Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Loftus: does 'e tell it like it is?

The Sacrifice that reconciles God and Man
Mgr Basil Loftus' striptease of the Faith - discarding a discipline here, a doctrine there - is a remarkable spectacle. He has convinced himself that things are going his way so his spiritual nakedness is revealed more and more. Here are some gems from his Catholic Times column of 24th April 2015.

His grasp of Church politics must surely appal those he claims to support.

Religious Orders which abused the 'Tridentine' rite of Mass, in order to make political rather than liturgical points, found themselves [under Pope Francis] in special measures. Bishops who were deemed toi be imprudent and over-zealous in welcoming to their dioceses priests and religious opposed to Vatican II were sharply called to order, and their ringleader, Mario Oliveri, in the Italian diocese of Albenga-Imperia, was stripped of all his episcopal powers.

Well, that's how an SSPX-supporter would want to express it; and who am I to judge? But it certainly isn't how it has been presented by the Holy Father's spokesmen and supporters. The FFI has never been accused of political indiscretions, only of liturgical and (at one point, until the laws of defamation came into play) financial ones. Bishop Oliveri's proteges were not accused of being anti Vatican II, whatever that means, but of having disciplinary failings. Loftus, however, is so eager to see the Church aflame in a civil war about ideology that these distinctions are all swept aside. That is exactly how Pope Francis does not want to present his actions.

Cardinals are ranked against cardinals, bishops against bihops, and no amount of wooly protestations that this doesn't happen in the Church can blind anyone to the fact that it is happening.

You may say so, Mgr; I could not possibly comment. The Pope does comment on this interpretation of events, however: he might have had Loftus in mind when he declared in his closing speech to the Synod:

Many commentators, or people who talk, have imagined that they see a disputatious Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church – the Holy Spirit who throughout history has always guided the barque, through her Ministers, even when the sea was rough and choppy, and the ministers unfaithful and sinners.

Does Loftus want to strip away this diplomatic language to get at the 'reality' he claims to like so much? There is a reason, however, for diplomatic language. It means differences can later be resolved without people losing face; it avoid burning bridges. But Loftus is not interested in any possible future reconciliation and resolution of the problem of Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried, and related issues; he exults in the storm like Cassius in Julius Caesar, though with less eloquence:

For my part, I have walk'd about the streets,
Submitting me unto the perilous night,
And, thus unbraced, Casca, as you see,
Have bared my bosom to the thunder-stone;
And when the cross blue lightning seem'd to open
The breast of heaven, I did present myself
Even in the aim and very flash of it.

Like Cassius, Loftus thinks this storm portends the fall of the forces of law and order, and throws himself into it. He even accuses his opponents of heresy, but here is making an unfortunate mistake.

Here's how it goes. This is Loftus:

And today's reality is at total variance with so much of what many of us have been brought up to look upon as the ideal. Pursuit of the ideal makes good Christians. The conviction that we can acheive it in this life is Gnostic heresy. ...
   Today's reality is that people do not accept the practicality of much of the Church's teaching on sex and marriage. 

And this is the Council of Trent:

CANON XVIII.-If any one saith, that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to keep; let him be anathema.

So who's the heretic, Mgr?

The Peace of Christ.
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  1. He is a silly old coot, but he is correct that there is a battle going on. It is a battle against the principalities and powers, the dominions and thrones, and all those human lackeys who serve them - such as Loftus.

    Our Lord will prevail - the Church of God will prevail, but I doubt that the likes of Loftus will want to remain within it once the dust has settled. Not that he is within it in spirit even now. It will be interesting to see if he has an apoplectic reaction to the arrival of "Marian Franciscans" on these shores next month.

  2. The FFI has never been accused of political indiscretions...

    In fairness, to listen to a certain blogging FFI friar, what really set certain people off (the protesting minority of friars, and people in the Curia) was the decision to publish Brunero Gherardini's book, which was seen as a repudiation of the Council. And thus "political." Doubtless Loftus has this in mind.

    But you will find much more serious dissents from the Council on the Left getting published all the time from other religious orders that don't get a whimper of protest,

    Today's reality is that people do not accept the practicality of much of the Church's teaching on sex and marriage.

    Which is really the only sentence that matters in Loftus's column. He thinks the Church's teachings are wrong, and should be overturned. Full stop. One wishes he would simply join or found a church more agreeable to his views, if he insists on holding them.

    Or in the alternative, a Magisterial authority that would actually discipline him.

    1. Brunero Gherardini: that wold be the author of one of Pope Francis' bedside books:


    2. You shocked me with that one, Joseph (just about fell out of my chair) - but now that I am reading the Rorate post, I'm confused. I don't see Gherardini on the list (though I do see Martini - dear me). Confused with Guardini, perhaps?

      Either way, apparently a few friars aren't fans. One of 'em likes to blog about it.

  3. Perhaps the Mgr blames Oliveri of blocking his mitre when number 2 at the Nunciature!!