When exasperated Catholics under siege in their parishes and dioceses ask me to name just one good and positive thing happening in the Church today, my immediate, unequivocal, elementary response is: "Christian Order!"
To their inevitable follow-up question about how we can possibly make a difference - given the rampant liberalism and Rome’s continued failure to discipline and govern - I respond just as simply: "CO’s very existence makes a difference!" Because regardless of anything else, Catholic truth makes a difference. And if men and women need that truth to live virtuous lives and save their souls at the best of times, they most certainly need a regular dose of Catholic conviction during these worst of times.
While I readily confess to (just a little!) partiality in this matter, objectively speaking there is nothing more important, positive and conducive to resistance in the midst of a revolution than the dissident voice of truth and tradition.
We know well that the very first actions of any totalitarian regime include a bloody purge of the intellectuals and seizure of the press and other organs of mass communication. The goal being to enslave the people - intellectually, emotionally, psychologically - through relentless, unquestioned party line propaganda. Brainwashing, no less.
In the same way, the postconciliar Modernist revolutionaries have long purged the halls of Catholic academia of orthodox intellectuals and taken control of local and national media instruments. The resultant ecclesiastical tyranny - no less real for being bloodless - is manifested in smug diocesan and national weeklies spewing out the official liberal line on RCIA, ALPHA, RENEW, the latest Synod, programme, process etc. etc., without the least fear of serious contestation, orthodox ‘letters to the editor’ notwithstanding.
What a relief and godsend CO is before this corrupt and stifling closed-shop which flies in the face of liberal mantras about ‘tolerance,’ ‘diversity’ and ‘pluralism.’ And make no mistake, things will get a lot worse, both within and without the Church, before the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The narrowing of freedom of speech under so-called hate crime legislation and the like is a subject we have highlighted in recent editions. Though already a frightening phenomenon, it has scarcely begun to make its presence felt in the secular realm. At the same time, the Modernist screws continue to tighten as both orthodoxy and the remnant orthodox are further marginalised and squeezed out of mainstream diocesan affairs.
In this climate of creeping tyranny and constant liberal propaganda on all sides, Christian Order, independent and beholden to God alone, has never been more urgently required.
Looking the Catholic crisis square in the face - avoiding the wishful-thinking and wimpiness of many neo-conservatives on the one hand, and the extremes of certain traditionalists on the other - the CO apostolate is the most necessary imaginable.
Like beholding graphic images of victims of the abortion holocaust, we believe that facing uncomfortable facts about the Church (and churchmen) is the starting point for personal conversion and the collective action necessary to challenge the liberal status quo. The ecclesiastical Establishment. knows this well, hence its aversion to our plain speaking.
Witness the recent comment by Catholic Herald interim editor Luke Coppen about the relief felt when it became clear that his neo-conservative predecessor William Oddie "wasn’t going to turn the paper into a broadsheet version of ‘Christian Order’." As a result, he writes, "Cardinal Basil Hume was said to be ‘purring appreciatively’ in William’s direction" [CH, 30 Jan. 2004]. I’ll bet! What a testimony to CO’s unique and crucial apostolate.
It is never possible, of course, for everyone to agree on every issue, especially in our present hothouse environment. Neither possible nor necessary. Indeed, the late great Hamish Fraser is said to have worked on the principle that if each edition of his independent publication Approaches didn’t upset a significant minority of his readership, he had failed! Presumably, like CO, confronting the faithful with uncompromising facts and analyses, leaving them to critically evaluate the situation in Church and State and draw their own conclusions, was his overriding aim. Ultimately, for a truly Catholic publication, saving souls, not coddling subscribers or point-scoring, is all that matters.
Readers should bear this in mind when considering CO’s calling to account of today’s ecclesiastical status quo, even among the upper reaches of the hierarchy. Both our baptismal promises and our extraordinary times, the most extraordinary in Church history, require a proportionate response to resist the oppressive liberal hegemony, impiety and venality under which we labour.
Without that robust attitude there is only aimless drift, denial and decay. It is inevitable. Some neo-conservative publications start out with a vigorous approach, only for their desire to survive at all costs - by remaining as inoffensive and ‘mainstream’ as possible - resulting in a lukewarm, ineffectual apostolate where the bland lead the bland until Catholic salt loses its flavour and is trampled underfoot.
On the contrary, CO sounds the alarm and alerts its readership in no uncertain manner as to what is happening and where things are heading. Virtually every warning and prediction we have given over the past 10 years about the woeful state of the hierarchy and where they are leading the Church has materialised in cruel and dramatic fashion, especially in Britain. The English naysayers who decried and distanced themselves from our drum-beating and meekly allied themselves instead with the faithless ecclesiastical Establishment, have been shown up as clueless and unreliable guides, to say the very least. Their false optimism - poorly disguised as Christian hope - is a corrosive and cowardly response to the crisis and a continuing obstacle to genuine reform.
But let us leave such as these to their postconciliar ‘Second Spring’ fantasies. For its part, CO will simply persevere in facing harsh reality. We owe it to our loyal readers, who so often voice their deep appreciation and relief at being provided with facts and frank analyses they cannot find elsewhere, most certainly not in the UK. Christian Order is their solace amid the dreadful confusion (and worse) that surrounds us and threatens the very life of the Church.
Take the recent news of the Benedictine abbot appointed as a bishop in Israel. A Jewish convert, His Lordship publicly declared that "The Catholic Church has no intention of converting Jews to Christianity," further boasting that this was precisely why "the Pope advocated a Jewish bishop in Israel." He went on to say that he always knew "the Church’s theology concerning the Jewish people was wrong." (Let the neo-cons explain that away!)
Or consider the typically shocking scandal recounted in the letter to England’s Archbishop Kevin McDonald reprinted in this edition. The summary injustice involved, not to say our title "Crying in the Wilderness," will strike a chord with readers everywhere. No sooner had Bishop McDonald been elevated to Southwark from his previous see of Northampton, than he peremptorily kicked four exemplary priests and nuns out of their thriving parish in his new London archdiocese.
The two priests, members of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity [SOLT], committed the heinous ("divisive") crime of instructing First Communicants to receive Communion on the tongue, after being distressed at finding hosts discarded under church pews. Overwhelming parishioner support for the priests came to nothing, the Archbishop refusing to state precisely why he ordered their expulsion, thereby leaving the priests under a cloud. A noted ecumenist out of the Cardinal Murphy O’Connor mould, Archbishop McDonald capped off his SOLT-assault by replacing these orthodox priests with a fellow ecumaniac fresh from an ultra-Modernist parish immersed in ‘interfaith sharing.’
These sorts of scandals, together with the relentless push for lay-run parishes along salaried Lutheran lines and the ongoing corruption or dumbing-down of Church teachings and discipline, exemplify why supporting CO is far more than a mere subscription. It is, in fact, a badge of uncompromising faith, which should be worn openly and proudly as a statement of intent: a determination to openly challenge the perfidious fifth column insurgents within Holy Mother Church, whatever their slithery guise.
It is against this dramatic backdrop of the ongoing fight for our Holy Faith, under siege from every side, that we are launching a "Fighting Fund" to ensure CO’s survival.
Clearly, the need for our independent voice has never been more desperately required. And so, just as Father Crane intermittently launched appeals to keep CO solvent and independent, we must now follow his example. Apart from the ever present dilemma of rising expenses, in order to meet Government requirements pertaining to our continued operation we are faced with the urgent need of having to raise upwards of an additional £10,000 per year.
As significant as it is, this figure will be easily attainable if, each year, every reader contributes what they can reasonably afford, whether it be £5 or £500 or more. (Father Crane used to state that ‘If only 100 people were able to contribute £100 each, it would resolve our difficulties.’ How true! Yet each contributing according to their means, however modest, is the aim.)
We launch this appeal with every confidence that the great majority of readers are acutely aware of the pivotal importance of a publication like CO in the overrall scheme of things; that they recognise the fight within the Church as the overriding struggle of our perilous times, the pro-life cause included. As one correspondent declared after last month’s issue:
"I will give your publication as wide an exposure as I possibly can. CO is a diamond waiting to be discovered by the masses. The Catholics in the pews here in the U.S. (who are at least, if not more, as asleep as the Catholics in the pews in the U.K.) need publications such as CO to awaken them, strengthen their Faith, and prepare them for the battle."
This call to arms is precisely what Our Lord Himself demands: "For in all times I have need of valiant souls to save My Church and the prevaricating world," he told Venerable Mother Mariana. For those who have not yet grasped where Christian Order fits in to God’s providential design at the present juncture of salvation history, and why it is especially worthy of financial support, the ensuing article containing this revelation and others from Our Blessed Mother will surely enlighten them and stiffen their resolve to keep our militantly orthodox apostolate afloat.
Just as the need for new subscribers is pressing and constant, the CO Fighting Fund will be a rolling contribution campaign. Which is to say that it will be open for readers to contribute to the Fund throughout each year from now on, either utilising a Fighting Fund form like the one enclosed with this edition, which we will provide from time to time as a reminder, or simply by stating with their donation that it is intended for the Fund.
We thank you again for your wonderful loyalty and generous support over the years, and entrust this urgent appeal to you, leaving all in the hands of Jesus, through Our Lady of Good Success, in the hope that Christian Order will be blessed with the spiritual and material means to continue its "valiant" service for His Church and "the prevaricating world" for years to come.
Please make cheques in any currency payable to ‘Christian Order’ and send to: