Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Melancholicus is a perfectionist.

He is a perfectionist at least when it comes to himself; it takes him an unseemly length of time to finish works of intellectual or creative labour, since he expends so much time and care on trying to make the thing as perfect as possible; and of course it never is.

Composing a single short blog-post which would not take more than five minutes in the hands of a writer less fastidious might be for Melancholicus half a day’s labour or even more.

But when it comes to the works of others, Melancholicus does not demand the same level of punctiliousness; instead, he often marvels at how much more perspicacious, eloquent and witty are their efforts than his own.

There is no shortage of souls in our time scandalized by the breathtaking mediocrity of our fathers in God; there is among certain of the faithful a perfectionism which imagines that our clerical governors ought to be perfect, never putting a foot wrong, never saying or doing anything that might reflect badly on holy mother Church, or on the sanctity of their orders.

Melancholicus does not bracket himself with that cohort, scandalized though he certainly is by episcopal nonfeasance and sacerdotal turpitude. He is at least sufficiently familiar with both Church history and human nature to know that poor to middling bishops are a perennial fact of life, even in the good old days when the Mass was in Latin. It is natural that the members of the flock should desire their shepherds to be saints; but the fact that more often than not they are sinners instead does not make the Church founded by our Lord Christ any less the Church founded by our Lord Christ.

BUT, that having been said:

There is at least a minimum standard that the faithful are entitled to expect from those men in holy orders in positions of authority over them.

When one goes to church for the hearing of holy Mass, one has every right to expect that the celebrating priest will, as the adage has it, “do the red and say the black”; that he will be properly vested; that he will celebrate the liturgy given to us by the Church, and not substitute for it some banality of his own concoction; that he will treat the most holy Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus with due reverence, and that he will not preach in such manner as might cause doubt or confusion regarding any doctrine of faith or morals.

This much—or rather, this little—the faithful have every right to expect, and their anger when it is denied them (as it often is) is a just and righteous anger.

When the bishops speak, either as individuals or as a body, the faithful have every right to expect that they will set forth Catholic doctrine in such wise as cannot be misconstrued or misinterpreted, or leave in doubt on any point the teaching of holy mother Church thereon. The faithful have every right to a teaching that is not expressed ambiguously, so as to hide its real import from the enemies of the faith. For whom do the bishops serve when they speak in so cryptic a manner? Is it less important to them to teach forthrightly, than to be tolerated by the denizens of D’Olier street? On the contrary, let their yes be yes and their no, no; anything above that comes from the evil one.

As far as Melancholicus is concerned, it is not asking too much to expect a Catholic bishop to teach the Catholic faith, without any admixture of error, or doubt, or confusion. When the bishops fail in this essential duty, when they persist in an erroneous or ineffective policy despite the misguided nature of that policy having been pointed out to them time and time again, the anger of the faithful against such bishops is no sin, or disobedience, but a right and Godly anger.

For let us not forget that the architects of the Reformation, who led entire nations out of the Church and into heresy, were not private persons who dared to criticize their bishops, or who wrote articles against the misdeeds of priests for reactionary journals; those who initiated the Reformation were almost without exception priests, professed religious, and bishops—men with positions of spiritual and governmental authority within the Church.

It was not the lay persons who resisted their novelties that fell away into heresy; it was those who went with them who so did.

Is it really asking too much to expect our bishops to know the teaching of the Church? Have they not been through seminary? Are they not all, or nearly all, Doctors of Divinity? Indeed they are; but their minds seem to have been clouded by a false religion, namely conciliar religion; sufficient of the world’s bishops seem to believe that everything in their ministry refers back to Vatican II, which is taken as the starting-point for everything they do and say. Conciliar religion is a false religion because it disposes the minds of its devotees to accept as good and true and consonant with the Gospel the false maxims of the world. Hence the proliferation of anthropocentric and irreverent liturgies; the refusal of our shepherds to condemn the gross immorality of our age, except in the most indistinct and general terms, lest any practitioner of immorality be offended; the widespread and conveniently ecumenical attitude that one religion is as good as another, hence proselytism is now viewed as a embarrassing discourtesy; the human respect which places the opinions of sectaries and unbelievers above the teachings of the Church; the evil political correctness which has infected even those consecrated to God, such that they approve warmly of the falsest philosophies as well as the most execrable vice. In essence, the world is placed before the Church, and within the Church the so-called ‘rights’ of Man are placed before the honour and service due to almighty God.

Such is the conciliar church, this counterfeit institution conceived by periti in love with novel ideas, carried to term in the womb of the Second Vatican Council, and delivered by the midwifery of Pope Paul VI, without whose decisive aid the whole disastrous project would have been stillborn.

To which we might reply, in the words of one of Papa Montini’s illustrious predecessors, that we have heard enough about the ‘rights’ of Man; let us hear about the rights of God for a change.

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