Thursday 24 January 2013

The Enemy Within

In a post about the removal of an dissident Irish Dominican (read "heretic" from the views he seems to hold) Fr Ray Blake has at last spoken that which is at the heart of the disintegration of the Church in so much of the western world - certainly in this country:
 "There is an "anti-Church" within the Church arguing against Orthodoxy and undermining all that might be done."
No matter what the Holy Father tries to do - and I don't just mean the present one, it applies equally to Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II - by way of legislation and example, it's of no use if clergy - priests and bishops - smile nicely and completely ignore it.  Not just new legislation such as the Moto Proprio Summorum Pontificum, but ignoring even the basic truths of the Faith such as the nature of the Priesthood and the Sacrifice of the Mass (such as the Irish Priest referred to in Fr Ray'sBlog).

There is an "anti-Church" within the Church labouring in parishes, deaneries and curial offices in complete opposition to Pope Benedict's teaching that the the Second Vatican Council should be interpreted in a hermeneutic of continuity, such as this unreliable and impossible to substantiate tosh in last week's Tablet, where the writer more or less says the Vatican II did what Jesus wanted but Trent didn't.  

This anti-Church seems to have existed in hidden form underground for many decades but grasped the Second Vatican Council to come out into the open and now openly preaches in opposition to the public teaching of the Magisterium of the Church.  The parish priest leaning on the lectern at Mass, without wearing a chasuble, telling people that women should be ordained, or the parish priest inviting people to general absolution, is not an outlandish caricature but a daily reality. 

This third column, which I've experienced many times, is full of clergy who appear to hate the Church as it has manifested itself for hundreds of years, certainly hate the Pope, hate Rome and hate the Tradition which has been the vehicle of transmitting the Faith and the Scriptures down the generations.  If you hate a club  and everything it stands for, why join it, why stay in it? Why not go off and start  a club of your own or join one that is in harmony with your opinions (there are plenty of them)?  Why do these people insist on trying to turn the Church into another version of all those Reformation breakaways?  All the things they want - no Pope, no Tradition, no authority, lay-led services, women priests and free-style dancing, elected elders and doctrine by popular vote - are available in the many denominations that abound throughout the world.  But no - they must stay here and work to change The Church from within for reasons that I cannot fathom.

I wonder if they ever sing the words of Newman's hymn "Firmly I believe and truly and if they do, is it done with the same nonchalance with which the Creed is recited, as a poetic statement not to be taken literally?

And I hold in veneration,
For the love of Him alone,
Holy Church as His creation,
And her teachings are His own.


Trisagion said...

If they sing the hymn at all, it is probably in the bowdlerised form that appears in many hymnals where the verse you quote is omitted.

Great post, Father.

Dorothy B said...

There will no doubt be some who stay in the Church (or have they already left it, de facto?) for the very purpose of destroying the Church. But I suppose a good many of the heretically-minded stay through habit or inertia. Some will feel worried at the thought of leaving their comfort zone. In the case of the clergy, of leaving their home and source of income, for an unknown future. Some, perversely, will fear losing the status of being a prominent "Catholic".

On the other hand, there may be a faint scratching of the conscience, a sense that however hard they try to destroy it, the niggling awareness remains that they are wrong and the Church is right. They turn the volume down almost to zero, but cannot quite turn the voice off, the voice that says “Repent, and believe.”

Lynda said...

They do a lot more damage to souls by pretending to be Catholics, pretending to be priests and using their positions to constantly attack the Faith and morality. They have nearly destroyed the Church in many countries and places. And most Bishops stand by and let it happen. Many Catholics have been abandoned by their priests and Bidhops. Lord have mercy.

Joseph Shaw said...

'Why do they stay in the Church?'

A good question. Partly because they've got their hands on the Church's resources, and they want to have a go at a captive audience.

But mainly I think they have a social/cultural attachment to the Church. Which is why this phenomenon is so much more marked in the older generation, who were brought up to see leaving the Church as unthinkable. Dissidents younger than 50 are much more likely to drift off.

Genty said...

Dissident priests would hardly volunteer to leave an organisation which gives them such generous leeway and, as already mentioned, a captive audience; whatever of it remains.
They know that if they go they will join the ranks of the Disappeared Ones, those priests who once had a platform but whose opinions were deemed worthless once they had renounced Holy Orders.
What they don't recognise in their naïveté is that the media is not interested in conscience. It is interested in controversy.

Simon Platt said...

I tend to agree with Genty.

Jacobi said...

The “anti-Church”, was the reason for St Pius X’s Syllabus of errors. It shocked Pius VI into his ”smoke of Satan” statement in 1972 and the present Holy Father in his Good Friday 2005 “filth in the Church” statement, “even amongst those who, in the priesthood should belong completely to God”.

Incredibly, this assault on the Church is only now in the past say five years, being even hesitantly discussed, so frightened have the orthodox been, and so dominant the Relativists and Secularists.
This must now change, in spite of the apparent reluctance of some bishops.

Above all, it is up to right- minded priests to get into the pulpit, yes, remember that word?, and preach Catholic doctrine, and the meaning of the Sacraments.

We worry much about catechetics for children. But more important in a sense, is catechetics for the intuitive but ignorant Catholic parents.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post as every Father. Spot on with everything you say. Sorry for the length of this!

It’s interesting really because there are those who look at people like me (a miserable sinner) who clings to The Church, as she really IS, not how those in dis-loyal opposition want her TO BE, hoping and praying for the salvation promised to us through Her.

I got to wondering only last night as there was a First Confession service at my local parish – under the new and DAFT (Desperately Applying Failed Techniques) scheme adopted by the Archdiocese of Liverpool, N.B. to Archbishop Kelly – this scheme does NOT work in any way, shape or form.

Anyhow I digress.

Why do we actually bother with the Sacrament of Confession for our school-children? It’s their FIRST and LAST confession in most cases. It would be interesting to know for instance the last occasion when the lay-Catechists involved went to confession. It would also be interesting to know when the priests who were the comperes confessors for the ‘jamboree’ (for jamboree it certainly was) availed themselves of the Sacrament. Yes, I know it’s none of my business, because that’s between the Creator and the created but actually I think it’s an important question, because these men and women are allegedly teaching the children of the merits of regular confession.

I do have a problem with lay-catechists and some permanent Deacons, well-meaning though they be with whom I’m acquainted. One is a convert to the Faith and knows ‘zilch’ about the real presence or the need and value of regular confession. They probably know of the value of the ‘community meal’ or the need to say ‘sorry’ but that’s the sum total of their knowledge. There are others involved who again are well-meaning but just do not believe ‘anything’ other than the need to get their child a ‘good’ education in the local catholic Primary School (note the capitals – that is the emphasis placed on the system these days).

It led me to go back even further to the supposedly ‘halcyon’ days of Catholicism in this Country. Except quite clearly we can see that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I suspect that probably priest-confessors would tell you that the age-profile of those going to confession is of the older generation. One close relative of mine (80) still goes, another close relative (70) doesn’t. That would be the generation break. However, my argument is blown out of the water as two other close relatives (82 and 89), haven’t been to Confession for years and years.

The younger ones around my age also do not go as they “don’t like it”! However one is a catechist.

And so I despair, which I shouldn’t but I do because it’s yet another generation lost. LOST because of the hirelings who have turned the Church upside down and have loved every minute of it. It’s no wonder they love this classic 1965 hymn….. “play it Doris, it’s a catchy tune and it means so much more than those old-fashioned hymns they used to make us sing like “Firmly I believe and truly”

“O Lord all the world belongs to you
And you are always making all things new.
What is wrong you forgive and the new life you give
Is what’s turning the world upside down. “

Introibo said...

Great post Father. I am a daily sinner yet still love the Church dearly and find it difficult to comprehend the behaviour of some clergy and laity alike who seem intent on destroying Her from within. I can only put this down to satan.

Richard Collins said...

Yes, a great post, thank you Father. But also, to hijack Archbishop Fulton Sheen's words: "These are great times in which to be a Catholic"

Anonymous said...

Great post Father and very brave. We have stopped as a family attending our local parish because of the issues you raise. We now attend the TLM at the Birmingham Oratory having spent years trying to say to priests and teachers that they are not instructing the children in their Faith.

ColdStanding said...

Imagine any number of situations where a group of people get together to haggle, typically, over a point of morality or discipline. Invariably, the exchange ends when the liberal resorts to emotional bombing like this:

"Why are you being such a stick-in-the-mud!"

Oh, dear! Nobody likes to be a stick-in-the-mud, now do they? Yet few, in the warmth of the exchange, stop to consider the flip side of the accusation, namely:

"Why are you dumping your mud where I am standing?"

ServusMariaeN said...

Anne Catherine Emmerich
September 12, 1820

“I saw a strange church being built against every rule…No angels were supervising the building operations. In that church, nothing came from high above…There was only division and chaos. It is probably a church of human creation, following the latest fashion, as well as the new heterodox Church of Rome, which seems of the same kind…” 17

Anonymous said...

Credo in unum Deum,
Patrem omnipoténtem,
factórem cæli et terræ,
visibílium ómnium et invisibílium.
Et in unum Dóminum Iesum Christum,
Fílium Dei Unigénitum,
et ex Patre natum ante ómnia sǽcula.
Deum de Deo,
lumen de lúmine,
Deum verum de Deo vero,
génitum, non factum, consubstantiálem Patri:
per quem ómnia facta sunt.
Qui propter nos hómines et propter nostram salútem descéndit de cælis.
Et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto ex María Vírgine,
et homo factus est.
Crucifíxus étiam pro nobis sub Póntio Piláto;
passus et sepúltus est,
et resurréxit tértia die,
secúndum Scriptúras,
et ascéndit in cælum,
sedet ad déxteram Patris.
Et íterum ventúrus est cum glória,
iudicáre vivos et mórtuos,
cuius regni non erit finis.
Et in Spíritum Sanctum, Dóminum et vivificántem:
qui ex Patre Filióque procédit.
Qui cum Patre et Fílio simul adorátur et conglorificátur:
qui locútus est per prophétas.
Et unam, sanctam, cathólicam et apostólicam Ecclésiam.
Confíteor unum baptísma in remissiónem peccatórum.
Et exspécto resurrectiónem mortuórum,
et vitam ventúri sǽculi. Amen.

Damask Rose said...

Guys, it's all about...

(i.) the MONEY!

If you have a priest teaching the Faith, reminding parents of their responsibilities, no contraception, confession and God forbid, reminding them not to come up to Communion in a state of mortal sin, no-more priestly blessings at Communion, music groups off the Sanctuary, reducing women lay involvement by choosing the Mass liturgy and teaching the kiddies at First Holy Communion, thus moving into the Deacon's role, and further reducing the Deacon's role by Father preaching more at main Masses,reducing EMHCs/altar girls,* ...well the collection money will go down.
(*my ideal parish, *sigh*.)

Orthodox priests who teach the complete Faith are a financial liability. Especially if there is a reduction in collection money from a large affluent parish. People will punish the priest. They want an easy Faith. You get a smackdown. Priests get scared. They stay quiet. Status quo. You get murmuring amongst the priests. It's who's in and who isn't.

So less orthodox priests get the big parishes. They're visible. They get onto the Diocesan News and Events pages. These priests are so popular, you can tell by the Christmas and Easter offerings they get. They get clapped. Loads of cash gets sent back to the Diocese so His Lordship's projects can get funded. More money gets sent to Eccleston Square and kooky projects led by the lay-quango at the Bishop Conference gets funded. The large overpaid bureacracy is happy.

If the Diocese has got a liberal bishop with a disdain for anything pre-Vatican II and empowerment of the laity is de rigueur, then these heterodox priests have got it made. Your'e in an endless circle. Long term, it harms the priests. They start to believe in their own propaganda.

If the priests hate the Magisterium, or Mary or pedal heresy from the pulpit leading people astray, what went wrong?

Was it their seminary training? Did they make a compromise long ago, and so compromise after compromise they are now spiritually blind? What is gnawing at them that they hate the Church? Did they become so popular and "in" with the bishop, that's all they see now? Is their priesthood just a career? Have they lost their faith?

(ii.) the BISHOP!

If it becomes so visible, as Fr Henry points out, then it's up to the bishop to sort the priests out.

One wonders what spiritual sustenance these bishops feed their priests, if at all.

Do the priests go on prayerful, reflective retreats with their bishop? - and I don't mean charismatic renewal. Does the bishop arrange confession days/retreats with monks or outside clergy (I don't like going to confession to a priest I know, perhaps priests are the same?)? Does the bishop say the Rosary or have Eucharistic Adoration with them. Encourage his priests to have Eurcharistic Adoration in their parish and privately, like Abp Fulton Sheen who used to spend an hour before the Blessed Sacrament on his own. What is the teaching example of the bishop to his priests? Does the bishop teach his priests on "training" days about the Magisterium, Humanae Vitae and so on? Does the bishop pray with them? Above all, aside from encouraging parish duties, does the bishop give his priests a zeal for their priesthood, sacerdotal nature, alter Christus? Does the bishop teach them to go to their heavenly mother, Mary, to be holy, love their chastity and love Jesus?

Does the bishop minister to his priests?

I pity these priests. They are not and perhaps never will be looked after by their spiritual father, the bishop, as the spiritual sons that they are.

The priests seemed to have abrogated their responsibility towards the laity and the bishops seemed to have abrogated their responsibility towards their priests.

Chicken, egg?

GOR said...

As with civil wars – and pace the era of the Crusades - internal controversies in the history of the Church tended to cause more despair and disruption than external ones. We should not be surprised at this as disputes among siblings are frequently more hate-filled, vicious and difficult to understand, than external conflicts. The American Civil War is a case in point – albeit in the secular arena.

The Holy Father has said something to the effect that internal issues are a bigger problem for the Church than external ones. I tend to agree.

Looking at Church history, what caused the greatest crises for the Church? Was it the persecutions – Nero, Diocletian et al.? Hardly. The persecutions provided martyrs and the witness of the martyrs strengthened and expanded the Church - the executioners often becoming converts themselves.

No, I would advance that the greatest impact on the Church and evangelization came from internal disputes. Four in particular come to mind, but the list is not exhaustive.

Arianism was pervasive in the early Church, utilizing the secular powers for support. The confusion came down to the diocesan and even parish level with both Arian and orthodox incumbents contending for allegiance. The East-West schism of the 11th century split the Church into East and West - and still does. The Great Schism of the 14th-15th century, with multiple contenders for the papacy, again fractured the Church, sowing confusion for almost 40 years – a lifetime for many people back then. And, of course, the Reformation in the 16th century continues to divide us today.

But it goes back even further – to the founding of the Church and Our Lord himself. The Gospels don’t tell us if Judas had any followers, but we can surmise that his actions had an effect on some of our Lord’s followers - or would-be followers.

Finally, there is the root cause of all our problems: Lucifer’s “Non serviam!” That led to Original Sin and the loss of Paradise – and those effects will be with us as long as we live in this life.

Seppe said...

Excellent post!
Until the Church [the Holy Father Father, Bishops, and Lay Faithful] acknowledges this problem, the weeds will continue to choke out the wheat [cf. Matt 13:24-30; 36-43].
Read AA-1025: Memoirs of an Anti-Apostle; The Keys of This Blood by Fr. Malachi Martin; across the pond, Bella Dodd & Manning Johnson testified before the U.S. Congress about their activities to infiltrate the Catholic Church and Protestant churches [cf. Bella Dodd's "School of Darkness" & sworn testimony in U.S. Congressional Record...].
Antonio Gramsci & the Fabian Society are other sources to investigate...
Vigilate et orate!

Sixupman said...

Pure reality Father.