Category Archives: Religion

The uncompromising Cardinal Pell

Below is a LifeSiteNews report on a wide-ranging interview Cardinal George Pell gave to EWTN’s Colom Flynn. There are three important features of this report.

First, Cardinal Pell shows how strong and forthright he is in his defence of Catholic doctrine. People will not like what he says, he admits, but that does not bother him. His duty is to defend the Catholic against attacks from within and without. His manly strength and resolve is the reason he has so much support inside and outside the Church.

Second, his manly strength and resolve is the reason he has so many enemies inside and outside the Catholic Church. Those enemies led by hate-filled Louise Milligan and the billion-dollar government funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) got up a lynch mob to perpetrate perhaps the greatest failure ever of Australia’s legal system. So great is their hatred of him for his political and religious views. Those clerics in the Church who joined the Pell lynch mob should fill all decent people with disgust and revulsion.

Third, perhaps not unconnected to the Pell lynching, is the state of the Catholic Church in Germany. It is precisely the doctrinally corrupted German Church that Cardinal Pell is so outspoken about. At the present measure, as the cardinal describes it, the Church in Germany is de facto protestantized. It prompts me to wonder what it is about the Germans.

Luther led a successful revolt in doctrine and establishment against the Catholic Church. Then we have the destructive philosophies of Marx, Heidegger, Nietsche and a dozen others, leading to the Frankfurt School whose thought is laying waste Western Civilization. Of course, we cannot forget the Germans started two world Wars. Is it to exaggerate to claim that two Germans (Marx and Hitler) led the conflagration of the 20th century?

Cardinal Pell: German bishops’ duty is to ‘uphold the teachings of the Church’

‘I think that there is a percentage of the German church which seems to be resolutely heading in the wrong direction.’

Michael Haynes, 30 April 2021

VATICAN CITY, April 30, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — In a newly released interview, Australian Cardinal George Pell has issued a warning to dissident German clergy, describing their opposition to the perennial teaching of the Church as “ominous,” and stating that it is the “duty of the German bishops to uphold the teachings of Scripture” and the Church.

Cardinal Pell, now aged 79, sat down with EWTN’s Colm Flynn to discuss the second volume of his prison journal. The wide ranging interview, aired on April 27, covered Pell’s 405 days in prison after having been unjustly convicted of child sexual abuse, as well as issues in the Catholic Church today.

One of those prominent topics was the state of the Church in Germany, described by the former prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy as “ominous.”

Read the rest here…

A look at a traditional seminary

Six weeks ago I posted a video ‘A Day in the Life of a Seminarian. ‘ It depicted daily life in a seminary of the Society of St Pius X (SSPX). I made the comment that an SSPX seminarian’s daily activities was little different from a pre-Vatican II seminary. I can speak from experience, having attended a junior seminary 1959-1962. Below is a second video put out by the SSPX, providing a tour of St Thomas Aquinas Seminary. It gives further insight into the daily life of a traditional seminarian.

These two videos also provide a handy background to my novel TIMES OF DISTRESS: A STORY OF UNSWERVING FAITH AND COMMITMENT. The intrigue of the first six chapters takes place in a Dutch seminary in 1940.

‘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.

*****

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…

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…

A powerful response to Milligan and the mob

Keith Windschuttle, editor of Quadrant Magazine, has written a book that is a must-read for those Australians who fondly think we live in a society unassailably based on the rule of law. Here he gives an account of the focus of his book.

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A Kafkaesque Scenario

Keith Windschuttle, Editor, Quadrant Magazine

The case of Cardinal George Pell and child sexual abuse is still not finished. There is the matter now being investigated by the Australian Federal Police about whether Pell’s opponents within the Vatican sent money to Australia to try to influence public opinion and legal proceedings. However, given the enthusiasm to persecute Pell displayed by those arrayed against him in Australian legal and media circles, if such bribery did exist it was probably wasted. As Humbert Wolfe observed long ago, when you see what they will do unbribed, there’s no occasion to.

Moreover, with today’s benefit of hindsight over the competing perspectives that now come into view, the Pell case seems even more important on levels other than the multi-pronged witch hunt by the desperate characters who brought him down. Above all, the case is a demonstration of the fragility of the rule of law and of civilised social and professional relationships. Within the ideological imperatives that prevail today, any one of us could become George Pell. We could be accused by strangers of reprehensible behaviour, and then find the weight of the nation’s structures of law, government and public opinion piled on top of us—a Kafkaesque scenario.

Pell was lucky to be saved at the last minute by his only remaining hope, the judges of the Australian High Court. They retained enough independence and integrity to see the truth of his case as it was. However, these qualities had been beyond the ability of the majority of judges in the Victorian Court of Appeal and beyond the comprehension of the six former judges and legal officials who sat on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, all of whom displayed embarrassing failings in the logic of their findings. There are no guarantees that future members of the High Court will act as creditably as those who acquitted Pell.

In my book published last month, The Persecution of George Pell (Quadrant Books, 408 pages, $39.95), I not only cover the minutiae of police, court and Royal Commission proceedings in what defence counsel Robert Richter accurately described as “Operation Get Pell” from 2013 to 2020, but also place it within the history of the culture wars, political ideology and consequent changes to legal procedures related to sexuality that have accumulated since the 1960s.

Read the rest here…