ROME, August 1, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – I think I should write more doom and gloom commentary pieces on the state of the Catholic Church in Britain. It seems to have an inverse effect on the situation over there. No sooner had I published my glum thoughts on the Hundred Years of Winter the British Catholic Church seems to be stuck in, than the announcement came that Philip Tartaglia had been appointed to Glasgow.
Tartaglia is already roundly hated in the homosexualist movement for his opposition to “gay marriage,” and the media had clearly been well-prepared and waiting for the chance to report on the “outrage” at his comments on homosexuality back in April. This laughably transparent stunt certainly made me feel all glowy. I didn’t, but I wanted to send him a note congratulating him on having made all the right enemies, right out of the gate.
Today I’m doing a piece on the appointment to the diocese of Portsmouth of Bishop Philip Egan, who astonished Church-watchers like myself by saying, out loud in a public place, where there were microphones present, that Humanae Vitae, the encyclical of the last century most hated by the hip, groovy, Spirit-of-Vatican II bishops, was in fact infallible Catholic doctrine. I could hear the noise of episcopal forks clattering onto breakfast tables, fallen from suddenly-numb bishops’ fingers, all the way over here.
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The fact that Bishop Egan is in Portsmouth is also highly significant. His predecessor, since 1988! was Crispian Hollis, who is retiring after having been diagnosed with bowel cancer. Yes, that Crispian Hollis; the one described to me recently as “England’s Remi de Roo.” (I grew up in Victoria, BC, so the comparison was particularly chilling.) It is certain that Pope Benedict knows quite intimately what had been going on all those years in Portsmouth. I do quite sincerely pray that God will send Bishop Egan legions of very burly angels to help him do whatever needs to be done there to build up the Faith.
At the same time, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury (my former diocese) is reportedly healing a lot of the animosity between the … ah … shall we say less “progressively inclined,” younger Catholics and the diocesan coterie of hip-and-groovy Boomers, that had been the rule under former Bishop Brian Noble. I hear from friends over there that the absurdity we had to endure every week is at an end. I used to call it “the Latin Mass Travelling Roadshow,” because the only Extraordinary Form Mass Bishop Noble had allowed in the diocese was required to be in a different, out-of-the-way parish, usually in some unreachable spot in North Wales, every week. I am told there is now a parish set aside for it in Shrewsbury itself, and it is carrying on weekly in Chester, closer to home. The greying hippies in the priest councils don’t like it, but the demand won’t be quashed. (Though Lord knows they tried!)
Those who question the connection perhaps won’t know the rule of thumb for pro-life Catholics: the more friendly the bishop is to the ancient liturgical traditions of the Church, the more pro-life he is likely to be. And vice/versa, of course.
We know and love Bishop Davies at LSN for his recent comments that the WWII Holocaust should lead to “profound reflection” on the currently sanctioned genocides going on in our midst – the kind of remarks that commonly generate howls of outrage in the press, and a lot of embarrassed back-peddling and distancing from other prelates.
Pope Benedict XVI is 85, and doing well, but it is inevitable that people in Rome are talking about who might be next. It’s something of a local sport. Friends here give a lot of dinner parties, and we always have a toast to the pope: “To the Holy Father, may he live to be 150,” someone will inevitably start. This is normally followed by someone in the back shouting “…and outlive all his Cardinals”.
Speculation abounds not only on who his successor might be, but how much more will need to be done, should that gentleman be inclined to further our Holy Father’s project of reform after he is resting from his labours in St. Peter’s. But maybe, and here I am going out on a limb, there are signs that the ice has started to recede in Britain at any rate with Benedict’s recent episcopal appointments. The Magic Circle can’t last forever, and if the rumors are true about the mindset of our current crop of seminarians (purportedly very Benedictine), their agenda will die and be buried with them.
Suddenly, I am thinking of an exchange between the White Witch and her dwarf servant: “This is no thaw, Your Majesty, this is spring! This is Aslan’s doing.”
Is it too early to hope?