Monday, May 23, 2016

"INTRUDERS AND DESECRATORS" - " INTRUSI E PROFANI inthe words of Ven Pope Paul VI.

" UNEASY LIES THE HEAD THAT WEARS THE CROWN"
                                                                                Henry IV Part II
Earlier to-day here:http://vexilla-regis.blogspot.com.au/2016/05/wrong-turn-in-beginning.htmlWe posted an item  on the evolution of matters Liturgical.

It looked back to the Second Vatican Council and its requirements regarding the Liturgy, to the changes implemented by Pope Paul VI and the more recent reforms of succeeding Popes, and the recent introduction of the corrected translation of the Order of Mass in Anglophone countries.So, let us get on with it.

The anguish of Pope Paul VI as he implemented the Novus Ordo is patently obvious in his acknowledgement that the changes made those effecting the changes"almost intruders and desecrators". His Holiness was in great distress for much of the post-Conciliar remainder of his life, on this and other counts. We need only consider his mention of the "smoke of Satan"- (address 29th June, 1972) to see the depth of that distress. The Holy Father  looked with the greatest sorrow upon the mass desertions of Clergy and Religious as the false " spirit of the Council" spread its dark shadow.


There are two aspects under which I would like to consider the present situation : 


. the experience of the worshippers,and


. the Liturgical requirements of the Church                                                                                                                                                                                           


The Experience of Worshippers                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Some forty four years on we are mostly now a people brought up on the Novus Ordo.Though there are those of us who still recall the days before the Novus Ordo they are not anything like a majority.And there is as a consequence a dwindling folk memory of "the way we were".And coming on we have generation after generation of youngsters brought up in the Novus Ordo culture, but more significantly and absolutely destructively in a " Catholic " Education environment that is grossly defective and in fact subversive of the Faith. The cumulative effect of these influences should inevitably be a " Faith community" that would blow away in a breeze, let alone in a gale of hostile opposition.

But wait! We are not alone! Throughout the Church, and the very Internet you are using to read this confirms it, we are finding a strong element of young Catholics committed to the fullness of Catholic Doctrine and authentic tradition. Very many of them come through association with the various Extraordinary Form communities, but not all,  and many show a good respect for both the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form.Their existence and activity can only be accounted for by the action of the Holy Spirit.


For the general run of Catholic worshippers,the daily or weekly experience of the Sacred Liturgy seems to be characterised by a moderate reduction in the level of Liturgical abuse, as the more outrageous practices are worn down by the effect of more effective Instructions, better Bishops, younger more orthodox Priests and a better educated laity at work .In general it could be said that the " climate" is less receptive to Liturgical abuse. We are not saying that it no longer exists - far from it - in some places it is entrenched very firmly.


The level of acceptance of the new corrected translation of the Order of Mass has been exceptional and we have evidence of this in several Dioceses around the Country. It does require a more deliberate pronunciation than the preceding translation, but with those Clergy able to appreciate that fact, it  provides a greatly enhanced celebration of the Liturgy, for it cannot be easily speed read .


The Liturgical Requirements of the Church


The formal Liturgical requirements of the Church tend not to change too often. But there are times when they do.One of those times was the 7th July, 2007 ( Yes! 070707) the date of Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio " Summorum Pontificum". This was a landmark event. It completely unshackled the Mass as it had been for almost 500 years before the Novus Ordo and much as it had been for the 1,000 years earlier still. This was a glorious dawn of a new age.


Pope Benedict had very clearly over the years , and most carefully, presented the case for this development. He had made the point compellingly, that it could not be that the Mass as celebrated and experienced by most of the Saints in Heaven was suddenly no longer worthy of celebration. Its shackling to make way for the Novus Ordo had been a serious error of administration. Equally, he expressed the desire to see the co-existence of the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms come to work to the benefit of both. For it is equally clear that the Council Fathers saw some limited need for reform of the 1962 Missal and there is no doubt that the Novus Ordo would benefit from Celebrants gaining the experience of the expressed sense of the sacred in the original Rite.


The Motu Proprio has worked well, even if its operation has been hampered in some cases by recalcitrant false " spirit of the Council" Bishops( some of whom in a few countries have been truly appalling).But generally speaking, the availability of the Extraordinary Form has expanded quickly and whereas pre 070707 one might have feared that it would die out as existing trained celebrants went to their reward, it is now clear that no such thing will happen. Indeed, even apart from the religious Orders dedicated to its celebration - The Priestly Fraternity of Saint  Peter(FSSP) and the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest(ICRSP) and those like the Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius (C.R.) who are dedicated to both the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms to mention just a few, the number of young Priests newly-ordained who are seeking and obtaining proper training in the Extraordinary Form celebration has expanded massively.


All of this, is having a marked effect on the way Holy Mass is celebrated and the " ars celebrandi" (the art of celebrating) is now a common matter for legitimate discussion - no longer is improvisation thought in any way respectable. So the Motu Proprio has produced ample fruits already and its ripples are still spreading.


Not that the path has been universally smooth. Indeed the recent weeks brought  news that unnerved some.


It transpired the the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate had by a large majority decided to move toward concentrating their celebration of the Sacred Liturgy on the Extraordinary Form . This they were entitled to do and they were proceeding in accordance with their Rule. However a small minority in the Order were vigorously opposed to this course and appealed directly to the Holy See for intervention. Perhaps surprisingly, this was granted and an outside Priest was appointed to assume control of the Order. In due course he secured from the Holy See an Instruction forbidding the Friars from using the Extraordinary Form without the approval of the (unspecified) " competent authority". There is really nothing too unusual about this formulation which is common in Canon Law.But the Order had been proceeding in accordance with its Rule and, in the circumstances of this external intervention, just who the " competent authority" is, leaves many scratching their heads.


Those dedicated to the Extraordinary Form were alarmed that this represents the first time the Holy See has countenanced, indeed mandated, a restriction of any sort on the provisions of Summorum Pontificum. 


In the present state of fevered discussion about the reform of the Curia there is much uncertainty about precisely what is going on, or is intended. Time will tell.










WRONG TURN - IN THE BEGINNING

On 30th November, 2010 we posted the following item, please read or re-read it carefully. We will review the evolution of these matters in a following post, and a good grasp of what is covered here will be important.

"
LOOKING BACK  AND LOOKING FORWARD
Ven. Pope Paul VI






Celebrating Holy Mass 
pre Novus Ordo
Pope Paul VI in General Audience in 1969 , concerning the revised liturgy: "We may notice that pious persons will be the ones most disturbed, because, having their respectable way of listening to Mass, they will feel distracted from their customary thoughts and forced to follow those of others............Not Latin, but the spoken ( vernacular)language, will be the main language of the Mass. To those who know the beauty, the power, the expressive sacrality of Latin, its replacement by the vulgar language is a great sacrifice : we lose the discourse of the Christian centuries, we become almost intruders and desecrators ( intrusi e profani) in the literary space of sacred expression, and we will thus lose a great portion of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual fact that is the Gregorian Chant. We will thus have, indeed, reason for being sad,and almost for feeling lost: with what will we replace this angelic language? It is a sacrifice of inestimable price. The Holy Father went on nevertheless, to explain why he believed the change necessary.
COMMENT
Looking back 41years,on the First Sunday of Advent (as last Sunday was also) we come to the introduction of the Novus Ordo ( now the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite). This saw the phasing out of the traditional Latin Mass ( now the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite) in most situations.

The strongest advocates for the Novus Ordo are usually keen spirit of the Council folk (usually elderly clerics, far less often lay folk). But it will be instructive to read what the Council Fathers themselves actually said:


                          Concelebrated Novus Ordo in St Stephen's Cathedral Brisbane
Note pride of place in the Sanctuary taken by the organ ( a beautiful sound in an unsound location) and the absence of a Crucifix  - replaced by a beardless curly headed figure of a youth 

(a surfer?) apparently nailed by one hand to a railway sleeper, dangling above the Altar.


Second Council of the Vatican-
Sacrosanctum Concilium:
36.1 Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin Rites.
36.2 But since the use of the Mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the Sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.
36.3 These norms being observed, it is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22.2 to decide whether and to what extent, the vernacular language is to be used; their decrees are to be approved, that is confirmed , by the Apostolic See.And, whenever it seems to be called for, this authority is to consult with the bishops of neighbouring regions which have the same language.
54. In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and the "common prayer", but also as the local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people, according to the norm laid down in Art. 36 of this Constitution.


Nevertheless , steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing those parts of the Ordinary of The Mass which pertain to them.


And wherever a more extended use of the mother tongue within the Mass appears desirable, the regulation laid down in Art. 40 of this Constitution is to be observed.


55,The more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest's communion, receive the Lord's body from the same sacrifice is strongly commended.


The dogmatic principles which were laid down by the Council of Trent remaining intact (40) , communion under both kinds may be granted when the bishops think fit, not only to clerics and religious, but also to the Laity in cases to be determined by the Apostolic See, as, for instance, to the newly ordained in the Mass of their sacred ordination, to the newly professed in the Mass of their religious profession, and to the newly baptised in the Mass which follows their baptism.
(Thanks to Rorati Caeli Blog for re-drawing the above to our attention.)


COMMENT
That is what the Holy Spirit moved the assembled Council Fathers to require.


We all know what happened. Those are the Council's clearly expressed requirements, and it is not only in these areas that the Council's requirements were disregarded e.g. its very narrow proposal for limited concelebrations.


Archbishop Annibale Bugnini ( who drove the change process) used a cynically superb technique to demolish the existing order. Apparently reasonable exceptions or limited concessions were envisaged but he set up the situation in which they quickly became the rule.No matter what the letter of the Council's wishes might be, the false "spirit of the Council"was always available to subvert them and frustrate their application.


We lament with Pope Paul VI"( mention of the "smoke of Satan"- address 29th June, 1972),we praise Pope John Paul the Great who set the scene for reform and began it, and rejoice in Pope Benedict XVI and his efforts - steady and inspiring - to implement the Reform of the "Reform"


LOOKING FORWARD


And now, we can look ahead with hope and joyful anticipation, to the same First Sunday in Advent next year 2011: for then we will see the introduction of the new CORRECTED translation of the Order of the Mass thus bringing an end to the botched Old ICEL( before its reform) translation we have endured for 41 years. Then we shall have an accurate translation , and sacral language to dignify it.


This is a large first step in the reform. We hope in time to see the restoration of celebration "ad orientem", with the Priest leading the congregation in addressing the Lord and not distractedly facing them, the abolition of Holy Communion in the hand and the abolition of routine use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion."Brick by Brick " says Father John Zuhlsdorf the blogging great at WDTPRS.


God Bless Pope Benedict XVI!

Copyright. This is an amended version of an article appearing in the January 2010 issue of FOUNDATION.




The reverence of the pre Novus Ordo liturgy - our aim.




Sunday, May 22, 2016

SALT : THE SHOE FITS - NEVER MIND THE SHOP!

There seems to be a likelihood that the position of the Lefebvrists ' position Vis a vis the Church may soon be regularised - we should pray for that.

The following letter from 2012 is from a Senior Priest of the Lefebvrists , addressed to those under his charge. It appears to address  protests by  some of his flock fearing reconciliation with the Holy See.

However, if we disregard the specifically Lefebvrist (SSPX) elements, it is a very fine letter which could equally well apply to "liberal"dissidents in the Church in its full force, and, in some aspects, to all of us. It shows the benefits in thinking ,spirituality and Catholic mentality that can accrue to the whole Church once that reconciliation is effected and the SSPX clergy are re-integrated into the whole Church free of any dissident ideas , even if by way of a Personal Prelature.
Superior of the SSPX Bishop Bernard Fellay ( with photo of the late Abp Lefebvre in background)

"Dear Faithful, 

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men. (Mt v, 13)

Salt is good as long as it preserves its strength and sharpness; it seasons meat, it gives as it were a soul to that flesh that is dead; it prevents worms from growing on it, and rot from forming in it.

In the current storm, we should expect from our priests that they be the salt of the earth, men of God, animated by the spirit of Jesus Christ. There is nothing that is as useful as this to souls, or more advantageous to their salvation; because the former have this mission of preserving the latter from the corruption of customs with the teaching of the Gospel, and by example, inspiring in them love and regard for perfection.

And yet, it is quite regrettable for the Society of Saint Pius X and for the souls in our priories to find out, day after day, these inconvenient declarations, these calls to disobedience to authority, these states of mind displayed on the net... What a scandal for the faithful!

While it is legitimate to appraise the situation of the Society and of its position in the Church, it seems important to me to recall that this text should be an occasion to display our attachment to the order willed by God and assured by legitimate authority, despite differences of opinion in matters of prudence. Never before has Faith been more invoked in order to justify our temptations of pride and independence, the sign of a resolutely modern spirit!

For salt loses its strength in water, from where it originates... It comes from sea water; but if disposed of there, it dissolves immediately and it is lost. Let us flee from the sea of the world, let us flee from the customs of the world. The amazing sight of division, that of silent but nevertheless real struggles, of political tactics, are unworthy of the Society and of our priories!

Have salt in you, and have peace among you. (Mk ix, 49)

Let us have within ourselves the salt of evangelical wisdom, before sharing it with others. Let us savor the things of heaven ourselves before offering their savor to others. 

Let us have within ourselves the salt of mortification: our sacrifices will not at all be pleasing to God unless they come from a perfectly mortified heart.

Let you have within yourselves the salt of discretion(Lv ii, 13) Let your speech be always in grace seasoned with salt: that you may know how you ought to answer every man. (Cl iv, 6)

Let us have, finally, the salt of perseverance, and of stability in love for God and neighbor.

It will be divine love, joined with the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and the grace of baptism, that will make the priests of the Society of Saint Pius X truly apostolic men, as salt is extracted with the heat of the Sun and the blowing of the wind over the waters of the seas.

Father Renaud de la Motte
Prior

[From the July-August issue of Apostol, the newsletter of the priories of Frabr├Ęgues and Perpignan (Languedoc-Roussillon, France) of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX). Source: La Porte Latine, via Le Forum Catholique]"
The extract comes from the Blog Rorate Caeli.

ARE YOU HATED? "...YOU MAY REMEMBER THAT I TOLD YOU."JOHN 16:4

"...KNOW THAT IT HAS HATED ME BEFORE YOU."
If you have ever descended into the depths of the Comments on Newspaper Blogs, or ABC Blogs, you will understand the vicious , soul-destroying , hatred directed at Catholicism,The Holy Father, Cardinal Pell,the Priesthood, and Catholics in general which lurks in parts of our community ; mindless,irrational , blind hatred dripping from every word ! It is a shock to encounter it for the first time, saddening to stumble upon it on further occasions.

Why is it so? The essential cause, is the fact that the Catholic Church and her Founder Jesus Christ are a reproach to many aspects of the haters' lives because, as Our Lord said : "...you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." By following Christ we Catholics and the Church speak out against Abortion, Contraception, Euthanasia, Homosexuality and its agenda, Pornography , and so one can readily see the spreading numbers of hedonistic self-indulgers that coalesce to hate us.

We should not be surprised, for Our Divine Lord Himself told us :

"If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love what is its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Remember the word I have spoken to you: No servant is greater than his Master. If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also; if they have kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My Name's sake, because they do not know Him Who sent Me....................He who hates Me hates My Father also."  John 15 :18- 24.

As the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen explained decades ago, "the world" is used in two ways in Sacred Scripture - in general it is the "theatre of redemption", that is the place in which we must work out our salvation; in the other sense, as Our Lord uses it here, it is the spirit of evil operating in the midst of mankind.

"But when the Advocate has come, Whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth Who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness concerning Me. And you also bear witness, because from the beginning you are with Me." John 15 : 26-27.

Even to-day 2,000 years later, the same Holy Spirit remains in our midst, and the same joyful obligation is ours, as it was for the disciples, to bear witness to Our Lord Jesus Christ - no matter what the opposition.

Friday, May 20, 2016

EMOTIONALISM BATTLES CATHOLICISM

YOUR SCRIBE STANDING HAPPILY BEFORE SAINT PETER'S BASILICA IN 2009
PLENTY OF EMOTION THERE


At the heart of Catholicism is Faith. Faith in the God Man Jesus Christ who died on the Cross to bring to everyone everywhere the chance of Salvation -  if they choose it.For this reason He established his Church which, after only a few decades came to be called Catholic - that is universal.

The handmaid of that Faith, in authentic Catholicism ,has always been Reason.The relationship has been explicit since the time of Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas later on.In more recent times it was thoroughly examined by Blessed Pope John Paul II ( soon to be Saint if media reports are true) in his Encyclical " Fides et Ratio" - Faith and Reason.

In the course of a casual exchange with friends to-day, it became clearer to me how very much this insistence on " Reason" has put the Catholic Church at odds with the modern world. At first blush, this might seem odd for an institution founded on Faith. For the modern world in its glibness, would inevitably assume Faith to be the antithesis of Reason.

But strangely enough, it is largely the modern world that has abandoned the use of Reason. Reason flourishes on truth - and the modern world is inclined to reject the very concept of absolute truth.

Instead we are increasingly experiencing a world run on Emotionalism.And this Emotionalism slides so easily past truths , whilst making "everyone" feel good in the process. This phenomenon frequently brings the modern world into direct confrontation with the Catholic Church. Furthermore it is often used as an instrument when the Catholic Church is singled out for attack.

And Emotionalism walks happily hand in hand with " Niceness" which is the adopted badge of the modern world .

Let us look at this phenomenon in action. The Catholic Church opposes in vitro fertilisation for the sound logical reason that in the process of its operation, very many "unwanted" fertilised human eggs are destroyed once the desired fertilised human egg has been implanted. These are true human lives - destroyed as " unwanted".The IVF Industry is a big one peopled by highly educated and remunerated professionals and its clients are emotion -stirring would-be but can't be parents.

The Industry and the Media employ the most primitive Emotionalism in defending and expanding  their patch. The newly become parents and the IVF child are used most effectively to melt hearts and promote the trade. Who can resist a new born baby and loving parents. The deceased "unwanted" are not to be seen - flushed away in secrecy.Not present to the parents' minds. Emotionalism 10  Reason NIL in the public mind.

If we need another example let us look at the selling of "Homosexuality" in the Media. We all know that the Catholic Church teaches that Same Sex Attraction is not in itself sinful but that Homosexual Genital Activity is.It follows rationally that the promotion of an active Homosexual Lifestyle is immoral. But in the mainstream media an active Homosexual Lifestyle IS actively promoted in TV ,Film, print media etc. In the Media active Homosexuals are presented as happy, handsome, nice, clean, socially acceptable and entertaining. They are inevitably shown as "fun" people.Anything that would disturb the Happy Emotionalism is hidden in secrecy. 

When recently a movie was made on the life of the late pianist  Liberace and his homosexual partner, it was apparently quite graphic concerning their more intimate life. It was not accepted for distribution by any of the American distribution networks. Morals? No! They simply did not want people to see, or rather they knew the 97% of the population not Homosexual did not want to see, the ugly truth about Homosexual life. Nothing must disturb the " nice" Emotionalism within which its promoters thrive with warm and fuzzy talk of "rights" and "equality" etc. So the field is left clear for their campaign to hide the reality.  Emotionalism 10 Reason NIL in the popular mind.

Again , let us consider the issue of Sexual Abuse. The Catholic Church is totally opposed to any form of sexual abuse by Clergy, Teachers or anybody for that matter. It is , nevertheless a fact that at any time it is possible that some cleric or teacher within the Church might abuse their position of trust in this matter. It is a patent fact that in the past, particularly in the 1960s, 70s and the early 80s the number of such offences rose to equal the level in the general population. Because of remedial action it has since fallen way back to its historical negligible level. ( So much so that in the USA where there are over 38,000 Catholic Priests, only 6 credible allegations were made according to an independent agency, in the last year.) 

But these are horrendous offences and several decades of victims, well organised by fee for success lawyers and the delight of the media are used to keep the matters alive by Emotionalism. No number of apologies by Priests, Bishops, Archbishops, Cardinals and Popes satisfies the cameras. Did you apologise? - you were insincere. Did you pay compensation? - not enough. Did you follow legal advice like we do ? - Heartless!

Of course the real victims themselves are tragic figures and one can understand their emotion and perhaps passionate demands. But the media and the lawyers and the victims organisers need to keep the thing going.Emotionalism is the means. Reason is nowhere welcome. Emotionalism 20 Reason Nil.

Sometimes the perverse influence of Emotionalism is more subtle. Take for instance, the bumper stickers which urge one to "Perform Random Acts of Kindness". But Christ's Catholic Church urges us to perform systematic acts of kindness, in fact to make our lives reflect God's Love at all times.The modern world's citizen is satisfied by Emotionalism's " niceness" and the quick fix of the idea of " random acts". None of that commitment stuff - " you can't expect me to change my life". 

The more we reflect on it, the more it becomes apparent to what extent people are abandoning Reason and embracing Emotionalism. How often do we hear people ( and even Government leaders) say " I feel that we need to..." Or " I feel it is time we....". It is so much easier to "feel" than to rationally argue why a thing ought to be done or to happen. And it is so much easier to hide unwelcome truths from people, or to act in a manner that cannot be justified, if one only has to tell them what one feels.

Emotion has its place. In fact it can often reflect a complex of ideas which we would find it difficult at the time to rationalise. But Emotionalism as a substitute for Reason is not only inadequate, it is mostly perverse.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

"THE BANNERS OF DARKNESS ARE BOLDLY UNFURLED" - SUDDENLY WE SEE

This Post first appeared in 2013 and its significance has only increased.


She Brought HIM To Us
Now Leads Us To Him
Hymns have been on my mind a bit lately as readers would have noticed.When I was a school child - Yes they had schools back then! -one of my favourite hymns contained words I always thought strange - then :

"O Purest of Creatures, Sweet Mother Sweet Maid;


The one spotless womb wherein Jesus was laid.
Dark night hath come down on us, Mother, and we
Look out for thy shining, Sweet Star of the Sea. (repeat)


Deep night hath come down on this rough-spoken world,
And the banners of darkness are boldly unfurled;
And the tempest-tossed Church--all her eyes are on thee;
They look to thy shining, Sweet Star of the Sea. (repeat) "

You have already spotted them? Yes : " And the banners of darkness are boldly unfurled" !

OK...It was the 1950s...didn't this kid recall anything about the Nazis, Imperial Japan, the Chinese communists, the Russians? Sure he did. But in his mind we had won the titanic World War II(as our Grandfathers and Fathers had, WW I) and we would inevitably beat these Communists! So  what is all this "banners of Darkness?"

The darkness of the 1940s
The darkness of the 1960s
Oh well, I just went on singing , everything was OK in suburban Australia as far as boy Tony could see. The years went by and things just kept getting better. Australia was politically stable throughout the 23 yrs Prime Ministership of Sir Robert Menzies.  Our bumbling but nice ally General Eisenhower who had become President of the USA had been replaced by handsome, modest and Catholic President John F. Kennedy and even though our beloved Pope for all of my life Pope Pius XII had died, he had been replaced by Pope John XXIII who was loved by even the Media.

What could go wrong? A wonderful new vista opened up to greet my 20s!

Good Pope John XXIII summoned the Second Vatican Council in late 1962 and there was an almost palpable sense of excitement and promise.Few thought it odd that this was a Council not called to refute error, as in the past, but to open the church to the rapidly evolving world which rose among the ruins - human and material - of World War I, The Great Depression and World War II.

But the Father of Lies was not only at work, he was in Overdrive!

In late 1963 President John F.Kennedy was assassinated. The free world reeled. He was replaced by President Lyndon B. Johnson a master conniving politician who set about ramping up a war in Vietnam which was to spill over into Laos and Cambodia.

The promise of the Council was largely nobbled by a group of dissident North European prelates who briefed the World's media gathered in Rome. Each day they told the Media what the Council had discussed and done(their version) and the Media lapped it up ! Sensational stories poured out - no more celibacy- no more Latin - women Priests - contraception would be OK'd - lay power and on and on.

 Back in the real world Catholics took it all in. Many assumed it was all true. Most were scandalised. By the time the Council documents came out, they got little attention because everybody "knew" what they said - after all it had been in the papers! But of course none of what" had been in the papers " was borne out in the Council documents .In the interim the Novus Ordo Mass was introduced with brutal rigidity in most places   (" We did not handle that well" - Archbishop Francis Rush of Brisbane was later to confirm to me.) And Mass attendances plummeted in the following years from 60% to 16% and lower.And in almost every place vocations shrivelled.

In 1968 the Father of Lies had another surprise for the World : student riots in Paris went viral throughout Europe and for many months madness flooded the streets of major cities and paralysed many Universities. Just like some movie version of diabolical possession it seemed wholly unaccountable and totally irrational. It was greatly de-stabilising to more than traffic and education, and seemed to produce an intellectual fever that would accept nothing that had gone before.

A little earlier , in late 1967 he had prompted the hippy movement in America to explode especially in San Francisco and there with flowers, long hair,drugs and sex- natural and unnatural- he created a new kind of social earthquake.

Through the 60s - which one popular song referred to as " the sick,sick, sixties" and into the 70s and 80s a great deal of evil was being done. But it tended after a time, to be unnoticed.But its symptoms were apparent in some ways. Indeed tens of thousands of Priests and Religious reneged on their vows and left their places in the Church,and on 29th June, 1972 poor Pope Paul VI was to bewail the fact that it was as if "from some fissure the smoke of Satan entered the Temple of God".

Truer words were rarely spoken - but , although dissent began to flourish, what many of the dissenters were up to was yet to be revealed.

BLESSED POPE JOHN PAUL II
The battle-lines were being drawn, but most still would not or could not see, that a battle had been joined - a battle for the Soul of the Church and the Salvation of the World. But some few did.And of course the Holy Spirit knew it all -totally - and began to reveal the Divine response.

The Conclave following Paul VI's death in 1978 would not elect Karol Wojtyla but chose the man seated opposite him in the Conclave, the holy and gentle Cardinal Albino Luciani who chose the name John Paul I. 

Now, this was odd, since in normal usage he would not become " I" until there was a " II". But he privately told his Irish Secretary that he "would not be here long" and that he should be called " I" because of his successor who had sat opposite him in the Conclave. This remark  remained cryptic until after the Pope's death after only 33 days in the Chair of Peter. Then his former Secretary came to have responsibility for the documents relating to the Conclave and checked the seating plan to find out who was seated opposite Cardinal Luciani. None other than Cardinal Karol Wojtyla who in due course was elected and took the name " John Paul II".Obviously in the unsettling circumstances of the shock death of the Pope of 33 days, the Cardinals were now keen to  seize upon the strength, holiness and intellectual brilliance of " the man from a far country." "God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform".

Choosing as his right hand man as Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope John Paul II heroically embarked upon the task of steadying the Barque of Peter giving heart to her officers and men , beginning the repairs to the sails and rigging and getting her back on course.For twenty six and a half years his Pontificate was a wonder to behold : prodigious teaching documents, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, travelling round the globe preaching Jesus Christ and strengthening the brethren, recovering from a vile assassination attempt and forgiving the would-be assassin, in the later years fighting cruel and debilitating illness with heroism that was absolute self- sacrifice. He was human and not immune from one or two silly mistakes but everyone of us could see in him a Saint.


HUMBLE,HOLY,GENTLEMANLY,SCHOLARLY AND DEEPLY DEVOUT
POPE BENEDICT XVI
In time the Conclave following his death was to swiftly elect his right hand man of 25 long years, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as his successor and he took the name Benedict XVI. It was his destiny to take the helm of the Barque of Saint Peter just as :

" The banners of darkness are boldly unfurled".

And as, in so many of the Father of Lies' works, it seemed to spring out of nowhere. But it was not so, he had been at work for decades in dark corners.

By 2002 the American Press was having an anti-Church field day with stories of clerical sexual abuse dating back to the 1960s in most cases. Hammering the idea of pedophilia - they ignored the fact that 85% of the cases were in fact homosexual - they went for the jugular and rejoiced in stories of multi-million dollar pay-outs, whilst the American Dioceses went into hysterical panic mode and put themselves in the hands of lawyers . Usually though they neglected to allow the merely accused Priest to have the benefit of lawyers .Every accused Priest was "of course" guilty and payments were made without evidence, corroboration or delay! A healthy trade in false allegations grew up and " no success , no fee" lawyers made a killing.

When in 2009-2010 Pope Benedict announced a Year for Priests to help Priests deepen their spirituality , the Father of Lies moved his minions to absolutely demonic activity. No lie or distortion was left unused, and abuse cases dating back 50 years were trawled through to see if they might be of some perverse use.

But now those " banners of darkness" were beginning to be boldly raised.

In country after country the demands for legal abortion, legal euthanasia, legal homosexuality and legal same sex marriage began to be raised and in increasing numbers of cases they were being granted.

In 2008 ( and again in 2012) Barack Hussein Obama was elected President of the United States succeeding the Texan George W. Bush whose speeches were not infrequently salted with Catholic language such as " the culture of Life". 

Not so Mr Obama, not so. Coming out of the ancient corruption of the Chicago Democratic Party - which has been legendary- he is a long-time time advocate of Abortion, and has voted for leaving babies born alive out of an abortion, to die untended. He has voted for late term " partial birth Abortion"( the sickening process of which I will not repeat here.) He has gone on to attack the Catholic Church and the rights of Catholics by seeking to compel Catholic Institutions to effectively support financially abortion and contraception. And most recently he has attacked the existence of Catholic schools in Northern Ireland. 

We will not go into his political performance in the United States in detail, save to say that it is replete with abuse of process, and extraordinary claims of the right to kill citizens in "certain cases" without judicial encumbrance. Well, once you take on the killing of the unborn in the millions, the born have no right to feel safe it seems.

Those " banners of darkness" are now very often Rainbow coloured within Western Countries as the Green Movement is subverted by, and in fact has become, really a facade for the Homosexual Movement, with its demands for legalised Homosexual Activity and invented "rights" including same sex marriage, and of course the whole contraception, abortion and euthanasia agenda.


We surely see the work of the Father Of Lies in the mindless acceptance of the newly- politically correct Homosexual Agenda. Logic is of no avail as many are held in thrall by the idea of " rights" which are created out of the revenge of conscience experienced by the 3% of the population actively homosexual.Suspend logic , and anything goes. Of course if "we" can let homosexuals "do their thing" why, "we" can do whatever "we" want.

And here is the nub of the matter -  the denial of the existence of objective morality. " Community standards" are the new measure - I wonder what they were in Nazi Germany, Stalin's Russia, ancient pre-Christian Rome ?Who will be safe if this continues? What must Jewish people fear? Perhaps what  Catholics ought also fear! Where will it all end?

Back to my hymn , thank God:

" And the tempest tossed Church, all her eyes are on thee,
   They look to thy shining sweet Star of the Sea"

and ultimately to thy Son to Whom you always lead us dear Mother.