|The Carmalite nuns of Compiegne, queing|
up for the guillotine.
Here is the letter, from the well-known Catholic barrister Neil Addison.
Even by his own standards the suggestion by Mgr Basil Loftus (19 October) that he looks forward to "a Franciscan revolution to eclipse in drama and extent the French Revolution" is bizarre.
The French Revolution was the cause of the death of thousands judicially murdered in the reign of terror. The Carmelites of Compiegne were guillotined simply for being Nuns and they are merely the best known of the thousands of Catholic Priests, Nuns and believers who were also sent to the guillotine solely for the crime of being practising Catholics.
Besides the reign of terror the Revolution led to massacres in the Vendee and other regions of France and plunged Europe into thirty years of war and destruction stretching from Madrid to Moscow. Is that seriously the "drama and extent" Mgr Loftus wishes on the Church and the world ?
If Citizen Loftus wishes to praise the French Revolution as a model to be followed then he has of course got the liberty to do so but it is a desecration of the memory of the numerous Catholic victims of that revolution for such praise to be uttered by someone who claims the title of Catholic Priest.
In line with their usual policy, the Catholic Times has afforded Mgr Loftus considerably more space to reply than the original letter, not in his column but in the letters page itself. This is only part of it, excluding the first third.
Yes, the violence of the few did degenerate into the madness of the many, but the French Revolution inspired a continent-wide socio-political revolution of which both Church and State still feel the beneficial effects and, no less importantly, are still building upon.
It is also necessary to recognise that the violence against elements of Catholicism was to no small extent occasioned by the manner in which the institutional Church had identified itself with an oppressive regime which denied basic human dignity to that vast majority of humankind, which had neither civil nor ecclesial rights.
Today, for virtually the first time, Pope Francis is making it possible for voice of every baptised man and woman to be heard in the Church.
This would not have been possible without the progressive effects which the French Revolution inspired. The analogy is quite justifiable.
The puerile attempt at personal vituperation is particularly demeaning in your correspondent as a professional gentleman.
Not only is it lamentable in itself, but it also devalues the otherwise positive contribution which the letter affords as a springboard for further clarification which I am happy to make.
The 'elements of the Church' persecuted by the Revolution included thousands of priests and nuns executed; religious communities of all kinds destroyed; the physical destruction of thousands of church buildings, and the desecration of others; the kidnapping of the Pope himself and the attempt to prevent the election of a new one after he had died as a result of his mistreatment; the creation of a schismatic sect in opposition to the French Church; the deprivation of millions of souls of the sacraments; the persecution of those laity who sheltered the priests who continued to serve them; and the massacre, amounting almost to genocide, of those who raised up arms in protest. Tell me, Monsignor, were there any 'elements of the Church' which escaped persecution of the most brutal kind?
|The Crucifixion, from the Seven Dolours at the|
Shrine of Carfin. I expect he'd asked for it.
One has to accept, in the end, that this is in fact what Mgr Basil Loftus is. He actually hates the Church, and above all those who Catholics who love the Church and seek to defend it against persecution and destruction. They are asking for it: if they end up the victims of a serious persecution, Loftus will be delighted.
As for calling Mr Addison's letter a 'puerile attempt at personal vituperation', one can only comprehend this as an example of a person accusing another of what they fear they are themselves. If Loftus thinks his position is so secure, and enjoys the opportunity to write yet more hundreds of words than his usual helping so much, why does he feel the need to descend to such vulgar abuse?
As a service to the public, I have put together quotations on a range of themes from Loftus' published writings, mostly his Catholic Times columns, in a dossier here, and made one of his most theologically egregious articles, on the Resurrection of Our Lord, available here.
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