Sunday 31 March 2013

43rd daily sayings of light and love (St John of the Cross)

Reflect that the most delicate flower loses its fragrance and withers fastest; therefore guard yourself against seeking to walk in a spirit of delight, for you will not be constant. Choose rather for yourself a robust spirit, detached from everything, and you will discover abundant peace and sweetness, for delicious and durable fruit is gathered in a cold and dry climate.

Pope Francis B. Donal meets the curia

I took a little break from blogging for Holy Week.  Also I had nothing to say.  I was watching and waiting and trying to draw some conclusions about the new Pope and doing my best to avoid reading too many depressing and distressing articles about how he walked, his shoes, his bus, his food.

I did manage to track down a transcript of the Holy Father's first address to the gathered members of the curia.  Of course it's in Italian as he managed to fool the other cardinals into thinking he was a polyglot when in reality he can't even speak Spanish but La Stampa had provided an Irish and English translation:

Uomini, volevo solo raccogliere voi insieme per una chiacchierata. Siamo tutti uomini insieme. Io non sono il tipo di papa che sarà strisciante intorno al buio per vedere cosa stai facendo. Voglio uomini duri, uomini che sanno di più su liquami suini e di pizzi e mozzette. Non ha senso venire da me con i vostri gradi fantasia e le vostre grandi collari. E per aiutarci a iniziare insieme, come sapete ho organizzato un esercizio di team building per il prossimo fine settimana, stiamo andando tutti insieme orienteering sulle colline di Castel Gandolfo. Si potrebbe anche avere la possibilità di vedere il tuo vecchio amico. e sono contento di vedere così tanti hanno già firmato per il viaggio. Che cos'è? Cosa? Questa è la gente che arent 'andare? Siete un branco di ingrati, wimpy, ragazzi nancy!

Espressione irlandese:

Fir, bhí mé díreach tar éis a bhailiú tú le chéile le haghaidh comhrá. Tá muid gach fir chéile. Níl mé ar an chineál daidí a bheidh creeping timpeall sa dorchadas a fheiceáil cad atá tú a dhéanamh. Ba mhaith liom fir diana, fir a bhfuil a fhios níos mó faoi aoileach muc agus lása agus mozzette. Déanann sé aon chiall atá le teacht chugam le do céimeanna bhréige agus do coiléir mór. Agus chun cabhrú leat tús a chur le, mar atá a fhios agat, d'eagraigh mé cleachtadh tógála foirne le haghaidh an deireadh seachtaine seo chugainn, táimid ag dul le chéile treodóireacht i na cnoic ar Castel Gandolfo. D'fhéadfá a bheith chomh maith le deis a fheiceáil do chara d'aois. agus tá mé sásta a fheiceáil go leor sínithe a lámh leis cheana féin don turas. Cad é? Cad é? Seo iad na daoine a rud é nach bhfuil ag dul '? Tá tú a bunch de ungrateful,, buachaillí wimpy Nancy!

Espressione inglese:

Men, I just wanted to gather you together for a chat.  We're all men together.  I'm not the sort of Pope Bishop of Rome who'll be creeping around after dark to see what you're up.  I want hard men, men who know more about pigs and slurry than lace and mozzettas.  There's no point coming to me with your fancy degrees and your big collars.  And to help us get started together, as you know I've organised a team building exercise for next weekend; we're all going orienteering together in the hills above Castel Gandalfo.  You might even get a chance to see your old mate.  And I'm pleased to see so many have already signed up for the trip.  

What's that?  What?  That's the people who arent' going?  You're a bunch of ungrateful, wimpy, nancy boys!

[Editor:  I think "Pope Donal" would be better - who's going to understand "Francis B. Donal" but a sad bunch who remember Irish mitres from the 1980s?]

Wednesday 27 March 2013

42nd daily sayings of light and love (St John of the Cross)

Do not tire yourself, for you will not enter into the savour and sweetness of spirit if you do not apply yourself to the mortification of all this that you desire.

Tuesday 26 March 2013

41st daily sayings of light and love (St John of the Cross)

What you most seek and desire you will not find by this way of yours,
nor through high contemplation,
but in much humility and
submission of heart.

Thursday 21 March 2013

38th Daily sayings of light and love (St John of the Cross)

Reflect that your guardian angel does not always move your desire for an action, but he does always enlighten your reason. Hence, in order to practice virtue do not wait until you feel like it, for your reason and intellect are insufficient.

Friday 15 March 2013

How Pope Francis got elected (and Scola didn't)

Giacomo Galeazzi in La Stampa gives us the inside (well his) angle on how the conclave unfolded.  Full article below and here.  One question I'd have is his suggestion that some cardinals wouldn't vote for Scola because of his links with Communion and Liberation. But Bergoglio is also very linked with CL so hard to see why they'd vote for him.  Anyway - full text below:

Already on Tuesday it looked as though things could get complicated for the cardinals’ top favourite, Scola. A few moments after the extra omnes and the meditation in the Sistine Chapel, Bergoglio surprisingly and very suddenly obtained the largest number of votes. At the first ballot, however, the votes were too scattered for cardinals to get a truly indicative picture. Still, it was a warning sign to the Archbishop of Milan, who was credited with such chances of victory yesterday, that just minutes from the Proto-Deacon’s announcement, an unfortunate statement by the Secretary General of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) expressed "the feelings of the entire Italian Church in welcoming the news of the election of Cardinal Angelo Scola as the successor of Peter."

Scola's path to the Holy Throne was blocked by the confluence of two alliances and of two distinctly different evaluation systems: the non-European one (South America in particular), on the one hand, planned on bringing the papacy out of the old continent for the first time. On the other hand, there was the Curia group led by the nemesis-allegiance of Bertone and Sodano, who are inexorably hostile to Scola. The reason, according to certain voices in the Holy See, are a series of "ancient envies and rivalries”. Bertone has never forgotten the advice that Scola gave to the Pope during a meeting in Castel Gandolfo during the upheaval over the pardon granted to Holocaust-denier Bishop Williamson: his replacement at the helm of the Secretariat of State. Sodano, on the other hand, found himself on opposing sides from Scola in various power struggles for the control of Catholic institutions. Ruini himself, while esteeming Scola, gave no indications to vote in his favour to the conclavists, like the Australian Pell, who asked to visit him before the Conclave. In short, the 28 Italian voters did not all row in the same direction and so they dashed their chances of installing one of their compatriots to Peter's Throne 35 years after Luciani.

Not even among the residential Italian archbishops was there a complete consensus for Scola, and therefore the votes that many European voters cast in his favour no longer sufficed. Furthermore, the conclavists near the community of Sant'Egidio (Sepe, for example) could not look kindly upon Scola's involvement in a movement so different from theirs as the Communion and Liberation (CL) one. In the last few hours there were signs that Scola's strong candidacy was a giant with clay feet. In other words, everybody recognized his exceptional stature as a Bishop and intellectual, but then, digging a little deeper, beyond the circumstancial phrases, separations and reserves began to crop up. Most of all, the idea of an "overseas flight" became more prevalent, which was undermining the opportunity to fall back on a Italian pontificate, as most of the Church's growth is in South America, Africa, and Asia. "There cannot always be a shepherd upstream with a flock downstream", summarized an African cardinal in the congregation.

Also, shortly before the start of the Conclave, the Sodano-supporter Lajolo had publicly voiced the Curia’s annoyance at the protagonism displayed by the American group, and few picked up on the Dean's party's approval for a more sober style. A low-key profile: the etiquette adopted by Bergoglio for the entire duration of the sede vacante period. Very little exposure, minimal public outings and appearances at the General Congregations like all the other peons of the College of Cardinals, even though, in the papal election of 2005, he had obtained more votes than anyone else except for Ratzinger. And Benedict XVI has never made any secret of his consideration for the austere Jesuit who has "cleansed" the Argentinian Church from its involvement with the military regime.

For Bergoglio, now as eight years ago, the fatal place was Domus Sanctae Marthae; but this time with the opposite result. What happened yesterday at 13:30 in the Domus mattered more than the Sistine Chapel early result-less ballots. The black smoke episodes were followed by the domestic meetings in the residence of the voters. Bertone and Re spoke with Bergoglio guaranteeing their support. Earlier, the conclavists ate and slept in the chapel frescoed by Michelangelo, but, since 2005, it is customary for them to return (by shuttle or on foot) to the hotel renovated by John Paul II for their meals and overnight rest. During lunches and dinners, the cardinals discuss freely and the bridge-builders spring into action offering a possible reconciliation between the various factions. Eight years ago, it was in the refectory of Sanctae Marthae where the match ended in Ratzinger's favour. "From the Last Supper onwards, in the Church the important things are decided at the table", explained one of Ratzinger's electors with a smile.

In the 2005 conclave, after the first three votes, Bergoglio addressed a speech to the diners destined to immediately change the fortunes of that Papal election. He explicitly asked his forty supporters to stop voting for him. In short, cardinals decided who was to dress in white and appear once again on the balcony of St. Peter’s, over a plate of pasta or a digestif. The hours spent in the Sanctae Marthae residence, between lounges, confessionals and the “in-house” Chapel, gave cardinals excellent opportunities to informally agree on the discarding of candidates with fewer votes, to give an advantage to the papabile who had received the most votes in the first three ballots.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Pope Francis

Blessed John Paul, many years ago, said that the Church had to "breath with both lungs" to provide enough “oxygen” for the spiritual battle raging in today’s world.

Oh dear.

Francis, has only got one lung,
Benedict, has two but now he's gone,
Scola, mia piccola,
And poor Sodano has no lungs at all.

Difficult to find much online written by the new Holy Father as every search naturally goes to the news of the day.  I did find a letter to the Carmelite nuns of his diocese, asking them to pray for the battle against same-sex marriage.  Good that his instinct in a crisis is to call on the Carmelites - Jesuits have been outsourcing contemplative prayer for centuries.

There has been a lot of auld guff on the TV tonight with RTE and TV3 outdoing themselves in finding enemies of the Church to talk.  I mean, Tony Flannery and Susan McKay.  At least Patsy Mc Garry didn't make it.  There was a good guy on TV3 with Brown, Fr Joe McDonald, I think - he was excellent in decribing his sense of joy at the election of a Pope.  There was also a Passionist who kept things reasonably light but kept hoping the Pope would establish term limits.

So what do we really know about him? 

He looks like what you'd get if you photo morphed Pius XII, John XXIII and Paul VI.

His balcony smile was very John Paul I.

We will never see the fanon again.

He is the first Pope who was ordained to the priesthood after the Second Vatican Council.  This could mean two things - that he doesn't have the liberal hangups some of the old guys have - or he's steeped in the ghastliness of the 1970s generation.  He's a 1970s priest with all that that can entail.

He is loathed by traditionalists who regard him as an enemy of the Extraordinary Form.

All the things that make traddies detest him are the things that may make other people love him.

He has only one lung (in case you missed the joke at the start).

Can't anything particular to connect him with St Malachy's prophecy - Petrus Romanus - but the old Black Pope thing could fit.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

37th daily sayings of light and love (St John of the Cross)

For the insensible, what you do not feel; for the sensible, the senses; and for the spirit of God, thought.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

How the black and white smoke is actually made

Some fascinating (for geeks) facts from the Vatican News Service:

Beginning with the Conclave in 2005, in order to better distinguish the colour of the “fumate” (smoke signalling the election or non-election of a pontiff), a secondary apparatus is used to generate the smoke in addition to the traditional stove in which the Cardinal electors' ballots are burned. This device stands next to the ballot-burning stove and has a compartment where, according to the results of the vote, different coloured-smoke generating compounds can be mixed. The result is requested by means of an electronic control panel and lasts for several minutes while the ballots are burning in the other stove.

For a black “fumata” the chemical compound is made of potassium perchlorate, anthracene, and sulphur. The white “fumata” is a mixture of potassium chlorate, lactose, and rosin. The rosin is a natural amber resin obtained from conifers. Prior to 2005 the black smoke was obtained by using smoke black or pitch and the white smoke by using wet straw.

The stove-pipes of the stove and the smoke-producing device join up and exit the roof of the Sistine Chapel as one pipe leading to the chimney installed on the ridge of the roof, which is visible from St. Peter's Square. To improve the airflow the pipe is pre-heated by electrical resistance and it also has a backup fan.

36th daily sayings of light and love (St John of the Cross)

One human thought alone is worth more than the entire world, hence God alone is worthy of it.

Tony Flannery, in the lamplight

What do you do if you're Tony Flannery and you're missing the press adulation you've been craving for months?  Why you lash out, misdirect and create an impossible task for the future Pope.  Still searching for those keys under the streetlight.

Flannery has an article in the Irish Times (don't you just hate the new website?  Try reading the letters page now - impossible) in which he claims the first task facing the new Pope must be to investigate the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Marcial Maciel Degollado.

Now we all know this guy was a bad piece of work, including stories that he was possessed by the Devil and refused the last rites.  But he's dead.  And before he died we know Ratzinger pretty much decided he was guilty and dispatched him to a monastery to atone in silence.

We also know that Blessed John Paul trusted him and liked him.  So what do you know?  A sleazy liar managed to convince someone he was a man of God.  Isn't that what we know about most abusers?  They are manipulative, they lie, cheat, steal.  They take advantage and Blessed John Paul exercised poor judgment of his character.  Of course for years now we've been listening to them trying to attach this to Ratzinger and it will not stick.

Of course what Flannery is hoping to do is to twist things round so we start thinking it was Blessed John Paul who was the crook.  I doubt if he genuinely believes it but he'd like to hint that Blessed John Paul knew all about Maciel's wickedness and covered it up because Maciel was conservative and a good fundraiser.

Fkannery thinks he is excavating "the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism....the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.  The rape and torture of children were downplayed or 'managed' to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and 'reputation'.  Far from listening to evidence of humiliation and betrayal with St Benedict's 'ear of the heart'......the Vatican's reaction was to parse and analyse it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer."

Now where have we heard this before?  Oh yes, Herod Kenny - in a speech widely believed to have been inspired, if not written, by Flannery via his brother Frank Flannery, adviser to Kenny.

This is the same Tony Flannery who wrote an article attacking mandatory reporting because of the impact it had on the relationship between bishops and priests.  He had to be rebuked by Blessed Ian Elliott

Monday 11 March 2013

35th daily sayings of light and love (St John of the Cross)

Well and good if all things change, Lord God, provided we are rooted in you.

Who's reading Catholicus Nua?

Last week's Top Ten countries:

Ireland                 3,002

United Kingdom   2,318

United States          803

Italy                        320

Germany                169

Netherlands            130

Peru                        78

France                     59

Canada                   52

South Korea           48

Lost in Oblivion and The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Reading the last book in a very good five part series by Anthony Horowitz.  It's Oblivion, part of the Power of Five series.  Have read the first four books in a very short time - love finding good series that are all already written and published - and where the series isn't monumentally long - please, no Discworld or Wheel of Time.

Anthony Horowitz is a good writer of childen's books - creator of the Alex Rider series.  And far removed from children's fiction he writes for Midsomer Murders and Foyle's War.

The Power of Five books are very apocalyptic.  Set in the world as we know it, only with the addition of the super evil Old Ones (not to be confused with the sort of Auld Wans we find in Ireland) and five children with extraordinary powers.  The narrative moves at a cracking pace.  Recommended reading from about ten upwards.

For Mother's Day - yes, my yankee friends, it was this Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday, not the second Sunday in May - the kids bought my wife, inter alia, a DVD of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which we watched this evening.  I enjoyed it a lot.  Those who know me will know it's my sort of film - teenage angst, with characters who talk a lot in full paragraphs.  The profound thought from the movie is:

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

which made me think of Sunday's gospel, the Prodigal Son and the difficultly people can have in accepting the love of God in their lives.  We miss the love and grace that He offers because we think we don't deserve it.  Of course we don't deserve it - that's not the point with God.  If we got what we deserved it wouldn't be God.

Certainly wouldn't be Emma Watson either I suspect.

Sunday 10 March 2013

Saturday 9 March 2013

33rd daily sayings of light and love (St John of the Cross)

If you lose an opportunity you will be like one who lets the bird fly away; you will never get it back.

Friday 8 March 2013

Thursday 7 March 2013

"I'm looking here because the light's much brighter here."

On a dark night, a drunk was found by a friendly neighbour wandering around looking at the ground under a street light. When asked what he was doing, the drunk replied, "I dropped my house keys and I'm looking for them."

The neighbour joined the hunt, but after an intensive search the keys remained lost. The helper stopped looking, turned to the drunk and said, "Your keys ought to be easy to find, right here under the street light, but they're not here. Can you remember more precisely where you were standing when you dropped them?"

"Yup." said the drunk as he pointed to a dark area in front of a nearby house, "I sure can. I was over there in my front yard."

The neighbour was taken aback. He looked intensely at the drunk and asked, "If you dropped your keys over there, why are you looking here?"

The drunk looked back at his neighbour and replied, "I'm looking here because the light's much brighter here."   I've been thinking about his story during the last few weeks as I listen to and read secular commentators and liberal Catholics telling the Church what it needs to do, what the next Pope must be like, how he really needs to move the Church into the real world, embrace homosexuality and contraception and abortion and priestesses.  Well if you're looking for that sort of Pope, you're looking in the wrong place.   If you haven't seen it do go and watch this short (couple of minutes) clip of outspoken atheist Penn Jillette (Penn & Teller) defending Catholic orthodoxy on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight  (Hat-tip New Advent).  It's brilliant.  Morgan is the classic modern liberal Catholic - he was all set to trash the Pope who had just announced he'd be retiring.  Morgan thought Penn, the atheist would be well up for it.  What did Penn do?  He thrashed Morgan.  Told him if you're a Catholic you believe what the Pope teaches, nicely defined ex cathedra infallibility and then when Morgan went on a little rant about how Jesus never said anything about condoms and homosexuality and women priests Penn slapped him down and told him he was Martin Luther  who wanted his own private interpretation of scripture instead of the Church's.

31st daily sayings of light and love (St John of the Cross)

A soul that is hard because of self-love grows harder.

Friday 1 March 2013

Cardinal O'Brien is not a child abuser

Brendan O'Neill, secular atheist, delivers another classic blog post.

This time he's defending Keith Patrick Cardinal O'Brien and attacking the manner of his departure.  In fact here's the post:

What did Cardinal Keith O'Brien do that was so bad? He is alleged to have made inappropriate advances to young men when he was a teacher of priests in the 1980s. But it is not a crime to make sexual advances to men over the age of 18. It is not child abuse (despite the best efforts of the press to lump O'Brien together with paedophile priests). Nor is what he is alleged to have done perverted in any way. It can at best be described as stupid – and if everyone in Britain who has ever done something stupid was thrown out of their jobs, the nation would grind to a halt.

Ah, but O'Brien's alleged behaviour makes him a hypocrite, say his exposers in the liberal press as they desperately scrabble about for a PC justification for why they are depicting adult gay interaction as something sinister and sordid. Perhaps it does make him a hypocrite, given his current stance on homosexuality. But perhaps not. We know nothing of Cardinal O'Brien's inner spiritual life. For all we know he may have spent the past 30-plus years repenting for that "inappropriate" behaviour in the Eighties, before deciding that, on balance, he thinks that homosexuality is wrong and wicked. People change. People regret. Would we say St Paul was a hypocrite for criticising those who attacked Christians even though he spent his early life doing the same thing?

Now, what do we know about the allegations against O'Brien? We know they are being made by anonymous individuals, which makes it impossible for O'Brien to defend himself. In normal justice scenarios, it is paramount that the accused knows whom he is being accused by so that he can prepare his defence. We know the allegations are unsubstantiated, and will remain so for as long as the accusers are anonymous. They therefore linger in that limbo between rumour and truth. We know the allegations were leaked by someone – perhaps one of the accusers or perhaps someone in the upper echelons of the church – to the press, which immediately politicised them, allowing them to be used for the ideological end of getting one over on the Catholic hierarchy. Thus did O'Brien find himself being subjected not only to anonymous accusations but also to a showtrial with a bigger agenda. We know the allegations have been cynically mashed together with recent paedophile scandals, with the Mirror showing Cardinal O'Brien next to "his friend" Jimmy Savile and the New York Times talking about O'Brien's behaviour in the same breath as the Catholic Church's "paedophilia and other forms of sexual abuse". And so innuendo attaches itself to the allegations against O'Brien; he's effectively accused, not only of making foolish sexual advances, but of being one of Them: a perverted priest, a Catholic weirdo, an abuser of innocent souls.

In short, a man has been ousted from his job on the basis of anonymous claims that found their way into the press and were then blown out of proportion by people with an axe to grind. There is far more immorality in that than there was in O'Brien's original alleged behaviour. In my view, Catholics have nothing to be ashamed of in this scandal; their cardinal erred 30 years ago – big deal. The people who should feel ashamed are us secularist democrats, who have allowed, or even partaken in, a fact-lite, innuendo-heavy assault on an individual and his reputation, which is unbecoming of civilised public discourse and better suited to the era of Inquisition. Worst of all, we have allowed reporters to depict gay interaction between adult men as being akin to paedophilia and priestly abuse of children, which is really insulting to homosexuals.

CatholicusNua wins its first award!

I am overwhelmed, having received an award for this post.

I feel like Daniel "I didn't ask for f*****n psychology lesson, I asked for a whiskey" Day "Giuseppe is dead" Lewis or Jennifer "these bloody skirts'll kill me" Lawrence.