JUNE - JULY 2001
text of an interview with the Editor of Christian Order conducted
last November by the London correspondent for Nasz Djiennik,
Poland's Catholic daily.
Roman Protestants of England and Wales:
Lessons and Warnings for Catholic Poland
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.
PEAD: Barely skimmed the surface.
much else you called the bishops "hirelings", "a disgrace" and urged
people to pray for God to take them to "their early reward"!
I was too kind!
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.
this is all news for Nasz Djiennik readers, can you recap: What is
your impression of the state of the Catholic Church in England?
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.
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.
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."
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?
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".
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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?
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."
sounds as if Anglicanism can mean whatever an Anglican wants it to
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
the new rite of Mass then more of a hindrance than a help in fostering
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.
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."
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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
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!
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.
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 (www.christianorder.com)
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.
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.
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.
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
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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