Monday, June 30, 2008

Twenty years ago today

Whatever the reader may think of the above-pictured event, there is no doubt that it sent a message straight to the heart of the conciliar church. It is possible, likely even, that the oft-cited ‘state of emergency’ did indeed exist in the late 1980s; the Society of St. Pius X was at that time the only priestly organisation that was training priests for the old religion and, as it turned out, Archbishop Lefebvre would be dead three years later. Under such circumstances, it may be argued that the consecrations were necessary. The question of the protocol rejected by the Archbishop shall not be entered upon here.

But what of now? What prevents you, O bishops, from returning to full communion with the Apostolic See?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

O, horrible! O, horrible! O, most horrible!

Further to my post on the forthcoming Eucharistic Congress in Dublin below.

We—the Catholic faithful of this island of Ireland—have at least four years to prepare for it. Thank God for this time; let us not waste it. Let us petition the archdiocese of Dublin to the end that the whacked-out, wild-eyed, Vat2-hugging, media-loving, greying boomer neo-litnik slimeballs shall not crawl out from under their respective rocks and be granted the liberty to hijack what should be a solemn and sacred occasion and turn it into the sort of impious parade of contrived, narcissistic, self-worshipping, perverted, pseudo-catholic, anti-liturgical, pop-arty nonsensical conciliar goof-ballery that we are horrified to discover was inflicted on the recent Eucharistic Congress in Quebec.

Go here and here if you want the gory details.

But if the conciliar church should go ahead with its own blasphemous programme—as it will, despite the anguished pleas of the faithful; Melancholicus finds it remarkable how the conciliar church blathers on and on about being a 'listening' church, seeking to 'collaborate' with the laity, but then turns around and savagely upbraids lay people for daring to criticize the non-Catholic nonsense that goes on routinely in their parishes and dioceses—faithful Catholics should boycott this impious event and should neither by their attendance give credibility to it, nor seem thereby to signal their approval of its juvenilia.

Pray God that the conciliar church may not hijack the Eucharistic Congress, an event which belongs to Christ and to the Catholic Church, not to drivelling heretics and secularizing fifth-columnists. Pray God also that it may please Him finally to restore to us the religion of our fathers, that the Church may be to us once more the spotless bride of the Lamb, and that He might remove from our midst the suppurating carbuncle that is the conciliar church, an institution that is nothing less than the ecclesiastical version of haemorrhoids, a hideous changeling smeared with excrement and unbeholdable offals, that, having slouched towards Bethlehem to be born, now usurps even the cradle of the Divine Infant Himself.

Melancholicus now thoroughly regrets that this sacrilege against Our Lord’s greatest gift to His Church will take place in Dublin.

What a contrast it shall be to 1932!

O horrible, O horrible, O most horrible!

I am lost for words.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

2012 Eucharistic Congress to take place in Dublin

This announcement comes from the Catholic Communications Office in Ireland. Melancholicus has added his own comments below in red.

Dublin to host the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in 2012

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has announced today (22 June) that Dublin will host the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in 2012.

Pope Benedict's announcement was broadcast live from Rome as part of his homily during the final Mass of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress, the final event in a week-long Church celebration in Quebec city.

Attending the Congress in Quebec city, Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, welcomed the news: "On behalf of the Catholic faithful of Ireland, we are honoured and humbled that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has chosen Dublin to host the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in 2012. While the theme for the next Congress has yet to be finalised, we are deeply conscious that 2012 also marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council [Melancholicus has grown weary—and more than a little annoyed—with the profoundly misplaced awe in which the last council is held by so many of our fathers in God. Why must they always refer EVERYTHING back to it, as though it were the summit and source of all revelation? Can they not place it in its proper perspective as merely one (decidedly mediocre) council among twenty others that have taken place in the history of the Church? I fear we shall not have a restoration of a true sensus fidei until bishops and archbishops are no longer blinded by the glorious and heavenly light they imagine streaming forth still, after nearly half a century, from The Greatest Council Of All TimeTM].

"The purpose of the Congress is to deepen our knowledge of the Eucharist which in itself is central to our Catholic faith. The Church received the Eucharist from the Lord. The Eucharist is the source and summit of the life of every follower of Jesus. We ask the faithful to pray to the Holy Spirit and that its work will lead us all to a greater appreciation of the presence of Jesus in our midst, for love of us, in the gift of the Eucharist [Sound sentiments indeed. But is it not passing odd that it is here thrust upon the Holy Ghost to repair the damage wrought by the Irish bishops' own catechetical and liturgical policies ever since 'renewal' was thrust upon us? I guess it is left to Daddy to clean up the horrendous mess after the kiddies have spent the last forty years playing in their own faeces. Do these prelates not have any inkling why the knowledge and practice of religion among the Catholic faithful in this country is at an all time low, or why esteem for the Eucharist has all but vanished from our churches? Our shepherds are supposed to teach us the truth about the Eucharist. This is not best served when expensively-produced catechetical pap fails to pass on the truths of the faith to Catholic schoolchildren, or when churches are 're-ordered' in such a way that the tabernacle is banished to the sidelines, or even to a glorified broom closet. Likewise, reverence for the Blessed Sacrament is not well served when the sacred sacrifice of Calvary is masked beneath a tasteless modern(ist) liturgy redolent of a community jamboree. Who do the bishops think they're fooling? If they're fooling anyone, it's most probably themselves].

"The hosting of the Congress in Dublin will be an international event. The celebration will attract thousands of pilgrims and will enable Catholics at home and abroad to meet, pray together and discuss issues of faith.

"This is the second time that Dublin and Ireland plays host to the International Eucharistic Congress. The 1932 Congress in Dublin was considered an organisational success and it publicly showcased Catholic faith in the newly established State. We live in different times now and it is our hope that the 2012 Congress will be an opportunity for the Catholic Church in Ireland to both reflect on the centrality of the Eucharist at the heart of our increasingly diverse community [Merely to 'reflect on the centrality of the Eucharist', without explaining to the thoroughly confused and de-catechized Catholics of our time what precisely the Eucharist is and why it is so important? Melancholicus here prophesies that the 'increasingly diverse community' will receive far more extensive consideration than Catholic teaching on the Eucharist and the sacrifice of the Mass], and, to give renewed impetus to the living of faith [would that be the Catholic faith or the conciliar faith, your worships?].

"Our planning for the 2012 Congress will be guided by Article 20 of the Statutes of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses (1986), which stipulates that: 'In preparing a Congress, emphasis is laid mainly on an intense catechesis on the Eucharist as the Paschal Mystery of Christ…, on active and conscious participation in the Liturgy…, and on a careful choice of initiatives and the diligent implementation of social ministries, in such a way that the Eucharistic table may be a sign of solidarity and sharing with the poor.' [Here, alas, is the answer to the question Melancholicus posed at the end of the previous paragraph.]

"Accordingly, over the next four years, parishes are invited to suggest how best to celebrate the 2012 Congress. In all our preparations we shall continue to: promote renewal of faith; bear witness for the Gospel [doubtless by calling for social justice, something any marxist heathen could do]; and, communicate the principle that the Eucharist represents the community professing itself as belonging to the Lord [at first Melancholicus misread the 'community professing itself' as 'the community worshipping itself' and thought, in amazement, that the conciliar church had at last let the cat out of the bag and frankly admitted what was really going on at their liturgies. One would not be overly surprised, since that sort of thing is exactly what transpires in so many churches where the Spirit of Vatican IITM holds sway. But what the text actually says is not a million miles removed from Melancholicus' original misreading. For this 'definition', if such it be, of the holy Eucharist is frighteningly reminiscent of the heretical article 7 of the 1969 Institutio Generalis of the new Roman Missal that defined the Mass as merely a 'synaxis' or shared community meal. There is no mention whatever of the sacrificial nature of the Mass, or of the nature of the Eucharist as the body, blood, soul and divinity of the Lord Jesus. In fact authentic Catholic Eucharistic teaching is so thoroughly disregarded by this press release that the text contains absolutely nothing to which protestants could possibly take exception! Melancholicus for one finds that remarkable. Not surprising... but nonetheless remarkable].

"Finally, we wish to congratulate Cardinal Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec, and his fellow clergy, religious and laity of Canada on the quality of the reflections and liturgical events which all contributed to a very successful Congress in Quebec. The daily Masses, workshops [!], witness reflections, discussions and adoration of the Eucharist made for a joyous week while leaving a lasting impression on all the pilgrims who attended this special event."


A pox upon these conciliar prelates, and upon all their houses.

While Melancholicus is not old enough to remember the 1932 Eucharistic Congress, he is intimately familiar with it since in his boyhood he chanced upon an old picture-book of the same while holidaying in his grandparents’ house one summer.

Many years later, when both of his grandparents had died, Melancholicus and his mother were clearing out their vacant house as it was due to be sold. It was a sad task, filled with many memories. It was not a big job as they were poor people, and aside from a few old bits of furniture, they owned little else. Melancholicus was at that time discerning the beginnings of a possible vocation to the priesthood, and so he retained for a keepsake all that his grandparents had owned that pertained to the Catholic faith — medals, scapulars, rosaries, prayer books, pictures, holy cards and of course the picture-book of the 1932 Eucharistic Congress.

Many times he has read through that book, even during those years of his adolescence in which he cared nothing particularly for the things of God and of religion, and the images therefrom are imprinted on his mind. Even in the days of his heathendom he was captivated by the sight of the vast crowds, the children turned out in their first holy communion finery, the sight of our political and military leaders kneeling—yes, kneeling—on the bare ground for the Apostolic legate’s Mass in the Phoenix Park; they had faith in those days. The photographs (all black-and-white of course), with their capture forever of the old-fashioned dress, motor vehicles and architecture of the 1930s, and of so many people, most of whom would have been long dead by the time Melancholicus found the book, made the scene romantic as a lost world into which one might enter as though by means of the wardrobe in C. S. Lewis’ Narnia stories. Of course the reality of 1932 was decidedly less romantic than it appears in Melancholicus’ picture-book; Ireland was then a desperately poor country, with a sky-high rate of child mortality (especially from TB), alcoholism, and unemployment. But what a breathtaking contrast with today’s third-rate tat were the beautiful vestments of the clergy, the lacy surplices and rochets, the flowing robes of the assembled prelates and of the papal legate Cardinal Lauri! The Irish Free State was at that time only ten years old. The Second World War had not yet come, but is was soon, as Our Lady had prophesied at Fatima, as Pius XI was at that time on the throne of Peter. Among sundry other oddities, this pontiff was enthusiastic about convoking an ecumenical council to finish the work of the Vatican Council that had been suspended indefinitely owing to the occupation of Rome by Italian forces in 1870. His advisers ultimately dissuaded him from this project, convincing the pontiff that the time was not opportune, nor would the Church stand to gain from a council. ’Tis a pity indeed that John XXIII’s advisers were not able so to convince their man!

So the recent announcement that the next Eucharistic Congress will be held in Dublin was momentous news.

When Melancholicus heard the news, his first reaction was a flash of delight.

Nevertheless, he must admit to mixed feelings about the proposed event. Given the state of the Church today, and especially the ruin of the liturgy, it can hardly top the 1932 Congress—or even come close to it.

One should start as one means to go on, and the announcement of the 2012 Congress in the above release from the Catholic Communications Office, replete as it is with buzzwords, jargon and studied ambiguity, is not the kind of beginning which makes for a good end.

In the first instance, the event will furnish our enemies with endless scope for sneering and for blasphemies against the Catholic faith. As at any prominent and public Catholic event, all the dissidents and politicised self-interest groups will slither out from beneath the leaf litter and court the attention of the media, who will be only too happy to oblige. All the old chestnuts will be raised; the journalists—both unbaptised and apostates alike—will pack countless column inches with tedious and predictable ‘debates’ about Catholic teaching on contraception, homosexuality, clerical celibacy, women’s ordination, etc. etc. etc. to such an extent that the Congress itself will be forgotten.

This unhappy state of affairs would obtain even were holy Church in a state of robust health, but given her current ailing condition, weakened by the widespread loss of faith and the lack of clarity in Catholic teaching characteristic of our time, these negative effects can only be amplified accordingly.

While it is unlikely that Melancholicus will himself witness the 2012 Eucharistic Congress at first hand, since he will then be living in Washington with his wife, it is of great concern to him that such an event in the diocese in which he was baptized and confirmed should at least be edifying. He does not expect it to top the Congress of 1932; but he hopes it shall not prove itself to a be a shameful embarrassment at which Catholic teaching shall be obscured in favour of the maxims of contemporary political correctness, or that its liturgies shall feature creepy giant puppets or other unseemly spectacles more suited to the circus tent than to the sacrifice of calvary, along with pop music and rock guitars in place of traditional hymns and solemn chant.

Otherwise the whole event will have been a fruitless—and no doubt expensive—waste of time.

Pauline year to be inaugurated at vespers on June 28th

From Catholic World News:

Ecumenical Vespers service to open Pauline year

Rome, Jun. 24, 2008 ( - A special year dedicated to St. Paul will be inaugurated on June 28, with a Vespers service at the Roman basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls, the Vatican has announced.

Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) will preside at the evening service. The Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople will participate in the event to open the Pauline year.

Melancholicus must admit that his first reaction having seen the headline of this story was a most decided Yuck!, but having read the story itself he must aver that the headline is inappropriate, for “ecumenical vespers” conjures up cringe-making memories of those ghastly interreligious get-togethers of the previous pontificate, in which the Vicar of Christ used to rub shoulders with pro-abort Lutheran bishoppesses and pro-homosexual liberal Anglicans in watered-down interfaith ‘liturgies’ the contents of which were specially crafted so as not to offend the sensibilities of whatever persons of all faiths or none that might be in attendance.

Thank God the basilica of St. Paul is to be spared such nonsense, since it appears that this will actually be a celebration of the office of Vespers (doubtless in Latin, perhaps with bits in liturgical Greek owing to the presence of the Orthodox patriarch) but without the Lutheran pro-aborts and the liberal Anglicans (who will all be at Lambeth instead, won’t they?), and furthermore without the bongo-drums, feathered head-dresses and sari-wearing Hindoos beloved of the former papal MC.

The Society of St. Pius X and reconciliation

Rumours are flying around — as they have been doing on a regular basis since 2001 — of an impending reconciliation between the Holy See and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X. Melancholicus does not pay much attention to these rumours, since he does not believe that the SSPX will ever return to full communion with the Church en bloc, any more than, say, the Lutheran or Anglican churches will reconcile with Rome in such fashion. Schism may hurt in the beginning, but one grows accustomed to it after a while, and ultimately it begins to feel comfortable and natural. One of the perks of schism is that one is free to do one’s own thing without having to worry about the approval of ecclesiastical superiors, diocesan ordinaries, or the Vatican.

Nevertheless, although the prospects for the regularisation of the SSPX seem unlikely, Melancholicus has chosen to reproduce this Catholic World News story on Infelix Ego, even though the original report in Il Giornale has not yet been verified, not because he wishes to address the predicted regularization, but because this story makes reference to a subject that claims his interest, and upon which he feels drawn to comment.

It concerns Vatican II, and the authority thereof. The reader will easily spot the words in question. Emphasis in the story below is my own.

Vatican proposal to regularize SSPX?

Rome, Jun. 24, 2008 ( - The Italian daily Il Giornale reports that Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) has approved an offer to the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) that could heal the breach between the Holy See and the traditionalist group.

The Vatican’s offer requires a response from the SSPX by June 28, Il Giornale says. The offer was apparently explained by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos (bio - news), the president of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, during a recent meeting with Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior general of the SSPX.

[Note: CWNews has been unable to confirm the report in Il Giornale. Rumors of Vatican efforts to regularize the status of the SSPX have persisted for months.]

Il Giornale says that the accord proposed by the Vatican has two stipulations: the SSPX would be required to recognize the authority of Vatican II teachings and to affirm the validity of the Novus Ordo Mass. The late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the founder of the SSPX, had accepted both of those terms before his break with the Vatican in 1986.

The Vatican proposes the erection of a traditionalist prelature, Il Giornale reports. This prelature would allow the SSPX to continue its work and to train its own seminarians.

So let’s get this straight. At least according to Il Giornale, the two conditions of regularization are that the SSPX 1) “recognize the authority of Vatican II teachings” and 2) “affirm the validity of the Novus Ordo Mass”.

The second of these conditions is straightforward. The Novus Ordo is a valid rite of Mass. End of story. Archbishop Lefebvre himself regarded it as such, and so have the Roman pontiffs from Paul VI down to the present incumbent of the Apostolic See. Unless they wish to come out of the sedevacantist closet, the adherents of the SSPX should have no problem affirming it also.

But it is the first condition that Melancholicus finds particularly interesting — and due to its inherent ambiguity, most irritating. What, exactly, does recognizing “the authority of Vatican II teachings” mean? And what teachings, precisely, are intended in this stipulation?

It is a standard rebuke levelled against Traditionalists—even those of us in perfect communion with the Church—that we are “against Vatican II” and that as a consequence we are schismatic and disobedient. But can those who reproach us with this charge explain to us precisely wherein the schism and disobedience lies? Does “recognizing the authority of Vatican II teachings” imply that the council is, for Catholics, beyond criticism? Does a less-than-rosy view of the council and its after-effects imply disobedience or a schismatic attitude in the mind of one who holds it? Is resistance to the flood of radical novelties and the disastrous opening to the world sufficient to put one outside the Church, even if one only thinks it?

In the eyes of some, it would seem so.

Now Melancholicus himself is “against the council”, at least in the sense that he regards it as the worst disaster to have befallen the Church since the days of the Reformation, but he is nevertheless in perfect communion with the Church, having denied no doctrine of faith or morals that has been defined as de fide for the Catholic faithful. It is incumbent upon those who would charge him with schism to answer the following two questions:

1. What does Vatican II require me to believe that I would not have been required to believe before 1965?
2. What does Vatican II require me to do that I would not have been required to do before 1965?

If the answer to both of those questions is nothing, as I firmly believe it is, then there is no case to answer, and the issue of obedience to Vatican II is a party political matter rather than a doctrinal one. If the answer to either one of those questions is anything other than nothing, then I for one would dearly love to hear it.

Now the SSPX may be in schism, but this is due to illicit episcopal consecrations which occurred in 1988, and not because of anything their bishops, priests or other adherents may have said or written about Vatican II. As far as their attitude to Vatican II goes, it should be sufficient for them—and for all Traditionalists—simply to profess that Vatican II was an ecumenical council of the Church, validly convoked by lawful authority, whose documents were validly promulgated, and which taught no formal heresy.

This much Melancholicus himself believes concerning the council.

But he does not, nor will he ever, believe that Vatican II was a good thing, let alone a blessing; and there does not exist an office in the Church, not even the Papacy itself, which has the authority to make him so believe.

Holy Father: those who fear God need never fear other men

This story about the Holy Father’s public audience last Sunday comes from — where else? — Catholic World News:

Fear of God banishes fear of man, Pope notes

Vatican, Jun. 23, 2008 ( - Fear of God is completely unlike the “existential fear” of modern man, Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) told his midday audience on Sunday, June 22.

The Holy Father observed that in the day’s Gospel, Jesus contrasts fear of God with fear of man. Those who fear God need never fear other men, he said.

The Pope spoke about the various types of fear that are common to all humans, beginning with the fears prompted by childish imagination and going on to the realistic fears of adult life. The latter, he said, “must be faced and overcome with human commitment and trust in God.”

However, modern life is scarred by another sort of fear “which sometimes spills over into anguish,” the Pope continued. “It is It is born of a sense of emptiness, associated with a certain culture that is permeated with widespread theoretical and practical nihilism.” That fear is the enemy of faith; it is conquered by the virtue of hope.

“Fear of God, which Scripture defines as 'the beginning of true hope,’ means to have faith in Him,” the Pope explained. "Those who fear God are serene even amidst the storms.”

Looking forward to the start of the Pauline Year on June 28, Pope Benedict concluded his remarks with the observation that St. Paul’s faith was strong enough so that he “did not even fear martyrdom.”

Ah! So that’s what’s wrong with our bishops! It all makes sense now.

They have NO FEAR OF GOD!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The final referendum results

Melancholicus offers his apologies to those readers from outside the European Union, and to those who couldn’t care less about the Lisbon Treaty, but for those who have borne with him thus far there is now some good news. This (barring a radical change of political circumstances) will be his final post on Lisbon, after which we can all go home for the weekend. Melancholicus will begin posting once again on more interesting matters early next week.

Results are now in from the last of the undeclared constituencies and, as was apparent even from early this morning, Ireland has rejected the Lisbon Treaty and thrown a spanner into the works of the European Union. The EU constitution, resurrected after a fashion in the articles of Lisbon, is now well and truly dead. The French and the Dutch three years ago voted not in vain.

It’s all over now, and we can go happily back to our business now that the bugbear has been brought down. There will of course be a great deal of soul-searching in the days and weeks to come; our political leaders will be asking themselves what they did wrong, and agonising over the result like a championship team that came within a hair’s breadth of winning the cup final but was pipped at the last. Just wait and see how long it will be until the various factions within the Yes campaign begin apportioning blame among their fellows, if they have not begun this political blood-sport already. The commissars, frothing with ill-concealed fury, have already begun their snarling at the disobedient Irish electorate, but we will bear their opprobrium patiently; they can snarl all they like, but that won’t change the fact that we have shot down their sneaky attempt to overmaster us. There are rumours that some states may attempt to ratify the Treaty anyway; this seems to contradict what we were told by both Brussels and by our political leaders, to the end that the Treaty cannot go into effect unless ratified by all 27 states together.

In any case this is a setback for the commissars, but not the end of the road. If the reader remembers, the Irish electorate rejected the Treaty of Nice in a similar referendum in 2001, whereupon the referendum was put to us again — and passed — the following year. Melancholicus suspects that after a discreet interval, when the hubbub has died down, a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty will be offered to the Irish electorate — and whether they will say No a second time remains to be seen.

Now, for the record, here are the results from the last five constituencies outside Dublin:

Meath West: No (55.5% to 44.5%)
Laois/Offaly: Yes (56% to 44%)
Cork North-West: No (53.9% to 46.1%)
Cork South-West: No (55.6% to 44.4%)
Cork East: No (57% to 43%)

And the last three Dublin constituencies:

Dublin North-Central: Yes (50.6% to 49.4%)
Dublin North-East: No (56.8% to 43.2%)
Dublin North-West: No (63.6% to 36.4%)

And that all looks fairly decisive. Only four constituencies outside Dublin voted Yes overall; the result in a fifth was a dead heat. Everywhere else the No vote was clear. Even in the capital, the greatest hope of the Yes campaign, seven of the twelve Dublin constituencies rejected the Treaty. Melancholicus would actually have lost the bet referred to in the previous post, as Laois/Offaly was the last constituency to declare (and it voted Yes, it being the Taoiseach’s constituency).

What a disaster for the Irish government! What a disaster for the commissars!

But how good for Ireland, and for the people of Europe!

Further results

Outside Dublin:

Galway West rejected the Treaty by a more generous margin than Galway East (53.9% to 46.1%). Of considerable interest is that the result is tied in a dead heat in Carlow/Kilkenny — 50.0% both for and against!

In Dublin:

Three of the six inner Dublin constituencies have now returned results. Dublin Central (Bertie Ahern’s constituency incidentally) and Dublin South-Central both voted No. The more affluent Dublin South-East has voted Yes, with a margin of 61.7% to 38.3%.

Only eight constituencies left, three in Dublin and five outside Dublin. Melancholicus is still waiting on his home constituency of Dublin North-West, but if he were a betting man he would put money on one of the three outer Cork constituencies being the last in the country to declare.

Not too much longer now...

Lisbon Treaty rejected in most constituencies

As time passes, results are becoming available from more and more constituencies. What is striking is the number of constituencies that have voted No.

Outside Dublin, the only constituencies that have delivered a Yes vote are Meath East (by the slenderest margin, 50.9% to 49.1%) and Clare (by another slender margin, 51.8% to 48.2%). The only constituency outside of Dublin that has delivered a convincing Yes vote is, oddly enough, Kildare North (54.6% to 45.4%).

Every other constituency for which results were available at the time of this writing rejected the Treaty — although in some cases the result was extremely close (Wicklow, for instance, which voted No 50.2% to 49.8%).

We are still waiting on the three outlying Cork constituencies, as well as on Galway West, Laois/Offaly, Meath West and Carlow/Kilkenny.

The situation in Dublin is, as expected, a little different. Results are in for all the outer Dublin constituencies, but from not even one constituency in inner Dublin. Dublin West, Dublin Mid-West and Dublin South-West all voted No, by an ever increasing margin towards the south. Dublin North, Dublin South and Dún Laoghaire voted Yes (although the margin in Dublin North was slender — 50.6% to 49.4%).

The biggest margin in favour of the Treaty recorded so far is in Dún Laoghaire, where 63.5% of those who voted cast a Yes vote.

There are as yet no results for Melancholicus’ own constituency of Dublin North-West.

Still No

The time is 14:30.

The margin between the two sides has not narrowed, it has widened! Fully half of all constituencies have now declared a final result.

This most recent update courtesy of RTÉ:

“With results in from 21 of the 43 constituencies, the Lisbon Treaty is being beaten by a margin of 54.6% to 45.4%. That margin is expected to tighten as more results are announced, but the result is not in doubt.”

Results are now in from both Dublin South and Dún Laoghaire. As expected, both constituencies delivered a Yes vote (by margins of 62.9% to 37.1% and 63.5% to 36.5% respectively).

See the top ten Yes/No constituency results here.

The latest

The time is 14:00.

The most recent update courtesy of RTÉ:
“With results in from 10 of the 43 constituencies, the Lisbon Treaty is being beaten by a margin of 53.6% to 46.4%. That margin is expected to tighten as more results are announced, but the result is not in doubt.”

No in Dublin South-West

The time is 13:45.

With the biggest margin against the Lisbon Treaty declared in any result so far, Dublin South-West has voted No at 65-35. This is a predominately working-class constituency, and socialists and other lefties tend to do well in elections here. Accordingly, the electorate’s rejection of the Treaty is no surprise.

We still await the results from the much more affluent Dublin South and Dún Laoghaire constituencies.


Looking good so far. They’re already celebrating victory over at Credo, but Melancholicus shall wait until the final result is officially announced before popping any corks, and in any case ... he’s still at work.

From RTÉ:

Irish voters set to reject Lisbon Treaty

Friday, 13 June 2008 13:26

It seems certain that Irish voters have rejected the Lisbon Treaty.

Although official results are only starting to come in, tallies of votes have shown a very strong No vote right across the country.

Waterford was the first constituency to declare an official result - and it was unequivocal, rejecting Lisbon by 54-46, while Sligo-North Letrim voted no by 57-43. Tipperary South also voted No, by 53-46 as did Tipperary North by 50.2-49.80. Waterford also voted to reject the Treaty by 54-46.

In Sligo-North Leitrim, the No vote was higher than was recorded in the first Nice Referendum, and if as seems likely it is followed in other parts of the country, the Lisbon Treaty looks certain to be defeated.

Tallies from other constituencies show the strength of the No vote across the country, with just a handful of constituencies looking like they will vote yes.

The margin of victory for the No side may be a bit tighter than was suggested in the initial tallies - but there seems little doubt that it is a victory.

The final official result is expected to be announced late this afternoon.

Tallies of votes have indicated there has been a strong No vote - although the Yes side appeared to have made up some ground.

The nationwide trend had indicated a very strong showing by opponents of the Lisbon Treaty - but as the morning went on and tallies became more complete, the Yes side has regained some ground.

Complete tallies are available from around half the constituencies - although they come with a strong warning that some of them may not be all that accurate.

Judging by those tallies, middle class constituencies like Dublin South, Dublin South East and Dún Laoghaire seem likely to have a 60-40 vote in favour of Lisbon.

However the No vote was said to be ahead in Dublin North West, Dublin Central, Cork North Central and South Central, both Kerry constituencies, both Tipperary constituencies, and Galway West.

Early tallies had pointed to a very strong showing by the No vote.

The No vote was strong in many rural areas and in working class districts of cities, while middle class areas appeared to be less supportive of the treaty than had been anticipated.

In urban areas, middle class areas by and large appeared to have voted in favour of the treaty - but not by the normal large margin, and not by enough to counteract the large No in working class areas.

In Mayo, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has forecast his home constituency will vote against the treaty.

Turnout is estimated to have been in the mid-40s percentage range. After years of negotiation and months of debate, the fate of the Lisbon Treaty will be known within hours.

Each constituency counts its own votes separately, and then sends the result to the Referendum Returning Officer in Dublin Castle, who will announce the overall result.

With a 60-40 margin in favour of the Treaty in south Dublin (home to the Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar-driving demographic), which is bigger than the margins by which the Treaty has been defeated in rural constituencies, shall Dublin swing the final result back toward the Yes side? Dublin contains not much less than a third of the whole electorate. Victory for the No side is not assured.

In any case, we still await the definitive outcome.

It's happening already...

The latest news, from RTÉ:

No vote strong in early Lisbon tallies

Friday, 13 June 2008 10:52

Early tallies in the Lisbon Referendum count from constituencies around the country suggest the Treaty may be in some difficulty.

The No vote is strong in many rural areas and in working class districts of cities, while middle class areas appear to be less supportive of the Treaty than had been anticipated.

However, these are only tallies, and it is very early in the count to be too definitive about the outcome. Firmer indications are due late this morning.

While it is far too early to be definitive, the Yes side are not too happy with the early indications.

Turnout is estimated to have been in the mid-40s percentage range. After years of negotiation and months of debate, the fate of the Lisbon Treaty will be known within hours.

The final official result is expected to be announced late this afternoon, but tallies from the 43 constituencies should give a good indication of the likely outcome late this morning.

Each constituency counts its own votes separately, and then sends the result to the Referendum Returning Officer in Dublin Castle, who will announce the overall result.

Turnout is thought to have been higher than in the first Nice Referendum, which was defeated, but lower than in the second, which was passed.

However, with recent opinion polls suggesting that supporters of the treaty were more likely to vote, a lower turnout is not necessarily good news for the No side.

The emphasis in the above is our own, and does not appear in the original.

So far all seems to be moving in the right direction.

The morning after

The referendum has been held, and we are now breathlessly awaiting news of the first returns. It is 10:20am at the time of writing, and counting began only 80 minutes ago. RTÉ will broadcast a special programme on the results of the referendum at 12:30, to which Melancholicus intends to listen while sitting at his desk and discharging the obligations of his state.

Melancholicus had a busy day yesterday, but he presented himself at his local polling station at 6.30pm and exercised his democratic right by casting his vote. Turnout all over the country was poor, no more than 45% on average. If past referenda are anything to go by, a low turnout tends to favour the naysayers. So Melancholicus expects that the result, when it is made public, shall be a definitive rejection of the Lisbon Treaty — unless of course the Irish government shall have had recourse to that favourite tactic of third world countries and banana republics, namely vote rigging.

As the result is likely to be a rejection of the Treaty and the ire of the Brussels autocracy against the Irish electorate is likely to be hot indeed, Melancholicus thinks it prudent not to announce publicly which way he voted, lest the commissars or their agents be trawling the blogs looking for enemies of the European state, for surely someone will have to pay for having thus spoiled The Grand Project. Extraordinary rendition to a gaol in eastern Germany, anyone?

Melancholicus is jesting of course, but if the Lisbon Treaty were passed, and the EU continued to evolve into a super-state with powers exceeding those of the nations... well, liberalism has oft degenerated into totalitarianism in the past, so why might it not do so again?

In any case, Melancholicus’ regular readers already know which way he voted.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

All you ever wanted to know about Lisbon, but were afraid to ask

During a lengthy interview on The Right Hook over on Newstalk 106 yesterday evening, Melancholicus heard the most compelling case yet made for a No vote, and it has strengthened his conviction that when he votes No this coming Thursday, he shall be acting aright, in the interests of not only this country but of the other 26 nations who together make up the constituent states of the European Union.

For Melancholicus must admit to having experienced, over the course of the last week, a crisis of conscience which caused him to vacillate on the referendum, even to the extent of wondering if he ought not to vote Yes.

This largely because all the movers and shakers in Irish business and politics are solidly in favour of ratifying the Lisbon Treaty; the Irish bishops are, if not for the Treaty, at least not against it; and even the most recent issue of the Irish Catholic newspaper, while not committing itself absolutely one way or the other (much like the bishops) seemed to favour a Yes vote.

On the other hand, the No campaign is led by persons with decidedly less impressive credentials. The only political party currently with representation in the Dáil that advocates a No vote is Sinn Féin, a party of decidedly marxist hue, not to mention its close links with the now dormant IRA. Furthermore, Melancholicus doesn’t really know who Libertas and Cóir (two groups prominently opposing Lisbon) are, or where they have come from, even though he is broadly in sympathy with the objections they urge against the Treaty. Then there is Youth Defence (enough said). Finally, the Treaty is also opposed by a mixum-gatherum of far-left parties and far-left individuals, and in opposing Lisbon Melancholicus found himself in the unenviable position of being on the same side of the divide even as the socialists.

Necessity, as they say, is the mother of strange bedfellows.

Melancholicus is concerned that many persons intending to cast their vote on Thursday might vote Yes simply because of all the kooky people currently advocating a No vote — which would be for the wrong reason entirely — for he was himself almost on the point of defecting to the Yes camp precisely because of all the kooky people on the No side.

This despite the fact that the Yes side has been unable to offer a single compelling reason why the Treaty must be ratified; catch-calls such as “let’s make Europe work better” and “for jobs, the economy and Ireland’s future” and “let’s make Europe more democratic” are slogans and nothing more, since they do not provide us with any details on how, precisely, ratifying the Treaty will accomplish any of these things.

Let us also not confuse “Europe” (i.e. the institutions) with the 27 sovereign nations over which these institutions preside.

In any case, sense has now prevailed, and Melancholicus has his mind comfortably made up on the matter.

But back to Newstalk. Hookie’s guest was Professor Gwyn Prins of the London School of Economics who, unlike many of those who have offered their opinions in the columns of the newspapers and on the airwaves, has actually studied the text of the Treaty itself in some detail, was able to speak from a position of knowledge and authority, and what he had to say ought to have made sobering listening for any thinking of voting Yes.

Among the startling claims made by Professor Prins — in the face of rigorous cross-examination by Hookie — and contrary to the assurances offered us by our political and economic leaders, are the following:

  • The Lisbon Treaty reproduces the substance (95% or thereabouts) of the European Constitution rejected in referenda by the French and the Dutch in 2005.

  • The Lisbon Treaty IS self-amending, despite the vehement denials that have issued forth from both Brussels and Leinster House.

  • In the arena of defence and foreign policy, the Lisbon Treaty WILL create a European army.

  • Ireland’s veto in regard to taxation is NOT safe once Lisbon is ratified.

  • Brussels WILL have greater powers to overrule the laws of any of the constituent 27 nations.

  • The loss of representation imposed by the new structures decreed into existence by Lisbon IS proportionally much greater for the small nations than for the larger.

There were many other points also, but these seemed to Melancholicus to be the most significant, so he shall leave the matter there.

So we must now ask ourselves, is Professor Prins lying? What he is telling us is absolutely contrary to what our politicians are telling us, so it is clear that both positions cannot be correct. Therefore, who is wrong?

Once again, is Professor Prins lying? Melancholicus is inclined to think not. For Professor Prins has, personally, less at stake than the politicians, and less motive to tell blatant untruths.

Not to mention the fact that we are all of us thoroughly accustomed to the ways of politicians, with their habitual lying. That our Taoiseach, or his ministers, or the leaders of the other parties in the Dáil, might lie to us should surely surprise no one.

Maybe the socialists are right after all. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

So, gentle reader and compatriot, are you still thinking of voting Yes?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Orwellian society update: bureaucratic secrecy in Brussels

So much for the much-touted open and accountable EU. These fellows already don’t want the rest of us to know what they’re up to in Brussels, and they expect us to give them even more power by voting Yes to the Lisbon Treaty on June 12th?

I suppose there’s one born every minute, but Melancholicus is not impressed.

From The Times:

European watchdog attacks cloak of secrecy in Brussels

David Charter in Brussels

A shroud of secrecy will be drawn over the workings of the European Union under new proposals to limit access to documents and in some cases deny that they even exist, the European Ombudsman cautioned in a strongly worded attack yesterday.

MEPs were called on by the watchdog to stand up for openness in Brussels and oppose an attempt by the European Commission to reclassify which documents are available for public scrutiny.

Plans to withhold papers unless they are formally listed in a new register of documents would deny access to important material and break promises of transparency made under the new Lisbon treaty, the watchdog said.

The changes are being debated under a proposed directive that Margot Wallstrom, the EU Information Commissioner, says is needed to make the rules less vague but which her critics fear will plunge the EU into another secrecy row.

This year the European Parliament refused to release an auditor’s report on widespread abuse of expenses. It can be read only by a small group of MEPs who must go into a secret room and swear not to take notes or talk about the contents.

“The Commission’s proposals would mean access to fewer, not more, documents,” said Nikiforos Diamandouros, the Ombudsman, at a hearing in the European Parliament. “This raises fundamental issues of principle about the EU’s commitment to openness and transparency.”

He gave warning that the changes would mean the European Commission “could share documents informally with a limited number of favoured external recipients of its choice, without having to give public access to them”.

The Ombudsman added: “The Commission’s proposals not only ignore the lessons of the past, but also the new promises to citizens, civil society and representative associations made in the treaty of Lisbon.”

Ian Harden, the secretary-general of the Ombudsman, added that under the proposed register, the Commission could simply argue that papers did not exist if journalists or others requested them.

But Mrs Wallstrom denied that the proposed measures meant that any document currently available would in future be withheld. She added that the new definition of documents was needed to ensure that access was better understood by the public, implying that the current system had been misused by lobbyists.

Methinks she doth protest too much. Perhaps “lobbyists” have indeed made themselves a nuisance by “misusing” the system. But why do the rest of us have to be punished for the alleged offences of these unspecified persons? Think of how convenient for some it would be for all the documentary evidence of the EU’s internal workings simply to disappear, as though into thin air. The commissars would have to explain themselves to no one. They would likewise be accountable to no one. If there is no record of their meeting, that means they never met. If there is no record of their discussion or of the decisions they made, that means no decisions were ever arrived at. And if there is no record of their deeds, that means they never acted.

So they can be reproached with nothing, and not called to account for anything at all.

Dictatorship, anyone?

H/T to Credo.

Want to read the Lisbon Treaty?

The text is available in PDF format from the EU bookshop here.

Or interested parties may order a hard copy for €42.

Melancholicus has at least browsed through the thing, but he has no intention of actually reading it, since he is not a lawyer and in any case since the Lisbon Treaty is composed of a series of amendments to earlier treaties, it cannot be read in isolation. Nevertheless, he makes it available primarily to his fellow countrymen in order that they might make an ‘informed’ decision.

Less than one week to go to the referendum, so hurry up and read it!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Irish bishops on Lisbon

Not to be outdone, the Irish bishops’ conference has released a pastoral letter offering guidance to the Catholic faithful of this country on the thorny question of the Lisbon Treaty. It is available (pdf format) here. There is also a press release on the pastoral here.

Having read the bishops’ five-page document and expecting some form of clarification from the Church on the issues at stake in the referendum, Melancholicus was reduced to feeling much like Omar Khayyam who, in search of answers, “frequented both doctor and saint” but afterwards “went out by that same door where in I went”.

This because the poor idiot forgot that in dealing with the Irish bishops’ conference he was dealing with an organ of the conciliar church, and the documents put out by all such organs tend to be characterised by a studied ambiguity that is almost breathtakingly anglican in its refusal to commit itself to any particular position if other positions are thereby excluded.

On the first page of their pastoral, the bishops call on the faithful to “study and reflect prayerfully on the contents of the Treaty”, while reminding us that “there is a responsibility on all of us to exercise our franchise by casting our ballot”. So far so good, but any member of Fianna Fáil could have told us as much. The bishops then “condemn unreservedly those who would seek to influence the outcome of the referendum either by offering misleading or even patently incorrect advice or by introducing extraneous factors into the debate”. This has been taken in some circles as a condemnation of the No campaign. However, misinformation and dire warnings are by no means restricted to groups campaigning for a No vote; on how many occasions have not only our own politicians but also EU commissars threatened us with the end of the world and with dire economic misery should we have the temerity to exercise our democratic right to vote No?

Shall we permit ourselves to be bullied by these ‘gentlemen’?

The bishops then pass on to a discussion of ‘values’ in Europe, with reference to ‘Europe’s Christian heritage’. Completely absent from the thought of these our shepherds and successors of the Apostles is any awareness that ‘values’ is a subjective and essentially secular term that can be invested with whatever nuances of meaning that one wishes; it does not necessarily involve adherence to the natural law, to the good, or to right reason. Absent also is any recognition — never mind condemnation — that the EU is essentially a godless and secular institution which has very deliberately cast aside its Christian heritage in favour of a post-Enlightenment French revolutionary world view. But then the fog of bewilderment introduced into Catholic social and political life by Dignitatis Humanae has rendered the bishops unable even to notice such things.

True to form, the bishops do not inform us whether ratification of the Lisbon Treaty will usher in the sort of ‘values’ they expect the Catholic faithful to be interested in, never mind whether it will preserve whatever vestiges may remain of Europe’s Christian heritage — all of which makes the point of their pastoral rather redundant, unless the point is restricted merely to telling us that we must vote. This is probably because they can’t, rather than because they won’t. The Treaty is sufficiently complex as to permit possible future developments in a direction that no-one (whether in the Yes or No camp) can have foreseen with any certainty.

The bishops then move on to the sort of Europe “we want for our children”. Here again there is much concentration on ‘values’ (let the reader count how many times the bishops use this word throughout their pastoral) with a mixture of praise and criticism of the contemporary world. This is fine as far as it goes, but what has it to do with the Lisbon Treaty? Reading some passages of this pastoral, one could be sure that the bishops are calling for a No vote, but turn over the page and one would be prepared to swear on one’s grandmother’s grave that the bishops are urging their flock to vote Yes.

Finally, at the bottom of p. 5 and in a state of total dissatisfaction and bewilderment, one finds a reflection on St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross, co-patroness of Europe. Anxiously racing through the last few lines, during which the bishops obligingly condemn Nazism and the holocaust, we are convinced that before it ends the bishops will surely give us their recommendation on whether ratification of the Lisbon Treaty is good for Ireland.

Except they don’t.

What a let down! After nearly two centuries of Irish Catholics happily being able to depend upon the hierarchy for instructions to vote this way or that, the bishops have finally broken with tradition and have washed their hands of the matter — leaving us frustratingly ill-advised facing a referendum in which this voter at least would actually have welcomed some kind of recommendation from the hierarchy, however contrary it may have been to his own inclinations, a recommendation more specific than simply “go out and vote”.

If every manner of man in this country can have a position on the Lisbon Treaty, why not also the bishops?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Where are those 138 signatories of that letter for peace now?

Indeed, where are they?

From Catholic World News:

Iraqi bishop begs help for Christian minority

Milan, Jun. 2, 2008 ( - "Do not leave us isolated and abandoned," an Iraqi bishop pleaded as he accepted an award for defending the faith.

Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk received the Defensor Fidei prize in Milan for his activities on behalf of Iraq's embattled Christian minority. In his acceptance speech he urged international pressure on Iraq to protect Christians in the face of Islamic pressure, the AsiaNews service reported. The Chaldean Catholic prelate said that the Church is Iraq is threatened by a "terminal exodus" of Christians, as the result of "ethnic-religious cleansing" by Muslim zealots. He begged Christians in the Western world to "take stock of the seriousness" of the situation, and "apply diplomatic and political pressure to the United States, the Iraqi government, and also to the countries that support the Islamization of Iraq."

Archbishop Sako spoke at length about the Christians who have fled from Iraq and now live, often under desperate conditions, in neighboring countries. After centuries of faithful witness in Iraq, he said, the Christian presence must be preserved.

Those 138 allegedly ‘moderate’ Islamic leaders who signed that much-hyped letter for peace addressed to Christian leaders last October are of course silent in the face of the bitter persecution of the Christian minority in Iraq as in other countries. This is because the Mahometans, just like conciliar bishops, will never act against the infamies perpetrated by their own unless compelled to do so by some sufficiently powerful third party.

Amnesty International is likewise silent on matters such as this; apparently, being persecuted for bearing the name of Christ is not as egregious a violation of one’s human rights as to be persecuted for belonging to such and such an ethnic group, or to such and such a sect within Mahometanism. Melancholicus has trawled the Amnesty website, has found much evidence of the appalling horrors and miseries to which human beings are subjected in places without number all over the world, but there is hardly any mention of the persecutions and hardships suffered by Christians on a routine basis in Mahometan lands. Amnesty is more concerned with the welfare of the inmates of Guantanamo (islamist combatants and budding terrorists to a man) than with the fate of ordinary Christian people in some of these God-forsaken places.

But this silence coming from an organisation which promotes abortion as a woman’s right is not really surprising, is it?

Such are the wages of ecumenism

It was surely a mistake to admit this man to the communion of the Catholic Church.

Melancholicus had hoped — O, the naivete of the boy! — that when Tony Blair became a Catholic, he would convert to the Truth, repent of his errors, and reform himself; that in the conduct of his public life he would do the Church proud; that he would be, as it were, a great “catch” for the holy Roman Church.

But it seems that in switching his adherence from the Church of England to that of Rome, Mr. Blair has merely followed his personal taste rather than religious convictions of any depth, because to all intents and purposes, he is just as secular in his outlook now as he was before he was received into the Church.

Accordingly, he has since been a great disappointment — even an embarrassment — as a Catholic, and Melancholicus finds himself hoping that (fingers crossed!) the established church will soon take him back again.

Now the fellow has gone and established a “faith foundation” in New York which — as far as Melancholicus can see from its homepage and its description in the media — is a veritable sty of Sillonism, an organisation which will not advance the Catholic religion one iota, nor attract to it a single convert, but will instead sow the seeds of secularism and godlessness under the guise of promoting some vague and generic “power of faith”.

Let us now hear Catholic World News on the subject:

Blair's new foundation will fight religious extremism

New York, Jun. 2, 2008 ( - Former British prime minister Tony Blair has launched a new foundation dedicated to fighting against religious extremism and harnessing the power of faith to fight against poverty and disease.

Speaking in New York at the formal opening of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, the former British leader said there is "nothing more important" than ensuring mutual understanding in the world and fostering cooperation among different religious groups.

Blair said that in addition to enlisting religious support for global development projects, his new foundation would fight against extremism in religion -- not only in Islam, but in every religious tradition. "Though there is much focus, understandably, on extremism associated with the perversion of the proper faith of Islam, there are elements of extremism in every major faith," he said.

It seems that Mr. Blair’s attitude is that a little bit of religion is quite alright, even to be recommended, but let us not commit the cardinal error of taking religion seriously, since that results in ‘extremism’.

It is quite clear that Mr. Blair’s faith foundation is quite unapologetic in treating all religions as essentially the same — hence, he is quick to offer excuses for Islam (islamist violence is a “perversion” of the “proper faith” of Islam, not part of the “proper faith” itself, despite the life of Muhammad and the testimony of the Qur’an) and has no hesitation in mollifying the Mahometans by assuring us that “there are elements of extremism in every major faith”. Well, fallen human beings are still fallen human beings regardless of the religion they profess, so anyone might be capable of violent acts, but can Mr. Blair explain to us the obvious disproportion between number of atrocities carried out by adherents of Islam as against the adherents of all other religions combined?

Clearly, all religions are not the same — it is a plain fact that they teach different and mutually-exclusive things, and that each religion expects a different standard of conduct and behaviour from its adherents. This truth is an embarrassment to the likes of Mr. Blair, since it is self-evidently divisive.

Hence, anything that divides man from his neighbour, anything that introduces division, must be suppressed. An insistence upon religious truth is by its nature considered ‘divisive’, and so must be eschewed like the plague. What the Tony Blair Faith Foundation has at its heart is the promotion of a single universal religion devoid of dogmas and creeds, to which all can belong, and centred upon the temporal needs of humankind in the here and now. Taking one’s own religion seriously, and claiming that it alone possesses truth while rival faiths are false is something this anthropocentric approach above all cannot tolerate, and so all religions — Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and the rest — must be blended together in a syncretic mass such that each will lose its distinctive characteristics in favour of identification with the whole.

Needless to say, Roman Catholicism — the faith only recently embraced by Mr. Blair — is not exempted from such treatment. A strange position indeed for any man calling himself a Catholic.

But Mr. Blair is not so much a Roman Catholic as he is a Conciliar Catholic — and there is a world of difference between these two, since Roman Catholicism and Conciliar Catholicism are two different religions.

Accordingly, one cannot really blame our recently-received convert for this execrable blasphemy, at least not exclusively, since this essentially secular ideology of all men working together in harmony in order to realise paradise here on earth has been extolled and promoted even by the Roman pontiffs ever since the halcyon days of the ’sixties, in what Mark Fellows has described as ‘the papal vision’. Paul VI and John Paul II were the most enthusiastic proponents of this worldly ideology, but it also marred the pontificate of its originator, John XXIII, and, despite the damage it has done to the Church, is not completely absent from the teaching of even the present incumbent of the Apostolic See.

For is it not true to say that, if the Catholic Church had maintained her traditional stance vis-a-vis other religions, that it would not be possible today for any Catholic (except a dissident) to fall into such errors and delusions as our recent convert, Mr. Tony Blair?

June: the month of the Sacred Heart

And so we have arrived in the month of June. It is supposed to be summer, but here in Ireland at least, there has been little evidence of either sunshine or scorching temperatures—only lots of grey, lowering skies, and endless, repetitive, depressing pluvial days. But enough of that; complaining about the misery of the Irish weather is not the point of this post.

June is the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Reflecting on the Sacred Heart, to which he has a particular devotion, Melancholicus was reminded that in traditional popular devotion, each month of the year has a special dedication, whether to Our Lord, to Our Lady, or to the saints. Some of these devotions once had indulgences attached, but since the promulgation of the new Enchiridion in 1968, it is likely that many of these indulgences have now lapsed.

These dedications of the twelve months of the year are not set in stone. There are many regional and temporal variations. The reader may, at his or her discretion, add to the following list:

  • January . . . . . This is the month of the Holy Name of Jesus, since the feast of the Holy Name occurs on the Sunday between the Circumcision and the Epiphany, or if in a given year there be no such Sunday, on 2 January.

  • February . . . . . The month of the Holy Family. Since the feast of the Holy Family falls on the Sunday after Epiphany—which Sunday is invariably in January—the month of January is in some districts dedicated to the Holy Family in place of the Holy Name. In such instances February tends to be sacred to the Passion of Our Lord.

  • March . . . . . St. Joseph, naturally, since his feast falls on 19 March and (apart from the Annunciation on 25 March) is the only first class feast in the month.

  • April . . . . . The Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. For some reason Melancholicus always associates April with Our Lord as the Good Shepherd, but he is at a loss to account for this association.

  • May . . . . . The Blessed Virgin Mary, of course. This month is bounded by two significant Marian devotions, on the first and last days of the month. The month of May often opens with the tradition of May crowning, and ends with the liturgical celebration of Our Lady’s Queenship (instituted in 1954 by Pope Pius XII) on 31 May.

  • June . . . . . The month of the Sacred Heart, the feast of which is celebrated on the Friday following the Second Sunday after Pentecost and is hence a movable feast. This feast falls almost invariably in June, but in years on which Easter occurs very early (i.e. on 22, 23 or 24 March) the Sacred Heart will fall in late May (as it did this year), and in years in which Easter is late (24 or 25 April), the Sacred Heart will fall in early July. Whenever Easter falls on 24 April, the feasts of the Sacred Heart and the Precious Blood will occur.

  • July . . . . . The month of the Precious Blood, the feast of which is celebrated on 1 July.

  • August . . . . . This month is sacred either to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (15 August, the sole first class feast occurring in August and a holy day of obligation) or else to its octave day, the feast of the Immaculate Heart.

  • September . . . . . Here again we have a choice: either the Holy Angels (since Michaelmas falls on 29 September with the rank of a first class) or else Our Lady of Sorrows, the feast of which falls on 15 September and whose liturgical observance is distinguished by the sequence Stabat Mater.

  • October . . . . . Again we have a choice. This month is most widely dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary (particularly by those who revere the memory of the victory at Lepanto), the feast of which falls on 7 October (Melancholicus, incidentally, first met the woman to whom he is now betrothed on this day). Those who in September prefer to give prominence to the Seven Dolours may prefer to consecrate October to the Holy Angels instead (the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels takes place on 2 October).

  • November . . . . . This month, as the reader must surely expect, is dedicated to commemorating the faithful departed and to praying for the dead. Indulgences for the relief of the Holy Souls may be obtained every day throughout the month of November, as explained here. “It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins” (2 Macc. 12:46).

  • December . . . . . Finally, December is dedicated either to the Immaculate Conception, the liturgical feast of which falls on 8 December, or else to the Divine Infancy, since Christmas also falls in December.