ya what?


Or at least, this is the way the “Tagesschau”, the main public broadcasting television news in Germany, puts it.

When Katja learns she is pregnant, she quickly knows: She cannot have this child. She already has four. She does not have the strength for a fifth one. But when she asks her Bavarian gynecologist for an abortion, she gets no help. “He tried to talk me out of an abortion and left me alone with my problem,” the young mother says. It took the internet for her to find gynecologist Michael Spandau, who finally helped her.

Gynecologist Michael Spandau: “I can’t just fail these women.” The 70-years-old gynecologist retired three years ago. Technically. For he is the only medical doctor in Passau and the whole of Lower Bavaria that helps women with unwanted pregnancies.”

Yeah. By killing their babies. How else?

Apparently, the number of abortions in Germany decreased from 135,000 in 2001 to 101,000 in 2017 (while the number of births increased from 734,500 to 792,100 between these years). This is worrying news – even a perfunctory search for these numbers immediately turns up another news item lamenting this trend.

And whose fault is it when doctors no longer wish to perform abortions? It’s the “militant anti-abortionists” who are to blame. They do reprehensible things like protesting in front of clinics, or organizing demonstrations under the name “March for Life”, trying to influence public opinion. The president of the Bundesärztekammer is concerned:

“We have great sympathy for every doctor that does not wish to perform abortions under the current circumstances,” Frank Ulrich Montgomery, president of the Bundesärztekammer, says. He challenges politicians to do something against the massive disturbance caused by so-called pro-lifers.

I mean I knew things are BAD, but these news items just defy comment.

Disneyland

Brits who have visited the United States are usually familiar with the “I’m Irish!” phenomenon. The bewildered Brit is usually told this by a very American seeming person on the strength of a grainy black and white photograph of a great-grandfather who may or may not have been wearing a green item of clothing. This flimsy evidence is then used to justify a bewildering series of observances involving plastic leprechauns, green lager and corned beef that seem to have almost nothing to do with the fair Hibernia of actual experience. Of course, the Irish (particularly in the Republic) do tend to connive at this phenomenon, however disparaging they may be in private, as it pays serious financial and geo-political dividends.

Even more irritating for an English Catholic is the expression of admiration by American Catholics for the ‘wonderful’ Anglicans. Who are apparently ‘so English’ despite the fact that the English people (Catholic, Non-Conformist, godless and even many of the Anglicans themselves) have always held the absurd Anglican confection in contempt as a cultural substitute for Christian faith invented for the political, financial and sexual convenience of Caesar. As Tolkien put it “a pathetic and shadowy medley of half-remembered traditions and mutilated beliefs”.

One of the very few positive aspects of the “I’m Irish!” and ‘wonderful Anglican’ phenomena is that they prepare you psychologically for the even more ludicrous phenomenon of the American ‘Greek Catholic’. Usually we are talking here about ‘Ruthenians’ although the individuals in question often have no idea that the churches they frequent are, or were once supposed to be, Ruthenian. In this case there is seldom even the pretence of any ancestral or cultural connection to Eastern Europe. Mention of Uzhgorod or Mukachevo is met with blank stares. The best one can hope for is a nervous defensive supressed grimace from someone (perhaps a cleric) with a vague sense that he is supposed to have something to do with these places. Often, ironically, these ‘Greek Catholics’ actually are Irish (or at least of Irish descent). Often too one finds they are former Protestants who the eviscerated post conciliar liturgy and a residual desire to be their own magisterium has sent on a trip to Disneyland invent-your-own Byzantium.

Any ‘real’ familiarity the plastic-Byzantine may have with Byzantine tradition begins and ends with the schismatic ‘tradition’ of the ‘Orthodox’. They have read a few books by Kalistos Ware and are now ready to tell you all about what ‘we Byzantines’ do in ‘the East’. The music is terrible. A friend said to me in shock after visiting an American Greek Catholic church “I didn’t realise it was possible to do the Divine Liturgy badly”. Even more terribly they have attempted to create a Novus Ordo Divine Liturgy where the first third of the rite is abbreviated into a single paragraph and the veneration of the Gospel is thrown in as a coda to its proclamation.

The most dreadful thing of all for those who know and love actual Greek Catholics and actual Greek Catholicism is the veneration for and identification with the schismatics. Real Greek Catholics have preserved the flame of Byzantine tradition through centuries of persecution. Often their parents and grandparents have been imprisoned, tortured and killed by Communist and Tsarist authorities inspired and encouraged by the ‘Orthodox’, often too they have had to fight physically to retake their stolen churches from the schismatic Soviet stooges. Imprisoned Greek Catholic clergy were frequently offered their freedom and great advancement if they would only conform themselves to the schism. These are the descendants of the converts of Cyril and Methodius and of the people of Volodymyr, of the Romans who have lived and endured for centuries under Muslim domination in the Middle East. To now be told by some Anglophone colonials in fancy dress that they fall short because they insufficiently resemble Muscovite upstarts and Hellenic nationalists is impertinence and vulgarity that beggars belief.

Perhaps this vindicates the traditional disapproval for promiscuity of rite. There are many reasons why this may be best avoided but this obscene invention and appropriation (not to say desecration) of tradition is not the least of them.

Is there any remedy? Yes! Fasting, history lessons, penitential pilgrimages to Uzhgorod, the repudiation of all Agonyclite tendencies, singing lessons!, the restoration of the Filioque to the Creed (if they are Ruthenians), learning Old Slavonic, shredding their awful gender inclusive bowdlerised translation of the Liturgy, zeal for the true faith, horror of schism!

I am struggling rather with a couple of sections of Populorum Progessio. In  §15-16 the Pontiff makes some statements which seem really very odd.

Personal Responsibility

15. In God’s plan, every man is born to seek self-fulfillment, for every human life is called to some task by God. At birth a human being possesses certain aptitudes and abilities in germinal form, and these qualities are to be cultivated so that they may bear fruit. By developing these traits through formal education of personal effort, the individual works his way toward the goal set for him by the Creator.

Endowed with intellect and free will, each man is responsible for his self-fulfillment even as he is for his salvation. He is helped, and sometimes hindered, by his teachers and those around him; yet whatever be the outside influences exerted on him, he is the chief architect of his own success or failure. Utilizing only his talent and willpower, each man can grow in humanity, enhance his personal worth, and perfect himself.

Man’s Supernatural Destiny

16. Self-development, however, is not left up to man’s option. Just as the whole of creation is ordered toward its Creator, so too the rational creature should of his own accord direct his life to God, the first truth and the highest good. Thus human self-fulfillment may be said to sum up our obligations.

Moreover, this harmonious integration of our human nature, carried through by personal effort and responsible activity, is destined for a higher state of perfection. United with the life-giving Christ, man’s life is newly enhanced; it acquires a transcendent humanism which surpasses its nature and bestows new fullness of life. This is the highest goal of human self-fulfillment.

I find it very hard to see how these passages are not Pelagian. Even Semi-Pelegian seems a bit generous. Especially the words “whatever be the outside influences exerted on him, he is the chief architect of his own success or failure”. I suppose one might say that grace is assumed throughout and that the passage only concerns man’s relation to ‘outside’ influence not grace (which moves from within). One would have to interpret the  ‘higher state of perfection’ referred to as the evangelical counsels. Still it is the most extreme case of ambiguous optimistic magisterium prose I have come across.

Yup, that’s the consecration at the beginning.

Apparently a thanksgiving for the beatification of JP II.

From the FCO email update thing I get:

Minister for Europe David Lidington and Minister for Equalities Lynne Featherstone have spoken ahead of Belgrade Pride this Sunday.

“The pride season is now drawing to a close, and as ever it has acted as a reminder that we all need to continue to promote equal opportunities and continue to work towards equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people. There have been so many successful pride events around the world, and as we look forward to Belgrade Pride it is heartening to see the events being so well supported.

This government is determined to take the action needed to build a fairer society, both in the UK, around Europe and across the world.”

!!!!

Haven’t noticed the Warsaw Gay Pride thing being about a fairer society. Here in Poland assorted feminists and gay activists are  trying to bring down the equal opportunities minister because she’s a Catholic!  (There’s another oxymoronic movement-in-the-name-of-non-discrimination to introduce male/female quotas for MPs …)