The only suitable reply one can imagine to Madeleine Bunting's apparent public apostasy in 'The Guardian', an India Knight moment for besandalled nut eaters, has already been made in the lower paragraphs of this post by Mark Shea -
"Oh, and speaking of strong messages: repent and return to the Church Jesus Christ founded or you risk the everlasting fires of hell for your pride. Jesus said of the Eucharist "Do this in memory of me." How dare you disobey him and ignore his final command and greatest gift?"
It is not enough to be faithful. We must approach God like children, and as such it is necessary for us to be obedient. If you can't handle being obedient and accept the direction of those in the line of apostolic succession, then The Sage of Seattle has done you the favour of telling you what might be in store far better than I can.
It is sometimes both astonishing and depressing to actually see how many well read and literate people seem to regard their duties as members of the Catholic Church as being less onerous and more flexible than the rules attaching to their membership of the gym, or the bowling club.
In the same vein, it is depressing to see someone who may or may not be the composer James MacMillan writing of the arrangements for The Holy Father's public Mass at Bellahouston Park, in, of all places, the comments section of a blog by Damian Thompson, a commentator whose conception of obedience often seems, in my opinion, to be elastic, that,
"The letters to Scottish parishes from "Mission Control" have all been negative, stressing the difficulties of going to Bellahouston etc. It feels as if there are some in the Church who are keen on making this visit a failure. When the dust has settled there has to be an investigation.
Some priests "of a certain age" have deliberately gone out of their way to discourage attendance at the Mass. They need to go. The new generation is orthodox, and loves the beauty of the Faith and Christ's legacy on earth - the Church. As soon as the weeds are swept away, the garden can grow again."
In my opinion, it is unconscionable for any Catholic, no matter how distinguished they might be, to suggest that any Catholic clergy might seek to discourage attendance at a Papal Mass. For the avoidance of doubt, this has not been my experience in my parish, where efforts to encourage the faithful to attend have been consistent. The person making this statement should be called upon to produce evidence in its support, or else they risk doing great damage to their credibility.
Sadly, the recent public interfaces between ecclesiology and criminology have shown that the Catholic clergy has contained more than its fair share of bad apples, but to describe those untainted by scandal as 'weeds', fit only for the compost heap, shows, in my opinion, a profound lack respect both for the priesthood and our priests. While clericalism is corrosive of trust in our church and its institutions, anti-clericalism is equally corrosive of our duty to be obedient towards its teachings and, by extension, to accept the direction of her priests. While the person who wrote that might consider themself to be orthodox, in reality their sentiments are the tawdriest mirror image of the southern European anti-clericalism which may have led souls to Hell. It is not appropriate for any layman to publicly pontificate upon whether any priest or any bishop is unfit for office. Whoever wrote it might care to moderate their language in future.
Labels: Disobedient Children