Delusion, Deception & Decay
For Catholics, to be in the world but not of the world was always the trick. In this, the Jesuits were once exemplars. Quasi-contemplatives in the midst of society, they imbued and elevated every conceivable human endeavour with Christian faith, hope and charity. Inspired by their priests and Religious, the laity also brought Christ to the workaday world in a golden era of Catholic action directed to the Social Kingship of Christ. Led by manly shepherds who preached Christ crucified, evangelisation and conversion were the leitmotifs of the Church Militant.
Then, lo and behold, the Spirit of Vatican I flew out John XXIII’s metaphorical window and the secular ‘spirit’ of Vatican II wafted in. The Church Convergent was born.
Lulled into complacency by the robust state of the Catholic world, and perhaps overcompensating for a certain rigorist tendency that needed some attention, the Council Fathers promoted a view of mankind so falsely optimistic that the founder of the U.S. Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, Professor James Hitchcock, recently suggested that their Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) might be heretical, since it does not even acknowledge the existence of sin. An insidious document, it supplied Liberals with their ‘spirit of Vatican II’ [SoVII] pretext for swapping the redemptive Catholic
Gospel for a profane Social Gospel detached from the salvific teachings of Christ. [see "The Social Gospel", Aug/Sept 2005]
To this end, time-honoured apostolic notions of obedience, conviction, evangelisation and conversion gave way to disobedience, doubt, endless dialogue and convergence. Priests and Religious joined the unseemly rush to assimilate with the secular herd, discarding what set them apart: sacred vows and promises; lifestyles; beliefs; attire. As spirituality morphed into psychology and the work of salvation into social work and political activism, Catholics soon became indistinguishable from their godless, contracepting neighbours.
From the outset, our shepherds have led this gadarene charge and set the worldly tone, personifying the secularisation. In the past decade, the modus vivendi and modus operandi of the English bishops have increasingly reflected those of their vacuous and supremely cynical New Labour [NL] counterparts, while overseeing a similar pattern of failure, degradation and decline. Indeed, since we last considered the curse of "Our Blairite Bishops" [Oct. 2000], both the NL worldlings and SoVII hirelings and their respective scams have gone from bad to worse.
For its part, the Blair government has run every sector of the country into the ground to such an extent that 1.1 million Britons have emigrated since the Millennium (with numbers leaving the country each year up by more than a third since the mid-1990s). Only 600,000 have returned from abroad in the same period, fewer than at any time for a decade. This presents an overall loss of around half a million British citizens in just six years, though one can only imagine how many more would leave if their domestic situation allowed.
Robert Whelan of the Civitas think tank considers that "People are emigrating because of the hopelessness about the problems here. They see us going around in circles but nothing is ever done about the big problems like education, health care, crime. There is a growing sense that politicians will never deal with the problems. There is a lot of talk, then people pay more tax and get less back for it. So they think about taking the drastic step of emigration. For many people this is an act of despair."
Not for all, certainly, but for very many. The majority of those emigrants surveyed in a study released by the Institute for Public Policy Research on 11 December 2006 cited various kinds of disaffection with the state of the country, as opposed to the positive attributes of the places they wish to go, as their prime motivating force. Neither the artful manipulation now synonymous with the NL project - the fiddling of figures on everything from inflation to unemployment to the national debt to immigration to crime and hospital waiting lists - nor its army of 3,259 politically appointed press officers promoting the spurious data for ministers and hundreds of quangos (non-departmental public bodies) at a cost to taxpayers of over £300 million a year, more than treble the cost when NL came to power, can hold them. Harsh reality has trumped all the spin and lies, even about the vaunted economy, NL’s loudest boast. Costs rise inexorably, salaries shrink and NL has raised taxes more than 60 times, most of which is shouldered by families. Take home pay is at a standstill, and people feel worse off despite being told ad nauseam they’ve never had it better.
Nor will a new independent body charged to produce national statistics and keep them from political fudging, as finally promised by the Prime Minister in his Queen’s Speech in November, rein in the systemic mendacity and denial. Instead, empty government pledges and policies will be spun out to a disillusioned and contemptuous public with even greater zeal, as flagged by Mr Blair’s heir apparent, Chancellor Gordon Brown, when he aped the PM’s infamous ‘education, education, education’ mantra during his Pre-Budget Report last December.
"We should commit now to year by year improvements in investment in our schools," he proclaimed to the electorate, which promptly resigned itself to writing off more of its hard-earned cash. For just as the self-satisfied Chancellor was making the latest grandiose gesture, the Leitch report he himself ordered was articulating the appalling return on ten years worth of identical ‘commitments.’ This worked out at one in six children leaving school unable to read, write or add up - a blueprint, Lord Leitch warned, for economic catastrophe. According to the Department of Education’s own research, performance in the three Rs among 7-year-olds has further deteriorated, results aged 11 in maths, reading and science haven’t improved in seven years despite billions poured into literacy and numeracy, and 40% of children (230,000) finished primary school last year without the proficiency in reading, writing and maths to cope with the secondary curriculum. While Durham University also states that universities are closing their physics departments because the number of students taking A-level maths has halved in five years.
On it goes, year after abysmal year. There is no need to regale readers with similar litanies of perennial failure and scandal. Crime, transport, policing, terrorism, sentencing, pensions, prisons, utilities, welfare and benefits, the health service, immigration…. the degradation of a once great nation is all too painfully familiar, having turned so many aspects of daily life into trying ordeals. Simpy put, the NL scam - an exercise of stealth and deception from the beginning - has fashioned a country where nobody takes responsibility for anything and nothing much works any more, or if it does - like the simple 192 telephone directory enquiry service - is promptly changed to make it ten times more complicated and expensive. "If you asked the Government to mend a leaking tap," writes Peter Hitchens, "it would flood your house and then send you a giant bill."
The profligacy accompanying the chronic breakdown simply adds salt to gaping taxpayer wounds. Like the almost £1 billion wasted on the catastrophic Millennium Dome. Forecast by Mr Blair to be "a startling and exhilarating success" symbolising "Cool Britannia", it duly became an international embarrassment and symbol par excellence of NL vacuity, corruption, incompetence and disaster, which to this day continues to embroil the government in sleaze as it seeks to finally offload and transform the super-white elephant into a super-casino.
Or the astonishing £790 million pounds NL spends on newspaper advertisements each year for public sector staff, double the entire recruitment budget for private industry which employs five times as many staff! Notoriously, most of this money goes to the small circulation Guardian, NL’s main media lapdog, which enjoys a near monopoly of advertising for taxpayer-funded posts, many of them non-jobs like Human Rights Facilitators or Outreach Co-ordinators for ‘Men Who Have Sex With Men’ [sic]. Unsurprisingly, the number of such jobs has skyrocketed since the NL charlatans and fellow-travellers got their feet under the table and snouts in the trough. The public payroll has shot up by 1.5 million to around six million (including 125,000 bureaucrats to run the social welfare system, a larger workforce than the British army!) while private sector employment is up by just half a million. Which is a socialist recipe for stifling job creation and wealth, as a November 2006 government report admitted has happened in the North. At the same time, £6.5 billion a year is spent on 111 new quangos, and £1.3 billion on consultants (that’s not millions or even hundreds of millions, but billions).
Then there is the nightmarish NHS computer project designed to connect all our medical records on a central data base (to the delight of crooks and perverts everywhere) for a mere £20 billion (latest estimate) and which is already 3 years behind schedule. Meanwhile, most of the additional billions poured into the NHS (which spending has nearly doubled since 2000 from £44 billion to £76 billion) goes on pay, debt, repayment and pen-pushers, with the number of NHS managers, up over 60% between 1999 and 2005, increasing three times as fast as new doctors and nurses. This has left less than one pound in three for patients who endure a health service ranked 24th out of 27 countries in terms of the number of practising doctors. Statistically, moreover, they still suffer more than just about all other European countries in terms of filthy wards, ever more lethal super-bugs and long waiting lists, while facing a death rate from strokes nearly twice that of many advanced countries, one of the worst cancer survival rates in the developed word and having access to less CT scanners per million than any population anywhere in the world, to cite just a few oft reported deficiencies.
The bigger picture is more sordid, including a sleazy infatuation with billionaires and big business. Above all, NL’s aggressive anti-life, anti-family agendas have not only increased the direct killing of vulnerable unborn and incapacitated citizens but also accelerated every facet of social breakdown, including the "scumification" of British culture, where behaviour is orientated towards the most base instincts. Even lifelong Labour supporter Maureen Freely, a mother of four who has been in the thick of family policy for a decade as an author, academic and political commentator, now argues that the NL project has "killed" family life and triggered all the destructive ramifications. She points to Tony Blair as the main culprit. ["Home Misrule", The Sunday Times Magazine, 5/11/06]
All this leaves the populace wondering how such a hopeless situation can ever be put right. Especially when failure is repeatedly presented as success despite transparent facts and daily evidence to the contrary. Witness NL’s politically correct Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair, who last August announced that London was so safe that householders could now leave their doors open! Nor did a motion of no confidence and call for his resignation by the Metropolitan Police Officers Federation around the same time deter him from adding in his recent Christmas message: "We are seeing significant rises in public confidence and falls in almost every type of crime and so the early signs are good."
Such monumental, self-serving delusion has epitomised the NL years. "Thanks to record funding and radical reform, NHS patients are receiving better quality care and taxpayers are getting more bang for their buck," parroted a Department of Health spokesman last August when confronted with yet another damning independent report revealing gross financial mismanagement marked by crippling deficits, job losses and service cuts. Similarly, on the first anniversary of extended drinking hours (introduced amidst a national epidemic of drunkenness) NL publicly congratulated itself on the great success of the legislation despite the increased rates of alcohol-related violence, arrests, injuries and hospitalisations up and down the country, as widely forewarned before its introduction and since attested by doctors, judges, ambulance crews and the official statistics themselves. No wonder a newspaper columnist was moved to declare after spending a week at the last NL Party Conference: "I have never been with so many people in such a state of collective denial."
This destructive mentality also extends to denying socio-political successes elsewhere, such as the refusal to take on board America’s reformed social welfare system, under which no claimant can stay on benefits for more than 5 years. Introduced in 1996 despite fierce opposition from the Left, it has cut the number of US families on welfare by an astonishing 60 per cent in the past 10 years, while 1.6 million fewer children now live in poverty. During the same period, NL has preferred to maintain Britain’s ever burgeoning welfare state which encourages idleness and fecklessness and now costs £151 billion a year, far more than the nation spends on education or health. Thus, even while the American Left now freely concede that they were totally wrong to oppose the introduction of discipline and a ‘tough love’ approach to welfare, their NL brethren carry on spinning out costly ‘initiatives’ (gimmicks) like the New Deal for Lone Parents, Employment Action Zones, Sure Start and Individual Learning Accounts, parading costly failure as a triumph.
Occasionally, orchestrated admissions are trotted out by ministers, functionaries and NL fellow-travellers that the reactionary hoi polloi have in fact been right for the past 10 years in their denunciations of political correctness, multi-culturalism, mass immigration, the liberal judiciary, etc., etc. Yet it’s all patronising lip-service, since the NL comrades regard themselves as the repositories of wisdom. As commentator Richard Littlejohn put it: "They are our moral arbiters and they alone can decide what is right and wrong. They haven’t been persuaded by us, they have reached this conclusion on their very own after much compassionate, rational soul-searching. They care." But not enough to change tack. Their siren calls for a ‘debate’ mean precisely the opposite. "It’s just a device for kicking the problem into the long grass," explains Littlejohn. "OK, folks. We get the message. Now it’s time to ‘move on’. The tens of thousands of Labour voters employed in ‘diversity’ and ‘health’ aren’t suddenly going to fold their tents and retrain as plumbers. As far as immigration is concerned, this Government isn’t going to pull up the drawbridge any more than it is going to ‘rebalance’ the criminal justice system to favour victims."
There can indeed be no rethink, reappraisal or reversal because the 60s generation at the heart of the NL project long ago turned their backs irrevocably on the traditions, beliefs and accumulated wisdom of their forebears to embrace that relativistic contrivance called ‘modernity.’ They rejected stability for institutionalised instability: the socialist chimera of progress through perpetual change. Thus, only the new and novel have any meaning at all. Not to change and ‘move on’ is, quite simply, heresy. Hence NL’s religious zeal in uprooting time-honoured constitutional, parliamentary and legal principles and customs. Or its procession of ill-conceived and unworkable gimmicks: cobbled together on the run, dressed up as serious policies and then dropped amid public derision almost as quickly as they are announced.
By his own admission a frustrated rock star, Mr Blair personifies this shallow, rootless generation: obsessed with the transient and altogether lacking the virtue, knowledge and wisdom required to address vexing issues in any deep and lasting way. "As for Blair," confirmed Clare Short, his former NL colleague and International Development Secretary, "he is not at all well read; he doesn’t attend to detail; he likes his own entourage; he thinks about politics through how you present things. He doesn’t like big meetings and everything properly scrutinised. He is the kind of person that the modern world of 24-hours news media is throwing up. Churchill and Atlee need not apply. … I think he is delusional."
So deluded, in fact, that in 2000 in response to a leaked Downing Street memo warning him that the "New Labour brand has been badly contaminated," Mr Blair wrote to his chief spin doctor: "I find it bizarre that any government I lead should be seen as anti-family." Despite overseeing the most sustained assault on the family ever mounted by a British government, gladly handing over social policy to his radical feminist colleagues for whom marriage is an instrument of male oppression, Blair is genuinely perplexed that anyone could doubt his commitment to marriage because he himself is married and, above all, he sincerely believes he is doing the right thing. Just as his contempt for Parliament and the Union and any structure, process or provision that hasn’t ‘moved on’ into ‘modernity’ is sincerely held. Never mind the uneducated, drug and drink fuelled underclass that has emerged over the last generation due to anti-family policies, according to the landmark Tory report "Breakdown Britain" released last month. No matter that this underclass is growing at a terrifying rate and costing the country an estimated £20 billion a year. No, in keeping with his 60s mindset, sincerity to Mr Blair is the overriding pseudo-virtue that justifies anything and everything he does, regardless of objective evidence to the contrary.
As the first incumbent Prime Minister to be questioned in a criminal investigation (as a witness only, thus far) he is counting on those same ‘good intentions’ apropos the handing out of peerages for cash to convince the police, and possibly a jury, of his complete innocence. Yet while he can expect to escape unscathed, Britons cannot escape the terrible legacy of his (sincere) delusion – unless, of course, they join the British exodus.
An orthodox Catholic trying to live the Faith in England today will readily identify with just about every aspect of the above summary: deceit, manipulation, delusion, denial, ineptitude, self-satisfaction, profligacy, cronyism, sleaze, corruption, decay… It is all so famliar, since the local Church, too, is a basket case. And as per the State, its leadership is squarely to blame.
As the Catholic crisis broadens and deepens, ever more faithful are jumping ship. In virtually the same period that saw such an unprecedented rise in British emigration, the Church in England experienced the fastest rate of decline of any Christian denomination.
The 2005 English Church Census, an independent report compiled by Christian Research, revealed that between 1998 and 2005 around 500,000 (of the over 1.2 million practising Catholics in 1998) stopped attending Sunday Mass. Unlike the 1.1 million emigrants since 2000, no exit poll was conducted to ascertain why they walked out. Like the emigrants, however, their reasons for doing so undoubtedly had more to do with the intractable mess they were leaving rather than any alternative attraction.
If the fraudulent NL enterprise has flattened Britain in the past ten years, the spurious SoVII project condoned or orchestrated by the shepherds began ruining the local Church from the outset. Consider a snapshot of the wreckage set out in another report published last summer by the Pastoral Research Centre, covering the period 1963-1991. In those first three decades, Mass attendance declined by 40%. At the same time, baptisms halved, marriages and confirmations plunged by 60%, first Communions declined by 40% and the number of adult converts fell 55%.
According to the Times [4/7/06], figures from 2004 showed little improvement in the situation. Catholic marriages, for instance, continue to fall precipitously, down from 29,337 in 1981 to a mere 11,013 in 2003. While the website of the Church in England and Wales indicates that the number of diocesan clergy fell from 4,755 in 1981 to 3,765 in 2003. Religious-order clergy fell from 2,266 to 1,363 in the same period.
As for monks and nuns, the Daily Telegraph of 10 April 2006 cited official figures revealing that just a dozen people entered monasteries in 2004, a fall of 75% since 1990, while only 13 women entered convents in 2005, almost 50% down on the derisory 2000 figure. Consequently, monasteries and convents are being sold off.
With a high percentage of the remaining priests, religious and laity well into their 60s, the dissolution is bound to accelerate.
Clearly, this bleak landscape flies in the face of the vaunted ‘Second Spring’ which, like the land of milk and honey promised by the NL elite, exists only in the deluded minds of SoVII prelates and their propagandists. The tragic statistics and the clerical complicity underlying them reveal the SoVII "renewal" for what it always was - a non serviam rebellion wrapped in a diabolic deception, intended to secularise and destroy the Church. The corruption it has engendered in every field of Catholic liturgical, sacramental and pastoral life [CO passim] has worn out the disillusioned faithful, for whom smiley shepherds, like the grinning Blair, have become synonymous with deceit, delusion and denial: hollow, faithless men. And certainly, as I plough through files brimming with Pastorals, programmes, plans, reports, consultations, minutes and gimmicky schemes, each replete with empty cliches, soundbites and slogans, the SoVII-NL convergence is both readily apparent and seamless.
Presenting lamentable failure as success at every turn in true Blairite fashion, the catastrophic ‘priest shortage’ is inevitably welcomed as "an opportunity for collaborative renewal." The general dissolution is embraced always and everywhere as an "opportunity to come alive again" and "move forward" – "to ask where the Spirit is leading us" and "launch out into the deep" so we might "grow together in Christ" in order to "face the future" by "growing in Communion" and "reaching out in mission." While the closing of parishes is simply another "opportunity for renewal" through the establishment of "Pastoral Areas" which will provide "vibrant Eucharistic communities" allowing us "to go out and bear fruit." Added to these favoured episcopal clichés of the moment are "vision" (as in "my vision of worshipping communities" or "my vision for the diocese," the latter phrase repeated half a dozen times in one single page episcopal announcement) and that hardy perennial, "change" (repeated every other paragraph in most documents).
It’s as if Blair’s army of spin doctors has been contracted out to coach our prelates and their own propagandists in the art of deception through meaningless jargon, as with the cringing out-takes of an official NL propaganda film leaked to the press which reveal Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt recording her "thoughts of the day" while an adviser coaches her to use a series of buzzwords, including "pride", "progress" and "reform." [The Mail on Sunday, 8/10/06].
Yet the episcopate has no need of outside help. It already possesses its own legion of salaried diocesan and parish spin doctors schooled in SoVII cant, variously referred to as Advisers, Directors, Facilitators, Co-ordinators, etc., etc.. Those still foolish enough to fund their diocese via the parish plate are merely squandering their contributions on this burgeoning and costly structure shoring up the post-conciliar facade.
In February 2006, for instance, Bishop O’Donoghue revealed that his Lancaster diocese was £10 million in debt. In a letter to his flock he explained that he only discovered this because he "sensed" that the diocese was "living beyond our means". Whenever he questioned "if we could afford certain structures" he was told there was "no problem because we were ‘asset rich’." (Which is simply another way of saying: ‘We were living off the capital of the Church Militant, which our Church Convergent is stripping bare!’)
A review by the Bishop revealed that the various "Departments" of his centralised bureaucracy were "eating up our resources." Over many years they had, in fact, siphoned off parish monies ("and even some Restricted Funds") "without permission of the Parishes" and used them "as if they belonged to the Diocese." "It is highly unlikely," wrote the apologetic Bishop, "that the Central Diocesan Administration will ever be able to pay them back in full." Now there’s a surprise.
If a relatively small diocese like Lancaster can manage to waste a whopping £10 million, one can only guess at how much money the SoVII apparatus has bled from the parish purse nation-wide over the years. The Vatican, for one, is obviously curious. Last year it called English bishops to Rome to discuss their finances. (Would that they were as anxious about their fidelity!) But since the whole aim of the contrived ‘priest shortage’ is to laicise the local Church and hand it over to a professional class of SoVII dissidents, diocesan budgets are not about to diminish. As it is, even part-time jobs at the bottom of the trough, such as a 3 days a week "Area Pastoral Facilitator" based at St Peter’s, Winchester (which requires "an understanding of contemporary Catholic theology" i.e. Thomists need not apply), rake in at least £15,000 p.a.. With ever increasing ‘add on’ costs applicable to each basic salary, along with compensation payouts and the rest, budgets will grow like topsy. As, inevitably, will scandals like Lancaster and those of a more salacious variety.
Last May, a front page story informed the world and Aunt Edna that Cardinal Murphy O’Connor had: (1) employed a sodomite as his £35,000 a year personal press secretary - with a brief not only to spin a better public image of the Church but also to advise His Eminence about public statements on ethical issues; (2) sacked him only when left with no option after he brazenly brought his ‘partner’ to the office; (3) gave him a payout of £20,000 in return for agreeing "not to speak in public about the reasons for his departure." ["Archbishop sacked aide for being gay," The Mail on Sunday, 14/05/6] A month later, the Cardinal again hit the headlines when another of his handsomely paid spin doctors, Austen Ivereigh, a former deputy editor of the Tablet, was accused by two former girlfriends of getting them pregnant and of giving the first one no choice but to abort the baby. ["Archbishop’s aide accused of abortion hypocrisy by former lover." Daily Mail, 24/06/06]
On top of the salaries and such damaging spin-offs (pun intended) there is the costly business of all the SoVII window-dressing that keeps the functionaries occupied and in clover. How many untold millions have been wasted on all the assemblies, synods, conferences, ecumenical junkets, youth jamborees, etc., etc.? Not to mention the tons of glossy literature promoting endless "renewal" programmes which, manifestly, renew nothing, corrupt everything and swell the bureaucracy in the process - creating the very problems which, we are then assured, require ‘enquiries,’ ‘commissions,’ and ‘structures’ to fix. The Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults, for example, was created in response to a sexual abuse crisis fuelled by the doctrinal, moral and liturgical dissidence of "renewed" clergy. It cost £280,000 just to set up, quite apart from the ongoing wage bill.
This vicious circle precisely mirrors the Blairite model, whereby industrial quantities of cash are tossed at problems without ever addressing fundamental Liberal causes or adopting successful strategies from abroad which might actually solve them.
Just as the government refuses to adopt any positive measures that challenge their failed socialist ideology, like the radical US welfare model, the English episcopate wilfully refuses even to acknowledge, let alone adopt, the robustly orthodox success stories which have filled seminaries, convents and churches overseas. [cf. "Orthodoxy = Vocations", "What Vocations Crisis? Heeding the Lessons of Success" and "A Self-Imposed Shortage", February 2002] Catechetical programmes guaranteed to pass on the Faith whole and entire are not countenanced. While regular appeals to allow the flourishing traditional priestly orders into disappearing dioceses are also waved away or met with stony silence by shepherds bemoaning their lack of priests.
Of course, as per NL methodology, lip-service is paid here and there to traditional sensibilities, like the routine mention of prayer for vocations before the Blessed Sacrament. These cynical gestures insult the faithful even more than the phoney NL-style "consultation" exercises which always precede further closures and clustering, the introduction of still more lay ministries, re-orderings, illicit practices, or the dropping of Holy Days of Obligation. (Last July, after the Epiphany, Ascension and Corpus Christi were suddenly abandoned as Holy Days without any forewarning whatsoever, the episcopate assured a shell-shocked laity that there had been an "extensive process of consultation over many years"!) The Modernist pedigree of the bishops themselves is sufficent to expose their orthodox posturing.
Take Bishop John Crowley, Cardinal Hume’s former Private Secretary and the notorious prelate who agreed to celebrate a Mass in celebration of a long-standing sodomite ‘partnership’ between an ex-priest and the head of the episcopate’s aid agency, CAFOD. One of the worst scandals among so many in recent years, even the public outcry did not deter him from attending the sacrilegious event. Since God is not mocked, it transpires that Bishop Crowley oversees moribund Middlesbrough, the fastest disappearing diocese in the country, where: Mass attendance dropped by fully one-third between 1992 and 2004; parishes are being closed en masse; dissent and disobedience is rife; vocations emerge at the rate of about one every half dozen years.
Nor is it the least surprising to learn that the Bishop’s "consultation document", proposing to reduce the number of parishes from 85 to 24, "does not even begin to explore the reasons for the appalling decline in Mass attendance in the Diocese," as one of his flock informed the Vatican in December 2005. "Neither does the document address the reasons for the diminishing number of priests in the Diocese," the letter continues. "There is no suggestion as to how these depressing trends may be reversed. Moreover, there is not the slightest hint that in some way the management of and teaching by the Diocese may be at fault."
Clearly, the regrets expressed by such a man about the ‘priest shortage’ are as disingenuous as his fatuous and futile week-long hike across the diocese "to raise the profile of vocations in the area." [Catholic Herald, 28/7/06]
In his Advent 2006 Pastoral, Archbishop Kevin McDonald of Southwark, allegedly one of the ‘better’ shepherds on offer, also flagged the ‘priest shortage’ and softened up the people for closures and clustering. He announced a "process of reflection and consultation" and a paper entitled (you’ll be expecting this): "Towards a Vision of the Diocese."
Against such ominous tidings, the usual pious call for "prayer before the Blessed Sacrament for an increase in vocations" sounded precisely like the platitude one would expect from a prelate who includes the occult Enneagram in the training for his clergy. A man who only 3 months earlier had made headlines for failing to support the head teacher of St Luke’s Sixth Form College in Sidcup who was forced out after complaints by parents, pupils and staff that education was taking second place to religion (perish the medieval thought!) - as in the holding of Marian processions, compulsory attendance at Mass and a chastity educator instructing pupils about the sinfulness of homosexuality, fornication and the reality of hell. Nor is this the first time His Grace has forced uncompromisingly orthodox educators from his schools. [see "Crying in the Wilderness", May 2004]
Meanwhile, SPUC revealed how one of the Archbishop’s primary schools, St William of York, Forest Hill, was teaching the sex-ed programme Living and Growing, produced by Channel 4 (aka Channel Porn), which shows little children "explicit animations of human sexual intercourse, accompanied by detailed verbal accounts of sex and masturbation… distressing sequences of a live childbirth, and treats alternative lifestyles as comparable to marriage." Before this rape of innocence in his own classrooms His Grace remained unmoved. A couple who withdrew their 7-year-old daughter from the school were "frustrated in their repeated attempts to get the head teacher, school governors and the diocese to recognise the social and spiritual damage" inflicted by such filth. [Pro Life Times, September 2006]
Equally risible is the feigned concern about the ‘priest shortage’ by Declan Lang of Clifton [see "Blasphemy in Bristol", Dec. 2002]. A protégé of the priestess-advocating, Humanae Vitae-dissenting Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth, Bishop Lang "renewed" his clergy at an "Affirming Priesthood" conference last July by subjecting them to Modernist icon Fr Timothy Radcliffe, who had enriched a similar gathering of English priests in 2002 by outlining what he called "the extremely strong, perhaps overwhelming" arguments for a married priesthood.
A former Master General of the Dominicans, Radcliffe tours the world promoting homosexuality in the priesthood by pushing an insidious homo-hetero moral equivalence, while simultaneously demonizing heterosexuals who uphold Church teachings. "Any deep-rooted prejudice against others, such as homophobia or misogyny, would be grounds for rejecting a candidate for the priesthood, but not their sexual orientation," he typically pronounced in November 2005. Admitting that he is unfamiliar with the concept of "spiritual fatherhood," he is also ambivalent about sodomitical "marriage". While in a letter of February 25, 1998, to the worldwide Dominican community about the acceptance of homosexual candidates to the Order, he warned that "Our communities must be places in which there is no accusation...." In The Rite of Sodomy, Randy Engel interprets this to mean: "a warning against in-house whistleblowers who reveal clerical sexual misconduct and criminal acts by their fellow Dominicans to superiors or public authorities and law enforcement officers" - putting Radcliffe’s obsessive "gay" propagandizing in darker context.
According to Professor James Hitchcock’s critique of a keynote address by Radcliffe at the Los Angeles Religious Education Conference 2006 [Catholic World Report, October 2006], Bishop Lang’s clergy would have been "renewed" by "hazy, self-dramatizing" presentations strewn with talk about "doubt" and "self emptying" and pretentious, pseudo-mystical drivel that seemed "to require the higher levels of Zen enlightenment to make it comprehensible." They would have learned of the "pain" of women, homosexuals, and ethnic minorities, and the importance of "human rights, nuclear disarmament and AIDS." All the while being titillated by talk of Thomas Merton’s sense of liberation after falling in love with a woman, which experience, according to Radcliffe, proves that it is better to risk an occasional scandal rather than have a monastery (ergo a diocese) full of "dead men."
It is crucial to understand that this is the sort of spiritual wrecker and moral deconstructor set before priests of Jesus Christ as a guru of clerical "renewal" by the same English prelates shedding crocodile tears over their falling numbers. Indeed, the episcopate’s esteem for Radcliffe is such that an English and Welsh delegation travelled to Brussels last November with Bishop Ambrose Griffiths and the Catholic Agency to Support Evangelisation to hear him speak at the International Congress for the New Evangelisation.
Furthermore, since Radcliffe is let loose on young Catholics, such as addressing the "Greenbelt" diocesan youth festival last August, is it any wonder that our children have also morphed into worldlings? Or any surprise that we now confront headlines such as "Drunk Britons shatter peace of Lourdes" [Daily Telegraph, 20/8/06], describing "bare chested" male and "scantily clad" female English pilgrims swaying in bars to "blaring music including Madonna’s Like A Virgin and Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones," just a few hundred yards from the sacred shrine?
"We come here to party after being reverential all day," explained one 19-year-old female student from south London. "Party" was her euphemism for behaviour so objectionable that the notorious French anti-riot force Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité (CRS) are called in by the local gendarmes, who cannot cope with the nightly English excesses. According to the Telegraph: "Revellers were seen running across the roofs of parked cars, indulging in mock fights and vomiting into gutters. It is these types of crime, along with the minor acts of vandalism and ‘lewd behaviour’ between amorous young Roman Catholics, that dominate the nightly reports of CRS officers." "Last week," said one CRS officer, "a couple sneaked into the grounds of the Rose Basilica and became very amorous in a very holy place. It’s not the kind of thing other pilgrims want to see." Quite.
Many comments posted on the web blog of a southern parish by young Lourdes pilgrims immediately following the Telegraph report confirmed the shocking truth. "I’ve been every year for the last 8, the drink, drugs and sex thing is getting worse, esp. with the Brits," blogged one. Stated another: "I last went to Lourdes in 2000 with an English Youth Pilgrimage, made up mostly of boys and girls from some of the most prominent Catholic boarding schools in the country. Drink, sex, and drugs were prevalent at night, and the first two were unofficial pilgrimage virtues; all of which was followed by Communion in the morning, of course."
As for the bishops and clergy who accompany them, the young bloggers revealed a total lack of guidance and leadership. "They tended to join in rather than challenge anyone," summed up one who described them as "a bit like embarrassing dads." Said another: "I love the place, but I have not been to Lourdes for years. I hate the drunkenness, I hate the fornication, I hate the abuse of the liturgy, I hate the lack of real spiritual care for the young helpers. Last year all my antipathy was confirmed with a picture of one of our English bishops performing a drag routine, dressed as a nurse, even so I hadn’t realised things had got to this state."
So, these are the prelates and this is the diabolical reality behind their slippery verbiage and pious posturing about "holiness," "mission," "communion," "shared vision," "vibrant communities," etc. ad nauseam. Strip away the wafer thin SoVII veneer and all that is left is a morass of deception, manipulation, corruption and decay.
And yet, just as Mr Blair remains genuinely puzzled and hurt by accusations that he has "killed" the family, so deluded bishops take umbrage at criticism of their manifest betrayal. "I think the only word that can describe any questioning of my orthodoxy is calumny," railed the overseer of Liverpool’s dissident death rattle, Archbishop Kelly, in a March 2006 response to (another) long and factual list of his sins of commission and omission. Like the Prime Minister, this extraordinary level of delusion is rooted in the pseudo-virtue of sincerity. Since Archbishop Kelly and his brethren believe sincerely in their cause, to question their personal heresies, heterodoxies and culpable negligence is unconscionable. Just as talk of their corporate failure is incomprehensible. "I do not lose sleep over falling numbers because I leave that to God," said the newly appointed Cardinal Murphy O’Connor in April 2000. "What I want is a prayerful, enthusiastic clergy, open to new ideas and not worrying if they fail." Accordingly, six years later and due to offer his resignation to the Holy Father upon turning 75 this August, the deluded Cardinal, like Mr Blair, is looking back at his ruinous tenure with self-satisfaction.
At his farewell party conference last September, Tony Blair boasted of NL’s 50 "finest achievements," virtually every one of which was a (sincere) lie or (sincere) half-truth that omitted the inconvenient facts behind the devastation. At the same time, rattled by disasters and scandals, another leaked Downing Street memo from his personal pollster revealed a minutely orchestrated "final phase" in office intended to leave his reputation intact. "His genuine legacy," says the memo, "is not the delivery… but the dominance of New Labour ideas – the triumph of Blairism. As TB enters his final phase he needs to be focusing way beyond the finishing line, not looking at it. He needs to go with the crowds wanting more. He should be the star who won’t even pay that last encore. In moving towards the end he must focus on the future." A beyond parody-testament to the entire NL deception, the memo also calls for TV appearances on the children’s show Blue Peter as well as Songs of Praise and a farewell tour taking in "iconic locations" while "embracing the arts and businesses… travelling on different forms of transport [and being] seen with people who will raise eyebrows." [Daily Mail, 6/9/06]
As his August D-Day approaches, the Cardinal seems just as determined to project a fantastical view of his own reign and a steady-as-she-goes portrait of a local Church in safe episcopal hands. Fresh from a private audience with the Holy Father, who, he coos, "appreciates and respects" the work of the bishops, a feature interview in the Catholic Herald [27/10/06] provided the perfect opportunity to bask in the warm glow of a job well done.
This was the general tenor: "Vatican II opened up the Church to the world. We are still absorbing crucial documents like…Gaudium et Spes, the Church in the modern world… In all the dioceses there is now a concerted effort to form lay people so that they become a more articulate voice of the Catholic Church. That’s why young people are so important – these are the green shoots of the Church… Here in this diocese we’re concentrating on five priorities. I’ve put in the Communion and Mission paper, following the At Your Word, Lord [i.e. RENEW] programme. [I]f I had a smaller diocese it would be more difficult to lead the kind of renewal that I’ve instigated in Westminster… The archbishop must be wise enough to… try and make sure that his ‘vision’ for the diocese is clearly communicated… I want to see this process of renewal in the diocese through a little bit more and get it on its way."
Converging with "reality"
A lesson in Blairite delusion and denial, the Herald’s glossy interview hid the truth about the Cardinal, his track record of anti-"renewal" and the heretical underpinnings of the notorious programme he has used to deconstruct two dioceses. [See CO, February 2003: online or copies available on request] It could not, however, hide the lost opportunities of the past several decades, highlighted that same week by saturation media coverage of Archbishop Nichols’ mobilisation of a nationwide Catholic outcry against government plans to impose quotas of non-Catholic pupils on ‘Catholic’ schools, in the spurious cause of ‘integration.’ The campaign forced a government U-turn in less than two weeks. For one fleeting, glorious moment, as the media marvelled at the power of "the massed ranks of the Catholic Church" in action, we glimpsed what might have been (not least from a pro-life perspective) had the bishops held their nerve, kept the Faith and set out to convert England, like their forebears, rather than compromise and converge with it.
A convergence, moreover, that the phoney war of words between the government and the arch-Modernist Nichols cannot disguise. As we have seen above, since the clueless products of our so-called Catholic schools are indistinguishable from the non-Catholic variety, convergence has long since achieved the Education Secretary’s insidious ‘integration’ agenda without an episcopal shot being fired in anger.
As for the Archbishop’s subsequent savaging of the government’s wicked Sexual Orientation Regulations, which seek to impose homosexual rights legislation on Catholic institutions, it contradicts his throwing open Birmingham Cathedral to host the 2006 AGM of the dissident ADVENT group which works "for change in the Church and its ministry" by promoting married clergy and radical bodies like the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. [www.adventgroup.org.uk] The Cardinal’s tut-tutting about the same Regulations is just as hollow, given his ongoing tacit approval of the sacrilegious Masses conducted by practising homosexuals within his diocese. [See "Basil Hume’s Lavender Legacy: Sacrilege in Soho", June/July 2006]
In yet another phoney exchange in early December, Tony Blair rebuked the Church for its stance on condoms, only for Cardinal Murphy O’Connor to censure him in turn. The Church must "face up to reality" said Blair, as if the English episcopate had not already set aside supernatural realities to facilitate condom use according to the materialistic dictates of its Social Gospel. [see "Contributing to CAFOD is a Sin", Jan. 2005] The bishops have not only faced up to secular reality, they have adopted an anti-Gospel to accommodate it: preaching ecumenical peace and civil concord through wordly pragmatism and realpolitik.
Mercifully, though ten years too late, "reality" has finally caught up with Mr Blair himself, as confirmed last month in another leaked Downing Street memo. Written by one of the PM’s closest advisers, the secret memorandum frankly admits that "The Government is seen as a shambles," "incompetent" and having "lost control of the big issues." Nor is it a short-term change, the memo tells the PM. "This view is deeply held and entering the bones of the electorate." [The Mail on Sunday, 17/12/06]
This awakening is being reinforced by bolder headlines. "Tone’s legacy of lost and forgotten souls," cried one, pretty much summing up the legacy of the Cardinal & Co. into the bargain. And yet "lost and forgotten souls" are only tragic symptoms of a treacherous cause: so-called shepherds who have fled the Faith to embrace the zeitgeist - the secular spirit of the age. As a press caption, St. John’s reproach to the faint-hearted successors of Fisher and Manning is more to the point: "And the hireling flieth, because he hath no care for the sheep"! It encapsulates the blunt assessment of Dietrich von Hildebrand in The Devastated Vineyard :
First, there is the mafia in the Church, the prelates who have not only lost their faith but who remain in the Church in order to destroy the Church: otherwise, they would leave the Church. If I would lose my faith, I would leave the Church. But to lose the faith and remain in the Church, there must be some reason for that. They use the slogan ‘progress’ as a means to camouflage their diabolical work of destruction and to fool the faithful. In order to draw them away from Christ and His holy Church. They are real servants of the anti-Christ.
Witness one such local ‘mafioso’ who now tells his clergy with complete candour that he detests "the priestly caste." Why? Because it is obstructing the wholesale secularisation of a diocese already run in large part by his aggressive feminist bureaucracy, which controls the so-called Area Committees which, in turn, appoint fellow dissidents to deconstruct the few parishes still considered too Catholic.
A few years ago, a worried parishioner from that same diocese exclaimed to her dismissive priest, "My [cohabiting] daughter is living in mortal sin!" He scoffed at the very idea, proffering the Social Gospel response, "We will be judged on how we treat the poor." Shortly after, this pleasant, faithless man was elevated to a nearby see, immediately declaring that he would adopt the diocesan model of his priest-hating former bishop because it had "worked well."
Voilà! Our incestuous, self-perpetuating episcopal mafia.
One increasingly isolated cleric was forced to admit the hellish reality, confiding recently: "My bishop is not a Catholic. My fellow clergy are no longer Catholic."
Breaking the stranglehold
Since the darkest chapter of English history is repeating itself, we must invoke the "divine clemency" in "faithful prayer," as Leo XIII once exhorted the English flock. Insistent and persistent prayer, St Claude de la Columbiere also assures us herein, will find God’s favour. So let us continue our prayers for that divine gift we have not merited but which, by the blood of His Son and the English martyrs, our Heavenly Father might still provide if we persist in fervent exhortations: a strong, virile, uncompromising shepherd in the Fabian Bruskewitz mould, to break the stranglehold of the local Modernist Brotherhood and effect a miracle of regeneration somewhere in the land.
This can be done. It must be done. Yet until it is done, there will be no turnaround. For like their NL soulmates, our episcopal hirelings have also disavowed their own heritage: rejecting the ecumenically incorrect desire to convert England; eliminating medieval talk about the Social Kingship of Christ. In true Blairite fashion they have faced "reality" and "moved on." Or so they (sincerely) believe.
Deluded to the last, these sons of the ‘spirit’ of Vatican II cannot see that they are, in fact, frozen in the rebellious 60s, forever chanting its mindless war cry: "Change! At any cost!"
How ironic that the orthodox must now co-opt that same chant and sell it to Rome! Since only radical change can stop the Church in England becoming the Church of England all over again.
St. John Fisher, pray for us!