Our friends in the UK are more advanced in the kulturkampf that we are in the USA… but we are catching up fast. Furthermore, while I think public discourse may be a bit more rough-n-tumble in England, Americans are more aggressive activists.
At least a dozen people have sent me a video of a Mass in a parish church in Teignmouth, Devon, in the Diocese of Plymouth, England. A Homosexual Activist with a video camera tries to intimidate a priest during Sunday Mass into NOT reading a letter from the Bishops of England and Wales which priests were instructed… well.. probably invited… to read at Masses on Sunday. He makes a little speech and leaves.
We will be seeing a lot of this sort of thing in the future.
As you watch the video, pay attention to a few things.
1) Some of you will want to jump all over the priest. I urge you to consider a) that it is easy to lob a bomb from afar especially if you are a lay person in the safety or your armchair or pew, and b) that priests in the UK have been given such a meager example by bishops for decades that they have to re-learn – or learn for the first time – to stand up on their own, and c) that Holy Mass is not the time for a priest to have a fight with an Activist with an axe to grind.
2) When the priest didn’t feed the “troll” (a “troll” on the internet invades a combox to make trouble… perhaps for the context of churches we should say “hobgoblin” – I don’t doubt you will have other ideas!) the “troll” left. Mind you, taken off guard like that, I might have put up a fight, which then would have been put on YouTube to the glee of self-righteous promoters of sexual perversion everywhere.
3) When the Activist “troll” turns the camera toward the congregation, he fuzzies up the image, probably because by filming people who aren’t public figures he might be on thin legal ice. Frankly, in the USA it is illegal in most places to cause a disturbance during a religious service. I suspect it is in England, too. I would appreciate some instruction about that point. Would there be some old law in England about disturbing religious services or is there some paragraph of the Public Order Act? Par. 5? This seems like “religious harassment” to me. But I am not a barrister. If at the onset the priest had said to the Activist “As the one responsible for the property I say that you do not have permission to film anything here”, would that have changed the whole scenario?
4) The Activist Troll who made the public show of religious harassment during a church service said openly that he was going to post it on YouTube. He wrote on the YouTube entry that he had never demonstrated or protested before blah blah blah. I am skeptical about his protest virginity. Some time ago there was a video posted on Youtube of a horrid pro-homosexual Mass in a church in Soho, London. I suspect this may be partial blow-back.
Note the use of the word “uncomfortable”, which in England is a bit more charged with censorious power than in the USA.
Two final things.
Fathers and Bishops, if I were you I would start thinking about this sort of “smash and grab” scenario from promoters of unnatural acts. They will be aggressive in the future as we have never seen before. In finem citius. I would start thinking about what you are going to do when this happens to you. Bishops, you might want to consult a bit to find out what laws might be involved in trollish “smash and grab” hit like this and perhaps have a worship for priests or a memorandum with suggestions.
I want to reiterate that I think the priest probably handled this as well as he could, given the circumstances. When he didn’t feed the troll, the troll left. Also, I suspect that the people in the pews were more interested in the content of the letter (which, in my opinion, was pretty thin soup) than they would have been had the priest just read it and set it aside. Calling negative attention to it produced in that congregation the opposite result.
No sooner did I post this, but I received an email response to some questions I put to a well-known barrister (lawyer) in England, Neil Addison of the Thomas More Legal Centre. I am grateful for his time, effort, and expertise. Thus, he instructs me (and a couple other priests to whom he also sent this). I add some emphases and slight editing:
Dear Father Z
In response to your question in England and Wales (Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate legal systems) there are a number of legal remedies where there is any attempt to disrupt a Church Service see my website HERE and HERE for more details.
There is the rather old fashioned in wording, but still legally valid
s2 Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860 which makes it a criminal offence, punishable with imprisonment, for any person to be guilty of
“riotous, violent, or indecent behaviour in England in any cathedral church, parish or district church, or chapel of the Church of England, or in any chapel of any religious denomination, or in England in any place of religious worship duly certified under the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855, 18 & 19 Vict c 81, whether during the celebration of Divine service, or at any other time, or in any churchyard, or burial-ground, or who shall molest, let, disturb, vex, or trouble, or by any other unlawful means disquiet or misuse any preacher duly authorised to preach therein, or any clergyman in Holy Orders ministering or celebrating any sacrament or any Divine service, rite, or office in any cathedral church or chapel, churchyard, or burial ground ”
(NB Do note that though the Church of England is specifically mentioned the section applies to disrupting the services of “any” religious denomination.)
There are s4A and s5 of the Public Order Act 1986 which make it a criminal offence when any person
“(a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or
(b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,
within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.”
which would apply to any such behaviour taking place in a Church
Sections 5 and 4A are Aggravated (ie carry a heavier penalty if)
“(a) at the time of committing the offence, or immediately before or after doing so, the offender demonstrates towards the victim of the offence hostility based on the victim’s membership (or presumed membership) of a racial or religious group; or
(b) the offence is motivated (wholly or partly) by hostility towards members of a racial or religious group based on their membership of that group.
“Religious Group” is defined as
“a group of persons defined by reference to religious belief or lack of religious belief.”
Also the crime of “Aggravated Trespass” under s68 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
“(1) A person commits the offence of aggravated trespass if he trespasses on land and, in relation to any lawful activity which persons are engaging in or are about to engage in on that or adjoining land, does there anything which is intended by him to have the effect—
(a) of intimidating those persons or any of them so as to deter them or any of them from engaging in that activity,
(b) of obstructing that activity, or
(c) of disrupting that activity.”
It is worth noting that any person can be a Trespasser in a Church. Even though Church buildings are normally open to the public they are in law private property and people enter them with an “implied licence” which means that they have a right to enter in order to use the Church for the normal purposes of a Church namely to pray, to attend religious services etc, they do not have a licence to enter for any other purpose. Can I make a comparison: anyone can enter a supermarket for the purposes of shopping but if they enter for any other purpose they become a trespasser and can be told to leave and can be evicted if they refuse to leave. If they enter with the intention of “intimidating” mass goers, “obstructing” Mass or “disrupting” Mass then they commit the criminal offence of “Aggravated Trespass”.
Under English law “reasonable force” can be used to evict a trespasser and therefore in the situation shown in the YouTube Video the Priest could have instructed the person with the Camera either to turn the Camera off and sit down or to leave, if the person refused to leave then they could have been physically removed. That said as a practical point I can see that no Priest would want to see a potentially violent fight in the middle of Mass. I am just sorry that the Priest in question allowed himself to be disrupted and did not simply carry on with reading the Bishops letter whilst he asked someone to call the Police. He had the perfect right to read the letter which was in effect the Homily of the day and the giving of a Homily is part of the rite of Mass and as such it is unlawful for any person to disrupt it as this person was allowed to do.
I hope this information is of assistance please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions. I am sending a copy to Fathers […] and I give each of you Reverend Fathers full permission to use or quote any of this email as you see fit.
Neil Addison (Barrister)
I also wonder what would have happened if some group identities and locales were shifted around: substitute in Synagogue, Mosque, etc.
The stony silence on the part of the parishioners, when they were encouraged to exclaim solidarity with him, was (sorry to say) really, really funny. It reminded me of something they would’ve done on Trigger Happy TV.
Precisely correct – preparation is the key.
I have been surprised many times during a jury trial — one of the worst places in the world to be ambushed. The only countermeasure you can take is to know your law, know your enemy, and know what you’re going to say in the event that things blow up unexpectedly. Fortunately that works quite well.
If bishops give seminars or workshops for their priests on “defusing trouble” it will be very helpful for them. There are ways to do this in a friendly manner without feeding the trolls, as my husband’s usher team had to do from time to time. Come to think of it, letting your friendly team of (large former military, police, martial arts, and rugby enthusiast) ushers take the heat instead of the rector is an awfully good idea.
The Piskies went through all this provocation and confrontation a long time ago, and in our (formerly) high and orthodox parish, we were targets for people like this. Hubby and his team had a nose for trouble, and they usually had these guys sussed and surrounded before they could get halfway up the side aisle. A friendly invitation to continue the discussion in the narthex was never refused, and despite great enthusiasm from the team no deployment of any come-along, joint-lock, or tackling techniques was ever required. I don’t believe they ever had to lay a hand on anyone. Given the plethora of good Irish Catholic policemen and firemen around, getting together a serious crisis-response team shouldn’t be a problem!
Sadly, our parish sank without a trace into the great morass of moral relativism when the old rector retired. The national church by that time had made sure that nobody but screaming radicals with an agenda would ever be graduated from divinity school or given a license to preach. Eventually there were no good men left.
We should all pray for this parish and the man involved, as well for our societies as they head further into evil and sin. Also, though, the parish should press charges against this man. The Church needs to vigorously defend her rights in the public square and confront this thuggish activity.
Pray for this dear priest. This isn’t over for him on many levels. It is natural after being put on the spot in a high-pressure situation to second-guess what you might have done differently. There is also ” L’esprit d’escalier” — the fact that one always seems to come up with a really witty zinger after the argument is over.
Worse yet, his face is out there now, he has been singled out, and he will be sought out for additional pressure, scrutiny, and persecution. The confrontation was disturbing enough to watch — imagine being at the center of it. How is he going to feel the next time he approaches the pulpit?
Too often, we pick apart our priests as if they were politicians or performers. They are neither. “Father” is not only a term of deference to authority, but of endearment, and we in the parishes owe them the patience, support, and gratitude we would extend to our own family. They have given up everything in service to the Church. It’s the least we can do.
I hope this parish will stand by its priest and send him the unanimous message “We’ve got your back.” Or the “English”-English equivalent.
I’m afraid that there will inevitably be people who don’t give a …. about criminal offenses, and proceed anyway. Now if they’re truly hell-bent (pun intended) on disrupting Holy Mass, that cannot be avoided. But – although I’m not a lawyer – I believe a lot of the subsequent damage can be prevented by making sure it is well understood that filming in Church is not allowed. (in just about any jursidiction, the owners of the place – e.g. the parish council – can simply put up a sign to that effect and it would have legal force).
The idea behind this is that when the cops come, you can also use the legal system to make sure the footage of the kerfuffle doesn’t end up on youtube.
I wonder how many of these guys would still enjoy disrupting Mass if their ‘bravery’ can’t be put on the net for all to see, after all, they crave an audience more than anything else. And actually uploading the stuff live, while the disturbance is going on may be quite a bit harder. And last but not least, you never know if that camera is going to drop….
Father Z, I don’t know if you allow the posting of links or not. If not I apologize and please go ahead and delete my comment. This is worth a viewing, however, it made me want to stand up and cheer:
It is in the context of a political debate (Sen B Obama is there) and it is about gay marraige.
I do expect to see this more and more all over the world. The homosexual agenda has all the momentum going its way as they continue to force their ways upon us. The protestants have mostly capitulated, as have nations and states. The only bastion against them is the Catholic Church, which angers them to no end. We all know how much the Church Militant has been infiltrated with them, which is why we have barely mustered up any fight against them and have seen the shame of so called “Dignity” masses and the like. Are we is the last days? Only God knows, but it does seems like we are in a crucial time where the forces of evil have risen up and are launching an all out assault on the Church. Satan does know his time will be over, and he is desperate to destroy as many souls as he can. May Our Lord bless His Holy Church, the Pope, all Cardinals, Bishops, priests, seminarians and men and women religious. May all faithful be vigilant in our prayers and be steadfast in the Faith. +JMJ+
This reminds me of a previous ‘activist’s’ sacrilege. If one is fined less than £20 for disrupting the Primate of the established church; I wouldn’t hold out much hope for justice in the courts for anyone else.. I think passive resistance is best.
(warning! from wikipedia)
On April 12, 1998, Tatchell led an OutRage! protest, which disrupted the Easter sermon by the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, with Tatchell mounting the pulpit to denounce what he claimed was Carey’s opposition to legal equality for lesbian and gay people. The protest had a lot of media coverage and led to Tatchell’s prosecution under the little-used Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860 (formerly part of the Brawling Act 1551), which prohibits any form of disruption or protest in a church. Tatchell failed in his attempt to summon Carey as a witness and was convicted. The judge fined him the small sum of £18.60, which commentators theorized was a wry allusion to the year of the statute used to convict him.
I remember viewing similar homosexual activists disrupting Mass here in the USA – particularly a Mass by the late Cardinal O’Connor in NYC. Since the church is considered private property, the police escorted the protesters out the door! I am not an attorney but I suppose at a minimum trespassing and disorderly conduct charges would be in order.
laud1645, I have to laugh that the British passed a “Brawling Act”. I may have to pass one of those in my own home for my boys. Seriously, it looks like Catholics, including priests, may have to start attending Catholic bootcamps where certain defense strategies are taught. What’s the response if some disrupts a homily, if someone tries to run up on the altar, tries to profane the sacrament, brings in a videocamera, comes up to communion as a bearded nun in drag etc? I like the idea of having a group of men in every parish who would be responsible for handling troublemakers, although maybe for legal reasons it would be better for every parish to ask any parishioners who are police to volunteer for one Mass a weekend. Poor Father. He was ambushed and not prepared for it. The troll is lucky he didn’t try it at my parish as he probably would have been pounced on by all of our ex-military and reserves. Heck, some of the women might have jumped him. Last month when Cardinal Burke visited our Oratory, we had some SNAP protestors outside and I thought the women of the parish were going to have a brawl with them. Now I’m back to the Brawling Act, lol.
Actually, I think the priest handled it very well considering the circumstances. He didn’t expect this, but he kept his cool and treated the protester politely. Non-one in the Church called him any homosexual slur. The protester won over no-one and left. Despite the headline, I’m sure the priest *did* read the bishop’s letter after he left, and the protester himself was a living example of what the Church is up against. Plus, the video he posted shows the Church as being the victim of bullying. Plus that entire mass was not derailed by a pointless lengthy debate or violent disruptive tantrum because of this thug.
I think he provided a good example that any priest should consider following. I don’t think I could act better on the spot.
I am not an attorney but I suppose at a minimum trespassing and disorderly conduct charges would be in order.
If people know their law, they’d be amazed at how protected their church is under the law. In Canada, it’s a criminal offence to arrest a priest on his way to perform one of his priestly functions. While in Canada one c0uld charge under the law about disrupting religious ceremonies, the stronger charge would be the one that falls under mischief. As the aforementioned is only a summary conviction offence, whereas mischief is hybrid (which also means I could arrest someone should this happen in a church I am in. My arrest powers as a peace officer are useless if I’m not functioning in my capacity, but I still have my arrest powers as a citizen and my training in executing arrests.)
maybe for legal reasons it would be better for every parish to ask any parishioners who are police to volunteer for one Mass a weekend
No police officer could do this under such circumstances for ethical/legal reasons, but there’s nothing stopping them from doing something if someone acts up.
Perhaps Father would be better prepared for such interactions if outfitted with “the helmet of salvation” (an amice)!
It would make sense to me in such a circumstance to calmly begin praying the St Michael Prayer aloud; at my parish I think others would join in.
Wonder if this person then went and disrupted an Islamic prayer service….actually, no, I don’t wonder that because the answer is almost definitely no. Which is odd, since given the demographics of the UK, it seems like sharia law is a far greater potential threat to European homosexuals than the Catholic Church.
Will pray for this priest. Hard to know what to do in a situation like this (even after the fact, never mind when one is in it). The priest probably shouldn’t have engaged the guy; he should have just been silent (or good idea, Elizabeth – imagine if people had started praying : )) and waited for the guy to tire of his game and leave. But either way, this experience of course will help this particular priest, other priests, and all faithful Catholics prepare for an occurrence like this should one happen again in the future…
So now that we have video evidence and a whole room of witnesses, can this man be charged for what he did? Or is the crime too small to pursue that route? Good questions for a barrister.
I think the priest in this situation handled it very well considering he was caught completely off guard.
In my home parish, we have a couple of very large Knights who are also frequently ushers. They have no problems diffusing situations as they arise. I’m not sure how the parishes around the school would handle such a situation, and in all honesty – I’m fine with not finding out, though we may eventually.
Well I am glad the guy just had a video camera. I am frequently afraid that someone might bring a weapon.
I’d prefer that some ushers would simply throw the disrupter out.
I”ll agree with those who think Fr handled this quite well. Thought taken by surprise, he politely inquired about what the fellow was doing. When the man made clear his intentions, Fr requested the ushers escort the man from the building. While the man attempted to make a scene, he actually revealed himself ..a very typical liberal pain in the butt..and severely lacking in credibility.
I’ve seen a few occasions in which Mass wound up being “interrupted” by a medical emergency of some sort. Depending on precisely what’s going on, the celebrant will either carry on or bring Mass to a halt for a few minutes. You might be surprised at how easy it can be to ignore an EMT squad during Mass.
I DO think Fr’s correct about preparation though.
Good chance we’ll see more of this sort of thing as we become more insistent about actually living our faith if the secular world–and the government as a result–become more insistent about secular values being prevalent in any semblance of “public” life.
To be fair to the congregation some of them do speak out at this man’s behaviour. The English being reputedly a more reticent and inhibited people than many others probably were not too comfortable making a ‘show’ in Church and were too shocked to act. Many years ago, while I was a student friar, a protestant crowd attempted to distribute material during Mass and address the congregation. They were swiftly ejected. I suspect that the same would happen today here in Ireland to anyone who attempted this.
You are right though. Some preparation, of ‘ushers’ say or other men, would be an aid in dealing with these situations which may very well occur more frequently. Personally I would demand he stop videoing me without my permission and call on the male members of the congregation to deal with him. It could also be a good opportunity to point out how important the issue of homosexuality and ‘gay marriage’ is and what implications it has for society.
The video has been re-uploaded by a Catholic YouTube user, with links to the bishops’ letter and the Coalition for Marriage’s YouTube channel.
Well what the heck was the content of the letter? Somebody please post the text.
Never mind, thanks Ezra.
I have one question and one question only.
Where were the ushers?
Andy Milam: My supposition would be that the ushers were no more prepared for this disruption than was the good priest. I don’t know what happens in their parish, but in mine, such irregularities have so far been non-existent.
The priest handled the situation brilliantly, IMO. The activist wanted to film the reading of the letter and had no idea what to do or say when the letter wasn’t read. On the other hand, this sort of thing is going to happen more and more frequently, and the next ‘activist’ might be more unhinged and violent. Parishes will have to learn how to protect themselves.
In the spring of 1996 I had occasion to visit New York City, and I chosen to attend Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Within the few months prior to my visit, the organization ACT UP had been ‘acting out’ in St. Patricks, causing a ruckus. St. Pat’s took a rather no-holds-barred approach. I was a bit surprised at Communion time to see off duty NYC police officers dressed in uniform standing right next to the various priests as Communion was distributed. They all had a slightly deadpan look which nevertheless conveyed ‘Go ahead, make my day.’ Don’t know if New York’s finest still do this or not, but it sure worked!
I had to google ‘kulturkampf ‘.
I’m not a violent man, but I think I would have welcomed a couple of parishioners escorting the troll out of church, with force amain if it came to that.
Why can’t the parish keep three or four of the sweetest, well-behaved large dogs near the altar during Holy Mass? They should have absolute cream puff temperaments, but would still be formidable enough looking to discourage this sort of thing. They should be big babies who want to eat, sleep, and be petted, not vicious or dangerous at all. Just the sight of a large dog (even one whom the owner knows wouldn’t hurt a fly and who runs away from squirrels) can still nip a lot of problems in the bud. Perferably several large dogs.
I recall the video of the priest arrested for protesting at Notre Dame over the bestowal of the honorary degree on President Obama. I think if this happened at my parish and continued on for very long, I would feel compelled to begin singing the Lourdes hymn, Immaculate Mary. I think the congregation would display solidarity in song and probably bring the parish together in a way that the perpetrator could never have dreamed.
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As a cantor, I think I might turn to the organist and say, “Play HOLY GOD WE PRAISE THY NAME, with gusto!”
The man is obviously wrong, and has many issues. It is I think quite a waste of time to focus attention on him, aside from the legal aspect of preventing further such behavior during the Holy Mass.
Aside from the obvious stooping of calling a person a “troll”, regardless of how fitting it may be, how does this resonate with those outside the Church when so often the clergy and leading laity
– bend over backwards to name gently those activists who lash out at non-Catholic institutions, ideas, and ceremony?
– name gently those who support the murder of abortion?
– name gently those who commit mortal sins against other men?
Furthermore, how does it resonate when so many clergy and leading laity treat the Holy Mass like a personal production filled with celebration and music they find emotionally pleasing?
How does that resonate when clearly this man is going through great emotional pain and fear? Is it not understandable when Catholic’s treat the Holy Mass like a play that the “trolls” see it no differently?
I ask you, ever since the Bishops and priests turned their backs to the Altar of Bloodless Sacrifice of Our Lord’s Crucifixion, what has become of the Sacrifice and Celebration of the Our Lord’s Holy Mass?
No one outside sees anything revealing a deep sense of beauty, reverence or holiness. The priests and laity involved in the liturgical affairs of the parish may disagree, about their parish Mass. But verily I say to you, it is no different at a school play, or pagan celebration.
Virtually every Novo Ordo Mass I attend I experience exactly the emotions you experience as a result of this “troll”. Every Sunday I see “trolls” who are far far more in interested in pursuing solidarity with their Social Justice brothers and turning the Holy Mass into a Protestant Fellowship meeting. Every Sunday I hear a priest ignore the difficult parts of Holy Scripture and focus the Homily on “bringing to life” their Social Justice loves by cherry picking parts of Scripture.
Every Sunday, I watch priests give a mere 30-40 seconds after Holy Communion for silence and reflection on our reception of Our Lord’s Body… After spending over 20 minutes telling us how to live their Social Justice love affairs.
30 seconds for the body of Our Lord vs 20 minutes for the love of the priest…
30 seconds vs 20 minutes
30 seconds vs 20 minutes
That Father Z tells you EVERYTHING you need to know what is wrong within the Church and why the “trolls” see nothing worthy of respect at Mass.
[Nice to have a place to vent, no?]
No Father, I am sorry it is not.
Venting, by definition, mean’s a soul is not at peace.
Considering Our Lord said the servant should expect no better than his master, the question is whether it is a righteous restlessness or not.
What is nice, some of the pieces you write give hope that the smote of the Smoke of Satan that has crept into the Sanctuary [not Vatican II proper, the abuses of her] is being cleared out. That was the intent of Vatican II, was it not. [I don’t think it was the intention of Vatican II that the smoke of Satan should enter the sanctuary or be cleared out. To let in some fresh air, perhaps. Results vary.]
30 seconds vs 20 minutes…
re “[I don’t think it was the intention of Vatican II that the smoke of Satan should enter the sanctuary or be cleared out. To let in some fresh air, perhaps. Results vary.]”
I am sorry for the misunderstanding. Was not one of the stated goals, intentions, of Vatican II “to open the windows” and allow some fresh spirit to enter the church? I believe it was clearly stated in the opening remarks and in the official documents? Maybe not those exact words, but very close.
The connection I am making is that the intent of Vatican II, the “spirit” of Vatican II was abused by priests and professional laity. These abuses and perversions are the “Smoke of Satan” in the Sanctuary.
I was saying some of your writings on this site do a good job of clearing out some of that smoke; yes “results vary”…
I think many priests, and most especially the Holy Father and Bishops have very very little awareness of the effects on the Mass that spring forth from the subtle but deep bias in priests who love their favored Social Justice concern more than the Sacraments and Mass. [That is an odd this to suggest about Papa Ratzinger, who spent so long as Prefect of the CDF.] There are many priests who are good men, who should have been social workers, but for various reasons became priests; but as far as being a priest goes, they are very bad priests.
We need priests who give us a few more minutes of silence and peace after receiving Our Lord and a few less minutes of their thoughts on social justice concerns. [We need more than that.]
In short, the Faithful need priests who love the Sacraments.
May Our Lord continue to Bless you Father.
Dear Father Z, I would have clotheslined him right there. I’m done being nice. Forgive me Father but I’ve had it up to here with turning the other cheek.I ‘m sick of people disrespecting the Mass and blaming the Church for everything including global warming. Give me my armor and sword and let me fight for my church. I think this is just the start of the persecution. It won’t end with this idiot . It WILL get worse. Cardinal George once said,”‘I will die happily in my bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a Martyr”… Get ready Catholics, your in the crosshairs!
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“[That is an odd this to suggest about Papa Ratzinger, who spent so long as Prefect of the CDF.] ”
Well Father after reading some of Pope Benedict’s “Theological Highlights of Vatican II”, I’ve developed a little less confidence than one might come away with from awareness of simply “The Ratzinger Report”. It is often difficult for man to completely walk away from errors of youth, especially when they were built on deep emotional ties. Reading the former was like taking a trip back in time to like a Looking Glass parallel to a religious Woodstock.
Man when looking back a deeply emotionally satisfying times retains a special fondness,
sometimes even when those times were filled with “venial” errors. A form of, “well, things
didnt turn out too bad”, “we are all okay now”; and the fondness remains.
I read a book of letters by Padre Pio to his confessor. A book I would recommend to few.
In it one sees an emotional maturity manifesting horror at things which would leave all but a few thinking, “this man has a child’s sensitivities of emotion, he is clearly very immature”. But the question is, is he? St John of the Cross, and other saints, have spoken in terms that would indicate Padre Pio is far closer to full awareness of the horrors than those who see an overly sensitive child.
Add to this the effects of how insulating being a the top of a highly bureaucratic institution can be; especially when extremely serious issues of sexual accusation and the clear rebellion of priests taking place in some quarters, I do not think what I have said and what you ask incompatible.
Satan does not attack on one front, as you well know. The smoke I mentioned earlier is like all smoke non-uniform. As the things he burns release different toxins, they are lifted up and cause different illnesses in different men; we do not all share the same strengths and weaknesses. Just like there is hidden in the bright light of the sun many colors. This I think is why it is so hard for so many to see what is going on. Just as when one puts on rose colored sun glasses the world seems a rosier looking place. Many see only a few of the toxins that make up the Smoke of Satan.
I fear Pope Benedict is blinded less now by the color of his glasses and more by the direction he has a chance to look. But I still wonder how much of the emotions of those younger days color his vision.
And I am leaving without comment the similarly analogous effects SSPX’s fight to restore what they see lost in this Smoke. I think some of the errors born of their human frailty have obscured the Truths they are so desperately fighting to preserve and restore to their rightful place.
So often nowadays I walk into a church and must search and find The Crucifix and the Tabernacle… I think in Europe it may be different, Europe has more appreciation and affection than America for that which their history and tradition built.
Still, I wonder what men who have little true understanding of the Faith or the Mass see when they walk in. I wonder what they would say if you asked them to describe where they were standing, under whose roof they had entered.
It is written in heaven the angles sing “Holy, Holy, Holy” repeatedly. Yet one of the “great” successes claimed by those who speak of the spirit of Vatican II is the freedom of the music it unleashed. And what followed from this? A growth in affection for sweet feminine angels and cherubs, and an ignorance of great angels like St. Michael who seek to protect souls.
It is not by chance the spirit of the Church shares the spiritual cacophony of her music.
Nor is it by chance the sound of her spirit sounds nothing like “Holy, Holy, Holy”.
But hey, we got men like Mark Shea, who proudly place their face on all they do, and make a living off of it, shouting to Europe and the world how a gay man with a camera is like a Brownshirt.
Really? A Brownshirt.
Will any priest dare call Mark out for such a blatantly hysterical and evil parallel in remarks? Remarks that are so like the gay man he is referring to that his words only feed men who see a Church filled with men who see “violence” through a woman’s eyes?
No. The Sanctuary has not become filled with the smoke of the great liar…. Do not worry. No. “Kumbaya my lord!”.
Do not worry that “Kumbaya” means “”Come By Here”. We do not walk to Our Lord and prostrate ourselves before Our King.
No. Someone’s singing sweetly of their love!
Not of Charity.
No. Lord, come by here and see how wonderful we are and how we call these gays Brownshirts, …and enjoy it.
Kumbaya… echos through more and more in the emptier and emptier Sanctuary.
I wonder if the echos reach the closets where the Crucifix of Our Lord has been placed. His Vatican II tombs.