Friday, November 30, 2007

The feast of St. Andrew

Andrew son of Jonah, apostle and martyr, and brother of Simon Peter, was among the first of the twelve apostles to be called by the Lord Jesus at the beginning of His public ministry. Today is his feast, and the teaching term is finally over, Deo gratias. Melancholicus is quite exhausted, although not quite as much as his brother Conor who, by some miraculous process unknown to him, manages to juggle full-time studies in History and Classical Civilisation with a full-time job in telecommunications.


Thy friends, O God, are made exceedingly honourable; their principality is exceedingly strengthened. Ps. Lord, thou hast proved me and known me: Thou hast known my sitting down and my rising up.


WE humbly entreat Thy majesty, O Lord: that as the blessed Apostle Andrew was once a teacher and ruler of Thy Church: so he may be a constant advocate for us before Thee. Through our Lord.

The Apostle Andrew was martyred in the year A.D. 60 in Achaia (in modern Greece) under Aegeas, the Roman governor of the province. He was crucified on the X-shaped ‘decussate’ cross, which is now indelibly associated with St. Andrew. What marvellous patience and peace, not to mention union with God, the blessed apostle must have enjoyed in order to have submitted to such a painful and lingering death for love of Christ Jesus.

The end of the liturgical year is nigh. The Sunday closest to St. Andrew’s day is always the first Sunday of Advent, which this year falls on 2 December. The liturgical year now ending has not been kind to Melancholicus, all things considered, and he wishes to entreat the prayers of his readers that things may improve for him in this year to come.

May God reward you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Anathema: Shroud of Frost

Undying odyssey... a myriad of times

The soul has seen
Through eyes of heaven
The imperium of earth
There’s nothing left to perceive

Help me to escape from this existence
I yearn for an answer... can you help me?
I’m drowning in a sea of abused visions
and shattered dreams
In somnolent illusion... I’m paralysed

Infinity distraction...
A pious human disorder
Blind to passage of souls
Conclusion from one remembrance

Help me to escape from this existence
I yearn for an answer... can you help me?
I’m drowning in a sea of abused visions
and shattered dreams
In somnolent illusion... I’m paralysed... why

Transfixed... I gaze through my window at the world lying under a shroud of frost. In a forlorn stupor I feel the burning of staring eyes, yet no-one’s here. Detached from reality, in the knowing of dreams, we know the entity of ensuing agony waits to clasp us in its cold breast, in an empty room. We awake, and it’s true.

I dreamt of the sun’s demise, awoke to a bleak morning. In the emptiness I beheld fate for the dead light is a foretelling of what will be... I saw a soul drift from life, through death, and arrive at Elysian fields in welcoming song. Yet I stand in a dusk-filled room despondently watching the passing of a kindred spirit... there is no song... just a delusion of silence.

— from The Silent Enigma.

Monday, November 26, 2007


T-minus 250 days and counting...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Religion of Peace update: 10,000 mark reached

There have now been over 10,000 terrorist attacks in the name of Islam since 9/11.

wreckage left by a suicide bomber somewhere in Asia

H/T to Damian Thompson. Read it all here. After detailing a horrifying litany of atrocities, Mr. Thompson finishes his post with this pertinent observation: As I say, that’s just the last week. I wonder how many people have died in Christian or Jewish terrorist attacks in the same period.

Looking through the list of atrocities, Melancholicus finds it interesting that most victims of Islamist terror attacks are not in fact ‘kuffar’, but other Muslims.

AFI: Spoken Word

This ‘song’, actually more of a poem spoken by the voice of the three ages of man, is a ‘hidden’ track after Now the World on the Sing the Sorrow album (AFI at their very best, at least in my humble opinion).

Deep, man.

Next up: This Time Imperfect, whenever I get around to it.

Damn it

Meant to post yesterday, but have been very stressed out of late. I long for the end of the teaching term, which will bring with it the end of a host of other headaches that I have to deal with at the moment, and I’m really feeling the pressure.

Yesterday was a bad day. I hate bad days. That it was a bad day is owing not so much to the amount of work I have before me or the number of matters that require my immediate attention, but because shortly before awaking on Thursday morning I had a dream about L.

I hate it when I dream about L. It always makes me chronically depressed.

I have not had any contact with L. for nearly a year and a half, yet she still haunts me occasionally, disturbing my sleep and robbing my waking hours of all peace of mind.

The most ironic aspect of this pathetic situation is that I know in my heart of hearts that she is not the right woman for me — never has been and never will be. If, per impossibile, I were ever to end up with her, it would be the END OF MY LIFE.

So why in God’s name do I feel so morose, wretched and miserable whenever she appears in my dreams?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The incipient violence of the left, part ii

From Catholic World News:

Leftists disrupt Mexico City cathedral

Mexico City, Nov. 19, 2007 ( - Leftist demonstrators disrupted services at Mexico City's cathedral on Sunday, November 18.

Supporters of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, an unsuccessful candidate in the country's 2006 presidential elections, stormed into the cathedral to protest because the church bells had been rung during their protest rally outside the building. Mass was delayed while the protestors chanted slogans, jostled worshippers, and overturned a pews before leaving the cathedral.

Lopez Obrador's followers, how believe that he was cheated out of a presidential victory by vote fraud, have frequently entered the cathedral to register protests against Cardinal Norberto Rivera, whom they see as an ally of the government establishment.

The church bells to which the demonstrators objected are rung each Sunday, on a set schedule, to summon the faithful to Mass.

Melancholicus appropriated this picture from Andrew’s blog Unam Sanctam. Andrew aptly captions this picture Leftist thugs behaving like animals in God’s house.

Can you, gentle reader, imagine the reaction if a mob of angry Christians disrupted a socialist meeting? There would be outrage in the media, and the protestors would be lashed with the full fury of journalistic indignation.

This because religion is viewed today as something not worth getting upset about, and only Mohammedans do that kind of thing anyway.

Violently protesting in the name of left-wing politics or secular issues seems to be perfectly acceptable, however. There was no outrage in the media over the event pictured here. Apparently, these good leftists were upset because the bells of the cathedral were rung during their little protest meet in the square outside. The fact that the bell-ringing had nothing to do with their presence failed to deter them from this childish and sacrilegious tantrum.

This, gentle reader, is how the adherents of the left behave when they don’t get their way.

While they typically deplore violence used against themselves or their cohorts, they don’t seem to mind meting out precisely the same kind of treatment to others.

We are expected to approve of the left, and to accord it respect as a matter of course. On the other hand, it affords us no such respect. Because we are not socialists, we can be treated with the most offhanded contempt. Human rights, and indeed human life itself, mean nothing to the fanatics of the left; only their own twisted ideology has any importance in their eyes.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Studenti saepe in horto vacant

I am sitting in my cell in the university, alone. One hour more, and I will be able to retire to the country for the weekend. From the quadrangle below, the noise of recreating students of both sexes rises to my open window. I call it a quadrangle because of its shape, but it isn’t really, at least not in the sense of those one finds at Oxbridge colleges—merely a four-sided open space around which the Newman building rises. This space is overlooked by teaching rooms and staff offices, and is hardly a private place. Due to the fact that the Arts Café opens onto this area, with tables and chairs provided for the convenience of those who wish to take their coffee or their lunch in the open (weather permitting), it is often a hive of activity, with groups of students gathering to socialize and chat with one another. The walls of the building on each side channel the sound of chatter upwards, whence it enters through the windows of those whose offices overlook the courtyard. The sound being naturally amplified by these surroundings, what are ostensibly private conversations inevitably become public, whether the speakers desire it or not.

I am not disturbed at my work by the chatter itself, but by its content. Every day I have to listen to some disagreeable account of the beer-soaked debaucheries of someone’s night before. These tales, typically told to an audience of at least three sitting at the same table, and doubtless exaggerated for narrative effect—or at least I hope so; God forbid that much of the nonsense I hear should actually be true—are recounted at an invariably loud volume, interspersed with guffaws and liberal uses of the f-word, not to mention blasphemies against the Most Holy Name. And the worst offenders seem always to be women, inasmuch as their tales are more explicit in that domain regulated by the sixth and ninth commandments. Women they may be, ladies they are not.

The din and the hooting and the obnoxious braggadocio about matters which are more appropriate to the confessional than to a social gathering in the public forum reminds me of one of those Irishman’s Diary columns by Kevin Meyers in The Irish Times. This piece was published some years ago, and the point that Mr. Meyers was making therein escapes my memory, but one particular sentence struck me when I first read it, and it has stayed with me ever since. It was about students—my bread and butter, since I make a living teaching them—and how they have changed with the passage of the years. As is the case with society generally, the standard of ettiquette and public behaviour among members of the student body seems to have coarsened to the point of the children of tomorrow not having the faintest notion how to comport themselves in front of other people, or at least in front of others not as amused by their antics as are their peers. Nor does it seem to have occurred to our dear juniors that they ARE in public, that they ARE being observed, and that the way they behave in front of others speaks volumes about the kind of people they are—as well as the kind of people their parents are; a decided lack of respect for people generally is evinced by the carry-on of those who remain unaware that they ought to behave differently in public to how they behave in the company of their closest friends.

Such persons seem—if their public bragging is anything to go by—to spend their free time constantly searching for their next fix, be that fix alcohol, drugs, or the pleasures of the bedroom, and it appears to be a matter of competition to see who can come up with the most crude and ribald account of the previous evening’s debauchery.

Mr. Meyers, having noted this tendency among the students of whom he wrote in the 1990s, asked this pointed question: What does the average 19-year-old student of today, easy and libidinous, equally familiar with sex and drugs, equally unfamiliar with religious convictions or political ardour of any kind, have in common with his counterpart of seventy, fifty, or even thirty years ago?

Good question. Only thirty years ago, dear Kevin, the world was a different place. I am still a young man—well, youngish—and I have seen the change in my own lifetime.

Now I will be accused of generalizing, and in fairness I must agree that there are many admirable and upstanding young men and women at the university who do not deserve to be bracketed with the yobs. But the yob element is so pervasive, both within and without the university, as to be ubiqitous; and of course they make more noise than quiet, well-mannered and properly brought-up studious types, and so attract more notice.

The weather this November has been mild and generally pleasant, with the result that the students sit out in the courtyard every day; the noise of their recreations typically starts around 10am, and continues without a break until the Arts Café finally closes in the evening. I find myself longing for colder weather, and the return of the rain, both of which will help to keep them indoors. I have grown tired of hearing about their menstrual cycles, and their emergency contraception, and the casual encounters they enjoyed the previous weekend, and the blinding fits of vomiting that so-and-so suffered having had a few too many. Is there not anything better, more worthwhile, more intellectual to talk about than this, for goodness’ sake? After all, they are supposed to be studying at a third level institution.

And that is the end of my peevishness for today. It is now time to depart to the country...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Now this is REAL ecumenism

From Catholic World News. Melancholicus has taken the liberty of editing the original to remove spelling errors.

Orthodox prelate faults Catholics on politically-correct approach

Moscow, Nov. 13, 2007 ( - The top ecumenical-affairs officer of the Russian Orthodox Church has criticized Catholic leaders for bowing to popular opinion in their public statements.

"More than one generation of Roman Catholic hierarchs have been taught with the political-correctness idea," said Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk, speaking to a group of students in Moscow. The Russian prelate said that in ecumenical talks, Orthodox leaders have sought to warn Catholic bishops that if they become overly concerned about public opinion, "then one might turn traitor to his own identity;."

Bravo Papa Kirill! The Orthodox can usually be relied upon to inject a dose of healthy realism into such situations. And it seems to be a truism that the perspective of one on the outside can reveal faults in a system that are invisible to insiders.

Of course what the archbishop says is perfectly true. If our bishops have not internalised political correctness or are swayed by public opinion and the media, they are nonetheless adept at appearing to be so. A cynic might say that most Catholic bishops are more concerned about the opinion of the godless secular world than about safeguarding and transmitting the depositum fidei, and since Melancholicus is a cynic, he would concur.

Let the bishops take note of Kirill’s remarks, and let them take his words to heart, for Kirill has done greater service to the Church with these few words of criticism than a hundred years of meaningless ecumenical pleasantries.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The times, they are definitely a-changin'!

From Catholic World News:

Baltimore, Nov. 9, 2007 ( - Baltimore's Archbishop Edwin O'Brien has removed a pastor who invited a female Episcopalian priest to join him in celebrating a funeral Mass, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Father Martin was removed from his parish assignment at a meeting with archdiocesan officials on November 8. The priest, whose unorthodox liturgical practices had prompted several prior complaints, said that the Episcopalian priest had not participated in the Consecration during the October funeral liturgy, although he had invited her to read the Gospel. There were conflicting reports on whether or not the Episcopalian cleric had received Communion; Father Martin said that he could not recall administering the Eucharist to her.

On the orders of the archbishop, Father Martin resigned his parish assignment and issued an apology for "bringing scandal to the Church," the Sun reports. A spokesman for the Baltimore archdiocese explained that the pastor's removal was called for because "he has repeatedly violated Church teaching."

Father Martin was serving as pastor of three different parishes in south Baltimore, where he had worked for 5 years. His removal comes just 6 weeks after Archbishop O'Brien was installed as head of the Baltimore archdiocese.

There was a time—fairly recently, in fact—in which Fr Martin would have been allowed to continue his antics unmolested, and in which the wrath of the bishop would have been directed not against the scandalous priest, but against any of the lay faithful who dared complain about such cavalier abuse of the liturgy.

However, Melancholicus ventures to think that the wind is definitely shifting. During the pontificate of John Paul II, even the most heinous liturgical abuses often went unpunished. But now, perhaps sensing the change of priorities in Rome, and how seriously Pope Benedict XVI treats the proper celebration of the liturgical mysteries, the bishops are beginning, in their own small way, to clean house.

Melancholicus knows nothing about Archbishop O’Brien, but his grace is definitely to be lauded for taking swift action in this instance. Perhaps such will deter other middle-aged clerics, animated with zeal for the ‘spirit of Vatican II’, from concelebrating with protestant ministers, or otherwise hijacking the sacred liturgy for the sake of their own pet follies.

For the times they are a-changin’.

Cardinal Etchegaray on married clergy

From Catholic World News:

Married priests not a solution to shortage, cardinal says

Paris, Nov. 12, 2007 ( - An influential French cardinal has said that the ordination of married men is a possibility that could be discussed, but "it is not a solution to the vocations crisis."

Cardinal Roger Etchegaray (bio - news), the former president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, explained to the newspaper Le Parisen that priestly celibacy is a discipline rather than a matter of doctrine. "It can be discussed," he said.

However, the cardinal voiced his extreme skepticism about suggestions that a provision for married priests would end the shortage of clergy in Europe. The fundamental response to that crisis, he said, must involve a renewed appreciation for service to the Church.

One constantly hears from dissenting ‘Catholic’ and secular sources repeated affirmations that if only holy Church would cease to require lifelong continence from her clergy, the current dearth of vocations would be solved overnight.

It is true, as his emninence says, that the ordination of married men is a possibility that could be discussed, for celibacy is not a matter of doctrine, or of divinely-given precept; it is a disciplinary matter, which could be revoked by the Holy See if it so wished.

The question is not whether celibacy is a changable policy, but whether changing this policy would be of benefit to the Church. At this point in time, however, Melancholicus cannot really see the benefit of relaxing the discipline of the Church, especially when sacerdotal discipline generally is at an all-time low and needs vigorous rejuvenation.

If the history of the past forty years has shown us anything, one does not improve the calibre of clergy and religious by making things easier. All true reforms of the Church, as opposed to the post-Vatican II deformation, have resulted from a return to the sources, and a rediscovery of the value of asceticism and penance. To relax the discipline of the Church in a time of already prevalent laxity, is to invite further deterioration, and would perhaps encourage into clerical ministry many persons who ought not to have any part in ministry in the first place.

Furthermore, the Orthodox and the Anglicans have a married clergy, and can it be said that they are awash with vocations? The Church of England in particular, even though the marriage of clergy in that church has been permissible since 1549, is struggling; since the advent of women’s ordination in 1993, the C of E is now in the curious situation of ordaining more women than men, which means that the priesthood of that church may well in time become a female preserve.

But despite the fact that the Church of England can draw upon both male and female, as well as the married and unmarried, it seems to have a harder time recruiting new clergy than the Roman Catholic Church in the same country.

The paucity of vocations in the Roman Church at present owes nothing to celibacy, or to the position of the Church on women’s ordination; rather it owes everything to the stranglehold exercised by modernism on Catholic schools, universities, seminaries and houses of formation.

Not to mention the current state of the liturgy which, far from inspiring vocations to the priesthood, would make one embarrassed to be Catholic.

It is strange (though not unwelcome) that prelates such as Roger “spirit of Assisi” Etchegaray, formerly noted for dotty theological looseness bordering on dissent, now seem to be talking orthodox Catholicism, and in a more sober and serious vein.

Would our Holy Father Benedict have anything to do with that, I wonder?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Tony Blair, a convert to Catholicism?

While this is good news, especially for Mr. Blair, Melancholicus wishes to remind his readers that converting to Catholicism is not like merely trying on a new suit.

If Mr. Blair is ready now to repent — and that publicly, since these are public sins, committed in his former capacity as head of government — of his well-known support for abortion and for the homosexualist agenda, and of his lies concerning his government’s support for the illegal invasion of Iraq, among sundry other considerations; if Mr. Blair is ready to repent of all these, and afterwards to accuse himself thereof in the sacrament of penance, he may be admitted to full communion in the Catholic Church.

If, however, he wishes to continue reserving for himself the right to choose what to believe and how to behave, as though religion were a purely private and personal matter, he had better remain a member of the Church of England.

There are no half measures in Catholicism. It’s all or nothing. One does better to remain outside than to enter half-heartedly.

Cardinal Wetter's lament

from Catholic World News:

German cardinal decries seminarians' religious education

Munich, Nov. 8, 2007 ( - Cardinal Friedrich Wetter of Munich has complained about the lack of religious knowledge among candidates for the priesthood in Germany.

Cardinal Wetter told reporters in Bavaria that the Church might be compelled to add another year of seminary training, in order to provide remedial education for young men who begin priestly training without an adequate knowledge of their faith.

Extending the length of seminary training could aggravate a shortage of young priests in Germany. The DPA news agency reports that 264 young men entered the country's seminaries in 2006 - a number that is sharply down from figures that reached over 800 in the early 1980s.

Is the penny starting to drop now? Are the bishops beginning to realise what a disaster the ‘renewed’ catechetical programmes foisted upon the faithful worldwide since the Second Vatican Council have been? Are they ready now to withdraw these modernist catecheses and replace them with something that actually teaches the Catholic faith? Melancholicus is not impressed by the impassivity of the bishops when nearly two generations of Catholics have grown up without any kind of adequate knowlege of Catholicism thanks to the conciliar revolution. It is a sad commentary upon this wretched state of affairs when even aspirants to the sacred priesthood, who by definition are supposed to be interested in religion, have no solid formation in the Catholic faith.

Melancholicus is glad that Cardinal Wetter has at least noticed the problem. His solution would be to add an extra year to seminary formation; perhaps the ‘spiritual year’ called for by the Second Vatican Council but, ironically, is found only in the seminaries of traditionalist communities. This would be a good start. But what of the majority, who will never pass through seminary? Are they to be left in as great ignorance of their religion as before? Melancholicus hopes this does not come as a surprise to Cardinal Wetter, but the problem of ignorance in matters of faith is not confined to the seminaries.

It is time for a thorough overhaul of all catechetical programmes in use throughout Europe. Over thirty years of experience has shown that these programmes are useless and do not teach the faith. There is nothing for it but to scrap them all, lock, stock and barrel — but will the bishops actually act while there is still time? The situation is as bad in Ireland as it is elsewhere. Many concerned souls are labouring, praying and lobbying the Irish bishops for the withdrawal of the diabolical Alive-O programme, but their entreaties have so far fallen on deaf ears. In the meantime, another generation of Irish youth passes through the Catholic school system and graduates at the last with a breathtaking lack of knowledge of the Catholic religion they are supposed to have studied for so many years.

And still the bishops are sitting on their hands...

The mettle of Archbishop Burke

From Catholic World News:

Excommunication looms for would-be women priests

St. Louis, Nov. 8, 2007 ( - Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis has warned two local women that they face excommunication if they go through with plans for a Sunday ceremony at which they will claim to be ordained as priests.

The archbishop sent personal letters by courier to Rose Marie Dunn Hudson and Elsie Hainz McGrath, reminding them that they would incur the "censure of excommunication" if they participated in the ceremony, which is being held at a Jewish synagogue under the auspices of the "Womenpriests" organization.

Archbishop Burke noted that the fraudulent "ordination" ceremony, held in direct violation of Church teaching and authority, would constitute an "act of schism." He warned the women that additional penalties could be used against them, along with the excommunication that would be automatically imposed.

McGrath told an AP reporter that she would ignore the archbishop's warning, which she characterized as a "form of intimidation."

This story would be viewed by the worldly as just one more example of the tyrannical, patriarchal, male-dominated, clericalist hierarchy engaged in the ruthless persecution of suffering and oppressed womyn. They would not be able to see any aspect of this matter beyond that, since this is all the limits of their secular cultural paradigm actually permit them to see. Hence, all Ms. McGrath could detect in the letter she received from archbishop Burke was a “form of intimidation”.

Melancholicus, on the other hand, is quite touched by the pastoral solicitude shown by archbishop Burke to these unfortunate and erring souls. They both received personal letters from him, the purpose of which was not to “intimidate”, but to admonish and call them back to the right path before it is too late. The archbishop might simply have put out a press release, or even have ignored the whole affair; instead, he chose to contact both womyn personally. The invalid and sacrilegious simulation of the sacrament of Order carries with it a penalty of latae sententiae excommunication; consequently, should they proceed with their intentions, McGrath and Hudson will incur the penalty anyway, regardless of what archbishop Burke may say or do. The archbishop’s warning is hence just that—a warning, not a threat.

Furthermore, by consenting to participate in this invalid and unlawful ‘ordination’, Hudson and McGrath place themselves in a state of formal schism, outside the communion of the Catholic Church, with potentially dire consequences for their salvation. What kind of shepherd would the archbishop be if, without any word of admonition or attempt at correction, he were to allow members of his flock to be carried off into sin by their own pride and vainglory?

In fact, it is archbishop Burke, and not the two womyn, who shows the greatest courage in this affair. In their minds, Hudson and McGrath have nothing to lose. The excommunication means nothing to them. The media and the world will side with them against the hard-hearted, tyrannical, chauvinistic archbishop, and they know it. The archbishop also knows it. He knows he will draw fire from the secular press because of his stand in defence of right order in the Catholic Church. But he prefers to do his duty as shepherd of the flock entrusted to him by Christ our Lord, rather than look the other way and pretend he doesn’t see what’s happening under his nose in his own diocese for fear of journalistic indignation.

The Church needs more prelates with the mettle of archbishop Raymond Burke.

Furthermore, what are these ladies doing having their ceremony in a synagogue, of all places? It is hardly surprising under the circumstances that they could not find a Catholic church, but surely their local ECUSA parish would have been able to help them out, no?

Perhaps a strongly-worded letter to Kate Schori admonishing her for not coming to the aid of the womynpriests in their hour of need may be required...

Irish blogs

Of late Melancholicus has been hunting around for suitable Irish blogs to add to his blogroll — suitable meaning that such blogs are broadly aligned with the teachings of the holy Catholic Church, with social and political conservatism, and are of course published from Ireland, written by Irish authors, contain posts of general Irish interest, and last but by no means least, are a good read.

Such blogs are hard to find. Thus far, Melancholicus has not been particularly successful in his search. There are plenty of Irish bloggers out there fulsome in their praise of every facet of the liberal agenda, along with the morality of the new Ireland, and even marxism — but seemingly few that would be on the same side of the fence as Melancholicus. The only Irish blog in his list of friends and fellow travellers is that of Éamonn Gaines. We are starting to feel somewhat alone in the blogosphere. There is not even one Irish priest represented in Melancholicus’ list of clerical blogs; all his links refer to either British or American clergy. This is a situation somewhat in need of remedy, so imagine Melancholicus’ delight when, idly surfing the web late yesterday afternoon, he came across what purported to be a priest’s blog, and that of an Irish priest, no less. It is called Clerical Whispers. It is a substantial blog, with many posts, and a large number of news stories of interest to the Church at large. It is maintained by one “sotto voce”, who claims to be an “Irish RC priest”.

However, our initial enthusiasm upon discovering Clerical Whispers waned rapidly. It did not require more than a superficial examination to determine that, priest author or not, this is NOT a blog that Melancholicus wishes to include in his blogroll. He has many problems with it; these are itemised below.

1. The author’s anonymity

Readers may feel that criticism of a fellow blogger on account of his anonymity is a bit rich coming from someone like Melancholicus, who likewise publishes under a pseudonym. But there is really no comparison between the two. For who is Melancholicus? I am no one. I have no standing. I am the most abject and pitiful of men. My name, as a consequence, does not matter. Besides, there are sufficient clues as to Melancholicus’ true identity scattered throughout Infelix Ego enabling diligent souls to locate and identify him, if they wish; he is not anxious to keep his identity a secret, and has no nefarious agenda concealed behind his anonymity.

“sotto voce”, however, claims to be a priest of the Roman Catholic Church. As such he is a public figure. A figure of authority in the Catholic community. One who can teach with the voice of the Church. There is no reason for a priest to mask his identity unless he has something to hide — or unless he is no priest at all, and he is deceiving his readers by pretending to be one.

Furthermore, it is not possible to view “sotto voce”s profile, so no further information can be gleaned regarding who he is. While in itself this is a perfectly legitimate option for every blog owner, it tends to reinforce the general tone of secretive anonymity that surrounds this blog, as though “sotto voce” were so afraid the Inquisition might get him that he must protect his identity at all costs.

2. The enormous number of posts

“sotto voce” is an extremely prolific poster. While this in itself is no bad thing, Melancholicus finds it difficult to square the number of items posted daily to Clerical Whispers with the author’s stated profession of a priest. As a blogger himself, Melancholicus knows how time-consuming maintaining a blog on a regular basis can be. This guy must spend every hour God sends maintaining his blog and surfing the net for news stories to post; I cannot see how he has time for much else. In October 2007, for instance, over 350 items were posted to Clerical Whispers — in one month alone! That's an average of more than 10 a day, every day. The total number of posts for 2007 runs to nearly four thousand, and the year isn’t over yet.

3. The content of the posts

Most of the posts on Clerical Whispers are news stories which are clearly cut-and-pasted from other websites. Once again, this is no bad thing, and it can be useful to have a repository of ecclesiastical news without having to jump around between several different sites. Melancholicus does a fair bit of cut-and-paste work himself. However, the stories selected for publication on this blog and especially the titles given to the posts are heavily slanted from a dissenting point of view, and especially the “contributions” written, apparently, by other authors. Some of these are so nakedly hostile to the teaching of the Church that there can be no doubt of their authors’ intentions. “sotto voce” invariably appends a disclaimer to each post, disclaiming responsibility for the content of these articles, since he is not their author; however, by posting these offending pieces on his blog without either qualification or comment, his sympathies would seem to be clear. So far as Melancholicus has been able to determine, not one of his ‘contributions’ defends traditional Catholic teaching on any matter whatsoever.

4. No sources cited

When Melancholicus pastes a news story from an external source into Infelix Ego, he always cites the source of that story, as well as linking to the original page, so his readers need never be in any doubt as to whence the story comes. “sotto voce”, however, never cites his sources. His stories could come from anywhere; they might be invented fictions, for all his readers might know to the contrary.

5. Fides, Libertas, Veritas

This is the Latin subtitle, or motto, of Clerical Whispers. It means Faith, Liberty, Truth in English. However, the ‘faith’ depicted by this blog is not that of the Catholic Church; there is little doubt that ‘liberty’ means the same thing for “sotto voce” as it does for the secularists, i.e. liberty from the moral law and from traditional religion, and as far as ‘truth’ goes... well, the reader can make up his own mind on that one. Suffice it to say that Melancholicus has not found “sotto voce” particularly truthful. There are many epithets one could apply to the owner of Clerical Whispers, but truthful is not one of them.

6. The polls

A bizarre poll on the right-hand sidebar of Clerical Whispers asks its readers whether they find that blog liberal, conservative, balanced or “dont’t know”. Half of his visitors have apparently voted for “balanced”. How this could be so is a mystery to Melancholicus, as the tenor of the posting is so obviously slanted towards dissent, and linking to a few conservative websites does not qualify as balanced. If one were to be really generous to “sotto voce”, one might describe his blog as half-Catholic, but no more. A few crackpots even seem to regard Clerical Whispers as “conservative”, God knoweth how. Well, I guess it takes all sorts to make a world.

The small number of votes he received in this poll is also odd, given the allegedly voluminous amount of traffic to this site (for which see item 10 below).

7. The content of personal posts reveals his liberalism

Just check how frequently womyn priests appear on this blog. “sotto voce” seems to have more a proclivity for women’s ordination than anything else in the ecclesiastical world. Check also his views on abortion and homosexuality, as well as his “verbum ultimus” [sic] section. Latin grammar obviously isn’t the fellow’s strong point either.

8. His protestant resources

He has included links and resources for the dioceses of the Church of Ireland, even ahead of those he provides for the Catholic Church. That in itself shows where his sympathies lie. Many of his blog links are to protestant sites.

9. His evil links

His links are a really mixed bag. On the one hand, he links to Canterbury Tales and even the Latin Mass Society of Ireland, both impeccably orthodox websites, but otherwise most of his links are to sources of heresy and dissent, and even gnosticism and the occult. He also includes a link to one very evil site — Ratzinger: God’s Rottweiler — which is insulting to the Holy Father Pope Benedict, in a nasty, vitriolic and highly personal way. No Catholic should link to this despicable website, especially not one claiming to be a priest.

10. His relentless self-promotion

Melancholicus thinks that “sotto voce” is a vain man who craves attention and likes to be noticed. At the bottom of the Clerical Whispers home page there is a site counter which lists nearly a quarter of a million visitors since December 2006 — in other words, in the space of less than a year. This is odd, since Melancholicus cannot recall seeing a link to this blog from any other website he has visited. Not even the most popular Catholic blogs of his acquaintance receive this quantity of traffic. How has “sotto voce” managed to make himself so well-known as to have received more traffic than anyone else in the past year?

Then there is the cluster map, identifying the locations of all his visitors since May of this year. His visitors apparently come from practically every country on earth, including several thousand hits originating from China, and several hundreds more from various countries in eastern and southern Africa! Who can figure?

Despite the extraordinary number of visitors he allegedly receives, most of his posts have not attracted any comments or discussion. The number of comments on Clerical Whispers overall is very small, and this fact would seem to tell against the vast number of hits this blog allegedly receives on a daily basis. Surely this extraordinarily high level of traffic has been doctored in order to make Clerical Whispers and its author look to the casual viewer more important than they really are.

In sum, Melancholicus found the whole thing distasteful. Browsing this blog was a really creepy experience, and he has no intention of returning to it in the future, much less linking to it from Infelix Ego.

Actually, Melancholicus is inclined to believe that “sotto voce” is not an “Irish RC priest” at all. Irish yes. A priest, perhaps. But RC? This Melancholicus very much doubts. At least he hopes that this person is not in full communion with the Catholic Church, otherwise the calibre of the clergy in Ireland is in even worse shape than we feared.

On the other hand, Melancholicus is nearly convinced that Clerical Whispers is maintained by Pat Buckley or by a supporter thereof. Either that, or by a truly malicious and mischievous member of the Church of Ireland.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Solemn High Mass broadcast by EWTN

Another motu proprio related post. Melancholicus is delighted to have stumbled at long last upon this great treasure, namely the video of the traditional Latin High Mass broadcast by EWTN on 14th September 2007, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, and the day on which Summorum Pontificum came into force.

The video may be accessed here. Melancholicus wishes to advise his readers that they must have Real Player installed on their systems if they wish to view.

This Mass was especially significant to Melancholicus, who as a seminarist was once a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, and who knows personally many of those who participated in this solemn liturgy: the celebrant Fr. Joseph Bisig FSSP, Rector of Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary; the deacon Rev. Mr. Justin Nolan FSSP, who was in the class ahead of Melancholicus; the subdeacon, Fr. Joseph Lee FSSP, who was ordained to the sacred priesthood the year after Melancholicus left the seminary; the preacher, Fr. Calvin Goodwin FSSP, to whom Melancholicus is so deeply indebted for his knowledge of Latin; and others who must honourably be mentioned — head sacristan Eddie Heffernan, from the class behind Melancholicus, and who will one day be a fine priest; also his friends Simon Harkins, from Scotland, Garrick Huang (Canada), deacon Roberto Cano (Nicaragua) and others who Melancholicus suspects were in attendance but could not see clearly owing to the exigencies of camera angles.

What a beautiful Mass. And didn’t the sisters do such a beautiful job of the chant? Mother Angelica was present also; it warmed Melancholicus’ heart to see her finally assisting at the immemorial liturgy in the EWTN chapel, which she has for so long craved.

Now after this nostalgia-tinged sojourn down memory lane, and having wiped his eyes, Melancholicus wishes to recommend the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary to the prayers of his readers.

Thank you, Most Holy Father, for your motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. Ad multos annos.

Archbishop Ranjith: bishops who defy Summorum Pontificum are instruments of the devil

A word to the wise from the good archbishop secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship:

“The motu proprio Summorum Pontificum on the Latin Liturgy of July 7th 2007 is the fruit of a deep reflection by our Pope on the mission of the Church. It is not up to us, who wear ecclesiastical purple and red, to draw this into question, to be disobedient and make the motu proprio void by our own little, tittle rules. Not even if they were made by a bishops conference. Even bishops do not have this right. What the Holy Father says, has to be obeyed in the Church. If we do not follow this principle, we will allow ourselves to be used as instruments of the devil, and nobody else. This will lead to discord in the Church, and slows down her mission. We do not have the time to waste on this. Else we behave like Emperor Nero, fiddling on his violin while Rome was burning. The churches are emptying, there are no vocations, the seminaries are empty. Priests become older and older, and young priests are scarce.”

It is refreshing to hear a senior prelate speak so frankly on the abject state to which holy mother Church has been reduced, and of the foot-dragging by the conciliar establishment in their attempts to forestall all efforts to repair the damage sustained by our Lord’s mystical body on their watch. And what archbishop Ranjith says is true; the bishops are indeed fiddling while Rome burns. While the new conciliar religion holds sway, the churches continue to empty, as do the seminaries. The hour is getting late. And yet, the bishops will not surcease from being part of the problem, never mind refusing to contribute to a solution.

Cormac attempts to frustrate efforts to restore the liturgy

Melancholicus has learned, via Damian Thompson and Fr John Zuhlsdorf, that his eminence Cormac Cardinal Murphy O’Connor, archbishop of Westminster, has recently issued a set of guidelines for the implementation of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum in his diocese.

Fr Zuhlsdorf wondered if his eminence’s instructions were inspired by an Ad clerum by bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, in which the good bishop attempts to place the provisions made by Summorum Pontificum under his own personal control.

In any case, the response by both +Cormac and +Arthur to the Holy Father’s motu proprio has been mealy-mouthed and begrudging. While both appear to respect the letter of the motu proprio, they are clearly at odds with its spirit.

Possibly because the spirit of Summorum Pontificum is in opposition to the spirit of the Second Vatican Council? Melancholicus would like to think that therewith he has hit the nail on the head.

In any case, the restoration of the sacred liturgy will not be achieved overnight. Under the provisions of Summorum Pontificum, it will be the continuation of a process that traditionalists have already found long and difficult; the motu proprio makes this process somewhat easier, but much patience and prayer are still necessary on the part of those who wish to see availability of the Old Mass extended beyond its current meagre level. And we must not be surprised at the obfuscation and stonewalling of prelates like +Cormac, even though it may be exasperating; they will do whatever they can get away with to resist what they see as ‘turning back the clock’ on Vatican II, and we must accept this as a fact of life. The progressivist junta may be starting to lose its grip in some places, but it is still plenty capable of making life as uncomfortable as possible for the restorationists in the meantime.

The ‘reform’ of the Church in the ‘spirit’ of Vatican II has been the life’s work of countless clergy and religious of +Cormac’s generation. Before the accession of Pope Benedict XVI, Melancholicus tended to view that group with a mixture of bitterness, resentment and anger at what they had done—and continue to do—to the Church. That anger is now being turned, by degrees, into pity. Melancholicus cannot find it in his heart to hate these destroyers of tradition, and hence of Catholicism; he can only pity them. These people, who were the youth and the future of the Church in the sixties and seventies, are now increasingly looking like the past. They are old (or at the very least middle-aged) and they are set in their ways. For them, to deny the progressivist vision at this stage of their lives, and to embrace the tradition, would be tantamount to turning their backs on their entire life’s work, and thereby admitting that they had been mistaken, and that it was all a waste. It doesn’t matter how much reason and logic we present before them; it doesn’t matter how gently and how dispassionately we argue the cause of tradition, for, human nature being what it is, nobody likes to acknowledge that the work of their entire lives has all been for nothing. Deep down, however, there may be an unconscious realisation among the progressivists that they are losing the struggle, and that their road is ultimately a dead end. On that account there is now a sort of terror in the progressivist camp, a terror which will make those who experience it shrill and nasty, and prompt them to do their worst with their remaining years and resources rather than accept the inevitable. Time itself is against them; nobody is following in their footsteps; they have no heirs. Just as their refusal to submit to Humanae Vitae has left the laity committed to their charge without offspring, so too their dissent has left them without progeny in the spiritual order. They have inspired no vocations to take their places left vacant by death or retirement; when they die, their ideology will die with them, and deep in their hearts they know it. In the meantime, do not expect them to go gently into that good night.

It is not progress to keep resolutely forging ahead when one has struck out along the wrong path; that is regress, not progress. In this case the true progressivist would be the man who turns back, seeking the right path.

In this battle of ideals within the Church, the Traditionalists are the true progressives.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

More idiots and their propaganda

The 90th anniversary of the 1917 Russian revolution on October 25th went unmarked by Melancholicus (although he was aware of the date), as the socialists themselves held their peace on that day. Moreover, Melancholicus was glad of the opportunity not to have to note yet another anniversary, especially not one so evil as this.

Now, however, Melancholicus notes to his displeasure that the socialists had not forgotten their cherished anniversary: they had merely postponed their celebrations so as not to interfere with their observance of the feast of saint Che, martyr.

Now the communists are ready to celebrate in great style. The walls, pillars and billboards of the university are festooned with this poster, replete with pictures of Lenin and Trotsky, two murderers if ever there were any (once again apologies for the incompleteness of the image; the original was printed on a typical socialist A3 sheet, which is beyond the scope of my little bourgeois scanner).

The revolution is commemorated as the event “when workers took power”. This of course is absolutely false. “Workers” of any stripe did not take power in 1917 — the bolsheviks did. There is a difference, but one which is conveniently overlooked by the enthusiasts of communism.

The poster advertises the inevitable public meeting; this is due to take place tomorrow, 7th November, in room G109 in the Newman building. Melancholicus is amused by the choice of venue. It is a medium-sized classroom, smaller than the room in which he teaches his module on early medieval Ireland. At most they can expect a crowd of between thirty and forty people, if they even get that many. Still, it is a source of relief that this toxic ideology is not more popular than it is among the students of this university.

The posters advertising this meeting have been paid for by the Socialist Party. This is a political organisation which makes no secret of its admiration for Lenin, for Trotsky and for the bolsheviks. These murderers are held up by the socialists as enlightened teachers of truth; they are presented in the incessant public meetings as examples to be admired and emulated. The Socialist Party in Ireland lacks the numbers and the political clout to impose revolution, Russian style, upon this country; nevertheless, there is no doubt that they would give their back teeth to see October 1917 taking place in Ireland. The fact that such an event taking place here is wildly improbable should not detract our attention from the sobering fact that there are those living among us in this society who ardently wish it, and who, given the opportunity, would be every bit as delighted to spill the blood of “the bourgeoisie”, the religious, the reluctant, or anybody at all less than enthusiastic about the revolution, as were Lenin, Trotsky, Guevara, and countless other utopianist killers. In such a communist paradise, Melancholicus would definitely be for the chop, and that on several grounds — he is an observant Christian, whereas the communists seek to abolish religion (every religion except Marxism-Leninism, of course). He is an academic by profession, and intellectuals of all stripes are considered far too bourgeois to be of much use to the proletariat. In any case, historical precedent shows that scholars and university professors are usually placed fairly high up on the list of those designated as potential counter-revolutionaries and are hence ripe for murder. Furthermore, Melancholicus is publicly on record, on this blog and elsewhere, as being unsympathetic to socialism.

I am wearied with asking the same question over and over again: why does our society tolerate such public sympathy for and identification with an ideology that has caused more suffering and death than any other system of totalitarian oppression in history? What would the public reaction be if such posters were to appear celebrating the anniversary of the rise to power of Adolf Hitler, or the anniversary of the Wansee conference? Yet the principle is the same. Why are we horrified by the murderers of the right, and not by the murderers of the left?

Why, in a civilized society, in which human rights and liberty ought to be upheld, is an organisation like the Socialist Party allowed to exist?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Religion of Peace update

This is a sad story. Melancholicus does not envy the stuggles of a Christian father to win justice for his violated daughter in an overwhelmingly Mohammedan land, much less the anguish of her family, never mind that of the poor girl herself.

This brings to mind that post Melancholicus wrote in response to the recent initiative for peace addressed to Christian leaders and signed by 138 Islamic scholars and religious leaders. The criticisms Melancholicus levelled against the initiative are even more pertinent now. While these Muslim leaders are to be lauded for seeking to make common cause for peace with their Christian counterparts, aren’t they forgetting something? It is all very well to talk about big political questions such as Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, war and international terrorism, but what about the day to day lives of Christians in Islamic countries, lives of people such as Razia, who are subjected to horrific human rights abuses simply because they are Christians, often with no possibility of redress? We say again: before these Islamic leaders, be they never so moderate or such decent men, presume to lecture Christians about justice and peace, let them take note of the appalling abuses visited on Christians and other non-Muslims in their respective jurisdictions, and what’s more let them actually DO SOMETHING about it raher than turning the blind eye of tacit approval. Then and only then will Melancholicus take seriously these extended olive branches.

Until words have been proven by deeds, he will turn a deaf ear to such entreaties, and shall recommend to others that they do the same.

Ironically, the same news page that reports the violence inflicted on Razia also contains a link to an article on the same letter to Christian leaders referred to above.

Underneath the main news story, links are provided to further stories of horror visited upon Christians — in many cases against Christian women — by other devout adherents of the Religion of Peace™; how brave and manly are these apostles of the prophet, when they would visit such violence against women and defenceless young girls.

Razia’s case is particularly poignant because of her forced ‘conversion’. If being raped were not trauma enough, this conversion will hang about her neck like a millstone. It means that in Islamic eyes she is now considered a Muslim, duress notwithstanding. While no Christian church would recognize forced baptism as valid, there is no such restraint in Islam. Razia is now considered to be a Muslim, which means that should she continue to live as a Christian, she will be viewed as an apostate from Islam — which could result in her legal murder by some courageous and magnanimous devotee of Allah.

How sickening.

Where is the justice for this young woman? Where is the justice for any Christian people, terrorized and assaulted by these animals?

As for the signatories of this letter for peace: go and eat your lying words. I hope you choke.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The true face of socialism - yet again!

Lest we forget — this from Catholic World News:

Imprisoned Viet Catholic priest denied Bible, sacramental wine

Hanoi, Oct. 31, 2007 ( - A Vietnamese Catholic priest, imprisoned for "spreading propaganda against the socialist state," is being denied access to the Bible, pens and papers, and wine for celebrating Mass behind bars.

The BosNewsLife service, which provides news of Christian prisoners of conscience, reports that Father Nguyen Van Ly remains in solitary confinement in a prison camp in northern Vietnam. The jailed priest has warned his sister that she should not put his clerical title on packages sent to him, because prison authorities refuse to recognize his priestly status. The reason, he explained, is that the government insists that it "does not imprison the Church's people."

Father Ly was sentenced to an 8-year prison term in March 2007, after a court found him guilty of criticizing the Vietnamese government and sending his criticisms to pro-democracy workers abroad.

Father Ly, who has now spent 14 years in prison, gained international prominence in 2001 with a letter to a US congressional committee in which he detailed human-rights abuses in Vietnam and argued against American approval of a bilateral trade pact.

Human rights abuses, you say, in a socialist state? How could that even be possible, since the dogmas of marxism are guaranteed to yield an earthly utopia to all who live by them? Time and again we see the socialists reveal themselves in their true colours. Father Ly has been punished for failing to joyously affirm the socialist hegemony with a remarkable abuse of his human rights. He has committed no crime. Except that in a socialist state, it is a criminal act to express criticism or disapproval of socialism.

For all its trenchant atheism, socialism is nothing else than a religious cult writ large. The “proletariat” is its god, and marxism is its dogma. Political theorists and revolutionary demagogues are its priesthood. Its sacraments are bloody purges, show trials, imprisonments, confiscations and executions. It commands a kind of absolute obedience to and total trust in its leaders found in no Church, and it does not tolerate even the existence of any religion different to its own.

And now Melancholicus really must stop harping on about socialism, or he’ll never write anything else.

Whose fault is that, then?

From Catholic World News:

Quebec's loss of faith seen triggering social problems

Quebec, Oct. 31, 2007 ( - The people of Quebec "really need to rediscover their religious identity," Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec City told a public commission on October 30.

Speaking at hearings on the challenges that immigration has posed to Quebec French-speaking culture, Cardinal Ouellet said that the problem of cultural identity can be traced back to "the malaise of the Catholic majority, which needs to find a religious reference point."

The cardinal said that the secularizing trends of the past generation have deprived Quebec of its cultural heritage, leading to a general breakdown in traditional society. Cardinal Ouellet pointed to the rise in divorce, the drop in births, and the frequency of abortion and suicide as indications of this social breakdown.

"Quebec is ripe for a profound new evangelization," the cardinal concluded.

So, as the title of this post asks, whose fault is that then? Whom may we arraign for the secularisation of Quebec, which before the effects of the Second Vatican Council was one of the most Catholic parts of the world?

Could the Canadian bishops possibly be to blame, might we ask? Cardinal Ouellet might more profitably address himself to his brothers in the episcopate than to a public commission, which is an arm of the secular power in any case.

Canada is so completely secularized and so dominated by the left anyway that Melancholicus is surprised that Cardinal Ouellet could publicly make the connection between the collapse of religious faith and the rise of severe social problems without being hanged, drawn and quartered, or at the very least shouted down by howls of protest. To read the last despairing posts of this refugee before she fled abroad seeking asylum in Britain is a sobering reminder of how far from civilization Canada has slipped in the past forty years.

And Quebec, which was the most Catholic part of Canada before the asteroid hit, has now become a sewer of social decay.

Letter from the abbé de Nantes to His Holiness Benedict XVI

From the October edition of the CRC journal:

Most Holy Father,

The pride of the reformers who, in past centuries, always came up against the holy fidelity of the apostolic Magisterium to Christ her Founder, has received today from the supreme Authority full scope to «renovate» our traditional Church and, by means of a conclusive «aggiornamento», to bring her back to the Gospel, to purify her of all in her that bore the trace of age-old imperfection, to correct all that repelled the modern world and contravened its demands. Thus, the glorious pioneers of this reform of the Church plan to present her at last to men in conformity with the Utopia of which they have long dreamt. The modern pioneers have succeeded the alleged Reformers of the sixteenth century, Protestants driven out of the Church on account of their schism and heresy, and thus reduced to attacking her from without. They have succeeded the Modernists who secretly plotted to change the Faith and the institutions of the Church by acting from within, but against a Hierarchy that reproved them – in the encyclical Pascendi (1907), in the Letter on the Sillon (1910), and in the encyclical Humani Generis (1950). Since 11 October 1962 these commissioned Reformers have succeeded. The work of these conciliar Fathers or periti (theologians) consists of reinterpreting the dogmas, revising morality, and modernising rites and discipline, and the Hierarchy itself considers it in its principle and in its most general form of «renewal» as inspired and directed by «the Spirit». The Roman Church, which yesterday was still «one, holy, Catholic and apostolic», is thus «in a state of permanent reform».

In this drift that is carrying her far from her place of origin, in this transfiguration (or disfigurement) of her historical being, in this opening to the world, one fact requires the attention of Your Holiness, that of the division of the Church, in hearts and in minds. The understanding of a concept cannot evolve without its extension varying to the same degree. The «people of God» of the New Reform is no longer exactly the same as the faithful Catholic people of not so long ago. Those who claim to find the rule of their mentality and of their new habits in Man’s Future necessarily separate themselves from those who have forever and fully found it in the Christian Past. Let us leave the indistinct mass of the flock that accepts everything – the old and the new – with blind obedience and blind faith. Their unthinking consent, whether passive or solicited by the authorities of the hour, proves nothing significant. The fact of the division is blatant at the extremes.

... This division is not material or superficial. It is spiritual and formal. There exist among us two religions in a single Church: the unchangeable dogmatic one and the modern pastoral one, that of Catholicism and that of ecumenism, that of the cult of God in Jesus Christ and, in the words of Paul VI, your predecessor, that of the cult of Man in the world. These two religions are not identical; the latter does not emerge from the former by logical development. Moreover, it claims to manifest better than the other one the true and pure Gospel.

... We must acknowledge the fact that there is a rupture in historical Tradition, by the superimposition or substitution of one religious faith for another. No «hermeneutic of continuity» can preclude the fact that there is a dramatic split in Catholic society between the adherents of the ancient allegiance and the devotees of the new.

Modernism cannot be brought into conformity with the deposit of the faith; the New Church is built on the ruins of the Ancient one. This Reform is opposed in general and in detail to Tradition, just as its so-called new “good” and pastoral “perfection” is opposed to the age-old “evil” and ancient “sin” of the Church. Thus, there is salvation only in casting into oblivion, abolishing, retracting all these worldly fashions and fables that will have momentarily overshadowed the divine Mystery of the Holy Church.

Retract the Second Vatican Council? Yes!

... The whole work of the Council was warped. Theologians, a council, even a pope, St. Paul would say “an angel”, no one has the inspiration nor the grace to reform what Jesus Christ himself instituted and to abolish what the Holy Spirit created throughout the centuries. The religious power of the hierarchy ends at the threshold of this sacrilege, which in itself is null and void. Guardians and Doctors of the faith, Pastors entrusted with bringing about the salvation of souls through the grace and the law of Christ, the reigning Pope and bishops alive today are not, according to St. Francis of Sales, the landlords of the Church but its administrators. They have not received, nor will they ever receive the mission to carry out the metamorphosis of her, and the revolutionary formula repeated everywhere of a “new Church for a new world” does not come from God. Christ is the cornerstone of the Church, and no one else. A single Pentecost sufficed; any other one could only come from another Spirit, from an Antichrist.

... One should leave no room for revolution. The wind from so many speeches will soon raise a storm that no one will be able to boast that he can calm. All that remains is to retrace one’s way from this whole programme of reform in order to disavow and abandon it as an unprecedented, impracticable and, what is more, illegitimate endeavour.

One does not reform the Church.

Read it all.

Enola Gay pilot dies aged 92

Tibbets waves goodbye from the cockpit before departing for JapanGen. Paul Tibbets passed away peacefully at his home in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday 1st November. He was 92 years of age.

Tibbets is most famous—or notorious, depending on one’s point of view—as having been, as a lieutenant colonel in 1945, the pilot of the Enola Gay, the B-29 bomber which delivered the atomic bomb to Hiroshima.

This was the first of only two occasions in which nuclear weapons have been used against human beings in their 62-year history.

Arguments pro and contra have been raised ever since the bombing took place, and Melancholicus will not rehearse them here; they can be found in print and in many corners of the internet by those who care to look for them.

The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima photgraphed by Bob Caron, tail-gunner of the Enola GayRegardless of how blessedly convenient was the atomic bomb as the device which finally brought World War II to its overdue end, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki cannot be morally justified. The full effects of a nuclear attack on an urban population were unknown before August 1945, but those who ordered the bombings or who argued that they ought to take place at least knew enough: they knew that these devices would cause massive destruction and the deaths of countless otherwise innocent people.

Hiroshima after the bombTo his dying day, Tibbets was unrepentant over his role in the destruction of Hiroshima. He never expressed any remorse, at least not publicly. As far as he was concerned, he did no more than his duty as a soldier. However, the persistent vilification he has endured from opponents of the bombing, and which has dogged him for over sixty years, must have been a torment to him, and may well have played its part in hardening his view of his own role in the affair.

It being now the month of November (today in fact is All Souls’ day), it would be a kindness to say two prayers for the souls of the departed — the first for those who perished as a result of that terrible blast on 6th August 1945, and from its cumulative after-effects; the second for the repose of Paul Tibbets, whose soul is now in the hands of God in eternity.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace.

The commemoration of All Souls

Today is the commemoration of All Souls, one of only two days in the year on which every priest has the privilege of celebrating three Masses. The faithful are encouraged to remember the Church suffering in this month of November, and to assist the holy souls by praying and having Masses said for their relief.

An indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed. The indulgence is plenary each day from 1st to 8th of November; on other days of the year it is partial.

A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who on the day dedicated to the commemoration of all the faithful departed [November 2, as well as on the Sunday preceding or following, and on All Saints’ Day] piously visit a church. In visiting the church it is required that one Our Father and the Creed be recited.

To acquire a plenary indulgence it is necessary also to fulfill the following three conditions: sacramental confession, eucharistic communion, and prayer for the intention of the Holy Father. The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the visit; it is, however, fitting that communion be received and the prayer for the intention of the Holy Father be said on the same day as the visit.

The condition of praying for the intention of the Holy Father is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary. A plenary indulgence can be acquired only once in the course of the day.

Melancholicus also wishes to take this opportunity to plug the Friends of the Suffering Souls, of which he is a member, and to recommend membership of this worthy and pious association to his readers.

We will not quote here the Introit and Collect of the Mass of today’s commemoration, since there are three of them, and they can be read in any missal. Instead, Melancholicus will pick up the story from where he left it yesterday.

Having attended the Mass of All Saints in the university chapel on November 1st some years ago, Melancholicus returned to the same place the following day for the Mass of All Souls. The same young chaplain celebrated the Mass; so ill at ease was he with the Catholic doctrine of the Four Last Things that, upon being reminded by a member of the congregation before Mass began that an indulgence was offered for the benefit of the holy souls, and having been invited to inform the congregation of that fact, he stammered out the words almost apologetically, as though he were recounting some ancient superstition in which he had no belief and would prefer never to have mentioned. He seemed rather to prefer a doctrine of two last things, namely death and heaven. Judgement never entered the equation, and of course purgatory was never mentioned, never mind hell.

The previous day this same priest had defined the feast of All Saints as that of “all the saints in the general calendar”. Now he defined the ‘feast’ of All Souls as “the feast of all our relatives in heaven, and those saints who are not named in the general calendar.”

This was a clear perversion of the meaning of All Souls day, and Melancholicus was shocked. All Souls day is not a feast as such. Mass is offered on that day not to commemorate some saint or plurality of saints, named or otherwise, but to give relief to the suffering souls — IN PURGATORY. Now the suffering souls are indeed saints, or at least they will be — when they reach heaven, which they will in time. But they are not there yet, and it does them much more good to be prayed for than to be prayed to, despite the best efforts of Father chaplain to fudge the significance of today’s liturgy. Furthermore, it may be that not all of our departed relatives are in heaven, and it is presumptious of Father to tell us that they are. Melancholicus has observed the same phenomenon at work in contemporary funeral liturgies, in which the newly-deceased is assumed by all and sundry — clergy and laity alike — to be gloriously reigning in celestial beatitude. That explains the exasperating frequency of white vestments and alleluias appearing — ever so incongruously — at funeral Masses. But the deceased may not be in heaven, and to believe as a matter of course that he is may deprive the soul of much sustenance and comfort. This blatantly non-Catholic theology of death and salvation which has mushroomed throughout the Church since the days of the council ensures that many souls will remain forgotten in purgatory, with no one to pray for them, since it sows in the minds of modern Catholics the horrendously mistaken idea that salvation is a foregone conclusion — that is, if they even believe in an afterlife at all.

This episode was the beginning of Melancholicus’ disenchantment with not only the new liturgy, but every doctrinal, theological and pastoral novelty that had been foisted upon the Church since the overthrow of her Tradition forty years ago.

Priests fear sacramental wine could tip them over the driving limit

This is a story which properly belongs to the silly season, yet all the Irish media outlets seem to be taking it up. The version of the story presented on the website of Newstalk 106 (complete with spelling errors) is the most contemptible of all, but this coverage by Patsy McGarry of the Irish Times is not much better, at least from the perspective of Catholic theological acumen:

Priests fear altar wine may tip them over driving limit

Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent

Concerns have been expressed that priests celebrating more than one Mass in a day could soon find themselves over the legal limit for drink driving.

Enniskillen-based Fr Brian D'Arcy said the issue was already a concern among some priests in the North, which, like the Republic, is actively considering a reduction in the blood alcohol limit for drivers.

"The shortage of priests has resulted in those who are currently ministering having to say multiple Masses, and often drive from church to church to do so, having drunk from the chalice in each church," he said.

"Perhaps it [celebrating a number of Masses] could be enough for you to fail a drink driving test, and while I don't like to use the word wine, as it is the precious blood in the Eucharist, it still has all the characteristics of wine when in the blood stream," said Fr D'Arcy.

He pointed out that the use of non-alcoholic wine was not an option, as it was not allowed by the Vatican, even where alcoholic priests were concerned.

Fr D'Arcy said he always felt bad himself when getting into a car after celebrating a number of Masses. "As a pioneer myself I am conscious of the danger now that there is zero tolerance here in Northern Ireland of alcohol for people who are driving, and I assume the zero rule is due soon in the South as well," he said.

"Perhaps a small amount would not show up in blood tests but only medically qualified people can decide that. After doing several Masses I often have to drive off immediately to visit some person who may be very ill in hospital," said Fr D'Arcy.

Both the Republic and the North currently have the same blood alcohol limit for drivers of 80mg/100ml, but a reduction in the limit on both sides of the Border is expected within 18 months.

Fr D'Arcy was responding to a Tuam Herald report which quoted a north Galway priest as saying that, while he often had three ministers of the Eucharist at some Masses, he sometimes had to finish the wine left over in their chalices as well as his own.

This, he felt, could put him over the legal limit for driving.

"I would often have to read an evening Mass in the church as well as another one in a nearby nursing home and then drive to celebrate a neighbourhood Mass, all in one evening," he said.

"If I only took a mouthful of wine from the chalice at all three Masses I feel that this could put me over the legal limit for driving. But if a call comes in that somebody is nearing death, I have no choice but drive to where that person is and give him or her the last rites," he said.

© 2007 The Irish Times

Brian D’Arcy, for all his dissent from the teachings of the Catholic Church, actually presents us here with the authentic Catholic teaching on the eucharist; credit where credit is due.

The use of non-alcoholic wine is not permitted in the celebration of Mass since it would not constitute valid matter, and the sacrament would not therefore be confected.

Melancholicus wonders who this “north Galway priest” is, who apparently engages routinely in the doubtful and definitely-to-be-discouraged practice of offering holy communion to the laity under both kinds. What kind of priest entrusts an ‘extraordinary’ minister with the chalice anyway? But then, in these conciliar times...

If this priest is worried about his blood alcohol level, let him abolish this novel and un-traditional practice in his parish instead of complaining to the press about it.

Melancholicus was vexed most of all by the content of text messages sent to Newstalk 106, which he heard read over the radio while driving to the university. Without exception they displayed a total lack of comprehension of the Catholic doctrine of the eucharist and the Mass. One correspondent stated openly that she did not believe in orthodox eucharistic doctrine even though it is a central tenet of what she called “our faith”, and even seemed to believe that, since the clergy were worried about being intoxicated by the Precious Blood, this implied that the clergy did not believe in it either! Her logic is hardly any stronger than her faith. None of the correspondents seemed to know anything about transubstantiation; all, without exception, referred to the Precious Blood, post-consecration, as “wine”.

But we must not be surprised at such a state of affairs. Such has been the abysmal state of catechetics in Catholic schools since the 1970s, as well as the almost ubiqitous reluctance of the clergy to actually teach the Catholic faith that nobody, not even Catholics, knows what the Catholic faith is any more.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Gaudeamus omnes in Domino: the feast of All Saints

Today, November 1st, is the feast of All Saints, and a holy day of obligation throughout the Church universal.


Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival day in honor of all the Saints: at whose solemnity the Angels rejoice, and give praise to the Son of God. Ps. Rejoice in the Lord, ye just: praise becometh the upright.


Almighty and everlasting God, Who hast enabled us to honour in one solemn feast the merits of all Thy Saints: we beseech Thee, that, with so many praying for us, Thou wouldst pour forth upon us the abundance of Thy mercy for which we long. Through our Lord.

In the days when Melancholicus used to attend the rite known as Novus Ordo Missae, there occurred some seven or eight years ago a liturgical ‘incident’ at the university where Melancholicus was a student, and it has remained fixed in his memory ever since. This incident was in two parts, the first of which took place on All Saints’ day, in the university chapel. The young chaplain who celebrated the Mass at which Melancholicus assisted described today’s solemnity as “the feast of all the saints in the Roman calendar”. Now at that time Melancholicus was a younger, greener, happier, more foolish and more callow young man than he is today, but he was still struck by such a blatant error of liturgical fact in the mouth of an ordained priest. As its name implies, the festival of All Saints commemorates all the saints (as this article in the Catholic Encyclopedia makes clear), not just those famous worthies who are named in the general calendar—and who all have their own feast day anyway. It turned out that the chaplain had an agenda, although this agenda would not become clear until the following day—the commemoration of All Souls. Father’s inaccurate description of the former feast was simply to prepare the ground for his even more inaccurate (and some might say outrageous) summation of what the commemoration of All Souls is all about.

We will take up the story at that point tomorrow, but knowing the foibles of poorly-trained and half-Catholic Novus Ordo clergy, the reader has probably guessed already what is coming.

November 1st is also officially the first day of winter, although it is unseasonably mild at present; it is likely that Melancholicus will be mowing his mother’s lawn after Mass this coming Saturday.