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JUNE - JULY 2001

Full text of an interview with the Editor of Christian Order conducted last November by the London correspondent for Nasz Djiennik, Poland's Catholic daily.

The Roman Protestants of England and Wales:
Lessons and Warnings for Catholic Poland

NASZ DJIENNIK: Mr Pead, some months ago you addressed a thousand Catholics at the Faith of Our Fathers conference in London and launched a withering attack on the English hierarchy and the state of the Church in England.

ROD PEAD: Barely skimmed the surface.

Among much else you called the bishops "hirelings", "a disgrace" and urged people to pray for God to take them to "their early reward"!
Yeah, I was too kind!

Too kind!?
Sure. There aren't words strong enough to adequately describe the rape of Catholic faith and substance which our smiley bishops have oversighted so blithely over so many years. Especially the spiritual and moral corruption of two generations of innocent Catholic schoolchildren.

Since this is all news for Nasz Djiennik readers, can you recap: What is your impression of the state of the Catholic Church in England?
In a word - whether viewed spiritually or statistically: catastrophic! From the statistical standpoint, as few as 20% of the four-and-a-half million nominal English and Welsh Catholics actually attend Mass on Sunday and the ongoing lapsation rate is so high, ranging between 30-40,000 a year, that even some bishops have publicly stated that their dioceses will have disappeared in thirty years. Given the high median age of Mass-goers I think that is a generous estimate. Statistically, extinction in 20 years in those dioceses is more likely. Only today one of our readers informed me that her parish had fallen from 2,400 parishioners to 600 in just 12 years! The situation is dire. And just as frightening is the fact that more than 90% of Catholic children will have lost their faith and left the Church by the time they leave the Catholic school system. Furthermore, the number of Baptisms - the most telling indicator of the health of any local Church - has fallen by 70,000 since 1964 to an all-time low. So while the elderly Catholic populace is rapidly dying off at one end of the spectrum, it is not being replaced by 'new blood' at the other. A recipe for extinction if ever there was! To complete this pathetic picture, Catholic marriages, confirmations, conversions and ordinations are all at record lows. In only two years between 1994-96 the number of priests plummeted by 1,800! There are now less than 4,000 diocesan priests in England and Wales, mostly middle-aged and elderly. Parish closures and priestless parishes are now commonplace. Numbers-wise I'm afraid it's pretty grim and downhill all the way.

And from the spiritual perspective?
The statistical demise simply mirrors the spiritual dissolution and decay brought about by thirty years of rampant Modernism that has effectively secularised the great majority of erstwhile Catholics, who now treat the Faith like a moral, doctrinal and liturgical smorgasbord from which they can pick-and-choose and mix-and-match according to their own sinful tastes. We call them 'cafeteria Catholics', but essentially they're no different to liberal Protestants - you know, each man his own infallible judge and jury; his own Pope.

It sounds like a second Reformation?
While Poland has been busy with its own battles, that is precisely what the entire Western Church beyond its borders has faced over the past thirty years. Only the strategy has changed. Actually, "revolution" is a more precise term than "reformation," since like all bloody revolutions the intention was to completely destroy the old order - Catholicism, and replace it with a new one - Protestantism. But whereas the sixteenth century Protestant revolt was overt and direct, the latter twentieth century revolution we are living through is covert and insidious. The revolutionaries' preferred methods of destroying Catholic churches perfectly reflects this strategic difference. In the first revolution, the Protestants razed the churches in England to the ground. Today, on the other hand, churches in England, and throughout the West, are not completely destroyed and reduced to rubble but, instead, the church edifice is retained while the interior is "re-ordered" and all signs of Catholic life - altars, statues, stations of the cross, altar rails, confessionals etc. etc. - are smashed, destroyed or removed from sight. So although very many churches may still look Catholic on the outside, they are in fact just empty shells - just like the those English who claim to be Catholic but are devoid of the inner belief and obedience that makes them Catholic! As Pope St. Pius X observed in his great encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis ("On the Doctrines of the Modernists"), the forces at work in the present Modernist revolution "work not from without but from within the ranks of the Church in order that they may gradually transform the collective conscience."

So are you saying that this revolution has proceeded so gradually and insidiously that many English Catholics don't even know that they've lost the Faith?
Yes. And not only the laity. A highly respected English priest recently stated that he knew "Catholic priests who are now [effectively] Protestant pastors and do not seem to be aware that they have lost anything." We have to remember that most of the sixteenth century Catholics in England just sleepwalked into Protestantism, thinking that the 'new religion' introduced by the heretic Cranmer was still the old religion. In the same way that a frog placed in a pot of cold water will sit there happily as the water temperature is raised imperceptibly one degree each hour until he boils to death without knowing it, so a Catholic populace subjected to a steady diet of Modernist catechesis, preaching, writing, church "re-ordering" and liturgy and so on, will eventually, unconsciously, suffer spiritual death. It's the primary rule of propaganda and advertising that if you repeat something often enough people will believe it. So if Modernist clergy are incessantly telling you that the Church has "changed" and that you can now make up your own mind about things like contraception, attending Mass on Sunday or sex outside marriage or whatever, then unless you have a particularly strong and informed faith you'll gradually weaken and believe the lies. After decades of soaking up the melange of vacuities, ambiguities, heterodoxies and heresies that constitute Modernism, definitive orthodox teaching - i.e. Catholic truth - eventually becomes a burden rather than a joy - something which reproaches your conscience because it condemns the immoral lifestyle the Modernists have allowed you to rationalise. Like the Jews in the time of Moses, Catholics then become "unteachable".

In your view is that the case in England now?
Well, let's just say that it is my own impression that this is the case, to a greater or lesser extent, with probably 80% of the approximately 950,000 Catholics still attending Sunday Mass in England and Wales. In other words, the number of practicing English and Welsh Catholics who accept absolutely and unequivocally what is written in the Catechism of the Catholic Church - who believe what the Pope believes - and who are therefore receptive and open to the "hard sayings" of Christ and His Church, might be a few hundred thousand at best.

You mentioned that some bishops have admitted the gravity of this situation. What are they doing to redress it?
A few will admit the statistical reality but you very rarely hear any episcopal voices raised about the spiritual reality and the real causes of the decline. The fact is that this Protestantisation by stealth has developed in England under the enthusiastic direction of the local hierarchy! They were happily led by the nose down the Modernist garden path for over twenty years by the late Cardinal Basil Hume (Westminster) and Archbishop Derek Worlock (Liverpool), who ruled the national episcopal conference with an iron-fist-in-a-velvet-glove. Hume and Worlock effectively shaped the local Church in their own liberal image and likeness. The bishops have therefore staked everything on the utterly spurious claim that what has happened in England constitutes "renewal" and "growth". Their credibility relies on repeating this well-known postconciliar mantra ad nauseam even in the face of hard facts that prove that there has been no growth or renewal of Catholic faith anywhere in England and Wales for three decades. Indeed, the only growth in the English Church has been in the number of paper-shuffling ecclesiastical bureaucrats - Modernist priests, Religious and laity who are financed by the hard-earned money of faithful Catholics to dream up endless schemes to justify their employment. The bishops have effectively handed over control to this professional class of dissident so-called "experts" who, as the renowned heretic Hans Kung once accurately boasted, now control the crucial "switching points" of Western bureaucracies. Like government ministers, bishops come and go - but the bureaucratic apparatus remains as the real power and force for Modernist continuity. The functionaries produce the Pastoral Plans, write the catechetical programmes and populate and direct the Committees and Conferences which further the Modernist agenda.

Can you give us a concrete example of this strategy in action?
You don't have to look beyond the very latest Religious Education [R.E.] scheme produced for Catholic Senior Schools in England and Wales. It is a classic example of how the same bishops who complain about their disappearing dioceses interact with these bureaucratic "experts" to further corrupt Catholic faith - which they then represent as "growth" and "renewal." The scheme is called ICONS and on the Acknowledgements page of the first book in the series it proudly boasts about "the long and vigorous process of consultation with bishops and diocesan advisors, teachers and students of all twenty-two dioceses of England and Wales." Around seventy people worked on this programme for four years and the bishops' own weekly newspapers have categorically stated that the bishops "have blessed it with their wholehearted praise." And yet ICONS presents a markedly different religion to that presented in The Catechism of the Catholic Church. ICONS is full of omissions, distortions and heresies. It stands as clear testimony to the episcopate's loss of Catholic faith.

Can you be more specific?
Without going into detail, consider that the introductory year of the programme, which lays the foundation for the rest of the course, omits any mention of the Fall, Original Sin, Sanctifying Grace, Concupiscence, Redemption or the Soul! In fact Grace is hardly mentioned at all and the word "Soul" is not mentioned once in either the Teacher's or Student's Books! On the contrary, the Catechism devotes twenty-five paragraphs to Grace and six paragraphs to the Soul. How can doctrines like the Incarnation and Baptism possibly be taught to children without a knowledge of such basic doctrines as the Fall and Original Sin and Sanctifying Grace? The answer is, they cannot. And so you can see why over 90% of our children have lost the Faith by the time they leave so-called 'Catholic' schools. The truth is, they were never taught the Faith in the first place! ICONS is just the latest in a long line of notorious Modernist catechetical programmes produced by the bishops since the Vatican Council. And one finds the same bureaucratic "experts" or bishops involved in one failed programme after another. In fact, Bishop David Konstant of Leeds who initiated ICONS, also oversighted the development of a sex education programme for national use in Catholic schools which was so pagan and corrupting that the Archbishop of Birmingham refused to use it in the schools of his archdiocese.

So there is some episcopal resistance to Modernism?
No. Virtually none. That was one of the rare times that there has been a public dispute between bishops in this country in recent decades. They never break ranks due to the curse of "collegiality", which breeds cowardice. Bishops bow to peer pressure in the national conference and hide behind the episcopal 'collective' rather than taking individual responsibility for their own dioceses. In fact, after condemning the sex-ed progamme the Archbishop of Birmingham was rebuked in front of the assembled bishops at the next bishops' conference in November 1994 for breaking collegial ranks and failing to support Bishop Konstant, and he was so upset by this that he never raised his voice again. The moral of that story was that the bishops were more concerned about putting up a united front in public than in the corruption of Catholic children in the classroom through explicit sex education.
With such disregard for childhood innocence is it really any wonder that the police here are now investigating some of our most senior bishops - like the Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O'Connor - to see whether they should be charged for criminal negligence for their failure to protect Catholic children from clerical paedophiles? Make no mistake, wherever clerical perversion or sexual abuse is discovered you will find that doctrinal dissent and liturgical abuse has almost always preceded it. This has been the pattern in every Western country that has suffered the curse of clerical paedophilia. And this is why we can never take seriously bishops who apologise for the damage caused by the physical abuse of women and children by some clergy when they allow the laity to suffer the spiritual abuse of doctrinal dissent and liturgical anarchy every day! How can bishops capable of producing a programme like ICONS ever be trusted with anything? Most of them haven't even got the Catholic commonsense to understand this fundamental link between heresy and perversion.

How do you explain such weakness and dereliction of duty?
I'm neither a psychologist nor a confessor. But it seems to me an elementary loss of Faith. After all, there is a famous precedent. In the sixteenth century every English bishop bar one, St. John Fisher, acquiesced in the new Protestant religion. Fisher preferred to die rather than renounce the Faith. The present cowardice and betrayal is much worse, however, since this episcopate is under no physical threat whatsoever.

Collegiality can therefore become an obstacle to passing on the Faith?
Certainly. Especially where it is dominated by Modernist prelates, which is the case in England as in most other Western countries. Cardinal Ratzinger himself has spoken of the danger posed to "the very nature of the Church" by an abuse of collegiality. During his celebrated 1985 interview with Italian journalist Vittorio Messori, Ratzinger lamented the fact that the role of bishops "risks being smothered by the insertion of bishops into episcopal conferences that are ever more organised, often with burdensome bureaucratic structures." He also said that "we must not forget that episcopal conferences have no theological basis….they have only a practical, concrete function." He reminded everyone that the Catholic Church "is based on an episcopal structure and not on a kind of federation of national churches." This last point is especially pertinent to the English situation, where the tightly controlled episcopal conference was the major tool used by Cardinal Hume and Archbishop Worlock in pushing for ever greater autonomy ("decentralisation") from Rome. Which hardly matters, of course, because episcopally sanctioned disobedience and dissent is endemic here and thus England is already in de-facto schism from Rome and effectively operating as a national church anyway. Faithful Catholics commonly call it the New Church, in order to differentiate it from the True Church.

Has ecumenism played a part in this demise?
Without question the Protestantisation of the Church in England and Wales owes everything to the ecumenical obsession of Cardinal Hume and Archbishop Worlock. With these two, as with so many other English prelates, ecumenism has became an end in itself rather than a means to reunite Protestants with the one true Church of Rome. The recent Vatican document Dominus Iesus was issued by the Holy Father precisely to counter the sort of corrosive false ecumenism condemned by the Second Vatican Council but vigorously pursued here with the Anglicans for a generation. Dominus Iesus could have been written just for England. But it has come 25 years too late and the Holy Father must take a good deal of the blame for that. Although even if it had arrived years ago, Hume and Worlock would've ignored it! Just as all key documents dealing with liturgical and doctrinal abuse emanating from Rome are ignored and buried or paid mere lip-service. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the most notorious case in point. It has been paid scant lip-service here and there but effectively ignored in favour of faithless programmes like ICONS.

After the Anglicans voted to allow women "priests", one Anglican vicar stated that "The Anglican Church is no more." Do you think there is any point pursuing ecumenical relations with the Anglicans?
Certainly not at the corporate level in my opinion. Since every Protestant is his own pope and the Anglican community lacks any binding external authority to speak on its behalf, how can there be any meaningful dialogue with Anglicanism per se? There is something inherently absurd about an intellectual, dogmatic, authoritative Catholic body "dialoguing" with an anti-intellectual, anti-dogmatic, individualist, disembodied phantom called "Anglicanism". It makes no sense to me. Nor did it make much sense to Cardinal Newman, the great nineteenth century convert from Anglicanism. He remained extremely sceptical about the whole notion of corporate reunion with Canterbury, which he said would take "a miracle - in the same sense that it would be a miracle for the Thames to change its course."

It sounds as if Anglicanism can mean whatever an Anglican wants it to mean?
Look, your readers should understand that the Church of England is virtually dead and buried - which is why Christian Order's late founding editor, Father Paul Crane, S.J., used to say: "Whoever heard of union with a rotting corpse?" Anglicanism is little more than a standing joke in this country. It's almost beyond parody. You can't pick up a newspaper without reading about another farcical scandal. Whether vicars having sex changes or marrying their deaconesses or some other incredible situation or heretical outburst. And now, having given themselves women "priests", they're calling for female "bishops"! The lunacy just never stops. But we mustn't forget that due to the loss of faith among Catholic bishops and their lay and clerical functionaries, the Catholic Church is in no condition to conduct a dialogue with anyone! When prelates start giving sermons extolling the virtues of Martin Luther and praising him as "a man of foresight", as Bishop Ambrose Griffiths of Hexham and Newcastle did a few months ago in one parish, then you can see the dreadful effect thirty years of ecumenical dialogue has had on our episcopate! Another example: the episcopate's of Scotland, England & Wales and Ireland produced a joint document in 1998, One Bread One Body, in which it stated that the validity of Anglican Orders "remain unresolved", boldly contradicting Pope Leo XIII's definitive statement that Anglican Orders are null and void!

So ecumenism has no meaningful future here?
I think the best thing the Church in England can do for ecumenism is to re-evangelise Catholics! Physician heal thyself! Rediscovering its own Catholic identity and belief is what the English Church needs to do. A strong and confident and knowledgeable Catholic laity led by convinced, virile Catholic Shepherds and clergy would fill the shocking religious void created in this country by Anglicanism and have Protestant converts streaming into the Church. But for that to happen, and in fact for the Church to survive in England and Wales at all, we need fewer ecumenical ideologues and more Saints! We need strong episcopal leaders like St. Charles Borromeo who are prepared to reform moribund dioceses - starting with a thorough moral and doctrinal scrubbing down and cleaning out of seminaries, teacher-training colleges and bureaucracies, the disciplining of disobedient and worldly clergy, and a return to reverent, obedient celebrations of Holy Mass.

Can such men be found?
Perhaps not of the calibre of St. Charles Borromeo. But just a few staunchly orthodox types would do for a start. But then we are reliant on Rome to appoint them. Rome - and more precisely, John Paul II! - has let us down time and time again, elevating one Modernist after another despite our privately providing them with lists of orthodox candidates. Rome has its own struggles. There are curial officials who strongly sympathise with us, but they have to fight the liberals in the curia who hold powerful positions when it comes to appointing bishops. The other problem is that even appointing a good bishop doesn't magically solve the problem. Cleaning up a diocese after decades of Modernism can take many, many years. And, realistically, England just can't afford that time.

Your view of Cardinal Hume couldn't be more different to that of the media, who portrayed him as a much loved and respected figure!
Sure. But doesn't that say everything! The liberal English Establishment cultivated the image of the "People's Prelate", a beloved and upstanding Catholic leader and churchman - a sort of sentimental ecclesiastical counterpart to Diana, the "People's Princess." But clearly, from a purely objective Catholic viewpoint, despite his much vaunted public image as the aesthetic Benedictine monk, Basil Hume was a disaster for Catholicism in England. The media knew well that the Cardinal had overseen an unprecedented spiritual and numerical decline - a wholesale Protestantisation - of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. They knew he was antagonistic to Rome, a Humanae Vitae dissenter, a prelate who favoured married clergy and was ambivalent about the Church's ruling against the ordination of women. A politically correct Social Gospel prelate preoccupied with 'homes for the homeless and jobs for the jobless'. A cleric of Anglican instinct who dreamed of a religious "middle way" (Catholics know there is no such thing, of course) and who not only refused to lift a disciplinary finger against the disobedience, dissent and scandal that raged throughout his tenure but supported and was admired by many of the most notorious dissenters in the Church today (as a glance at the list of left-liberal contributors to the 1999 publication, Basil Hume: By His Friends will confirm!). And so, the secular Establishment has much to thank him for and every reason to cultivate the legend of a compassionate churchman of the masses! Why? Because this serves to institutionalise the sort of vacuous, populist Modernism embodied by the Cardinal, which presents no threat whatsoever to the neo-Enlightenment status quo, while at the same time marginalising and caricaturing Catholic orthodoxy - the real threat - as 'lunatic fringe'. When we hear he was "much loved and respected" we really need to ask: "loved and respected by whom? And why?" The answers to those questions explain everything about the sentimental hype and hoopla which filled the media when he died.

You briefly mentioned the need to attend to the restoration of the Mass. Can you comment further on that and on whether the Old Latin Mass has a place in the revival of the Church's fortunes?
You would need another interview to fully explore all the logical reasons why bishops should obey the Holy Father's personal call to ensure a "wide and generous" availability of the Old Mass. But I will just say that Christian Order has championed the virtues of the Old Mass vis-à-vis the New Mass for nearly three decades, and every passing year has only served to highlight the chasm between the two as regards their respective expressions of the Faith as contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You only have to compare the old Offertory prayers with those of the new rite! Put simply, the Holy Mass offered according to the Latin liturgical books of 1962 - the same Mass that for centuries nourished and formed countless saints and martyrs - transmits the Faith to the congregation in a more perfect way than the postconciliar liturgy. For that reason alone it should be promoted everywhere as a major antidote to the decay.

Is the new rite of Mass then more of a hindrance than a help in fostering orthodoxy?
How could it be otherwise when we consider that the new rite introduced after the Council, which I myself grew up with in Australia, was not an organic and prudent development of what went before it but a liturgical pastiche hastily constructed by a committee headed by an Archbishop (Bugnini) who, according to those who worked alongside him and knew him well, had a thoroughly secular outlook. In other words, he had become a Social Gospel prelate preoccupied with the material concerns of the here and now. Unsurprisingly, therefore, this same outlook is reflected in the content and structure of the new rite of Mass which, although not containing any heresy, is adapted to modern Western man and Western culture, both of which Bugnini revered. It has thus become a conduit for the secularism that Bugnini professed, in the same way that the banal and de-supernaturalised Protestant worship doubtless aided the secularisation of the post-Reformation world. Accordingly, we find that the new rite is more often than not celebrated in a Protestant manner. As an esteemed English Jesuit, an Anglican convert, wrote in a recent Christian Order: "… the new rite, it would seem, does not give us enough solid doctrine to prevent weak Catholics from unwittingly becoming Protestant in their thinking." This is how the Protestantisation of Catholics we discussed earlier has principally been achieved, since the Mass is often the only contact the average Catholic has with the Church and is therefore the only catechesis that most Catholics get. So if you're regularly attending a Catholic Mass that looks and sounds and is carried out more like a Protestant service…..well. Lex orandi, lex credendi - how you pray governs what you believe.

What do you say to those who say that the new rite allows a full participation in the liturgy which was not possible under the old rite?
I say that they have completely misunderstood the liturgical meaning of "participation." Which is not principally about exterior but, rather, interior participation. A Jesuit priest writing in Christian Order recently explained that the person who best offered the Holy Sacrifice and most perfectly participated was Our Blessed Lady on Calvary. And he noted that she wasn't chattering and shaking hands with the centurion but, rather, standing in silence, "her heart united with the Heart of her Son, offering Him to the Father and herself in union with Him. Her participation was perfect, and it was a participation of the heart, of the will. In this, as in all else, she is our model. And if we now ask ourselves at which rite Our Lady would feel more at home: a Mass in the old rite, at which she could take her place with the devout and silent layfolk and do exactly what she once did on Calvary, only now without the heartache? or a Novus Ordo Mass in which she would need to "participate" with enthusiasm - surely, we have only to ask the question to know the answer."

So the old rite would have protected the Western Church from the Modernists?
Not totally, but it would've offered significant protection and averted an awful lot of the scandal and turmoil we have experienced for thirty years. Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in his recent memoirs: "I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy." He also writes that he was "dismayed by the prohibition of the old missal [which] introduced a breach into the history of the liturgy whose consequences could only be tragic." Those tragic consequences include the sacrilege, blasphemy, irreverence, indifference, constant illicit improvisation, disunity and sheer banality and listlessness which marks, to a greater or lesser extent, the celebration of the new rite in most parishes throughout the West. This situation would never have arisen had the old rite been retained with the small number of very minor adjustments requested by the Council Fathers of Vatican II……

The majority of whom, I believe, were opposed to the New Mass?
Absolutely. This is an extremely important historical fact, but one which is rarely if ever mentioned. As Cardinal Ottaviani (Cardinal Ratzinger's predecessor) reminded Pope Paul VI in his famous letter of 1969 urging the Pope to allow the continued use of the Old Mass, the majority of the Council Fathers had rejected Bugnini's new form of Mass when it was presented to them at a special synod in 1967! And yet the same Mass was introduced a few years later without any further consultation with the bishops! Cardinal Ottaviani, the official guardian of Catholic doctrine and morals, told the Pope that the New Mass could satisfy "the most Modernist of Protestants" and would lead to "complete bewilderment" and "indubitable lessening of faith" among Catholics. How prophetic he was! He knew that under the old rite we would never have seen the introduction of travesties like Communion in the Hand - which Mother Teresa said made her "sadder" than all the problems in the world today! Altars, altar rails and tabernacles would not have been destroyed or removed from sanctuaries. A hundred other liturgical horrors would also have been avoided - especially the universal disunity caused by the loss of Latin, again contrary to the expressed wishes of the Council Fathers, which more than anything else has allowed egotistical priests and laity to use the Mass as their own plaything. Modernism simply cannot co-exist with the precision and inflexibility of the rubrics and Latin language in the Mass of the 1962 missal. The fact is that the Old Mass was and is an insuperable barrier for heretics, liturgical innovators and church re-orderers.

Will the Liturgical Reform movement recently started up by groups like "Adoremus" in America fix this crucial problem?
The call for a reform of the new rite, led by Cardinal Ratzinger among others, is understandable. In an ideal Church the old rite would be universally restored as the Council Fathers desired, and the new rite simply ditched! But the reality is that the great majority of Catholics - like you and me - attend the new rite because there is no alternative, so something must be done to try and turn it into something less harmful, something more sacred and obviously God-centred. But I'll leave that to others. My own view is: why waste time and energy reinventing the liturgical wheel when the simple alternative - to revert to the slightly revised 1962 Missal requested by the Council Fathers - is staring you in the face? The Holy Father has asked for the Old Mass to be made widely and generously available to the faithful. Bishops should obey the Holy Father's request. It's true that the last ten years has seen a huge increase in the number of episcopally approved Latin Masses available in the U.S.A., Australia, England and elsewhere - where, I should add, it attracts mostly young families - but it is still just a drop in the liturgical ocean because many bishops still have an irrational aversion to doing the Holy Father's will in this matter. Perhaps when John Paul himself, or his successor, finally celebrates the Old Mass in St Peter's Basilica - and it will happen eventually - bishops worldwide will be more inclined to encourage their clergy to say the Old Mass? In a 1997 interview with German journalist Peter Seewald, Cardinal Ratzinger agreed with the Holy Father in saying that "the old rite should be granted much more generously to all those who desire it. It is impossible to see what could be dangerous or unacceptable about that………tolerance for bizarre tinkering is almost unlimited," he said, "whereas tolerance for the old liturgy is practically non-existent. We are surely on the wrong path in that regard."

With your experience of the Faith in different countries, how would you compare the state of the Church in England, Australia and Poland?
Clearly there is going to be a big difference between the situation in a predominantly Catholic culture like Poland and that in secularised countries like Australia and England. A local Church in a country whose population is over 90% Catholic is going to have a much better chance of surviving than one like Australia where Catholics constitute only about 28% (4.5 million) of the total population (18 million) or England where they represent merely 7% (4.5million) of the populace (58 million). But percentages aside, it's the orthodoxy and character of a country's hierarchy that reflects the health of its local Church, because it is the bishop who forms the clergy and the clergy who form the people. A diocese takes its character from the bishop. And so even though the Faith is rapidly disappearing in both England and Australia, as the contraceptive mentality and dissent and disobedience take their toll on orthodox belief and practice, you'd have to say that England is surely in the worst state because every single bishop here is either liberal or lukewarm - they are all hirelings. At least Australia has a few decent and half-decent bishops who are making some kind of stand against the Modernists - even though the Faith there is also in a dreadful condition and the bishops of certain States, like Queensland and South Australia, are in such outright rebellion against Rome and so Protestantised that they and their dioceses are generally considered to be lost to the Church. Now, relative to all that the Church in Poland is in excellent condition! But the point is that things will deteriorate in direct proportion to the number of committed Modernist or lethargic lukewarm prelates in any given hierarchy. As the younger priests who have absorbed the Modernist ideology of constant change and experimentation in seminaries or pastoral work in Poland or abroad are gradually elevated to the Polish hierarchy, Catholic faith and belief in Poland will begin the same rapid decline that it has experienced in Catholic countries like Ireland, whose hierarchy is dominated by Modernists who support the most appalling classroom sex-ed and Modernist catechesis in schools and where, consequently, the Faith is in now in freefall!

When did you first visit Poland and what was your initial impression of the state of things?
My first visit was in 1996 when a close friend from Broszkow, near Siedlce, persuaded me to do the Jasna Gora pilgrimage with her. It was a dramatic introduction to the strength and faith and vibrancy of the Polish Church. For someone from Australia it was just a sensational, unforgettable experience. Very tough, but rewarding. Perhaps the most striking things about visiting Poland for the first time were the number of young clergy and religious, the reverent Masses and the size and piety of the congregations. I was struck by the realisation that Communist occupation of Poland had protected it from the worst excesses of the liturgical mayhem that has devastated the West. The complete absence of Communion in the Hand, in particular, was an utter joy to behold. And the absence of all the other liturgical abuses the laity has to bear daily in England and Australia seemed almost miraculous. This might sound like a contradiction of what I said earlier about the New Mass, but it isn't really. Even a Catholic culture like Poland can only withstand the Protestantising effect of the New Mass for as long as the bishops ensure that their seminaries produce well formed, disciplined, obedient priests. As soon as Modernism creeps in to the ranks of the clergy you will see how quickly the Modernists use the new rite to push their agenda. I noticed some early warning signs of this on my first trip and things were looking a bit worse in 1997, when I returned for a few months with a view to possibly publishing Christian Order from Poland. I recall one Mass where the priests called the children up to the front of the sanctuary and conducted a question and answer session with them. It was orderly by English standards but still cringing and quite unnecessary. The congregation generally seemed very uncomfortable with it.

So you have a sense of foreboding about the Polish Church?
Doesn't everyone? I think the feeling was prevalent among informed Poles very early on that many Church-goers during the Communist era were just fairweather friends who would quickly fall away. But I also think people were too preoccupied with all sorts of other pressing matters, like the fraudulent antics of the Communists plundering the nation's wealth before re-inventing themselves as Social Democrats, to consider the deadly impact that rapid Western commercialisation would have on the country's moral and spiritual welfare, especially on the youth. Yet as a visitor, that was my first and worst fear. Coming from the jaded and anti-life West, the freshness of the young Poles was striking and the number of young married couples with children a joy to behold. But at the same time I was really apprehensive about their gross naivety, their ignorance, their impressionablity, both about the state of the Church in the West and about the degradation of the anti-life Western culture generally. I could sense a vacuum there just waiting to be filled by dissolute and corrupting literature like Cosmopolitan and the rest. There was a certain lack of spiritual resistance which might have reflected a diluted catechesis at school during the Communist era, I don't know, but generally speaking you felt that, despite the Church's best efforts, the pernicious Communist influence had taken its toll on Catholic souls. Anyway, there were contradictions everywhere, especially the full churches vis-a-vis the pervasive pornography. I'm sure that glossy Cosmopolitan-style porn has got worse since then and I hear that Mass attendance has fallen quite a bit too. One also reads of growing problems with acquisitive clergy seduced by the 'good life' and causing scandal by their luxurious lifestyles. That indicates to me that the bishops are already developing a Western-style hireling mentality, because real Shepherds would never allow that attitude to take root among their clergy. And that sounds ominous.

Is there any reason to think that the Church in Poland will cope better than the Latin and Anglo-Saxon countries with the socio-spiritual side-effects of affluence and Modernism?
Perhaps the most positive thing going for Poland is its powerful tradition of Marian devotion. It is hardly coincidental that the decay in the West was accompanied by a drastic decline in devotion to Mary. And Polish history proves that the Black Madonna has a certain influence in Heaven! But I must sound a cautionary note here by adding that Poles should not presume that God will ultimately protect them as a Catholic country just because He has in the past. History tells us that God is no respecter of men or nations, however Catholic, and it can all slip away very quickly. The Irish experience is a salutary warning. In only a few decades, Catholic Ireland, with all its renowned devotion to Our Lady, has been reduced to bootlicking subservience to its EU masters upon whom it relies for the subsidies which have provided an affluence unprecedented in its history. At the same time, Modernist catechesis and classroom sex-ed in the schools, together with liturgical Protestantisation, have destroyed the faith of one generation of Irish youth and are now destroying the second while all kinds of social dysfunction - from increased youth suicides to crime and drug use - are rushing in to fill the expanding spiritual void. Ireland has sold its soul for EU handouts and the 'good life' and the chickens are already coming home to roost.
Having said that, I do believe that the magnificent grassroots constituency that supports Radio Maryja and Nasz Djiennik gives Poland a head start in the fight against Modernism undreamed of elsewhere. We have to remember that Modernism, like most heresies, is an ideology. And like all ideologies it seeks to refute all objections by disqualifying them in advance, before anyone has a chance to consider them. Thus, a truly free and independent press is as important within the Western Church today as it was politically during the Communist era. In the worst totalitarian tradition, Modernist ideologues are well aware that knowledge is power, that controlling information and propaganda is everything. And so they control the diocesan bureaucracies which produce the newspapers and catechetical programmes and so on - the all powerful "switching points" as Kung called them, which direct and censor the flow of information. In places like England and Australia and South Africa the bishops have a monopoly on information. In England, for example, they own two of the three national Catholic weeklies and effectively control the third paper which relies on sales in the parishes to survive. They also allow a fiercely anti-Roman weekly called The Tablet, which masquerades as a 'Christian' paper, to be sold in their churches and cathedrals, which is like the Polish hierarchy selling the secular liberal Gazeta Wyborcza as a Christian weekly in all its churches! Christian Order is the only truly independent mainstream Catholic publication in Britain and we too are reliant on the sort of grassroots support maintaining Nasz Djiennik and Radio Maryja, though sadly on a much smaller scale. The other British publications just lick the hierarchy's boots and fiddle while the local Church burns. But at least Mother Angelica's EWTN television programmes from America are now available here via satellite, much to the bishops annoyance I'm sure, and Christian Order is playing a part in promoting it as a welcome means of getting Catholic truth to the Catholic laity. (That must be the next project for Father Rydzyk - a TV station!). The Australian situation is much the same as England, with a few small-scale orthodox magazines and organisations 'fighting the good fight' against the might of the Modernist diocesan machinery. So the existence of influential independent organs like Radio Maryja and Nasz Djiennik in a country of Poland's size is quite remarkable and vital to Poland's ability to combat the Modernists, not to mention the Europhiles!

As someone from a 'young' country like Australia now living in Europe, what is your general view of the EU?
During my first visit to Europe in 1988 it took me barely six weeks to understand the impossibility and insanity of the one flag, one currency, one state EU now being openly pushed by the self-serving technocrats with their snouts in the EU money trough. I was backpacking through the European youth hostels and pensions and coming from a continent whose language and lifestyle is so homogenous I found the diversity of cultures and temperaments quite stunning. One could understand how it might cause occasional tensions between neighbours, but the lack of uniformity from one country to the next was just superb. This was individualism in the best sense of the word. And it occurred to me, as an innocent abroad, that any grand scheme to somehow squeeze this magnificent, deep-rooted, ineradicable diversity into a bland economic and social conformity was utterly doomed to failure. I didn't need to be a professor of history or economics to understand that the countries of Europe didn't possess the common language, culture and history to become a United States of Europe. The evidence was there in front of me. As Ernst Renan wrote: "A customs union is not a country." And that's all the EU is, a Zollverein.
So my general view of the sort of EU being promoted is profoundly negative. Romano Prodi's calls for EU "citizenship" and a "European soul" and a "European ruling class" smacks of the diabolic spirit of the Enlightenment and Masonic manipulation at the highest levels, because nobody but the rich and irreligious are going to benefit from the destruction of the Christian nation-state and the centralisation of power in the hands of the corrupt pseudo-elite in Brussels and Strasbourg. Furthermore, the whole grand scheme is not only contrary to both commonsense and the Catholic social principle of subsidiarity but runs directly against the overwhelming desire of peoples everywhere today for independence and greater autonomy! The whole enterprise is driven by greed and a lust for power which puts the economy and profit before the nation and its people. And so it cannot possibly be held together and sustained except by economic and legal coercion and force of arms - by lawyers, guns and money - which is exactly what is happening. It is all destined to end in tears.

And yet the Polish hierarchy along with the Holy Father and the hierarchies of Europe have been supportive of the EU. Can Poland gain any advantage from EU membership?
I think it is a measure of how out of touch with reality the European hierarchies are that they think they can influence the EU empire builders for good by supporting their EU plans while calling them to respect Europe's Christian heritage as they mould their European Superstate. Cardinal Glemp indicated in a recent statement at Czestochowa that he is aware of the moral and spiritual dangers of EU membership, but it was a rare moment of honest public reflection on the subject. On the whole, John Paul and the bishops have persisted in lending credibility to these anti-Christian ideologues and their fellow-travelling "useful idiots". The ferociously anti-Catholic attitude of the EU's representatives at United Nations summits is a perfect reflection of the religious antagonism at the core of the EU project. At the Beijing+5 Conference in New York last June, the feminists pushed again for amendments to ensure that abortion on demand is made universally available. I am told by one or our readers who was in attendance that the Polish delegation objected strongly to this but were warned by the EU representatives that if they wanted to join the EU then Poland would have to follow the EU line on abortion and other issues. That is the sort of arrogant and disrespectful treatment that Poland can expect on joining the EU.
So when you talk about EU "advantages" for Poland it is a simple question of whether Poles want freedom or economic gain? Do they consider it advantageous to sell out their hard won sovereignty for merciless market forces and the globalist delusion? Historically and geographically, it's easy to see how tempting membership of the EU must be to a country that wants to secure itself once and for all from the pattern of betrayal and exploitation by East and West which it has experienced. And economically right now things in Poland are very tough and the temptation is to think that EU subsidies are a way out of the dreadful unemployment and high inflation. But there is no such thing as a free lunch in this life! You always have to pay the piper. And so Poles need to ask themselves: 'what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his country?' As a signatury to a host of EU treaties and conventions it is true that Britain has already effectively conceded much of its sovereignty to Brussels. But at least it hasn't accepted the single currency. Notwithstanding the economic straightjacket that joining the Euro will bring, as Ireland is now finding out to its cost, the moment Britain gives up the pound it will sign away its last vestiges of independence forever. Similarly, to surrender the zloty would be a gross betrayal of past and future generations of Poles and a disaster for Poland because whoever controls a country's money controls the country.
Dr Grzegorz Slysz wrote a feature article in the October 2000 Christian Order on "The Danger posed by the European Union to Christianity" which is an excellent review and assessment of the anti-Christian roots of the European movement. It is posted on the "Features 2000" link of our website ( and I thoroughly recommend it, especially to the Polish hierarchy. In fact, I was so sickened by the pervasive and dominant EU influence I observed everywhere in Ireland during a recent trip, that I myself sent a copy of Dr Slysz's article to all the Irish bishops. Anyone who wants to translate the article into Polish and spread it around should feel free to do so.

Can we compare these problems now confronting Poland with those it faced under the Communists?
Only in essence. I'm sure many of your readers well understand that the difficulties of the Communist years were but a stroll in the park compared to the struggle Poland now faces to overcome the combined socio-religious onslaught being imported from the West - the Modernist heresy and the hedonistic Culture of Death. Atheistic Communism was easier to confront because it was a defined enemy and a fixed target. It thus actually strengthened the appeal of religion and the Church, even if only for selfish and superficial reasons on the part of some. But these new dangers to Polish faith and life are altogether more insidious, seductive, subtle and chameleon-like - much harder to pin down and fight. They constitute a veritable Second Wave of Marxism confronting Poland - because Modernism and the Culture of Death are merely extensions of the materialistic Marxist view that "man is the measure of all things" and that we can therefore dispense with God. The new dangers are just Marxism by other means - effectively a shift from monolithic Russian Communism to EU Gramscian-style Communism. But they can destroy the essence of Poland more quickly and comprehensively than the Russians ever could.

What final advice would you offer to the Catholics of Poland at this tumultuous time in their country's history?
Above all, get your priorities in order and understand that the battle within the Church is far more important than the numerous battles outside the Church. Before the tidal wave of evil we face on all fronts today it is often easy to forget this - to get caught up in all sorts of social activism and good works like the pro-life cause and neglect the state of the Church. This is a fatal mistake because, as England's Cardinal Manning once said, "all conflict is theological" - and therefore a healthy Church is the prerequisite for a healthy state. That is why Pope Paul VI said of the Church in 1972: "orthodoxy is Her main concern". So if Poles are to have any chance of combating the socio-economic evils now assailing them, they have to understand and recognise Modernism in all its multiple disguises and fight it in the diocesan bureaucracies, seminaries, teacher-training, schools and parishes. Modernist clergy, catechetics and liturgies must be the major targets.
Secondly, Poles must not be afraid of speaking out against Modernist and lukewarm bishops in public. There have always been hirelings within national hierarchies but today they are the rule rather than the exception. This leadership vacuum is why the Western Church has never been in a more chaotic and feeble state and why we must take heed of what St Paul, St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, among others, have told us about our duty to publicly rebuke prelates if their negligence or complicity endangers the Faith. At the same time, you should pray incessantly for the Lord to send you strong bishops - for men who see themselves as Shepherds of souls not promoters of a Social Gospel and legislators of human rights. The fact is that England and Poland desperately need prelates of the calibre of Manning and Wyszynski who would never have been cowed by irrelevancies like collegiality and political correctness. Without such leaders, Poland may face the same inexorable rise of Modernism which has all but destroyed the Faith in the West and allowed the Culture of Death such an easy ride.

Nasz Djiennik is affiliated with the grassroots broadcasting phenomenon Radio Maryja, which was established in 1992 by outspoken Redemptorist Father Tadeusz Rydzyk and attracts 6 million daily listeners in Poland alone. (see "Radio Maria: Hope for Poland", Christian Order, October 1998; ]

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