Several Modernist ‘king hits’ which recently struck me in rapid succession in the space of a fortnight turned my attention, yet again, to that bane of contemporary Catholic existence: the Western bishop. All the more shocking for being fairly run-of-the-mill scandals, these incidents encapsulate the wholesale Modernist deconstruction and dissolution of our glorious Faith by the very shepherds consecrated to protect it. They underscore our tragic predicament: that all we continue to endure, everything that drains the joy and peace from our daily Catholic life, ebbs and flows from the dictates of men not only blind and faithless, but brain-dead and spineless into the bargain.
Sound a bit cranky? I haven’t even started.
My aggravation began early last December while killing time at London’s Heathrow Airport, where curiosity lured me to the "Multi-Faith Prayer Room" in the Terminal 3 departures lounge. To enter this bare concrete box, hardly 20 foot square and without a single identifying religious symbol apart from a few scattered prayer mats, was to peer into the ecumenical abyss. Way out beyond the furthest horizons of "minimalism," it looked like a hoax. I even checked I had the right place. But it was no joke and no mistake. "The Heathrow Airport Chaplaincy Team works as a partnership" the glossy brochure proudly informed me, listing the Anglican, Catholic (one priest, two brothers and a nun), Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Sikh "chaplains." The Prayer Room, it explained, is "open all day for private prayer. Inside, the space is kept plain in order to respect individual beliefs."
The pain and humiliation was acute: the one true Faith, brought forth at such unspeakable cost by Our Lord Jesus Christ, publicly associated with this monument to nihilism. That a local Ordinary would allow the Church to be party to such a blasphemous parody of religion - so lamebrained as to designate that little concrete bunker a place "for private prayer," and so utterly faithless as to think that any Catholic worthy of their baptism could spend more than five open-mouthed seconds in "the space" before fleeing in horror - said everything about our cerebrally-challenged hierarchy and the syncretic black hole they are dragging us down.
The agony was soon compounded a world away in Sydney’s western suburbs, during a visit to the newly dedicated St. Patrick’s cathedral in the Parramatta diocese. Constructed beside and adjoining the old sandstone St. Patrick’s (site of Australia’s first official Mass in 1803) which has been simultaneously rebuilt and re-ordered after destruction by fire in 1996, neither the controversy surrounding the new cathedral nor photos of the interior could possibly prepare a faithful Catholic for the shock of naked eye contact.
Entering via a short corridor midway down the old St.Patrick’s - now refurbished and demoted to an oversized "Blessed Sacrament Chapel" replete with baptismal immersion pool, a bizarre Blessed Mary McKillop statue straight out of Star Wars, a Sacred Heart fresco from the bowels of Hell (the Fatima vision in sharp relief, no less), a sputnik tabernacle with protruding aerials and no sanctuary to speak of, among other horrors - one emerges into the new St.Patrick’s: a large whitewashed barn. Even the distorted, gargantuan silver crucifix dominating the wall at the far end of the aisle-doubling-as-the-"sanctuary" before you, does nothing to counterract the immediate sensation: a pervasive emptiness.
Along the length of the aisle-sanctuary stands a bare lectern followed further on by a massive butcher’s block-style stone altar, above which hangs a huge tangled mess of tubular stainless steel called an "aureole" (don’t ask me?), and at the end a few small chairs set against the wall under the indescribable monster crucifix. Seating rises up on either side so the "community" can gaze upon and "celebrate" itself across, over and above the butcher’s block situated down in the middle of the aisle-sanctuary that separates them.
The so-called Stations of the Cross stacked side by side on a small stretch of side wall have to be seen to be believed. The bald, denuded figures resemble childlike sketches of those aliens in body suits from C-rated 1950s sci-fi movies. They are unrecognisable as the traditional Stations and neatly reflect the blasphemous setting in general.
With the Blessed Sacrament now housed in the adjacent, re-ordered old cathedral and not a statue or Catholic sacramental in sight, my immediate thoughts returned to the "Multi-Faith Prayer Room" at Heathrow:- to the void. Here it was on a larger scale, presented as the principal church of a Catholic diocese. I thought, too, of my first viewing of the gutted, whitewashed parish church of Saint Joseph’s, Benalla, Victoria, which I describe in my book Death of a Catholic Parish. As in Benalla at that time, the key rationalisation parroted by the Modernist wreckers in Parramatta today is "space": the need to strip a church of its Catholic clutter to provide the necessary "space" - the emptiness - within which to achieve a full appreciation of God. One of the Parramatta design team plainly declared that the architect’s idea was not about "grand gestures" (so much for Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!) but "about seeing how he could make a superb space with very, very little structure." Accordingly, and logically, Parramatta ended up with a Masonic-cum-Hindu Temple: a $16 million white(-washed) elephant. The spiritual and psychological consequences of this - for those Parramatta faithful foolish enough to attempt worship in such a place - were spelt out some years ago by the Bishop of Parmiers:
"In chapels, changed into prayer rooms’ or meditation rooms’, a symbol of the void, an initiation into the absent, replaces the Christian sacraments. One ‘meditates’ in places which are not inhabited. In the long run, these attitudes, these ceremonies, these places emptied of their Presence end up shaping an entire way of behaving, a mentality and interior life which has nothing to do with the centre of the Christian life, which is communion with God by means of his grace."
This is the clear and present spiritual danger in which Bishop Kevin Manning of Parramatta has placed his flock by overseeing the creation of the architectural endpoint of the apostate counter-Church - a physical environment tailored to religions of nothingness like Hinduism and Freemasonry. Then again, this is the same bishop who feeds arch-heretic Thomas Groome’s theological poison to his innocent Parramatta school-children [see "A Generation Betrayed", CO, June/July, 2003]. Thus, despite his received image as a "conservative" cleric amenable to traditionalists, it should come as no surprise to find this feckless man surpassing all his peers for sheer Modernist architectural chutzpah. Even Cardinal Mahoney’s sacrilegious New Age monstrosity and Liverpool’s infamous concrete ‘wigwam’ look symmetrical and ‘churchy’ in comparison.
Yet Manning gushes about the end result: "What we have here in Parramatta is more than a restoration of what was lost in fire;" he proclaimed with unconscious irony during the dedication of the cathedral in late November, "it is a new creation." Full of self-congratulations and oblivious to the outraged cries from his flock, many of whom have expressed their disgust at his "new creation" in the Comments book at the cathedral entrance, he continued: "The fire in February 1996 devastated not only St Patrick’s the building, but the spirit of the parishioners, worshippers, pastors and people of this diocese. Bishop Heather rallied the people, and planning for a new cathedral, commenced immediately to make the cathedral a clear sign of God’s kingdom in the world. I believe we have achieved that."
How revealing that Bishop Manning should mention his disgraced predecessor, Bede Heather, with such pride and affection. Bishop of Parramatta from 1986-97, arch-Modernist Heather disappeared literally overnight after photos of him caught in flagrante with his mistress were hand-delivered to Roman authorities by a diligent layman. From such ungodly loins was the godless edifice finally dedicated by Bishop Manning conceived. Divine retribution writ large.
On dedication day, however, Manning was having none of it: "Mother Theresa spoke of doing something beautiful for God," he concluded. "I believe that together we have constructed something beautiful for God here in Parramatta." So very beautiful, in fact, that at least two couples have already cancelled their plans to wed there. Only a man capable of squaring his episcopal oath to defend the Faith with the foisting of heresy on innocent souls could possibly mention Mother Teresa and this architectural insult to the Faith and God she loved and served, in the same breath. If he’s due a public horse-whipping for the "new creation" itself, His Lordship also deserves to have his impious backside kicked all the way down Parramatta Road for demeaning the memory of Mother through guilt by association with his wicked monument to Masonic humanism.
As I ground my teeth ruminating on all this, a fistful of salt was thrust into my raw wounds when, the very next day, the Melbourne Herald Sun of 19 December 2003 carried a striking colour photo of Catholic Knights of the Southern Cross standing alongside a troop of Freemasons, in full regalia, papal flag and all. The photo was captioned "Free entry for Knights" and read underneath: "Longstanding mistrust between the secretive Freemasons and Catholic Knights of the Southern Cross was put aside when the knights, with sashes, were welcomed by Melbourne’s Freemasons this week." Thoroughly sickened by this spectacle, I sought out a background report from an earlier edition of the Herald Sun, which explained that:
"After 80 years of mutual suspicion, Catholics and Freemasons will come together for a historic ceremony in Melbourne next week. The Catholic Knights of the Southern Cross will march into Dallas Brooks Hall, home of Melbourne’s Freemasons, on Wednesday night to seal an unlikely bond between the two often-secretive and hostile groups. It will be the first time anywhere in the world that the Pope’s flag has been carried into a Masonic assembly. The thawing in relations between the "Grippers" (Masons) and the "Micks" (Catholics) has come because of a remarkably successful alliance to help the reconstruction of East Timor…. Wednesday night’s public show of unity was decided on in a departure lounge at Adelaide airport last month after a discussion between the Grand Master of Freemasons Victoria, John Evans, and the chairman of the Catholic Knights of the Southern Cross, Colin Walsh. The two men had shared a life-changing experience in East Timor… Mr Evans and Mr Walsh believe the public show of solidarity will bury 80 years of prejudice and suspicion between two groups. "This is a big breaking of the barriers," said Mr Walsh, who heads more than 5000 Knights in Victoria. "I’m taking a bit of heat on it, surprisingly from some younger members, but a small minority isn’t going to stop us."
How ironic. In one airport departure lounge I had glimpsed the chilling bottomless pit of a syncretic-Masonic future; in another, the process of Catholic betrayal and apostasy facilitating that future had been ratcheted up another notch - as it had with the dedication of Parramatta’s spanking new Masonic Temple. (How typical, too, that the older Knights, robotically following the episcopal lead, should be the protagonists in this betrayal, seduced by the emotional tug of Masonic humanist co-operation at the expense of the Faith, while the less pliable younger Knights, with percipience and crude Catholic instinct, smelt a rat.)
What did the local hierarchy have to say about this historic coming together? The report continued: "Catholic Bishop Hilton Deakin described the project as ‘a powerful means of healing long-standing divisions of prejudice and misunderstanding within the Australian community’." And, presumably, Melbourne’s Archbishop Denis Hart concurred with this spitting in the face of all the Popes who have warned against any kind of co-operation whatsoever with the Lodge, or he would have intervened to cancel the scandalous event. Bishop Deakin’s witless take on this impossible rapprochement is no surprise. A ‘hail fellow well met’ career cleric from way back, he would publicly embrace snake-worshippers if he deemed it expedient at the time. But Archbishop Hart, a believing Catholic, has been a great disappointment to many. He always knew the Modernist score as a parish priest and on assuming higher office appreciated the orthodox expectations and his episcopal responsibility. No doubt about it. Yet he allows this pernicious compromising of the Faith and undermining of papal teaching on his own patch without a care in the world.
How do men like Manning and Hart reach this purblind, gutless state? We’ve seen it time and again. As if by magic, an apparently clear-sighted priest of apparently orthodox persuasion suddenly morphs, post-elevation, into a belligerent defender of the Modernist status quo in his diocese (Manning), or, at best, immediately feigns an impossible ‘all things to all men’ pose while actually losing all practical sympathy for the plaints of his erstwhile orthodox allies (Hart). How and why does it happen?
Well, on the surface, the more one surveys the contemporary episcopal condition - politely and pithily described by Sister Lucy as a "diabolic disorientation" - the more plausible those jokes become: you know, the ones about the surgical removal of certain vital organs during the episcopal consecration, which transforms even a relatively conservative cleric into a blind, pusillanimous, self-serving Modernist creep.
Certainly, this notion of spinal excisions and frontal lobotomies as requisites for apostolic succession would explain a lot (not least that moronic grin which defines the modern prelate). But it would also mitigate 35 years of betrayal involving flagrant violations of episcopal oaths, smug abuse of power and cowardly compromise, allowing them to plead "diminished responsibility" before the Lord at Judgement. We can’t let them off so lightly!
No. I’m afraid the tragic truth of the matter is far more prosaic. If the bishops appear brain-dead and spineless; if they act like lobotomised jelly-backs ashamed to stand firm in the Catholic faith before the lords of this world and the Modernist power-brokers in their own dioceses, then this involves a free act of the episcopal will, not a surgeon’s scalpel. They have made a conscious decision to go with the pleasing, popular flow; to avoid the demanding "straight way" and "narrow gate" that leads to "eternal life," in favour of the "broad road" through the "wide gate" to the "good life" (i.e. "perdition").
There is just no escaping it: Original Sin cannot be wished away. "Bishops are Sons of Adam too, are they not?" the late Cardinal Oddie bluntly recalled. "Some bishops have come to believe in their own infallibility. They are wrong and far from the teaching of God. They are condemned. They are condemned most of all before the Church."
Indeed they are. And proof of that dictum was embodied in the scandal that capped a tortuous fortnight. On the same day that the Australian Masonic sell-out caught my eye, back in England Bishop Malcolm McMahon was publicly rationalising his irrefutably heterodox and heretical Nottingham Diocesan Assembly.
Mendacious, manipulative and profligate, the diocesan "Synod" or "Assembly" has long been a euphemism for Dissent-Fest. It is one of the chief Modernist mechanisms utilised by prelates for fuelling the apostasy which finally manifests itself in the sort of horrors recounted above. It is particularly virulent in the slippery hands of a man like Bishop McMahon, who from the day of his episcopal consecration has brazenly pinned his dissident colours to the mast [cf. "The Problem With Clones", CO, March 2001; "Jobs for the Boys… & Girls", CO, January 2002]. As a Postscript to the ensuing updated report on the Assembly by Patricia Phillips and while I’m letting off all this steam, let us briefly dissect and show up McMahon’s rationalisation, which typifies the episcopal mindset, for the deceitful, asinine, faithless response that it is.
On 19 December 2003, after exposing further dissidence in the Nottingham Assembly, The Catholic Herald published an article by Bishop McMahon in which he seeks to justify allowing and promoting dissent. Titled "Allowing the Holy Spirit to lead the renewal of the Church," the sub-heading states: "Bishop Malcolm McMahon argues that it is possible to listen to the diverse voices of lay people and still remain true to the teachings of the Church." In fact, he never actually gets around to telling us how this is possible, nor does he give one good reason why dissent has been included in the Assembly.
His Lordship starts off by claiming that he invited the entire diocese to share in an ongoing conversation that would shape the future, stating: "Conversation was the process I used for our Assembly because I wanted to listen to the voices and concerns of the priests, deacons, religious and people of our diocese as we face the future together. .... My Dominican formation has taught me that obedience is rooted in listening, and for me to be obedient to my calling as a bishop I have to listen to all the voices which are clamouring for attention, not just the loudest."
Excuse me?! No bishop is "disobedient" for refusing to listen to dissent, or for preventing the promotion of dissent within official diocesan structures. Bishop McMahon has turned a bishop’s role on its head by implying that he would have failed in his duty if he had suppressed or denounced error!
In classic Modernist fashion, as flagged by St. Pius X, he then qualifies this outrageous statement by throwing in some orthodox-sounding platitudes: "Above all, I must hear the voice of the Holy Spirit which is undoubtedly speaking to the Church. Of course, this can be challenging and even, at times, threatening, as we do not always hear what we want to hear. But I do know that we need have no fear if we stay true to the teaching of the Catholic Church and the life of the Holy Spirit within it."
Unsurprisingly, we are not enlightened as to how a bishop is to "stay true to the teaching of the Catholic Church" while allowing the campaign for the ordination of women to be conducted through an official event in his diocese. If obedience is supposedly "rooted in listening" then why wasn’t Bishop McMahon "listening" when the Pope told him that the matter of women priests is now closed and not up for further debate? And how is it that he is suddenly stone deaf whenever members of his flock appeal for a more generous provision of the Latin Mass in his diocese - as the Holy Father has repeatedly requested?
Of course, it would be one thing if Bishop McMahon listened to those who had strayed from Catholic teaching and then used the opportunity to firmly teach the truth and correct the errors being promoted. But one will search in vain through the reams of drivel on his diocesan website for any such denunciation of error or defence of truth.
After giving us an outline of the preparation for the Assembly, His Lordship goes on to say: "More than 50 groups met from among the 500 delegates at Loughborough University and they made more than 400 recommendations, and it will take some time for the follow-through team to develop a plan based on them. Some of these reflect the deep concerns of minority groups which cannot be realised within Catholic teaching. But it is important for us to hear these voices and to try to understand the underlying issues which give rise to them."
Another bone is tossed to orthodox sensibilities here, as if to admit that some of the recommendations contradict Church teaching - but where are the authoritative corrections? At best, the Bishop is disingenuous. And in any event, why on earth give such recommendations pride of place in the future plans of the diocese? Bishop McMahon claims that it is important for us to hear the voice of dissent, but it doesn’t take a Mensa student to understand "the underlying issues" that give rise to dissent. It occurs because we are fallen and flawed products. Thus, all dissent can be traced back to attachment to one or more of the seven capital sins. Any bishop with a modicum of Catholic faith would know this and wouldn’t seek to encourage his flock to seek the reasons elsewhere.
St. Dominic - the founder of the Order to which Bishop McMahon belongs and who famously faced down the Albigensian heretics through preaching and the Rosary - must be weeping tears of blood over this public apologia for dissent; at seeing his beloved Dominican habit disgraced by McMahon’s facilitation and promotion of heterodox and heretical teaching.
Bishop McMahon, of course, together with Bishop Manning and so many of their postconciliar peers should be called to Rome, read the riot act and assigned to lick stamps at the Vatican Post Office for the rest of their lives. If there was any justice, that mailroom would be bursting at the seams! But let’s face it, since Rome elevated all these hirelings in the first place, it just ain’t gonna happen.
Instead, God is allowing the bishops to dig their own graves; to damn themselves. Unfortunate. But democratic. In such matters I’m all ‘pro-choice’ myself. The only galling thing, and what stuck in the gullet as the above scandals piled one on top of the other over that pre-Christmas period, is how their devil-may-care indifference towards the eternal destiny of souls is dragging everyone else down with them, sacrificing the innocent on the altars of Modernist and Masonic ideology.
At least we might draw some comfort from a bit of rare plain-speaking by American Bishop Victor Galeone, whose excellent Pastoral Letter we reprint as a counterpoint to the episcopal infidelity, treachery and compromise exposed and analysed elsewehere herein. I know nothing about the man. Like so many of his conservative brethren, perhaps he flatters to deceive? And I am certainly not as enamoured of the Pope’s rather perplexing "Theology of the Body" as the Bishop. But at least on this pivotal issue, credit where it’s due: to a Shepherd prepared to shepherd!
How unspeakably sad for all concerned that Bishop Galeone’s honest appraisal of the Humane Vitae sell-out - "With rare exceptions, because of our silence we bishops and priests are to blame" - is beyond the ken of his episcopal brothers. They are, quite simply, collective, living proof of the great clerical apostasy foreseen in such vivid detail by the nineteenth century stigmatist Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich. Yet even as their ongoing treachery boils our blood, let us pray and do penance for them all, while determining to starve local Ordinaries of the revenue that feeds their Modernist disorder. Having resolved to do so, we may indeed, as John Bishop concludes, dream of miracles.