Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Traditional Catholicism reviving strongly in France

They give the traitorous "modernizers" who believe in nothing their answer. I don't believe in any of it either but nor do I pretend to be a Catholic. Those who do believe, however, have the very best of my best wishes

If the photographs in Les communautes traditionnelles en France are anything to go by, then just across the Channel there lies a whole rich seam of Catholic religious life that is young, vibrant and growing. In addition to youthfulness and success, there are two other common features that unite the communities featured in this book. One is that they all have the extraordinary form of the Roman liturgy - the "traditional" rites liberated by Pope Benedict XVI's recent Motu Proprio - as the heart and foundation of their spirituality. The other is that many of them long enjoyed the steadfast, if unofficial support, of a certain well-placed cardinal in Rome. His name was Joseph Ratzinger.

Looking at these particular images it is not difficult to understand just why the Pope and his right-hand cardinal have invested so much hope in these communities. Whether it is Solemn Vespers in a great baroque abbey, or low Mass celebrated on a rock in a clearing for scouts, the liturgical celebrations depicted in this book are all beautiful and dignified. The average age of the monks, nuns, friars and priests and seminarians is also remarkably young. According to Cardinal Castrillon, this should not surprise us. The message that these communities pursue is the message of Jesus Christ. This message is eternal, and therefore forever young.

These intriguing photographs invite us to enter into another world. Despite the obvious challenges implicit in a daily life circumscribed by rules and traditions, the subjects of these communities look remarkably happy. The text often talks of sacrifice and self-surrender, but the pictures show young faces that are smiling and laughing.

There is certainly no hint of any crisis of clerical identity. These young clerics do not rely on jeans or Che Guevara T-shirts to make them feel connected to the youth; rather, it is the authenticity of their life that seems to make that connection. We see seminarians effortlessly skiing through the alps in long black soutanes, while nuns in crisply starched wimples gather hay in the fields outside Marseilles. At the high point of the traditionalist calendar - the annual Pentecost pilgrimage to Chartres - thousands of young pilgrims walk behind priests, monks and friars on the three-day march from Paris. Carrying crosses and banners, they all look very glad, and proud, to be Catholic.

Neither is there any evidence of a decline in vocations. The story of the Benedictine convent of Jouques is typical. Since its foundation near Aix en Provence in 1967 this community has attracted so many vocations to its novitiate that it has been necessary to open daughter houses elsewhere in France and in Africa to house the overspill.

The monks of Le Barroux, north of Avignon, still wear the corona - the full monastic tonsure depicted in medieval woodcuts and books of hours. After humble beginnings in a caravan in 1970 this community now worships in a mighty abbey church which the monks built themselves in the form of a Romanesque basilica. In the early hours of the morning, this building hums like a holy beehive as the many priest-monks celebrate their private Mass at side altars, served by novices and lay brothers. The extensive choirstalls here are now so full that this monastery has been able to spare a detachment of young monks to found a daughter house not far from Toulouse.

All of the institutes featured in the book are run on strictly traditional principles. But this does not make them old-fashioned. Rather, it gives them a timelessness that many young people are finding increasingly attractive. Some of the communities are contemplative, but many are active. A good example is the Institute of Christ the King. From its picturesque Renaissance villa outside Florence "The Institute" has gradually grown into a global conglomerate. In addition to serving parishes in France and America, it also runs several missionary stations in Africa.

The recent Motu Proprio confirms what these communities have known all along: that the traditional Mass never was, and never really could be, abrogated. In his explanatory letter accompanying this decree the Holy Father stated that the extraordinary form of the liturgy is not just for an older generation that found innovation difficult to cope with. He wrote: "It has been clearly demonstrated that young persons, too, have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mysteries of the Most Holy Eucharist particularly suited to them."

More here



Don't you like the image above? It is about the recent but long overdue changes to the exchange-rate of the greenback -- changes that have American producers and manufacturers rubbing their hands with glee. The changes are just about the best news possible for their "buy American" campaign. But even if you don't read German, I think you can see that Spiegel magazine is treating it as something catastrophic. Like American Leftists, Germans don't want to believe anything good about America. Sad. David's Medienkritik has the details.

British intolerance on display: "The Oxford Union debating society faced growing calls to cancel an evening with Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, and David Irving, who was jailed in Austria for Holocaust denial. The debating society’s decision to ask the pair to speak at a forum on the limits of free speech tonight has attracted fierce criticism from MPs, antifascist groups, and Trevor Phillips, the head of the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights, who said the invitation was a “disgrace”. Antifascist groups said that they expected hundreds of demonstrators to descend on the city to protest against the presence of the two men, and police have warned the debate’s organisers that they fear a number of ultra-rightwing activists will stage counter-protests.

BBC bias again: "Looking at al-Beeb's website this evening, I chanced upon the news that two Bollywood stars are claiming that they had racist remarks shouted at them from a passing car, as they shot a film in Southall. This, clearly very important and newsworthy, story is currently receiving second billing on the "England" section of the BBC News website, and has had quite a lengthy, illustrated, article devoted to it. Of course, the Beeboids did not see fit to publish a single paragraph on a rather more serious recent case in which a man had his skull sliced open with a machete in a racist attack, but that's understandable: the victim was only white, after all."

Official anti-father attitudes: "A woman who became pregnant after a one-night stand has been given the right to keep the birth a secret from the father. The Court of Appeal ruling came after a county court ordered the 20-year-old to tell both her parents and the father. The three appeal judges agreed "the ultimate veto" over who is told about the birth lay with the mother. Fathers' groups said the ruling treated the child as the property of the mother "to be disposed of as she sees fit". Fathers 4 Justice barrister Michael Cox said: "This father is the victim of a wicked deceit in which the State has been complicit. "It is now clear that the Government believes children have no entitlement to a relationship with their fathers and that children are the property of their mothers and of the State."

Donation racket in Britain too: "A builder who lives in a former council house in Newcastle and "can't stand" Labour has been named as one of Gordon Brown's biggest donors - prompting fresh questions over the party's finances. Ray Ruddick, who drives a battered Transit van, is officially listed as having contributed more than 104,000 pounds to the national party's coffers since Mr Brown became Prime Minister less than five months ago. His contributions, combined with those of a woman he is linked to, make him Labour's third biggest donor under Mr Brown"


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


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