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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

My Extraordinary brief encounter with the erroneous Mgr Basil Loftus - Brora, 3rd October 2013

For the last 8 or so years, my husband and I have been coming up to Scotland to go stalking - with a group of older generation couples (very slightly younger than my parents' generation). We go for 3 nights only. We fly to Inverness and then it's a 1.5 hour journey to the lodge which is in the hamlet of Robart.

I don't very often join the actual stalk- I have done it a few times but that was enough for me. Instead I go to Brora - about an hour's journey from the lodge, as there is a Catholic Church called "Christ the King". Up until last year, this parish had a resident priest - Fr Benedict Seed. I am lucky to have attended mass every year - at least once and sometimes twice.

Before we went I rang the parish number to find out the mass times, and the deacon who answered said there was mass on Thursday 3rd October preceded by the Holy Rosary - being the month of October.

For the first time I had a companion with me - one of the wives of the stalkers - not a Catholic, but an active Anglican in her local church in East Sussex. She really wanted to see what a Catholic mass was like - curious if you like.

So we arrived at the little church - and there were about 12 people there - pretty good attendance for a tiny town. We took our places and waited for the visiting priest. He was a bit delayed. Anyway - in breezed a jolly chap - in Scottish country attire. This shortish man reminded me of Raymond Briggs' cartoon character "Father Christmas", with his jolly red face, white beard, confident and extrovert manner and wide sparking eyes. He went to the altar - turned around and apologised for being late. He had a lovely beaming smile. This was the famous and controversial Monseigneur Basil Loftus. He writes for "The Tablet" and "Catholic Times". I had read one of his articles which was rather unorthodox. Although "The Tablet" claims to be Catholic it is more Protestant in its views and its readership is mostly Anglicans -  who relish it with delight!

After a quick change into his priestly vestments, he and the distinguished looking tall deacon walked up to the altar. Before the mass began he gave us a sermon. He said that it was a terribly exciting day because Pope Francis was in his closed meeting with his 'cabinet' of 8 cardinals - who the Pope selected to help him sort out the Vatican bureaucracy, curia and the scandalous Vatican bank. He also said that the readings of the day were terribly apt, especially the first reading (Nehemiah 8: 1-12). He said that like the Israelites the Church too has had 40 years of wilderness, but now with Pope Francis - all that is changing - my golly goodness me! He said we can't bother ourselves with petty rules and regulations - got to concentrate on the more important stuff. He is utterly delighted with the new Holy Father.

The mass was said with great reverence indeed and instead of little bells at the consecration - there was more of a booming gong - 3 times at both the consecrations. 

My companion went up to get a blessing as I explained that we don't have inter-communion and he gave her a beaming smile and blessed her.

After mass we were all invited into the parish room for coffee and cakes. Why not we thought. So we went and socialised. I learnt that they parishioners are very worried that Bishop Hugh Gilbert is going to shut the church as there is no resident priest anymore.

The monseigneur beamed up to us and asked us where we were from.  I said we were from Sussex and that we were stalking with our husbands. He got the wrong end of the stick - he thought I said we were stalking husbands! - and a great guffaw of peels and  laughter issued from his jolly face. We made his day clearly! He said a great friend of his came from our part of the world - Bishop John Hine.

I mentioned that he had a potential convert who comes to mass at Brora - the honourable Martin Janson, son of the Countess of Sutherland. He looked startled and said - "Didn't think we were supposed to get converts anymore!!". More jovial laughter.

The deacon explained to me something rather interesting about Mgr Basil and the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. He says it was Mgr Basil who took 3 of the Anglo-Catholic vicars to Rome to see what could be done about their precarious situation. Precarious because although a branch within the CofE, they were "personas not grata" within that organisation, because they did not agree with the CofE's move towards women bishops. Basil must have put the seed in Pope Benedict's mind and now we have The Ordinariate! Brilliant. I just wonder if this is what Baz envisioned? Perhaps not, but God works in strange ways and through various personalities (including unorthodox!) Good on you Baz! Good work! Wish I could say the same for your heterodox articles!

But I expect the origins of the Ordinariate are more complicated than what I heard. I think there were many strands leading up to it. I hope there will be a book on the history of the Ordinariate. 

He wanted to know what we were up to next, and we said we were going to visit the vintage shop in the village. He laughed (in a sort of way which said "typical women!"), bade us goodbye and put on his eccentric tweed cap and strode to his car. 

A most unforgettable encounter!

Friday, 4 October 2013

The Archbishop Schneider Interview - on the errors of Vatican 2


On UTube you can watch a superb interview which was conducted by Michael Voris in Rome, June 2013. It is well worth watching and all you need do is go to the UTube website and put Archbishop Schneider in the search box.

I took notes while I watched it and here are the salient points.
Archbishop Athanasius Schneider is the Archbishop of Kazakhstan. His name is interesting and rather significant (in my opinion). It was St Athanasius who fought the Arian Heresy of the 3rd Century, and while the majority of Catholics fell for the Arian heresy, Athanasius was banished for his views and he was literally "contra mundum". But St Athanasius was proved right in the end. Basically the Arian heresy was started by a man called Arius, who said that Jesus Christ was a lesser being than God - in other words, he denied the divinity of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

Archbishop Schneider is the author of a little book called "Dominus Est" - a really good book, and available on Amazon. Written in 2010, he is arguing for the case of stopping the modern practice of receiving Holy Communion in the hand. He strongly puts forward the case of receiving on the tongue. It is interesting to witness that Pope Francis will only give Holy Communion on the tongue - there is a UTube video showing him pointing to the mouth of a communicant extending his hands. The communicant understands immediately and receives in the correct manner.

Archbishop Schneider is in his early 50s, and in the interview, he exudes a rare holiness - an aura which really holy people seem to have. His eyes were alert and lit up and clearly he has a great love of the Catholic Faith. He has concerns though and I am listing them here.

Now his concerns are about the Vatican 2 documents. He says there are some confusing aspects and a lack of precision in the documents. Interestingly enough Cardinal Kasper gave an explosive interview in April 2013, where he admits that some of the formulas (of Vatican 2) were deliberately worded so that they could be widely interpreted. He even calls them "compromise formulas". The Kasper interview was published in the Vatican newspaper - The "Osservatoro Romano". Archbishop Schneider describes these Vatican 2 formulas as ambiguous statements and he is urging Pope Francis to clarify them as a matter of acute importance, because erroneous interpretations have been, and are still taking place. It has had a catastrophic effect on Holy Mother Church - with the shameful lapsation rate in the western world.

He says the Council did not add new doctrines, but the lack of clarity is a real problem and must be corrected. Pope Emeritus Benedict was known to say that the Council needs interpreting in the light of Tradition. He said this in 2005.

He mentions "Lumen Gentium" and the part on Collegiality. He says it isn't clear enough. Pope Paul 6th ordered a note which was added to the end of the document and it needs to be read. 

Point 16 - "Lumen Gentium" is an ambiguous expression regarding the One God, and how Catholics and Muslims worship the same God. This he says is erroneous because the Trinity is at the core of Christian belief, and muslims don't recognise the Trinity. They regard Jesus as a good prophet and certainly not God the Son, Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

Point 12 -  "Gaudiem et Spes" says all things on earth are directed to man as their aim and summit. The Archbishop says this is incorrect theology because all things are aimed at God and for the glory of God. This subtle mistake he claims, is part of the crisis in the Church for the last 50 years - as it is anthropocentric (meaning man-centred). The sin of Adam and Eve was anthropocentric. This 'man-centred' theology has led to erroneous catechisms and sacramental courses, which have decimated the faith of many Catholics.

"Dignitiatis Humanae" (on religious liberty) is not one of the 4 main Constitutions of the Council, but lower down the scale. He says this document has been interpreted wrongly, leading to the erroneous thinking that all religions are equal. There is only 1 Truth,1 Church and we say this in the Creed every Sunday. The Holy See recognises other religions and got to the position of 'tolerating' other religions - because practically speaking Christians have to live side by side with all sorts of religions. Pius 12th even spoke of the "Theory of tolerance of other believers". 

The encyclical - "Dominus Jesus" - did clarify this and confirms the Catholic Church as the One True Church. I remember when this encyclical came out and the howls that came out of "The Tablet" - possibly the most protesting of Catholic publications - so protesting in fact - that it could be described as Protestant. Interestingly enough the readership of The Tablet is mostly Anglican. And they relish it with great delight. Good on ya Ms Pepinster!

The Archbishop says that if a nation is mostly Catholic, it is better to have a Catholic state. This, he says is NOT discriminatory either. Indeed, he says Catholics should desire a Catholic state.

I really recommend dear reader, that you look at the full interview. Archbishop Schneider speaks beautiful English too. 

I really hope that the Archbishops's concerns will be taken seriously by the hierarchy, and that his little tome "Dominus Est" will be widely read. He has written a sequel but there is no (as yet) English translation.

Pondering all this - in the light of the bomshell admission by Cardinal Kasper (2013 in the Observatoro Romano - the official Vatican newspaper) about the deliberate "compromise formulas" in the concilliar documents- I do have to sympathise with Archbishop Lefevre. I just wonder if he will be proved right in the end, now all these 'snippets' of information are coming out.  Also - Pope Francis says there is a masonic lobby in the Vatican - Archbishop Lefevre mentioned clerical masons by name. He was correct on that score anyway. You know - it does make one wonder if the SSPX are the equivalent of St Athanasius. One day the Truth will out. As I finish this, it seems that the SSPX are currently being offered an olive branch to come on board with NO need to sign anything. Now that is interesting. Watch this space!

And this is what Cardinal Ratzinger had to say in 1988 to the Bishops of Chile

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