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Due to a technical glitch many of our previous postings were removed from the site. We will reinstate them beginning with the latest first. Some of the earlier postings may now be transferred to the Blog Archive.
St Clement, Pope and Martyr 23-11-2013
November being the month of the Holy Souls we have asked that a traditional Mass be offered for the repose of the souls of all deceased Apropos and Approaches readers, subscribers and benefactors. We ask our readers to pray too for that intention. Thank You.
Hermeneutic of Discontinuity in Papal Statements
Many Catholics have been dismayed by statements made by Pope Francis in recent interviews which seem to have greatly heartened progressives within the Church. But, as Sandro Magister reported very recently in his article ‘Even the Pope Critiques Himself’, the Pope or his representatives have begun back-tracking even to the extent of the Pope acknowledging and welcoming criticism from a hierarchical friend. The notorious interview with Scalfari has been removed from the Vatican website and an admission has been wrought from Scalfari that his record of what the Pope said was not exactly accurate. Magister also indicates that the Pope appears to have retracted part of his interview to La Civilta Cattolica which so alarmed traditionalists. He now appears to be back on message with the hermeneutic (interpretation) of continuity of his predecessor; giving fulsome praise to his critic, Archbishop Marchetto, as the ‘best hermeneut of Vatican II’. On November 18th the Pope also appeared to withdraw from his October 17th ‘progressive tone’, as Magister puts it; in November he gave a ‘tongue lashing’ of ‘adolescent progressivism’.
In addition others have seen in a recent Marian sermon his criticism of the alleged multiple appearances of Our Lady associated with the Medjugorje phenomenon.
While we welcome this apparent drift of papal direction and the Pope’s willingness to acknowledge his own errors (of judgement too), we do not cease to pray that he may become a Pius IX.
Alas, we must not delude ourselves that, even were he to continue with the hermeneutic of continuity of his predecessor, that this represents anything other than business as usual. If perhaps he had addressed Mgr Gherardini in the terms addressed to Archbishop Marchetto then indeed we may have had grounds for optimism. For Mgr. Gherardini, in his book, The Ecumenical Vatican Council II – A Much Needed Discussion. asked Benedict XVI:
‘Most Holy Father (…)
For the good of the Church (…) it seems to me that it is urgent that You offer some clarity by responding in an authoritative manner to the question about the Council’s continuity with other Councils – not, with declamation, but by demonstration – and about its fidelity to the ever vigorous Tradition of the Church.’
Until that request is met by this pontiff or another we suspect that the progress of Modernism in what Arnaud de Lassus described as ‘a gradual and pragmatic manner’ will continue apace.
We have included in this blog another article by James Larson, ‘I know not the Man’ which addresses the problem that Modernism presents in the post-conciliar Church and aspects of same which some traditionalists are not comfortable in considering. Parts of that article may present a little difficulty to those of us who are not trained in philosophy but the gist of it can still be grasped.
This edition of the blog contains two iconic articles (later produced as supplements) by Approaches in the later 1960s.
The IDO-C Dossier
Sandro Magister in his article ‘Even the Pope critiques himself’ refers to the ‘“school of Bologna” - founded by Giuseppe Dossetti and Guiseppe Alberigo and today directed by Professor Alberto Melloni – which has the worldwide monopoly on the interpretation of Vatican II, in a progressive vein.’ Professor Alberigo of Bologna was a founder member of IDO-C which then sought to control the expression of ‘Catholic’ opinion throughout the world. As Magister indicates its influence still pervades through the “school of Bologna” and other networks. The IDO-C dossier first appeared in Approaches No 10-11 in January 1968. It sought to expose the network of individuals and publications which had become the ‘progressive’, global, Catholic establishment; an establishment which controlled the expression of ‘Catholic’ opinion throughout the world, becoming a veritable parallel hierarchy. Although many of the individuals and publications have ‘moved on’, some still persist, as Magister attests, and continue to exercise the role they did in the immediate post-conciliar period.
The Strange Faith of Teilhard de Chardin
This article by Henri Rambaud first appeared in Approaches No. 3, March 1966. As Hamish Fraser stated at the time of publication: ‘It is not our normal function to discuss theological speculations concerning which Rome has issued a solemn warning. But when such speculations [those of Teilhard de Chardin] are publicised as though they were already de fide, we feel it our duty to show that this is far indeed from being true. Hence our decision to publish Henri Rambaud’s article, The Strange Faith of Teilhard de Chardin together with a translation of the Monitum issued by the Holy Office in 1962.’
We reproduce the latest collections of the Apropos columnist’s musings:
A permissible speculation?
Baptism can be by Water, Blood or Desire. As Archbishop Sheehan remarks in Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, the latter is more aptly described as Baptism of the Holy Ghost ‘because the Holy Ghost causes grace in the soul directly and not through the medium of any sacramental rite.’
This leads us on to the Limbo of the unbaptized, generally described as a place of perfect natural happiness without the Beatific Vision of the Trinity. Some recoil from this. However there is no automatic right to the Beatific Vision. Referring to the Summa of St Thomas, Archbishop Sheehan states that:
‘If Adam had remained faithful, each one of his descendants would have been subjected like himself to some trial of loyalty to God, before being confirmed in the possession of his gifts.’
The speculation in question is whether those enjoying the Beatific Vision can communicate with those in Limbo. Our Lord’s company was enjoyed by Our Lady, St Joseph, and the Apostles, when He had the Beatific Vision in His Sacred Humanity, and they did not. Messengers have come from Heaven to those not yet saved.
The editor of Apropos recently mentioned a growing preference for the Apostles’ Creed rather than the Nicene Creed, wondering whether this was to avoid such terms as ‘consubstantial’ and ‘Filioque’. Doctrinally however, they can run but they can’t hide. The Apostles’ Creed mentions the visit by means of His Soul of Our Lord to the Limbo of the Fathers. Who was there? King David and St Joseph, the Machabees and the Holy Innocents and so on. Why were they there? Because the work of the Redemption from Original Sin not yet having been completed, Heaven was not yet open to them. What was it like? Our Lord described it as ‘Abraham’s bosom’ in the story of Dives and Lazarus.
If we try for a greater understanding of the glory of God we may have a better understanding of Original Sin and Limbo. How many molecules are there in the Universe? What is one molecule compared with the rest? Divine omniscience alone can answer these questions. The difference between one molecule and the rest of the universe is finite. The difference between all creation visible and invisible and the Creator is infinite.
The Orb originally was a symbol of the Cosmos, later Earth. Iconography of Christ the King holding an orb is very apposite. Incidentally, this writer recalls hearing an apparently educated man on TV stating that until Christopher Columbus, the Church taught that the earth was flat. He did not explain why the likes of Charlemagne were depicted holding orbs rather than pancakes.
Raising the Bastions
The Duke of Wellington, commenting on a proclamation of his allies, The Portuguese Junta, in 1810, disliked its length and rhetorical emotionalism. He stated that such a proclamation should consist of practical points ‘and ought above all to be short’. Marshal Massena, striking for Lisbon, was brought to a halt when he discovered that Wellington had constructed three lines of very strong fortifications to protect Lisbon, the lines of Torres Vedras. After months of helpless misery before the lines, Massena limped back East.
Not of course a Catholic, the Duke managed some years later to outclass those at Vatican II devoted to ‘razing the bastions’ of the Church. (Stalin indirectly supplied the kindest summary of these types. When somebody said that a particular Balkan communist had brains, he replied, ‘Yes, but they’re stupid brains’.) The Duke stated that while in India, he’d commanded Hindu and Muslim soldiers, and they were fine soldiers, fully comparable to their Christian counterparts. It was not however, he pointed out, a question of that, but of orders. Were that today we would follow orders or a short proclamation: ‘Go forth and teach all nations.’
Suppose we were asked to give an above all short explanation of Purgatory. One of those who saw Mel Gibson’s The Passion had murdered his girlfriend, deceiving everybody into thinking it was suicide. He turned himself in. Although clearly penitent, he could hardly have been told to just go home. There being a debt to society, how much more so to God?
We have all felt shame, embarrassment. Even when no sin is involved, there is a sort of burning sensation. To put it very simply, those in Purgatory have a greatly enhanced appreciation of the glory of God, Whom they have offended and their debt, their imperfection, is burnt out of them. If we were all more or less going straight to Heaven, there would be a colossal amount of pointless waiting around and suffering. We can and should pray for the suffering on earth. Likewise those suffering in Purgatory. A question of orders: ‘’Tis a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead.’
On 2nd December 1804, Napoleon was crowned. On 2nd December 1805, he won his most famous victory, Austerlitz. On 2nd December 1814, a man lay on his deathbed. He was in a lunatic asylum since the authorities didn’t know what to do with him. Away from the Church for over 50 years, bitterly hostile, he had wallowed in filth. The Chaplain approached to ask if he wanted the last rites. The Marquis de Sade did, and made a very Christian finish.
It is worth noting the distance in time and space from the Good Thief. No mere man could achieve such results. God is of course sovereignly free to remit some or all of the debt in any individual case. The tendency to ignore Purgatory is really to insult God, Who is Justice.
Baalderdash or Molochaos
At Vatican II, a Japanese bishop stated that the Sign of the Cross was alien to Japanese culture. (1) Needless to say, since so many Japanese martyrs died by crucifixion, the Sign of the Cross is a particular battle-honour of Japanese Catholicism.
This sort of absurdity abounded in Vatican II, not least in the infamous Dignitatis Humanae, the declaration interpreted as affording a right to liberty in public for false religions. This was claimed to flow from the dignity of the human person as shown by Scripture and reason.
One example. The Prophet Elias confronted 450 priests of Baal (also known as Moloch) on Mount Carmel. This was a very progressive religion, with much jumping up and down and sacrifice of babies. The decision having been made on the basis of One God/One Vote, Elias put the 450 to the sword. Note that it was 450 bishops at Vatican II who had their proposal for a specific condemnation of communism deliberately ‘lost’. Lucifer has a hellishly good memory.
There is nothing definitive on the subject, but some writers have suggested that Enoch and Elias will return towards the end of the world, being not yet in Heaven. Others have reckoned this a misinterpretation. Anyway, Elias did appear with Moses at the Transfiguration, acknowledging the Divine Messiah (for some not at all mysterious reason the Transfiguration is never depicted in films about Our Lord.)
The Atlantic Wall and other fortifications were built by the Todt Organisation named after Dr. Todt, whose name is from the German for ‘death’. Earlier, Field Marshal von Schlieffen had been the arch-advocate of encirclement battles of annihilation. His name is from the German for ‘sleep’. The story goes that at the Transfiguration Moses asked Our Lord the whereabouts of Elias – ‘Wo ist Elias?’ The response: ‘Er ist nicht Todt aber Schlieffen.’ Schlieffen, however, is very much todt – he lies in the Invalidenfriedhof cemetery in Berlin under a stone bearing the Sign of a Cross.
(1) Cf. The Rhine flows into the Tiber, Fr. Ralph Wiltgen, p. 37.
Attaining moral turpitude is not a sudden thing
But what most people do not see is that this dullness in diet, and similar things, is exactly parallel to the dull and indifferent anarchy in manners and morals. Do not be proud of the fact that your grandmother was shocked at something which you are accustomed to seeing or hearing without being shocked....It may mean that your grandmother was an extremely lively and vital animal, and that you are a paralytic. G. K. Chesterton
This essay by Dr Robert Hickson concerns Chesterton’s insights into ‘Evil Friendships in History’ and in particular that of Voltaire and Frederick the Great the consequences of which still affect us today. It also includes some telling observations regarding that slow and inevitable habituation to moral decadence which is a mark of society’s surrender to the forces of the Cultural Revolution.
Spare a thought on the Agony in the Garden, The BBC, the Savile affair and sinners generally.
(Following revelations of alleged multiple cases of sexual abuse and rape by Sir Jimmy Savile, a Catholic pop-celebrity and Papal Knight, the British media became involved in an internecine war regarding the responsibility of the press and broadcasters in suppressing exposure of sexual abuse of children, particularly within the BBC. Barely a month goes by without fresh allegations of sexual misconduct or crime being levelled against former celebrities of TV or Radio. This war also caused collateral damage to innocent parties whose reputations had been sullied as a result. These few reflections were made on trying to understand the agony of one such person (which occurred a year ago) in the light of Our Lord’s Agony in the Garden.)
The Agony in the Garden of our Divine Lord one would think is not too difficult to meditate upon. In the Passion of the Christ the Satanic serpent is forever in the background while Our Lord is contemplating His impending passion. But a picture such as this, while displaying Our Saviour’s suffering, does not explain the cause of His torment which worsened despite the strengthening afforded by the Angel of Consolation ( Luke 22:43). In his Spiritual Exercises, St Ignatius relates:
In fine, His desolation is such, that His heart appears to break; He suffers convulsions like a dying person struggling violently against death; it reduces Him to sweat blood from all His members; “His sweat became as drops of blood trickling down upon the Ground” (Luke xxii:44).
And what are the causes of this desolation of the Saviour? The eternal misery that sin is preparing for us; this is the cause of His fear. The infinite injury that sin does to the majesty of His Father; this is the cause of His sorrow. The uselessness of His sufferings for so many miserable creatures who persist in the way of perdition; this is the cause of his weariness.
The sight of God basely insulted, and of so many souls miserably damned, is the cause of his agony…
We might try to understand Our Lord’s agony but as sinners ourselves, as the cause of His agony and fear, we cannot remotely fathom the depths of that agony and fear.
As sinners we might suffer a different agony of fear or shame. There is, of course, the mind tortured by conscience over sins committed past and present – particularly the mind of one who cannot seek forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance – not to speak of the mind which is, to outward appearances, unrepentant and guilty of abominable crime. Just as the Hound of Heaven pursues the soul, so too does conscience pursue to repentance unless it is blotted out by recourse to more and more sin or sheer pride. The truly penitent sinner is ashamed of his sins – a shame which increases in intensity according to the immensity of the sin, and while the graces of the sacrament may return the sinner to God, a God who never left him, the shame persists. The sinner cannot but reflect on that act of aggression, or cold-heartedness, unkindness, neglect of duty or moral lapse without a stirring of conscience and hopefully a resolve not to conduct himself thus again.
We sinners deserve to suffer shame, to have our conscience disturbed, to ache over wrong done – it is merely the slightest foretaste of what we might expect if blessed enough to merit purgatory. For there in purgatory, at least I imagine, (and pray that I am not in so doing straying from the mind of the Church), what will confront us is not the limited judgement of our own conditioned conscience but the searing fire of being faced with the consequences of our sins in the crystal clear infinitely intense light of the Divine will. If we consider the burden of agony, shame and conscience which we face now as a result of seeing them in the darkened mirror of our own ill-formed conscience, what pain can we expect to inflict upon ourselves in our zeal to purify ourselves in the face of Divine reality and to conform to the Divine will, knowing that this is our only passport to the intense Love which seeks to consume us? As humans surely such pain, such agony, is truly unimaginable because we cannot possibly conceive the absolute immensity of our sin in contrast to the Divine Will and Divine Love?
So too with the Agony in the Garden, we can only try to imagine the distress caused to Our Lord but we cannot possibly remotely suffer as He did there.
I suppose the nearest we might come to appreciate to any degree that agony could be found in the anguish felt by Lord McAlpine, the businessman, who was wrongly (and many might say, recklessly) accused of being a paedophile as a result of shoddy journalism and the bear-baiting antics of so-called self-righteous “social” media types who, in the words of Charles Moore, ‘most ready with child abuse accusations are some of the nastiest people in the world. They exploit our natural disgust at the crime to promote hatred while appearing righteous’.(1) In a subsequent interview with the BBC, which was largely responsible for the unleashing of this vile accusation against him, Lord McAlpine remarked that it got into his soul, agreeing, with the Mayor of London’s observation, that he had been cast into the lowest circle of hell while still alive. For a person to be accused of such an horrendous crime, which they did not commit, must be soul-destroying. And, as others have observed, even when the accusation is withdrawn there remains that psychological mind-game in which a nasty aphorism rises, even in the minds of those ill-disposed to malicious gossip: ‘No smoke without fire.’ Satan certainly knows how to take advantage of any situation.
Sir Jimmy Savile, on the other hand, is now dead and there appears to be a public presumption that he is guilty of every vile crime of which he has been posthumously accused. His headstone has been removed by his family and demolished, and his remote cottage in the Scottish Highlands has been vandalised. No doubt those of his family and friends who were unaware of his alleged crimes have also undergone an agony, a distress at learning, so suddenly and unexpectedly, of the vast catalogue of the allegations against him. None save his Maker or confessor will know whether Savile repented of his sins, and none other than his Maker will know whether those who howl against Savile’s sins may recoil themselves when faced with a “writing in the sand”.
I must admit that I never warmed to Jimmy Savile, nor his peculiar animal sounds. I recall, at secondary school, we were addressed by some ‘hip’ priest whose friendship with pop stars and Savile was meant to appeal to us. I was not impressed – it was the beginning of the fruits of Vatican II. And here lies the rub: Savile and Co. and the whole swinging-sixties era were part of a sex-obsessed industry which had literally possessed the country. This was an era of sexual liberation and it was not surprising that it would have evil consequences. The ‘enlightened’ told all to abandon their sexual ‘hang-ups’ in which they included modesty and chastity, particularly among the young. The reality of sin and occasions of sin were dismissed peremptorily. One cannot judge how many young girls were persuaded to throw themselves into the clutches of the idols of the age, but it is certain that many did so. One cannot but wonder about how many of those now found guilty of sexual abuse were treating their victims in a manner any different from the way in which allegedly compliant or willing groupies were - as mere objects of gratification, so debased had consciences become, so successful had been the abandonment of sexual ‘hang-ups’ and the moral law.
But all that apart, Our Divine Lord, in the Garden of Gethsemane, was not faced with the intense shame that we might feel as sinners, nor with the anguish of the falsely accused whose reputation has been sullied before all. No, He was faced with heaping upon Himself the shame and the effects of all our sins – the sins of all mankind – the foulest sins, the public sins, the private sins, the hidden sins – bearing that burden upon Himself, He who was without sin, He to whom sin was infinitely more repellent than would the most noxious, foul poison be to us. Let us spare a thought for that. ASF
Pope Francis and the Cultural Revolution
We refer our readers to this article by Patrick J Buchanan on the papal influence on the cultural wars in which we are engaged:
Hart’s Catholic Doctrine
Herewith the Second Chapter: Nature, grounds and rules of Faith
Feast of Christ the King October 2013
Christus Vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat
Christ the King
In the traditional Calendar the last Sunday of October has been the Feast of Christ the King. To commemorate same we have reproduced the following article, ‘What Matters Most’ by Hamish Fraser, editor of Approaches, which appeared in Approaches No. 53-54, February 1977. This article on the subject of Christ the King makes reference to another article, ‘The Kingship of Christ 1925-1975 which is already posted on this site in the Approaches archive for Approaches No. 47-48, Feb 1976.
The Feast was instituted by Pius XI ‘as a public, social and official declaration of the royal rights of Jesus, as God the Creator, as the Word Incarnate, and as Redeemer’ to quote the introduction in the St Andrew’s Daily Missal which also states that: ‘In his Encyclical [Quas Primas] of December 11, 1925, H.H. Pius XI denounced the great modern heresy of laicism. It refuses to recognise the rights of God and His Christ over persons and peoples and organises the lives of individuals, families and of society itself, as though God did not exist.’ The results of this heresy have been made manifest in our day through the immoral laws enacted in our legislatures. We recommend that our readers refresh their knowledge of Quas Primas and thus of the place that Christ ought to have in our homes, societies and legislatures. A place expressed in these verses from Te saeculorum Principem, the hymn in the Mass for Christ the King:
May heads of nations fear Thy name
And spread Thy honour through their lands,
Our nation’s laws, our arts proclaim
The beauty of Thy just commands.
Let Kings the crown and sceptre hold
As pledge of Thy supremacy;
And Thou all lands and tribes enfold
In one fair realm of charity.
Chesterton and the Book of Job
We have posted the essay ‘G K Chesterton’s 1916 reflections on the Book and wounds of Job’. In it Dr Robert Hickson comments on a text of Chesterton on that subject which was written prior to his conversion. It contains this little gem of Chesterton which we might have otherwise posted as a thought for the day: ‘In dealing with the arrogant asserter of doubt, it is not the right method to tell him to stop doubting. It is rather the right method to tell him to go on doubting, to doubt a little more, to doubt every day newer and wider things in the universe, until at last, by some strange enlightenment, he may begin to doubt himself.’
‘He that believeth, and is baptised, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.’ Mark vxi:16)
As promised we have posted the next instalment of Hart’s Catholic Doctrine – Part 1, Chapter 1 – Faith.
We have appended the following articles today.
The Sacred Heart's Promises to Families (click on blue text).
Subtle Channels of Divine Grace
The former appeared in the first issue of Apropos and provides interesting and provocative advice (at least in our current society) regarding the roles of family members within the family.
The latter article is a lengthy article on the works of Maurice Baring. Readers whose appetite for further insights into Maurice Baring's life and works was whetted by Professor Robert Hickson's article on Baring in Apropos 30/31 may eat their fill from this essay.
Apropos' editorial policy may be found here:
Our Dead: We have been advised of the death of Deirdre Manifold, a subscriber and a fearless fighter for the Faith. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful rest in peace.
Due to factors outwith our control we will be unable to post material from now until around the end of April. We will then resume with more frequent contributions. We wish all our readers a happy and Holy Eastertide and every blessing of the Risen Christ.
We made reference earlier to moves to legalise abortion in Ireland. We refer our readers to the following article by John Smeaton of SPUC (regarding certain elements of the pro-life campaign in Ireland) which may be found at the following adddress also.
There is no right way to carry out abortions ... in Ireland or elsewhere
Recent news from Ireland surrounding the tragic case of Savita Halappanavar urgently requires deeper reflection on the part of pro-life leaders.
Pregnant women who are ill should be protected by good and ethical means. A woman should not be denied life-saving treatment which targets her own body and does not target her baby’s body, even if her baby dies as a result.
In this connection it must, however, be noted that, whilst deliberately choosing to 'remove a baby' before he or she is viable may have the good further motive of protecting the mother, the immediate intention and procedure is sadly identical to that involved in other abortions.
All abortions involve, at the very least, the intention to end the pregnancy. They target the baby and the baby's own tissues, unlike legitimate life-saving operations on the woman where harmful effects on her baby and on the baby's presence in her body are mere side-effects of treatment. Deliberate induction of pre-viable babies is abortion and is acceptable neither in medical ethics nor in Catholic Church teaching - which is an important fact for pro-life Catholics, and indeed for some pro-lifers from other faiths (or of no religious faith).
The statement put out this week by the Pro Life Campaign (PLC), a pro-life organization in Ireland, does not appear to rule out abortion in certain cases and is part of a worrying trend. Some have gone further in their defence of inducing pre-viable babies: thus one Irish pro-lifer has said of Savita's case:
“hospital staff should have considered accelerating delivery once miscarriage was inevitable in an attempt to pre-empt any infections that might be caused by Savita’s cervix being open”In other words, induction of the pre-viable baby is now to be encouraged even in cases where the mother is in no immediate danger of death. It is easy to see how this could then be extended by pro-abortionists to allow induction for suicidal pregnant women if it is wrongly claimed that this will help them (of course, abortion does not help suicidal women in any way). This is how we get liberalised abortion: by neglecting to analyse 'hard cases' in detail, which in practice means neglecting the most vulnerable babies and letting down the most vulnerable mothers, who instead need life-affirming health care.
Some defenders of pre-viability induction have gone on to defend D&Cs and D&Es – and it is hard to see why these two options should not also be allowed in principle once we start advocating abortion by induction, albeit with a good further motive.
The baby's own bodily integrity and its physical presence should always be respected, even as we treat illness or infection in the woman's own body as vigorously as we can. Doctors who respect the lives and bodies of both patients, in a way reflecting age-old principles of medical ethics, should be affirmed in this and should not be condemned by any guidelines, medical or otherwise, which are not truly pro-life. Nor should pro-lifers become involved in drawing up guidelines which instruct doctors in the ‘right way’ to carry out abortions. There is no right way to carry out abortions. [End of article by John Smeaton]
We would like to draw our readers' attention to the Hilaire Belloc Blog which can be found at http://thehilairebellocblog.blogspot.co.uk/
To whet our reader's appetite for things Bellocian (which may be found on the above site) we have posted two articles by Professor Robert Hickson who is a great Belloc fan.
These will be also be posted in our Contributor's Archive in due course:
'One hundred years ago, shortly before the manifold devastation of World War I, Hilaire Belloc wrote “The Missioner” about the gradual implantation of the Faith in Norway in the Viking days. He also composed at that time a complementary and more extended essay, Esto Perpetua (1906), about the historical implantation of Rome in North Africa after the Punic Wars, and the later rootedness of the Christian Faith in those lands before it was lost to the sudden, combative, and permeating Mohammedans.
In this centenary commemoration of Belloc's Nordic essay and Esto Perpetua – his longer study and historically informed travel-book containing cultural and religious reflections on the former Roman Province of North Africa in the Maghreb – we shall also come to see the vivid insights of a young man in his mid-thirties.'
Hilaire Belloc's view of a Pilgrimage
'When Hilaire Belloc was a rumbustious young man in his mid-thirties, and only a few years after he had completed his journey afoot to Rome, he wrote an essay entitled “The Idea of a Pilgrimage,” which first appeared in his memorable 1906 collection of essays Hills and the Sea.2 In this essay are some insights—even about “the heart of a child”—which will be, I believe, still a fortifying inspiration for us today, and a deep moral nourishment.'
We have a Pope - Pope Francis I
The election of any pope often results in speculation regarding his policies and the possible direction of his pontificate. We have seen much of such speculation in the past few days - indeed, we have engaged in some private speculation ourselves. The picture in these very early days is full of contradictions and even some ungracious opinions. We do not therefore wish to engage publicly in such speculation and await the more concrete decisions of the new Pontiff before making any comment - other than to reiterate our hope that he be a holy, strong and orthodox Pontiff who will restore order in the Church, and seek to re-establish all things in Christ. May God bless him and guide him.
We are slightly bemused by many blogs and commentaries coming from Rome during the conclave. Black smoke is not the only hot air arising in Rome. To what end? Will conclave blogs or commentaries or bookies odds affect the outcome?
There is only one effective thing we can do: to pray for a holy, strong and orthodox pontiff - for a Pope that we do not deserve - a Pope who will seek to re-establish all things in Christ - Instaurare omnia in Christo.
From Hockey Stick to Snooker Cue
In this article Christopher Booker indicates that data does not support the rises in global warming suggested by the anthropomorphic climate change lobby.
Here can be found an article by the Scottish Catholic journalist, Gerald Warner, regarding the late Hugo Chavez. This might help counteract the fawning adulation of Chavez which has appeared on most UK broadcasting sites.
St Frances of Rome, March 09, 2013
The Church will soon celebrate the feast of St Joseph, Patron Saint of the Church. To help prepare for this we attach below a small article by Paul Kokoski, a Canadian, who reminds us that St Joseph is also the Patron Saint of that country. We would also like to bring our readers' attention to the preparatory document prepared by the SSPX for a Novena to St Joseph. This contains many reflections on St Joseph by Popes and theologians.
Article by Joseph Kokoski:
St. Joseph, Patron Saint of Canada and the Universal Church
On March 19 we celebrate the solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On May 1 we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.Scripture tells us that St. Joseph was of royal lineage, a descendent of David, the greatest king of Israel. He was the foster father of Jesus. To him, "son of David", God entrusted the safekeeping of the Eternal Word, made man by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. St. Joseph is described in the Gospel as a "just man", that is to say a godly man, and for all believers he is a model of life in faith. Even in difficult and sometimes tragic moments, the humble carpenter of Nazareth never disputed God's plan. Rather he fulfilled it with docile responsibility. He listened attentively to the angel when he was asked to take the Virgin of Nazareth as his wife. When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned and fled with his family into Egypt. He then waited patiently until the angel told him it was safe to return.St. Joseph was a poor but humble man, rich in compassion. He was the protector of our Lady’s good name, the caring guardian of Jesus, an attentive and faithful husband who exercised his family authority in a constant attitude of service. It was Joseph’s trade that Jesus learned. It was his manner of speech that the boy Jesus would have imitated, it was he whom our Lady herself seemed to invest with full parental rights when she said "Thy father and I have sought the sorrowing".Speaking on fatherhood Jesus once told his disciples : "You have only one Father and that is your father in heaven" (Mt. 23:9). Though there is but one fatherhood, man, created in the image of God, has been granted a share in this one paternity of God (Eph 3:15). St. Joseph is a striking example of this since he is a father, without fatherhood according to the flesh. Though he was not the biological father of Jesus he lived his fatherhood fully and completely by putting himself at the service of Christ. As Jesus teaches us "the leader must become as one who serves" (Lk 22: 26). Joseph thus understood that Jesus was superior to him even as he submitted to him, and, knowing the superiority of his charge, he commanded him with respect and moderation. There is a lesson here for everyone: frequently a lesser man is placed over people who are greater, and it happens at times that an inferior is more worthy than the one who appears to be set above him. If a person of greater dignity understands this, then he will not be puffed up with pride because of his higher rank; he will know that his inferior may well be superior to him, even as Jesus was superior to Joseph. St. Joseph, whose only reward was to be with Christ, teaches us that it is possible to love without possessing. He teaches us that we can experience healing from our emotional wounds if we embrace God’s plan for us by devoting our lives fully to Christ whether that be through the priesthood, the consecrated life through the different forms of lay engagement. In St. Joseph, faith is not separated from action. Every day St Joseph had to provide for the family's needs with hard manual work. The human being, Pope John Paul II tells us " is the subject and the primary agent of work...Human activity... proceeds from the human person and is ordered to the person... it must serve the true good of humanity". Thus the Church rightly points to St. Joseph as the patron of workers. We celebrate this feast on May 1.Apart from these few details Sacred Scriptures tells us very little about St. Joseph. This silence, however, contains the special style of his mission: a life lived in the greyness of everyday life, but with steadfast faith in Providence.It is not know for certain when St. Joseph died but many historians believe it was probably before Jesus entered public ministry. In the Coptic document "The History of Joseph the Carpenter" a full account is given of St. Joseph’s last illness. It speaks of his fear of God’s judgments, of his self-reproach, and of the efforts made by Our Lord and his Mother to comfort him and ease his passage to the next world, and of the promises of protection in life and death made by Jesus to such as should do good in Joseph’s name. St. Joseph is thus the patron of the dying and of a happy death because he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.
St. Joseph is also patron of the universal church as well as the patron saint of Canada. May St. Joseph, a great and humble saint, watch over the church in these days of severe trials and be an inspiration especially to Christian workers and all whom should call on him in every circumstance.
St John of God, March 08, 2013
As moves are afoot to legalise abortion in the Republic of Ireland, we post two articles, from the Approaches archive, which provide some background to the forces, recent and not so recent and often foreign, which have sought and seek to secularise Ireland and to pave the way for a modern secular State inimical to the true character of Ireland:
- ‘A Nation Betrayed’ by Hamish Fraser. This article was written at the time of the so-called ‘Troubles’ in 1971 and describes attempts then to secularise the Irish State on the back of attempts to bring “peace” to Northern Ireland.
- ‘The Historic Origin of the Irish State’ by John Campbell. This was an address given at an Approaches conference in Ireland in 1981. It questions why the Catholic champions of Irish independence are ignored while secular, Irish revolutionaries are lauded.
First Friday - Ist March 2013
Now that Pope Benedict XVI has resigned and we await the election of a new Pope, we find ourselves on much the same wavelength as Fr Alain Lorans who expressed these sentiments in Dici:
Do we pray, or do we play?
On the eve of a conclave, journalists are drawing up lists of papabili and speculating on the chances that one or another will be elected pope. Some bets are even made publicly, and people feverishly follow the “odds” on the cardinals!
The liturgy demands that we pray, not play the odds! The Mass pro eligendo summo pontifice—for the election of the Supreme Pontiff—offers prayers that are much more worthwhile than human reasoning or derisive speculations.
Collect: Humbly we beseech and implore You, Lord: may Your infinite goodness give to the Holy Roman Church a pontiff who will always be pleasing to You by his supernatural zeal on our behalf and will merit the veneration of Your people by his wise government to the glory of Your Name.
Secret: In Your abundant goodness, Lord, be gracious to us: that through these holy gifts that we respectfully offer to You, we may have the joy of seeing a pontiff pleasing to Your Majesty preside over the government of our Holy Mother the Church.
Postcommunion: Having been renewed by Your precious Body and Blood, may we rejoice, O Lord, through the admirable grace of Your Majesty, to have a pontiff who will instruct Your people in virtue and diffuse in the souls of the faithful the sweet fragrance of spiritual graces.
Fr. Alain Lorans
21st February 2013
We ask for your prayers for the repose of the souls of the following Apropos readers whose deaths occurred recently or were notified to us following the issue of the last edition: Hugh McGoogan and
J. Cunnington. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful rest in peace.
19th February 2013
Herewith an article by John Vennari of Catholic Family News regardind the Sandro Magister article mentioned by us on 11th February: 'The "Original Sin" of Vatican II'.
Commemoration of St Simeon - 18th Feb. 2013
Dr John Rao has asked us to advertise the First International Congress of Catholic Christendom - The Roman Forum Summer Symposium 2013 - Theme: Divine Comedy or Theatre of the Absurd.
The Seven Holy Founders of The Servite Orders - 12th Feb. 2013
We have uploaded the article 'Yoga and Zen - Philosophies of Despair' which appeared in Apropos No 15, Advent 1993. It can be found under the Apropos archive - Apropos 15.
Feast of the Apparition of Our Blessed Lady at Lourdes - 11th February 2013
We have just learned of the Pope's decision to resign and pray for him. The first thing that comes to mind is who might be his successor. We pray that, whoever he might be, he manages to restore order and orthodoxy to the Church. Many had great hopes that Benedict XVI might have managed to do so, but their hopes were dashed. We must recognise that is was Benedict who exposed the fallacy that the traditional Mass had been banned, although for all intents and purposes it remains "banned" in many of our parishes because priests cannot celebrate it or refuse to do so.
We provide a link here to Sandro Magister's article on Professor Enrico Maria Radaelli's new book, in Italian, which deals with associated concerns. We pray that the new Pontiff will address these concerns rapidly and with the courage required to expel Modernism from the Church. Sandro Magister's article may be found here:
We also attach a link to the SSPX statement regarding the Pope's resignation:
We agree with the sentiments of this statement
John Vennari, Catholic Family News, has posted his initial observations at the following: http://www.cfnews.org/page10/page87/ex-pope-in-media-age.html
As Lent beckons we recommend this little article by Paul Kokoski on Fasting: Fasting
Feast of St Andrew Corsini - 4th Feb. 2013
The next issue of Apropos - No 30-31 is a double issue. The reason for this will be clear from the editorial. It will also be the last issue as we have also ceased publication with this issue. The reasons for that too will be explained in the editorial.
We may continue to publish material on our website from time time from contributors and the location of such will be indicated in this blog.
Apropos 30-31 will be posted within the next 3-4 days.