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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

JANUARY

From this dull rainy undersky and low,
This murky ending of a leaden day,
That never knew the sun, this half-thawed snow,
These tossing black boughs faint against the grey
Of gathering night, thou turnest, dear, away
Silent, but with thy scarce-seen kindly smile
Sent through the dusk my longing to beguile.

There, the lights gleam, and all is dark without!
And in the sudden change our eyes meet dazed -
O look, love, look again! the veil of doubt
Just for one flash, past counting, then was raised!
O eyes of heaven, as clear thy sweet soul blazed
On mine a moment! O come back again
Strange rest and dear amid the long dull pain!

Nay, nay, gone by! though there she sitteth still,
With wide grey eyes so frank and and fathomless -
Be patient, heart, thy days they yet shall fill
With utter rest - Yea, now thy pain they bless,
And feed thy last hope of the world's redress -
O unseen hurrying rack! O wailing wind!
What rest and where go ye this night to find?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Red Lines

An interesting article by a KGB defector on Soviet involvement in the play The Deputy which initiated the campaign of defamation against Pius XII. Apparently Pius XII beatification will come up for a decision this year, so we can expect a renewal of the attacks. I suppose Neo-Modernists have to vilify him in order to justify the extent of the transformation effected within the Church after his death. Anything to distract people from checking the Vatican II documents to see if they requested such changes.

Sudden realisation

My tactics for undergraduate curriculum design can be summarised as, 'Create a course which will be highly enjoyable if students read a lot, and highly miserable and preferably humiliating if they are slackers.'

Sadly I don't yet have enough power to implement this anywhere...

Now go and read Aelianus's much more edifying post.

The Lost Road

The Bishop of Aberdeen preached at the 6pm Mass in his Cathedral yesterday. During the Liturgy of Word my mind was turning over the issue of conformity to the world. I always think it is interesting that of the four sins crying out to heaven for vengeance left-wing politicians tend to devote themselves to committing or promoting the first two (murder and sodomy) while right-wing politicians tend to devote themselves to committing or promoting the second two (oppressing the poor and defrauding the workers). However, it occurred to me yesterday one could look at it another way. Left-wingers obsesses about fulfilling the positive precept of the law (feeding the hungry, clothing the naked etc.) and neglect the negative precepts (fornication, murder). Right-wingers, on the other hand, obsess about the negative precepts and usually completely ignore the positive ones. Of course, the obsession of the right-wingers is selective and opportunistic and the obsession of the left wingers is usually pursued in a heavy handed, counter productive and statist manner.

For Catholics this opens two avenues for conformity to the world. You can occupy yourself with the positive precepts and fall in with the lefties. You will then be tempted to water down your opposition to their various anti-life enthusiasms or treat these issues as if they were ritual precepts - a private matter for Catholics which need not be brought up at dinner parties or over the cabinet table. On the other hand you can occupy yourself with the negative precepts and fall in with the 'conservatives'. You will then be tempted to use the lefties' statism as an excuse to dismiss poverty and exploitation as exclusively the province of private charity. Neither of these paths is very wise but a rigorous pursuit of the fullness of the Church's social teaching will, unless you are very clever about it, make you unpopular with both camps.

As I was thinking this Bishop Peter began to preach. He devoted half of his sermon to the fact that it is homelessness week. He described the various forms of homelessness. He said that it is shameful that in a wealthy country like Britain the phenomenon should exist at all. He cautioned the congregation that they should not use this fact to excuse themselves from devoting personal effort, time and money to the problem. He devoted the second half of his sermon to homosexual adoption. The tone was extremely level, reasonable and calm. He pointed out first that the needs of the child have primacy and that the Child has a right if possible to two parents of opposite sexes. That children are not 'goods or services' to whom anyone has a right. Then he pointed out that the Church holds that a homosexual inclination is 'faulty' and homosexual acts if they are not accompanied by invincible ignorance of the moral law are sinful. That this does not justify unjust discrimination but it does affect the question of the needs of the child. The teaching of the Church might be unpopular but that is to be expected as the Gospel of the day indicates. In a column in today's Times William Rees-Mogg describes the 'Roman Catholic hierarchy' as 'moderate men with a somewhat left-of-centre view of society'. This may be true but at least on this occasion the local hierach steered a true path between Scylla and Charybdis.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

If you want to be a nice old lady, you have to start practising now

As berenike would say. I came across a very nice little old lady in a smashing sermon by Thomas this week (hurrah for the internet!) and thought you might like to make her acquaintance. This is from Thomas's sermon Attendite a falsis:

... Others are inspired wrongly by their spirit; whence in Ezekiel 13:3: 'Thus saith the Lord God: Woe to the foolish prophets that follow their own spirit, and see nothing.'; Jeremiah 23:16: ' they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord.' Such are they who speak according to Platonic accounts of things, which cannot attain to virtue; take those who say that the world is eternal. One finds some who study philosophy, and who say certain things which are not true according to the faith; and when one tells them that this is repugnant to faith, they say 'that the Philosopher says this, and they do not assert it; they are just repeating the words of the Philosopher.' Such is the false prophet, or false teacher, for it is just the same to raise a doubt and not resolve it, as it is to concede the point; which is signified in Exodus 21:33-34, where it says that if anyone digs a ditch and opens a cistern, and does not cover it, and his neighbour's ox comes along and falls into the cistern, then he who opened the cistern is bound to pay him restitution. 'He who opened the cistern': he who raises doubt concerning these things pertaining to faith. 'He who does not cover the cistern': he who does not resolve the doubt, even if he has a sound and clear understanding and is not deceived. For another who does not have such clear understanding may well be deceived, and he who raised the doubt is bound to restitution, since through him the other person 'fell into the ditch.' For see, there are many philosophers and they say many things concerning matters pertaining to faith, and you will scarcely find two of them who agree on any one statement! and whichever of them speaks something of the truth, does not say it without an admixture of falsehood. Even a little old lady knows more about matters pertaining to the faith, than all the old philosophers! We read that Pythagoras was at first a prize-fighter, but he heard a master disputing about the immortality of the soul, and discussing that the soul was immortal; and he was so attracted that he gave everything away and gave himself up to the study of philosophy. But what little old lady today does not know that the soul is immortal? Faith can do much more than philosohy; whence if philosophy is contrary to faith, it should not be accepted. Whence the Apostle says in Colossians 2:8 and 19: 'Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy, and vain deceit; ... Let no man seduce you, ... walking in the things which he hath not seen, in vain puffed up by the sense of his flesh, And not holding the head', that is, Christ.
Others are false prophets from a wrong intention. But what is the true intention of the prophet? Surely the good of the people. Whence the Apostle says in 1 Corinthians 14:3, 'But he that prophesieth, speaketh to men unto edification, and exhortation, and comfort.' 'For edification', that he might make men devout; 'for exortation', that he might make them prompt in good works; 'for comfort', that he make them patient in them. If anyone seeks by his teaching anything other than the good of the people, he is a false prophet. He who is a bishop, receives his office of ruling and preaching, and ought to seek the good of the people; if he seeks something else, like episcopal wealth or vain glory, he is a false prophet, who does not preserve the right intention. Whence Chrysostom says that many priests do not care how their people live, but care what they offer...

... Alii inspirantur falso a spiritu suo. Unde in Ezechiele 13, 3: haec dicit dominus; vae prophetis insipientibus, qui sequuntur spiritum suum, et nihil vident. Jer. 23, 16: visionem cordis sui loquuntur. Non ex ore domini illi qui sequuntur rationem humanam: loquuntur ex spiritu suo. Tales sunt illi qui loquuntur secundum rationes Platonicas, quae non possunt attingere virtutem: puta, sicut illi qui dicunt quod mundus est aeternus. Inveniuntur aliqui qui student in philosophia, et dicunt aliqua quae non sunt vera secundum fidem; et cum dicitur eis quod hoc repugnat fidei, dicunt quod philosophus dicit hoc, sed ipsi non asserunt: imo solum recitant verba philosophi. Talis est falsus propheta, sive falsus doctor, quia idem est dubitationem movere et eam non solvere quod eam concedere; quod signatur in Exod. 21, 33, 34, ubi dicitur quod si aliquis foderit puteum, et aperuerit cisternam, et non cooperuerit eam, veniat bos vicini sui, et cadat in cisternam, ille qui aperuerit cisternam teneatur ad ejus restitutionem. Ille cisternam aperuit, qui dubitationem movet de his quae faciunt ad fidem. Cisternam non cooperit, qui dubitationem non solvit, etsi habeat intellectum sanum et limpidum, et non decipiatur. Alter tamen qui intellectum non habet ita limpidum bene decipitur, et ille qui dubitationem movit tenetur ad restitutionem, quia per eum ille cecidit in foveam. Videte tam multi fuerunt philosophi et multa dixerunt de his quae pertinent ad fidem, et vix invenietis duos concordare in unam sententiam; et quicumque aliquid veritatis dixit, non dixit eam sine admixtione falsitatis. Plus scit modo una vetula de his quae ad fidem pertinent, quam quondam omnes philosophi. Legitur quod Pythagoras primo fuit pugil; audivit magistrum disputantem de immortalitate animae, et disserentem quod anima esset immortalis; et in tantum allectus est quod dimissis omnibus dedit se studio philosophiae. Sed quae vetula est hodie quae non sciat quod anima est immortalis? Multo plus potest fides quam philosophia: unde si philosophia contrariatur fidei, non est accipienda. Unde apostolus ad Coloss. 2, 8 et 19: videte ne quis vos decipiat per philosophiam falsam, aut inanem gloriam vos seducat volens quae non vidit, ambulans frustra inflato spiritu carnis suae, non tenens caput, idest Christum. Alii sunt falsi prophetae ex falsa intentione. Sed quae est vera intentio prophetae? Certe utilitas populi. Unde apostolus 1 Cor. 14, 13: qui prophetat, hominibus loquitur ad aedificationem, exortationem et consolationem. Ad aedificationem ut homines reddat devotos; ad exortationem ut eos in bonis operibus reddat promptos; ad consolationem ut eos reddat in illis patientes. Si alius doctrina sua quaerat aliud quam utilitatem populi, falsus propheta est. Qui est episcopus suscipit officium regiminis et praedicationis, et debet quaerere utilitatem populi; si vero aliud quaerat quam lucrum episcopale aut inanem gloriam, falsus propheta est, quia non servat intentionem rectam. Unde dicit Chrysostomus quod multi sacerdotes non curant quomodo populus vivat, sed quomodo offerat. ...

And I've just found an edifying article on the internet about little old ladies in Thomas, which discusses this sermon. Oh, cooooool, it's in Latin too!!!

Friday, January 26, 2007

A bit more steel from the Scots

In contrast to the line coming out of Westminster (Archdiocese), Catholic adoption agencies north of the border will not be falling on their swords as soon as Caesar demands the things that are not his. The Catholic Church in Scotland has announced that it will be ignoring the 'law' concerning gay adoption when it nominally comes into force. This is a bit more like it!

Summa Theologiae IaIIae, 96,4 - Whether human law binds a man in conscience?

Laws framed by man are either just or unjust. If they be just, they have the power of binding in conscience, from the eternal law whence they are derived, according to Prov. 8:15: "By Me kings reign, and lawgivers decree just things." Now laws are said to be just, both from the end, when, to wit, they are ordained to the common good--and from their author, that is to say, when the law that is made does not exceed the power of the lawgiver--and from their form, when, to wit, burdens are laid on the subjects, according to an equality of proportion and with a view to the common good. For, since one man is a part of the community, each man in all that he is and has, belongs to the community; just as a part, in all that it is, belongs to the whole; wherefore nature inflicts a loss on the part, in order to save the whole: so that on this account, such laws as these, which impose proportionate burdens, are just and binding in conscience, and are legal laws.

On the other hand laws may be unjust in two ways: first, by being contrary to human good, through being opposed to the things mentioned above--either in respect of the end, as when an authority imposes on his subjects burdensome laws, conducive, not to the common good, but rather to his own cupidity or vainglory--or in respect of the author, as when a man makes a law that goes beyond the power committed to him--or in respect of the form, as when burdens are imposed unequally on the community, although with a view to the common good. The like are acts of violence rather than laws; because, as Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. i, 5), "a law that is not just, seems to be no law at all." Wherefore such laws do not bind in conscience, except perhaps in order to avoid scandal or disturbance, for which cause a man should even yield his right, according to Mt. 5:40,41: "If a man . . . take away thy coat, let go thy cloak also unto him; and whosoever will force thee one mile, go with him other two."

Secondly, laws may be unjust through being opposed to the Divine good: such are the laws of tyrants inducing to idolatry, or to anything else contrary to the Divine law: and laws of this kind must nowise be observed, because, as stated in Acts 5:29, "we ought to obey God rather than man."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

tertium non datur

The real issue in this dispute is not gay adoption. The real issue is whether the belief that homosexual acts are immoral is itself immoral. The church does not argue for discrimination on the basis of homosexual inclination but it teaches that there can be just discrimination on the basis of homosexual activity. Of course if it is true that persons with homosexual inclinations are a danger to children or are more likely to be a danger to children then it would be just to discriminate against them in circumstances where the care of children is at stake. However, the intrusion necessary to determine whether someone possesses such inclinations without having ever acted upon them would be a greater evil than the risk itself. It would also most likely not work and quite possibly trigger previously suppressed inclinations on the part of the persons investigated, thereby doing them a great injury. Therefore one can only proceed on the basis of peoples' actions. Homosexual activity used to be illegal in this country. To re-criminalise it at this point would probably issue in greater evils than the evil itself and the law itself would be un-enforceable. The situation is comparable to the criminalisation of smoking. It ought to be done eventually but at the moment too many people are addicted so lesser measures must be taken to return us to a point where a law criminalising the practise would be enforceable. The consensus among the elite in Britain today is that to hold the opinion that it was a mistake to decriminalise sodomy is immoral. The attitude of this elite to this opinion is the same as their attitude to smoking. 'It is too early too make these opinions illegal but we can pass measures which make the lives of people who indulge in them increasingly difficult and slowly reduce the number of social contexts in which they can express their opinion or even hold it.' But smoking is too weak a comparison, for liberals sodomy has a quasi-religious significance. Eventually the expression of support for the previous law or even of moral opposition will be made a hate crime. Finally approval of sodomy will be required as a test for an increasing number of purposes. The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is the primary symbol in the natural order of the union of Divine and Human nature in Christ the one Saviour of the world. Sodomy is the sacrament of liberalism, it both effects and signifies the overthrow of all moral and intellectual order at once obscene and absurd in a single act of signal depravity. It is the embodiment of the sterility of modern Europe and of the cancer of abomination which is destroying the heart of western civilization. The Mohammedans are waiting to inherit.

Pietas

A few years ago someone gave me these prayers which were supposedly composed by St Bridget of Sweden. Allegedly if you pray them every day for twenty years then your four closest relatives will be saved. Now there is a lot of nonsense and superstition knocking around about infallibly efficacious prayers, and there seems to be a factory somewhere that churns out devotions falsely attributed to St Bridget of Sweden. As we all know only the seven sacraments are infallibly efficacious and certain sacramentals (like priestly blessings) are quasi ex opere operato efficacious through the intercession of the whole Church. Nevertheless, they are very nice prayers, it is good way of praying for one's family every day and it doesn't really matter if St Bridget wrote them or not.


Prayer in Honour of the Seven Sorrows of Christ

O Jesus, I offer you this prayer for the glory of your most holy sorrows. Let your love pray within me. Take up my prayer into your Divine Heart, make it holy and perfect. May it cause as much glory and joy to the All Holy Trinity, as the prayer that you - the Incarnate Word -– addressed to the Father. May the glory overflow to your holy humanity, your wounds and the precious blood, which you have shed from them.

1. The Circumcision

Our Father..., Hail Mary..., Glory be to the Father...…
Eternal Father, through the immaculate hands of Mary and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer you these first wounds. Accept the blood, which your Son has shed when he was still a child. Let it atone for our early sins and protect all children and youth from the first mortal sin.

2. The Agony in the garden

Our Father..., Hail Mary..., Glory be to the Father...…
Eternal Father, through the immaculate hands of Mary and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer you Jesus suffering on the Mount of Olives. Accept the agony of his soul and every drop of blood in atonement for our sins against love of God and neighbour. Transform our hearts according to your model and let your divine love burn within them.

3. The Scourging at the pillar

Our Father..., Hail Mary..., Glory be to the Father...…
Eternal Father, through the immaculate hands of Mary and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer you the torments of your Son's scourging. Accept the countless wounds and the precious blood, which was shed thereby, in atonement for our sins against chastity. Grant us purity in our thoughts, words and deeds.

4. The Crowning with thorns

Our Father..., Hail Mary..., Glory be to the Father...…
Eternal Father, through the immaculate hands of Mary and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer you Jesus's crowning with thorns. For the sake of his pain and the precious blood of his head, forgive us the sins of our spirit. Let us humbly accept your will, so that Christ may reign as king among men.

5. The Carrying of the Cross

Our Father..., Hail Mary..., Glory be to the Father...…
Eternal Father, through the immaculate hands of Mary and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer you Jesus's suffering on the way of the Cross. Accept the blood He shed when carrying the Cross - especially the blood of His shoulder - in atonement for our rebellion against the cross and the sins of our tongue. Make us ready to follow your commands with patience and grant us the grace to persevere.

6. The Crucifixion

Our Father..., Hail Mary..., Glory be to the Father...…
Eternal Father, through the immaculate hands of Mary and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer you your Son's death on the Cross. Accept his being nailed and lifted up on the Cross, the wounds in His hands and His feet and the three rivers of his holy blood, which flowed thence. Accept as a sacrifice his utmost poverty and his perfect obedience. May Jesus's precious death on the Cross and its unbloody renewal in all Holy Masses on earth atone for our sins. Forgive all transgressions against monastic vows and rules. Assist the sick and the dying. Grant us saintly priests and lay people. We pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, for Christian families and fortitude in the faith. May our country, all nations and especially the Jews in the Diaspora find their home in Christ and His Church.

7. The Piercing of the side

Our Father..., Hail Mary..., Glory be to the Father...…
Eternal Father, through the immaculate hands of Mary and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer you the precious blood and water, which flowed from the wound of Jesus's’ Divine Heart, for the edification of the Holy Church and in atonement for the sins of all people. Grant us your grace and mercy. Blood of Christ, last and precious content of His Sacred Heart, purify me from all guilt. Water of Christ's side, free me from all debt of punishment and quench the flames of Purgatory for me and all poor souls therein.

Soul of my Saviour, sanctify my breast,
Body of Christ, be Thou my saving guest,
Blood of my Saviour, wash me in Thy tide,
Cleanse me with the water, flowing from Thy side,

Strength and protection may Thy Passion be,
Oh blessed Jesus, hear and answer me,
Deep in Thy wounds, Lord, hide and shelter me,
So that I may never, never part from Thee.

Guard and defend me from the foe malign,
In death'’s dread moment make me only Thine,
Call me and bid me come to Thee on high,
Where I may praise Thee with Thy Saints for aye.

Amen.

Petition to the Prime Minister

'We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to to Delay the passing into Legislation of the Sexual Orientation Regulations for England and Wales.'

More details from petition creator:

This would go against the fundamental rights of Christians to disagree with the practise of homosexuality. Whilst this petition does not condone the persecution of these citizens, it does stress the need to allow those whose faith objects to these practises to maintain their objection.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Gay Adoption

It's good to see the Cardinal standing up to the Government, but why do we have to close down Catholic adoption agencies? These regulations would be contrary to Natural and Divine Law. Accordingly, they have no moral force. In the sight of God they do not and could not exist. We should simply ignore these pseudo-laws. If local authorities refuse to pass on Catholic children to the Church's adoption agencies then the Church should abrogate the right of the State to take Catholic children into care. If the State seeks to take children and surrender themselves into the hands of notorious public sinners, then that is an act of violence and a crime and the civil power lapses in this area. We shouldn't be invoking our right to religious liberty we should be invoking the right of every child to a male and a female parent and fearlessly preaching the grave immorality of homosexual acts and homosexual lifestyles. The paragraph: "Homosexual couples are referred to other agencies where their adoption application may be considered. This 'sign-posting' responsibility is taken very seriously by all Catholic adoption agencies." is deeply worrying. We should not be doing this. This is directly analogous to a physician who refuses to perform abortions referring a woman seeking one to another doctor who will. Both cases involve participation through cooperation in a sin crying out to heaven for vengeance.

Even from the perspective of someone whose conscience is so darkened that they are blind to the abomination involved there is no logic to gay adoption. If same sex attraction was somehow natural then it would be unnatural for such persons to raise children. If it is (as it is) a violation of nature, then it is dangerous for such persons to raise children.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A New Fuhrer

This one is especially to amuse Bettina...

Friday, January 19, 2007

La Vierge d'Alsace





This statue is in the gardens of a gallery near where I go to Mass. It's always struck me as very beautiful, and reminds me of twelfth-century sculpture. Having just had the brainwave of actually trying to find out something about it, the NGS website confirms that the sculptor was thinking about Gothic sculpture. I am most pleased, however, to find the explanation for the name: this statue is part of the preparation for a huge stone statue in Alsace. And it's there for a very good reason:

Du haut du promontoire rocheux de l'Eichstein, la Vierge d'Alsace veille sur Niederbruck et la vallée de la Doller. Ce monument est un ex-voto en reconnaissance de la protection divine sur la vallée. En effet, au début de la Première Guerre mondiale, Joseph Vogt, alors propriétaire de la cuivrerie de Niederbruck, émet avec son épouse le voeu de faire ériger une statue, si son usine et la vallée de la Doller sont épargnées par la guerre. Son voeu est exaucé, mais il meurt en 1921 sans avoir pu tenir sa promesse. C'est donc son fils, Léon, qui commande la statue de la Vierge auprès du célèbre sculpteur Emile-Antoine Bourdelle.

Kind of beats the Angel of the North...

March, March Dąbrowski!

In general I have always found most foreign national anthems to be much of a muchness. There are obvious exceptions like the Marseillaise which for all its dubious associations with the revolutionary killing machine is a damn good tune. There is the Internationale which has even worse associations and almost as good a tune. The American one does nothing for me but the now revived and de-Stalinised Soviet one is quite good. The 'German' national anthem (which is nicked from the Habsburgs) is very fine but is rather processional (plodding in a good sense) much like 'God Save the Queen'. The rest, however, I have never even been able to remember. In fact, when I hear them visions of tin pot generals with operatic epaulettes and implausible rows of medals immediately spring to mind and I bless heaven for democracy and proper drains.

I have always assumed that the Polish national anthem fell into this general category. This is for two reasons: (1) statistically it's a reasonable assumption; (2) de facto I've never heard it. I say 'de facto' because I have heard it sung to me many times with great passion by drunken Polish friends. But this is no help at all. For a start the passion tells me nothing. If I so much as mention Poland in the presence of some of my Lechite friends they go off into a terrifying poetic fervour about the Christ among the nations and the battle of Vienna and Britain's abandonment of Poland in 1944 and John Paul II. Now, all of this is doubtless justified but it leads one to assume that if the Polish national anthem were 'My Old Man's a Dustman' they would sing it just as tearfully and with just as much passion. Finally as they are always drunk it is impossible to tell what the tune is anyway. However, I have now thanks to YouTube really heard it... and its great! Its rousing and misty and romantic all at the same time. In fact its most obvious fault - that it is so historically particular - is actually an asset because it sums up the national genius for pulling off republican revolutionary fervour and ardent Catholicism at the same time. (Well, I know there is no actual mention of ardent Catholicism but its sort of implied...) As Belloc said "When you have reconciled these two things - I mean the high Stoicism of the Republic and the humility of the Church (for they can co-exist) - then you will have the perfect state."

Thursday, January 18, 2007

"The Secret of La Salette and the Conversion of England".

The following is an exposition sent to me by my old R.E. teacher of "Découverte du secret de la Salette" by René Laurentin and Michel Corteville published in 2002, with additional reflections on the implications of the Secrets of La Salette for England. I know this is a Scottish blog but perhaps St John Vianney was using 'Angleterre' imprecisely (as the French tend to do) and meant to include Scotland as well... If you want the book, follow the title-link to Amazon.fr.


A SHORT THESIS BY JAMES FOSTER

The basic facts surrounding the events at La Salette in September 1846 have been detailed in the relevant literature since that time, and though they are not well known these days in comparison with Lourdes or Fatima, I do not propose to rehearse them fully here. Suffice it to say that the Bishop of Grenoble recognised the authenticity of a single apparition of the Virgin Mary to two children, Melanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud in that same year. Our Lady of La Salette, as she was thence called, asked the children to make her message known "to all my people". As at Lourdes and Fatima the message was a call to prayer and repentance. It included a reproach for the people's failure to observe the Sabbath, and the misuse of the Lord's name. Recent events including the failure of the potato crop were related to the sins of the people but Our Lady also promised a better future if only the people would change. She also confided two secrets to the children, one to Melanie and one to Maximin. Despite the best efforts of countless persons including the clergy the children resolutely refused to divulge their secrets. Finally in July 1851, at the request of Pope Pius IX, the children agreed to write down their secrets in the presence of Bishop de Bruillard and two witnesses. The witnesses, who countersigned the statements to support their authenticity, were C.de Taxis and B.Dausse in the case of Maximin, and B.Dausse and M.Auvergne in the case of Melanie. The messages were then sealed and sent to the Pope who decided not to reveal them. Until 2002 when (see below) the authentic secrets were finally published, all that was known of their contents was the fact that Melanie's secret contained the words "infallibly", "soiled" and "antichrist". This was known because Melanie had asked the bishop how to spell these words. Contrary to what has often been claimed, the full texts of the authentic secret were never revealed by the Vatican. Indeed in July 1915 Cardinal de Cabrieres who firmly believed in the authenticity of the apparitions stated that the secret was said to be no longer at the Vatican. (Le Hidec "Les Secrets de La Salette" p164-167).

False Texts of the Secret

In the decades following the apparition a number of versions of the secret were published, including the version published in Italy in 1879 by Melanie Calvat herself. This text, which was so long that it had to be published as a pamphlet was very apocalyptic in tone and included dire predictions for the world and trenchant criticism of the clergy. It included the dramatic claim "Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the antichrist". It was used by anti-clericals and Freemasons to attack the Church. It is still used today by those "traditionalists" who are currently in schism with Rome. The church authorities have never accepted these versions of the secret as authentic. After their publication they were placed on the Index of Forbidden books and Melanie was privately cautioned for her behaviour.

At this point it is necessary to mention the two views of Melanie that subsequently emerged. Her devotees including a number of clergy, whom she attracted to her cause at the time, see her as one who was completely faithful in her mission, a mission which they believe continued after the initial events of September 1846. She became a great mystic and visionary who suffered great frustrations at the hands of the Church authorities. This was her peculiar cross and vocation. All her claimed revelations are to be trusted including the rejected secret of 1879. The other view is that by the time Melanie published the so called Secret of La Salette, having failed in her vocation as a Carmelite nun and been dispensed from her vows by the Holy Father, she had become a pseudo-mystic, obsessed with apocalyptic literature and embittered with respect to the Church authorities who had consistently refused to accede to her unreasonable demands. The secret was not a true reflection of what Our Lady said to her, but an expression of her own ideas and feelings. The Bishop of Grenoble, who suffered successive embarrassments while trying to defend Melanie, found her "wilful" and defiant of authority. It was with considerable foresight that he declared publicly in 1851 that the mission of the shepherd children had ended and that the matter was now in the hands of the Church. He did this to end Melanie's pretensions to further and continuous revelations. Melanie was said to provoke in those who had to deal with her not so much anger, but rather pity. I do not propose to attempt to resolve the issue of which of these characters represents the "true Melanie", but the falsity of the 1879 version is evident for various reasons including

- Its length which filled several pages of a pamphlet. The true secret barely filled three sides

- It makes reference to specific events said to be going to occur in the nineteenth century but which never in fact occurred. For example the antichrist did not appear "around 1865" or have we just failed to recognise him? Nor did he lead armies in wars which were fought in the 1880's. (Note how the phrase about Rome becoming the seat of the antichrist is removed from this context by those who would use it to justify present attacks on the Vatican).

- The publication in 2002 of the secret Melanie wrote for the Pope in 1851 allows us to make a comparison with the 1879 version and it quickly becomes apparent that there is little resemblance between the two. The true secret is very similar to the message of Fatima seen in its entirety. It is not overtly apocalyptic in tone and lacks the damning criticism of the clergy and religious found in Melanie's 1879 version. The phrase "Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the antichrist" is not present. Like Fatima it is a message of hope, especially when read together with Maximin's secret.

The True Secret of La Salette

Unfortunately the controversy surrounding Melanie Calvat and especially the banning of the so called secret of La Salette led to confusion among the faithful. Did the Church approve of La Salette or not? Church statements re-iterating the acceptance of the original apparition and message, and that it was only Melanie's later statements that were banned failed to halt the decline of La Salette as a major Marian shrine and place of pilgrimage. So much so that when the authentic secrets were first published in 2002 the event passed almost unnoticed, unlike the earlier release of the Third Secret of Fatima which made national headlines and was widely discussed in the Catholic press at the time. The writings of Maximin and Melanie were supposed lost or at least buried so deep in the Vatican archives that they could never be found! However, a French priest Fr.M.Corteville accessed the archive in 1999 whilst researching La Salette and discovered the long forgotten secrets. These were subsequently published in France in 2002 in a book co-authored with R. Laurentin called "Decouverte du secret de La Salette". The book has not as yet been translated into English but reviews of the book have appeared together with transcripts of the texts of the secrets in French and English, and facsimiles of the original letters. The facsimiles include the envelopes in which the secrets were placed and the authenticating signatures are clearly visible. I see no reason at all to doubt their authenticity though as yet I have been unable to obtain a copy of the original book in French, and so I'm unable therefore to offer any information as to the exact circumstances of their publication. However, unlike the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima, their publication would not appear to be an official release by the Vatican.


Facsimiles and texts of the secrets in French and English


(July 3-6, 1851)

The two writings of July 1851 agree on the essential, but differ in their developments and even their tonality: the secret of Maximin is shorter, simpler, and less serious.

1. Maximin's Secret, July 3 1851

Maximin wrote his Secret at the bishop's palace, in front of Bishop de Bruillard's people, perfectly unconcerned, on July 3 in the evening. He was asked to rewrite it again because of spots of ink. The soiled autograph was burnt. Lastly, Mr. Dausse handed the Secret to Bishop de Bruillard, to be sure of its importance before affixing his own seal to it, and to send it to the pope. The sealed envelope was countersigned by two witnesses, at 7.00pm.

Maximin's original Secret.












In the thesis (of Fr. Corteville), the Secrets are published in a rigorously exact way, line by line, with the punctuation and spelling mistakes of the young shepherds, for who writing in French was an exploit. For this book intended for a large audience, we present the literal edition, but with the spelling, the punctuation and the lay-out which make it more readable.
Like all the prophecies, this one is a call to vigilance. It warns for the future, without satisfying curiosity. The seers interpret as they can the picturesque terms that they know not. They extrapolate, confuse the logical and temporal plans.

FRENCH:

Le 19 septembre 1846, nous avons vu une belle Dame. Nous n'avons jamais dit que cette dame fut la Sainte Vierge mais nous avons toujours dit que c'était une belle Dame.

Je ne sais pas si c'est la Sainte Vierge ou une autre personne. Moi, je crois aujourd'hui que c'est la sainte Vierge.
Voila ce que cette Dame m'a dit:

"Si mon peuple continue, ce que je vais vous dire arrivera plus tôt , s'il change un peu, ce sera un peu plus tard.

La France a corrompu l'univers, un jour elle sera punie. La foi s'éteindra dans la France: trois parties de la France ne pratiqueront plus de religion, ou presque plus, 1'autre la pratiquera sans bien la pratiquer. Puis, après [cela], les nations se convertiront, la foi se rallumera partout.

Une grande contrée dans le nord de l'Europe, aujourd 'hui protestante, se convertira: par l'appui de cette contrée toutes les autres contrées du monde se convertiront.

Avant que tout cela arrive, de grands troubles arriveront, dans l'Eglise, et partout. Puis, après [cela], notre Saint-Père le pape sera persecuté. Son successeur sera un pontife que personne [n'] attend.

Puis après [cela], une grande paix arrivera, mais elle ne durera pas longtemps. Un monstre viendra la troubler.
Tout ce que je vous dis là arrivera dans l'autre siècle, [au] plus tard aux deux millle ans."

Maximin Giraud

(Elle [m'] a dit de le dire quelque temps avant).

Mon très Saint Père, votre sainte bénédiction à une de vos brebis,

Grenoble, le 3 juillet 1851.


ENGLISH:

On September 19, 1846, we saw a beautiful Lady. We never said that this lady was the Blessed Virgin but we always said that it was a beautiful Lady.

I do not know if it is the Blessed Virgin or another person. As for me, I believe today that it is the Blessed Virgin. Here is what this Lady said to me:

"If my people continue, what I will say to you will arrive earlier, if it changes a little, it will be a little later.
France has corrupted the universe, one day it will be punished. The faith will die out in France: three quarters of France will not practice religion anymore, or almost no more, the other part will practice it without really practicing it. Then, after [that], nations will convert, the faith will be rekindled everywhere. A great country, now Protestant, in the north of Europe, will be converted; by the support of this country all the other nations of the world will be converted.

Before all that arrives, great disorders will arrive, in the Church, and everywhere. Then, after [that], our Holy Father the Pope will be persecuted. His successor will be a pontiff that nobody expects.

Then, after [that], a great peace will come, but it will not last a long time. A monster will come to disturb it.
All that I tell you here will arrive in the other century, at the latest in the year two thousand."

Maximin Giraud

(She told me to say it some time before.)

My Most Holy Father, your holy blessing to one of your sheep.

Grenoble, July 3,1851.



Mélanie's original Secrets.












2. Mélanie's Secret, July 6,1851

She wrote the Secret a first time, on July 3, in Corenc, at the Sisters of Providence. She sealed it at 10.00 am, and it was carried at the Bishop's House. The following day, she said she had not expressed herself well on the misfortunes which were to befall to two cities (Paris and Marseilles): they appeared simultaneous, whereas they were successive. Canon Rousselot made her rewrite her Secret, on July 6, then the engineer Dausse led her to the Bishop's House, where Bishop of Bruillard read the document before sealing it.


FRENCH:

J.M.J.

secret que m'a donné la Sainte Vierge sur la Montagne de la Salette le 19 septembre 1846

Secr[e]t

Mélanie, je vais vous dire quelque chose que vous ne direz à personne:

Le temps de la colère de Dieu est arrivé!

Si, lorsque vous aurez dit aux peuples ce que je vous ai dit tout à 1'heure, et ce que je vous dirai de dire encore, si, après cela, ils ne se convertissent pas, (si on ne fait pas pénitence, et si on ne cesse de travailler le dimanche, et si on continue de blasphémer le Saint Nom de Dieu), en un mot, si la face de la terre ne change pas, Dieu va se venger contre le peuple ingrat et esclave du démon.

Mon Fils va faire éclater sa puissance! Paris, cette ville souillée de toutes sortes de crimes, périra infailliblement. Marseille sera détruite en peu de temps. Lorsque ces choses arriveront, le désordre sera complet sur la terre. Le monde s'abandonnera à ses passions impies.

Le pape sera persecuté de toutes parts: on lui tirera dessus, on voudra le mettre à mort, mais on ne lui pourra rien, le Vicaire de Dieu triomphera encore cette fois[-là].

Les prêtres et les religieuses, et les vrais serviteurs de mon Fils seront persécutés, et plusieurs mourront pour la foi de Jésus-Christ.

Une famine règnera en même temps.

Après que toutes ces choses seront arrivées, beaucoup de personnes reconnaîtront la main de Dieu sur elles, se convertiront, et feront pénitence de leur péchés.

Un grand roi montera sur le trône, et règnera pendant quelques années. La religion refleurira et s'étendra par toute la terre et la fertilité sera grande, le monde content de ne manquer de rien recommencera ses désordres, abandonnera Dieu, et se livrera à ses passions criminelles.

[Parmi] les ministres de Dieu, et les Epouses de Jésus-Christ, il y en a qui se livreront au désordre, et c'est ce qu’il y aura de [plus] terrible.

Enfin, un enfer règnera sur la terre. Ce sera alors que l’Antéchrist naîtra d'une religieuse: mais malheur à elle! Beaucoup de personnes croiront à lui, parce qu'il se dira venu du ciel, malheur à ceux qui le croiront!

Le temps n'est pas éloigné, il ne se passera pas deux fois 50 ans.

Mon enfant, vous ne direz pas ce que je viens de vous dire. (Vous ne le direz à personne, vous ne direz pas si vous devez le dire un jour, vous ne direz pas ce que cela regarde), enfin vous ne direz plus rien jusqu’à ce que je vous dise de le dire!

Je prie Notre Saint Père le Pape de me donner sa sainte bénédiction.

Mélanie Mathieu, bergère de La Salette

Grenoble 6 juillet 1851

J.M.J.+



ENGLISH:

on the Mountain of La Salette on September 19, 1846

Secr[e]t.

Mélanie, I will say something to you which you will not say to anybody:

The time of the God's wrath has arrived!

If, when you say to the people what I have said to you so far, and what I will still ask you to say, if, after that, they do not convert, (if they do not do penance, and they do not cease working on Sunday, and if they continue to blaspheme the Holy Name of God), in a word, if the face of the earth does not change, God will be avenged against the people ungrateful and slave of the demon.

My Son will make his power manifest! Paris, this city soiled by all kinds of crimes, will perish infallibly. Marseilles will be destroyed in a little time. When these things arrive, the disorder will be complete on the earth, the world will be given up to its impious passions.

The pope will be persecuted from all sides, they will shoot at him, they will want to put him to death, but no one will not be able to do it, the Vicar of God will triumph again this time.

The priests and the Sisters, and the true servants of my Son will be persecuted, and several will die for the faith of Jesus-Christ.

A famine will reign at the same time.

After all these will have arrived, many will recognize the hand of God on them, they will convert, and do penance for their sins.

A great king will go up on the throne, and will reign a few years. Religion will re-flourish and spread all over the world, and there will be a great abundance, the world, glad not to be lacking nothing, will fall again in its disorders, will give up God, and will be prone to its criminal passions.

[Among] God's ministers, and the Spouses of Jesus-Christ, there will be some who will go astray, and that will be the most terrible.

Lastly, hell will reign on earth. It will be then that the Antichrist will be born of a Sister, but woe to her! Many will believe in him, because he will claim to have come from heaven, woe to those who will believe in him!
That time is not far away, twice 50 years will not go by.

My child, you will not say what I have just said to you. (You will not say it to anybody, you will not say if you must say it one day, you will not say what that it concerns), finally you will say nothing anymore until I tell you to say it!

I pray to Our Holy Father the Pope to give me his holy blessing.

Mélanie Mathieu, Shepherdess of La Salette, Grenoble, July 6, 1851.

J.M.J.+


(From Découverte du secret de La Salette, R. Laurentin et M. Corteville, Fayard, 2002, pp. 46-49)


The Thesis.

The newly discovered secret which Our Lady gave to Maximin in September 1846 contains the phrase "A great country, now Protestant, in the north of Europe, will be converted; by the support of this country all the other nations of the world will be converted."

I wish to suggest that in all probability this prophecy refers to England. In support of this view I would like to offer three arguments

1. No other country fits the description so well as England. It is in the North of Europe, is Protestant, and was certainly regarded as great (I take this to mean "major power") at the time. What other country could better fit that description at that time?

2. The country of the prophecy must somehow be in a position to support the conversion of the world. This means communication, to which language whether spoken or written is central. English is now undeniably the new universal language of the world. This gives this country a great advantage in the communication of ideas. Of course, other countries speak English as their national language, but none of them are in Northern Europe and Protestant.

3. There is the prophecy of the Cure of Ars concerning the conversion of England, a prophecy which he made in the context of a discussion concerning La Salette with an English Bishop. It is well known that the Cure became devoted to Our Lady of La Salette. He did experience a period of doubt, for reasons which remain unclear, but prayed for and received the reassurance he sought that the apparitions were genuine. Thenceforth he told people that they should believe in La Salette. Archbishop William Ullathorne of Birmingham went to La Salette in May of 1854 to verify for himself the events that had occurred there. He was able for example to verify that there had indeed been a failure of the potato crop in the autumn of 1846 which led to widespread hunger in the mountainside areas. He went to see the Cure of Ars and as he was explaining the need for the Cure to pray for English Catholics who were suffering so much

"Suddenly he interrupted me by opening those eyes-cast into shadow by their depth, when listening or reflecting - and streaming their full light upon me in a manner I can never forget, he said, in a voice as firm and full of confidence as though he were making an act of faith… 'I believe that the Church in England will recover her ancient splendour'. I am sure he firmly believes this, from whatever source he has derived the impression". (Archbishop Ullathorne quoted in Trochu's "The Cure of
Ars".)

From whatever source indeed had the Cure derived this impression? We know that Maximin visited the Cure and that the two spent some time in conversation together. Or was it Our Lady of La Salette herself who made this known to the Cure and wished thereby to give comfort to the concerned English bishop? Let us renew our hope and pray with confidence...

O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother, look down with mercy upon England your dowry, and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in you. By you it was that Jesus, our Saviour and hope, was given to the world; and he has given you to us that we may hope still more. Plead for us your children, whom you did receive and accept at the foot of the Cross, O sorrowful Mother. Intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold they may be united to the Chief Shepherd, the Vicar of your Son. Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together with you in our heavenly home.
Amen

Feel free to circulate this to whomever you choose. Any criticisms or comments welcome.

Child Molestation by Homosexuals and Heterosexuals

Description:

In this extraordinary analysis of the pro-homosexual offensive, Dr. Brian Clowes, director of research and training at HLI, along with co-author David Sonnier focuses on the relationship between homosexuality and child abuse in the priesthood, which was demonstrated in the John Jay Report. Dr. Clowes observes: "During the current crisis, homosexual activists within and outside the Catholic Church have done everything they could to divert attention away from even the possibility that there may be a higher percentage of homosexuals among the priesthood than in the general public, and that this may be the root of the problem of child sexual molestation within the Church. It is particularly the link between homosexuality and child molestation that they seek to deny."

Homiletic & Pastoral Review, May 2005.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


For those of you who have not yet followed up the link on the "Christus Vincit" post, here are a few more inducements... This is the vast model of Edwin Lutyens incredible design for the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. It would have been the second largest church in the world, and the dome would have been larger even than St Peter's. The plans were personally approved by Pope Pius XI and the crypt was completed. Sadly the English bishops lost their nerve (and their interest in the doctrine of Christ's Kingship?) and they scaled down and then abandoned the plans altogether.
Now that you have feasted your eyes on that it is time to come crashing down to earth with an altogether different architectural experience. Behold the modernist dwarf which now squats upon Lutyen's crypt...














That's right, this is the Church they actually built (finished in 1967). It is generally known as "Paddy's Wigwam". And, as an aid to contemplation, I have added a picture which inexplicably always seems to spring to mind whenever I think about the aforesaid edifice.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Warning from Ottaviani

During the Christmas holidays I was back home in my English diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. Dark rumours abound of a growing obsession with Medjugorje. I even heard tell of one Charismatic Medj-Head among the clergy who has even been preaching sermons from the pulpit denouncing members of his congregation who doubt the authenticity of the alleged appearances as "unbelievers". Apparently a real hysteria for Medjugorje has built up among the laity and certain of the clergy in the diocese and Priests are deterred from preaching even caution concerning these claims for fear of the response. The more I hear about Medjugorje the more convinced I become that it is either diabolical or fraudulent. Anyway, I was surfing yesterday and I came across this piece by Cardinal Ottaviani warning against enthusiasms of this kind and I thought it might be a good idea to put a link to it on the blog.

Christus Vincit...

Almighty, everlasting God, Who in Thy beloved Son, King of the whole world, hast willed to restore all things anew, grant in Thy mercy that all the families of nations, rent asunder by the wound of sin, may be subjected to His most gentle rule, Who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
Amen.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

From the Kirk to the Catholic Church

I came across this ages ago (and now have no recollection where), but only just got round to reading it: the conversion story of Bishop Henry G. Graham, Pt I and Pt II. Beautiful and fascinating stuff.

The new DNB entry for his can be found here, but you probably have to be coming from a network with a subscription to it. I particularly like this: The story is told that when a young woman approached him in church with her head uncovered, he took the biretta off his own head and put it on hers.

From Part II:

I came to the conclusion, therefore, that the Protestant objections to the beautiful in Rome’s worship sprang from false principles in regard to the nature of worship and the nature of man, from a prolonged bondage to the falsities of Calvinism, which had crushed out all love for the sweet and beautiful and attractive. Yet so firmly ingrained in my mind was the notion that, somehow, one could not be genuinely worshiping God with the heart in the midst of so much gorgeous ceremony, and that the Catholic was spending all his devotion on forms and ritual, that I required a long time to emancipate myself from such a delusion.

The truth I now know to be precisely the reverse-- namely, that as a matter of fact, much of the Protestant service is nothing but a respectable lip-service, a mere form to be gone through once a week for the sake of appearance, whereas the worship of the Catholic is the heart’s adoration, presented to God in the most beautiful and perfect manner imaginable. His ritual is fixed; he need never bother his head about it; his whole attention is given, free and undivided, to the inward worship in spirit and in truth, whether he is priest or layman.

Here is, indeed, unity of worship, for it is the same divine Sacrifice and the same liturgy the world over. But yet there is a most wondrous diversity along with it, for every soul has its own particular needs and desires and aspirations and presents them before God with its own words, so that the humble beggar kneeling obscurely in a corner of the great cathedral, who unites with the nobleman and the grand lady--aye, and with the bishop and the pope himself, if he be offering the Holy Sacrifice--is as much a worshiper apart and separate, and dear to the heart and the eye of God, as though there were no other in the wide world.

O truly sublime and wonderful worship of the Roman Church! Beautiful outwardly, beautiful inwardly, made according to the pattern God himself has shown, no marvel is it that so many distracted and tempest-tossed souls have been riveted and fascinated and consoled by it. No wonder that it should have satisfied their heart and their intellect as well as their senses, for Jesus Christ, "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," is in it. He is its glory and its beauty, here as in heaven. He is the center of the worship of the Catholic Church, for he is the Sacrifice of the Church. So it comes that half an hour of the Roman Mass excels all the worship of all the heretics throughout the world.