Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Oremus pro pontifice nostro Benedicto

As Our Blessed Lady said to the three children to whom she appeared at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, “Pray, pray very much for the Holy Father, for he will have much to suffer”.

V. Oremus pro pontifice nostro Benedicto.

R. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Benedictum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae tuae praeesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quaesumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus praeest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen.

V. Let us pray for Benedict our pope.

R. The Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look mercifully upon Thy servant Benedict, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant him, we beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Melancholicus has so far resisted the temptation to weigh in with his (admittedly worthless) opinion on the current situation involving the Holy See, bishop Richard Williamson FSSPX, the remitting of canonical penalties, and the holocaust controversy, although he has made brief reference to the matter in two or three posts from January.

He has resisted the temptation not because he is possessed of heroic self-control, but because every several attempt to post on this subject has had to be deleted as unsatisfactory. In any case, he lacks the full facts of the matter, does not have the time to inform himself by reading everything of importance pertaining to it, and there is nothing he can say that has not already been better said by others more erudite, more eloquent, and more widely read than he.

Melancholicus also wishes to retract a certain comment he made in this post below, in which, in his indignation, he accused bishop Williamson of deliberately denying the holocaust in order to forestall the lifting of the excommunications. This he now knows to be incorrect, and he regrets his audacity in publishing this rash supposition. Bishop Williamson may indeed be a man of odious views, but let us not accuse him of the kind of malice we were so rash as to impute to him. It is a dangerous thing to impute motives to other persons or to think that one knows another’s mind.

In any case, bishop Williamson has since apologized for the embarrassment he has caused to the Holy Father and to the Holy Catholic Church. But thanks to this affair, the Vicar of Christ is now exposed to a level of public opprobrium not experienced by any sovereign pontiff within living memory.

The media storm is only to be expected. Wolves will be wolves; the nature of the beast will always out.

In a fit of self-righteous indignation, Honourable Members in Westminster were last week falling over one another in their haste to affirm the historicity of the holocaust and to denounce the Holy Father with the kind of pig ignorance of which only Honourable Members are capable (this is NOT a racist comment—I listen to the brain-numbing stupidity of these mindless automatons daily on BBC radio 4’s Today in Parliament, so I know what I’m talking about), This denunciation is gloatingly upheld by the usually sensible Cranmer who, alas, sometimes cannot conceal his rabid anti-Romanism, and on this occasion—perhaps enticed by the scent of papal blood—Cranmer has chosen to side with the wolves.

But all is not relentless hostility. Consider this from the Anglican Fr. Hunwicke, whose learning, wisdom and sound common sense Melancholicus cannot praise highly enough. His blog Liturgical Notes is a must-read for anyone interested in liturgy, Church history and much more besides:

“They’re closing in on Pope Benedict XVI. In the newspapers, on the television, in the blogosphere, in debates in legislatures, in trendy magazines. They think they’ve got him.

It’s prejudice, prejudice, prejudice. In many cases it’s their atavistic gut hatred of Rome, which they were prepared to put slightly on hold if a Pope (like John XXIII) seemed to be behaving sufficiently unpopishly. In some cases it’s fear of somebody who is cleverer than they are; they don’t mind Christians as long we appear not very bright, because then they can feel unthreatened. For others, it’s because they can see Benedict as a contradiction of their own corrupt and promiscuous lifestyles. In many cases it’s the simple deep-down hatred many have of Holiness, because they are children of the Father of all lies.

This is a moment of pure contest of Evil against Good; something that we very rarely see in this world of Gray Areas. The Dark is rising. This is not a time to sit on the fence or hedge bets; to say “on the one hand ... and on the other”. This is the time to show where one stands. In years to come, the question will still be: “What did you do, when the animals were baying for Benedict XVI?”

This holy priest has said all that needs to be said. In the spirit of his closing question, let us now act. Pray, pray very much for the Holy Father, that our Blessed Lord will sustain him in this bitter hour. Let us also take the opportunity where we can to rebut the lies of half-informed and prejudiced illiterates who peddle such headlines as Pope Rehabilitates Holocaust Denier and the like. Do not let them get away with blackening our Holy Father’s good name. There is nothing we can do about their prejudice, but we must hold them accountable to the facts of the matter and not allow them to indulge in wild anti-catholic fantasies. This is all the more important when they are employed by some organ of the news media to which we can complain.

If you have not done so already, gentle reader, please consider signing the online petition of support for the Holy Father here. Melancholicus signed it yesterday, and it has received about 5,000 more signatures since then!

Here in Ireland, the matter does not appear to have been raised in the Dáil. A search for ‘holocaust’ on the webpage of the Houses of the Oireachtas returns just four hits, none of them more recent than 2007. A search for ‘bishop Williamson’ returns no hits at all, so it appears as if our TDs have not engaged in the kind of pope-baiting practiced by Honourable Members across the water. Now Melancholicus is not at all given to reading newspapers, and he has listened but sparingly over the past week to current affairs programmes such as Morning Ireland, Drivetime and The Right Hook, so it is hardly surprising that he has not heard about bishop Williamson’s controversy thereon even once. He is sure that it has been mentioned—it returns about a dozen hits on the website of RTÉ, for instance—but the Irish media are at least not running with it, nor do the public in this country appear to be in a flap about anything other than the economy. This is not because the media in Ireland are any kinder to the Church than they are elsewhere in the west, but because of the prospect that Ireland—at least according to the good people at Sky News—is now facing “a recession of nightmare proportions”. Any time Melancholicus has switched on the radio he has been confronted with some story or other of economic interest—all about banks, markets, rising unemployment, financial hardship, the loss of thousands of jobs with each passing week, and the continuing failure of the government to come up with any sort of plan for keeping the country afloat. The media are simply too fixated with the death-throes of the Irish economy and the seeming inability of Taoiseach Brian Cowen to get his act together to bother with another opportunity to spin salacious yarns to the detriment of the Church.

There is one more thing that we can do. We should all undertake to get a priest to celebrate Mass for the Holy Father. One Mass is worth more than a hundred articles rebutting the charges of the wolves.

Now it is time to head for the chapel.

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