The Washington Post carries an article stating that:
Fifty Catholic members of Congress have written Pope Benedict XVI, asking him to directly reject the views of British-born Bishop Richard Williamson, who has denied the scale of the Holocaust.
What is interesting is the coordinated pressure that is being mounted against Benedict. This alone suggests that what Benedict has done (the ‘unexcommunication’) goes very much against the broader aims of the western secular establishment. They are vehemently opposed to even the smallest movement by the Catholic Church away from modernization and, ultimately, its disintegration. Yet I’m not convinced that this is a miraculous sign that the Pope has woken up from his previous modernist leanings.
What is never stated in the popular press is that the traditionalist Catholic community around the world is actually quite large and growing rapidly. Its constituents are of course broad and varied, but what is particularly attractive to bishops is that devotees tend to be young, educated, employed and fertile. They actually attend mass. That is, estimated numbers equal active participants. Outside this, active participation and financial contribution to the Catholic Church is probably covered by less than 10% of the claimed number of members.
Now, heaven forbid, I would never suggest that bishops care about anything other than the salvation of souls, but whenever something gets “bums on seats” and money in the plates on Sundays, they are generally for it. Even more so, now that the German and North American regions are running out of cash and legal bills start piling up, the Vatican has been forced to reconsider its previous decisions in pushing out the “trads”, who nonetheless have prospered despite decades of suppression. At least they aren’t up to their eyeballs in debt and have parishes that are still solvent.
It’s a hefty price to pay, but the Pope is probably willing to put up with a bit of bad press and some spittle from his old mates in order to remain in business. We are yet to see if the media pressure turns into real pressure (such as threatening the Vatican with money, grants, bribes and so forth). This is a real possibility, as once these stubborn, unrelenting traditional bishops get a foothold in the Catholic Church, there will be no turning back from the road back to Tradition.
Deep down, the Pope or the Vatican are hoping for anything but the rise of Tradition. It’s a problem that just never seems to go away. Any apparent compromises or capitulation in the past has only turned out to represent another approach in undermining and eliminating the movement.
Of course I could be wrong and we might be witnessing the real “Spring Time” of the Church which has come after a severe, forty-year drought and some bush-fires to boot. Time will tell.
In light of the recent “unexcommunication” of the Society of St. Pius X bishops, which appears to be a landmark development, I took a step back to see what this all might mean in context.
For example, it’s reported that the Pope does not consider Martin Luther to have been justly excommunicated. Yet on all accounts of history it’s clear that he was obstinately in error and was undoubtedly an heretic. An abrogation of Luther’s excommunication would be spurious to say the least. On the other hand, it is quite clear that the Society of St. Pius X bishops (as irritating as they may be to the Vatican) were unjustly excommunicated as the circumstances surrounding the event were politically charged and due process was not followed.
There would have been nothing all that exciting about describing Pope John Paul II’s questionable faith and probable heresy, or to harp on about his political decisions. It’s all over now anyway and he is now headed for the Judgement as the rest of us will be. We should keep praying for him.
But is Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, guilty of public heresy? A quick “Google” of this question yields some very interesting points. The relevant parts of the Creed and other infallible texts are quoted to highlight Ratzinger’s problems:
“I believe in the resurrection of the body” – Apostles Creed
Ratzinger writes in his Introduction to Christianity:
It now becomes clear that the real heart of faith in the resurrection does not consist at all in the idea of the restoration of bodies, to which we have reduced it in our thinking; such is the case even though this is the pictorial image used throughout the Bible.
I remember my grandmother telling me how Catholics don’t get cremated because it’s a sin against the Faith. Does this mean that the funeral pyre of the pagans is actually compatible with Christian burial? The Pope argued that all references to a resurrection of the body or flesh (carnis resurrectionem) are not meant literally. Well frankly, why on earth did they use such clear wording they didn’t mean it?
As for how God will go about resurrecting a corrupted corpse is beyond me. Explaining it is not my job. However to reject this core principle of the Christian Faith is not the Pope’s job either.
Council of Trent, Canon 4:
The Council declares:
“If anyone says that after the consecration is complete the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are not in the sacrament of the Eucharist and in the consecrated hosts or particles which are reserved (in the tabernacle) the true body and blood of our Lord remain not, let him be anathema.”
Yet the Pope is quoted as having said:
“Eucharistic devotion such as is noted in the silent visit by the devout in church must not be thought of as a conversation with God. This would assume that God was present there locally and in a confined way. To justify such an assertion shows a lack of understanding of the Christological mysteries of the very concept of God. This is repugnant to the serious thinking of the man who knows about the omnipresence of God. To go to church on the ground that one can visit God who is present there is a senseless act which modern man rightfully rejects” – Die Sacramentale Begrundung Christliche Existenz
Well, mister modern Pope, tell that to my late grandmother! I distinctly remember being taught that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, in a way that he is not present, for example, in my cup of coffee. It’s a mystery of Faith, of course, so don’t ask me to explain that either. But why is this guy rabbiting on like a modernist heretic?
“It is not licit for the faithful to actively assist at or participate in ceremonies of non-Catholics” – Code of Canon Law (1917), Canon 1258
In the footsteps of his predecessor, the Pope prayed in a mosque in November 2006. Well, perhaps he wasn’t “praying”, but what was he doing in a place of idolatry, receiving instruction on Muslim prayer and then facing Mecca with the mufti? Okay, muslims out there will of course not see this as idolatry (that’s not the point), but going back to my dear old grandmother, we were forbidden to set foot in a Protestant place of worship, let alone one belonging to an entirely different religion!
There is, of course, much more that the current Pope has done that is scandalous in the least (such as his dealings with the paedophile scandals), but as it is with blogs, they are done in one’s spare time and I’ve run out of that today.
What is clear to me is that our Benedict, whilst not the absolute disaster of a Pope that his immediate predecessor was, is still a far cry from Orthodoxy or Orthopraxis. He doesn’t even seem to give a damn (indifferentism) that the world sees him in scandalous circumstances. Whereas John Paul II, at the gates of St. Peter, may well argue that he had lost his marbles, Joseph Ratzinger is not insane. His speeches and writings are still those of an eloquent, highly educated man.
So is the Pope a Catholic? Is he obstinate in error? I suspect that, like many of his peers, Benedict XVI is yet another political animal, a master of Romanita. This places him on par with a real estate agent on trustworthiness. Indeed I would be very wary to an open embrace (physical or otherwise) from such a man.
Economists talk of inflation and deflation. Both are bad and good, depending on who you are. And when there is too much of one or the other, the ones to blame are usually the ones who benefit most. There is of course a third, more flexible group of scammers and swindlers, which causes neither but postures itself to make financial gain from anything that moves.
It’s clear that banks and governments benefit most from inflation. Banks do so by diluting the wealth of the masses and making themselves an essential partner in pretty much every aspect of life through their power to issue new money through fractional reserve banking. Governments benefit through bracket-creep. Taxes rise with inflation disproportionately and governments can appear generous to their constituents by lowering taxes (adjusting them back to original values in real terms) and raising wages (again, adjusting to original values). In both cases, the average individual who busies himself in productive work does not benefit. Nothing deep about that.
In deflation, which has occurred for only brief periods in history, the beneficiary is he who owns no shares or financial instruments but has cash and income. He can pay off his debts (if any), invest in tangible things and support himself more effectively than before.
But with banks and governments set to lose out in a sustained deflationary period, it is no surprise that we have incredibly big “stimulus packages” being thrown around at this time. We are set for an inflationary spiral. With the losses already experienced by soon-to-be retirees in their superannuation savings, we are about to witness their total financial destruction through the devaluation of the money they have left. They are going to be desperately poor.
How to plan for this event? I don’t know exactly, but some how I don’t think buying gold is quite the right option. As much as it gleams and shines and as much as “big money” is rumoured to be purchasing it, I think that for the average punter this is not a way out. It is no sure-fire way forward. It may be a life-saver, however, so a modest amount of gold ownership might be wise if one has money to spare.
The best thing to do now is the same as has always been the case. Get out of debt, spend money only where necessary and work hard. Nothing deep there either. As always, real value rests in the things that are important in life and not what talking heads in fancy suits claim is important.
Blackouts in Melbourne tonight are another in a series of events that show up the deep seated corruption which has plagued Victoria for over a decade. Ever since the treacherous sale of public owned infrastructure to private hands, there has been woefully inadequate maintenance and expansion thereof to meet the needs of an ever expanding, ever growing Melbourne:
- Catchment areas selectively logged with no planning for increased water requirements
- No rail network expansion and growing reliance on buses
- Private tollways
- Schools closed, merged, land sold off for townhouses
The list goes on and on. Perhaps it’s a healthy thing for people to be forced to sit down in the heat and think about the chain of events that has led to this monumental failure of infrastructure management.
When are heads finally going to roll on all of this?