end of the world?


Who (really) believes in God

I find these statistics very mysterious. Ignoring Bosnia which is a special case from which few inferences can be drawn, all 50%+ countries are non-Slav Eastern-Rite, all 25-50% countries are Slav Byzantine and all 25%- countries are Latin. What is the explanation? It can’t just be Vatican II because that doesn’t explain the inferior performance of the Slav Byzantines compared to the Non-Slav Easterners .

Napoleon Bonaparte is the great tragedy of Arthurian Republicanism. The French Revolution overthrew the useless Teutonic parasite that was the Second Estate of the Ancien Regime. Alas for Henry IV! If the heretic king of Navarre had not decided to accept the Mass in exchange for Paris, if Philip II had not insisted that his daughter – the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia – marry a Habsburg, the French Republic might have been founded in 1589 on the basis of the Holy Catholic Faith instead of the pestilential errors of the ‘Enlightenment’. And yet, a wonderful opportunity presented itself when the Corsican general sought to make peace with Pius VII and to restore the meritocratic monarchy swept away by the Sicambrians, Welches and other savages from the woods and swamps of ancient Germany. The foul Talleyrand persuaded the First Consul to recognise Catholicism not as the one true religion but merely as that of the Consul himself and that of the greater number of the French people. A still more wonderful opportunity presented itself when Bonaparte sought the purple and the blessing of the Pope to do so. Napoleon then committed two further terrible errors: he took the title ‘French’ and not ‘Roman’ Emperor and he made his office hereditary. Thus, he tied his laurels to a mere nation and fell back into the blood superstition of the barbarians.

As Beethoven declared “He, too, then, is nothing better than an ordinary man! Now he will trample on all human rights only to humour his ambition; he will place himself above all others,–become a tyrant!” If only Napoleon had restrained himself then the Church might have been forever liberated from the dead weight of the deposed ‘aristocracy’ endlessly demanding that the Lay faithful waste their energies labouring to restore the Ancien Regime instead of the Kingship of Christ, the privileges of the descendants of Alaric and Attila instead of those of Holy Mother Church. If only Napoleon had remained faithful to the Republic then Leo XIII might not have had to expend himself trying to get the obstinate French royalists to rally to it. As Belloc saw “When you have reconciled these two things – I mean the high Stoicism of the Republic and the humility of the Church (for they can co-exist) – then you will have the perfect state.” Of course, St Hippolytus foresaw that the Antichrist would restore the Roman Empire to the government it enjoyed at the time of Augustus, so if Napoleon had done all these things he would no doubt have proved to be the Antichrist in person and not merely a warm-up act. But this does not mean that these priceless acts would not have been in themselves the right things to do. As Pius VII taught as bishop of Imola,

“Strive to attain to the full height of virtue and you will be true democrats. Fulfill faithfully the precepts of the Gospel and you will be the joy of the Republic.”

Yesterday the German bishops started their annual spring conference.

On the GBC website, preparation for the October Synod of Bishops on the Family is only mentioned casually as one of the less prominent points of the agenda. Given recent utterances of certain German bishops, this does not quite allay my apprehension.

So, restlessly prowling around the internet, I only now discovered that the GBC’s answers to the Vatican questionnaire are online. Catholic World News summarizes the summary. Contrary to my first assumption, they did not quote the most extreme things out of context: the whole document breathes the same spirit.

Honestly, I did not expect something this blunt. One could, in fact, call this a ‘courageous’ document. I mean, how shameful and embarrassing (to say the least) to have to go to Rome and admit how fully and utterly you have failed in taking care of the immortal souls of your flock!

I was even starting to hope again: if you want to argue that changes in society necessitate some ‘development’ of the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality, presenting the situation as a wholesale pastoral and catechetical failure would not seem to be the most promising strategy. On the other hand, some passages seem to cross the border from bluntness to cynicism – at least, that is the best interpretation I have for sentences like this one:

Almost all couples who wish to marry in Church have already been living together, frequently for several years (estimates are between 90% and 100%).

The fact that even the bishops of my country see people like my married Catholic friends (who did not cohabit before marriage) as some barely existing freak group is somewhat disturbing.

Update: Today, the German bishops have voted for Cardinal Archbishop Reinhard ‘Who-is-the-head-of-the-CDF-to-tell-us-what-the-Church-teaches’ Marx as the head of the German Bishops’ Conference.

In persecutione extrema Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae sedebit Petrus Romanus, qui pascet oves in multis tribulationibus; quibus transactis, civitas septicollis diruetur, et Judex tremendus iudicabit populum suum. Finis

Our Lord in St Luke’s gospel bids His disciples to be on the watch for His return using a phrase not found elsewhere:-

Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh, shall find watching…If he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, blessed are those servants.

If we apply these words to our death, then we might take the second and third watch to refer to the middle period of life, when death might seem more unlikely than at the beginning or the end (there were four watches in the night.) Cornelius a Lapide suggests that our Lord speaks only of those two watches because sleep is generally heavier at that time, and because He wishes to indicate that He will come when not generally expected.

But what if we apply the parable, as it can also surely be applied, not to individual deaths, but to Christ’s public return at the end of the world? What in that case might the second and the third watch mean? Someone could say that they have no special meaning, and simply add vividness to the parable. But if the fragments even of the miraculous bread were to be gathered up lest any be lost, how much more should the particles of the word of God be carefully preserved. So I am inclined to think that our Lord in mind some definite second and third watch of the future course of time.

One way of interpreting it is by the popular, though not unanimous, patristic idea of human history as a period of between six and seven thousand years, which I have summarised here. Of course this is contrary to the dominant current view in the natural sciences, but I leave this to one side, as such sciences have as their proper object the properties of natural things rather than past contingent events as such. Cornelius a Lapide considered it likely that human history would last six complete millennia and then an uncertain portion of the seventh millennium. This would correspond to the account of creation in Genesis, where the first six days are said to come to an end, but no evening is mentioned for the seventh day. On his calculations, Adam was created in 3950 BC. Adding six thousand to this, one reaches AD 2050, which would complete the six millennia. Lapide therefore considers that the world will come to an end some time between 2050 and 3050.

We could divide this seventh millennium into four quarters, or watches, of 250 years each. The second and third quarters would therefore run from AD 2300 to 2800. So perhaps our Lord is giving us a hint that His return will take place at some time in that period.

Of course, I could be quite wrong. But the question would still remain: what is the second watch? What is the third?

…One sign is the present state of the Roman Empire, if it may be said to exist, though it does exist; but it is like a man on his death-bed, who after many throes and pangs at last goes off when you least expect, or perhaps you know not when. You watch the sick man, and you say every day will be the last; yet day after day goes on – you know not when the end will come – he lingers on – gets better – relapses – yet you are sure after all he must die – it is a mere matter of time, you call it a matter of time: so it is with the Old Roman Empire, which now lies so still and helpless. It is not dead, but it is on its death-bed.

(John Henry Newman, The Patristical Idea of Antichrist, 1835).

The late Sr Lucia of Fatima was reliably quoted – for example by Cardinal Ottaviani at a Mariological Conference in Rome – as saying that the 3rd secret was not to be revealed until 1960. She said that this was the will of heaven.

Why 1960? It’s natural to reflect that the 60’s, as a decade, were a devastating time for the Church and the world; the time, among other things, at which the forces opposed to the natural law began to achieve their full dominance of the State. But could there be a reason why one particular year was singled out?

In 1960 the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the contraceptive pill. At one stroke was undermined marriage, and therefore the family and therefore both ecclesiastical vocations and society. Perhaps no other single act has done so much to produce that ‘half-ruined city’ shown to the 3 shepherd children in the 3rd secret.

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