Thursday, July 14, 2011

"Pride goeth before destruction..............

..................and the spirit is lifted up before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18)

In Proverbs 6 16-19 we are told: "Six things there are which the Lord hateth, and the seventh his soul detesteth."  The first things in the list are "haughty eyes", and the last, "him that soweth discord among brethren".

In the famous Galatians 5:19-26, Saint Paul lists the things in which we must not indulge if we wish to attain the kingdom of God : luxury, emnities, contentions, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, revilings. He then describes the fruit of the Spirit as including charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, mildness, faith, modesty, continency and chastity. And he concludes the chapter thus: "If we live in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit. Let us not be made desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another.
Of the seven deadly sins pride is denoted as the most serious, and the source of all the others. In any case there is Genesis 3. We can hardly claim not to have been warned!

I have followed the news of Father John Corapi ever since it  broke, at first in almost complete incredulity and then as the weeks have passed with an ever-sinking heart. It is not really a question of whether  he is guilty as accused. Nor is it a matter of how his SOLT superiors have dealt with him in the past and more recently under a Constitution which is different from the one that obtained when Fr Corapi first joined them. (See this Monday's excellent post at Te Deum Laudamus for more details of this latter aspect. h/t also to The Anchoress, who has been determinedly levelheaded through the whole sorry tale.) No, it is to Fr Corapi's reactions and published statements on his new site, that we must address ourselves. This not so that we may judge him, but so that by setting his present attitude and persona against the scriptural yardsticks quoted above, we may be certain of thinking aright.

The same yardstick must be applied to the 'Call to Disobedience' as published by the 300 Austrian priests,  and forcefully dealt with by Father Z on July 13. The absence of holy obedience in both the Corapi affair and the Austrian rebellion is obvious but there is another frightening feature that they share. Both are 'sowing discord among the brethren'. It may be thought that the latter is more important than the first but one should remember that the original 'fan-base of Fr Corapi numbered by some accounts at more than a million souls. That base is now divided as can be seen in 'The Black Sheepdog' com box. Some seem determined to follow this 'Sheepdog' out of the fold. Just how many souls will follow the 300 Austrian rebel priests into heresy and schism remains to be seen. If the rebellion grows then surely Rome will have to step in, and if it doesn't what then? It is hard to see what Cardinal Schonborn can do on his own. He hasn't exactly set his priests a shining example of obedience and helpfulness to Rome. His actions in connection with the Medjugorje business.seemed ill-considered given the fact that the Vatican enquiry was not and still is not, complete. And his undermining of the Bishop of Mostar on his own territory, was shocking.  It is hard not to think of the prediction of Our Lady of Akita about bishop being against bishop, priest against priest.

If bishops don't obey the Pope and take little notice of his teaching, it's hardly surprising if priests and laity don't either. Net result, fewer and fewer Catholics obey the Pope and more and more become cut off from him. That was why the papal UK visit was so helpful to the Church's universality and her Faithful's sense of it. Many saw how the Pope did things and liked what they saw. And it did help the bishops to set about at least some restoration of Catholic identity and practice. How wholehearted they are is a moot point. For instance I should have been more convinced if Archbishop Nichols' recent pastoral letter had not been so one-sided. It is all very well to tell people that they are quite within their rights to do either of two things but then in the next breath to go on about how one way is really good, without mentioning any of the reasons why the other thing is just as good. One was left in no doubt that he wanted people to continue queueing for Communion and receiving It in the hand. He had already announced that Communion rails would not be replaced at Westminster. He may just as well have written in the pastoral letter:
 "Certain members may choose to receive Communion kneeling and on the tongue. To be strictly honest  that method is still the Universal norm in the Church and the Pope himself advocates it, but in Europe so many countries like us here in the UK have an indult to ignore it and do things our own way. The Pope's arguments are of no greater value than my own and so I won't take up your time by rehearsing them here.We had to include that bit about your having the right to receive in either way, otherwise the CDW would have put its foot down. Anyway, I'm not going to do anything to make it more convenient for you to receive on the tongue and kneeling. If you want to kneel and are old, infirm and need something to lean on, then that's just tough. .Join the queue like everyone else. Besides, I don't want the trouble and expense of putting back the Communion rails in the Cathedral, and I'm pretty sure that most of your pastors in your parishes don't either. We shall therefore continue to make it as difficult as possible for you to demonstrate, and for us to notice, your preference for the Pope's way."
Of course he didn't say any of the above. It would have been more honest.

btw I first heard that bit of the Archbishop's persuasion about making a cross with your two hands, from the curate who prepared me for Anglican Confirmation in 1956.

Anyway, I have to support everything 'Linen on the Hedgerow' has said about this matter. I belong in that pro-kneeling infirm group that the Archbishop didn't mention. I wonder how many there are who are being discriminated against in this way. We were taught to avoid singularity at all costs, but the next time I come to Westminster Cathedral. I'll be looking for two friends to stand either side of me and help me to kneel on the hard parquet floor to receive my Lord. As Richard says we have to kneel down and be counted!

 "Where it has been lost, kneeling must be recovered, so that in our prayer we remain in fellowship with the apostles and martyrs, in fellowship with the whole cosmos, indeed in union with Jesus Christ Himself." This quote from then Cardinal Ratzinger's 'The Spirit of the Liturgy', comes at the end of a ten page section in which he has proved its truth by reference to Scripture. I see no evidence that he has changed his mind as Pope. Quite the reverse. I an not saying there are bishops who lack humility, who are disobedient to the Pope's wishes and who thus perpetuate division in the Church in order to maintain their own agenda. I AM saying that they appear to be doing insufficient to convey the teaching of the Pope and to unite the Church.


Richard Collins said...

Thank you for this post Jane, it sums up much of what I feel about the whole affair.
I actually have not read any post or press article on the subject as I felt too disappointed and also did not wish to get involved in the rights and the wrongs.
Your post hit the spot.

Anthony S. Layne said...

Your reference to Our Lady of Akita struck me, as I'd written about her prophecies before in the context of the tsunami and earthquakes, but didn't think of it in the context of either John Corapi or the Call to Disobedience. I've linked this post to a new entry.