Pope Leo the Great said in a famous sermon preached one Christmas morning:  Agnosce, o Christiane, dignitatem tuam –  O Christian, remember thy dignity!  I should like to say to the bishops of the Church,  Agnosce, o episcope, dignitatem tuam.  How did it come to this, that a manifest enemy of the Church can occupy the throne of Peter and the bishops of the whole world look the other way?  I am not speaking of those who gladly collaborate with the destruction, such as most of those chosen to act out the present pantomime in the eternal City.  I am thinking of those who have the faith, who recite the Creed and mean it, who say their prayers and desire others to enter the Church.  Either they know the truth about what is happening and are afraid to tell it, or they are afraid to know it and so deceive themselves.

Probably the deepest root is the abandonment of the Roman Mass.  Once a bishop has accepted to cut that link with his predecessors, he is no longer as convinced as he needs to be of the truth of what they taught, nor has he a sufficient horror of its negation.  This phenomenon may be explicable in merely natural terms; but I incline to think that it is principally supernatural, and that God in His justice withholds graces for shepherding the flock from those who do not rightly honour the eternal Shepherd.

It is not very likely that any bishop will read these words.  But if any should see them, I say to him this: “Agnosce, o episcope, dignitatem tuam.  O bishop, remember thy dignity.  You are not a delegate of the pope, even if he were an orthodox believer.  You are vicar of Christ in your diocese.  You will not be able, on the day of Judgement, to throw on to another the responsibility for having remained silent while an enemy of Christ did what he could to destroy the faith and the Church.  Lay the axe to the root.  Begin to say or sing every day the true Roman Mass hated by the modernists, in your cathedral or in every parish church which you inspect.  Require every cleric and official under your authority to swear the anti-modernist oath, and dismiss any who refuses, even if it means leaving the churches without pastors: better for the faithful to receive no sacraments than to receive them from the hands of a heretic.  Warn your flock in public that Pope Bergoglio refuses to deny the heresies of which so many people have accused him.  Refuse to concelebrate Mass with him until he does so.  If you are dismissed for your fidelity, refuse at least to yield your cathedral to a heretic, for it is God’s house and not the pope’s.  Order your priests to carry out a public exorcism of the Vatican.  Tell your people to fast and pray until God’s anger – yes, His anger – be assuaged and He send us the holy pope according to His own heart.”

Or so says St Robert Bellarmine:

There are therefore in each realm two kings: one who is visible, a man; another who is invisible, an angel.  And in each church there are two bishops: one who is visible, a man; another who is invisible, an angel.  And in the universal Catholic Church, there are two supreme pontiffs established under Christ: one who is visible, a man; another who is invisible, an angel.  We believe that this angel is St Michael. For as once the synagogue of the Jews venerated him as their patron, so now does the Church of Christians (‘The Ladder of Ascent to God’, 9th step.)

 

Nay, I cannot give you that key. I cannot unlock for you the way that leads to Lantern Wood; nor lead you up to Cair Paravel of the four thrones, and bring you into its court, so grave and gay; nor show you the ship that rides at anchor, soon to depart for the uttermost East. I cannot do these things…

The key I offer is a humble key of knowledge, opening the secret meaning of the books. The seven books evoke the seven spheres: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Jupiter; The Horse and His Boy, Mercury; The Magician’s Nephew, Venus; Prince Caspian, Mars; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the Sun; The Silver Chair, the Moon; The Last Battle, Saturn. Lewis himself said there was a meaning behind the series, and wondered whether anyone would find it. Now they have – some years ago, in fact, but it is perhaps still not well enough known.  Read the book, and discover the proofs.

Over at Gloria TV, the redoubtable Don Reto Nay has been explaining why the talk of a possible schism after the Amazon synod is unrealistic.  Nothing so decisive is at all likely.  What is on the cards, rather, is  continuing ‘decomposition’.

I remarked recently that it seems hard to fudge a married priesthood, since a man is either married or he isn’t.  It has since occurred to me that it is quite possible that some bishop in a minor diocese in Germany may simply start ordaining married men.  Then Cardinal Marx might deplore this as premature, but go on in other respects treating the bishop as persona grata, speaking with him at meetings of the Bishops’ Conference, concelebrating with him, and so on. This would be a way to introduce a married priesthood de facto. If this happens, then the orthodox bishops should refuse to concelebrate not only with the ordaining bishops, but also with those who concelebrate with them.

Today is the first of October.  It seems like a good idea to add to a daily rosary the prayer to St Joseph which Leo XIII ordained to be said, along with the rosary, before the Blessed Sacrament exposed, every day in this month of the year:

To thee, O blessed Joseph, we have recourse in our affliction, and having implored the help of thy thrice holy Spouse, we now, with hearts filled with confidence, earnestly beg thee also to take us under thy protection.

By that charity wherewith thou wert united to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and by that fatherly love with which thou didst cherish the Child Jesus, we beseech thee and we humbly pray that thou wilt look down with gracious eye upon that inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by His blood, and wilt succour us in our need by thy power and strength.

Defend, O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, the chosen off-spring of Jesus Christ. Keep from us, O most loving Father, all blight of error and corruption. Aid us from on high, most valiant defender, in this conflict with the powers of darkness. And even as of old thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from the peril of His life, so now defend God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity. Shield us ever under thy patronage, that, following thine example and strengthened by thy help, we may live a holy life, die a happy death, and attain to everlasting bliss in Heaven. Amen.

The most screamingly obvious instance of heretical teaching from the Pontiff now gloriously reigning is, of course, his various statements to the effect that the death penalty is ‘per se contrary to the gospel’ (which the canonical delict mob bizarrely omitted to mention). One of the Pontiff’s great gifts to the Church has been his exposure the yawning but hitherto concealed gulf separating those who worship Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church from those who worship the Hegelian Kirkengeist. It is accordingly grim but fascinating sport to watch one of the latter being skewered by the former. 

What we can fairly call the synod from hell is soon to infest the holy Church of Rome.  If we take the two meetings on the family as one synod, and pass over the damp squib of the synod on youthful collegiality, or collegial youth, or whatever it was, we might also call this one the synod of doom bis.  Cardinal Pell famously struck his fist on the table during the first synod, and, pointing at Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, shouted: “You must stop manipulating this synod!” Baldisseri, however, is still the General-Secretary for the Synod of Bishops.  Will he try to manipulate this next one? At time of writing, His Most Reverend and Eminent Lordship Cardinal Pell was not available for comment.

What are the most likely outcomes?  Ambiguity was the chosen method last time.  It will be rather hard to destroy clerical celibacy in this way, since a man is either married or he isn’t, and either ordained or not.  However, the matter of female deacons is more susceptible of this method.  It is easy to imagine a final document which recommends some kind of new ‘female ministry’, described in such a way that it will be easy, and perhaps most natural, to present it as a woman’s diaconate, but which will not straightforwardly say that women are to receive diaconal orders (an ontological impossibility), and which will therefore leave scope for ‘conservative’ commentators to say, ‘Relax, nothing essential has changed’.

We already see women as well as lay-men distributing Holy Communion at Mass.  If one allows that, it is hard to see on what grounds women and lay-man could be prevented from reading the gospels sometimes, in exceptional circumstances, for example if the priest is elderly and finds it hard to stand, or his voice is weak, or if the gospel passage seems particularly relevant to women, or if it is the local custom, or if it is a Tuesday etc.  And if they were going to do that, it would seem fitting for them to wear some garb that would mark them out from the rest of the faithful, perhaps a white full-length garment with a silken sash worn diagonally from shoulder to waist.  And they could be permitted after the gospel not to preach a sermon of course, since canon law very strictly reserves that to priests and ordained male deacons, but to offer some personal reflections about how the gospel speaks to their own lives or the lives of those whom they know.  Given the importance of all these roles, it would only be fitting if a bishop were brought in to pray over them before they assumed them, and if he felt moved to lay his hands on their heads as he did so, well, there is no law against that, is there?

I expect it could all be made to sound very edifying in the final document: “Long history of women’s involvement in the life of the people of God … Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron …. Deborah the prophetess… Many holy women ministered to Christ and the apostles (διηκόνουν αὐτοῖς, Lk. 8:3) … Mary Magdalen, first ‘preacher’ of the Resurrection… Despite regrettable prejudices in the past, witness of religious women… Healthy Christian feminism … Movement of the Spirit … Backbone of so many parishes … Consecrated women carrying the word of God to the most marginalized…”  I declare that I am almost minded to draft the final document myself, except that it is probably already written and translated into everything from Latin to Tagalog.

So, good readers of this blog, clerks and lay-folk, if a sort of not-really-but-also-certainly-looks-like-it female diaconate is introduced, what will you do? Swallow it, or spit it out?  What would the holy fathers have done?

 

Mary . . . is interpreted to mean ‘Star of the Sea.’ This admirably befits the Virgin Mother. There is indeed a wonderful appropriateness in this comparison of her with a star, because as a star sends out its rays without harm to itself, so did the Virgin bring forth her Child without injury to her integrity. And as the ray does not diminish the rightness of the star, so neither did the Child born of her tarnish the beauty of Mary’s virginity. She is therefore that glorious star, which, as the prophet said, arose out of Jacob, whose ray enlightens the whole earth, whose splendour shines out for all to see in heaven and reaches even unto hell. . . She, I say, is that shining and brilliant star, so much needed, set in place above life’s great and spacious sea, glittering with merits, all aglow with examples for our imitation. Oh, whosoever thou art that perceivest thyself during this mortal existence to be rather drifting in treacherous waters, at the mercy of the winds and the waves, than walking on firm ground, turn not away thine eyes from the splendour of this guiding star, unless thou wishest to be submerged by the storm! (St Bernard, Hom. II on “Missus est” 17).