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January 2012

VERBOMANIA

THE EDITOR

"When prophecy shall fail, the people shall be scattered abroad."

How truly Proverbs 29:18 reflects our current predicament and the ongoing flight from the pews: a "scattering" fuelled by the tidal wave of vacuous verbiage that has engulfed the Church for half a century, washing away Her prophetic voice.

I once confronted this soul-destroying flood when a nun asked me to sift through her large library of books, old and new, which she had dutifully rescued from the post-conciliar ruins of Irish convents and monasteries. A quick browse was enough to separate works of pristine Catholic prose from those bursting with neo-Modernist "newspeak." Amid cries of "heresy!" "pap!" "psycho-babble!" (and far worse under my breath), Sister looked on a little deflated as half her shelves were rapidly emptied and consigned to a bonfire of the vanities! The lingua franca of dissidents, such diabolical gibberish has served to disorient and "scatter" two generations. In the process, it has also spiritually butchered them because “Where there is no vision," as a modern rendering of Proverbs 29:18 puts it, "the people perish.” Deprived of a clear vision of the Heavenly City, as revealed with angelic simplicity in the Penny Catechism, the faithful are mired in the pseudo-intellectual fudge of the earthly city; seeking glory from men (Jn 5:44), including churchmen, who pursue the goods of the body and their own mind, even while convinced they are seeking highest glory in God.

Ever since the Council they commandeered with the blessing of John XXIII, loquacious Liberals have presented this Catholic scattering and perishing as "renewal," "vision," "mission," "experience," "dialogue," "communio" ... and a million other insidious clichés. The recent Popes have led the dizzying, anti-Scholastic assault. Plain and concise speech has not been their forte. For every clear pronouncement and reflection, several dense personal offerings and weasel-worded curial documents have followed. And since precise and unequivocal direction from the head office of any institution is vital to the correct and cohesive functioning of its branches, Vatican Verbomania is a gift to heretical branch managers. ¬†

The tedious snowball has gathered force in our bizarre age of "celebrity popes" in the form of papal books and book-length interviews pioneered by John Paul II. Ploughing through and unravelling his interminable writings could be as enervating as trying to square windy Vatican II declarations with the Faith. And for good reason, since one reflects the other. His "hermeneutic of the gift," for example, is based on a passage from Gaudium et Spes, the rambling document on "The Church in the Modern World" he helped frame. Typically over-egging the Catholic obvious (the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit), his rarefied 'body as gift' ruminations have been coopted by Theology of the Body pseuds to rationalise their sexual obsession — which knows no bounds. "Could there be such a thing as the theology of the body for toddlers?" asked one speaker rhetorically at a November 2011 TOB conference in Rome. "Absolutely. The key word is gift: ... Your body is a gift."

I daresay that sex-ed for toddlers, teens and adults, and the lucrative trade they have spawned (in conferences, literature, etc.), was not what John Paul II envisaged. But this is what happens when intellectual efforts to reinvent the Catholic wheel, to befriend a godless world, are rooted in neo-Modernism: even with the best intentions, Catholic fundamentals are obscured then overwhelmed by egocentric blather and jargon. Since the world thrives on all that, the dominant culture ends up influencing the Church instead of vice versa.¬† Perverse outcomes and self-fulfilling cottage industries — like "the ecumenical movement" and TOB — inevitably follow. With worldly thinking and approaches thus entrenched within, Catholic restoration is hindered and things go from bad to worse without.

Providentially, scholars have commenced the arduous task of restoring Catholic "vision": looking beyond the corrosive "spirit" of the Council to address its head-splitting "letter." God willing, their work will help "regather" the people in a union of clear-sighted hearts, minds and souls dedicated to the reign of Christ the King. To see this process through, however, we need a less complicated  pontiff to see off the bombast of the Liberals. Someone like Pius VII, perhaps. Amid epochal upheavals, he proposed basic remedies in plain words and demanded their implementation with the authority one expects from the Vicar of Christ. In our daily prayers for the Holy Father and the Church, therefore, let us ask for the simple antidote to wretched Verbomania: a pope of Tradition, action, and fewer words.

 

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