Catechism of the Catholic Church (675)

'Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.' ~ Catechism of the Catholic Church (675)

Friday, 21 October 2016

The Pontificate that Won't Stand Up to Scrutiny

As I left a Church a day or two ago, I walked past a copy of a mainstream Catholic newspaper, I think it was The Universe. The headline took me somewhat by surprise. 'Is this really where we have got to?' I thought. The headline went something very much like this:


You can imagine what the rest of the article was like. I thought to myself that there is something deeply wrong with that headline and that such a headline - and it is accurate in its reportage - is a damning indictment of the pontificate of Pope Francis. In a single headline, we can discern the nature of the crisis enveloping the Church from the top downwards.

Has Catholic intellectual life come to such a nadir as this when a Catholic newspaper can publish a news story on the Pope's cardinal picks and fail to see the idiocy being promulgated therein. Mercy over morals. Mercy over morals. Mercy over morals?

Remember folks, you can't have both! When it comes to these qualities of - on the one hand - possessing morals and - on the other hand, possessing mercy a choice simply has to be made. One of them has to be abandoned because, well, aren't these two things just mutually exclusive? Isn't that what the most venerated Catholic Saints and scholars have always held? Isn't that what Jesus Christ taught? Good grief!

Now, I'm no ace theologian. While I've read a little 'City of God' and dipped into the 'Summa', I've no theological credentials to my name, but a smidgen of the sensus fidelium can tell me that there is no conflict between the man who upholds mercy and the man who upholds morality. These are the same man. This Man is Jesus Christ. And the sorry truth of the matter is that Jesus Christ Himself, were He a Bishop instead of the Divine Head of the Church, would very likely be passed over by Francis in his Cardinal picks because He simply wouldn't let go of His 'morals'. The clear inference of the Universe headline - and the clear inference of this papacy - is that mercy is good and, wait for it...


Yes, this idiocy is going out to the parishes via the Catholic press. By this simple but so far successful employment of cynical propaganda the character of, hmm, let's see, among others Cardinal Raymond Burke, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Cardinal Robert Sarah, the editorial team of Asia News and anyone who stubbornly remains loyal to Jesus Christ is being denigrated. These are people who still believe that, shock horror, morals are, in fact, good.

Growing opposition to and criticism of Pope Francis's pontificate is now being peddled by Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli as evidence of a club within the Church who are simply against Francis for the sake of it. Despite a wealth of evidence stacked up against him in papal pronouncements, interviews, off the cuff decisions and now an exhortation, Tornielli insists that the entrenched views of those Catholics who appeal to Rome for clarification or who insist on the perennial teachings on the Church are just resentful people who fail to see the enormous good Francis is doing for the Church.

For argument's sake, however, let's assume that, for instance, a Cardinal Blaise Cupich is the model of every Cardinal in the Church, one who, in the image of Francis himself chooses 'mercy over morals'. What kind of a Church aside from one sidelined into the gutter of popular culture is it that proclaims mercy at the expense - or instead of - morals? What does that Church look like? What does that Church have to say to a drug dealer or a human trafficker? What does that Church that chooses mercy over - or instead of - morals say to a pornographer, murderer or terrorist? What does that Church have to say to a pederast or someone who covers up pederasty for the sake of a quiet life? To anyone bound up in a lifestyle of mortal sin, what does that Church have to say? Quite simply, nothing, because of Her Founder, that Church is truly embarrassed. Yes, in the name of mercy, it is He Himself, the Lord Jesus, who is abandoned!

It seems to me that indeed what some will argue is a Pope advocating for a Church that sees not in terms of black or white but in many shades of grey will quickly become a Church of darkness. Why? Because Jesus Christ is Light. He is the Light of the World. His Morality shines a light into not just the darkest recesses of our hearts, our hearts which are dulled by sin - yes, sin, that dirty word! - but also into the darkest recesses of the Church. Shades of grey, like so many clouds that, when they accumulate during a storm can form a thick darkness that blots out the Sun, can act as cover for a great deal. It is the Church that refuses light, that fears the Light, the Truth, that covers the tracks of abuse and attempts to silence victims of that abuse.

'Mercy over morals.' My oh my. Who would have thought that after the years of championing the culture of life over the culture of death, the Catholic Church from the top could offer the World such a pathetic motif as that, and a Pope who played the pied piper for every rogue and criminal on the face of the Earth. Mercy over morals. Mercy over morals. What sweet music to the ears of the amoral, to those who find that Morality itself is a sworn enemy, an adversary, one who must be overcome, slain, like an innocent Lamb upon a Sacrificial Altar!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

In Praise of Luther, the Great!

I can see why His Holiness would want to spend time with Lutherans and venerate him just a little. After all, Luther Vandross was a pioneer of classic 80s soul music, music which brought many people together in the bars, the pubs and clubs. A lot of us remember the ups and downs of the 80s and Luther was there, often in the background, on the radio, on Top of the Pops, singing his soul music always with a smile. His Holiness is right to highlight his impact on Western culture and his artistic contribution to society. I am sure all the Lutherans went home very happy from their meeting with the Pope, knowing that Mr Vandross's musical contribution had received recognition from the highest levels of the Church.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Just Another Day at the Vatican

Just in time for Christmas, the chocolate Luther. 

Can't wait for the chocolate Calvin. The sheer indulgence of it!

Chocolate Calvin filled with delicious liqueur!

Martin Luther said, 'Destroy the Mass, you destroy the Church!'

He seems like a credible role model for the tragic trajectory of this papacy.


But what's with the scarves?

"No. I don't know what happened to your Luther statue."

It probably really is best Benedict XVI stepped aside from this whole 2017 Reformation party. I don't think he could have brought himself to get terribly excited by it.

God help us.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Declaration of Fidelity

If you have not already seen it and signed it, you can sign this important declaration of fidelity to the Church's unchangeable teaching on marriage and her uninterrupted discipline on the Sacraments here.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Who Will Rise Up for Him Against the Evildoers?

Recently, it was made public that priests and theologians wrote to every Cardinal in the Church to press Pope Francis to clarify his position on those parts of Amoris Laetitia which have potential to mislead the Faithful into error. This is the latest major initiative aimed at seeking clarification from the Pope, undertaken privately but made public.

At considerable risk to themselves, this request was made by persons of good will towards the Pope and in good faith. Since then, Fr Hunwicke has made it quite clear that the response to this letter from certain quarters has been one of intimidation. This is very distressing and alarming not merely because of the intimidation itself but because the intimidation is being applied before the 'new policy' or 'direction' has even been 'rolled out'.

If priests and theologians experience some kind of censure or reproach now, what kind of pressures might be applied when the Bergoglian rock of pastoral devastation starts careering down the hill with - as we know such things do - ever-increasing velocity?

Already, it appears that 'The Joy of Love' will be adopted, in all likelihood, by an unknown number of Argentine Bishops in what Pope Francis has described as the only possible interpretation of it for in his words, 'there are no other interpreations'. We can be sure that what takes place in Buenos Aires will not stay in Buenos Aires. Placing to one side for a moment the huge number of sacrilegious Communions and spiritual entropy which will be the natural result of the 'only possible interpretation' of the Pope's Exhortation, we must realise now how remarkably vulnerable are those priests - especially priests - who have made a stand in defence of Christ's own teaching and who will refuse to simply adopt the new thinking, if, indeed, it can even be called 'thinking'. For should not the new approach rather be called unthinking, careless, thoughtless or reckless? Worse, is it calculated?

Either way, this catastrophic move by the Pope not only endorses sacrilege. It does not only place souls at grave risk and lay waste to the teaching of Christ and the Pope's predecessors. It does not only light the touchpaper on the break-up of the Catholic Church into differing regions and national Churches. It also will inevitably inflict upon priests censure for doing the Lord's will. It has the potential to both empty seminaries and throttle the Priesthood.

Bishops and Cardinals, should any of you read this, and I know its unlikely...

It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to remind those set over us in authority who are Successors of the Apostles, not mere place men, that a concerted effort was made by the lay faithful for you to make your displeasure publicly felt at second stage of the Synod on the Family. For since March 17th 2013, yes just four days after his election to the Chair of Peter, Pope Francis has set out his programme of destructive 'reform' of the Catholic Church causing rising consternation ever since. The laity - and I among them - requested in the form of a petition that you leave the Synod Hall so that you would not lend legitimacy to the expensive charade of which you were a part.

We knew very well that the Pope was using you and the entire Synod process in order to lend an air of false collegiality to his own plans for the wholesale destruction of the Christian order, affecting the Sacraments, violating the sanctity of Marriage, placing the Family in jeopardy and promoting the desecration of the Holy Eucharist. Quite simply the Synod was a manipulation from beginning to end. We took a fair bit of criticism from others for that stance, but we knew very well that you were being played. We anticipated that the Synod was an exercise in garnering the kind of official-sounding semi-consent with caveats necessary for the Church to be raped. We knew that your views were not required, your presence only a fig-leaf covering the naked ambition - the ambition of which even he himself has obliquely spoken - of the Pope to radically alter the Church's teachings via 'pastoral practise' under the guise of pastoral mercy.

There is no point in saying we told you so, but...

Now behold how potentially defenseless are Christ's priests in the coming battle and how very vulnerable they are if law breaks down and is 'pastorally' dissolved from the top down. Yes, like many of you, we too have hoped and prayed most earnestly that the Pope will renege on his systematic programme aimed at laying the axe to the very foundations of the Catholic Church but most of us have realised long ago that this is a hope in vain. The Pope as of yesterday, but, in reality long before, stands in direct opposition to Jesus Christ. That's the situation. It is completely understandable that Cardinals and Bishops called to defend Christ's flock and the whole truth of the Gospel decided to postpone the battle, but not understandable that you would be so naive as to think the battle could be anything but postponed or that the Exhortation would be anything but a clever manipulation of the Church's Law, though, of course, nobody could have foreseen the whole strategy finding its most destructive element in a single footnote. Yes, the battle was postponed at the Synod but it could not be postponed indefinitely. That battle is now here, in your face, whether we like it or not.

For truly, the question the lay faithful asked at the Synod on the Family was really this: Who will rise up for Jesus Christ against the evildoers who eat up his people like so much bread?

That was why we asked you to leave the Synod Hall, not as an act of rebellion against the authority of the Pope but as an act of fidelity to Jesus Christ and His Gospel because we knew another opportunity may not arise. Letters, petitions, words, interviews...sorry, but the 'reformers' are laughing! They thinks they hold all the cards but are you not Apostles of Jesus Christ the Lord? Has power and authority not been given to you, Bishops and Cardinals?

Please in the name of all that is holy, I beg you, Bishops and Cardinals, fight for Jesus Christ and for the Truth. Pope Francis has made plain his intent to endorse, from the highest office of the Catholic Church, the violation of the holy doctrines of the Church, the teaching of Christ Himself, the Most Holy Eucharist, Marriage and the Family. He must be stopped from demolishing the Church. You must challenge him and challenge him publicly. You, alone, have the authority to do this. Those who are of Christ's flock will support you in this. The Eucharist must be defended. Marriage must be defended. Priests must be defended. Every Christian family needs you to speak out forcefully and to act to defend the Church. Every priest looking over his shoulder at his Ordinary will thank you. Every married person who takes the Gospel seriously will thank you. Will not Jesus Christ the Lord Himself thank you?!

At the stage at which we now are, with a perfect opportunity sadly missed at the Synod and disappearing into the horizon of history, as a lay man, I know not any longer what I seek Bishops and Cardinals to do or say, but know that the only thing the destroyers will take seriously is visible, audible defenders of Christ and His Bride who really mean it and whose respect for God is greater than their respect for men.

Please make known your opposition to the Pope's latest and most devastating assault on the Catholic Faith now. It is opposed by the Church Triumphant, be sure of this. It must be opposed by the Church Militant. You may not have been looking for this war but this war will find you. May it not find you hunkering down and pretending it is all going to go away. You may feel and say that the very last thing you wish to do is to damage the fragile unity of the Church but that unity is under massive assault from within, from the top. You must fight for Our Lord! You can now either defend the Church or desert Her in Her time of need. There is no middle ground. Those caught in no man's land will be spiritually annihilated for choosing comfort rather than Christ. If a hundred Bishops come forward to defend Christ we will be grateful. If fifty Bishops come forward to defend Christ we will be grateful. If ten come forward, we will be grateful. If just one comes forward to defend Christ, we will still be grateful.  We pray that you will do and say what you must to honour your duty to Christ, to His Priests and to the millions of souls in the care of the Church. It is easy for me to say it. It is harder for you to do, but for this reason were you born, to bear witness to the Truth and everyone on the side of the Truth listens to His Voice, for His Voice is clear and rings louder than peals of thunder...

For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. They say to him: Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorce, and to put away? He saith to them: Because Moses by reason of the hardness of your heart permitted you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery.

Bishops and Cardinals can no longer simply watch and pass over Pope Francis's aggressive mutilation of the Gospel as if by doing so safeguards the unity of the Catholic Church when Pope Francis has, in an astonishing manner, declared war on the Deposit of Faith he was appointed to serve, preserve and uphold as the Vicar of Christ on Earth.

May the Lord give Bishops and Cardinals the strength and resolve to do whatever they can, with the authority given to them by Christ, to safeguard the Deposit of Faith first neglected, then denied, then tossed aside and now thrown into the gutter by the occupant of the Chair of Peter.

If the Successor of St Peter cannot bring himself to confirm and strengthen the brethren in anything but falsehood and error (and climate change), then you must confirm and strengthen the brethren in the Holy Faith. In order to do so, you must be heard clearly and loudly, over the howling of the wolves that threaten to tear Christ's flock, Christ's Church and Christ's priests to pieces.

Pray, pray, pray for those charged with such a grave and solemn duty in the Catholic Church that with wisdom and fortitude they will foster the unity of the Church in Christ in one Faith, one Lord and one Baptism. If our Shepherds do not confront and resist evil, we can be certain that evil will overtake them and Shepherds are never overtaken alone.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Pope Francis Has Definitely Responded to Petitions and Letters from Concerned Catholics

The Holy Name of Mary
So if an army of Bishops and Cardinals could rise up in one voice and oppose this as soon as possible, that would be just great.

The USA has just commemorated September 11th.

Have we just had our September 12th?

Monday, 5 September 2016

A Collection of Thoughts on St Teresa of Kolkata Which Descends into Rant

Saints inhabit their age but they do not linger there. St Teresa's life is timeless. She'll always be relevant.

We can, I fear, thank God that St Teresa of Calcutta never had a blog or a Facebook account. That is not to say that these things, when used well are a waste of time, but Saints of contemplation and action don't need social media. Saints are saints in deed.

Mother Teresa seems to still have the capacity to cause a lot of people to fall over each other. Traditionalists say she was not traditional enough and criticise her for unorthodox sounding statements on inter-faith issues. Atheists just plain hate her because she was a nun who preached about Jesus Christ in word and deed.  You could say atheists hate St Teresa of Calcutta in the same way they hate the Church or even God Himself.

Mother's big idea was in fact very simple and she maintained that what drove her mission was Matthew 25. That's pretty traditional. Matthew 25 deals with the Last Judgment. If you're going to have a mission statement, that's not a bad starting place to begin a mission. We can glean from this alone some important truths about her life.

Firstly, Mother Teresa both feared God and loved God. She took Jesus's words very seriously indeed. She clearly feared being consigned with the goats. She knew Jesus meant what He said about death and Judgement. She clearly loved Christ in the Eucharist, spending hours alone with Him. How many Catholics nowadays believe that stuff?

An image of Mother Teresa alone tells an accurate story of this nun who, in fact, refused to conform her life to her age both in the Church and the world. Notice that Mother Teresa wore a habit. Around her neck and clasped in her hands was the Cross. One attached to her habit and one a Rosary in her hands. Yes, Mother was a nun of the habit and the Rosary. During the 1980s these visible signs of religious life were not common at all with so many nuns discarding both their habits and their Rosaries in preference of yoga and jeans and a gospel of self-fulfilment. In terms of evangelisation, a habit really helps a nun. It identifies her as being dead to the world and alive to Christ, her spouse. Of course, this would be counter-productive if her life was marked by a lack of Christian virtue and charity. Of course, the opposite is the case. The reality is that her compassion and heroism puts the great majority of us to shame. Quite honestly the words 'Mother Teresa' make us feel generally guilty. That's because whether you're a traddie or not, the likelihood is that however holy you might be, you're almost certainly not as holy as Mother Teresa. You almost certainly make compromises with the World that Mother never would. You almost certainly have stored somewhere treasure on Earth that will pass, that Mother would never accept for herself. Her one treasure was Jesus Christ.

Mother Teresa's life pointed very explicitly to Jesus Christ. The charge that she was indifferent to other religions would be very valid had Mother Teresa ever stopped talking about Jesus and Mary, something she never did. The name of Jesus was never far from her lips. More than this she showed very clearly that Jesus Christ makes the difference in a religious life. Divine love made flesh enabled her to become an embodiment of divine love made flesh. Our religion is incarnational. No other religion can do that because no other religion believes that divine love was made flesh in Jesus Christ. No Hindu can replicate Christ's selfless love because no Hindu believes in Christ. Mother was never ashamed to speak of Jesus but wanted her life to be a witness to His love. She let her light shine and her light was Jesus, the Light of the World. How many 'liberal' nuns talk about Jesus and Mary? How many 'liberal' nuns talk about abortion?

The very words 'Mother Teresa' continue to embody selflessness and self-denial, love and compassion - a stubborn refusal to accept the horrendous poverty and evil surrounding her. In terms of iconography she became as powerful as other women of history but in an entirely different way.

Mother Teresa was a very radical and exciting vision of womanhood. First, she refused romantic love, she was an attractive youth. She took Jesus for her spouse. This is the same attitude taken by the early Christian female martyrs. Is that not traditional enough for traditionalists? It is that kind of thing that really angers the Devil and the atheists.

She rejected and trampled upon the world and saw in its glories so much rubbish. That sounds pretty traditional.

Almost alone, she single-handedly challenged governments to respond to her life, on poverty and abortion. Of course, they could not handle her challenge. She - with St John Paul II - was deemed to be a huge threat to the established order of the world and the ideological tyranny that was engulfing it.

She promoted and frequented the Sacrament of Penance. Her life was deeply penitential. That sounds pretty traditional.

She honoured the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and saw it for what it is, the Most Holy Sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary, made present on the Altar. She attended that Mass, I believe, every single day that God gave her to.

She considered nothing to belong to her but everything belonging to God, most of all, her time. She considered time as precious, for the glory of God. She didn't kick back, take a day off, get a four pack of beer and watch the football.

Mother Teresa gave up all her possessions to conform her life to the same pattern of life as Christ. Is that not traditional enough for traditionalists? That's what St Francis did. That's what the Apostles did.

Mother Teresa spoke up in defence of the family. If Mother was still speaking now on Earth, do we really think there is any doubt as to how she would answer to a question on her thoughts about the Kasper proposal adopted so keenly by Pope Francis? She defended the unborn as often as she could. Do we have any doubt as to how she would respond - with delight or abject horror - to the idea that the Pope feels 'gratified' by the UN development goals which include access to abortion and artificial contraception? You can almost hear her condemnation of this from Heaven! Pope Francis can thank his lucky stars that this Saint is in Heaven - rather than speaking now on Earth, for what an earthquake that would be among the College of Cardinals.

I could write so much more but as well as the unsurprising hatred expressed towards this brave, heroic, incredible woman, deeply in love with Christ, from atheists, I have seen some very dismissive things written of her by traditionalist Catholics. I do understand their reasons in what appears to be some sketchy ecumenical ideas, but the manner in which they do so seems so arrogant in dismissing both her life and her message. I am reminded of the two thieves on the Cross. To her critics: Have you no fear of God? Have you no thought that it is very likely indeed that she is on the other side of the veil of this life to answer your arrogance and that her defender and avenger is very likely Christ the Lord? 

May the Lord rebuke you who mock her! Imitate her for one day. See if you can! Sell everything you own and give it to the poor. See if you can! Be holy and humble of heart. See if you can! Become famous not for your fine sounding words but for your deeds, for only for loving the poor and dying and for doing good while wearing the sign of your Christian identity. See if you can! Speak to every single person you meet about Jesus. See if you can! Be considered a fool for Christ. See if you can! Put every single person you meet above yourself and your own needs. See if you can! Allow Christ to transform your life into a living witness to the love of God so that every person you meet believes they are in the presence of a living Saint, someone who loves the other person with Christ-like tenderness. See if you can! Then, when you have done all that, maybe, just maybe you can reproach Mother for some things you would do or say very differently, but be very careful, along that road, the royal road of the Cross, you might fall and give way to any number of temptations since the Devil sees you as a signal threat to his domain and his power over souls.

Our new Saint may be a very 'Vatican II' Saint, but she's also a Saint who continues through her words and her deeds to rebuke the spirit of that Council that has seen the Eucharist neglected and unloved, the habit thrown away, the religious life trivialised, true prayer discarded, sacrifice and self-denial exchanged for self-indulgence and almost every modern relativistic belief surrendered to in exchange for the narrow road and the Gospel of Our Lord.

May she intercede for the Church and for our torn and tattered world today from her place in Heaven, where I fully believe she is, with St John Paul II. May their prayers help to defend the Family, Marriage, the Blessed Sacrament from defilement and sacrilege, the unborn, the poor, the outcast and the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Comments Policy at Catholic Herald Changes

Are commercial reasons really justifiable reasons for failing to give ordinary Catholics a voice on the extraordinary upheavals going on in the Catholic Church today? Are they even the reasons?

I would have thought that, in fact, the 'comments on' policy that had until relatively recently been for almost all articles at the Catholic Herald, but which then became a 'blogs only' policy, in fact brought the Catholic Herald a  great deal of online traffic, which in turn brought more of an audience to advertisers and potential advertisers.

Comments are still on here - and on blogs in general as far as I can see,

Keep fighting, keep praying and keep blogging until the end.

We bloggers do this service for the Church for free. We're not looking at this from a business model angle.

The Catholic Herald apparently can't afford to pay someone to 'moderate' comments, so its better to deprive Catholics of a voice in the mainstream Catholic press altogether.

Thankfully, bloggers don't follow such a line of thinking. Most of us aren't successful in worldly terms but we think Faith matters and giving Catholics a voice matters. For us it is a priority.

Shame. The Catholic Herald had done so well for so long. It is so sad that it has finally capitulated to various pressures at such a crucial time in the Church's life.

Whatever financial rewards come their way, I'm sure it won't be through their print edition since whenever I go into a Church there are always a good few copies to spare.

Certain people, however, will be happy about this decision. This decision is a slap in the face to their readership. I won't be reading it anymore. What a self-defeating decision. Their writers - talented as some of them are - are not the main attraction of blogs. The main attraction of blogs is that others can contribute to the issue being dealt with. I would have thought that to those interested in gaining an audience in the Catholic world today that this was self-evident.

But you know, what do I know?

Pray for blogs, pray for bloggers and pray for journalists and the Catholic Press. I guess you could say we're all up against it in one way or another.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Monday, 1 August 2016


The Blood of the Martyrs

Massacres carried out in cold blood - be they intelligence-aided false flag terrorist attacks or genuine terrorist outrages now are becoming so frequent that not only would it become even more difficult to distinguish between the two, but they are occurring with such terrifying frequency that each incident could easily be forgotten by the following month or perhaps week. However, let not the Church of Christ forget Fr Jacques Hamel! Martyr of Christ!

In such an age, when evil runs rampant, unfurling its banner of triumph, do we live. One really does wonder whether we shall have the capacity within another year to be shocked at all. Men and women burned alive in cages. Shorelines draped in the cloak of Coptic blood. The list is endless and there is no end in sight. The barbaric nature of the murders we have seen recently is of such a magnitude that most of us simply cannot begin to fathom it. Quite honestly, what can you say when a man walks into a Church where an 84-year-old is celebrating Mass and slits his throat at the Altar of God, or when a man turns on the ignition of a truck and proceeds to mow down people as if they were grass? This is insanity.

Fr Jacques Hamel's martyrdom is reminiscent of the Atlas Martyrs
On sympathising with Islam

The slaughtering of a peaceful man for no comprehensible reason whatsoever does not usually polarise debate. In Brighton, it is not unheard of for a drug addict to be found stabbed to death on the street or for a homeless man to be set on fire in his sleeping bag or in London for gang-related violence to claim the life of a teenager. In the face of such destructive evil, most of us give up on trying to understand motives, but few would have trouble at least identifying some discernible root cause that may, in fact, not be the ultimate cause of the evil committed but a strong contributory factor, even if the act of killing is senseless.

When it comes to Islamic violence - and there is plenty of it documented across the world, we have an even greater problem in perceiving the motive because it is alien to what we understand from the point of view of reason. Most reasonable people can even sympathise with Pope Francis's reticence to link Islam with violence because few want to identify a whole religion and people with evil. To do so has implications for a great many, perhaps even to the safety of many. It is widely known that his response to Benedict XVI's famous Regensberg Address was unfavourable to say the least. 'This will set us back 20 years!' are the words attributed to the then Cardinal Bergoglio in Buenos Aires when he heard news of the speech.

Can't we just all be Masons and get along?
The grand majority, we believe - I think correctly - of reasonable Muslims would reject and distance themselves from the murderous campaigns of those who share their religion. The majority of Muslims today would say that neither mankind nor Islam is not served by violence and bloodshed. Eventually, however, even a reasonable Muslim who loved his religion - in the face of so much Islamic violence - must admit that elements within Islam believe that mankind is indeed served by the kind of violent Jihad called for in parts of the Koran and that Islam itself has a problem with violence in a manner not comparable to Christianity, the true religion of peace and, yes, the true religion of tolerance, brotherly love, forbearance and mercy. The One True Religion.

Islam is de facto opposed to Jesus Christ because it does not propose Him to be both God and Man

The problem is that even a 'correct' interpretation of Islam - a moderated Islam - because of its varied forms - found in one place may never be truly discovered. The most enlightened Islam does not contain the seeds of Eternal Life. Let us imagine that, in time, perhaps, Islam itself might reform itself. Islamic scholars from around the world may join in unison to denounce all forms of terror and warfare, all forms of violent Jihad and adopt a universal blueprint of 'humane' Islam that constitutes what most people would regard as a religion that is entirely peaceful. Let us imagine a scenario, indeed, in which all the major religions combined to form a new humanistic - some might say Masonic - approach to religious divisions, fostering peace and concord around the whole world, in every community, with the extremist elements so neutralised as to be rendered ineffective and harmless to citizens of a new world order. Might this solve some of Islam's problems? Pope Francis might say 'Yes, what a wonderful world that would be'. This Catholic would, however, say 'No'. Why? Let us hear what the assailant said to a nun, speaking of Our Lord Jesus Christ before he was shot dead, a young life wasted at the age of 19...

"Jesus cannot be God and a man. It is you who are wrong."

Yes. As if to mirror Pope Francis's call to dialogue with other religions, before his death at the hands of law enforcement agencies, the young Islamic terrorist provided not just Pope Francis but the whole World with an exemplary exposition of the Muslim religion, formed, as it was, centuries after the first coming in the flesh of Our Lord and Saviour. His actions following this exegesis of Islam and one of its central positions on the nature of God can be interpreted according to as many sociological explanations as is deemed necessary. One thing, however, cannot be ignored, and that is that this man was most definitely in dialogue with a nun on the issues of God and religion, elaborating on the true Islamic position on Christ right up to the point that he committed murder in cold blood.

Ultimately, it is for this reason that Fr Jacques Hamel was slaughtered. It is for this reason that many Catholics down the ages have been martyred and it is for this reason that the Catholic Church most surely, while fostering dialogue between religions in the interest of mutual understanding and peace, can never accept or promote the idea that true peace and order can reign in the world. We must, to the anger or incomprehension of the world repeat this: Jesus is true Man and true God.

Indeed, since Her very founding by the Only Begotten Son of God, the Church has sailed in every age persecuted for this very reason. We do indeed believe that Jesus not only can be, but is, God and man. It is the Muslims, but not only the Muslims who are wrong. On this matter, the Jews are also wrong. The Hindus are also wrong. The Buddhists are also wrong. Atheists are wrong. This is what divides those who are Christians - who are for Christ, and those who are do not believe in Him, who St John tells us are Antichrist. And it is certainly this essential premise that even divides the Catholic Church today, informs the liturgical war, divides Catholics on moral issues, categorises those who side with Christ on divorce and remarriage and those who stand vehemently against Him. Yes, it is simply this.

Like the Pope, I too have sympathy with Muslims. They believe in one God. So I too believe in one God. They do believe in brotherhood and helping the poor. So do I. They even believe that after death comes judgement. So do I. They believe God is merciful. So do I. They believe in Paradise. So do I. They believe in Hell. So do I. But, the great error of Islam is the great error of the vast majority of the World and great swathes of even the Catholic Church. Jesus Christ is true God and true man. That singular denial of God Incarnate, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the cause of so much pain and suffering in the world. It is Pope Francis's role, not to simply ameliorate tensions between Christians and Muslims, nor simply to dialogue about what is shared between the two Faiths, but also to enlighten Muslims that Christ is for all men and for them and that no man shall see God without Him. 

Because they do not believe that Jesus is Lord, that which is good in Islam, just like that which is good in Judaism and Hinduism, that which is good in so many religions, is rendered not null, but incomplete and ultimately, in error. Error leads to death. This denial leads into many other serious errors which have grave consequences for the eternal fate of souls who believe errors and the temporal state, security and safety of the peoples of the world. Can Christians do wrong things? Yes. Can Christians murder? Yes. Can Christians commit these deeds and claim their religion informs that choice? They can, but they, too, are in error.

We might very well ask continually what made Fr Jacque's killer choose that path in life, a path of bloodshed and fratricide and think the answer is obvious but before the malice of such an evil act, we are still left mystified even when the killer offers what amounts to a religious justification.

Who are we to say that behind even religiously motivated killing does not lurk something much more mysterious, something more private, a mysterious love of death, an interior glorifying of evil, or a misguided vision of heroism nurtured and incubated by fanatical preachers, a longing to become famous or infamous, noticed or even celebrated by some?

Yes, the reasons for this man's choice might be much deeper than a selective fidelity to an Islamic text, but let none doubt that a truth, passionately held, can, guided and nurtured by Christ, become a force for such ardent charity that can change men and women's lives so much for the better. We see this in the life - and witness - of Fr Jacques. Let all men know too that an error, passionately held, can bring ruin and carnage to the streets and Churches of Europe, and an error, passionately held, can bring about the ruin, yes of any Catholic layman, any priest, any Bishop and, yes, any Pope. This error, deprived of the light of Christ, leads to spiritual death. Propagated, it takes in many victims. It will, undoubtedly, create many more to come. If every time the Pope is asked to speak of Islamic violence, he feels he must speak of Catholic violence, astonishingly, in the same breath, we are guaranteed that we shall be hearing about Catholic violence a lot from Pope Francis. Perhaps every week.

May Fr Jacques Hamel,whom the Church can, without any embarrassment (are you reading Austen Ivereigh?) and in continuity with the holy tradition of the Church, any hesitation, believe is now in Heaven, intercede for all priests, for France, for Europe and for all who believe that violence can achieve even the good end desired, that martyrdom can be gained by wilful murder and for all who persist in the error that can bring wholesale destruction not only to whole communities, but the Church Herself.

A life of humble service at the Altar of God, a death and the palm of martyrdom at the same. Would it be too much for the whole Church now to recognise the sacrificial nature of the Mass when a priest has shown it to us so vividly? Will the Church turn away from what Fr Jacques's death really tells us about the Priest and Victim united at the Altar in persona Christi? Perhaps this is a fact of his killing too subtle for some to notice.


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