Category Archives: Catholic Church

‘Lead us not into temptation’ – an explanation

It was reported recently that Pope Francis changed some wording in the ‘Lord’s Prayer’, The Our Father. It seems an extraordinary thing to do after centuries of the particular wording he objected to. It is even stranger that an explanation of the translation from the Greek to the English is laid out in the Catechism of the Catholic. Do he and his advisors not read the Church’s documents on such an important matter. Dr Pitre of Catholic Productions explicates the meaning of ‘Lead us not into temptation.’

Feelings die not in silence

DUE JULY 2021

THE STORY

It is January 1957. Without warning, Virginia Pearson breaks her engagement to academic Philip Stevenson to enter the convent of the Suffering Saviour. She says she has an irresistible calling. Philip is devastated. Though living up to the responsibilities of his academic position, he slides into depression, too much drink, and a series of short-term relationships.

Virginia makes friends with the beautiful self-effacing Aine O’Riordan who enters the convent at the same time. Strange inexplicable happenings torment the sensitive and withdrawn Aine. Virginia tries to comfort her, but Aine’s anxiety forces her out of the convent. She leaves Virginia behind to deal with an atmosphere of foreboding that seems to infect the life of the convent. (Descent into Hades: A Spiritual Journey, Book 3 of the Conciliar series relates what happens to Aine.)

Virginia, now Sister Agnes, is suspicious of fellow postulant Margaret McGuigan, now Sister Catherine, and her manipulative ways. She wonders about her role in the communal infection. Agnes barely suppresses her suspicion and antagonism toward Catherine through their religious training to their university course in 1962.

But the privilege of attending university brings fresh problems for Sister Agnes. Philosophy lecturer Phil Stevenson leads her tutorial group. It does not take long for them to realize their relationship has not ended, despite Agnes’s supreme efforts to keep Philip at bay.

The dark events in the convent, the leftist bullying on campus, the conflict with furtive, manipulative Sister Catherine, and her love for Philip have her rushing toward a crisis in which she acts out of character.

FEELINGS DIE NOT IN SILENCE is Book 2 of the Conciliar Series.

The themes of the ‘Goddess’, neo-paganism, the occult and Gnosticism are a thread through the story.  The Second Vatican Council and the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s (1965-1975) are the background to the Conciliar series.

Series title: The Conciliar Series.

Who emptied the Church after Vatican II?

This is an interesting review of an interesting book. The key proposition in the book is that powerful factors outside the Second Vatican Council were the efficient cause of the Church’s collapse and not the council documents themselves, despite the shameless leftist political agitation in the council’s session. Fr Jennings writes that historian of religion Callum Brown observed:

For organised Christianity, the sixties constituted the most concentrated period of crisis since the Reformation; but what was at stake became perceived as the very survival of Christian society and values. In this respect certainly, the sixties may turn out to have been more important than even the Renaissance and Reformation. (p. 135)

I lived through the 1960s as a young adult and I can well believe it. The cultural revolution turned everything on its head. I look closely at the student radical activity at Sydney University in my book TONY ABBOTT AND THE TIMES OF REVOLUTION.

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Why have all the Catholics gone?

A masterful examination of historical, moral and theological factors in the diminution of the Catholic Church in the UK and US after Vatican II.

by Fr Gavan JenningsMar 11, 2021

Mass Exodus: Catholic disaffiliation in Britain and America since Vatican II
by Stephen Bullivant, Oxford University Press, 2019, 309 pp

Stephen Bullivant is Professor of Theology and the Sociology of Religion, and Director of the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society. He holds doctorates in Theology (Oxford, 2009) and Sociology (Warwick, 2019). He has written several books on the Catholic faith, the loss of faith, and atheism.

The book is essentially a dispassionate, intensely scholarly examination of the question whether the unprecedented “mass exodus” of Catholics from the Church since the 1960s is a direct consequence, as many believe, of the reforms inaugurated by Vatican Council II (1962-’65).

Bullivant begins his investigation by looking at one of the great aims of the Council: to stir the lay faithful of the Church from passivity and insularity and to waken in them their baptismal call to holiness and apostolate. Instead, the Council appears to have succeeded only in having the faithful disaffiliate as never before in Church history.

From this unprecedented falling away in the years following the Council, it is tempting to draw the inference: post concilium, ergo propter concilium (after the Council, therefore because of the Council). And so “One of the primary purposes of this monograph is to investigate whether, how, and to what extent that implication is true — at least, in Britain and the USA” ( p. 12).

Read the rest here…

Response to Bishop Barron’s criticism of Traditionalists

In this letter addressed to Bishop Barron of the WORD ON FIRE ministry, Fr Cipolla rightly focuses on what the Mass has become since the Second Vatican Council and the mighty cultural pressures surrounding it. Was the Council more of a political contest than a religious one?

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“A Response to Bp. Barron’s Criticism of Traditionalism”: You can’t Evangelize the Revolutionized World With a New Mass Locked in the 1960s Revolution — A Letter by Fr. Cipolla

Rorate Caeli, 10 March 202

Dear Bishop Barron:

I have written many Letters to the Editor in my lifetime to the New York Times and to the Wall Street Journal—bona fide credentials of my moderate and centrist persona—and now I feel compelled to write this letter to you to respond to your recent article called “The Evangelical Path of Word on Fire”. I am a Catholic priest, soon to be an octogenarian. It would seem more prudent at this time in my life to lay aside those things that threaten the peace and equanimity that one should strive for at this stage of my life. But alas, my Southern Italian genetic makeup does not make it easy to live a laid- back life at this time when I should give oneself over to contemplation and remembrance of things past.

I have followed your career in the Church for some years now, with a good deal of admiration for your stand against what you call liberal Catholicism.  St. John Henry Newman, that great opponent of liberalism in religion, would approve of your battle against “beige Catholicism”.  Your many instructional DVDs show clearly that you understand the important role of Beauty in the Catholic faith.  You are obviously of man of real faith who loves the Church.

Your brief article refers to two types of Catholics that manifest themselves at this time and that you consider to be aberrant, for very different reasons, from your understanding of Catholicism , which you speak about as Evangelical Catholicism. The first is “liberal Catholicism”, which has predominated since the years after the Second Vatican Council.  You describe this type of Catholicism as “culturally accommodating…unsure of itself..a Church that had allowed its distinctive colors to be muted and its sharp edges to be dulled.”  You agree that, in the words of Cardinal George, that liberal Catholicism is “a spent project”.

Read the rest here…

A day in the life of a Traditional seminary

The St Aquinas Seminary is the seminary of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) in America. The SSPX is an order of priests whose purpose is to guard the content of the Catholic faith by preserving and promoting the traditional Latin rites and the traditional unadulterated priesthood. A few years back, they posted a video which shows what daily life is like for an SSPX seminarian: A Day in the Life of a Seminarian – St Thomas Aquinas Seminary.

It gives an intriguing picture of seminary training before the radical changes to the priesthood that followed the Second Vatican Council. I speak from experience. From 1959 to 1962, I attended a junior seminary in Australia. The routine of that junior seminary was pretty much the same as that depicted here in America in 2016.

Recommended viewing.

Moving towards a Feminist Church?

On The Bridge, the blog of the National Centre for Evangelisation, one finds this post: The Women of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. The unidentified author does indeed talk about the women of the Australian Catholic Bishop’s conference, but central is the boast below:

For many decades now, we have known that women make up the majority of those attending Mass and participating in parish ministries. Data from the 2016 National Church Life Survey shows that women hold 65 per cent of all leadership and ministry roles in parishes. These roles include lectors, special ministers of the Eucharist, leaders of prayer, youth or discussion groups, members of parish councils and so on. Overall, 42% of women who are part of parish life have a leadership role, compared with 38% of men. Recent data from Catholic dioceses reveal that significant percentages of women also have roles as chairs (56%) and members (45%) of pastoral councils and as members of safeguarding councils (49%).[1]

The contribution of women is not only limited to voluntary roles in parishes. Within the Church, there are over 3000 organisations that employ more than 220,000 people, and 77 per cent of these roles are occupied by women.[2] This is significant when compared with Australian society in general, where females make up only 46 per cent of the Australian workforce.

Across all the sectors, the presence of women is largely seen in education, health and aged care. But dioceses and parishes remain places where women contribute significantly. Around 78 per cent of all those employed in this part of the Church are women. Overall, within all Church organisations, women contribute not only through administrative roles but also as professionals, where 61 per cent of all professional roles are held by women… It may also surprise some to know that 47 per cent of the key advisors to the Bishops Conference are women.

Information about the National Centre for Evangelisation says the centre is ‘at the service of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ in Australia.’ Indeed, the key purpose of evangelisation. But I wonder.

The women must be congratulated for their success. Perhaps it’s not just a boast. Behind the statistics lurks an imbalance of power and position between male and (lower-ranked) female executives, suggesting a correction is required – on moral grounds. I leave aside here a question of logic. Philosopher David Hume famously (and debatably) said you don’t get an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’. However so, there is no necessary logical connection between the factual observation of an imbalance and an alleged requirement to correct it. 

But let’s allow the moral prescription. What then? Well, if you rigorously work out the prescription, you arrive at female ordination and episcopal consecration. Is this in the mind of the author of this blog, and those cited as female leaders? On the evidence here, I don’t know. Female Catholic leaders elsewhere are more explicit.

How many men could or would want to be part of a feminist church? Or am I getting too far ahead of myself?

Fr Joseph Ratzinger and the Second Vatican Council

The debate about the Second Vatican Council has not ceased. If anything, the scrutiny of the course of the Council, its participants, and its documents is a strong as ever. Below is an article on a book that has recently been released.

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RORATE EXCLUSIVE—New biography describes great influence of Fr. Joseph Ratzinger in Vatican II

Rorate is pleased to publish the following article by Dr. Maike Hickson, in which she summarizes the information on (then Father and peritus) Joseph Ratzinger’s involvement in the Council as detailed in Seewald’s magisterial biography, the first volume of which will be released in English on December 15. While some of these facts are already well-known, they have never been presented with as much detail and coherence as Seewald offers. Hickson worked from both the original German edition and the forthcoming English translation. In publishing this critique, we acknowledge at the same time how indebted we are to Ratzinger/Benedict XVI for taking crucial and countercultural steps on behalf of the restoration of the authentic Roman liturgy.

RORATE CÆLI: RORATE EXCLUSIVE—New biography describes great influence of Fr. Joseph Ratzinger in Vatican II (rorate-caeli.blogspot.com)

Good literature necessary for restoration of Christianity

Archbishop Viganò on the importance of good literature for the restoration of Christianity

December 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has recently written a preface for a book, Gratitude, Contemplation, and the Sacramental Worth of Catholic Literature, a collection of essays written by my husband Dr. Robert Hickson over the course of several decades. Being a distillation of his life work, this new book aims at presenting to the readers a whole set of inspiring books – most of them Catholic – that can help us restore a Catholic memory. That is to say, these books can help us revive a sense of Catholicity that comes to us from time periods and regions where the Catholic faith was an integral part of the state and society, from a lived faith.

We are very grateful to Archbishop Viganò for his preface, which highlights the importance of culture – and importantly, literature – for the revival of Christianity, and therefore we decided to publish it here (see full text below). His comments aim at turning our minds to the future, preparing the ground for a time where Christ again will reign in the heart and minds of man. His preface is therefore a sort of manifesto of faith and hope, and a wonderful instruction for us on how to go about preparing the ground for Christ.

Read the rest here…

The Persecution of George Pell – a Review

Paul Collits, The Freedoms Project, 12 December 2020

There was a pleasant surprise in the mail a few weeks back, when a new book arrived.  It was a book that I had not anticipated, though perhaps I should have.  It is The Persecution of George Pell, by Keith Windschuttle (Quadrant Books, 2020).

Windschuttle, the long-time editor of Quadrant magazine, has written the first pro-Pell book since the Cardinal’s exoneration by the High Court of Australia last April and his release from prison.  He had been held captive for over 400 days.  Against this, the three books about the Pell case already on the shelves remain festering there, all of them written by Pell-hating, leftist feminists, without apology or modification. 

One, indeed, was published after the High Court decision.  This was the book by The Guardian’s Melissa Davey.  Much of it would have been written prior to the High Court case, and no doubt the ending had to be altered, likely through gritted teeth.  Another was written by the (mostly) freelance journalist Lucie Morris Marr, the recipient in February 2016 of the leaked story that VicPol was investigating George Pell for sex abuse.  It is simply called Fallen.  Morris Marr still refers, rather tortuously and maliciously, to Pell as the “former convicted paedophile”.  She just doesn’t want to let go of either the swoon over the Cardinal’s conviction or of her own – at least in her own mind – critical role in the saga.  And the most infamous book of all was the ABC “journalist” Louise Milligan’s Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell, originally published in 2017, updated after his conviction yet notably unamended since April.  Milligan’s book has been described, perhaps unkindly, by an American observer as a collection of “semi-literate VicPol talking points”, and by another as simply a book-length character reference for the main Pell complainant. 

Two of the three books should, in conscience, be renamed to reflect the Cardinal’s now established innocence of the crimes for which he was unjustly convicted in 2018.

Massively superior to these Pell-loathing potboilers in its thoroughness, depth, breadth, style, rigour, intellectual heft, restraint, level of analysis and reporting of the truth, The Persecution of George Pell will restore much needed balance to the published output on the Pell case.  The likely emergence of other, similar book-length accounts of the case will only strengthen the sense of restored sense and perspective achieved by Windschuttle’s book, which addresses questions that are core to the case yet studiously, indeed malevolently, ignored by his competitors.  In fact, to compare Windschuttle’s book to the others would be to make a category error.

Read the rest here…