The Intriguing Saint Thomas More

Sunday, October 16, AD 2011

The figure of Saint Thomas More intrigues Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and has ever since his death.  Why is that?

1.  A Man for All Seasons-Saint Thomas More was all of these things:  a saint, a politician, historian, a lawyer, a judge, one of the leading intellectuals of his day, a witty jokester, a good family man, Chancellor of England, one of the most gifted writers of Latin or English, political theorist, inventor of a literary genre (utopias), dissident, martyr.  He crammed many lives into one life, and we continue to marvel at this.

2.  Nice guy-So many great figures in history are completely unapproachable,  evil or downright weird.  More on the other hand is the type of boon companion we would wish for, and a dinner guest to be dreamed of.

3.   Drama-More’s life, and his death, are full of endless drama, and would have made a great Shakespeare play.  Shakespeare may actually have had a hand in the play Thomas More, which, mirabile dictu considering it was written under Bad Queen Bess, treats Saint Thomas More with great respect.

4.    Contrast-King Henry VIII has come down in English history as a crowned monster, which is unusual since he initiated the Reformation in England which ultimately triumphed.  As a result of the negative attitude towards Henry, his victims have been generally treated generously by English historians and chief among these is Saint Thomas More.  Here are the words of Sir Winston Churchill on More:

“The resistance of More and Fisher to the royal supremacy in Church government was a heroic stand.  They realised the defects of the existing Catholic system, but they hated and feared the aggressive nationalism which was destroying the unity of Christendom.  They saw that the break with Rome carried with it the risk of a despotism freed from every fetter.  More stood forth as the defender of all that was finest in the medieval outlook.  He represents to history its universality, its belief in spiritual values, and its instinctive sense of otherworldliness.  Henry VIII with cruel axe decapitated not only a wise and gifted counselor, but a system which, though it had failed to live up to its ideals in practice, had for long furnished mankind with its brightest dreams.”

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5 Responses to The Intriguing Saint Thomas More

William Roper v. Richard Rich

Sunday, October 9, AD 2011

 In good faith, Mr. Rich, I am more sorry for your perjury than mine own peril; and know you that neither I nor any one else to my knowledge ever took you to be a man of such credit as either I or any other could vouchsafe to communicate with you in any matter of importance.

Saint Thomas More

 

Two arresting scenes from A Man For All Seasons, (1966).  Usually the second scene in the video clip is remembered for the statement by Sir Thomas More that he would give even the devil benefit of the law.  I have written about that statement here.  However there is another interesting facet to the pairing of these two scenes:  a comparison of William Roper and Richard Rich.

Sir Thomas is fond of Roper the suitor of his daughter, and the fondness is obvious in the scene.  However, he will not allow him to marry his daughter because he is a heretic.  More notes that at one time Roper was a passionate churchman and now he is a passionate Lutheran and hopes that when his head stops spinning it will be to the front again.  (Roper did become an orthodox Catholic again and remained one till his death, even under the reign of Bad Queen Bess.)  In spite of Roper being something that Sir Thomas detests, that does not alter either his liking or his high regard for the young man.  Why is this?  Because Roper is obviously seeking after the truth and attempting to do what he thinks is right.  Such good motivation is to be respected even when it reaches erroneous conclusions.

Richard Rich on the other hand lacks such motivation.  More likes him also, but recognizes that he has no character.  Rich will do whatever it takes for him to rise in the world, and if that involves immoral actions, so be it.  Unlike Roper he lacks any good motivation or honest intent.  (The historical Rich was a complete scoundrel and recognized as such at the time.  He specialized in betrayals and making himself useful to whoever was in power at the time.  Under Henry and Edward he persecuted Catholics, under Mary he persecuted Protestants, and under Elizabeth he was whatever she was.  It is a sad commentary on the human condition that such an open, time-serving villain prospered and died in his bed, the founder of an aristocratic dynasty.)

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6 Responses to William Roper v. Richard Rich

  • Well of course “Parliament has not the competence” – it’s Parliament! What possible competence could it have? 😉

  • Those are some pretty interesting thoughts there Don; I had not considered More’s perception of Roper & Rich, but it completely makes sense. Are there any books or other movies on More’s life that you might recommend?

  • There are endless good books on Saint Thomas Kyle!

    William Roper’s life of his father-in-law is the starting point for all More biographers.

    One of the more recent bios is Peter Ackroyd’s Life of Thomas More, which has some of the best recent scholarship on More.

    I have enjoyed The Field is Won by Ernest Edwin Reynolds.

    The late Richard Marius did an interesting, if critical, biography of More in 1984. Marius was editor of the Yale collection of the writings of More, and knew his source material, but his bio was marred by Marius attempting to portray More as troubled by religious doubt. Actually Marius, a fallen away evangelical, was reading his own lack of faith into More. He pulled the same unconvincing analysis in his bio of Luther.

    More biographies are endless, and in his case it is always “More the merrier!”

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  • One thing about the line about giving the devil benefit of law for his own safety:
    The law didn’t keep him safe did it? St. Thomas lost his life because a legal proceeding warped by the perjury of someone who didn’t respect the law!

  • John Guy’s A Daughter’s Love: Thomas More and His Dearest Meg gives a rather negative portrayal of Roper.

Susannah York of ‘A Man For All Seasons’, Requiescat In Pace

Sunday, January 16, AD 2011

Susannah York succumbed to cancer this past Friday at the age of 72.

She is best remembered for portraying Saint Thomas More‘s daughter, Margaret More, in what is arguably the greatest Catholic film of all time, A Man For All Seasons.

She was very beautiful and enchanting and her role as Margaret More captured the essences of an integrated Catholic life that is an excellent example for laypeople everywhere today.

The following clip is that of the King paying his Lord Chancellor, Saint Thomas More, a visit on his estate.  The King encounters More’s family and is introduced to More’s daughter, Margaret, at the :45 mark of the clip.  They engage in conversation at the 1:32 mark of the clip.  The entire 10 minutes should be viewed to really enjoy her performance and appreciate the film itself:

Here is the trailer to that magnificent Catholic film, A Man For All Seasons:

Post script:  I was unable to find out if Susannah York was a Catholic or not, but her portrayal of Margaret More is a fine example of living a Catholic life.

Cross-posted at Gulf Coast Catholic.

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8 Responses to Susannah York of ‘A Man For All Seasons’, Requiescat In Pace

Patron Saint of Politicians?

Tuesday, October 26, AD 2010

In this political season I was curious as to which saint was the patron saint of politicians.  Much to my shock I learned that on October 26, 2000, Pope John Paul II proclaimed Saint Thomas More as patron saint of politicians and statesman.  It was an inspired choice, but I think the average politician might find Saint Thomas More difficult to emulate.

1.  As far as I can tell, Saint Thomas More always told the truth.  Most politicians seem to regard lying as a job requirement or a job perk.

2.  Saint Thomas More was noted by contemporaries for not taking bribes.  Such honesty was just as rare among politicians then as it is now.

3.  As Cardinal Wolsey, unforgettably portrayed by Orson Welles, in the video clip above noted, Saint Thomas always viewed issues of public policy with a “moral squint”.  Most politicians would view this as a severe handicap.

4.  Saint Thomas gave up the highest office in England over a matter of principle.  I am afraid the average politician’s reaction to this would be, “You have got to be kidding”.

5.  Most politicians when viewing the movie “A Man for All Seasons” would probably think that Richard Rich is the hero of the film.

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13 Responses to Patron Saint of Politicians?

  • Patron saint for politicians??? BARF!

    If a patron for politicians, then a why not a patron for practitioners the world’s “oldest profession”.

    B/G Meagher’s speech from the dock:

    “Proceed, then my lords, with that sentence which the law directs — I am prepared to hear it — I trust I am prepared to meet its execution. I shall go, I think, with a light heart before a higher tribunal — a tribunal where a Judge of infinite goodness, as well as of infinite justice, will preside, and where, my lords, many, many of the judgements of this world will be reversed.”

    Patron of politicians: Why St. Thomas – polar opposite: antipolitician!

    An patron saint for pure (nothing is pure in the fallen world) evil: it isn’t right. If so, I nominate Judas Iscariot and Caiaphas. Take your pick.

    Meagher was sentenced to death, but was transported to Australia from whence he came to America and the rest, as they say, is history.

  • Looks like someone has been watching Letterman’s “Top ten”? Nice blog post!

  • Nicely done, Don. As he is also the patron saint of lawyers, it may have hit a little too close to home if you had explored the differences between St. Thomas More and most practicing lawyers.

  • If a patron for politicians, then a why not a patron for practitioners the world’s “oldest profession”.

    Ask and you shall receive. That would be St. Nicholas.

    🙂

  • “it may have hit a little too close to home if you had explored the differences between St. Thomas More and most practicing lawyers.”

    That post will be coming John Henry, but not today!
    🙂

  • I keep a picture of St. Thomas More on my office wall to remind me what happens to lawyers who tell the truth.

  • Well, T. Shaw, it is supposed to be a patron Saint. The two you identified are not confirmed as saints. They may be more typical of politicians, but the aim should be for the ideal.

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  • I apologize.

    St. Thomas More, pray for us!

    My occupational patron saint would be St. Matthew the Apostle, accountants and bankers.

    St. John Baptiste de la Salle, pray for us.

    Live Jesus in our hearts, forever!

  • I keep a picture of St. Thomas More on my office wall to remind me what happens to lawyers who tell the truth.

    I have a crucifix for a similar reason.

  • As it regards #7, if I hear one more politician use the words “ship,” “of,” and “state” in sequence one more time, I swear I will explode!

  • As I see it St. Thomas More was not entirely a “politician” in the American sense of the word because he was not elected by vote of the people — he was appointed by the King. His role was more comparable to that of a Cabinet official or an appointed judge, administrator or agency head whose job it is to advise the king/president/governor/mayor/other executive and to help them carry out their policies as wisely as possible.

    When he could no longer support those policies, he resigned — and there have been plenty of instances in which appointed officials, agency heads, etc. have done just that as a matter of principle. (The best known example on a national level perhaps being the “Saturday Night Massacre” during the Watergate era.)

  • Interesting observations as usual Elaine and correct in part. However, in the time of Saint Thomas the posts he held were highly political in nature. The King of course cast the initial vote to place the person into an office. Normally the person seeking to gain such an office would seek to woo the King in a manner not dissimilar to the way today most politicians attempt to flatter and woo voters. Saint Thomas would have none of that. He was appointed to his posts through share ability and character: rather in the same fashion in which George Washington had the offices of commander in chief, President of the Constitutional Convention and President of the United States thrust upon him.

    After a man was appointed by the King in the time of Saint Thomas, the true politics began as the inidividual had to seek to keep happy the King, the Church, the nobility and the commons. If an individual failed in that task, Henry was quite capable of sacrificing anyone, and blaming unpopular policies upon an “evil counselor”. This of course is what happened to Cardinal Wolsey before Saint Thomas, and Thomas Cromwell after Saint Thomas, and a host of other officials of King Henry. Political skills of a high order were necessary to survive. Saint Thomas had those skills, as indicated by his popularity as Chancellor. Yet he chose to sacrifice everything on a point of principle by resigning. I think he knew by doing so it would ultimately cost him his head, since he knew King Henry well, and was quite aware of his vast cruelty when his passions were roused. The “Saturday Night Massacre” you cite is inapposite. Elliot Richardson and William Ruckelhaus resigned to the cheers of most of the opinion organs in our country. They enjoyed highly successful careers afterwards. Their resignations cost them nothing, unlike Saint Thomas, whose resignation cost him everything in Earthly terms. Individuals willing to do that are a rare breed indeed.

Benedict at Westminster

Friday, September 17, AD 2010

The text of Benedict’s keynote speech on his trip to the UK is here; video of the speech can be found here.

Obviously, you read or watch the speech in its entirety, but I will present a few highlights for readers:

And yet the fundamental questions at stake in Thomas More’s trial continue to present themselves in ever-changing terms as new social conditions emerge. Each generation, as it seeks to advance the common good, must ask anew: what are the requirements that governments may reasonably impose upon citizens, and how far do they extend? By appeal to what authority can moral dilemmas be resolved? These questions take us directly to the ethical foundations of civil discourse. If the moral principles underpinning the democratic process are themselves determined by nothing more solid than social consensus, then the fragility of the process becomes all too evident – herein lies the real challenge for democracy.

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The Pope Of Christian Unity, Pope Benedict XVI Is In The UK

Thursday, September 16, AD 2010

Many in the mainstream media have failed to see the obvious concerning Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to the United Kingdom, the truth of the Catholic Church has won out. The Pope of Christian Unity (as he is often called by the blogging Father Z) is reaching out to serious minded Christians. The Holy Father is asking them to unite as they once were under the leadership of the Successor of Saint Peter. Now I realize Pope John Paul II went to the UK, but the Anglican Church is in a far more dilapidated condition than it was then.  In addition, I am aware that many in the United Kingdom, and Western Europe for that matter, have little to do with religious matters, but the same could be said in the early days of the Roman Empire. Against all odds, three centuries later Catholicism would be the dominant faith.  It can happen again.

The Holy Father is about to beatify John Cardinal Henry Newman. He was a towering figure in the 19th century state run Anglican Church. He came to the Catholic Church and gave us this memorable quote; To go deep into history is to cease to be Protestant. I am not bringing this up in the spirit of triumphalism but in the spirit of truth. Christ promised us that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church, and though it has been through many rough patches (we are currently in one) the truth is winning out. (Matthew 16:15-20.)

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13 Responses to The Pope Of Christian Unity, Pope Benedict XVI Is In The UK

  • Just a small point Dave.

    The pope is going to beatify John Henry Newman – not canonise him. 🙂

  • God bless the Holy Father and good Queen Elizabeth.

  • Thanks Don, I didn’t realize that I got ahead of myself and had Pope Benedict making him a saint!

  • Poor Europe being led by hateful,intolerant,godless fools who know nothing about religion.They have turned away from God and have built and worship their golden calf of secularism.They revolve their lives around perishable things of the world while their enemies grow within their borders.They promote a culture of death through abortion and gay rights which produces no life while the Muslims continue to multiply…the liberal left that espouse diversity,tolerance and promote sin will be the first to taste the fruits of persecution that they have sown and nurtured by setting themselves up against God.Open your eyes Europe..turn back to God and stop living sel centered lives where everything is based on passing pleasures.

  • Be sober in spirit and the truth will be made clear. Pope John II once referred to Queen Elizabeth II as the queen of Israel. There is an ancient truth here that supercedes “the truth of the Catholic Church” (as you refer to it). Jesus was fully aware of this truth Matthew 10:6. The real house of rebellion is not the “Protestant” house, it is the house of Israel herself. The Catholic Church would do well to be honest about what she already knows, and submit to the Lords will concerning the lost sheep, being careful not to impose her own agenda over them.

  • Excellent article…@John your comments ring so true. But we all aren’t without recourse. This article is one of hope: the promise that is sure to come and triumph: victory by preservering love and sacrifice. We also have recourse in prayer before the Eucharist in adoration and benediction, recourse in prayer through Mass
    in Communion, and recourse in prayer through the Rosary and Liturgy of the Hours. This staves off the tide if error, quiets the crashing sea foam of sin through its reparation and its remission, and facilitate the conversion of those souls obstinate in sin. I suggest you knights and prayer warriors put your man-on and gear-up to battle by the above means. Of course by all means go to confession (on a regular basis) like all good soliders before entering the battle. For it is good to be here while the mouthpiece of our Lord, the Pope, implement his prophetic strategies and embattlements among priests, with universal authority, among the faithful.
    Roll on, Good Pope, God’s Representative, Roll on!

  • @Chris I would have to disagree. The Queen of Israel is the Spouse of Christ, the Mother Church he founded. The queen in judaic culture has always been the mother of the king…not the wife of the king! Queen Mother of the Catholic Church is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus. As for truth: the Church, the mystical body of Christ, and her Groom are one in the same as for Truth. However, we, as members of this same Mystical Body, have much to suffer and gain in our response and to living this Truth.

  • Winkyb.. Thank you for your response and your desire to follow Him. I was relaying what was reportedly said by Pope John Paul II when he visited England several decades ago… We agree on this. The spouse of Christ are His people the Church. What we do not agree on is the exclusivity of the Roman Catholic Church in that role. For one thing, without past decent by His people, God’s word would be quite different than it is today. Witness the politically correct changes in the New Catholic bible, hymns…etc. Done seeming incredulous to the warnings of Revelation 22:18-19. To be blunt, I’ve seen American Catholicism turn more young people away from Christ than I can number. When 70,000 nuns give congress the out they needed to turn their back on the Hyde Amendment and the innocent lives it protected, you can begin to see why the young have turned away (not to mention the more obvious issues). As a non-catholic, I went to mass for 30 years. I have known priests who confided to me their doubts about faith as they faced death, and priests who left the church altogether. All of it a shame, because Christ came to give us abundant life free from fear and doubt. Please be sober in Spirit, we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Why not strengthen your Anglican brothers and sisters rather than cannibalize their membership and destroy them in their weakness.
    Yours in Christ ~Chris

  • @Chris your rhetoric keeps redefining the truths and traditions of the Faith of Christ, the Apostolic, True Vine, which evangelized the Anglo-Saxons and founded the Catholic Church in England. Your country still celebrates to this day as St. Ninian. The Archbishop of Canterbury also acknowledges the reality of this True, Apostolic Vine and also its respective title of the Peter and Chair, the Pope, Benedict XVI as The Servant of Servants. The ArchBishop of Canterbury also acknowledges the Apostolic See of Pope and Saint: St Gregory the Great and his influences on the Catholic Church of England. The ArchBishop of Canterbury also incensed, knelt, and prayed before England’s titled Defender of the Faith and king, St. Edward the Confessor whose feast day is stlill celebrated on the litugical calendars of the Catholic Church and Anglican. Chris you keep taking things out of context and redefining them e.g. “The spouse of Christ [are His people-error] (is-truth) the Church. I recommend that you speak the truth. The Archbishop of Canterbury today at Vespers in the present of the Pope, Anglican hierarchy, and media does not even refer to the State Church of England as Catholic but rather as Christain. There is no such thing as American Catholicism: there is only One, True, Holy, and Apostolic catholic church. In America the Latin Rite is practice but there are rites such as Maronite Rite, Byzantine Rite, etc all of one faith and still in union with the Apostolic Chair of Peter. No one is disputing the state church of England abdication from the Church in Rome with its self appointed Head as British Monarch no one disputing that the Queen Elizabeth and Archbishop of Canterbury both references itself as Christian entity despite its historical catholic roots and heritage. No one is disputing that this abdication was vilolently solicited by the king’s demand for adultery and divorce as evident by writ and auguments displayed in the Lambeth
    museum. No one is disputing the martydom of England’s innocent catholic citizens and chanchellor in defense of this state church. And as evident by the invitation of the Queen and acceptance of the Pope that there is a great love and a great moment in between these two kingdoms and among christain brethren 1500 years ago which I will enjoy very much with every replay on the telly for what I see is a joyous occassion despite history. I will say it would be even more joyful if the entire Anglican church reconcile to its true roots and true faith under it Roman Latin Rite for England’s kinship is clear to even those with a blind eye. Lastly, we, Christ’s True Church are not cannibalistic but we do love a bit too much: enemies and friends alike. But how can you do otherwised with Jesus’ arms so much suffered nailed to the Cross to remain opened to all. Cheer up ‘ole boy… today is a great day!
    do hug fr

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  • God Bless our good Pope

  • It is heartwarming to see Pope Benedict reach out to those that want NOTHING to do with the Catholic Church. May God bless his witness.

  • @Nancy, correction: The pope didn’t crash the party he was invited by the prime minister and received by the queen. Your view contradicts the 65,000-100,000 in attendance to Mass, the 125,000 lining the streets to view the pope in his pope mobile…and the attendance/host of the archbishop of Canterbury, Anglican bishops and priests and British hierarchy vying to greet and
    shake his hand. Not to mention worldwide media coverage…look like everyone wanted something to do with the pope…you even bother yourself…about the pope…with an unrealistic comment.

Res et Explicatio for AD 9-13-2010

Monday, September 13, AD 2010

[UpdateRealCatholicTV is back online!]

Salvete TAC readers!

Here are my observations and opinions on the Catholic Church in the Internet:

1. A RealCatholicTV (RCTV) representative is reporting that they have been experiencing technical difficulties and should be up and running by Tuesday evening at the latest.

The RCTV Facebook page reports that they could be up as early as this evening!

2. Last nights Sunday Night Live on EWTN had Father Benedict Groeschel interviewing Archbishop Timothy Dolan and I have to say that the good archbishop is very impressive.

He has a strong presence and speaks well with authority.  Outside of dodging a question on female altar servers, he looks to be the leading archbishop and the unofficial primate of the United States of America for the foreseeable future.

His Excellency posited that the severe drop in receiving the Sacrament of Penance may have contributed to the vocational crisis since 1968.  Most of the interview though was on the recent increase in vocations though.

Another theory that His Excellency suggested was the loss of grandmothers within the home.  He truly believes that grandmothers have a significant impact in passing on the faith which leads to vocations to the priesthood.  But with more and more families sending their dear grandmothers to retirement “homes”, the family is losing a great advocate for vocations to the priesthood.

Cardinal’s hat within five years or less.

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16 Responses to Res et Explicatio for AD 9-13-2010

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  • Tito:

    You and I have disagreed on this before, but I think Fr. Longenecker’s point is that modernism is concerned with choosing between products, whereas our response to the Mass ought to be receptivity (not judgment). I’ve blogged on this topic before:http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/06/21/parish-shopping/

    There’s a fine line between parish-shopping and seeking out Masses that are truly reverent, one that Orthodox Catholics frustrated with liturgical abuses (and I include myself in this category) have trouble dealing with. In the end, it reinforces the need for a truly “catholic” church-one where the liturgy is universal and the laity ought not be put between their home parish and a reverent parish.

  • Sunday Night Live last night was a rerun from earlier this summer. Personally, I couldn’t bear to watch it again. I have a different opinion about “His Excellency.” You will recall that he asked the sod parish in N.Y. not to march in the sod parade under the parish banner. They ignored him and once again advertised their perversions under the name of the parish. “His Excellency” shows up at the parish to celebrate some sort of milestone, and as the various sod groups are presented to him, none of which are COURAGE, “His Excellency” nods and smiles in his good ole boy routine. Not a word about not participating in the parade. That wouldn’t be PC. “His Excellency” has no backbone. I would love to see what Jesus would have said in the same circumstance. And in the same program, the archbishop dares to laugh at those who call for authentic Catholicism rather than the watered-down, spineless version that’s currently being fed in far too many parishes.

  • Yeah, but what about those “Idaho Vandals” I so recently heard about? 🙂

  • Dale,

    They’re licking their wounds.

    🙂

    Michael,

    I have not met any serious Catholics that were “parish shopping”, but were looking for a reverent Mass in addition to actually being a Catholic parish and not a worldly “community”.

  • Cory,

    I’ve heard some other stories, but I’m praying he becomes more like Cardinal Spellman than another Cardinal “please like me” O’Malley.

  • “Cardinal’s hat within five years or less.”

    As much as it appears the Archbishop is such a well educated, bright and humble servant of his flock regardless of what he may be wearing over the next five years underneath it all I suspect he will still have on his “politically correct” T-shirt.

  • The more I learn about about Archbishop Dolan, the more tarnished he seems to be.

    He’ll get the red hat, but because it’s New York City, not because of his spine.

  • Parish-shopping too often betrays a consumerist mentality: “what can you do for me?” I wish my fellow orthodox would think more about the potential they have to make a positive impact, by their suffering through a mediocre liturgy if nothing else.

    Re: Dolan, I still don’t see what good blog comments criticizing bishops accomplishes. As I’ve said before, spend the time & energy in prayer for them instead.

  • Chris Burgwald,

    We need to take care of our soul first before we can take care of others.

    That’s why I advocate switching from a liturgical-dancing parish (after all efforts have been shot down) to a real parish.

    I’m all for cutting off the oxygen to a body that refuses to practice the faith.

    They shall be known for their fruits!

  • Tito,

    I’m certainly sympathetic to the desire to bail on liturgical-dancing… our liturgical abuses up here are certainly insignificant next to them.

    But, just to devil’s advocate… how is your soul imperiled by liturgical dance? If the sacraments are valid and there’s no actual heresy, why not gut it out for the sake of the clueless guy next to you who might need your example? Why not be the leaven in the bread? You might be it for those people, after all.

  • You make a good point.

    But what if you have children. You do your best to educate them and don’t want poor influences, especially when it comes in the form of a disobedient/dissident priest who should be a role model and not someone to avoid because he is just plain bad.

    Another thing to consider is if the priest refuses to improve and the bishop refuses to do anything about it, what do you do?

    I decided, because of my character and personality, to switch.

    Rather than soldier on and begin a blogging campaign I switched.

    My soul has reaped the benefits of reverent Mass, an enriching parish life, and many graces that I am still unaware of.

    I’m sure many, many other switchers understand me better than those that haven’t had to deal with a bad parish.

    I highly recommend it.

    Let that parish whither on the vine, especially if that parish priest (and bishop) refuse to do anything about it.

    I want to get into Heaven at the highest possible level. Why endanger it with dissident priests and parishioners who could care less (or even acknowledge) the existence of Heaven.

    I recently attended a seminar on penance at my old parish and this priest who is suppose to be a future star of the Church (he’s on his way to being a bishop) was advocating that penance isn’t that important and getting it twice a year was sufficient. He even pooh-poohed my comments of going almost weekly.

    As soon as I started explaining the many benefits of penance he did his best tap-dancing routine in backtracking on his comments.

    I was disappointed, but relieved knowing that I won’t have to worry about this at my parish once my children (if I’m blessed with them) start getting active in parish life.

    Yes the sacraments are still valid and your soul is better for it for suffering.

    But God does want us to avoid suffering if possible. And if not, embrace the suffering.

    Why put yourself in this position in the first place?

    Believe me, if I didn’t have a choice, I would have raised HELL at my parish and my name would be a curse word around the chancery by now.

    Do I want that?

    No.

    //On a side note I made a promise to myself that if I ever attended a Mass where there was liturgical dancing, I would strip down to my underwear and dance along with them just to show how much of a mockery they were making the Mass out to be.

  • I hope you post that video on YouTube. 🙂

    It’s certainly a matter of prudence, Tito. My point is to emphasize that sometimes we are placed in difficult situations because of what we have to offer, i.e. because *we* can bear fruit for others instead of focusing exclusively on the fruit we want to harvest.

  • Chris B.,

    Yes, if I were put in that position, I would do my best to be charitable.

    I would get involved, form an orthodox group of families, and begin transforming the parish with the priest (and/or bishop) kicking screaming.

    As for the YouTube video, I would post it! Only to prove that these shenanigans must stop.

    🙂

  • I also do not have a great opinon of NY Archbishop Dolan. He kept interrupting Fr. Groeshel in mid-sentence;
    never answered significant questions straight forward;
    and has no business being involved in NY zoning and politics that do not involve the Catholic Church – – since the Cordoba zoning does not involve Saving Souls and Fundamental rights of Man in accordance with the Gospel. (CCC 2245-2246)

    The Archbishop does not understand the Muslim culture, and the symbolic meaning of Cordoba. This is not his area of competance.

    Newt Gingrich wrote:
    “The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over,” Gingrich wrote. “The proposed ‘Cordoba House’ overlooking the World Trade Center site – where a group of jihadists killed over 3,000 Americans and destroyed one of our most famous landmarks – is a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites.”

    The Archbishop needs to clean up his own NY Diocese including Xavior Parish which still has gay information on its web site not in accord with the Church.

  • I should have added that the Archbishop likes to hear himself talk, and be seen about town.

    He needs to be exposed in the public for his public actions, so that he will NOT become a Cardinal in line to become a Pope.

Patron Saint of Attorneys

Wednesday, June 23, AD 2010

Hattip to my friend Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia who has a superb tribute to Saint Thomas More here.

Yesterday, June 22, was the feast day of Saint Thomas More.  Never has saintly sanctity and legal acumen been combined so well in any man as in Saint Thomas More.  The foremost English lawyer and judge of his day, he was one of the most learned men of his time, at the forefront of the Christian humanist revival of letters.  He rose to the highest office of England, save that of the King.  He could have lived a life of ease and comfort, enjoying a peaceful old age, basking in the honors and plaudits his hard literary and legal work had earned him.  Instead he died the death of a martyr, going to the chopping block in defense of his Catholic faith.  Here is a contemporary account, August 4, 1535, written in the Paris Newsletter, of the last days of Saint Thomas More.

On the 1st July 1535, Master Thomas More, Chancellor of England, was brought before the judges and the accusations against him read in his presence. The Chancellor and the Duke of Norfolk turned to him and said, “You, Master More, have gravely erred against the King; nevertheless we hope by his clemency that if you repent and correct your obstinate opinion in which you have so rashly persevered, you will receive pardon.” He replied, “My Lords, I thank you very heartily for your good will. I pray God preserve me in my just opinion even to death. As to the accusation against me, I fear words, memory, and judgment would alike fail me to reply to such a length of articles, especially considering my present imprisonment and great infirmity.” A chair was then ordered to be placed for him, and he proceeded as follows:

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The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism Because The Pope of Christian Unity (Pope Benedict XVI) Is Gathering the Scattered Flocks Left Behind by Those Who Thought They Knew Better Than The Church

Sunday, November 22, AD 2009

The Catholic Church has always had a bull’s-eye attached to it, and in truth many of us wouldn’t want it any other way, for when we are almost universally loved, as has happened a few times in the last 40 years we have become “of the world,” instead of suffering for the world.”  Lately, during the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI dark forces have gathered at the gates of truth attacking the Church for a variety of long held beliefs.  These beliefs can range from the theological to the social. However, following the US Election of 2008 a tidal wave seems to have inundated the Church from the mainstream media, the political realm and even the entertainment world. The Church’s 2,000 year old teachings and beliefs have been attacked in the United States and Western Europe from elected officials, the mainstream media and well known entertainment celebrities. Some of the faithful have become discouraged and questioned me as to how the thesis of my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, could possibly be true in light of this news.

The truth of the matter is that against this troubling backdrop the Church continues to grow around the world, especially in African and Asia but even in North America, where much of the onslaught against the Church has emanated. Seminaries and Mother Houses often have no room for those pursuing a vocation and those young African and Asian men and women are often sent to the US or Europe to explore their vocation. Even in the US and pockets of Europe seminaries are experiencing a mini boom. One seminary rector told me that in the 40+ plus years of being affiliated with the Church, he has never seen a longer sustained period of top notch orthodox minded young men coming in and being ordained as he has seen in the last 10 years. Perhaps this is why the powers that be are so angry.

It seemed the US midterm Election of 2006 emboldened the cause of those militant liberals and secularists who have contempt for much of what orthodox minded Catholicism holds dear. Following the results of the Election of 2008, many pundits proclaimed the results as a sea change for America. Agnostics and atheists gleefully announced that a world where religion and especially conservative or orthodox minded Catholicism held sway was being replaced by a humanist brand of religion where age old teachings were replaced by the ideas of “enlightened” religious leaders, agnostic thinkers, and pop culture celebrities. It seemed this new brand of liberal thinker was less idealistic than their 1960s peers and displayed an anger and hostility that was a far cry from the utopian idealism displayed some 40 years ago. Yet, beneath the surface and below the radar screens of many news organizations, lies the hope of the Catholic faithful who hold on to the ideas  imparted by Christ, His Apostles, Popes, Bishops, Priests, Women Religious, Saints and holy laymen and laywomen throughout the centuries.

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6 Responses to The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism Because The Pope of Christian Unity (Pope Benedict XVI) Is Gathering the Scattered Flocks Left Behind by Those Who Thought They Knew Better Than The Church

  • I appreciate your message of hope.

    Your title is way, way too long!

  • The Church, the holy bishops and priests, the laiety, and the Holy Father certainly have Satan running scared!

  • I have been told by some evangelicals that there belief that eventually all orthodox christians will be under the care and protection of the Catholic Church. Even though there is disagreement among them. I tend to agree with there reasoning and from the signs we are seeing. I pray that the holy spirit comes to all those that need the help to come home.

  • As usual Dave, you tell like it is. Although some did not like Bishop Tobin’s public response to Patrick Kennedy, who found out quickly that his ilk will no longer be tolerated in his actions against the tenets of the Church, I belive more and more Bishops have come to the realization, that speaking out after conferring with these so called “catholics” has strenghtened the laity. Take care and God Bless.

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  • Splendid column as usual, Dave. No doubt the damage wrought by Luther will be repaired and unity restored, thanks to the secularists whose relentless assault have recently spurred the Christians to draw a line in the sand with the Manhattan Declaration to show that they will not render to Caesar what is God’s.

Much to the Chagrin of the Powers that be, the Tide is Further Turning Toward Catholicism Thanks to Traditional Minded Anglicans

Tuesday, October 20, AD 2009

The dream of orthodox minded Catholics and Anglican liberals came true on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 as the Vatican announced that traditional minded Anglicans, clergy included, would be welcomed into the Catholic Church with their own Anglican style rite (though not exactly a rite of their own.) The promise Jesus made that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church is now once again being made manifest for those who chose to recognize it (Matthew 16:16-20.) What King Henry VIII started Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have salvaged. The English and their former empire (if they wish) can return home again.

Since many conservatives may now leave, religious liberals too have high hopes as the worldwide Anglican Communion can possibly fulfill their wish of unbridled liberalism. However, it is becoming plain to see that it is for all intents and purposes the liberal’s wish is now turning into a death wish.  The irony of reading statements by traditional Anglicans thanking God for Pope Benedict’s statement coupled by liberal Catholic posters in the dissident National Catholic Reporter asking to be saved from Rome spoke volumes. Even with fawning mainstream media coverage, every liberal Protestant denomination has seen their numbers plummet in recent years, some as much as 50%, while Catholicism, with all the negative banner headlines, continues to grow around the world.

The Archbishop of Canterbury seems a truly tragic figure cut from a Shakespearean play trying to hold together what a murderous king wrought. It couldn’t be done and so we may now see the implosion of the Anglican Communion, especially in the only region that had any vibrancy, Africa. The African and Asian continents have long been the hope of the One True Church. Fortunately, the embers of truth can also be seen in North & South American seminaries and even in Europe, where the Faith had seemed all but dead.

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50 Responses to Much to the Chagrin of the Powers that be, the Tide is Further Turning Toward Catholicism Thanks to Traditional Minded Anglicans

  • Dave,

    Perhaps the future King of England will be relieved of this meddlesome title and realize that crossing the Tiber is his country’s best hope.

    Too many quotes to pull from a great article.

    King Henry VIII created this mess so as to satisfy his lust.

    We can see the many problems in todays society as we see our nation succumb to sex on demand. Where sex becomes our identity and all vices turned to virtue.

  • “King Henry VIII created this mess so as to satisfy his lust.”

    Actually, it was more about his desire for a legitimate male heir than anything else — he could “satisfy his lust” with any of his numerous mistresses whenever he pleased, but only a properly married wife and queen could give him an heir, which Catherine of Aragon was not able to do. In other words, it was more about his “right” to have exactly the kind of child he wanted (male) by any means necessary … hmmm, sound familiar?

    What if Henry and Catherine had been able to accept her infertility as God’s will for them, and fully embraced their only daughter Mary, or another relative, as a potential heir; or allowed the succession to pass to another noble family, placing their trust in God to protect the nation, rather than violate the law of His Church? Maybe things would have been less stable in the short term, but a lot of grief would have been avoided in the long term.

  • Elaine,

    You are correct!

    And how eerily similar it is in todays dark climate of secularism.

  • And to think the church’s detractors blast it for being so medieval when the secularists themselves seem to be eating the bitter fruits of ol’ King Henry XVIII. Kudos to Dave for a splendid article … loved the “Tortoise of Truth vs. Hare of Relativism” comment!

  • I became Catholic in 1998 when I was 23 and I was horrified by what I saw taking place within the Church and also outside of Holy Mother Church in society and other churches.

    I could never explain my yearning for the traditional Mass and the traditional ways ~ except to say that I, a young 20-something, yearned for a GROWNUP approach to the Faith. Seriously! All of this Liberal crap is so immature and childish and even the young Catholics of ten years ago and today just can’t stomach it.

    Now I’m just… shocked to the core!! I thought that this “dying” of the Christian faith was a bad thing, that this meant that Christianity was going to flicker out and pretty much die and we Christians that were left over would be a rarity.

    Now I see exactly what is going on and it’s so awesome! This death of all of these Reformation protest-churches (protestant!) is opening the door wide for the regrowth of the Catholic Faith all over the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Where I live, you can see how much Christianity has totally died a death ~ and I used to think, “What an spiritually sterile place I’ve come to.” But now I see that… “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Pray ye the Lord of the Harvest sends workers into his harvest…”

    The situation is not so wretched and hopeless after all!!!!!

  • A great, and might I say predictable 😉 article Dave.

    And I have been meaning to buy your book for ages.

    MUST – BUY – DAVE’S – BOOK !!!!

    God bless.

  • From another era ” The shot heard around the world”. Dave, you have not lost your ability and rhetoric to bring insight and hope to those who love our Church and its tenets and traditions. Boy is the tide ever turing. Those Catholics who have espoused relativism and have tried to change the foundation of the Rock must be in total shock. God Bless and long live Benedict XVI.

  • “The last four decades have seen liberal Christianity reach out to every sort of relativistic idea, whim and group. The western intellgentsia praised these efforts even as liberal churches emptied of their adherents.”

    Christians trying to change in order to satisfy agnostics and atheists is foreordained to end in spiritual death.

  • Once again Dave puts everything together perfectly! I am passing this on to the young person whom I am sponsoring in RCIA.

    Thanks again, Dave and commentators!

  • I’ll be very curious to see how the African Anglicans respond to this… they tend to be more evangelical (“low church”) than the TAC, and hence (presumably) less-likely to swim the Tiber, despite their “merely Christian” orthodoxy.

  • Elaine,

    You’re not quite correct.

    Actually, it was more about his desire for a legitimate male heir than anything else — he could “satisfy his lust” with any of his numerous mistresses whenever he pleased, but only a properly married wife and queen could give him an heir, which Catherine of Aragon was not able to do. In other words, it was more about his “right” to have exactly the kind of child he wanted (male) by any means necessary … hmmm, sound familiar?

    It has been noted by many that Henry’s romps with his mistresses likely caused Catherine’s inability to have a male heir. She wasn’t infertile; they simply had absurd infant mortality. What is that a symptom of? Syphilis. A sexually transmitted disease. Indeed, Henry satisfying his lust probably was at the heart of the whole thing.

  • I think the responses of people in the US like Mims are indicative of the evangelical Anglican reaction; to paraphrase, “it’s nice they agree with us the liberal Anglicans are bad, but we’re not gonna start worshiping no pope or Mary.”

  • Not to mention, as we know today, a male heir (or lack thereof) comes from the genes of the father, not the mother. So it was Henry’s fault he could not get a male heir.

  • Andy — you’re correct in saying Catherine wasn’t “infertile” in the strict sense; she got pregnant plenty of times, but only had one child live to adulthood, while all the rest were miscarried, stillborn, or died shortly after birth. And it’s quite probable that syphilis or some other STD contracted from Henry’s “romps with his mistresses” had something to do with it.

    However, Henry and Catherine themselves had no way of knowing that, so as far as Henry’s actual intentions were concerned, it was his determination to have a legitimate male heir that was the heart of “the king’s great matter.”

    Also, remember that Henry and Catherine’s one surviving child grew up to be known as “Bloody Mary” because of her counter-persecution of Protestants during her brief reign. Well, that would likely never have happened if Henry hadn’t treated her like dirt and tried to force her and her mother to give up their Catholic faith, and Mary to admit she was a “bastard,” after his marriage to Anne Boleyn. She might have been a really good queen if only she’d been treated with some respect in her younger years.

  • Elaine, Catherine wasn’t infertile. She got pregnant 4 or 5 times. Henry’s proable syphilys caused sickly children.

  • Kung would tool around the narrow streets of the Germany university town of Tubingen in his Porsche leaving the poor bicycling Father Ratzinger in the dust. Some forty years later, the Tortoise of Truth had passed the Hare of Relativism.

    I laughed out loud at this–a vivid image!

  • The irony of reading statements by traditional Anglicans thanking God for Pope Benedict’s statement coupled by liberal Catholic posters in the dissident National Catholic Reporter asking to be saved from Rome spoke volumes.

    Why can’t we simply do some sort of “Parish-Swap”, where we trade liberal Catholics for Conservative-minded Anglo-Catholics?

    That way, we not only welcome the traditionally-minded folks into the fold, we also do away with all the rubbish that is liberal Catholicism!

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  • Great news, great article. We need these people who love Our Lady, love a dignified liturgy and love the Pope. They will teach our liberals and the rest of us much.

  • I hate to be the one to rain on this parade but…

    1000 conservatives join the Church: Front-page news.
    1000 liberals leave the Church: Just another Monday.

    If it’s numbers you want to talk about, Catholicism isn’t doing too well. Catholics are leaving the Church just as fast as Anglicans are leaving theirs. If it were its own religion, ex-Catholics would make up the 2nd largest religion in the US. In my experience, the most common response to “What religion are you?” is “I was raised Catholic but…”

    I don’t think this “to hell with liberals” attitude is productive. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out with both hands to the right and to the left.

  • Actually Restrained Radical it is the other way around, the mainstream media loves to stick to the Church with breaking news headlines whenever something bad happens in the Church. However, did you notice any breaking news when something good happens i.e. the provisions Pope Benedict made for orthodox minded Anglicans? It isn’t so much reaching out to the left or the right that is the Church’s mission; it is to preach the truth of the Gospel of Christ, no matter how popular or unpopular it may be at any given time.

  • “There’s nothing wrong with reaching out with both hands to right and to the left.”

    How about this — why don’t those conservative Anglicans just remain with their coreligionists who have embraced homosexuality, woman priests, etc.

    They should, instead, reach out with both hands to those on their left and simply accept them and their beliefs, however wrong.

    The same with us Roman Catholics.

    We should reach out with both hands to those on the left, those who advocate abortion, those who support homosexuality, those who promote woman priests; and simply accomodate them and their beliefs, however wrong.

    Did not Christ preach in Matthew 18:17 that those who dissent from the Church are to be treated, not like a heathen or a publican, but as somebody whose errant beliefs we should accomodate?

  • “However, did you notice any breaking news when something good happens i.e. the provisions Pope Benedict made for orthodox minded Anglicans?”

    Front page of the New York Times.

    e,
    No doctrinal changes were made to accommodate the conservative Anglicans. I’m not advocating any of the following but here are some examples of what’s possible on the orthodox left: women deacons who marry and baptize, openly gay celibate priests, married priests and bishops, a more democratic election of bishops, radical liturgical reform (rock bands, dancing, etc.), a higher bar for just war, maybe some wiggle room on contraception, pushing for liberal causes like weapon bans, torture bans, more lenient sentencing, selective conscientious objector status, gays in the military, environmental protection, universal health care, minimum wage, unionization, world courts, etc.

  • Yeah — I’ll look forward to having Mass celebrated where in it, heavy metal bands perform, various break dancing takes place, and the Communion served is actually an Oreo cookie, with Elton John serving as its chief celebrant.

    Nice liberal utopia you have going there.

    Personally, I’d rather have a Church with a few, but very faithful, people (as even then Cardinal Ratzinger had once envisioned) as opposed to one entertaining the numerous masses, the majority of which yield to heretical beliefs/practices.

  • Restrained Radical, studies have shown that articles in the mainstream media’s newspapers and in their respctive network and cable news channels are terribly skewed against the Church. I would ask you to visit the Newsbusters site of April 2008 and see how television and the print media covered Pope Benedict’s visit to New York City. Listening to Katie Couric (and many others) beforehand, one would have thought Americans would greet the Holy Father with demonstrations, not the genuine admiration that was shown by those in the Big Apple and rarely discussed by those news organizations.

    Even the Anglican story of this week was hardly given a mention in most newspapers, TV network or cable news channels, a very strange development when one considers the fact that some Protestant commentators called it one of the biggest developments in the religious world since the Reformation.

  • “Even the Anglican story of this week was hardly given a mention in most newspapers, TV network or cable news channels, a very strange development when one considers the fact that some Protestant commentators called it one of the biggest developments in the religious world since the Reformation.”

    Front page of the NY Times, WSJ, Washington Post, and LA Times. That’s as mainstream as you can get. If you didn’t read about it in the MSM, I suggest you find better news sources.

    Judging by the web traffic, the Anglican news wasn’t very popular with readers. No surprise there. The Average Joe doesn’t care.

  • Restrained Radical thank you for proving my point, the truth is the truth whether it is popular with the mainstream media or not and the Average Joe or not. The plummeting liberal denominations wanted to be liked so much they tried to appeal to everyone and to paraphrase GK Chesterton ended up appealing to one one. When the faithful of these dying groups come to realize where the truth has always existed (the Catholic Church) they can’t wait to swim the Tiber.

  • Again I can’t believe I’m agreeing with the lower case vowel again.

    Restrained Radical,

    I would prefer quality over quantity any day of the week. A smaller more faithful Church would only feed my soul and bring me ever closer to reaching Heaven.

  • Why is it that only conservatives can be faithful Catholics? How do women deacons diminish the quality of the soul food you want and decreases your chances of reaching heaven?

    The new apostolic constitution should teach us the opposite lesson. The one true faith can accommodate different paths. The NO doesn’t detract from the TLM. The Church can appeal to conservatives and liberals.

  • Restrained Radical. the point is we either follow the teachings of Christ and the Church he established or not. We can’t make up our own ideas to go along with the whims of society. Pope Benedict has spoken of the Dictatorship of Relativism where sadly too many in the religious world model the Church after soicety.

    It is important to note that Jesus and the Early Church were counter cultural which is why the Church slowly grew, instead of rapidly. We must recall that in the Early Church everything thing matter and practice (especially as it pertained to sexuality) was permissible in the secular world. The Church wouldn’t even permit divorce let alone the varying sexual practices and orgies that were commonplace in the ancient world. Actually, if the Church really wanted to grow it would have permitted all of those things, since they were commonplace. The Church did not, which is eventually after many decades and about three centuries, the secular world saw the wisdom in the Church’s teachings and beliefs.

  • The Early Church didn’t have an Anglican Use, received Communion in the hand, probably sitting down, had Mass in the vernacular, women deacons, married clergy, and bishops elected by the laity. One can be liberal and orthodox.

    The Church thrived through inculturation. Traditionalists (those who believe it should be the only way, not merely an option) arbitrarily pick some point prior to Vatican II and say “That’s were the Church must freeze.” Evangelical Protestantism thrives today despite the fact that its members are more socially conservative than Catholics, mostly because it is extremely liberal in style. Too liberal for my taste but the point is that one can be liberal and orthodox.

  • Restrained Radical, with all due respect the Early Church was about as far from the liberal model of thinking as one could imagine. Public confessions, shunning of anyone in the secular world who was living a promiscuous lifetsyle (which was just about everyone who wasn’t a believer.) In addition what the priest or bishops said was stricly adhered to, as early as 96 AD we have records of the Church in Corinth sending a letter to the Pope (Clement I believe) asking what to do to resolve a theological matter. Keep in mind the Holy Father had to live in hiding and St John the Evangelist wasn’t that far from Corinth on Patmos, we can see the weight they put in obediance and orthodoxy.

    Remember when occasion heresies emerged where, say for example, someone didn’t believe in the Eucharist, the faithful themselves would volunteer to organize armies to wipe them out. As late as the 1400s, St Joan of Arc wanted to organize an army to wipe out Jon Huss in Bohemia and she wasn’t alone. As you can see for many of the faithful no quarter was given to liberalism and personal interpretations of Scripture.

    As for modern Evangelicalism, as I predicted in my book, “The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism,” much of the mega church movement has already stalled and in some cases is in a free fall, some have turned to the Emergent Church movement and some have even become dissolutioned with that idea. Some big mega churches in Florida and other locations have folded up their tents and closed because of financial problems or because a charismatic pastor was replaced by someone less than charismatic. By 2020 mega churches of the world will, by and large, be a thing of the past. In times of trouble the faithful increasinly want to embrace the truth and to paraphrase Mark Shea, not “my own personal revelation of the moment.” The liberal self absorbed model is thankfully being replaced by the truth. The Dictatorship of Relativism is out and Pope Benedict XVI is in, Thanks be to God!

  • Tito:

    Again I can’t believe I’m agreeing with the lower case vowel again.

    You demonstrate remarkable reasoning here, Taco Man! I am deeply humbled. Although, it is not I that you are actually agreeing with here; it is more so our great vicar of Christ himself who’ve taught me much.

    Restrained Radical, I would prefer quality over quantity any day of the week. A smaller more faithful Church would only feed my soul and bring me ever closer to reaching Heaven.

    AMEN!

    It’s like that “Salt of the Earth” metaphor that then Cardinal Ratzinger had elaborated on in that same-titled book:

    He envisions a largely post-Christian world in which the church will be on the defensive, smaller in numbers, but, he hopes, more coherent and committed in its faith.

    Quality vs. Quantity: Personally, I believe Christ would rather have the few and the faithful as opposed to the many and the heretical.

  • e, I sometimes wonder if Benedict might be mistaken, and we instead see the emergence of a huger, committed Catholic Church.

  • Pinky,

    A Catholic Church blessed with a multitude of faithful Catholics would be a great blessing, I grant you that.

    Indeed, there is nothing more I would want than sharing the authentic Christian faith with those who genuinely adhere to it.

  • Restrained Rad, reading over this article and your comments, I think we’ve got a failure to communicate. I’ve seen four different things labelled “liberal Catholicism”:

    1) orthodox Catholicism which illuminates a person’s politics toward compassion for the poor and needy, which Americans call liberalism

    2) hope for the increased allowance of some of the newer (or very old) religious practices within the orthodox Catholic faith

    3) disobedience, or permissiveness toward disobedience

    4) doctrinal dissent, or permissiveness toward doctrinal dissent

    You mention things that could potentially fall under all four categories. I don’t think anyone here would dispute the holiness of concern for the well-being of the poor. Liturgical development and changes in specific rules of Church discipline are fine (although I’m personally shell-shocked, and I’d like to see things left alone for a while). Breaches in Church discipline for the sake of disobedience, well, that gets into motivation, and I’m glad I don’t have to decide what falls under category 2 or 3. The last category is full-on wrong.

    I think this article lumps categories 2 through 4 together.

  • As far as I’m concerned, the more “Catholics” that leave the Church, the better. They’ll leave room for the truly Catholic Catholics! We don’t need the Liberals and cultrual Catholics in our ranks, holding us back and trying to control our Church so that they can justify their sins and their lifestyle choices ~ or their sheer spiritual laziness that only brings them to Mass on Christmas and Easter.

    This is no rain on our parade ~ it is a cleansing of Holy Mother Church! And good riddence! Those empty spots left by lukewarms and Liberals mean we have more space for real Catholics!

  • Why can’t we simply do some sort of “Parish-Swap”, where we trade liberal Catholics for Conservative-minded Anglo-Catholics?

    That way, we not only welcome the traditionally-minded folks into the fold, we also do away with all the rubbish that is liberal Catholicism!

    There is much more to being Catholic, and much more to being Anglican, than taking sides in the culture wars.

    Your suggestion here shows that your real religion is culture war nonsense.

  • Precisely Michael. I find this “war” mentality very disconcerting. Do we really want people to “leave the Church?” Perhaps we should want them to continue in their process of conversion, as we are called to — not get out. One might gather that people who wish these things have no hope for these people — perhaps they do have it. It is surely hard to discern.

    But what I cannot gather is, how is sitting around in judgment of others’ Catholicism, or lack of it, to our spiritual betterment? Have we made it through that narrow gate, or are we confident we’re going to pass through it? For the way toward destruction is wide and spacious.

    Judgment comes to the hypocrites and sanctimonious just as it does to the unrighteous — and from my reading of the Gospels, more harshly. Sometimes I get the impression, because it is so incredibly hard to imagine otherwise, that the people who evince such, dare I say, a pharisaic tendency don’t offer anywhere near the number of prayers for ‘bad’ Catholics, for their conversion, and for their ultimate salvation at the mercy of God with all the sinners that has ever lived in the history of our species than the condemnations and persistent flammatory rants about these people and their spiritual and moral failings — no matter how objective they be. Does holiness not demand more of us?

    It is too easy to sit around and list the spiritual and moral failures of an individual, or a categorized group. It is another thing to reach out, to try to be the difference to these people. Sometimes this requires not be stridently and coldly objective. I did not convert because people were telling my that a “gay lifestyle” was going to lead me to Hell. I converted because there was a vibrantly orthodox priest that loved me as a person, who did not see me merely as a dissident Catholic. It is so reductionist to reduce a person merely their worldview or personal struggles, no matter how much those things define them. A person is made fundamentally in the image and likeness of God — there is our starting point and dare I say, our ending point.

    This has nothing to do with accomodating heterodox theological or moral views, or shifting away from orthopraxy. If I seem self-righteous, pray for me, the unbelievable sinner I am. To take one of the dissident issues very personally, I would rather be a sinner who made it through the narrow gate and a saint in heaven by the unfathomable mercy of God that struggling homosexuals can pray to (and are prayed for by), whose life may have changed theirs, before I ever sat in stridently objective judgment of “those people” who might as well leave the Church and let more orthodox people enter in a nice exchange.

    “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

  • You’ve made the mistake that these people are judging.

    They want to feed their souls.

    The modernists in the Catholic church, some not all, want a church that cannot exist.

    I completely agree about a church swap.

    The modernists do more harm by leading others astray. They’ve done more harm than good.

    Your comments are full of assumptions that are unwarranted.

  • Do they want to feed their souls? If I wasn’t aware of the fact (and maybe not an orthodox Catholic), I might not have guessed.

    Moreover, I do not understand how the fact that dissenting people wishing the impossible legitimizes “swapping” them for people who would wish to enter the Church. For afterward: would they return? Would we go after them? Or would we leave them to their “liberal” ways?

    I cannot see why we cannot simply invite those who wish the fullness of truth and be the Catholics we need to be to our brethren who are on the fringes of orthodoxy. Why do they need to leave? I’m not a huge fan of the “get out” mentality. I don’t think it’s reasonable.

    Even if modernists do harm to the Church from within, I don’t see how those desperately insistent on orthopraxis — as good and noble the intention is — but if it is done to the point of throwing virtue out the window, I’m not convinced that some, particularly the most extreme traditionalists, do not bear culpability as well.

  • Eric,

    You may be describing an obscure minority.

    I’m all for church swapping, but I believe it is more rhetoric than anything else.

    I’ve witnessed many, many priests, even today in the archdiocese that you and I share, continue blurring the lines between the teachings of the church so that anything is permissible.

    Believe me, just because Pope Benedict’s initiatives have sprung doesn’t mean that those that want to harm the church are gone, nor are they sincerely ignorant of the truth. I have had to bite my tongue often to post about these dissident priests in our archdiocese. I have decided to let Cardinal DiNardo do it quietly rather than make more of a scandal than it already is.

    Yes, extreme traditionalists do bear culpability. The way they judge others without getting to know the person. They way they lack charity and gossip about others behind their backs. Especially how snobby they can be. I have friends who are extreme traditionalists and I see how uncharitable their behavior can be. And I do call them out on it all of the time.

    As far as church swapping, it represents my sentiments of how disgusted I am at both priests and laypeople that continue to teach, proselytize, and live worldly lives and values openly and without a sense of wrong that gets my gander. Believe me there are more than 10 times those type of people than there are extreme traditionalists.

    Believe me, they will leave (not all, some or maybe many) under their own recognizance before we ask them to leave (which no one has asked them to, but have only suggested on websites such as ours). Once they learn more of what it means to be a Catholic than to be of the world.

  • Has Eric and Michael Iafrate ever even consulted Scripture itself and look towards why Jesus Himself said that those who dissent from Church teaching (Mt 18:17) are to be treated as a heathen or publican?

    How many heretics in the early church won the hearts of innocent Christians simply because they were welcomed and embraced by those in the Church herself, which seemed to legitimize them and their heretical beliefs?

    An example of this is to be found within the Arian heresy which insinuated itself through countless ranks of the flock simply because of this error.

    Such a case is to be found today where many countless Catholics have succumbed to the Protestant notion that there is no such thing as the ‘Real Presence’, as traditionally defined by the Church, and that the Eucharist is nothing more than merely a symbol.

    Those naive continue to fall into such heresy because of how Catholics like Eric and Michael Iafrate would rather ’embrace’ such Catholics instead of subscribing to the same treatment of them as Jesus Himself had prescribed.

    It is no wonder why heresies such as this continues to gain ground amongst the majority of Catholics today within the Church but errors such as ‘abortion is a right, not an act of murder’ is likewise adopted and embraced not only by those who truly believe in such a horrendous notion as this but also by the innocent who unwittingly accept such an error because errant Catholics like their CCD teachers tell them it is so.

  • Wow, I checked back and found quite the debate going on. All I can say is this in response to the statement, “The one true faith can accommodate different paths”: So long as they don’t bear the taint of dissent. It doesn’t take much to smell out a rat.

  • “So long as they don’t bear the taint of dissent. It doesn’t take much to smell out a rat.”

    The problem being that there are those Catholics who would gladly accomodate the rats, even if innocent members of the church itself suffers that black plague of heresy which would tragically claim the very lives of many of the Faithful.

  • e.,

    So e., when are you going to add a pic to your avatar?

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Queen Elizabeth II Appalled At Church Of England

Monday, October 5, AD 2009

Queen Elizabeth unhappy

Richard Eden of the Daily Telegraph has reported that Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom, who is also the head of the Church of England, is “appalled” at what has happened to the Anglican Communion.

The usually well-informed newspaper adds that the Queen, who is the Supreme Governor of the C(hurch) of E(ngland), is “also said to have an affinity with the Holy Father, who is of her generation”.

Quite good stuff to hear of the affinity that Queen Elizabeth has for Papa Bene.

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5 Responses to Queen Elizabeth II Appalled At Church Of England

  • That is becos the QUeen swore an oath to the Catholic faith

  • Liz,

    Could you provide any evidence?

    As Queen of England she is defender of the faith, in this regard, the Anglican faith, not the Catholic faith.

    Unless of course, I missed something.

  • I think certain folks here and elsewhere should educate themselves concerning the Act of Supremacy and the Oath, the very which are the roots of that horrendous Henrician heresy which proclaimed the King (and, years later, the Queen) as Supreme Head of the Church and Defender of the Faith.

    The very reason why John Cardinal Fisher, St. Sir Thomas More, the 105 Martyrs at Tyburn and all other recusants thereafter were put to death.

    It’s funny that the Queen should be appalled; doesn’t she know that she herself is actually Supreme Head of the Church?

    Hence, the responsiblity and, therefore, the blame falls rightly on her alone as well as her detestable lineage from which that very heresy sprung which hitherto only brought abominable ruin to what once was Catholic England!

  • e: Queen Elizabeth counts Margaret Tudor, Henry VIII’s sister, as one of her ancestors, but she has Habsburg blood as well. The family trees of the royal families of Europe are ridiculously intertwined.

  • Donna V.:

    Thanks for the info.

    At this point, I’d rather not dwell on that abomination otherwise known as The Tudors.

    God bless.

Age of Martyrs

Tuesday, June 2, AD 2009

 

Hattip to Southern Appeal.  The executions of Saint John Cardinal Fisher and Saint Thomas More as portrayed in The Tudors.   It was largely because of the courage that these men showed, and the courage  hundreds of other men and women demonstrated who were martyred under the Crowned Monster Henry VIII, his son, and Bloody Elizabeth, that a remnant of the Catholic faith survived for centuries in England, Wales and Scotland, in the face of bitter persecution, until Catholic Emancipation in 1829.

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4 Responses to Age of Martyrs

  • I posted a similar comment over at Feddie’s, but it is unfortunate that they got More’s line wrong: it is “… the King’s good servant AND God’s first.”

    It is important to remember that the obligations are not mutually exclusive. More believed he was serving the best interests of King and country by remaining faithful to God and the Church. In the same way, we best fulfill our patriotic obligations when we remain faithful to what God asks of us.

  • Much prefer the portrayal of Thomas Moore’s martyrdom in A Man For All Seasons.

  • I loved that movie, “A Man for All Seasons”. Thank you for reminding me of it, Anthony.

  • I loved that movie, “A Man for All Seasons”. Thank you for reminding me of it, Anthony.
    Sorry… forgot to say great post – can’t wait to read your next one!

13 Responses to The Saint and the Cardinal

  • Cardinal Wolsey’s last words:

    “Had I but served God as diligently as I have served the King, He would not have given me over, in my grey hairs. Howbeit, this is my just reward for my pains and diligence, not regarding my service to God, but only my duty to my prince.”

    Contrast that sad lament with the almost triumphant words of Sir Thomas More as he mounted the scaffold to meet his martyr’s death:

    “I die the Kings good servant, and God’s first.”

  • Good for Orson. Spent the last 20 years of his life in coasting mode, for the most part. Taking cheap roles. Yukking it up in Dean Martin roasts. Kind of like Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro at this point in their careers. Heavy lifting does take its toll. At least they have Citizen Kane, Godfather I and II, Raging Bull on their resumes. As for St. Tom- always the patron saint of we who work for Somebody or Something Else, always the anecdote for acute political correctness. Did I see in my travels that current Brit comedian/actor Eddie Izzard saluted Hank 8 for the first invented religion. In glorifying atheism. Maybe he didn’t mean what he said. Or maybe he did.

  • Wolsey, More, Wolsey, More–didn’t anybody notice Rumpole of the Bailey standing outside the door!?

  • Well said Scott. Leo McKern’s classic role. I roar with laughter whenever I put on one of my Rumpole of the Bailey DVDs. Additionally, I have always thought that show gave one of the more realistic portrayals of the life of most attorneys who do trial work.

  • One of Jim Morrison’s posthumous records — there were many of them — consisted of his spoken-word poetry backed by music from the surviving members of The Doors. On a track whose name I forget, he pantomimes a dialogue in which an inquisitor sneers, “You cannot petition the Lord with prayer!” I have no doubt that a boozy Morrison was hazily recalling the Wolsey-More scene in A Man for All Seasons.

  • And Jay, Wolsey’s words, spoken sincerely, may have been enough to say him.

  • The Doors song you are looking for is “The Soft Parade.” Morrison seems to be trying to impersonate a Bible thumping Southern preacher.

  • Well, I had a soft spot for the Doors in my hazy-dazy youth, but think the best comment about Morrison was that his principal inspirations were Jim Beam and Johnny Walker. How else does one come up with screaming butterflies? Of course, that’s true of many poets in general – but if they’re good they usually rewrite. No need for that in the stoned ’60’s.

    I had the great pleasure of seeing Scofield playing Othello in London in 1980. The exchange rate was dreadful ($2.40 to the pound) but it was still possible to get very cheap tickets priced for students and see marvelous theater there. I wonder if it still is.

  • Thanks, DMinor. Perhaps I’m mistaken or thinking of something else. I used to love the Doors; listening that track is rather embarrassing now.

  • Well, Ray what’s-his-name played a mean keyboard, and Jim had a smooth baritone (and was a rather handsome fellow before he ruined his looks with booze and drugs – which took all of 3 years to do). I still turn up the radio when “Light My Fire” or “Riders on the Storm” comes on. But whenever I hear my fellow boomers talking about what a fine poet Morrison was, I have to wonder if they’re ever actually read any poetry.

  • It would seem that thing that keeps the Doors legacy running is that many young people, even today, become intrigued and go through a Doors phase. Just a phase because there isn’t the depth there that one suspected to find. I’ve always considered L.A. Woman to be their greatest work even though it has quite a commercial appeal. In a bar this past summer, the band played a number of Doors covers (even had Jim Morrison look alike – or wannabe – sing those songs). They were well received by the whole crowd (well mixed – ages from 20’s to 60’s), but when they played L.A. Woman it was like the place became electrified. It was like each person was listening to their favorite song ever.

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