Hurricane in the City
Behold the whirlwind of the Lord, his fury going forth,
a violent storm, it shall rest upon the head of the wicked.
Flattened and swamped by Hurricane Katrina, the devastation of New Orleans has shocked the world. Effectively, for now at least, the “Big Easy” is no more. Unlike the Asian tsunami, however, the physical dimension of this American catastrophe was overshadowed by the sociomoral breakdown it triggered and finger-pointing questions about leadership or lack thereof.
Mad Max meets Lord of the Flies
The catalogue of hungry, thirsty, homeless throngs bereft of medical care and suffering flooded streets slicked with oil and bloated with vermin, sewage, debris and dead bodies was horrific. But worse still were apocalyptic reports describing a “cesspit of anarchy” and “violence on a massive scale.”
As one eye-witness reported, “In no more than a heartbeat, America’s party-town became a living nightmare, governed by the law of the jungle.”
The tide of evil unleashed by Katrina’s deadly flood extended way beyond rampant looting of stores by gangs and individuals. Families fleeing the city were forced out of their cars by armed men who stole family treasures they had managed to salvage. “At every hospital in the city,” stated one despatch, “snipers were reported to be firing on emergency workers trying to evacuate the sick and injured - forcing helicopters to turn back ... Some hospitals were under siege by robbers who used axes, guns and metal pipes to steal painkillers and medicine, according to a pilot flying relief operations into the city ... while carjackers seized a nursing home bus and a truck carrying medical supplies for a hospital.” [Daily Mail, 2/9/05]
Without essential medication, critically ill patients died one by one. Those thought unlikely to survive the disaster were killed by doctors, who claimed they acted out of “compassion.” Euthanasia is illegal in Louisiana, yet one emergency official who spoke on the record said: “Those who had no chance of making it were given a lot of morphine and lain down in a dark place to die.” He told relatives that patients had been “put down,” saying medical personnel “injected them, but nurses stayed with them until they died.” [NewsMax 12/9/05].
The able-bodied, meanwhile, were just hanging on. “I feel like I’m going to die,” said a despairing 31-year-old man. “People are going to kill you for water.” Rocks and bottles were thrown at rescue workers and shots fired at them - as at the helicopters trying to evacuate people from the living hell of the Superdome football stadium.
With little water and food, no power and many succumbing to dehydration and disease, heavily armed National Guards in the stadium struggled to restrain a 25,000 strong crowd desperate to escape the hot, filthy, noisy, foetid conditions. Law and order broke down. Suddenly it was Mad Max Beyond Superdome! Or as a British student who sought shelter there wrote in his diary: “It was like something out of Lord of the Flies - one minute everything was calm and civil, the next it descends into chaos... A man has been arrested for raping a seven-year-old in the toilet.
This place is hell.” Unable to bear the conditions any longer, one man suicided by jumping from an upper balcony.
As the astonishing drama unfolded, so did the irresistable analogy between Katrina’s devastating impact and our ecclesiastical tumult. For there is surely no better metaphor than the wake of a Force 5 hurricane to illustrate the Modernist levelling of the Catholic topography of the ages, and its consequent plunging of the erstwhile faithful into manic disorientation.
The late Father Malachi Martin used it with typical flair and brilliance in The Jesuits , his expose of the decline and fall of the Society of Jesus. And with Fr. Martin’s encouragement, the present writer utilised the same metaphor in his Death of a Catholic Parish , to explain the physical, liturgical, devotional, doctrinal and moral destruction wrought by clerical and episcopal dissidents.
Viewed in terms of eternal outcomes, to wit Heaven or Hell, even the surrealistic aftermath of Katrina as glimpsed above can barely convey the fallout from the liberal hurricane which has lashed Holy Mother Church these past forty years. Sodomites in the seminary; abusers in the presbytery; wreckers in the sanctuary; covens in the convent; heretics in the classrom; Judas goats in the hierarchy.... Talk about anarchy and living nightmares! The Modernist storm has left an ecclesial wasteland-cum-madhouse worse than anything Katrina threw up.
For starters, as bizarre as it was to see snipers in New Orleans taking potshots at the emergency services trying to rescue them, at least it wasn’t the Governor or President doing the shooting! In the Church today, to defend and promote orthodoxy amidst the postconciliar chaos - to seek to rescue Modernists and their unwitting victims from pride and ignorance and recall them to Catholic belief and practice - is to come under fire from our leaders themselves.
Witness the fusillade of accusations aimed at Christian Order in the recent letter issued by the Bishops of England and Wales to every priest in the land, excoriating us for defending and expounding Catholic moral teachings vis-à-vis condoms and AIDS - i.e. doing the bishops job for them! [see “1984 Revisited” May 2005]
Crazier still, this demented notification was immediately followed by the sight of Bishop Hollis of Portsmouth (Dementia Central) emphatically refuting Catholic teaching on contraception before millions of souls on national television. [see“The Social Gospel” Aug/Sept 2005]
Meanwhile, Nottingham sniper Bishop Malcolm McMahon fires off-the-record shots at CO - “scurrilous and very damaging to the Church” - for pointing out that his declaration that Protestants and Catholics together “form the Church of Christ” is patent heresy [cf. Ott, Ch. 5, No. 19; Redemptoris Missio (1990) #55; Catechism #846; Notification to Fr. Jacques Dupuis (2001) #7; Vatican II, Ad Gentes #7; Vatican II, Lumen Gentium #14] and his psyching up Catholic schoolchildren for women priests rank disobedience and betrayal. [see “Jobs for the Boys... & Girls” Jan 2002]
Madder still, this Bishop recently took two Anglican ‘vicaresses’ on his diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes, where he encouraged pilgrims to attend their ‘Eucharistic Celebrations’ in addition to Mass. “Nottingham Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes July 2005 - Welcome to the Anglican Eucharist” said the cover of the ladies’ order of service leaflet, which included a “blessing” at “Communion” for “those who would like to come forward”! One of these women was actually heard to describe herself as “the official Anglican Chaplain to the Nottingham Diocesan Pilgrimage.” Not surprisingly, then, she and her colleague were specifically requested to vest and be in the sanctuary at the final Mass - though not, technically, concelebrate.
Before Catholic faith and sensibilities were blown away, such unspeakable events, committed at a holy shrine, would have been considered scandals and sacrileges crying to Heaven for vengeance - demanding public acts of contrition and penance by all those involved lest they incur God’s wrath in this life or the next.
That was then. Nowadays, diabolically disoriented and carried away by the euphoric Force 5 postconciliar winds of “change,” Bishop McMahon and his Modernist brethren regard such orthodox assessments as “scurrilous,” “damaging” and (cringe) “unloving.” Instead, as they survey the devastation, chaos and decay all around them, they not only attack those trying to restore some Catholic life and order but continue to aim their erroneous and deadly ideas at the life of souls, all the while congratulating themselves on their supreme stewardship of dissent, disobedience and disappearing dioceses.
Thus, unprompted and out of the blue, the egregious Archbishop Kelly of the moribund Liverpool archdiocese suddenly gushed to assembled pilgrims at Lourdes this year: “No matter what you may read, the English bishops are second to none!” Yessir, champions to a man - when it comes to pulling down the Catholic shutters!
Kelly’s own clergy are muttering about plans to reduce over 200 Liverpool parishes to about 80.
When, these self-satisfied hirelings tire of thumping their own chests, patting their own backs and tickling each others tummies, they get their extravagantly paid lackeys to do it for them.
One such, Mr Austen Ivereigh, a former Tablet hack employed as Cardinal Murphy O’Connor’s spin doctor, recently fired away at the Catholic Action Group for decrying the sort of workaday scandals and ineptitudes for which his boss and the English hierarchy are shamefully renowned: CAFOD and condoms; wedding congratulations offered to Charles and Camilla; joint religious instruction in mixed-faith schools; the betrayal of Humane Vitae; the contrived vocations crisis ... All lies, phantoms, misinterprations spread “by backwoodsmen sitting at the sidelines screaming at the labourers,” meowed the Cardinal’s fat cat minion in a letter to the Catholic Herald [2/9/05].
Spinning himself into a straightjacket and sounding like Homer Simpson, the hapless Ivereigh proclaimed: “- let me spell out: there is no Catholic school in Britain, joint or otherwise, in which Catholic children are being taught less than the faith in itsintegrity.” ... D’oh!
Poor, deluded (handsomely remunerated) Austen.
Compounding all this mad inversion of the post-Katrina variety are supposed orthodox allies, Pollyanna neo-conservatives who shore up the bishops and their functionaries at every turn. In self-defeating efforts to keep in with the dissident Establishment they not only rub shoulders with them as often as possible but open fire on their outspoken critics. Such boneheaded treachery epitomises the disorientation of Church life today.
Indeed, “Homer” Ivereigh’s embarrassing attempt to defend discredited prelates from the indefensible was precipitated by one such Pollyanna, Tory MP John Gummer. It was this dripping wet Anglican convert who first attacked the gutsy Catholic Action Group, labelling them “sectarian,” “angry”, “intemperate” and “self-righteous” in his Catholic Herald column of 19 August. He claimed that they should not call for the resignation of the female-priest supporting, Humanae Vitae-dissenting Modernist Bishop of Portsmouth, Crispian Hollis, but follow him (to Hades,
In point of fact, Mr Gummer is the one with angry, intemperate, self-righteous form. In his Herald column of 7 March 2003, he even excoriated a Catholic mother of four from Newcastle, for having the temerity to complain about a homosexual ex-priest who spoke out against Catholic moral teaching during a talk he gave in St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle. The embodiment of false charity and utterly devoid of Catholic commonsense, he nonetheless presumed to call the mother’s dutiful expression of concern “neither sensible nor charitable”! The following week, one of his own Herald colleagues felt compelled to call him to heel; to remind him of the elementary Catholic “duty not to give scandal.”
The Gummer Syndrome is just another postconciliar vexation: poorly instructed Anglican converts, including vicars, deceived by poorly trained if not heterodox or heretical clergy, who have merely swelled the ranks of the ‘re-oriented’ Roman Protestants already in our midst. Victims of the tempest, these well intentioned truth-seekers are often denied the clerical expertise required to knit together a truly Catholic mind and heart prepared for battle, hence their disquiet when confronted with the Church Militant righteously rebuking dissident clerics. The cradle-Catholic Pollyannas, on the other hand, have no such excuse for their complicity [See “National Continuity Conference” May 2004 for a telling glimpse of the English Pollyannas in their pomp].
Insufferable neo-cons aside, in the wake of the Modernist maelstrom how should ecclesiastical authority deal with the total break down of law and order; the nose-thumbing contempt for orthodox belief and practice demonstrated daily by bishops and priests as they continue driving local Churches into the ground?
The response to Katrina was instructive.
Although it was widely reported that “martial law” had been declared in New Orleans to cope with the chaos, it was not the case. Technically, no such term exists in state law, although a “state of emergency,” which the Governor declared before the hurricane struck, bestows some similar powers and provides great latitude to suspend civil liberties while order is restored.
In any case, the New Orleans’ mayor soon ordered the city’s 1,500 police officers to leave their search-and-rescue mission to try and stop the looters and armed gangs. They were “starting to get closer to heavily populated areas - hotels, hospitals,” he said, “and we’re going to stop it right now.” In a morning TV interview the President also urged a crackdown on the lawlessness: “I think there ought to be zero tolerance of people breaking the law during an emergency such as this – whether it be looting, or price gouging at the gasoline pump, or taking advantage of charitable giving or insurance fraud. And I’ve made that clear to our attorney general.”
This wasn’t cheap talk. Police who came under attack later shot dead four looters and critically wounded one in a gun battle.
Could Rome’s response to the spiritual looters, shooters and defrauders of the postconciliar ruination be more at odds with this robust approach! Far from “zero tolerance,” we have had nearly forty years of a Vatican indulging the sins of rebellious hierarchies, clerical mavericks and disaffected feminists.
The success of zero tolerance policing in places like New York is legendary. It turned that city around. But whereas a zero tolerance policy in the secular realm starts at the grassroots, tackling chronic low level disorder and anti-social behaviour on the street to nip serious crime in the bud, ecclesiastical zero tolerance must start at the top end, since the bishops set the tone for the Catholic neighbourhood.
A firmer disciplinary approach by Rome towards wayward prelates might have emboldened the better ones to follow suit and adopt their own zero tolerance of slovenly and inappropriate clerical behaviour and attire and liturgical and sacramental abuses, all of which have usually preceded and flagged grave clerical crimes against the sixth and seventh Commandments.
Instead, the flood of false charity (the “Civilisation of Lurve”) which swamped the Church when the hurricane hit, swept away the very notion of discipline - and with it our only defense against hardnosed Modernist ideologues who understand no other language.
Yet, incredibly, the restoration of discipline - which the early Church Fathers saw as a requirement and a guarantee of unity, concord and orthodoxy - is not high on the present papal agenda.
Pope Benedict’s recent reception of his old academic colleague and sparring partner Hans Küng at Castel Gandolfo, for a bout of mutual (non-doctrinal) admiration, was one more ominous signal that the catastrophic softly-softly appeasement policy of the John Paul years is to continue. As was the Holy Father’s immediate post-election commitment to keep John Paul’s ecumenical “search and rescue [Christian unity] mission” as top priority, rather than putting it on hold to “stop the [Modernist] looters and armed gangs... right now,” which President Bush and Mayor Ray Nagin understood as the only possible course of action.
This papal inversion of priorities is unfathomable folly, ignoring as it does the chronic and debilitating problem of dissent and its primary source - the smug episcopal dissidents for whom a Vatican rap on the knuckles is now a badge of honour.
As retired US County Court Judge Albert Walsh indicates in his recently released memoirs, if you want to deter serial offenders you must up the ante. “To discourage criminal activity,” he writes in a work imbued with Catholic faith and practical wisdom, “you must impose the available penalties.” He knows this from his time on the bench in Sarpy County, reputedly the best run County Court in Nebraska with less than half the national recidivist rate. Its secret? “Strict law enforcement, vigorous prosecution, and generally tough sentences.” [Once I was a Judge, New Christendom publishers, 2005, P.O. Box 205, David City, Nebraska 68632, $12.50 postage paid]
The latest recidivist figures in England underscore the Judge’s point. Those given shorter sentences or released early are committing more offences than anyone. In the past year, 40% of prisoners sentenced from 12 months to 4 years were back in gaol for reoffending (this figure has quadrupled in several years, from 1,637 in 2000-2001 to 6,415 in 2003-2004). By contrast, of those given 4 years or more, only 8% were recalled for a new crime.
The obvious comparative point here is that excommunicating the heretical likes of the recalcitrant Küng (instead of engaging them in nostalgic “dialogue” over a cappuccino), or stripping prelates such as the aforementioned Hollis and McMahon of their episcopal office (rather than undermining Roman authority with effete wrist-slapping), would be as effective disciplinary actions today as they ever were. Even if unwillingness to submit to authority is now especially prominent, and notwithstanding irrelevant bleating from the liberals, it would send a powerful message to Modernists everywhere with immediate and positive effect.
As well as calling the wicked to repentance, such merciful, charitable, salvific actions would, above all, protect the innocent! Then-Cardinal Ratzinger said it himself in a 1979 sermon defending the Vatican’s (lukewarm) action to strip Küng of his license to teach as a Catholic theologian: “The Christian believer is a simple person: bishops should protect the faith of these little people against the power of intellectuals.” But what about primary Vatican protection against the bishops themselves, Holiness?
Judge Walsh writes that the crystal clear message to criminals on his beat was “Stay out of Sarpy County.” Likewise, a tough approach from Rome would signal to Modernists high and low: “Accept the Church on Her own terms - or else.”
Take Bishop McMahon’s dissent over women priests, both in word (to his schoolchildren) and deed (encouraging Lourdes pilgrims to attend services conducted by female Protestant ministers and having them on the sanctuary during Holy Mass). In Ordinatio sacerdotalis (1994) John Paul II declared in virtue of his Petrine ministry, “that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgement is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” A seminarian recently pointed out that the expression “held definitively” means that a Catholic who dissents from this teaching rejects a truth of Catholic doctrine, and is liable to canonical penalties. They could and should be fully applied to McMahon.
As for Bishop Hollis, according to the late Cardinal Oddi, a former head of the Vatican Congregation of the Clergy, he is already an outcast. Public dissent against Humanae Vitae, said the Cardinal, automatically puts a cleric “out of the Church.” Moreover, laymen aware of his dissent “mustn’t go to such a priest for confession, precisely because he is out of the Church.” [John Paul II and the Battle for Vatican II, Richard Cowden-Guido, 1986, p.217]. But why should the faithful be faced with having to avoid such a prelate in the confessional? He might well have put himself out of the Church, but to protect the simple faith of those “little people” dear to Pope Benedict, action should also be taken to physically remove Hollis from office - as a matter of urgency!
We could run through the entire English and Welsh hierarchy in similar fashion, whether pointing to their promotion of the dissident Tablet forever on sale in their cathedrals and churches, or to the likes of Bishop Malone, a prelate who speculates about women hearing Confession and administering the Sacrament of the Sick and whose scandalous support and protection of dissident feminists is again documented in this edition.
Truly, the Modernist closed-shop known as the Bishops Conference of England and Wales is like a smorgasbord of disobedience and dissent just waiting to be devoured by a famished Roman Inquisitor and subjected, in toto, to the ancient ritual for episcopal “Degradation” (Degradatio ab ordine pontificali) - as set out on the inside cover of this edition.
And as a measure of how the signal failure to discipline and replace these hirelings has undermined the commonweal, simply consider Professor Gardiner’s following summary of the episcopal sell out of the pro-life cause in Britain. One of the most important essays ever run in CO, it neatly documents the betrayal of a nation. In a future number we also hope to detail the as yet untold story of how the episcopate neutered and wrecked pro-life attempts to prevent the passing of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, which has now effectively legalised passive euthanasia. Never has a country owed so much spiritual and physical death to the sins of so few.
Clearly, it is way past time to start cracking heads; to give prideful prelates a good kick up the ego. Because the extent and wider impact of the dissent and disobedience they oversee are now impossible to exaggerate. Much like the spiralling British crime rate, which has surged ahead of France, Germany and the U.S.
According to a study for conservative think-tank Civitas conducted by two Newcastle University psychologists, Britain is now “a seriously crime-afflicted and disintegrating society” with a crime rate “so spectacular” it is “difficult to comprehend.” Official figures reveal that crime has steadily risen over 40 years with burglaries, for instance, increasing from 72,000 in 1964 to 402,000 last year. In addition, on a typical day “the British public makes 66,000 comlaints of anti-social behaviour - that is nearly 24 million a year.” [International Express, 11/1/05; Daily Mail 10/5/05].
If we were to chart the explosion of spiritual crimes of heresy and heterodoxy or the daily flouting of Roman directives, canon law and all manner of scandal and injustice suffered by the law abiding and obedient orthodox over the same period, our ecclesiastical predicament would make even the British crime and anti-social behaviour figures pale!
Whether the post-Katrina barbarism, or the rampant social disorder and crime led by fatherless “feral youths” on the streets of Britain, or the Modernist heretics savaging the Body of Christ, the major need everywhere, as the Civitas study concluded, is to toughen up and focus on the prevention of crime and disorder in the first place.
Everyone but Rome seems to understand that the universal disorders of the day are beyond all but draconian cures. Our Holy Father needs to take that sheet of ‘Things to do’ stuck on the papal fridge, strike out “Dialogue” and pencil in “Law and Order” at the very top of the list. Faced with vicious anarchy it didn’t take Bush and Nagin long to order their priorities and get tough. Having emoted about “the filth” in the Church before his election, we might have expected a similar response from Pope Benedict.
After all, as the great Dietrich von Hildebrand reminds us, a pope (or bishop) can and must intervene “if it is a question of restraining someone from poisoning the souls of others.... If he does nothing, he acts like the hireling of which Our Lord speaks.” Failure to use God-given authority, writes von Hildebrand, “really comes from human respect ... from the fact that one fears the reputation of being reactionary more than the offence against God which lies in not using the authority which derives from Him...”
Reaping the whirlwind
In New Orleans, as criticism of authorities and their rescue operation intensified - too little, too late - furious fingers pointed at all levels of government, especially the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA].
On cue, the media targeted George Bush (while just as predictably ignoring FEMA’s even worse response in 1999 under Bill Clinton, following Hurricane Floyd, and downplaying a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll according to which only 13% saw the President as “most responsible” for the botched operations and 35% believed he had done a “great” or “good” job).
Surrounded by death and mayhem, one exhausted New Orleans official fingered more local culprits: “Bureaucracy has murdered people here. And bureaucrats must be put on trial.”
But perhaps former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell best summed up the situation and the various reactions when he said: “There have been a lot of failures at a lot of levels - local, state and federal. There was more than enough warning over time about the dangers to New Orleans.”
Amid the lawless ruins of our own Conciliar hurricane it all sounded very familiar. The Catholic faithful can also point to an apathetic, ineffectual Head Office, as well as to the ineptitude and corruption of the line managers and their bureaucratic blackshirts dispensing catechetical poison to adults and children.
At the same time, an affluent, dumbed-down laity cannot escape blame. Immersed in the world and mesmerised by flat screen TVs and Apple iPods, defending their holy Faith against Modernist wreckers is not for them. Their lukewarmness is our downfall.
It was not just the rampant homosexuality, occultism (voodoo), drugs and prostitution that brought down God’s wrath upon the Big Easy, although it appears that way. According to a prophetic Spirit Daily article by Michael H. Brown in 2001, which precisely forecast a Katrina-like disaster, it was also down to the indifference and devil-may-care attitude of the otherwise “kind and generous Christians” of New Orleans (“nowhere is more Catholic”) who let “fester an evil that is unmatched outside of Hollywood and Berkeley and Times Square.”
We reap what we sow. “Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind” [Osee 8:7]. For their sins, the city of New Orleans got Hurricane Katrina. For ours, the City of God was flattened by the alien winds of Vatican II and pillaged by the marauding Modernists we deserved.
The Salvific City
As rescue, race and poverty pressures piled up, a beleaguered President Bush finally announced that “To the extent the federal government didn’t fully do its job right, I take responsibility.” To outflank the liberals he then irked many Republicans with a
flawless imitation of Bill Clinton, offering the notoriously corrupt New Orleans political establishment a blank cheque - “whatever it takes” - to rebuild New Orleans. It would be impossible to imagine America without the famous city, he said.
The closest we have come to this was John Paul II’s heartfelt mea culpa to the Catholic faithful in Dominicae Cenae (1980), on behalf of the bishops of the world, for abuses perpetrated against the Most Holy Eucharist. It acknowledged the complicity of the hierarchy, but was never followed up with strong corrective action.
There was no more breast-beating.
“You know,” reflected a friend recently, “I really like the way Ratzinger writes and his obvious piety and having his heart in the right place. But I am beginning to wonder if there is a gap in information between Rome and the rest of the world. The victims
of liturgical and theological abuse need protecting. The ‘theology of apology’ needs to be directed towards them.”
Indeed it does. And it needs to incorporate deep remorse for the manifest shortcomings of the Council and the devastating tumult it set in train. Only when that happens - when the neo-con rationalising and Roman party line on Vatican II are recognised as the shameful and cowardly cover-ups they always were - can we begin to resurrect the Catholic edifice upon which the fate of mankind rests.
For while the President cannot picture a U.S. map without the city of New Orleans, the only truly inconceivable – and frightening - prospect is a world without that holy City set upon a hill: in this world but not of it, shining like a beacon, drawing all lovers of truth and concord to Herself and sheltering them within Her ramparts, safe from the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters and every one that makes and loves lies, who roam outside Her gates [Apoc. 22:15].
To the Faith of this Catholic citadel, predicted Belloc, “Europe will return ... or perish.” Likewise the Americas, Asia, Africa and all the earth.
And so we must pray, work and do penance, beseeching Our Father in Heaven to look with mercy upon our poor efforts to restore and raise His City from the wreckage of His purifying storm, that through His infinite mercy and grace it might shine forth once more, to His honour and glory, a salvific refuge from the wicked and the “whirlwind of the Lord.”
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