24 September 2014
Wednesday Roundup of Doom
'I greet you,' he said, 'and maybe you look for welcome. But truth to tell your welcome is doubtful here, Master Gandalf. You have ever been a herald of woe. Troubles follow you like crows, and ever the oftener the worse. I will not deceive you: when I heard that Shadowfax had come back riderless, I rejoiced at the return of the horse, but still more at the lack of the rider; and when Éomer brought the tidings that you had gone at last to your long home, I did not mourn. But news from afar is seldom sooth. Here you come again! And with you come evils worse than before, as might be expected. Why should I welcome you, Gandalf Stormcrow? Tell me that.'
I am not Gandalf, but I have been accused by some good people lately of posting overly-depressing Church news. I would like to respond by pointing out that nearly all of the Church news out there is depressing. So why point it out? A fair question, but I think that though picking one's spots is necessary to avoid complete despondency, watchmen are certainly needed, because events are coming to a head.
There are some few items of good news out there, too, which need to be acknowledged.
So, with that in mind, some links to recent items of note out there, with perhaps a brief summary of my interest with each:
First, some good news. In a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (which covers Missouri), the Court cited the Hobby Lobby decision to reverse a lower court ruling dismissing a Catholic businessman's claim to a religious exemption to contraceptive coverage under the Obamacare diktat. Decision here.
On the other hand, some horrible news. Just as the rumors of Cardinal Burke's demotion from the Apostolic Signatura for being too Catholic await their fulfillment, so too do the rumors that Archbishop Piero Marini will soon be appointed to head the Congregation for Divine Worship. The prior prefect, Cardinal Canizares Llovera, was sacked for being too Catholic. That won't be a problem for Archbishop Marini. Your response to the curial carousel calls for you to hum "Wind of Change", by the '80s hair band Scorpions, in your head. And.... you're welcome!
I would warn my novus ordo friends that Marini might destroy recent progress in making the n.o. more reverent, but there hasn't been much progress on that anyway. And, really, would anyone notice?
Speaking of the great Cardinal Burke, he accuses the media of trying to hijack the upcoming Synod on the Family. He is right, of course, but it is easier to hijack the plane when the pilot invites you on board and hands you a bomb and a megaphone, isn't it? Still, Cardinal Burke is obviously holier than I am, and I give him credit for trying to steer the ship while the rest of the crew sleeps.
I remember a sermon by a holy priest who said the barque of Peter is like a ship taking on water, with most of the crew drilling holes in the bottom while a few are bailing water. His Eminence, Cardinal Burke, is a bailer, not a driller.
Depending on whom you read, the Pope is drilling, or bailing, by appointing a commission to "streamline" the annulment process. I don't know that everyone agrees it is necessary to encourage more annulment claims. This seems like a recipe for disaster and abuse. Cardinal Burke warned against this as a type of "false mercy" back in March. We will see if the same neo- outlets (like the Register) that ran this story in March will take it on anymore.
Giving credit where due, the SSPX had this response to the black mass in Oklahoma City. Their militancy may not always be applied with prudence (the good kind of prudence) in all situations, and I am not discussing the whole faculties discussion for the moment. But this is what a Catholic response to evil looks like. Good on them. Bravo! Right, Cardinal Dolan?
Next, Bishop Fellay met with the head of the CDF. Always good news to see communication ongoing. With this process, it is always best to wait for clarification before getting too excited or downcast.
Moving on to gloomier topics again, it seems that Antonio Socci, the respected Italian journalist who blew the lid off of the attempted cover-up of the Third Secret of Fatima, is making waves again for continuing to call into question the efficacy of Pope Benedict's abdication. He is publishing a book on the subject (link in Italian, a summary here). I certainly am not the one to pass on the correctness of this assertion, but I post it here just for the importance of the subject matter. It seems to me that if this were to be proven true, that you haven't seen a schism like you would see here. The Great Western Schism involved multiple claimants, yes. But there was no question of doctrine, which in this case is not guaranteed. Look for this theory to gain some adherents if the Synod is doctrinally problematic.
Finally, Jeff Culbreath has a fascinating post about the concept of "loyal opposition" to the distressing developments coming out of the Vatican city state. These are strange times indeed.
So, there you go. Enjoy the rest of your week!