St John Mary Vianney

Russia and Fatima – No other Possibility

In a speech which we made several years ago we observed:

‘Yet the emphasis today is not so much on the fact that a large tranche of the prophecy [regarding Russia] has been realised. It is inclined to centre on the  apparent fall of communism and this in turn is held as proof of the conversion of Russia.   This is to ignore the evidence that, whatever state Russia may be in now, she has already spread her errors throughout the world.  What we have witnessed over the past eighty odd years since the Russian Revolution has been the spread of Russia’s errors throughout the world like a raging contagion.  What are Russia’s errors?  These are merely a variation on the theme of those revolutionary doctrines which manifested themselves during the French Revolution.  The predominant error which Russia unleashed on the world was not so much atheistic communism as organised naturalism, for the former is very much the product of the latter.  As Prof. Billington remarks:  ‘If the French Revolution was the incarnation, the Russian Revolution was the second coming.’  But whatever its place in the pecking order of revolution, the essence of both these manifestations of revolution is a rejection of God and the supernatural in the affairs of men. 

The Great Cardinal Pie of Poitiers defined naturalism thus: “It is more than a heresy, it is pure undiluted anti-christianism. Heresy denies one or more dogmas. Naturalism denies that there are any dogmas or that there can be any. Heresy alters more or less what God has revealed; Naturalism denies the very existence of revelation. It follows that the inevitable law and the obstinate passion of Naturalism is to dethrone Our Lord Jesus Christ and to drive Him from the world…. Naturalism strives with all its might to exclude Our Lady, Jesus Christ, Our One Master and Saviour, from the minds of Men as well as from the daily lives and habits of peoples, in order to set up the reign of reason or of nature. Now, wherever the breath of Naturalism has passed, the very source of Christian life is dried up. Naturalism means complete sterility in regard to salvation and eternal life.”’  (The Kingship of Christ according to Cardinal Pie of Poitiers, pp.57-58. Cited in The Kingship of Christ and Organised Naturalism by Fr. Denis Fahey, C.S.Sp.)’

We would not pretend that Russia has been converted, but what we can say is that those errors of Russia, which derive essentially from the French Revolution, have converted the West.  Russia’s errors are now our errors. Our governments are espoused to Naturalism, to Frankfurt School Marxism and thus to  undiluted anti-christianism. Even if they pay lip service to God on occasions, He is ignored in public policy – there is no greater evidence of this than in the policies of abortion and same-sex ‘marriage’.  The   Western establishment,  like Alistair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former spin-doctor, ‘does not do God’.Indeed one wonders to what extent the organised provocation and demonization of Russia, which fills our media, is driven more by Russian policies towards  Christianity and homosexuality than by concern for the peoples of Ukraine.  It is openly acknowledged by some Russia watchers that President Putin sees himself as one who intends to present Russia as an example of moral rectitude and a defender of persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

If this process of conversion is genuine, one can well understand why the forces of Hell may be aligning themselves against Russia.There is therefore an even more immediate need for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus as requested by Our Lady at Fatima so as to effect the true conversion of Russia.  In three years’ time we will reach the anniversary not only of the Russian Revolution (1917), of  the establishment of Freemasonry (1717)  and of Luther’s revolt (1517) but also of Our Lady’s appearance at Fatima (1917). Recent developments in Russia seem to be demanding of their very nature a supernatural response. Will our Pope and Bishops confronted with the consequences of an immense modernist apostasy continue to ignore Our Lady’s request no matter what?

In 1957 Lucia told Fr. Fuentes:  “She (the Blessed Virgin Mary) told me that the devil is in the mood for engaging in a decisive battle against the Virgin. And a decisive battle is the final battle where one side will be victorious and the other side will suffer defeat. Also from now on we must choose sides. Either we are for God or we are for the devil. There is no other possibility.”

Dostoievsky and Tolstoy

‘Inasmuch as we may now (in this August of 2014) be on the verge of another portion of ongoing revolutionary war—now even against Russia herself—let us consider, also, the more unexpected channels of counterrevolution, to include the consoling balm of Dostoievsky’s channels of Grace and depictions of actual or near Holiness.’

Thus, Professor Robert Hickson in his examination of  the literary legacy of Dostoievsky as opposed to that of his fellow-Russian, Tolstoy; a legacy which reflects upon not only their different literary skills but also their vastly different personalities and life experiences.  He does so with reference, in particular, to Dostoievsky’s character, Prince Myshkin, The Idiot, ‘the ideal and character’ of which ‘may even be an example and consoling balm for us, as well as a further aid to our own moral resistance to cultural disorder (and vice) as part of a larger counterrevolution: a counterrevolution that is also a spiritual affirmation.’

Poprah

In our last blog we suggested that some of the alleged papal interviews made it difficult to take seriously what the Pope says.  A priest correspondent remarked concerning Pope Francis’s,  Readers’ Digest-like list of recommendations for good living:

‘I simply cannot imagine any previous Vicar of Christ beginning a list of ten recommendations for good living with a blue-ribbon liberal cliché like . . . “Live and let live”. And then including another tip saying we should not talk to non-Catholics with a view to persuading them to become Catholic. Rather than “proselytizing” them by such ill-advised means, we should just “attract” them – presumably by our personal example of niceness. (I wonder how many of the Pentecostal brethren whose gathering in Caserta, Italy, Francis honoured with his presence the other day will be “attracted” enough by this gesture to become Catholics. I won’t hold my breath waiting while they decide between that option and his ‘top-of-the-pops’ admonition to just live and let live”  “Poprah”, I’m afraid, sums up well this list of bland, crowd-pleasing papal bromides. (Is this being the “Salt of the earth”? or the “Sweet-‘n-Low of the earth”?)’

It truly pains us to publish such a comment. Not because it is disrespectful, but because it is true.

We and many other Catholics agonisingly await other such interviews, recommendations, hints and denials and at the same time continue to pray for the Pope. We respectfully suggest that we all use that prayer, for the election of a Pope, for the present Pontiff that he may, by the grace of God, strengthen the faith of his flock.

O Lord, with suppliant humility, we entreat Thee, that in Thy boundless mercy, Thou wouldst grant the most holy Roman Church a pontiff, who by his zeal for us, may be pleasing to Thee, and by his good government may ever be honoured by Thy people for the glory of Thy name. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Most Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary,

Pray for us who have recourse to Thee!

Saint Pius V

Pray for us.

Saint Pius X

Pray for us.

Hypocrisy and confusion – especially about the death penalty

The death penalty and indeed death have been much in the news recently. Voices of complaint and horror have been expressed at yet another botched attempt to execute a condemned prisoner in the United States where the death penalty still prevails in some States. In an interview concerning same on BBC Newsnight it was suggested that these botched attempts had arisen because the chemicals required to effect a humane despatch of the criminals were the subject of an embargo by both the EU and American drug companies which either disapprove of the death penalty or do not wish to be associated with its execution. States still applying the death penalty by lethal injection were thus left to concoct lethal cocktails from less than effective ingredients.

More than one person has observed  that there appears to be no shortage of drugs/chemicals available to the death merchants in Belgium, the Netherlands, Oregon or at Dignitas in Switzerland,  and one must presume therefore that the EU,  other national authorities and drug companies have thus far not disapproved of  the death penalty when it is self-imposed. Indeed in proposals for assisted suicide in Scotland it is expected that pharmacists will provide the necessary cocktail of drugs to ‘approved’ suicide candidates.

While  the EU, national governments  and drug companies  and some abolitionists might voice their opposition to the death penalty being imposed on all manner of murderers and rapists, they have no compunction about enabling the execution of millions of innocents through abortion (or, as is will be increasingly the case, in certain nations, by euthanasia or assisted suicide).

In his encyclical Evangelium vitae, written in 1995Pope John Paul II made some observations regarding the use of the death penalty, a matter which had also been discussed in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church.  That Pontiff suggested that, for all intents and purposes, cases in which the death penalty might be used are practically non-existent because of improvements in the penal system. But he did base that view on certain presumptions.  Among these was the presumption that organised penal systems are capable of safely containing criminals, and that the death penalty should not be resorted to ‘except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society’.  That, of course would not be a remedy if the death penalty was universally abolished.

We know that a death penalty of sorts is exacted in all nations when the police or armed forces kill a criminal or terrorist who presents an immediate and real danger to society and its members.  We also know that a person may lawfully kill another in a genuine act of self-defence  undertaken to save one’s own life. No reasonable person would object to such killing provided it was necessary in the circumstances.

Execution of a criminal  by the State or its agencies in such circumstances is almost universally permitted.  Such a criminal does not have to have killed someone to be treated thus, he merely needs to be seen as posing a reasonable threat or placing others in danger of severe injury or death and be incapable of being restrained other than by force.

If such killing is lawful when the criminal may not have murdered or when his intentions can only be guessed at, why is it not permissible to execute a murderer in cases where his guilt is proven and he  is wholly unrepentant  or a murderous recidivist?  Are our penal systems infallibly capable of preventing murderous re-offending within and outwith the penal system?

While we personally have no firm view on the death penalty, we are not wholly opposed to its use where it is required either to protect the safety of society, its members and the common good.  In Apropos No. 12/ 13, 1992  (three years before the appearance of the above encyclical) we reproduced an article ‘Arguments about the Death Penalty’ by Rémi Fontaine  which had appeared in Action Familiale et Scolaire  and which discusses the death penalty in the context of eternity, among other things.

More Hypocrisy

One cannot but agree with the British Government’s recently voiced opposition to the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). Nevertheless is there not here a certain degree of hypocrisy too.  Does not that same government  sponsor and advocate chemical-induced disease of the reproductive system of countless women by means of contraceptive and abortifacient ‘medications’ and  also the surgical mutilation of the healthy bodies of men and woman for contraceptive purposes.  All these practices are examples of anti-medicine – acts designed to prevent the normal and natural functioning of the organs concerned, rather than effect the cure of a malfunction or defect. The only difference between FGM and these other practices is that the former is sought without the permission of the patient whereas the latter, at least in the UK, is sought by the patient – which has not always been the case elsewhere – where compulsory sterilisation has been enforced by the State against the patients’ wishes.

Kerr’s Musings

We have also posted below some musings by Charles Kerr  which also addresses  the death penalty  and  how it may be achieved more effectively, at least theoretically, where such is a form of punishment for heinous crimes. Pope Pius XII reminds us that in considering the serious nature of crime one must also have ‘regard to the person who commits the crime: for example, in the case where those who should maintain law, themselves break it.’  Charles Kerr, in his musing on that subject, touches upon this when he refers to the crimes committed within prisons by prisoners upon prisoners – one wonders just how effectively these crimes are prevented by those who should maintain the law?

‘Why is society so ready to support abortion but condemn the death penalty?’

‘Because, by and large, belief in the immortal soul has disappeared (though this is intellectual fashion rather than the result of any objective discoveries on the subject). The  death penalty is really only tolerable if it is a step towards the murderer’s earthly  repentance and eternal salvation.  If a man has a life but not a soul, then other men, who also believe they have no souls, will naturally regard his execution as intolerable.  Similarly, they will regard an unborn baby, which has no social relations, speech or other visible characteristics of humanity as being of no great worth, since they recognise humanity mainly in outward, rather than inward things. If you regard each baby as being made in the image of God, named and known by Him since the beginning of the world, you take a different view.’

This observation by Hitchens, a non-Catholic, helps explain why he is disliked so much by the liberal mafia, but his observation regarding eternal salvation has an resemblance to some of  the views cited in Rémi Fontaine’s article.

Pius XII and Punishment

On the general subject of crime and punishment please find here Pius XII’s address to the Catholic Jurists of Italy on 5th Dec. 1954 which was published in English in Catholic Documents Vol XVII by the Pontifical Court Club. 

American Pluralism  – the American Mirage

During the Gulf War when we dared to criticise  the American and British invasion of Iraq, one of our subscribers cancelled his subscription to Apropos  and at the same time notified the White House of our treasonous behaviour, as he saw it. This was not the first example we had met of a Catholic presuming that his nation’s activities or its constitution was almost religious in character and beyond criticism.  It is not uncommon to find an American Catholic writer making reference to the American Constitution as if it, rather than the Decalogue, had been handed down to Moses. One finds a similar adulation of the Declaration on Human Rights by some Catholics in Europe. While we recognise the undoubted patriotism of many Americans, we do not consider that patriotism requires one to treat the founding fathers of the nation nor its constitution as beyond criticism or reproach. Nor does it prevent us from wishing that our founding fathers had been wholly faithful to Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles and that our constitution, written or unwritten, was based on the principles of the natural and moral law and afforded full recognition to the  rights of Christ the King and His Church.

In the attached article John Rao addresses American pluralism and examines how it has been allowed to emasculate the Catholic Church in America and (because of America’s influence) the Church elsewhere too. (

The Roman Forum

We have also attached an appeal  letter from Professor Rao regarding the Roman Forum. The letter outlines the sterling work done by the Roman Forum, its forthcoming programme and its urgent need for funds. 

Michael Davies Conference – London 4th October

Michael Davies (1936-2004) was arguably the greatest defender, in the English language, of the Traditional Mass at a time when it was being openly attacked and ridiculed by many in the Church, including by those in senior positions who were in a position to know better.

To mark the 10th anniversary of his death, a conference is being organised in London on Saturday 4th October at St Mary Moorfields Church in the City of London. Tickets are £15 each and the speakers include Michael’s son, Adrian, flying in from the USA, Michael Matt and Christopher Ferrara, and the LMS’s own Jamie Bogle.

There will be a Solemn Requiem in the afternoon for the repose of Michael’s soul.

Loss of Faith

In a recent discussion with someone who has left the Faith, our interlocutor advised us that when at school he considered many of his Catholic schoolmates as tribal Catholics – tribal in the sense of belonging to the Irish diaspora in Scotland and thus practising the Faith for tribal reasons rather than on grounds of belief. Somewhat ironically he acknowledged that at that time he was probably the only true Catholic in his class – pray for him.

Those who have roots in the West of Scotland, and whose faith is stronger than the tribal kind, will recognise this phenomenon. Whereas, when anti-Catholicism was often overt, faith was once expressed in terms of being a Catholic and loyalty to Rome, it is now often expressed in terms of loyalty to a football team, socialism and  other ‘tribal’ influences.

This observation reminded us of an article written by H. Le Caron about a similar problem  drawn to his attention by a Polish theologian which had  led him to speculate about the future in Poland should Communism fall.  H. Le Caron reflected:

I think that we ought to be chary of a certain kind of ‘tribal’ Catholicism which is not strong enough to persevere when external circumstances change merely in the direction of a liberalism lacking any really Christian political framework.

I have often found that good boys and girls from Catholic provinces like Brittany, ceased very quickly to practise their religion and lost the Faith when they were separated from their usual surroundings, and were no longer kept in control by the parish priest. Their faith could not withstand the disorientation and the pagan atmosphere.’

Certainly, Catholics in Scotland in the 70s & 80s were, for the most part, not separated from their usual  surroundings in the sense of parish or priest, but following Vatican II they were effectively separated from the Faith as it had been practised until then, and were practically abandoned in the increasingly secular society then developing rapidly.

Paradoxically, a few days after our discussion, we noted an article in The Catholic Herald of July 18th, 2014,  concerning a poll of Polish Catholics which indicated that the number of people attending Mass in Poland had fallen by 2 million in the last ten years. Fr Wojciech Sadlon director of the Catholic Church Institute of Statistics remarked that: ‘People who often came to Church were motivated by an attachment to tradition and a culture given to them by their family, but this is no longer enough to sustain them and so they gradually cease to attend.’ Polish Mass attendance, however, at around 39%, is far higher than it is the  former “free” West.

We have posted H. Le Caron’s article ‘Individual Faith and Collective Faith’ which was first published in English in Apropos No.3. Corpus Christi,  1988. In it he reminds us that no matter what  collective group we belong to,  ‘we must not lose sight of the fact that our salvation is an individual matter; that Church and State create conditions or a climate which favour it, but do not determine it.  Each of us retains his free­will, remaining free to accept or reject God’s grace.’ 

Immigration and Islam

We refer our readers to this article which appeared in LifeSite News regarding the encroachment of Islam in Europe. . The author’s puzzlement regarding Ruth Kelly’s  involvement in the Labour Party because of her membership of Opus Dei  is no surprise to those who have studied the political philosophy of the founder of Opus Dei: ‘There are no dogmas in temporal affairs…Trying to impose dogmas in temporal affairs leads inevitably to the forcing of other people’s consciences, to a lack of respect for one’s neighbour.’ This quotation came from an article published by Msgr. Escriva in the Madrid daily, ABC on 2nd November 1969. It was quoted by Bishop Alvaro del Portillo in the preface to Es Cristo que pasa.  This explains why Mrs Kelly could find it acceptable to  being in the Labour cabinet. It does beg the question though about the status of the authentic social doctrine of the Church.

The results of Western folly

Recent events in both Ukraine and in the Middle East have unfolded with much wringing of hands and expressions of horror at what has passed   in these areas.  The USA, Britain and certain members of the EU cannot present themselves as disinterested onlookers.  The Arab Spring which they supported has developed into an Arab winter which becomes increasingly bitter in outlook as time goes on. What seems to have been a deliberate provocation of Russia in Ukraine is taking us to the brink of another great war. Sir Charles Powell, former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, presciently remarked during the Russian Arms for Iraq affair: “ There is a careful line to tread between putting pressure on Russia to secure acceptable international behaviour, and precipitating its collapse into economic and political chaos. The latter could lead to extreme nationalism or a return of the Communists. The risk of renewed cold war, even without communism cannot be discounted.”

The West, it seems, has chosen to risk a renewed cold war or worse.  By meddling in Russia’s direct backyard it has provoked the response it has perhaps engineered.

In Gaza, Israel kills many innocent civilians and the blame is put upon Hamas. But Hamas too is a creation of Western indifference to the plight of the Palestinians. One wonders if Hamas would have been invented if it had not already existed – as a means of justifying continued Israeli occupation.  The West does nothing about the continued abuse of the occupied territories nor about the illegal building of settlements. It does nothing because of the powerful influence which Israel has upon the United States.

As for the Christians in the Middle East. They appear expendable. Their persecution, their genocide is a direct result of the ill-thought-out interference of the West in the Middle East.

As we post this blog we received the following in an e-mail from Aid to the Church in Need which is almost biblical in its poignancy, redolent of Matthew 2:18  ‘A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. ‘

This morning ACN received an urgent message from Patriarch Louis Sako in Baghdad. Overnight the largest Christian town and surrounding villages on the Niniveh Plains fell to ISIS (now Islamic State) and, as we speak, up to one hundred thousand Christians are evacuating on foot, leaving everything behind them. The Patriarch calls it ‘an exodus, a real via crucis’.

He says, “The ISIS militants attacked with mortars most of the villages of the plain of Niniveh, during the night of 6th-7th August and now they are controlling the area. The Christians, about one hundred thousand, horrified and panicked, fled their villages and houses [with] nothing but… the clothes on their backs. An exodus, a real via crucis, Christians are walking on foot in Iraq’s searing summer heat towards the Kurdish cities of Erbil, Duhok and Soulaymiyia, the sick, the elderly, infants and pregnant women among them. They are facing a human catastrophe and risk a real genocide. They need water, food, shelter…”

“Regarding the churches and church properties in the villages now being occupied by the ISIS militants, we have reports of destruction and desecration. The old manuscripts and documents are being burnt.”

In desperation he concludes, “We appeal with sadness and pain to the conscience of all and all people of good will and the United Nations and the European Union, to save these innocent persons from death. We hope it is not too late!”’

www.acnuk.org

Let us pray that this appeal does not fall upon deaf ears.

Harts Catholic Doctrine

Please find attached Chapter XIII – The Second Article of the Creed (Continued) – ‘And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.’

St John Mary Vianney

We reproduce here an article which appeared in Apropos No. 28, Christmas 2010 to commemorate this great Saint.

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