Fidel Castro: A Traditionalist?

This is from yesterday’s Washington Post:

After the Mass [in Havana] the pope met with Fidel Castro at the Vatican Embassy, where the ailing former leader quizzed Benedict about the changes in the Catholic liturgy since the long-ago days when Fidel was an altar boy, educated by Jesuits.

One assumes that Castro, now an atheist, has not been to a Mass since the Cuban Revolution in the 1950s. He must have got some shock! Let this be a reminder of how important good liturgy really is in witnessing to non-Catholics and those raised in the faith but who have subsequently lapsed. Unfortunately that is something Benedict’s three predecessors never realized, with disastrous results. It is also the reason why the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin this year will be a failure, and why I would encourage you not to waste your money donating to it.


Posted on March 29, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Fascinating post. You’re quite right: I wouldn’t give a cent to any collection for the Congress. You’d only be paying the salaries of bureaucratic fat-cats and promoting the propagation of heresy.

  2. I would encourage anyone to go to the Eucharistic Congress and contribute to it’s cost. I agree with you that the liturgy must be well prepared and celebrated. But since 1962 I have witnessed well prepared and celebrated liturgy.

    If people have not been to Mass since before Vatican 2, and if they attend Mass now they will notice changes.

    I wonder how you can see into the future and tell that the Eucharistic Congress will be a failure. I will pray for it’s success, and wait and see how it develops, I cannot read the future, and I am happy with such a limitation!

  3. Personally, and taking into account my own love for the Extraordinary form and traditional devotions, I wouldn’t want to put myself in the position of predicting a “failure” of anything involving Christ in the Holy Eucharist. I get that you posess the full inner intentions and lives of “Benedict’s three predecessors”, but what brand of crystal ball do you use to predict the permissive and providential wills of God?

  4. Castro does not understand the changes in the liturgy? Me too. But that does not mean that I’m an revolutionist or communist 😀

  5. I honestly think the Congress will not live up to the hopes of those who think it will do something-anything- to revitalise the current moribund state of the Church in Ireland. It will be an event that will pass barely unnoticed, quite honestly, in the public consciousness, since it will be of passing import, significant only to those who are practising Catholics and, dare I say, to few enough even of them.

    How many Mass-going people could even say exactly what a Eucharistic Congress even is? How many in the average parish could even say when was the last time they saw a Benediction, or adoration of the Blessed Sacrament? Or heard these devotions preached about? Damn few in my parish, I can say. Ok, we can have our Congress (and I wish it all success) but if the actual groundwork is not put in on the basics of the Eucharist, including a sense of sin and the need for confession, then we are truly trying to build on sand.

    So we can have our big (and it won’t be so big in relative terms) hoop-la, but we are fooling ourselves if we think that it’s going to be some sort of turning point. You need to put in the basic spade-work for that. And that is still not being done. Holy Week coming up: how many will be in the average church at 3pm next Friday? Or Saturday night? Compared to even 20 years ago? Res ipsa loquitur.

    This event is not going to stem the decline. It will not be another 1979, although much of the mentality of that awful time seems still to be around, judging by the poster in our church addressed to young people with its “Go! Be Church”. Even in 1979 when I was 19 I would have retched at that.

  6. @ jaykay:

    Heh heh, I was considering attending the Congress until I too saw the dreaded words “Go! Be Church . . .”!

    Then, browsing the Congress website, I encountered the utterly terrifying words “Liturgical dance”.

    ‘Nuff said.

  7. I have to say Shane, Sheila and Jaykay that I share your pessimism about the Eucharistic Congress.
    More and more in these days it is hard to avoid thinking of the little boat on the storm-tossed Sea of Galilee. It doesn’t help that some of the present day crew and passengers in the barque of Peter seem at times to be enthusiastically drilling holes in the boat.
    I wonder how many of your readers have experienced mounting concern about the upcoming Eucharistic Congress. I expect recent weeks have seen foreboding replaced by rather stronger sentiments.
    The opportunity for a desperately needed fortification of the Faith in this country looks like being shamefully squandered. The written material available to date gives reason to fear that this might just turn out to be something far worse than a missed opportunity. Rosaries are well and truly needed.
    Father Kevin Doran, as Secretary General of the Congress, is, I’m sure, only following instructions from on high. But really, if the Congress turns out to be a cross between a U2 concert, an All-Ireland and the Horse Show, God help us. In previous times a Eucharistic Congress was intended to be an international gathering of the faithful for the purpose of encouraging devotion to the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. How is the June gathering going to achieve that? And if that is not the intention, why exactly isn’t it?
    If you think I’m being harsh, just take a look at the red booklet available in your local Church. I counted 113 workshops (don’t you just hate that term), talks, and films on the programme for the week. Topics include the following:
    The Monk and the Lama- A Dialogue
    Selection of Radharc Films
    Four Models of Church
    Celtic Prayer and Wisdom
    Building Communion through Sport
    Movements in the Church
    Monasteries without Walls
    Spirituality of Communion
    Towards a Living Eucharist
    The Economy of Communion
    Remaining Catholic
    Kitty’s Folly
    Ancient Celtic Spirituality Heritage
    Communion in our Common Baptism
    Celtic Prayer and Wisdom
    Becoming the Eucharist we celebrate
    Spirituality in the writings of Patrick Kavanagh
    Job’s Questions and Contemporary Challenges
    James Joyce and the Structure of the Mass
    Visitors will be treated to, amongst other things, cultural exhibitions, gospel music, traditional Irish music, liturgical dance and Christian rock bands.
    Maybe the content will be edifying orthodox Catholic theology. Yeah, right. Titles are only titles, but the signs do no look good. Our Lady is mentioned only once in the programme. The Saints seem to be a bit of an embarrassment; none are mentioned except St. Paul twice and St. Columbanus.
    The only title I noticed that might offer a glimmer of hope to those who adhere to traditional piety is a talk on Eucharist and Devotion to the Sacred Heart. There is no mention of Eucharistic Adoration among the topics for discussion. Did anyone at all read the Pope’s Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland? I couldn’t find any mention of the Real Presence or the doctrine of Transubstantiation anywhere in the programme. I wonder why? No mention either of the Mass as a propitiatory Sacrifice, or mention of the ordained priest as an Alter Christus. There is no mention of Summorum Pontificum or Universae Ecclesiae.
    The more I think I think about all this the more I suspect that one of Bugnini’s disciples, not an Irish man, is playing a big role in the event.
    Surely, an international gathering presents yet one more reason, one of many, for the promotion and full restoration of the Latin Mass: pilgrims from the four corners of the world praying in the language of the Church, as the saints and martyrs did throughout the ages, with no particular vernacular given preference. What better way to prevent Babel like confusion? What better way to promote communion in the worship of God? And the Latin Mass is very much worship of God, not Man.
    The fact that the organisers have deemed it necessary to have Masses in 17 different vernaculars on 11 June, with each group going their own way to different Churches makes the point in rather stark fashion. Better if they all went instead to St Kevin’s, Harrington Street on the same day, to participate in the Mass of All Time.
    It just shows the state we’re in when there has been barely a whimper about what is going to happen on the first full day of the Congress. The principle liturgy we are told is going to be an Ecumenical Liturgy of the Word and Water, to be presided over by the Anglican archbishop of Dublin. Speakers will include representatives of the Taize Community in France, Focolare, and the Russian Orthodox. And how is this going to promote devotion to the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar? Anybody? More like the promotion of some sort of masonic pan religion.
    Are the prophecies of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich to be fulfilled?
    “I saw many pastors cherishing dangerous ideas against the Church…They built a large, singular, extravagant church which was to embrace all creeds with equal rights: Evangelicals, Catholics, and all denominations, a true communion of the unholy with one shepherd and one flock. There was to be Pope, a salaried Pope, without possessions. All was made ready, many things finished; but, in place of an altar, were only abomination and desolation. Such was the new church to be, and it was for it that he had set fire to the old one, but God designed otherwise.” Form Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich, Vol 2, pp 352-353
    Of course expressing critical reservations leaves one open to the charge of being a raging bigot. I sincerely hope I’m not in that camp. I am not being glib and patronising when I say that any protestants that I know are fine people. But do we really think so little of our Catholic Faith that we don’t want others to share that Faith? Should we really tell those on the other side of the Tiber that they are fine just where they are? Is anyone going to suggest that Blessed John Henry Newman, G. K. Chesterton, or Monsignor Ronald Knox should have stayed where they were?
    The words of Fr. Frederick Faber might serve as an answer- “The crowning disloyalty to God is heresy. It is the sin of sins, the very loathsomest of things which God looks down upon in this malignant world….Our charity is untruthful, because it is not severe; and it is unpersuasive, because it is untruthful…Where there is no hatred of heresy there is no holiness…A man, who might be an apostle, becomes a fester in the Church for want of this righteous indignation.” The Precious Blood, 1860
    Are Catholics who adhere to traditional Church teaching to be labelled intolerant, uncharitable and unchristian? Before anyone rushes to pass judgement or say that things are different now, they might carefully read the following and consider the implications of such a judgement. At the risk of losing readers’ attention, the length and number of the following quotes will hopefully demonstrate the constancy and consistency of traditional Catholic teaching on the matter in question. They all express the same teaching in unambiguous terms.
    “With regard especially to mixed assemblies and Conferences of Catholics with non-Catholics, which in recent times have begun to be held in many places to promote “union” in the faith, there is need of quite peculiar vigilance and control on the part of Ordinaries. For if on the one hand these meetings afford the desired opportunity to spread among non-Catholics the knowledge of Catholic doctrine, which is generally not sufficiently known to them, yet on the other hand they easily involve no slight danger of indifferentism for Catholics…Where there is no apparent hope of good results, or where the affair involves special dangers on other grounds, the faithful are to be prudently kept away from the meetings, and the meetings themselves are to be ended or gradually suppressed. As experience teaches that larger meetings of this sort usually bear little fruit and involve greater danger, these should be permitted only after very careful consideration…
    “In all these meetings and conferences any communication whatsoever in worship must be avoided…
    “All should be reminded that nothing more effectively paves the way for the erring to find the truth and to embrace the Church than the faith of Catholics, when it is confirmed by the example of upright living.” – Instruction of the Holy Office the “Ecumenical Movement”, 20 December 1949
    “To be Christian one must be Roman. One must recognize the oneness of Christ’s Church that is governed by one successor of the Prince of the Apostles who is the Bishop of Rome, Christ’s Vicar on earth” – Pope Pius XII Allocution to Irish pilgrims, 8 October, 1957.
    “We desire this unceasing prayer to rise to God from the whole Mystical Body, that all the straying sheep may hasten to enter the one fold of Jesus Christ.” Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, p 62

    “Knowing perfectly well that there exist few men who are entirely devoid of the religious sense, they (the men who are trying to introduce a sentiment of fraternity into the Church) nourish the hope that all the peoples, despite their religious differences, may yet, without great difficulty, be united in the profession of certain doctrines admitted as a common basis of the spiritual life.
    “With this object, they promote congresses, meetings, and conferences, attended by a considerable number of hearers. To join in the discussion they invite all, without distinction, unbelievers of every kind as well as the faithful, and even those who have disgracefully separated themselves from Christ or rudely and obstinately denied the divinity of His nature and mission. Such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgement of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little, turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realise them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion”- Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Mortalium Animos, par 2, January 6, 1928
    “The union of Christians can only be furthered by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it”. Ibid, p 13

    “Who can accept the spouse of Christ, and not His mystical bride the Church? Who can separate the Head, the only begotten Son of God, from the body, which is His Church?” – Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical, Satis cognitum 29 June 1896
    “Whoever leaves her (the Catholic Church) departs form the will and command of Our Lord Jesus Christ; leaving the path of salvation, he enters that of perdition. Whoever is separated from The Church is united to an adulteress” – ibid
    “For they contend that it is opportune, in order to work in a more attractive way upon the wills of those who are not in accord with us, to pass over certain heads of doctrine, as if of lesser moment, or to so soften them that they may not have the same meaning which the Church has invariably held…Few words are needed to show how reprehensible is the plan that is thus conceived.” Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Testem Benevolentiae, 22 January 1899

    “He who abandons the Chair of Peter on which the Church is founded, is falsely persuaded that he is in the Church of Christ”- Pope Pius IX, Quartus supra 6 January 1873
    “But God forbid that the sons of the Catholic Church ever in any way be hostile to those who are not joined with us in the same bonds of faith and love; but rather they should always be zealous to seek them out and aid them, whether poor, or sick, or afflicted with any other burdens, with all the office of Christian charity; and they should especially endeavour to snatch from the darkness of error in which they unhappily lie, and lead them back to Catholic truth and to the most loving Mother the Church, who never ceases to stretch out her maternal hands lovingly to them, and to call them back to her bosom so that, established and firm in faith, hope, and charity, and “being fruitful in every work”(Colossians 1:10), they may attain eternal salvation”- Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Quanto Moerore, par. 9, August 10 1863
    “Who can have God for Father and not accept the Church for Mother?” – Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Singulari quidem, 17 March 1856
    “Whoever carefully considers and studies the situation of the various religious communities, divided amongst themselves and separated from the Catholic Church…will be easily convinced that none of these associations-whether considered individually or taken as a whole- can in any way be seen as that One Catholic Church that Chris the Lord built and willed to exist. Neither can they in any way be considered members or part of this same Church, as long as they remain visibly separated from Catholic unity. It follows that such communities, lacking the living authority established by God to teach men- especially in Morals and matters of Faith and customs, directing and governing them in all that concerns eternal salvation- thus mutate in their doctrines and are constantly changing and unstable…For this reason, let all those who do not possess “the communion and truth of the Catholic Church” take advantage of this Council, in which she…offers a further demonstration of her profound unity and impregnable vital force; and responding to the demands of their hearts, let them strive to leave this state that does not guarantee for them the security of salvation.” Pope Pius IX, Apostolic Letter Iam vos omnes, 13 September 1868
    It is an error to believe, “Protestantism is nothing more than another form of the same true Christian religion, in which it is given to please God equally as in the Catholic Church”- Pope Pius IX, Syllabus of errors, 8 December 1864 n 18
    “There is only one true and holy religion, founded and instituted by Christ, Our Lord. Mother and cultivator of virtue, destroyer of vice, liberator of souls, guide to true happiness; her name is: Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman”. – Allocution to the Consistory, 18 July 1861

    “We now come to another and most fruitful cause of the evils which at present afflict the Church and which We so bitterly deplore; We mean Indifferentism or that wicked opinion which has grown up on all sides through the deceit of evil men. According to this opinion, the eternal salvation if the soul can be attained by any kind of profession of faith, as long as man’s morals are in line with the standard of justice and honesty.” Pope Gregory XVI, Encyclical Mirari vos arbitramur, 15 August 1832
    “Against these repeaters of ancient errors, the people must be assured, Venerable Brethren, that the profession of the Catholic Faith is alone the true one, since the Apostle tells us that there is one Lord and one Baptism. As Jerome says, the man who eats the Lamb outside of this house is profane”- Pope Pius VIII, Encyclical, Traditi humilitati nostrae, 24 May 1829

    Anyone inclined to think that I the above is only the thinking of a few reactionary Popes, whom we can safely ignore, might care to read Titus 3:10, or 2 Thessalonians 3:6, or Ephesians 5:6 or Romans 16:17 or 2 John 1:10 for starters.
    I mentioned earlier that it didn’t look like the Saints would get much a mention in June. What St. Augustine, St Cyprian, St. Pope Leo the Great, St. Catherine of Siena, St Ignatius Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Robert Bellarmine, St Alphonsus Liguori, St. John Eudes and St. Francis de Sales had to say about those who are separated from the Church might cause a bit of stir at the Congress. Or rather an embarrassed silence and shuffling of papers. I’ll confine myself to some words of the latter:
    “The declared enemies of God and His Church, heretics and schismatics, must be criticized as much as possible, as long as truth is denied…It is a work of charity to shout: “Here is the wolf!” when it enters the flock or anywhere else.”- Introduction to the Devout Life, part III, Chp. 29
    Who is prepared to come forward and say that the revered Doctor of the Church was an intolerant bigot, who put obstacles in the way of “full communion”?
    No doubt I’ll be accused of being narrow-minded, uncharitable and not being in communion with…whoever. Maybe we need to take seriously the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas:
    “Where there is an imminent danger to the Faith, Prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects”- Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, q.33, a.4.
    Or those of St John Chrysostom:
    “The person who does not become irate when he has cause to be, sins.”
    A degree of anger is warranted. Despite all the scandal and shame, the abdication of leadership, the cultivation, toleration and dispersal of dissent and heresy many Irish men and women have remained steadfast and faithful in their faith. They do so because they love their Mother the Church very much and will never stray from her.
    I am thinking of the priests and religious who in the face of slander and scorn remain faithful to their vocation and tend heroically to the sheep. I am thinking of the laity who endure apathy, ridicule, argument, insult, and abuse from family, friends and work colleagues when they try to share their faith, defend the Church, or defend the unborn.
    Despite everything there are still many who cherish the Catholic faith of our fathers and are endeavouring to pass it on to the coming generations. And now, at a time of great and urgent need it appears that they are to be given stones instead of bread at the upcoming Eucharistic Congress.
    We all know Our Lord will be with His Church to end of time, that the Holy Ghost is in charge of everything, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph in the end.
    In the meantime, I suggest we attend the Mass of All Time as often as possible, keep up our adoration of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, pray our Rosaries, and pray for our bishops and priests.
    Note to all modernist revolutionaries: Catholic Tradition is coming out of the catacombs. It will never be stifled, subdued and eliminated. We have Our Lord’s assurance of that.
    “They trusted in Thee and were not confounded”- Psalm 21:6

  8. Well, whatever the good intentions of those who introduced the host of changes in the wake of Vatican 2 – I feel sure that opening the Church to the modern world was intended to be a two way deal – the result was a near collapse in Mass attendance. In my local church in Cardiff the Mass attendance in the late 60s was 2,000 every Sunday. It is now about 600.
    Of course it cannot be proven that the changes caused this but they certainly did not prevent it.

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