Musings of the Ordinary

Here is the latest Musings 19 -1 of Msgr Harry Entwistle, Ordinary of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia,

The appearance before the Royal Commission of Cardinal Pell has led to a frenzy of emotion and a suspension of rational thought. It is reminiscent of the Red Queen at the trial of the Knave of Hearts in ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ ‘Sentence First – verdict afterward’ (chapter 12). There seems to be no interest in evidence, facts, due process or truth. What is demanded for Cardinal Pell is another of the Red Queen’s sayings, ‘Off with his head!’

Such things may be amusing in literature but in this case and generally with the Catholic Church, some victims and their supporters Fired up by the media and its personalities, are behaving as a group in ways which they may not do as individuals.

There are numerous instances where groups and crowds have taken on a ‘collective personality’ but the appearance of Cardinal Pell, via video link from Rome, is a ‘hot spot’ in a more widespread attack on the Catholic Church, whereas other Christian groups, professions, Indigenous communities, State institutions and family circles in which abuse is prevalent, are not targeted to the same extent.

The Catholic Church is easier to target because it is universal. It is responsible for the education and care of people in all age ranges, whereas other Churches and State facilities and families are more localised and so less prone to concerted attack.

Apart from its size, what other factors are at play in the current upsurge in anti-Catholic sentiment which is prevalent in the small section of the world known as the Western world? In his book, ‘The Gentle Traditionalist,’ (2015 Angelico Press) Roger Buck argues that in the countries of the Anglo world and Europe affected by the Reformation, there are two religions opposed to each other. They are the Catholic Religion which still values Tradition as part of its belief system, and what he calls the New Liberal Secular Religion which has its roots in the 18th century Enlightenment, but takes its core beliefs from the 1960s. Both these ‘religions’ have multiple beliefs about the nature of existence and what kind of morals Flows from it.

Buck lists some of the dogmas of the New Secular religion as inclusivity, political correctness and equality. Out of this Flows a set of morals based on the premise that everything before the 1960s is wrong and everything after that point is right. Any belief or moral system held by generations prior to the dawning of the new age of Aquarius is not only to be dismissed, it is to be expunged from modern society.

So those who are alive today and were born prior to the 1960s have ‘discovered’ that what was believed by the majority of people to be Christian values, were in fact heresy. So abortion is no longer murder because a foetus is not human; suicide, assisted or otherwise is not sinful, but self-deliverance; gender is Fluid; homosexuality is ‘normal,’ etc.

This new Secular Religion may believe in some ‘higher power’ but not in a personal God or in an afterlife, so this shapes the ethics of its adherents.

Ever since the Reformation, the Church of England has been governed by the Monarch and Parliaments. This, being so, that Church has always found ways of adapting to secular values and shaping its teachings in accordance with those ever changing values. As the British Empire expanded, those same attitudes were ‘exported’ with the CofE into the countries with majority

European populations. Observe how much more the Anglican and other Protestant denominations in the Western World have embraced the liberal secular mores than the Catholic Church has.

However, it would be foolish to assume that the Catholic Church has not been inFluenced by the beliefs and dogmas of the New Secular Religion. Our battles in education, defending the dignity of all human life, and the freedom of speech, are not supported by some who claim to be Catholic but openly Flout the teaching of the Church. ‘Catholicism-lite’ is the Fifth column of the Secularists.

The gospel of ‘niceness,’ relativism and the blurring of the differences between belief systems is an illusion. These doctrines and Catholicism cannot co-exist because they threaten the faith of the Church which we are charged to believe, teach and hand on. As Buck challengingly puts it, ‘Secularism gets away with murder.’ (p.157)

Buck calls for a Counter-Revolution. By this he does not mean a violent Holy War against the New Secular Religion. He says that societies in the world that possess the Church, be that Roman Catholic, Eastern Rite Catholic or Orthodox are notably different from societies with a sacramental free or sacramental light Church. In Sacramental societies there is not the same level of individualism or family societal breakdown.

So he calls for a renewed understanding of the power of the Sacraments, or sacramental devotion such as Benediction, the Rosary, Holy Water and icons. We must reverse the trend within the Church to surrender to rationalism and keep faith in the tradition of the Church.

‘The Church must recover her tradition. Only tradition understands the immense, healing power of the Sacraments. That power can save civilisation. If people returned to Confession, if people took the Mass seriously again, there’s no telling what might happen.’ (p.161)

The vocation of clergy and laity in the Ordinariates is to show what it means to take the Catholic faith seriously and that includes responding positively to Pope Benedict’s belief that ‘The ecclesial crisis in which we 9ind ourselves today depends in great part upon the collapse of the liturgy.’

We in the Ordinariates must be what we are called to be and share the treasures we bring for the glory of God and the good of the church
In Christ Monsignor Harry

The Kingdom of God is at Hand

Set out without a road map to discover God, knowing that the way is sure and has no ending.

Don’t try to find him through new techniques but let yourself be formed by him in the poverty of a banal life.

Monotony is a kind of poverty: accept it. Don’t look for beautiful trips in your imagination.

May the varieties of the Kingdom of God suffice for you and bring you joy.

Don’t be overly concerned about your life because to be that concerned is a kind of wealth: then old age will speak to you of birth, and death of resurrection.

Time will seem to you like a small fold in the vastness of eternity; you will judge everything in the light of the eternal.

If you love the Kingdom of heaven with genuine love you will rejoice in the fact that your understanding is at

a loss in the face of the divine and you will try to have more faith.

If your prayer is stripped of tender feelings you will know that we don’t reach God through our nerve endings.

If you are short on courage, you will rejoice at being well-fitted for hope.

If you find people boring and your heart wretched, you will be happy to have within you that charity that cannot be perceived.

When, stripped of everything, you can only see in the world an unfurnished house, and in yourself total poverty with no facade, think of those shadowy eyes open in the centre of your soul and fixed on things that are beyond all words, for the Kingdom of heaven is yours.

Servant of God Madeleine Delbrêl
M Delbrêl ( 1964) was a French laywoman, writer and mystic devoted to caring for the poor and to evangelising culture.

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