Category Archives: Roman Catholicism

The one true church of the Apocalypse, or the harlot of Revelation? You decide.

The Creation of Men and Angels: The fall of the angels

Everything can change, but God: “Nothing is changeless (by itself) among its saints, and the heavens are not clean in his presence. Those he had created to serve have not been stable, and he has found impurity and depravity in his angels.” (Job 4:18, 15:15) A friend of Job said this, and it was not taken up by this blameless man. It was the common teaching of all, according to this idea, “God,” says St. Peter, “did not spare sinning angels, but cast them into the infernal darkness, where they are held with iron chains and large ropes, there to be tormented and kept for the rigors of Judgment.” (2 Peter 4,4) And Jesus Christ himself said, speaking of Satan: “He did not remain in truth.” (John 8:44)

“How are you fallen from heaven, O beautiful morning star?” (Isaiah 14:12) “You bear in yourself the seal of resemblance, full of wisdom and perfect beauty; you were all sanctified spirits in the paradise of your God, covered with precious stones,” lights and ornaments of his grace. Like a cherub with wings extended, you shone in the holy mountain of God, in the midst of blazing jewels, perfect in your ways from the moment of your creation, until iniquity was found in you.” How was it found, from where did it come? Did error creep into the middle of so many lights, or depravity and lawlessness among such great graces? Really everything from nothing always applies. You were sanctified, but not holy like God: you were first set in order, but not as God, the same order. One of your beauties was to be endowed with a free will, but not as God, whose will is the rule of a free, unwavering will. Beautiful, unhappy spirit, you were limited by yourself; admirer of your own beauty, which was a trap for you. You said: I am beautiful, I am perfect and dazzling light; and instead of going to the source from where you had this glow, you wanted as you admire yourself. And so you say, “I will ascend to heaven; and I will be like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:13-15) Like a new God, you wanted to enjoy yourself. Creature so elevated by the grace of your creator, you have assigned another elevation that you might own, and you wanted to “raise yourself a throne above the stars,” to be like God, yourself and other bright minds that you have drawn in imitation of your pride. Now suddenly “you fell,” and we who are in the earth, we see you “in the abyss” beneath us. It is you who wanted it, prideful angel, and we must not look for other causes other than the defect your own will. God needs neither lightning nor the strength of indomitable arms to hurl the rebels to earth; all you have to do is to remove those who leave him, and only deliver to themselves those who seek themselves. Cursed spirit, left to yourself, it does not take more to lose you. Rebellious spirits who followed, God twisted you in torture without removing your sublime intelligence. You were the workers of your misfortune, and as soon as you are loved yourself more than God, you turned into evil.

Instead of your natural sublimity, you had only pride and ostentation: the lights of your minds have turned to finesse and cunning artifices. Man, whom God had put underneath you, became the object of your desire: and devoid of charity that ought to have made your perfection, you are reduced to the low and malicious occupation of our first seducers, and then the executioners of those you have deceived. Unfair ministers of the justice of God, you experience it first: you increase your torments by making them feel your jealous rigors: your tyranny is your glory, and you are only capable of this as black and malicious pleasure, if one can call it such, that gives blind pride and low desire. You are spirits deprived of love, which nourish you nothing more than the venom of jealousy and hatred. And how did you made this great change? You withdrew from God, and he withdrew: this is your great torture and his great and admirable justice. But it nevertheless did more: he thundered and struck: you groan under the blows constantly repeated by his invincible and indefatigable hand. By his sovereign orders, the bodily creature that you were subject to naturally dominates and punishes you. Fire torments you: its smoke, so to speak, chokes you: thick darkness takes you captive in eternal prisons. Cursed spirits, hated by God and hating, how are you fallen so low? You wanted it, you still want it, because you always want to be beautiful, and that in your untamed pride you remain obstinate in your misfortune.

Creature, such as you are, and so perfect as you believe yourself to be, remember that you came out of nothing: that of yourself you are nothing: from the root of this base origin you can always become sinful, and from there soon eternally and infinitely unhappy.

Beautiful and rebellious, take example from the prince of rebellion and pride; and see, and consider, and hear what a single feeling of pride has made him and all his followers.

Let us flee, flee, flee from ourselves: let us return to our nothingness and place in God our support as well as our love. Amen. Amen.

The Creation of Men and Angels: The creation of the angels

This is the first in a series from Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries. More information on the Bossuet Project is here.

God, who is a pure spirit, wanted to create pure spirits like him, who like him live in intelligence and love, who know and love him as he knows and loves himself, who like him are happy in knowing and loving that first being, as he is happy by knowing and loving himself. By this they are steeped in their root by a divine nature, by which they are made in his image and likeness.

Such perfect creatures are drawn from nothing as the others, and from there, perfect that they are, they are by their nature prone to sin. He only by its nature is not prone to sin, which is itself perfect by its essence. But as it is the only perfect one, everything is defective except him, “and he found the same depravity in his angels.” (Job 4:18)

However is not he who made them depraved: it is not pleasing to God. Only the very good comes from a hand so good and so powerful: all minds are pure in their origin, all intelligent natures were holy in their creation, and God had formed their nature and filled them with grace all together.

He lifted from his treasures minds of countless kinds. From these infinite treasures came the angels, from these same infinite treasures came reasonable souls. There was a difference, that the angels are not united to a body, which is why they are called pure spirits. Instead, reasonable souls are created to animate a body; and though in themselves they are pure and incorporeal spirits, they make up a whole which is mixed with body and spirit, and this is all man.

O God, be praised forever in the wonderful diversity of your works. You who are spirit, you have created the spirits; and doing what is most perfect, you have not denied the being from what is most imperfect. So you also made minds and bodies, and since you have made spirits separated from the body, and bodies that have no spirit, you also wanted spirits who had bodies; and this is what led to the creation of the human race.

Who doubts that you can not separate and unite and all that pleases you? Who doubts that you cannot make spirits without bodies? Does one need for a body to hear, and to love, and to be happy? You who are a spirit so pure, are you not immaterial and intangible? Are intelligence and love not spiritual and immaterial operations, which can be exercised without being united to a body? Who would doubt that you can not create this kind of intelligence? And you told us that you have created such.

You have told us that these pure creatures “are innumerable.” (Heb. 1:12) One of your prophets, enlightened by your light and transported in spirit as among your angels, saw “a thousand thousands who executed your orders; and ten thousand times a hundred thousand who remained in your presence,” (Daniel 7:10) without doing anything else than adoring you and admiring your greatness. We must not believe that by speaking in this way he has tried to count. This prodigious multiplication, done by the largest numbers, tells us that they are innumerable and that the human mind is lost in this huge multitude. Count, if you can, the sand of the sea, or the stars of heaven, both seen and unseen, and believe that you have not reached the number of angels. It costs nothing to God to multiply most excellent things: and it is most beautiful; we can say that is what he excels in.

“O my God, I adore you in front of your holy angels; I will sing your wonders in their presence;” and I will unite in faith and truth to the immense multitude of the inhabitants of your holy temple; of your perpetual worshippers, in the sanctuary of your glory.

O God, who hast deigned to reveal that you have made them in such numbers, you have wanted to teach us that you distributed them in nine choirs; and your Scripture never lies and says nothing unnecessary, named “angels, archangels, virtues, dominions, principalities, powers, thrones, cherubim and seraphim.” Who will attempt to explain those august names, or describe the properties and the excellence of these beautiful creatures? Too content to dare name them with your always true Scripture, I dare not cast myself in high contemplation of their perfections; and all I see is that among the happy spirits, the Seraphim, which are the most sublime and whom you put at the head of all celestial squadrons nearest you, dare not yet look up to your face. Your prophet who gave them six wings, to signify the height of their thoughts, “two to put them before your face two to put them in front of your feet.” Everything is great in your nature and what is called the face and the feet, there is nothing in you that is incomprehensible. The most refined minds cannot support the splendor of your face: if there is some place in you where you seemed closer to them, and which we can call for that reason your feet, they cover with their wings and do not dare look at him. Six wings, they use four to hide from themselves both your impenetrable and inaccessible light and the love and the incomprehensibility of your being. There are left “two wings to flutter,” if one dares say it, around you, without the power to either enter your depths, or fathom the immense abyss of perfection, before whom they beat barely trembling wings, and they can hardly be sustained in front of you.

O God, I worship you with them! I do not dare to mix my unclean lips with their immortal mouths which resound your praises across the sky. I wait for one of these celestial spirits to come touch me with the fire of coals burning before your altar. What grandeur do you show in these purifying minds! And now you show me that the spirits that purify me are so small in front of you!

How Did We Get From Scanlan to #straightouttairondale?

The death of Fr. Michael Scanlan, the University of Steubenville’s long-time leader, has saddened many in the conservative Catholic world, if not refugees from covenant communities.  It’s an event that may not resonate with the majority of the Christian world, but for those of us with any involvement with the University of Steubenville, it’s worth noting.

I’m going to leave to those more directly affected by his actions vis-à-vis covenant communities how to explain that situation.  Suffice it to say that, after lecturing us on visitations from God, the covenant community that absorbed Steubenville’s Emmanuel group came to an end after the visitation of another higher power, namely the bishop.

As someone who chaperoned three youth group trips to the National Catholic Charismatic Conference on Young People and Youth Ministers (1981-3) and attended one leadership conference (1983,) I have an entirely different question: how did we get from the breezy, folk mass and folk youth service format of those days to the stiff, Latinate style (which I refer to by the Twitter hashtag of #straightouttairondale, because its most prominent proponent is EWTN) that is all the rage in conservative Catholicism now?  Why are the same people who thought we were really in touch with God then now promoting something different?

Let me start by giving you a couple of examples of what things looked like in those days.  The first is a little photo montage I put together from my years in the Texas A&M Newman Association, just a few short years before:

The second comes from Steubenville itself: it’s the opening of the 1983 Student conference:

When we look at either of these, and then compare them with what is presented as “normative” conservative Catholicism these days, the difference is, well, striking.  And what isn’t shown is also worth noting: devotions to Our Lady were few and far between (although I confess I saw a rosary so large it took two people to carry it) and not a word of Latin in or out of the liturgy.  The old folk Mass reigned supreme in those days; it’s just about considered blasphemy now.

What’s really amazing is that many of the same people who thought this was from the throne room have joined the #straightouttairondale bandwagon: Bert Ghezzi, Ann-Marie Shields, Ralph Martin, etc.  Scanlan himself “swam the Tennessee” (which is what you would do going to Irondale or Cullman) during his tenure as President of the University. The University’s summary of his years there is as follows:

Over the next 26 years, he transformed the College into Franciscan University of Steubenville and gained for it a worldwide reputation for both excellence in academics and its passionate Catholic faith environment…His success helped spark a restoration of authentic Catholic education in the United States and beyond, with many colleges and universities renewing their Catholic identity and new schools imitating his emphasis on Catholic Church teaching.

But reality isn’t this seamless.  When you throw in the business about the covenant communities (which have been accused of Protestantising tendencies, although the situation is complex) you get the impression that you’re looking at a group of people who started out at one point, ended up at another, and either have no idea they went on a journey or who don’t want to admit it.

I think there are several reasons for this spectacular volte-face:

  • A change in pontificate.  John Paul II was solicitous about putting the RCC’s “house in order.”  A large part of that was to emphasise particularly Catholic practices such as devotions to Our Lady.  That split many an ecumenical prayer group or covenant community, including this one.
  • A belief that traditional Catholic doctrine had to be accompanied by traditional Catholic worship style and practice and traditional Catholic devotions.  This is a mistake we see in many threads of Christianity; we cannot seem to separate what we believe with the style of our worship.  I am aware of the connection (especially in liturgical churches) between what we believe and what we pray, but that has been pretty much set since 1970, except for the English translation changes.
  • The tendency of people in authoritarian institutions to switch sides and party lines as a means of survival.  This isn’t restricted to the RCC; we saw this in the early years of the Church of England, and during the Cultural Revolution in China.  It’s not pretty but it can be explained.

Some people think that the current Pontiff is trying to pull the Church back the other way.  I think that the current Bishop of Rome is a reverend père Jésuite whose goal is to bring back the morale accomodante of the likes of Escobar, Bauny, Sánchez, etc., and that’s always a disaster.

But we must return to Scanlan’s journey, which has now ended.  If I had to pick a song for his funeral, it would be Erich Sylvester’s “Stay With Me,” whose third verse goes like this:

I went to school for a long time
Expecting to stay in a straight line
Until I discovered that great minds
Don’t move in a straight line at all

The sooner that everyone can face the reality that his life and those of many who walked with him were and are not straight lines, the sooner Roman Catholicism will be able to decrease its efforts to bring its departed sheep back home, because not so many will leave.

Anger in God

Something to consider, from Philo Judaeus, On the Unchangeableness of God XI:

And this is what follows:  “I will destroy,” says God, ” the man whom I have made from off the face of the earth, from man to beast, from creeping things to the fowls of the air, because I have considered and repent that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:7) Now, some persons, when they hear the expressions which I have just cited, imagine that the living God is here giving away to anger and passion; but God is utterly inaccessible to any passion whatever. For it is the peculiar property of human weakness to be disquieted by any such feelings, but God has neither the irrational passions of the soul, nor are the parts and limits of the body in the least belonging to him. But, nevertheless, such things are spoken of with reference to God by the great lawgiver in an introductory sort of way, for the sake of admonishing those persons who could not be corrected otherwise. For of all the laws which are couched in the form of injunction or prohibition, and such alone are properly speaking laws; there are two principal positions laid down with respect to the great cause of all things: one, that God is not as a man; the other, that God is as a man. But the first of these assertions is confirmed by the most certain truth, while the latter is introduced for the instruction of the many. In reference to which, it is said about them, “as a man would instruct his son.” (Deuteronomy 1:31) And this is said for the sake of instruction and admonition, and not because he is really such by nature.  For of men some are attached to the service of the soul, and others to that of the body; now the companions of the soul, being able to associate with incorporeal natures, appreciable only by the intellect, do not compare the living God to any species of created beings; but, dissociating it with any idea of distinctive qualities (for this is what most especially contributes to his happiness and to his consummate felicity, to comprehend his naked existence without any connection with figure or character), they, I say, are content with the bare conception of his existence, and do not attempt to invest him with any form.

There are two concepts here, both of which are, unfortunately, out of fashion right at the moment.

The first, to cut to the chase, is Philo’s idea that anger in God is an anthropomorphism, i.e., a human attribute spoken of in God to aid our understanding but which is not literally there.  We use this referring to such things as God’s hand, foot, etc., although God is incorporeal.  (The Mormons are not able to get that far, as they posit that God has a body, which cans his omnipresence, among other things.)  In the Greek view that Philo expresses, the passions of the soul (anger, lust, etc.) are connected with the body, while the rational soul, whose task it is to control these passions, is above this.  To attribute to God literal anger is to lower God, and there’s enough of that going on.

The second is that much of the Scriptures, and especially the Old Testament (which is all Philo had,) were written in an instructional way.  As anyone who has taught knows, it is necessary to sometimes simplify the material to get the students to initially grasp it.  Given the first proposition, saying that God is angry is likewise a teaching tool.  Saying that things in the Old Testament are such isn’t restricted to Philo or God’s anger: “Thus the Law has proved a guide to lead us to Christ, in order that we may be pronounced righteous as the result of faith.” (Galatians 3:24 TCNT)

To come back and say that this only exists in liberal Christianity is simply not so: this line of thinking pervades the Fathers of the Church and the medievals, including St. Thomas Aquinas.  And it is really different from liberal Christianity in that liberals do not think that God is angry for sentimental reasons.  The ancients and medievals accepted the fact that bad things happen and that bad things come when we transgress God’s way.  The question is whether we think that God, like the referee in a football game, simply calls the penalty and moves the ball back, or whether the angels duck to avoid the stuff that gets thrown from the throne room.

Today, of course, we’re supposed to be perpetually passionate and worked up, and we have the crazy society to prove it.

Mirroring Our Creator

Not too long ago, while grading homework for a course I was teaching, I saw a “better than usual” performance from one of my students.  I noted that, if she would consistently concentrate on what she was doing, she was capable of very good work.   The response I got to this was as follows:

I just stumbled across the feedback you gave me…Thank you for that. It’s nice to hear those things once in a while, and especially from a professor of your calibre.

My response to this was as follows:

At the beginning of his poem Paradiso, Dante wrote the following:

The glory of Him who moves all things rays forth
through all the universe, and is reflected
from each thing in proportion to its worth.

Our first task in life is to point the mirror in the right direction.

I’m sure that it’s the rare professor in the College of Engineering and Computer Science that would quote Dante in a communication with a student, but doing so brings up some things that need to be said.

Today the concept of “equality” is endlessly paraded before us.  In practice, however, equality is a tricky concept.  It’s one thing to pass some legislation and give each other the high-five that we’ve moved towards a more just society. It’s another to achieve real equality.  To do that would require either that we accept that everyone have the same outcome (which was an goal of Communism) or abolish any kind of reward for performance, and frankly we’re not near either one.

No where is that more evident than in education.  In spite of the levelling efforts of the last fifty years, we still don’t have real equality, not only among the students and faculty but among differing institutions.  There are many reasons for this but the most important one is that people are not the same; thus, inequality is built into the system from the start.

A teacher is presented with a varied lot each time class assembles.  In addition to differing levels of intelligence, there are other things that vary.  Students learn differently one from another.  Some take too many courses in one semester.  Some work full-time jobs and/or have a family.  Some do both, which can be a real disaster.  Some experience personal tragedy, either going into their studies or during them.

It’s tempting for an academic to focus on their “best” students.  Having worked in industry first, I am aware that there is more to life than academic performance, and I’ve seen in class that the “smart” students aren’t always the ones who come up with the best solutions, especially on projects.  That tells me that, as one of my own professors observed, testing may not be the best was to gauge performance, but it’s the best we’ve got.  We need to understand its limitations, along with those of the whole academic system.

Getting back to Dante, he lived in a world where inequality was accepted as a fact of life.  But he also lived in a Christian world where each and every human being had worth to his or her Creator.  Each of those creatures should reflect whatever glory their creator put in them; if they did so, they fulfilled their purpose, and found their value in doing so.

Today our obsession with “equality” leads us to try to do all and be all.  But our God doesn’t expect that, and neither do I.  As a professor, what I want to see from my students is their best, to bring out that which their God and their creator has endowed them with.  If I get that, I’ve succeeded and they’ve succeeded.

That is what I meant by my comment: our first task is to direct ourselves in such a way as to reflect the glory of our Creator best, and that first is towards Him.  But that leads to another point of the Paradiso: we get to the point where we realise we cannot achieve our true goal without God’s help and presence in our lives.  To fully reflect the glory of our Creator and to fulfil his purpose for us requires that step, and for that the provision is his, not ours.

To make that step, click here

A Little Lesson in Subsidarity

One of pot shots that Hillary Clinton and her operatives made at conservative Catholics is that they used terms like “subsidarity” that no one understood. Since they may be right about that, I think an illustration is in order.

Many of you know that I teach Civil Engineering. Six years ago, my department head (who is from Kenya) and his first assistant (who is from the Cameroon) sat me down and asked me to obtain my PhD so I could teach more courses. I agreed and six years later, as W.H Auden said about Tolkien, at the end of the quest, victory.

In the course of the conversation, my department head brought up the subject of why potholes don’t get fixed in Africa the way they do here. (I know we have issues here.) His explanation was this: here, the local authorities (city, county, state) maintain the roads and, since they’re closer to the problem, they have greater incentive to fix it. Back home, decisions are made in the capital, and since they’re far away from the roads, they don’t have a pressing interest, and the potholes remain. That’s probably the best illustration of the concept of subsidarity—which seeks to push decision-making down to the lowest level—that I’ve heard.

Roman Catholicism—especially in its Ultramontane form, which has been the norm since the Restoration—is not the most suitable vehicle to promote the idea of subsidarity. It’s a good theological concept, but the structure of the church works against it.

As far as Hillary Clinton is concerned, truth be told, her problem with subsidarity isn’t that she doesn’t understand it. Her problem is that she doesn’t like it. Her idea—one that has been obvious since Arkansas’ educational “reforms” in the 1980’s—is that power and decision-making be concentrated at the top. People who support subsidarity are political enemies, which is a big reason she wants a “Catholic Spring.”

As far as how two Africans got a Palm Beacher like me to pursue a PhD, it’s another sign that, in engineering, we really do have change we can believe in.

When Catholic Academia Bails on Philosophy, We’re All in Trouble

Which is what some of it, at least, has done:

A similar crisis has shaken the philosophical estate within the church. Before 1970 philosophy enjoyed an enviable prominence in the curriculum of Catholic colleges. This Neo-Scholastic philosophy was certainly structured around the perennial questions—Does God exist? What is virtue?—but it was an odd, manual Thomism in which students never actually read Aquinas. A smug catechetical certitude seemed to lurk behind the paint-by-numbers proofs and the gleeful one-paragraph refutations of modern “adversaries.”

That world has disappeared; its chastened replacement in the Catholic academy bears the stamp of marginality: minimal curricular presence, hyper-specialization, incoherence among the squabbling philosophical factions.

This cultural recession of philosophy has encouraged some Catholics to abandon philosophy as a central component of the church’s discourse. The issue has become especially neuralgic in the dispute over the formation of clergy. But the project of a nonphilosophical Catholicism is fraught with peril.

In some ways, the greatest blessing God bestowed on me in my Christian formation was to dodge education at one of these institutions, which enabled me to take in Aquinas and the like on the side.  Not only did it avoid the problems there, but inculcation in philosophically structured Christianity has helped me to avoid some of the sillier–and more dangerous–trends in Charismatic and Pentecostal thought.

Catholic theology in particular is pretty much toast outside of a philosophical framework.  And that throws away one of the major advantages that Catholicism has.  That’s a pity, the rest of us need the discipline.

The blunt truth is that Evangelical theology is an oxymoron precisely because it rejects any philosophical framework.  The Bible, however, was written in the flow of human history and experience, where we live, and was intended to address that experience directly.  Sooner or later, however, the question of “why?” will come up, and without a philosophical framework that question is unanswerable.

Today Pentecostal and Charismatic theology is at a crossroads because it inherited Evangelical theology’s basic thought structure without its limiting assumptions.  The result is that some in the academy (and elsewhere) are about to take the leap outside of Christianity without knowing it, and we all know where that ends.

There are problems with philosophy too; I tackled that issue some time back here.  Some of the problems we have now could be avoided by jettisoning much of modern philosophy altogether.  But throwing out the baby with the bath water isn’t the answer, for Catholics or anyone else.

“Garbage In Garbage Out” Works for the Soul, Too

From Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, IV, 8:

To correct the abuse and distraction of our wandering and dissipated imagination, it is necessary to fill it with holy images. When our memory fills up, it will only take us to those religious ideas. The water wheel pushed by the flow of a river always goes, but it only matters that water crosses its path. If the waters are pure, it will carry nothing but pure water; but if they are impure, the contrary happens. Thus, if our memory is filled with pure ideas, the turning, so to speak, of our restless imagination will not draw from this well and will only take us to holy thoughts. The wheel of a mill will always turn, but it will grind the grain that is there: if it is barley, we will have ground barley; if it is wheat and pure grain, we will have flour. Let us put in our memory all holy and pure images, and whatever is the agitation of our imagination, it will only return to us, at least generally, in the spirit, as the fine and pure substance of items with which we will be filled.

Let us be filled in Jesus Christ, in his actions, his suffering, his words. To give more than one object to our senses, let us be filled with the holy ideas of Abraham sacrificing his son; of a Jacob pulling from God by a holy battle the blessing he hoped for: from a Joseph leaving His coat in the hands of an immodest person to rescue his chaste body; of a Moses who dared approach the burning bush which the fire does not consume, and take off his shoes out of respect; of an Isaiah, who trembles before God until His lips Were purified; of a Jeremiah, who stutters so humbly before God and dares to announce His word; of the three young men for whom the flame of a burning furnace respects the faith; of a Daniel also saved by faith from the teeth of hungry lions: of a John the Baptist preaching repentance under poverty and the hair shirt; of Saul, who was beaten down by the powerful word of Jesus whom he persecuted; and all the other beautiful images of prophets and apostles. Your memory and imagination, consecrated as a holy temple by these holy images, should not bring you anything that is not worthy of God.

Catholic preachers and authors have long been made fun of the “pure thoughts” business.  But with the images coming across our computer screens these days, I think they have the better part of the argument.  It’s the spiritual version of the “garbage in-garbage out” mantra coding people have used for years.

It’s also interesting that all the images the Bishop of Meaux uses are from the Scriptures, contrary to the #straightouttairondale approach in fashion these days.  He doesn’t even include the Mother of God in the list!

When the Social Justice Warriors Get in Their Own Way

As the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland is doing:

The Church’s wooing of the SNP is largely to blame. It started when Cardinal Winning clashed with the then Labour Executive over their social liberalism. Winning and many of the other people in charge convinced themselves that the nationalists were going to be more onside on issues like abortion. There was absolutely no evidence that this would ever be the case, as the Catholic community are about to find out. Instead, they have been played for useful fools by Salmond et al, whose entryists have done the necessary spade work from within.

There’s no evidence that the SNP will champion causes near and dear to the RCC such as being pro-life.  But both the people and the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, with Anglophobe memories running half a millennium deep, allow their emotions to think that an independent Scotland would further the cause of the RCC and its flock.  (They should have first remembered that it was an independent Scotland that broke the RCC in the first place, long before the Union or even James I/VI.)

The SNP’s goal is a Scotland that is independent of England and part of the EU, and there’s nothing particularly Christian in that agenda.  And letting the BDS people run hog-wild during a football match just plain stupid on many levels.

But that’s what happens when you have SJW’s who act before they think.

Note: the Spectator article mentioned the Scottish Catholic Observer.  When I was in the UK forty years ago this summer, I read an article about the appalling treatment beggars got at Westminster Cathedral, something I attempted to make a dent in the following Sunday after Mass.  The paper’s downfall is really sad indeed.

Women Deacons in the Catholic Church? Not the First Time They’ve Thought About It

My mother used to tell her unretentive sons that geese “get up in a new world every morning.”  While I can’t speak to geese, that’s certainly a problem with our press:

Pope Francis has created a commission to study the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic church, following up on a promise made last May in what could be an historic move towards ending the global institution’s practice of an all-male clergy.

The pontiff has appointed an equal number of male and female experts as members of the commission, which will be led by Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria, a Jesuit who serves as the second-in-command of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation.

Seven years ago, I quoted this article:

The question of women deacons has been before the commission for at least 20 years. The original study on women deacons, requested by Pope Paul VI, was suppressed. While that document remains unpublished, an article published in Orientalia Christiana Periodica in 1974 by then-commission member Cipriano Vagaggini concluded that the ordination of women deacons in the early church was sacramental. What the church had done in the past, he suggested, the church may do again. Other scholars, before and after Vagaggini, have reached similar conclusions, but the current document only refers to the debate and strenuously avoids concluding that women ever received the sacrament of holy orders…

The big difference is now that we have a Jesuit Pope.