Paolo Sesto e Mussolini!

paul6duceI don’t often remember dreams, but when I was at seminary, I had a dream of being in Italy during the Fascist era. A crowd was singing the Fascist anthem Giovinezza to other words beginning  Paolo Sesto e Mussolini… followed by other words in Italian that I cannot now remember.

In actual fact Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini was Secretary of State under Pius XII during World War II and only became Pope in 1963, eighteen years after Mussolini’s ignominious death in Milan (killed by the partisans). In my dream, Montini as Pope Paul VI and the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini were contemporaries and in full collaboration with each other. I would take this as meaning to me that I saw Paul VI as having been a very authoritarian pontiff, even with his reforming agenda.

Despite having taken my distance from Roman Catholic traditionalists in France and elsewhere (and they from me), I do notice some of what seems to be going on in the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Francis seemed to have his own reforming agenda, but was leaving the Anglican rite ordinariates and the traditionalist communities alone. From the beginning of his pontificate, I intensely disliked him and have never had much esteem for the Jesuits (other than the first generation of saints, martyrs and heroes). He really seems to have turned out something of an authoritarian in the manner of Paul VI (the abolition of the old Roman rite, the suspension of Archbishop Lefebvre, etc.). It was under the pontificate of John Paul II (1990’s) when I had my dream of the clown dictator standing next to Paul VI and both revelling in their power.

Episodes of sanctions against Anglican use churches and traditionalists seem to be multiplying. I mentioned Our Lady of the Atonement yesterday. Dr William Tighe is welcome to send in comments, since he seems to be well-informed. Fr Hunwicke has written on his blog about this subject (see my previous posting for the link).

Our Californian friend John Bruce over the past few day seems to be lapping it all up and revelling in it – but he too as a conservative is also a part of the ecclesiastical equivalent of the basket of deplorables! He is for winding up the Ordinariates and bringing back the Inquisition – or something like that – to get all the people concerned into lock-step with the Novus Ordo bishops and bureaucracies. Whatever happened to Religious Liberty?

Bishop of Rockford Sets a Curb on Use of the Extraordinary Form tells a tale of heavy-handed tactics by a diocesan bishop as frequently happened before the pontificate of Benedict XVI. This of course is the initiative of a diocesan bishop like in Texas with the Anglican users, not the Pope, but it seems to be setting a trend.

Something serious has been brewing for a long time with the Order of Malta. Pope seizes power from the Knights of Malta, brutally ending 900 years of their sovereignty. The Order of Malta is by definition a sovereign state, even after its re-foundation in the nineteenth century. The Order of St John of Jerusalem has been through many vicissitudes in its long history, and remnants of the old Order could regroup under princes and monarchs in friendly countries. One “branch” obtained legitimacy with a prince in Russia and another large portion went to the Pope in the early nineteenth century. There are at least two small groups in the USA claiming legitimacy from the Russian branch. The Order of Malta is the part that approached the Pope. Under what conditions? They could be found in the various charters, constitutions, foundational documents, etc. I have neither the inclination nor the resources to do such research myself. Is the Order of Malta the same thing as the ancient Order of St John or a new (19th century) creation under the authority of the Pope? I cannot tell whether the present Pope’s intervention in their affairs is abusive or not. It seems all the same suspicious. Read the articles (and the one in the Catholic Herald by Damian Thompson) and judge for yourself.

There are also examples of priests and bishops being sanctioned for objecting to Amoris Laetitia from the traditional moral judgement of divorce and remarriage. We (or they) may be moving towards a new period of intolerance and abuse of papal authority.

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20 Responses to Paolo Sesto e Mussolini!

  1. J.D. says:

    The pope has been given demigod-like powers in the Roman Catholic Church; he has been made larger than life, and given larger than life authority. Don’t you notice that after Pius IX and Papal Infallibility and Primacy of Jurisdiction the popes just go off their rockers with innovations and abuses? Pius X tampered with the 1500 year old Roman psalter arrangement in the breviary; Pius XII overturned Lex Orandi,Lex Credendi in Mediator Dei, pushed out the Clementine Vulgate;reformed the Holy Week Liturgies and in general was an innovator;John XXIII called for an Ecumenical Council….and you know the rest. Since than its been one long papally sanctioned and orchestrated whitewash and rewrite of the Latin Patrimony. Francis is just one more pompous dictator in a line of pompous dictators that claim to to be standing in the place of Jesus Christ as infallible vicars.

    The traditionalists fail to see that as long as the pope is given the power that he has been given their complaints ring hollow. In Roman Catholicism he absolutely does have the power to shut down the old Mass,foist new things on the faithful and expect obedience.

    I’m glad you’re far far away from the trad set and the impossible conundrum of trad leaning Roman Catholics. The only real answer is to obey the so called magisterium and the pope or get out. You and I have chosen the latter.

    • Yes, this is hardly surprising (water is wet, etc.) and we see a perfect “hermeneutic of continuity” is spite of the clear intention of Benedict XVI and Francis to destroy the post Pius IX aura of the papacy. Gone is the aura, but the arbitrary authority remains, long after those men take off their cassocks and put on an executive suit. We are dealing with reptilian human nature: selection of the strongest, sex, power and money – and that is without going into wacky conspiracy theories like David Icke, Alex Jones, etc.

      It is sad that most people will stick to the mainstream, even when its purpose changes. The classical example is a person continuing to go to the same church after it has become a mosque! It is the bandwagon, crowd mentality, groupthink, you name it. Do we have to have Aspergers to understand such things? Obviously not, but very few compared to the masses “get it”.

      All we can do is to carry on with what we believe to be for the best, persevere despite all the imperfections and what other people are doing.

  2. antoninus72 says:

    Papal infallibility and supreme jurisdiction have damaged the traditionalists more than every other Catholic group, yet they still defend those Vatican I doctrines and anathematize anyone who questions them. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

  3. William Tighe says:

    “Dr William Tighe is welcome to send in comments, since he seems to be well-informed.”

    I don’t think that I have anything to add, or that I care to add, to my long comment (in two parts) on the thread here:

  4. jimofolym says:

    I’m happy to see this post and the learned replies. I wonder however what is going on with the Franciscans of the atonement, who were swept under the bus a few years ago. They seemed to be a harbinger of a new Traditional Catholic mentality. where and what are they now? I doubt that Pope Francis has any love for them!
    Just wondering as I’m Eastern Orthodox and don’t have a dog in this fight.

  5. ed pacht says:

    I do know that the Graymoor Fathers (Franciscans of the Atonement) have been very hospitable to ACA’s Diocese of the Northeast for Clergy meetings and retreats (one coming up there in March). Their main chapel is thoroughly “contemporary”, and they do use NO, but they still maintain the old chapel which continues to be in unabashedly AngoiCatholic style.

    • jimofolym says:

      I think I meant the Fransiscans who were ‘put down’ by the Vatican several years ago.
      Not the Atonement but I forget the appelation. They wore blue habits as I recall. their superior was ‘sequestered’, or perhaps defenistrated of sorts.

      • Franciscans of the Immaculate. The Franciscans of the Atonement, as Ed Pacht rightly notes, are Anglican. The Franciscans of the Immaculate are quite “traditional” for many things, but a religious order can easily become a cult with a “control freak” guru. I don’t know if that’s what happened and caused them to be investigated by the Vatican. The Legionaries of Christ was another example of a congregation / totalitarian cult that went wrong with Marcial Maciel Degollado (1920 – 2008) who was a sexual abuser.

      • ed pacht says:

        Well. Anglican by origin, though they’ve been RC for a long time now

  6. wayne pelling says:

    St peters Eastern Hill here in Melbourne is considered to be the ANGLO CATHOLIC parish within ANGLICANS of Melbourne. i was talking to a parishioner from there and mentioned the Ordinariate. she said “Those people may find that they will have to tow the line and not be able what they wanted to do”

    • Fortunately, the continuing Anglican Churches from which some of these people came still exist, though in a weakened state. I doubt whether most would return rather than cease going to church. It is all very tragic, because eventually, the New Rome will go after the Ordinariates in the USA, the UK and Australia. The “de-ratzingerisation” process is not yet complete. I’m not triumphalistic about my decision not to apply to an Ordinariate and / or Rome when I was in the TAC, but I am glad I didn’t.

      Either what we all believe is complete nonsense, or we do well just to carry on in our little way and pray for those who will be disappointed and bitterly betrayed.

  7. Dale says:

    I really do not know why anyone is surprise by any of this, it was to be expected. In some sort of defense of Rome, the same thing has been done to western rite Orthodox parishes and priests, only when the Byzantines do it, to force a western rite parish to adopt the traditions of the whole diocese (i.e. Byzantine), it does not make the news.

    • Frankly, I’m not surprised. I swam the Tiber in 1981 and back the other way in the late 1990’s. I lived in a nasty little world that really was no different from politics, business, any situation where human beings compete for power and money. The priestly vocation doesn’t exempt them from these reptilian instincts. You want to work for the Civil Service (as we call it in England) or in a big corporation? You have to wear the right kind of suit, cut your hair to the right length and talk the usual corporate gobbledegook. It’s just the same in any big Church, and it’s getting worse. The next Pope won’t be in a white cassock but a power suit.

      I have no personal experience of how it works in Orthodoxy, but I can see it being more or less the same, but with more pious clap-trap and sanctimonious cant. The sooner those big mainstream churches run out of money, the better…

      • Dale says:

        I think that one thing that gave older, pre-liberal, Anglicanism an edge on both Byzantium and Rome was that priests once inducted into their parishes had quite a bit of independence; it was very, very difficult to remove a rector (which is one reason that Anglicanism had such a large number of really eccentric vicars and rectors). They often did not advance, but they tended to be left alone, the legal ramifications for removal were quite intensive. Very similar to academic tenure. In both Rome and Byzantium clergy can be removed on the whim of the bishop without canonical or legal recourse. This tends to force clergy into obedience and fear; it is especially true for married Orthodox clergy. Unfortunately, the liberal take-over of the CofE and especially the Episcopal Church in the United States has also resulted in a growing fear amongst clergy who do not toe-the-line or have unfashionable opinions, especially about women clergy.

        I really think that many Anglicans who convert to either Rome or Byzantium do so for a sense of middle-class respectability and not too much else; and a real pathological need to belong to something institutional and socially respected (I have often heard former Anglican converts to Orthodoxy make certain that everyone knows that they belong to a “canonical” jurisdictions!). At the present time neither the Continuing Movement nor the more Orthodox, but also small and lacking social respectability, Old Roman Catholic communities have this social acceptance. But the trade of is that one can still be somewhat free and, gasp, even an eccentric.

      • Dale says:

        Fr Anthony stated, quite rightly I think that, “The next Pope won’t be in a white cassock but a power suit.” Personally, I have always felt that the destruction of the old altars and the mass facing the people has indeed made the altar into a clerical power desk, with the power of the priest presiding over the audience, and not the Sacrifice of the Mass, paramount.

  8. J.D. says:

    I wish everyone would just live and let live. There’s got to be room in the Byzantine world for Western Rites in the same way there ought to be room in Rome for Anglican Use, Eastern Rites etc. It’s sad that those in power always bludgeon those that aren’t like them. I think Father has the right idea, just find a safe niche someplace and live your Christian life. Better to do that than succumb to big bloated ecclesiastical dictatorships.

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