Ludicrous To Pious Ears

The man was walking in the desert, followed by his companion, when the Thing swooped down on him.

From afar it had appeared to him, quite small, gliding over the sand, no bigger than the palm of a child’s hand — as a pale, fleeting shadow like a wavering flight of quail over the blue sea before sunrise or a cloud of gnats dancing in the sun at evening or a whirlwind of dust at midday sweeping over the plain.

The Thing seemed to take no heed of the two travellers, and was roaming capriciously through the wilderness. Then, suddenly, it assumed a set course and with the speed of an arrow came straight at them.

And then the man perceived that the little pale cloud of vapour was but the centre of an infinitely greater reality moving towards them without restriction, formless, boundless. The Thing as it approached them spread outwards with prodigious rapidity as far as his eye could reach, filling the whole of space, while its feet brushed lightly over the thorny vegetation beside the torrent, its brow rose in the sky like a golden mist with the reddening sun behind it. And all about it the ether had become alive, vibrating palpably beneath the crude substance of rock and plants as in summer the landscape quivers behind the overheated soil in the foreground.

What was advancing towards them was the moving heart of an immeasurable pervasive subtlety.

The man fell prostrate to the ground; and hiding his face in his hands he waited.

A great silence fell around him.

Then, suddenly, a breath of scorching air passed across his forehead, broke through the barrier of his closed eyelids, and penetrated his soul. The man felt that he was ceasing to be merely himself; an irresistible rapture took possession of him as though all the sap of all living things, flowing at one and the same moment into the too narrow confines of his heart, was mightily refashioning the enfeebled fibres of his being. And at the same time the anguish of some superhuman peril oppressed him, a confused feeling that the force which had swept down upon him was equivocal, turbid, the combined essence of all evil and all goodness.

The hurricane was within himself.

And now, in the very depths of the being it had invaded, the tempest of life, infinitely gentle, infinitely brutal, was murmuring to the one secret point in the soul which it had not altogether demolished:

‘You called me: here I am. Driven by the Spirit far from humanity’s caravan routes, you dared to venture into the untouched wilderness; grown weary of abstractions, of attenuations, of the wordiness of social life, you wanted to pit yourself against Reality entire and untamed.

You had need of me in order to grow; and I was waiting for you in order to be made holy.

‘Always you have, without knowing it, desired me; and always I have been drawing you to me.

‘And now I am established on you for life, or for death. You can never go back, never return to commonplace gratifications or untroubled worship. He who has once seen me can never forget me: he must either damn himself with me or save me with himself.

Are you coming?

‘O you who are divine and mighty, what is your name? Speak.’

‘I am the fire that consumes and the water that overthrows; I am the love that initiates and the truth that passes away. All that compels acceptance and all that brings renewal; all that breaks apart and all that binds together; power, experiment, progress — matter: all this am I.

‘Because in my violence I sometimes slay my lovers; because he who touches me never knows what power he is unleashing, wise men fear me and curse me. They speak of me with scorn, calling me beggar-woman or witch or harlot; but their words are at variance with life, and the pharisees who condemn me, waste away in the outlook to which they confine themselves; they die of inanition and their disciples desert them because I am the essence of all that is tangible, and men cannot do without me.

‘You who have grasped that the world — the world beloved of God — has, even more than individuals, a soul to be redeemed, lay your whole being wide open to my inspiration, and receive the spirit of the earth which is to be saved.

‘The supreme key to the enigma, the dazzling utterance which is inscribed on my brow and which henceforth will burn into your eyes even though you close them, is this: Nothing is precious save what is yourself in others and others in yourself. In heaven, all things are but one. In heaven all is one.

(‘The Spiritual Power of Matter’ in ‘Hymn of the Universe’ by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ; our emphases)

The London Times is visibly descending into insanity. The principal article in it today, by the columnist Daniel Finkelstein, argues that while people should be arrested for public nudity at the moment because it is against the law, nevertheless people have been getting used to increasing degrees of undress over the last century, and a day will come when people will be ready for complete public nudity, which will then become the law, and that will be no problem, you see, because it will be the law.

Not infrequently, too, God, in order to chastise their pride, does not permit men to see the truth, and thus they are punished in the things wherein they sin. This is why we often see men of great intellectual power and erudition making the grossest blunders even in natural knowledge (‘Tametsi’, Leo XIII, no. 9).

An eminent scholar recently brought the following quote to my attention. My more philosophical co-bloggers will be better than I am at explaining why this constitutes an example of illogic, by making opposites of two perfectly reconcilible options.

It is disgusting to notice the increase in the quantity of coffee used by my subjects, and the amount of money that goes out of the country as a consequence. Everybody is using coffee; this must be prevented. His Majesty was brought up on beer, and so were both his ancestors and officers. Many battles have been fought and won by soldiers nourished on beer, and the King does not believe that coffee-drinking soldiers can be relied upon to endure hardships in case of another war.

Frederick the Great of Prussia (1777)

To see the London Times, a pro-abortion, energetically pro-euthanasia and also a pro-(excuse me) sodomy newspaper, solemnly invoke the authority of the second Letter of St Peter in its leading article today in order to chide the Church of England for the vote against woman bishops – well, it would be sickening if it weren’t hilarious.

The present position is worse than that before the time of Christ. It is not the ignorance of a child but the madness of an old, and at one time very cultured, man (R. Garrigou-Lagrange, ‘Priesthood and Perfection’, chapter 7).

The BBC website is leading on the fact that Cardinal Carlo Martini gave an interview just before he died saying that the Church should get with the world and think a bit more (or a lot more) like the world. Wow! And… further shock…. lots of lapsed and liberal ‘Catholics’ agree with him. Errr even from an intra-Catholic perspective this isn’t news. How on earth does it end up as the lead story on the BBC website? The question is rhetorical of course. The world hates the Church because the Church is not of the world just as the world hated Jesus because He is not of the world. The world realises  that the Church wishes to lead as many of the subjects of the world out of this world as she can before it is destroyed and that she does this through the Gospel and the Sacraments which perpetuate the power of the Cross.  St Paul tells us that he did not preach the Gospel with persuasive words of worldly wisdom lest the Cross of Christ be emptied of its power. The world realises that the easiest way to frustrate the work of the Church and of Christ is to convince her children to embrace the wisdom of the world and preach that wisdom instead of the Gospel. They were rather hoping that a future Pope Martini would make this the official policy of the Holy See. He lost, and now they weep over his tomb.  He who marries the spirit of the age is soon widowed.

There is a right answer to this, and yous had better give it because I am having an argument with someone on an organists’ forum on the matter!

You know when you go to church and settle down before Mass to recollect yourself and prepare for the Holy Sacrifice and so on and so forth, and some wifey (usually) stands up and starts getting you to sing phrases back at her like it was the pantomime? Do you like that, or do you sit there trying not to wish she would drop dead?

(“loathe” doesn’t have to mean you can’t put up with it/would rather go to a proddy communion service than put up with it/ekcetra)

Remember the confession survey fabrication?

Here’s another confession-related fabrication in the news.

Really, the only point of reading the papers is to set you off googling and flicking through the blogs to find out what actually happened.

And when you’ve wasted lots of time doing that, you need the Carolina Chocolate Drops to get you back to revising your months-overdue translation. Only you then spend fifteen minutes digging out ms paper to transcribe the tune …

I’ve put Ches Bond back up on the blogroll – he’s been back for ages, I don’t know what took me so long. He writes the kind of stuff I always intended to write, but am, erm, too extremely busy doing really important things to get round to :/

… by this. While some German Christian Democrats only asked the Pope to abolish celibacy for priests, 144 German *Catholic* s.l. theology professors (that’s one third of the total) demand ‘open dialogue’ on, among other things:

  • abolishion of celibacy for priests
  • ordination of women
  • no longer ‘excluding’ remarried divorcees and active homosexuals
  • abolition of any liturgy worth that name (pardon: no centralised unification in liturgical matters preventing the inclusion of the experiences and modes of expression of today, and whatnot, in liturgy)
  • the Church begging pardon for her sins, which include ‘perverting the bibilical message of freedom into a rigorous morality without mercy’

Full text and all 144 names here (in German).

How nice of them to take such an interest in ecclesiastical matters.

Fr Michael Clifton, long time pastor of the faithful, former archivist of Southwark, learned historian, kindly teacher of schoolboys (including me, nearly 40 years ago) cricket coach, model railway enthusiast, and warm friend and mentor of younger clergy now feels that he must close his blog because he has been threatened with legal action by Monsignor Basil Loftus who writes a weekly column for the Catholic Times.

(Fr Finigan)

It’s been a long time since I regularly had my paws on the UK Catholic papers, but the name of Mgr Basil Loftus sticks in the mind as one of those who appeared in them promulgating DIY Catholicism in a dated style that leaves parody in fear of its life. Confirming half of my theory about psychological characteristics and theological preferences (that liberals are egoists and promulgators of clericalism, whereas trads are weird or neurotic), he’s threatened Fr Mildew with legal action for having called him a heretic in a comment the good father made on Fr Blake’s blog.

What is biting Mgr Loftus, that a simple blog comment – and surely one easily refuted with another comment – should so enrage him? Is he pathologically choleric? Fr Clifton was always edifyingly happy to be corrected and to correct what he’d written in response to comments and emails.

Has he not read 1 Corinthians?

I also wonder if he’s read the Catechism, or (following what looked like an extremely suspicious article on ad orientem in the SCO in the summer – personally I’d be very worried if my bus driver insisted on facing the passengers) Uwe Lang’s Turning to Face the Lord. Certainly the stuff of his Fr Finigan is quoting on the resurrection reads like tripe. If he wasn’t aware that what he wrote appears to be heresy, then surely he’s glad to have it pointed out? If he was aware of the fact that it reads as though it contradicts the Faith, and yet doesn’t mean what it appears to say, then why did he write it? And if he was aware that it appears to contradict the faith, and he meant it to, and he holds what it appears to say, well, I don’t see that he’s got a case, really.

Fr Finigan has a list of posts on this subject. He posted before Red Maria wrote hers.

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