Hope, to which the authros of the article replied (The Tablet, 14th and 28th January 2006), which in turn brought a response from Archbishop Józef Życinski (cf. KAI, 19th March 2006. It seems probably that this response will be answered in turn by the authors of the original article. Ithink that the article deserves a few words of comment, which ought to clear up at leasta few misunderstandings.

1. The consideration of K. Wojtyła’s script in the beatification process of John Paul II
The article begins and ends with a reference to the beatification process of the Servant of God John Paul II. In this connection the authors express the concern that the typescript Katolicka Etyka Społeczna (KES) written by Fr Karol Wojtyła will not be taken into consideration, and likewise express their worry that the authorities of the Catholic church in Poland are unwilling to publish the text, which – in the opinion of those authorities – is not worthy of publication, being insufficiently mature and independent.

It should be remembered in this connection that at the stage of the examination of writings of any candidate for the altar, only those writings can be considered which he himself decidedto publish. When the candidate is a pope, official papal declarations (encyclicals, exhortations, apostolic letters etc) are excluded from this stage, since their publications is regulated by separate ecclesiastical regulations. Also excluded are texts which the Serant of God did not himself decide to publish, even if they appeared in print after his elevation to the See of Peter. Though this may seem strange, this rule is for the benefit of the candidate for the altar. The censor has to give his opinion as to, among other things, whether the writings of the Servant of God contain anything contrary to Catholic faith and morals. Now if such content were found in unpublished writings, then the accusation of having expressed opinions contra fides et morum (as it is technicaly called) would not have as much weight as if it had been decided to publish the texts. After all it happens that someone expresses himself unguardedly, or opinions are ascribed to him which he did not hold. It would be unfair and damaging to burden him with the accusation of infidelity to the teaching of the Church. Writings which someone has personally authorised and submitted to public attention are a different matter.

This coin has of course two sides. Protecting the Servant of God from unfair accusations in this way means that things cannot be taken into consideration that might otherwise greatly strengthen convictions of his orthodoxy and sanctity. The above-mentioned rule means that at this stage not only the typescript of KES but also many other valuable texts of Karol Wojtyła published after 16th October 1978 cannot be taken into consideration. They include a large part of his poetic works, retreat conferences, homilies and academic texts, among which are not just the Lublin lectures but even the full text of his doctoral thesis (only the conluding summary of the doctorate was published before 16th October 1968, and it is an insufficient basis for showing the full richness of the analysis contained in the dissertaion and the conscientiousness of the author in an honest search for the truth).

Let us hope that the at the next stages of the beatification these texts will also be taken into consideration (I am not familiar with the whole procedure of the process), but any suppositions as to the intentions behind the non-consideration of KES must be considered completely unfounded.

2. The publication of the text of Katolicka Etyka Społeczna
It is howeer true that the John Paul II Institute of KUL began the publication of a series entitled Man and Morality (Człowiek i moralność) in which appeared not only previously-published texts of Karol Wojtyła, but also inedita. For example, the Lublin Lectures (Wykłady Lubelskie), also previously unpublished, appeared in the series. The authors of the article emphasise that the publication of KES is eminently desireable, as it is not true that Wojtyła merely repeated therein the theses of Fr. Piwowarczyk, on whose book (also at the time unpublished in Poland) he based his lectures.
They are right: KES must absolutely be published, if only to dispel suspicions as to the hidden and suspect motives lurking behind the delay of its publication. The reasons for this delay are rather prosaic: the Insitute was not (and still is not) able to publish all texts worthy of publication simultaneously. It had to choose between them , basing its decision on the value of the texts and the “need of the moment”. The Institute decided to publish first (with commentary) Love and Responsibility, then a reange of other works important in the scientific legacy of Cardinal Karol Wojtyła. It also had to pay attention to the immensely numerous and important papal documents, edit the Ethos quarterly, and react to the moral challenges presented by modernity. The project of publishing KES, though raised at the annual meeting of the Institute’s Academic Committee in 1994, was continually put off, especially as the typewritten text demanded not a little work to be red precisely. The publication of KES is included in publishing plans for 2006, and let us hope that this time things will not stop at the level of plans. The authors of the article have not doubt a different estimation of the importance of the script than do the authorities of the Institute, postponing its publication from year to year. They emphasise the originality of Wojtyła’s thought, in opposition to the opinion (expressed also by George Weigel) that his KES lectures are a repetition of the views of Fr. Piwowarczyk.
The matter is a little complicated. It is true that the (as a rule consienciously prepared by him in scriptis) lectures of Wojtyła are undoubtedly his. It is however also true that he based his KES lectures on texts of Fr. J. Piwowarczyk, who lectured in Catholic Social Ethics in the theological faculty of the Jagiellionian University at the beginning of the 1950s. (His Katolicka Etyka Społeczna, unpublishied in the Polish People’s Republic, was published by Veritas in London in 1960, and its second volume, on economic ethics, was published by the same in 1963). Copied on a duplicator in 1958, Wojtyła’s text is not therefore merely a copy of the lectures of Fr Piwowarczyk, but it does clearly refer to it. This is understandable: Fr Wojtyła’s theological education was not immediately concerned with the social teaching of the Church, and so when lectures in this field were entrusted to him he turned to an author known to him and recognised in Catholic circles, developing in his own way a range of that author’s ideas. The authors of the article emphasise the originality of Wojtyła’s contribution, especially in regard to marxism. Indeed, in this areaWojtyła formulated many of his own thoughts. However this does not mean that he did not also in this area use thought of Fr Piwowarczyk’s. It is worth referring to this book (cf, esp. vol. I, pp 129-150, 217-229, 309-315, vol.II pp 69-88) to see for oneself how much attention Fr Piwowarczyk gives to marxism and to the position of the Church in regard to the ideas promoted by Marx, and how much he emphasises the inadequacy of the Church’s social teaching to that point in the face of the challenges brought by the “savage/wild capitalism” severely criticised by the Church. I think that the authors of the article will agree that the views of Karol Wojtyła presented in KES grew out of the lectures of Fr Piwowarczyk (though also from the personal experiences and meditation of the future Pope), but that they find a more mture form in Wojtyła’s later works, especially Person and Act. It is precisely this that led the John Paul II Institute to postpone the publication of KES.
3 Karol Wojtyła and Marxism
This brings us to the last matter,which can be presented here only summarily, though it undoubtedly deserves closer treatment. The authors of the article underline the “empathy” with which Karol Wojtyła approached marxism. If by “empathy” is to be understood aiming at understanding a point of view and grasping that in it which is of value (before undertaking to criticise it) then it must be agreed that he showed empathy for marxism as he did for phenomenology, Humean empiricism and many other ideas, which he then subjected to critical reflection. It was simply Wojtyła’s style of philosophising. He was not prone to condemming views with which he did not agree, rather he tried to find their good points, but nevertheless pointing out their onesidedness, especially where this led to harm for people.
Marxism belonged to those philosophical currents to which it was necessary to pay much attnetion, not only because of its theoretical (though deceptive) attractiveness, but also because it was with it above all that one had to deal in post-war Poland. The fundamental idea of Karol Wojtyła (formulated best in Person and Act and in the article “Osoba: podmiot i współnota”) can be put as follows: individualism (forming the theoretical premise of liberal capitalism) and “anti-individualism” (or “socialist totalism”, inspired by marxist thought) are connected in that they separate and oppose personal good from the common good. Either, therefore, one treats organised society (state) as a threat to the person (individualism) or one subordinates the person to the state, regarding its wellbeing as more important than the wellbeing and fulfillment of the individual (anti-individualism). The alternative to these false and destructive views is participation, whose foundation is relating to others as neighbours [in the Gospel sense], and which the person realises in seeing his own good in the common good. For this reason the medicine for alienation is not economic revolution (as Marx wanted) but countering the tendency to treat others as rivals, and the building of a “civilisation of love”. Wojtyła gave a great deal of importance to discussion with these two sides, which – despite superficial differences – have more connecting them than dividing. On his intitiave a book was prepared before 16th October 1978, in which he wanted to make available his thoughts and those of his pupils to those otherwise separated by the language barrier. This book was translated and prepared for printing in autumn of 1978; this was of great use to Kevelaer Verlag, which ws able to publish the book immediately upon the election of Cardinal Wojtyła to the See of Peter and which grasped well its (and especially Cardinal Wojtyła’s article’s) premise, giving the book the title Der Streit um den Menschen (The Debate about the Person). Cardinal Wojtyłą continued this debate as pope, steadfastly (though in an oringla way) continuing the social thought of the Church, which from the beginning (that is from the encyclical of Leo XIII Rerum Novarum of 1891) treated contemporary capitalism as a threat to the person, even if it considered marxist revolution as a medicine worse than the disease. I mention this, because reading the article “Karol Wojtyła’s forgotten text” might suggest to one that in KES Wojtyła fundentally sympathised with Marx’s criticism of capitalism, improving it only where it seemed to him insufficiently thoroough and consistent. In my opinion it is not so. One might say that he was “empathetic” towards amrxism, as he was to capitalism, trying to find in both systems that which was right, but at the same time subjecting both systems to criticism from the point of view of philosophical and theological personalism. Moreover, in the social encyclicals of John Paul II (being a development of ideas contained in KES, not a departure from them) one can find the thought that though the marxist utopia may have met with collapse, the capitalist system dserves critical reflection and correction exactly because in this way it will be better able to serve the development of the person and worldwide communio personarum than it has been so far (cf. Centesimus Annus, especially parts III and IV).
To fill out the points made only in the letter of Luxmoore and Babiuch to KAI it should be noted that:
1 Their original text published in The Tablet of 14th January 2006 bore the title “JohnPaul’s debt to Marxism”. It is difficult to take seriously the suggestion that John Paul II had any kind of intellectual debt to marxism. On the basis of the fact that – as the authors explain – John Paul II studied marxism, one cannot seriously speak of any kindof “debt”.
2 Karol Wojtyła undertook the KUL lectures in 1954, when the offical version of marxism was stalinism. If one were to be more precise in the title of the Tablet article, then it would read “John Paul’s debt to stalinism”, which is far closer to grotesque than to academic dispute.
3 Referring in the original article to the fact that Wojtyła signed up the criticism of capitalism contained in the teaching of Pius XI has no great argumentative wieght, since it is difficult to imagine responsible Catholic intellectual circles who would at that time have dismissed papal social teaching expressed in encyclicals.
4 In the original Table article the authros point out that the opinion of John Paul was not a “total criticism”of marxism,but an analysis of its ethical categories. It is difficult to imagine academic lectures which would be a “total criticism” of anything. This kind of practice may interest ideologues or – more rarely – publicists, but for someone who had grown up in the circle of influence of the Polish logical school Wojtyła’s approach was necessary and natural.
5 A particular departure from the principles of reasoned discussion can be seen in the conspiracy theory of publication expressed in the words “this is why the Polish Church has been so reluctant to acknowledge the existence of Catholic Social Ethics, fearing it could be misunderstood”. The Polish Church has made no statement regarding the publication of thewords of Karol Wojtyła. The decision of the Publishing Committee respected Karol Wojtyła when it did not identify the social ethics lectures as a work which ought to be printed. It’s a psychologically understandable evaluation of the fact that lectures given for the first time do not as a rule form material that one publishes. It’s a shame that the authors disregard the wishes of the author himself in order to spin a publishing conspiracy theory.
6 From the fact that George Weigel does not speak Polish does not follow that one can refuse him the right to opine on the Polish publications of Karol Wojtyła. In many of his texts he has demonstrated intellectual honesty, bringing closer to the Anglo-Saxon reader texts published only in Polish.
7 Jonathan Luxmoore and Jolanta Babiuch write “we are concerned by the resolution [scil.of the authorities of KUL] to ‘counter false interpretations of the views of the Pope in various stages of his life’”. From the context of earlier discussions it appears that this counteraction is conducted by means of the weighing of arguments on an internet portal and by the publication of source texts. These latter do not credibly give any ground for speaking of, e.g., the debt of John Paul II to marxism. Does the reasonable limitation of a groundless debate really provide cause for concern?


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Social Modernism

"Many believe in or claim that they believe in and hold fast to Catholic doctrine on such questions as social authority, the right of owning private property, on the relations between capital and labour, on the rights of the labouring man, on the relations between Church and State, religion and country, on the relations between the different social classes, on international relations, on the rights of the Holy See and the prerogatives of the Roman Pontiff and the Episcopate, on the social rights of Jesus Christ, Who is the Creator, Redeemer, and Lord not only of individuals but of nations. In spite of these protestations, they speak, write, and, what is more, act as if it were not necessary any longer to follow, or that they did not remain still in full force, the teachings and solemn pronouncements which may be found in so many documents of the Holy See, and particularly in those written by Leo XIII, Pius X, and Benedict XV. There is a species of moral, legal, and social modernism which We condemn, no less decidedly than We condemn theological modernism."
Pius XI - Ubi Arcano Dei


The International Theological Commission has NO MAGISTERIAL AUTHORITY its statements are not pontifical acts. They are not even acts of the Holy See's bureaucracy. No one is obliged to believe them. No guarantee of orthodoxy attaches to them. The fact that the Pope authorises their statements does not even indicate whether or not he assents to their contents even as a private theologian.

Having said that it does not seem that the new statement from the ITC says anything more than that the existence of Limbo remains an open theological question and that its members favour various possible ways in which un-baptized infants might receive baptismal grace extra-sacramentally. Strictly speaking a number of the proposed methods would leave limbo in tact just reduce its population and then only slightly.

Unfortunately, I cant find the document on the internet so I can’t check. Personally, it seems to me (as I’m always saying) that the existence of Limbo is a necessary consequence of various already solemnly defined teachings (such as that one can be damned on account of original sin without actual sin) and thus could be and should be defined.

This is a quite separate issue to whether or not baptism of desire can be received vicariously by the children of Catholic parents.

Limbo should be defined precisely because its denial in favour of a more positive appraisal of the possibilities for the un-baptised (which is the novel direction in which this is generally being taken) usually ends in a denial of Original Sin. The ITC document has already led to various pseudo-Catholics making this claim.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I had a zeal on occasion of the wicked, seeing the prosperity of sinners. For there is no regard to their death. They are not in the labour of men, neither shall they be scourged like other men. Therefore pride hath held them fast, they are covered with their iniquity and their wickedness. They have thought and spoken wickedness. And they said How doth God know? And is there knowledge in the Most High?
Behold these are sinners, and yet abounding in the world they have had riches.

I studied that I might know this thing. It is a labour in my sight.

Ps 72

The Scotus side and thw Maid of Bath

Talking of the root of all evil, and having just recently glanced at Peter Kwasniewski’s wee piece on unashamed dissent from the magisterium among Traditional Catholics™, I was amused to see “Scotus’s free agreement thesis” placed as the antithesis to “Aquinas’s concept of equivalence” in an outline of medieval just price theory.

I ave also been thinking, as I wrote to Aelianus yesterday (it is a little sad to be repeating a joke)(especially as it’s not particularly funny)(but somehow confessing that I’ve already used it makes it less sad): if it had been the Maid of Bath’s tale, then the question would have been “what do wenches want?” and the answer?

Girls just want to have fun.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Why Lay Communion Under Both Kinds Is A Bad Idea

I. The Lord’s command to consume the Eucharist under both species must be fulfilled in order that for the Sacrifice of the Mass to be properly offered. This occurs when the Priest receives from the chalice. This is the reason the server traditionally rings the hand bell at this point (and Irish old men leave the church and go to the pub). Thus the reception of communion under one species by the laity emphasises the doctrine of the Church concerning the objective sufficiency of the sacrifice offered by the priest while communion under both kinds deemphasises it.

II. Because the body and blood are made present under two different species the Lord is present on the altar in immolated form. Nevertheless, it is His living resurrected body that is made present in which body and blood are not separated. Thus, the whole Christ is received body, blood, soul and divinity under either species. These truths are emphasised by the reception of communion under one species by the laity but communion under both kinds deemphasises them.

III. The ministerial and common priesthoods differ in kind and not just in degree and the sacrifices offered by each also differ “Orate, fratres ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptabile fiat apud Deum Patrem omnipotentem…” These truths are emphasised by the reception of communion under one species by the laity while communion under both kinds deemphasises them.

IV. The laity should not administer communion to themselves as this obscures the nature of our relationship to the sacrifice of the cross and the person of Christ. While the Greeks avoid this through the use of intinction (and indeed all the authorised methods of receiving the chalice until 2000 avoided it) the now-legalised-abuse of the lay communicant taking the chalice in his own hands and administering it to himself falls into precisely this error.

V. According to tradition the sacred vessels when containing the consecrated species ought not to be touched by the hands of anyone less than a deacon.

VI. The danger of accidental profanation is greatly increased.

VII. The administration of communion under both kinds is routinely used as an excuse for the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (which is rightly prohibited).

All this said no harm would be done if the laity received communion under both kinds by intinction in the Greek manner on occasion (which seems to be what the council fathers intended). Obvious occasions would be Corpus Christi or the spouses at a nuptial mass. However, whatever certain bishops may think no one not even a Pope has the power to insist that communion be administered under both kinds as this has been solemnly defined by the Ecumenical Council of Constance.

D626 "Since in some parts of the world certain ones have rashly presumed to assert that Christian people should receive the sacrament of the Eucharist under both species of bread and wine, and since they give communion to the laity indiscriminately, not only under the species of bread, but also under the species of wine, after dinner or otherwise when not fasting, and since they pertinaciously assert that communion should be enjoyed contrary to the praiseworthy custom of the Church reasonably approved which they try damnably to disprove as a sacrilege, it is for this reason that this present Council . . . declares, decides, and defines, that, although Christ instituted that venerable sacrament after supper and administered it to His disciples under both species of bread and wine; yet, notwithstanding this, the laudable authority of the sacred canons and the approved custom of the Church have maintained and still maintain that a sacrament of this kind should not be consecrated after supper, nor be received by the faithful who are not fasting, except in case of sickness or of another necessity granted or admitted by law or Church; and although such a sacrament was received by the faithful under both species in the early Church, yet since then it is received by those who consecrate under both species and by the laity only under the species of bread [another reading: And similarly, although this sacrament was received by the faithful in the early Church under both species, nevertheless this custom has been reasonably introduced to avoid certain dangers and scandals, namely, that it be received by those who consecrate it under both species, and by the laity only under the species of bread], since it must be believed most firmly and not at all doubted that the whole body of Christ and the blood are truly contained under the species of bread as well as under the species of wine. Therefore, to say that to observe this custom or law is a sacrilege or illicit must be considered erroneous, and those pertinaciously asserting the opposite of the above mentioned must be avoided as heretics and should be severely punished, either by the local diocesan officials or by the inquisitors of heretical depravity."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Star Wars - A New.... Perspective on the 14th Century

I am currently seeking funding for a major motion picture called Revenge of the Sophists. It is an historical epic but, taking my cue from Mel Gibson and William Shakespeare, I'm not worrying about chronology too much and I've taken a few other historical liberties as well, here and there.

The cast…

Frank Oz = Thomas Aquinas
Liam Neeson = Bonaventure
Ewan McGregor = Duns Scotus
Hayden Christensen = William of Ockham
Samuel L. Jackson = Giles of Rome later elected John XXII
Ian McDiarmid = Louis of Bavaria
Terence Stamp = Frederick the Handsome
Christopher Lee = Michael of Cesena

The Plot... Christendom is seemingly at peace, the attack of the mysterious Cathars has been headed of by the Friars - for the last 100 years the guardians of faith and reason in the West. The emperor Henry VII has just died and it is assumed that Frederick the Handsome of the House of Habsburg will be elected to succeed him, but unexpectedly his childhood friend (but now enemy) Louis of Bavaria is elected instead. In fact, unknown to the Friars, Louis is a Dark Lord of the Sophists and a practitioner of the Via Moderna. It is believed that the Sophists were vanquished long ago by Socrates the founder of the Via Antiqua which the Friars are sworn to defend but in fact they have continued to exist operating though various shadow organisations the Cathars and then the secretive Knights Templar. The Emperor begins to incroach upon the liberties of the Papacy. Friar Giles of Rome senses something is not quite right about the new Emperor but he cannot put his finger on what. He shares his concerns with his old Master Friar Thomas Aquinas and his friend Bonaventure. Giles persudes the Pope to disolve the Templars who he suspects may be allied to Louis.

Meanwhile, on the remote island of Britain, the Masters of the University of Oxford are suspicious about the rising young Bachelor William of Ockham. Ockham was trained in the Via Antiqua by Scotus who was himself trained by Bonaventure. Scotus thought he could train Ockham just as well as Aquinas, but he was wrong. The Masters of Oxford permit him to lecture but do not grant him the rank of Master making Ockham angry and resentful. Ockham is befriended by Michael of Cesena a fellow Friar who is in fact an agent of the Emperor. Lusting after the freedom of indifference Ockham begins to turn towards the Via Moderna.

Back in Avignon, Friar Giles of Rome has been elected as John XXII. He summons Ockham to Avignon to investigate his orthodoxy. John XXII also has his suspitions about Michael of Cesena. The Pope is now engaged in a titanic struggle with the Emperor Louis of Bavaria who is seeking to corrupt the Friars in his quest to enslave the Papacy. Realising that the verdict of the Pope will go against him Michael of Cesena encourages Ockham to flee Avignon seek the protection of Louis of Bavaria. Ockham gives himself to the service of the Emperor and of the Via Moderna...

[Disclaimer: St Bonaventure never met Scotus and Scotus never met Ockham. Bonaventure and Aquinas and Scotus were all dead by the time the events described occurred. Giles of Rome was taught by St Thomas but he certainly isn't the same person as John XXII. Giles did encourage the dissolution of the Templars. He actually died in the same year as John XXII became Pope. However, he was a strong defender of the Papacy against the temporal power and may even have written Unam Sanctam. I have no idea if Louis of Bavaria cared about the reality or otherwise of universals. Other than that the plot follows history very closely].

Polish blues in London

Not the slavonic melancholia of the unemployed and/or homesick, but

Weekend Entertainment for Londoners!

Poland's blues instrumentalist of 2006 with the "legends of the Polish music scene" Nocna Zmiana Bluesa. Theatre of POSK, 238-246 King Street (W6), phone 022 8741 0398/1887. Tickets available there between 6 and 9 p.m., concerts Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 4p.m. Joanna was married on Saturday; the band came to the bash. This was the first time I've heard her play: I knew that apart from teaching acoustics at the Warsaw music academy she'd fallen into playing with a blues band through her recording work, but I didn't realise they were great! Well, I enjoyed it immensely anyway, and possibly have been converted to blues as a genre.
Last night someone rang at the door, and it was the young couple themselves, come to stay at Joanna's family's house a few yards from here. And I learned that they had planned to spend at least a week here, but then this gig came up. It's still her honeymoon, so turn up and make her feel it was worth giving up their planned week in the country!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Holy Father!

May God grant many more years of health, wisdom and holiness to our dear Pope.

Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Benedictum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae tuae praeesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quaesumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus praeest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Birds and burds

OK, so wireless-on-a-bus just broke down and the computer ate my post. Meh. What I was about to say was, and will now say in shorter compass in case the same thing happens again -

I'd always assumed that the use of 'bird' to mean 'girl' was relatively recent, and coined by some derogatory association with fragility or bird-brained-ness or some such. But reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, I saw that the Blessed Virgin was referred to as a 'burde', which the glossary gave as maiden or something like that (will give proper citations when not on bus!). And in the OED, sense 1d of 'bird' says that 'burd' became wrongly connected with 'bird' (as in feathers) and was assumed to be a figurative meaning of this - it's not entirely clear from the quotations in the OED when this confusion took place. Its current usage seems to be a twentieth century thing. Note that for 'burd' in the OED, it really dies out after c.1600 (interestingly the quotation of that date is Scottish - Scots often does seem to retain antique usages), except for one revival by Morris (presumably self-conscious). Interesting. Time to reclaim 'bird' as a term of dignity and grace? Might be an uphil struggle, mind...

(Shortly after that point in Gawain, I'm afraid I admitted defeat (temporary, I hope) and bought Tolkien's translation.)

Advice from Zadok on Maundy Thursday negotiations

Recent correspondence:

Boeciana: ... the annual embarrassing conversation - 'Do you want to have your feet washed tonight?' - 'Er, no, I'm a girl' - stony glance from female parishioner...

Zadok: LOL - 'I'm afraid I can't do that... there's something wrong with my feet. (Mental reservation: They're female)'

Wifi excitement

This is amazing - I'm on the Oxford Tube (which is actually a bus, for anyone who doesn't know), and there's free wireless internet access! Fantastic! On the down side, though, I didn't realise HOW MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE grown-up tickets are than student tickets, so I only had enough cash for a single, and so have effectively wasterd £7. Bah. Aaaanyway, am amazed by the technological wizardry of having the internet on a bus. Even though now I'm kicking myself for wasting half an hour of my precious time in the Bod on emails this morning.

Over-exicited post over...

Shock and dismay as physicians prove unenthusiastic about murdering babies.

Given how bleak all the other statistics on abortion are in the UK it is a relief to see that at least the practitioners themselves seem to have noticed there is something a bit odd about massacring innocents.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Labas, labas, labas

The great thing about being British is that (unless you are Welsh) you can't be ethnically British. Britain is composed of four geographical nations which are themselves a hodge podge of Irish, Brythonic, Anglo-Saxon and Norman in varying combinations overlaid with less warlike European visitors and people from more distant countries exploited by the 'indigenous' UK population(s) in the more recent past. As a Habsburg enthusiast, this seems to me a very satisfactory arrangement. It ensures that while Welsh, Irish, English or Scottish identity is ethnic, British identity remains civic. Keep the ethnic and the civic at arms-length I say, or nasty things start happening.

There was a Party Political Broadcast for BNP Scotland on the TV last night. The production values were very low. The best they could manage was zooming out from various Glasgow tenements and flashing up words like 'deprivation' or 'unemployment' . Apparently nowadays even the BNP pretends it isn't racist. A Pyrrhic victory as it doubtless reflects the triumph of political correctness, which causes fascists to breed in the first place. Code for whites is now 'local people'. Other dog whistle techniques are attempted such as silhouettes of figures performing some kind of cod tribal dance while the speaker went on about 'local people' and their objections to immigration. Then there was an inexplicable flourish of sectarian flute music (hunnish dog whistling presumably). But perhaps this attempt at subtlety has a further cause. The BNP don't seem too keen on white immigrants either nowadays especially when they are Popish Slavic untermenchen. Thus bigotry has to roam a little further than the traditional colour-based system.

All this reminded me of a conversation I had on my way back from Poland a few months ago. I was in a taxi in Aberdeen on my way to my flat from the airport. The taxi driver asked me where I had come from. "Warsaw" I told him. He then proceeded to tell me how his area of Aberdeen had been ruined by Poles moving in and opening good quality value- for-money delicatessens all over the place (bastards). He complained that they were taking all the jobs and leeching off the benefit system. He expressed his admiration for the BNP and predicted an imminent revolution to save us all from the hoards of immigrants. I pointed out that EU citizens from accession countries can't claim benefit so that any Poles he saw must either be contributing to the economy or starving to death, that if the 'local people' were having enough children and hard working enough there would be no jobs available and no one would come, and that the alternative to Poles was largely Islamic. This last point seemed alarming enough for him to start backtracking. Colour, it seems, has not lost all its force. I doubt if his sudden grudging appreciation for Poles was inspired by theological concerns. Yet the rather backhanded way in which the victory over the taxi driver was won rather took the satisfaction out of it.

It is quite disturbing that the BNP now have enough candidates to entitle them to a Party Political Broadcast. This comes at the same time as the SNP look set to gain power. I have also noticed increasing numbers of boards set up on lamp-posts with saltires painted on them with a 'P' in the top quarter. I am told that this does not represent a commemoration of the seventeen hundredth anniversary of Constantine's acclamation as Emperor, but is the logo of a Scottish nationalist terrorist group which wants to drive English people across the Tweed or into the sea (whichever is nearest). Sadly they have no plans to drive themselves back into the sea and give Albany back to the Welsh. I was arguing about the SNP with a friend last year who insisted that the Nationalists are Socialists of conviction rather than opportunists who move to whichever part of the political spectrum is most likely to get them a majority. Given the BNP's apparent concern for full employment for 'local people' perhaps BNP-Scotland, the SNP and the Socialist Workers Party could get together to form the Scottish National Socialist Workers Party. Us Anglo-Saxons, Slavs and Balts could flee south together before we are murdered in our beds.

Anyway, on a happier note here is a nice article from the Guardian (sorry) in which the proper reaction to Central/Eastern European population transfusion is exemplified by a friendly Norfolk policeman.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I am Ofski

Not Russian, as my maths teacher used to say, but I must go. Here's where I plan to spend the summer. Aren't you all jealous?

NEW ICEL!!!!!!!

Oh oh oh oh what is going on the world? Am I only dreaming? Ratzinger gets elected as pope. (brief pause to recollect how incredible this was/is) Credible rumours of a universal indult. And the new ICEL appears to be less than a decade from being introduced (everywhere, probably, except Scotland and England&Wales).

A sample off of Fr Finigan, where indeed I learned this ICEL news.

Latin text Supra quae propitio ac sereno vultu respicere digneris; et accepta habere, sicuti accepta habere dignatus es munera pueri tui justi Abel, et sacrificium patriarchae nostri Abrahae, et quod tibi obtulit summus sacerdos tuus Melchisedech, sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam.

Old ICEL Look with favor on these offerings and accept them as once you accepted the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchizedek.

New ICEL Be pleased to look upon them, with a serene and kindly gaze, and to accept them as you were pleased to accept the gifts of your just servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the offering of your high priest Melchizedek, a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim.

This is more exciting than any universal indult, I think. Because it will be/should be everywhere, not just in little corners. Another fifty years and Britain might be like Poland, you amble into any Mass in any church and though you might wish the PA was turned down and the priest looked as though he meant what he was saying and so on and so forth, the Mass itself is, you know, licit.

Motu Proprio date II

Funny how one can post on things of great international import, such as moves to strengthen a country's law against the introduction of abortion, moves with a good chance of success, and there is not a single comment. I bung up a facetious comment about the motu proprio, and lo and behold . . . Now I'm off to giggle at the stat counter.
(dear commenter, this is only observational comedy, or whatever the term should be: it was amusing to find a comment on the motu proprio post about three seconds after having posted it.)

Friends Reunited? Nah, don't need it

Sitting in Warsaw wasting time reading blogs I have just found that a recent convert who was received at Our Lady's in North Berwick this Easter (Aelianus and I and another friend began a great day trip with Mass there a couple of years ago) lives in the parish that was mine for eight years and where I made the three Cs. We got the same school bus for a couple of years. I even remember his being at my school! Everyone be friendly and go and visit his blog. And it looks as though he's also into days out at Places of Historical Interest. (I've often pretended to have an exciting and fashionable social life, but it was all an act.)

Motu Proprio release date

The latest rumour says Monday, the latest-but-one, May. Do we think it is likely to come out the same day as the Pope's book is published? (Polish, German and Italian: the rest of youse will have to wait.)

Constitutional amendment fails, marshall of the Sejm resigns

It didn't get through. I don't know how much the political games of those supposedly in favour are responsible for this failure, but I hope they can't sleep tonight. Poor Jurek.
There's a poll on www.dziennik.pl (yes. it's my newspaper of the moment, I know) : left-hand column, title "sonda", question "czy to dobrze, że Sejm nie zmienił konstytucje?" - if you think they should have done (yes, they should) then vote "tak".
Marek Jurek has resigned, insofar as he is able: PiS say they won't accept it, and it needs an absolute majority vote to go through anyway, apparently, so he might well stay.

Polish constitutional amendment vote (protection of life) today

Friends, Romans, countrymen or not: today the Sejm votes on whether to pass a constitutional amendment designed to prevent Poland's abortion laws being slackened. There are several possible versions, don't ask me the details, but you know what you can do. Please do it.

Benedict XVI on the marxist concept of alienation

Is it not true that man, that human creation, who throughout his entre history falls victim to alienation, is beaten and exploited? The great masses of mankind have almost always been oppressed. On the other hand, are the oppressors the authentic picture of the person, or are they rather his deformation and profanation? Karl Marx showed drastically the alienation of the person. Although, thinking only in material categories, he did not get to the essential base of the problem, he nevertheless gave a telling depiction of a man fallen into the hands of robbers.
Benedict XVI, Jezus z Nazaretu (Wydawnictwo "M", 2007): excerpt in Dziennik, 10.04.2007

Thursday, April 12, 2007

St Beatrice?

Apparently Florentines and tourists have suddenly started leaving petitions at Beatrice's tomb, and in increasingly large numbers. Is it too late to introduce her cause? Does the Divine Comedy/Vita Nova count as evidence of an early cult? Has it been continuous? Surely any Catholic reader must be tempted to offer up a prayer to Miss Portinari when they are reading the Divine Comedy just in case Dante is right that she is so listened to in heavenly places?

Left-wing Pope acording to J. Babiuch and J. Luxmoore

During a meeting of the Archbishop of Lublin with representatives of the John Paul II Institute of KUL, on the 17th March 2006, various ways of reacting to opinions misrepresenting the teaching of John Paull II were discussed. As an example of suchopinions Archbishop Życiński presented articles by Dr Jolanata Babiuch and Jonathan Luxmoore that had recently been published in the British journal The Tablet (28 January 2006). The authors suggest that Fr Wojtyła demonstrated sympathy for Marxism in his lectures on Catholic social teaching at KUL, and developed a decided criticism of capitalism. In the opinion of the two authors, it is for this reasonthat the "Catholic Social Ethics" lectures have not been printed, being supposedly an expression of the left-wing sympathis of the youngKarol Wojtyłą. George Weigel, author of the monumental work Witness to Hope, dissented from this opinion. He showed, also in The Tablet, that the material from the first year of the lectures was in large part dependent on the teching presented in the lectures of the Rev. Jan Piwowarczyk, and it was for this reason that they were not printed. There is no reason, however, to consider the views of Piwowarczyk as characteristic of the Left; for this same reason the arguments of Babiuch and Luxmoore are without foundation. The Lublin participants of the meeting, among whom were Rev. Dr. Andrzej Szostek, Rev. Prof. Tadeusz Styczeń and Rev. Dr. Alfred Wierzbicki, expressed their support for the views of Weigel and stated that:
1)The social sensitivity of Rev. Dr. Karol Wojtyła may not be identified with the position of the Left, since the sensitivity shown byCardinal Wojtyła we find earlier in the encyclicals of Leo XIII.
2)The vision of the alienation of the person shared by Cardinal Wojtyła has nothing in common with the marxist conception of alienation,* since at its foundation lies the conviction that without reference to Christ human existence remains alienated and distanced from the models of humanism exhibited in the Christian tradition.
3)Suggestions that the supposed left-wing sympathies of Rev Dr. Wojtyła were the reason for his early lectures on social ethics not having been printed are completely groundless. To demonstrate the lack of foundation for such insinuations, it was decided that the 1954 lecutre course on Catholic social ethics should be prepared for publishing in the immediate future.
4)To counter false interpretations of the views of John Paul II from various periods of his life it was decided to introduce a "Debates" section on the internet portal http://www.jan-pawel-2.pl/, in which views as important and groundless as the views of Jonathan Luxmoore and Jolanta Babiuch will betaken into consideration.
*watch this blog for a quote on this by Benedict XVI in his about-to-be-published book, extracts from which I read yesterday but left in the penthouse.


Edinburgh's spiritual life seen from the outside

I remember a parish bulletin from Edinburgh in which there were Irish dancing courses and cake-bakes, but not a single annoucement for a prayer group.

Robert Mazurek interviewing the new archbishop of Warsaw in Dziennik, 7-9 April 2007, pp 16-17.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Reform of the Reform Wish-List

On the perilous assumption that the Vetus Ordo will soon be freely available I have allowed my mind to wander onto the issue of the 'reform of the reform'. It is implausible and in my view undesirable to expect that the Vetus Ordo will eventually seize control of hearts and minds to such a degree that the Novus Ordo will disappear. While the ideal thing might be to go back to what the Council actually decreed and apply that to the 1962 Missal ignoring and eventually suppressing the 1970 Missal altogether, this is impractical. What the Council ordered it ordered in light of the circumstances as they were in the early 60s these circumstances have now been completely transformed (for the worse) it would not be faithful to the fathers' intentions to implement exactly what the council ordered then now, however disastrous it may have been that Paul VI saw fit to stray (or was conned into straying) so far from them then. Instead I think we should strive to transform the Novus Ordo into a Missa Simplex which can give a fitting place to the vernacular and sit alongside the Ancient Rite. This would require the following reforms...

A) Prohibit the celebration of Mass facing the people (which is contrary to Apostolic Discipline and the immemorial tradition of the Church).
B) Abolish all Eucharistic Prayers other than Eucharistic Prayer 1.
C) Abolish all penitential rites other than the Asperges (restored to its 1962 form) and the Confiteor + Kyrie.
D) Return to the 1962 lectionary adding extra readings to create a lectio continua.
E) Return to the 1962 Calendar adding new feasts on the appropriate dates.
F) Prohibit the use of the unvarying parts of the Mass in the vernacular.
E) Prohibit the use of any musical setting other than those found in the Graduale Romanum, Graduale Simplex and Missa Jubilate Deo. (More elaborate pieces could still be performed and freshly composed in the context of the 1962 Missal).
F) Prescribe the singing of the ordinary of the Mass (using at least the Missa Jubilate Deo) in all Masses with a congregation.
G) Eliminate all collects etc composed since 1962 replacing them with the originals unless they were composed for new feasts.
H) Prescribe the vernacular for the readings and general intercessions.
I) Prohibit serviettes and non-vested and female readers.
J) Prohibit extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (on pain of death).
K)Return to Communion under one kind (except for the spouses at nuptial masses and all communicants on Corpus Christi).
L) Insist that the Bishops create an appropriate supply of Acolytes and Lectors.
M) Restore the 1962 Good Friday Solemn Intercessions and Pius XI’s version of the formula of consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart for use on Christ the King.

I hope the Holy Father (who tells me he is a regular reader of this blog) will forgive my presumption. Any further suggestions or objections are most welcome.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I could never do this sort of thing. Brrrrr. I used to get strange aches in my spine sitting in the upper circle of the Usher Hall.

Re the name of the blog with the photos. "d*pa" (for those offended by my previous post) is a less than polite Polish word for the bit at the top of your legs that you sit on. My granny was shocked and horrified the first time she came to visit in Scotland to hear my sister and I describing things as "super-duper". Another family member who had not yet grasped the subtler points of the English language explained that there were a lot of Polish children in the school, and we must have picked it up from some socially-deprived peers . . .

Crap religious reporting. Crap. Crap!

You only need to read one newspaper report about something you happen to know a little bit about, to never trust a newspaper report again.

Did you know that the Pope revised one of the central rites of Holy Week this year? No, it wasn't the Easter vigil according to the 1962 missal. Wait for it.

The meditations for the Stations of the Cross weren't on the stations you usually see in churches etc.

Pass the smelling salts. Call the inquisition. Elect a True Pope.

The minute I saw that they weren't the usual stations I thought to myself "some asshole is going to write a moronic piece about this" Where are the words to describe the utter utter utter contemptibility of a fool who can't even be bothered to spend fifteen minutes googling in preparing an article he is PAID for? How difficult can it be for a Rome correspondent to have some bod to phone up for a quick check on a silly wee story like this? And if he can't get this right, then how the ***** does he think he can report anything like accurately on complicated political or economical stories?

The Waste of Space original article.

Amy Wellborn and Fr Tim on the same story.

Khartoum auxiliary to speak in Glasgow

Aid to the Church in Need hopes to welcome Bishop Daniel Adwok from Sudan to reveal the courage of the Sudanese faithful in the face of extremist persecution, displacement and conflict. Bishop Daniel, who is Auxiliary Bishop of Khartoum, has recently hit out at the Sudanese government for failing to implement the conditions of a peace agreement – which so many hoped would herald a new era for the country. Please join us as he recounts some of the most harrowing stories of a faithful under fire.
And ACN’s John Pontifex reports on the violent oppression meted out to Christians in Pakistan, where the faithful have endured some of the worst persecution in the country’s 60-year history. Yet they have clung to their faith. Hear how, thanks to your generosity, ACN has offered hope to the innocent victims of extremists.

Glasgow Event: From the Embers of Hope... 27 April 2007
7pm Mass celebrated by Archbishop Mario Conti in St Andrew’s Cathedral, Glasgow; refreshments and talks at 8pm in Eyre Hall


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

More on Nick Healy vs Fr. Fessio

I concur with Berenike concerning the distinctive family style apparently at work. A dark force bent upon the destruction of promising Catholic educational institutions…

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

American Bishops' news service on the Tridentine Motu Proprio

From Fr Finigan. Am supposed to be working so you can go and find the link on the right if you like.


O fair midspring, besung so oft and oft,
How can I praise thy loveliness enow?
Thy sun that burns not, and thy breezes soft
That o’er the blossoms of the orchard blow,
The thousand things that ‘neath the young leaves grow,
The hopes and chances of the growing year,
Winter forgotten long, and summer near.

When summer brings the lily and the rose,
She brings us fear; her very death she brings
Hid in her anxious heart, the forge of woes;
And, dull with fear, no more the mavis sings.
But thou! thou diest not, but thy fresh life clings
About the fainting autumn’s sweet decay,
When in the earth the hopeful seed they lay.

Ah! life of all the year, why yet do I
Amid the snowy blossoms’ fragrant drift,
Still long for that which never draweth nigh,
Striving my pleasure from my pain to sift,
Some weigh from off my fluttering mirth to lift?
--Now, when far bells are ringing, "Come again,
Come back, past years! why will ye pass in vain?"

Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you..

I feel compelled to say that I find the various texts to which Berenike linked in her last post extremely irritating. The attitude they exemplify is profoundly destructive. Virginity and Chastity are most precious things. Chastity may be retrieved but that part of it which is founded in the acquired virtue of temperance cannot be cheaply redeemed. When Virginity is lost it is truly lost. Virginity and Chastity are distinct in that sense even when Virginity is considered under the aspect of a virtue. Every sin we commit takes the place of a meritorious act we might have performed and which we will never now perform. The guilt may be erased but the merit and the innocence that is lost cannot be restored. Other merits and virtues may be acquired but they will never strictly fill the place of those that were lost. Innocence in the psychological sense cannot be regained. Virginity is a morning that lost will never return. Scab-picking is not actually a cardinal virtue. Surely it is liberating to accept that such things are truly lost when they are lost. We do neither innocence nor virginity nor ourselves any favours by attempting to reinvent innocence in order to avoid admitting when it is lost. Innocence is not cold it cannot be preserved through a lack of passion. It is a fire, a burning passion, a refusal to surrender. Only because the innocent one knows that once innocence is lost it is forever lost has he or she any hope at all of preserving it. On this earth it is possible for someone else to ruin your life, to take so precious a thing from you forever and yet that is no excuse for you to surrender it or curse God that you have lost it. If God had never restored Job to temporal happiness that would not have licensed Job to curse Him for his pains. Temporal happiness can be taken from you through no fault of your own. Once you are in a state of grace only you can let go of eternal happiness, but others can help you. The only tragedy in life is not to be a saint. If I die tomorrow I will not be a saint. Please God He will receive me after purgation into His kingdom, but still I could have been a saint. If I die tomorrow my life will be a ruined thing, please God it will not be completely destroyed. I am responsible for its ruin but other people have helped me. I have helped others ruin their lives. Let not either of us comfort ourselves that we can pick up the pieces. Please God we shall pick up the pieces, but even if it is completed the edifice will never soar into the heavens and pierce the clouds as it might have done. In this sense even the saints have ruined lives. Only Mary ever Virgin, the Immaculate Conception, springs perfect and untainted from the hand of God. Give her her due. Accept what you have done and what you have lost. Pick yourself up and walk on. A light still shines in man, let him walk on lest the darkness engulf him forever.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Only You can Ruin Your Life

An anti-determinism post. It ties in with some stuff I thought about last year when pondering the temptations I most often met.
One last point: you cannot ruin a woman's life. You can make it more difficult, yes. You can give her a scar that will last her the rest of her life. But the only person who can ruin his or her life is the person living it. Over a decade ago, I was very badly hurt. I have quite the scar to prove it. But thanks to the grace of God, I did not choose to ruin my life. I chose to save it. So my last word of advice is to cultivate the humility that your email shows you already possess. Be a good man. Do not be afraid.
There is another post worth reading here.

Confessing in Glasgow

" ... we hear more confessions of men than of women ..."

Fr pf, CP, Passionist priest in Glasgow, writes about confessions and confessionals in his city centre parish.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

'Justice moved my great maker; God Eternal wrought me: the Power, and the unsearchably high Wisdom, and the primal Love supernal.'

Weirdest spam ever - just got some in Russian which as far as I can make out is advertising some dentist in Moscow. Bizarresville. (This doesn't, alas, mean I can read Russian. It just means that 'dentalnaya implantacia' is quite easy to make out in Cyrillic.)

Anyway, perhaps even more exciting than the possibility of orthodontics in Russia is this website offering a tour of Dante's Inferno, with a particularly high-quality introduction. (Muchos Flash, so beware if you have a slow connection.) Via the Chaucer blog.

The words Dante places over the gates of Hell reminded me of what the Pope was saying about Love and Hell in a homily the other day - this one - I can't find a full English translation yet (am probably being thick) but am getting a gloss on it from here ('cos I don't read Italian either). Someone at the Guardian who apparently had nothing better to do tries to turn this into a 'scary nasty conservative pope' story, but in a surprisingly half-hearted way. Must have been a slow news day.

(Berenike, the justify button has vanished - I don't think Blogger likes Safari - but feel free to justify this post if your computer lets you!)

Bertone says motu proprio on its way but gives no date.

A lady at Church this morning tipped me off about this one.