Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Bellum, bellum, bellum... of my favourite declensions; I do miss the ''chanting'' in old Latin classes.

It was hard not to hear the news about Malcolm Ranjith. Traditionalists speak favourably of him, and I'm sure he's a decent man, but the news has been greeted with the sense of a victory won, as if Tradworld had captured enemy territory or something, and enslaved the liberals. I must say that to ordinary simple Catholics like me this war going on between the Trads/Neo-conservatives and the Liberals is hard to fathom. What's it all for? Doctrinal orthodoxy? The amount of lace on one's polyester Romish cotta? I must say I find it incredibly rich the way Trads look down their noses on polyester cassock-albs, the liturgical attire of the liberal party, when a polyester lace cotta is hardly better. Let's see now, the agenda of both parties in this conflict seems to be the annihilation of the other. Which side is better though? The liberals seem to propound doctrinal relativism, liturgical...well nothing really liturgical (having a celebration of the Eucharist (how they shy away from the term Mass, or even sometimes liturgy) around a table with tea lights and whale music is hardly inspiring) and a sort of DIY Catholicism where it doesn't really matter what you do, so long as you're ''open-minded'' and are nice to people. Trads propound Catholicism of the 19th and 20th century, anything before Vatican II, the whole lot of it (triumphalism and hauteur not excluded of course)...Ultramontanism, Lourdes, Rosaries, a distinct want of Liturgy comparable to the liberals (why have a High Mass for the Vigil of Pentecost, for example, when you can have a Low Votive Mass of Our Lady of Fatima instead?), and a lot of sell outs to '62ism. Which side is better? If there is a liberal Pope I can't wait til he makes Summorum Pontificum void - what will all the Trads do then, and their so-called ''obedience''? Of course if he comes out with something at variance with the standard of Trad orthodoxy no doubt all the explaining away will start (differences between the ''ordinary'' and ''extraordinary'' magisterium and what not), and the Trads will just wait for a change of days, change of pope so that they can curse his name (like Paul VI). I think he should declare Anglican Orders to be valid too - I mean if Pius X can say that women can't sing in church choirs one year and then 60 years on Pius XII says that they can, what's the difference? To which authority does one render obeisance in the Roman Church? The answer, of course, is the most recent one - how very at odds with my own understanding of authority.

If there is another Trad pope things will hardly be better, in fact they could be worse. Who wants another Pius XII, or a Barberini to put popish spanners into the liturgical work? Who would want centralized bureaucracy, which the Vatican misnames ''apostolic'' or ''holy''? If there could possibly be a use for all this Papal authority I would that the Pope imposed the Old Rite on the Universal Church on pain of latae sententiae excommunication for any objection. Of course by doing so I would be going against everything I say on this blog, and it would not be secure anyway. I mean Quo Primum lasted a mere 34 years before another revision was made to the Roman Missal, and who is to stop the next despot Pope, bent on the destruction of Tradition, from making that void again? To paraphrase George Orwell: ''if you want a picture of the future imagine the Papal slippers stamping on Liturgy forever.''

As for ''the red hat'' business, I wish Ranjith well but I'd personally go back to the days when bishops were elected by Christ's faithful in the diocese and were not appointed by the Pope - I doubt we'd have as many inept ones then.


  1. Patricius,

    Thank you for another enjoyable post. Even when I find your ideas profoundly impractical, at least they are honest and thoughtful.

    Your comments in the last paragraph of this post (about the election of bishops) reminded me of a recent reflection by Fr. Thomas Hopko, an Orthodox priest here in America, on the nature of the episcopacy (papal, collegial, or otherwise), and if you have five minutes you might enjoy reading it. It can be found here:

    Briefly, Fr. Thomas believes that the recent move by the Patriarch of Constantinople to form local "Episcopal Assemblies" (something akin in some respects to a national council of bishops) is a move towards a more papal view of episcopacy by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

  2. Oh yes, because the "faithful" these days would know what sort of guy the bishop should be.

    Women singing in choirs and Anglican orders are completely different things, btw.

  3. to paraphase Godfather III (a pretty good film just misunderstood) 'when you build on the people, you build on mud.'

  4. Fr Benedict,

    Thank you for your kind comment, and for the link which I shall peruse when I am spared a few moments. Unfortunately I have been working 12 hour shifts at work (to the detriment of my health, and getting no thanks for it) and have felt very tired and cranky this week.

    Naturally a return to a more holistic Tradition is what the Roman Church needs rather than pseudo-magisterial/Papal authority over Tradition. The episcopal crisis in this country is one aspect of this. I have in mind a few priests who would be better bishops than the current lot anyway...