Thursday, July 31, 2008

Orwellian society update: Ireland condemned by UN “human rights” commission


Because Ireland practices torture and genocide?

No, actually. Because abortion on tap is not available in Ireland and because this country is full of Catholic schools. From RTÉ:

Govt urged to amend human rights policies

Thursday, 24 July 2008 21:52

The UN human rights committee has called on Ireland to moderate abortion laws and to open up the Catholic primary school system to secular education.

The strictures were issued in summary observations by the committee on a report presented by the Government earlier this month on how they were carrying out obligations under the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

In comments on the report, it said the Government 'should take measures to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies so that they do not have to resort to illegal or unsafe abortions'.

It also expressed concern 'that the vast majority of Ireland's primary schools are privately-run denominational schools' with religion integrated into the curriculum, 'thus depriving many parents and children who so wish to have access to secular primary education'.

The committee said the Government should amend the Constitution to drop a compulsory religious oath for judges and allow them to make a non-religious declaration instead.

So much for the sovereignty of nations. These nazis will never rest until the entire world conforms to their twisted ideology. Is it not passing ironic that this so-called “human rights commission” should be a zealous promoter of abortion? What more despicable violation of human rights is there, than abortion? For if one does not have at the very least a right to life, one has no business claiming any other rights. Further comment is surely unnecessary.

But that was not all. The story goes on:

In separate comment, the nine-member body, composed of legal experts from a range of countries, said Britain should ease back on tough 'anti-terror' measures and take firm action to combat "negative public attitudes" towards Muslims.

Dhimwits of the year 2008, say I. The Islamofascists can call upon the services of no idiots more useful than these craven lunatics.

RTÉ suppresses politically-incorrect results of abortion poll

Communist: Comrade, you are oppressed!

Working man: What? No I’m not.

Communist: But you are! I am sure of this because I’ve read my political theory and you haven’t! Now stand back and I will liberate you!

Working man: Huh?

Communist: If you deny the truth, comrade, you must be a counter-revolutionary! If you’re not for us, that means you’re against us!

* * *

Earlier this week, Melancholicus linked to a poll on the RTÉ website which asked viewers whether it were time to overturn Ireland’s abortion laws. Melancholicus recommended his readers visit the site and vote No.

He had already done so himself, at which point most respondents were clearly in favour of NOT overturning this country’s prohibition on abortion—an encouraging result for anyone concerned to defend the lives of the unborn against the state-sanctioned slaughter that is legalised abortion.

Today Melancholicus was back on the RTÉ website, looking for coverage of an unrelated matter. While he was there, he noticed that the interactive poll on abortion laws had been replaced by one on property prices. Assuming the abortion poll to be now closed and interested in seeing the final result, he went to the poll archive page. There he found the results of a great many previous polls, even going back as far as March 2007, but this week’s abortion poll result was nowhere to be found.

What can we conclude, except that the final result of the poll displeased some pro-choice zealot at RTÉ and as most of those who voted were clearly in favour of maintaining Ireland’s ban on abortion, the result was quietly suppressed?

Those who run our media are all for public opinion when said opinion happens to coincide with their own, and they trumpet this agreement loudly in their newspapers, on the television and on their websites. They are all for democracy when it gives them the result they want. But when the public manifests a view that contradicts some aspect of politically-correct leftist orthodoxy, our dissent must be hushed, suppressed and swept under the carpet.

Is that what has happened in this instance?

It would be too much of a coincidence to think otherwise.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cast your vote

A poll currently being conducted by the national broadcaster RTÉ asks whether it is “time to overturn Ireland’s abortion ban”.

Go here and vote No while there is still time!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Some further thoughts on liturgical revision

The attempts by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship to arrive at an English rendering of the Novus Ordo that is actually an accurate translation of the Latin rather than an ideologically-rooted free paraphrase are certainly commendable, but to Melancholicus such efforts feel like trying to keep the Titanic afloat by bailing with a teaspoon.

If one is going to tinker with the New Mass at all, one should take a look at its several problems and correct the most glaring of them in one fell swoop. But Melancholicus supposes that the Holy See, following the time-honoured practice of the most successful liturgical revisers, wishes to proceed with this project slowly and piecemeal, lest Jesuits and other hippies be incited into open revolt by the sudden proscription of the banal and horizontal community love-fest that is their interpretation of the current ordo.

Definitive judgement must of course be reserved until we have seen the final, definitive text, but so far, judging especially from the favourable reports given it by certain trustworthy members of the clergy, the revised ordinary seems to be a vast improvement upon the original of 1970.

Two pertinent criticisms, though: the first of these is really outside the remit of translators, since Melancholicus is now talking about making adjustments to the Latin editio typica. This, of course, is beyond the competence of ICEL to arrange. But I notice we are still stuck with the exceedingly banal adaptation of a Jewish grace before meals that passes for an offertory in the new rite. No amount of accurate translation will repair a text which is likewise deficient in the original Latin; it has to be replaced instead. Perhaps this will be done at some point in the future, but as it is more than a simple matter of translation, we shall say no more about it here.

A second criticism, though, is within the remit of ICEL, and Melancholicus is disappointed that the committee has not seen fit (or has not been permitted?) to take a leaf out of the book of our Anglican cousins, for in the revised rite no provision whatever is made for the use of traditional language in the liturgy. The new version is certainly more elegant than its earlier incarnation, but almighty God is still addressed as you throughout, never as thou, except in the Our Father, a prayer which every practicing Catholic knows by heart—at least one hopes that some standardising zealot will not try to impose a “modern” version of the Lord’s prayer upon us, which would be absolutely intolerable.

An option for what the Anglicans call “traditional language” would go a long way towards creating a style of solemn, hieratic, liturgical English—which we completely lack in the Roman Catholic Church—and which could be used alongside the more pedestrian vernacular, with some Masses celebrated in English, and some in vernacular. The faithful could fulfil their Sunday obligations at one or the other, at their preference or convenience. Melancholicus thinks this an excellent idea, at least in principle—but he suspects that bishop Trautperson and his fellow travellers would suffer apoplexy at the prospect of Masses being said in liturgical English in their backyard.

*ENDNOTE: Melancholicus has seen what purports to be a copy of the proposed text of the “New New Mass”. In any case, he reckons this must be a now obsolete working draft at a much earlier stage of development, especially since the mistranslation of pro multis—which is supposed to have been amended if the reports are correct—is still present in its rendering of each of the four eucharistic prayers. Can anyone reading this vouch authoritatively for this document or the website on which it appears?

A new translation for the New Mass

From Catholic World News:

Vatican approves new English translation for Mass

Vatican, Jul. 25, 2008 ( - The Vatican has given formal approval to a new English translation of the central prayers of the Mass for use in the United States.

In a June 23 letter of Bishop Arthur Serratelli, the chairman of the US bishops' liturgy committee, the Congregation for Divine Worship announces its recognitio for the translation, which had already won the approval of the US bishops' conference, despite strong protests from some liberal prelates.

The new translation adheres more closely to the Latin of the Roman Missal. Since the 2001 publication of Liturgiam Authenticam, the instruction on the proper translation of liturgical texts, the Vatican has pressed for more faithful translations of the official Latin texts.

Alluding gently to the fierce debates over English-language liturgical translations in the past decade, the Congregation for Divine Worship reports "no little satisfaction in arriving at this juncture." The letter from the Vatican is signed by Cardinal Francis Arinze (bio - news) and Archbishop Albert Malcom Ranjith, the prefect and secretary, respectively, of the Congregation.

The Vatican's binding approval covers only a portion of the entire Roman Missal. The entire process of translating the Roman Missal is expected to take at least until 2010. However, the prayers given the Vatican recognitio are the most common texts for the Order of the Mass.

The Vatican approval comes just after the US bishops' conference voted against approval of another installment in the series of translations that will be required to complete the overall project.

The new translation is not to be used immediately, the Vatican letter indicates. Instead the US bishops are directed to begin "pastoral preparation" for the changes in the language of the Mass. During this same period, the Congregation for Divine Worship notes, some musical settings for the text could be prepared.

Among the noteworthy changes that Catholics will notice when the new translation goes into effect are:

  • At the Consecration, the priest will refer to Christ's blood which is "poured out for you and for many"-- an accurate translation of pro multis-- rather than "for all" in the current translation.

  • In the Nicene Creed the opening word, Credo, will be correctly translated as "I believe" rather than "we believe".

  • When the priest says, "The Lord be with you," the faithful respond, "And with your spirit," rather than simply, "And also with you".

  • In the Eucharistic prayer, references to the Church will use the pronouns "she" and "her" rather than "it".

  • In the Agnus Dei, the text cites the "Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world," rather than using the singular word "sin".

  • In the preferred form of the penitential rite, the faithful will acknowledge that they have sinned "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault".

Throughout the translation of the Offertory and Eucharistic Prayer, the traditional phrases of supplication are restored, and the Church is identified as "holy"-- in each case, matching the Latin original of the Roman Missal.

This is, strictly speaking, good news, but Melancholicus finds himself unable to summon up even a modicum of enthusiasm for it.

In broad agreement with the words of a tired commentator over at the New Liturgical Movement, we might say these developments are (however positive), “too little, too late”.

It’s like a band-aid trying to cover an open and gushing wound. Like tackling a forest fire with a water pistol. Or better yet, like bolting the stable door after the horse has fled.

It is of course refreshing to see that the tendentious mistranslation of pro multis—which has exercised the spleen of many a trad at least since 1969—will now finally be corrected. Has it really taken them forty years?

But there remain so many other problems and difficulties lodged within the new rite that Melancholicus seriously doubts that it will ever be fixed—at least in the limited time left before there is no-one going to Mass any more.

The Novus Ordo—at least in its current incarnation of 1970s ICELese—is intimately familiar to those who attend it, week after week, Sunday after Sunday. They have absorbed and internalised its language, its rhythms, its outlook (and as a consequence they are no longer Catholic, but that’s a story for another day). They know it forwards, and backwards, and inside out. To start making changes—yet more changes!—will serve only to confuse and upset the faithful who have grown accustomed to the current order. This is a criticism made vociferously and repeatedly by bishop Trautperson of the Erie diocese. Now this same Trautperson (or Trautperdaughter, or whatever his inclusiveness wishes to be called) may be a screaming Amchurch liberal, but Melancholicus must admit that in this instance, he has a point. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

The fact is that even if the celebrant sticks scrupulously to the text of the revised ordinary, congregational responses such as “and also with you” may turn out to be wellnigh impossible to suppress. The current incorrect ICELese is simply too deeply rooted in the consciousness of Mass-goers. Some more liturgically-aware (or slavishly obedient) persons may embrace the new form, but the rest will continue to mumble “and also with you”, even if only out of habit. A case-study should bear this out. Back around 1968, when Irish Catholics were adjusting to the vernacular Mass for the first time, the approved translation of Habemus ad Dominum was “we raise them up to the Lord”. In the official ICELese promulgated in 1970, this text was changed to “we lift them up to the Lord”. But Irish Catholics in the pews failed to make the ICEL-mandated transition once they had accustomed themselves to the original translation, and in Ireland to this very day when the priest says Lift up your hearts we respond we raise them up to the Lord.

This and similar congregational responses are likely to remain stubbornly in use despite the best efforts of lawful authority to correct them. Such is the power of habit and custom—and the power, also, of the vernacular.

Instead of trying to fix the deficient ICELese we have been sufficiently unfortunate to inherit from the groovin’, jivin’ and swingin’ decades, we should treat this, rather, as an opportune moment for starting to sneak bits of Latin back into the new rite. Extemporising entire prayers and gratuitous departures from the text of the missal are commonplace wherever the Novus Ordo is celebrated. These abuses are facilitated by the Mass being said in vernacular. How many celebrants and liturgists could be so “creative” if they were required to compose their nonsense in Latin? Similarly with congregational responses—we have no hope of replacing the vernacular “and also with you” with the vernacular “and with your spirit”, so why not simply go back to Dominus Vobiscum / Et cum spiritu tuo in Latin? Everyone either already knows—or can very quickly learn—the proper Latin response et cum spiritu tuo. By constrast, nobody knows the Latin for “and also with you”.

And now after all that, what point is there in Melancholicus trying to make this reasoned argument? The foolish boy. Doesn’t he realise that the Novus Ordo changes all the time, even the words used in its celebration, at the whims of the celebrant and whoever else happens to have a speaking part? And that it is fair to say that most Catholics in the pews either do not notice these aberrations, or are not disturbed by them?

So what is the point, even, of trying to fix the many infirmities of the Novus Ordo? Is it not better to let it die a natural death?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Religion of Peace update: Qur’anic protection racket in the Philippines

From Catholic World News:

"Muslim warriors" threaten bishop in Philippines

Manila, Jul. 24, 2008 (CNA/ - A Catholic bishop in the southern Philippines’ Basilan province has received a letter from self-described “Muslim warriors,” possibly linked to Abu Sayyaf, who are threatening him with harm if he does not convert to Islam or pay “Islamic taxes.”

Further, authorities are seeking the return of three adults and two children, all Catholics, who were kidnapped in the same area this week.

On July 19 Bishop Martin Jumoad of Isabela sent a copy of the threatening letter to Church-run Radio Veritas in Quezon City, UCA News reports. Bishop Jumoad told UCA News that a student at Claret College in Isabela was told to give the letter to the school secretary who could pass it along to the bishop.

The writers of the letter claimed to be “Muslim warriors” who “don't follow any laws other than the Qur'an.” They say the bishop should convert to Islam or pay the Islamic tax, called a jizya, to their group in exchange for protecting him “in the place of Muslims.” If the bishop refuses, the letter threatened, “force, weapons or war may be used” against him. Citing bombings in other Philippines cities, the letter said he should not feel safe even if protected by soldiers.

Bishop Jumoad was given two mobile cell phone numbers and told he had fifteen days to respond. The letter bore the two names “Puruji Indama” and “Nur Hassan J. Kallitut,” both of whom were titled “Mujahiddin.” The letter was accompanied by a letterhead in the local dialect that said “Al-Harakatul Islamiyya.” The bishop said he has seen the phrase “Al-Harakatul” in kidnapping incidents in Basilan involving the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf. He also reported that other Catholics have said they are receiving threatening letters. “Bishop, we are disoriented and we cannot sleep. What is our reaction to this?" they have reportedly said.

On July 21 the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’’ CBCP News reported that three adults and two children who are members of a parish in Basilan had been kidnapped from a public jeep. Provincial administrator Talib A. Barahim on Tuesday told UCA News that no one has reported receiving a ransom demand.

Muslims who commit violence were rebuked at a joint conference between Catholic bishops and Muslim scholars on Monday in Manila, where Hamid Barra, the Muslim convener of the conference, underlined Islamic belief in the sacredness of life.

“It is God who gave life; he is the only one authorized to take life,” he said.

Barra, an Islamic law expert, explained that non-Muslims protected by an Islamic state are required to pay the jizya tax, which is used to support the needy, but no such payment is required in a non-Islamic state.

As these events are taking place in the far-off Philippines, an exotic foreign land which Melancholicus (and presumably most of his readers) has never visited, we tend to read these stories, frown disapprovingly, perhaps say a prayer for the unfortunate victims, and then forget all about it.

But how long, gentle reader, before similar events begin taking place in western countries? There are already places much closer to home in which hot-headed fanatics and Qur’anic bullyboys feel themselves entitled to behave whatever way they want towards the indigenous inhabitants without fear of rebuke from the law—or if the law gets too close for their liking, they look forward to the day in which they can overturn western democracies and install their hideous sharia.

These fanatics cannot be reasoned with, and they are no respectors of persons, property, laws or custom; there is only one language that they understand. The west keeps making the mistake that these people think as we do, that their reasoning processes and our reasoning processes are identical. Not so. With them there is no such thing as human rights or human dignity, never mind religious liberty. Whatever they find in their Qur’an—or think they find in their Qur’an—is used as an excuse which justifies all kinds of inhuman and criminal behaviour.

Under Islam, as under Communism, there is no “opt-out” clause exempting non-Muslims from the dreary yet violent Orwellian society these savages would impose upon us if we let them. It has happened in parts of Nigeria, and in parts of the Philippines also. Sharia is already clandestinely practiced in Britain, and the situation has become so grave that sections of the British government are giving serious consideration to recognising ‘aspects’ of sharia in British life. More fool they if they do.

Notice that at the conference in Manila referred to at the end of the story, the Mahometans wheel out one Hamid Barra, a “moderate”, who obligingly wrings his hands and deplores the violence, cocksure that all us dhimmis will be reassured that Islam really is a religion of peace after all, and that its violence is an aberration.

Melancholicus is not impressed by these “moderates”. In his eyes they are just as guilty as the terrorists for whom they make excuses.

Why do they not condemn the Islamofascists? Why do they do nothing to stop them?

It is because they too are Islamofascists. They are in agreement with the aims of the extremists. They are just more subtle regarding the means whereby those aims are to be achieved.

The difference is only in degree, not in kind.

Ecce homo

This professor of biology at the University of Minnesota Morris has garnered to himself notoriety after claiming to have desecrated a consecrated host by piercing it with a rusty nail and afterwards casting it into a waste basket along with old coffee grinds, a banana peel, and a few torn pages ripped from the Qur’an and from Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion.

One should think that an intellectual person over the age of fifty holding a professorship at a distinguished university would be, well ... more mature than to stoop to such juvenilia. As Jimmy Akin argues—and Melancholicus is in perfect agreement—this man has fundamentally compromised himself as an educator, and has made himself unsuitable for employment as an educator.

How he obtained possession of the host is not known. Of course it must be borne in mind that there is no proof this egregious stunt actually took place beyond what the fellow claims on his webpage. For all we know to the contrary, he might just be having a laugh at the expense of the righteous working themselves into hysteria at the prospect of such a sacrilege.

But supposing the reports are true ... Mr. Myers apparently didn’t stop at the Blessed Sacrament, but included the Qur’an and Richard Dawkins in his little party piece. Consistency, I suppose, arising from his dictum that “nothing must be held sacred”, not even Richard.

Nothing must be held sacred? As the Waffler wryly observes, “I can't help wondering what Prof. Myers reaction would be if someone dug up, say, his mother's corpse and used it for a hatstand”.

As we might expect, Mr. Myers will not suffer any negative repercussions from having desecrated the Blessed Sacrament, at least not in this world. He will retain his job, and life will go on much as before. He might not even suffer consequences in the next world, for if the fellow truly believes in his heart of hearts that there was nothing remarkable about the host he desecrated, that it was simply, as he put it, a “cracker”, he cannot be guilty of sacrilege, at least not formally. The Lord Jesus Himself said of His tormentors, even as they crucified Him, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” The outrage of the faithful will cool, and the incident will be forgotten.

But will it? The outrage of the Catholic faithful will cool, certainly. But let us remind ourselves that Mr. Myers also dishonoured a copy of the Qur’an, and the kind of faithful who put their trust in that particular book are seldom disposed either to forgive, or forget.

Well with that he’s surely sealed his fate. Let the Mahometans kill him.

Humanae Vitae at 40

Forty years ago on this day Pope Paul VI issued what really ought to have been a pretty unremarkable encyclical letter, all things considered: Humanae Vitae, on the transmission of human life and on sexual ethics within marriage.

Unremarkable because Humanae Vitae contained nothing new. Its teaching ought not to have been a surprise to anyone endowed with a Catholic sense of things. Pius XI had already condemned contraception and the contraceptive mentality in Casti Connubi (1931), as a response to the Anglican bishops’ approval of contraception at the Lambeth conference of the previous year. What could be more natural, therefore, than that Pope Paul should uphold the constant teaching of the Catholic Church on married life and human sexuality? This is what he did, and his reiteration of the Church’s constant teaching was greeted by howls of protest and dissent, not only by the secular world but even by priests, religious, theologians and even bishops.

1968 has been described by some as the year in which the Church fell apart. Anne Roche Muggeridge in her book The Desolate City, refers to Humanae Vitae as the triggering incident which allowed the revolution within the Church to emerge full-blown into the open, and openly to defy the authority of the Pope, the Holy See, Canon Law, and indeed the entire doctrinal and liturgical tradition of the Church across two thousand years.

Forty years later the revolutionaries are still in a state of defiance and open revolt—a state which some of them still describe, even today, as “loyal dissent”, an oxymoron if ever there was one. But today they are less confident, less sure of themselves, less convinced that the future belongs to them and to their fellow secularizers within the Church. For forty years on, as one might expect, they have aged considerably; they have not achieved the overthrow of Catholicism, for which they strove; and most ominously of all for their hopes of success, they have inspired none to follow in their footsteps and take up the cudgels in defence of peace, love and rock ’n’ roll once they have retired or passed on. They look—and sound—like relics of the groovy ’sixties and ’seventies, outdated tie-dyed hippies still tripping on the spirit of Vatican II (or should that be the spirit of Woodstock?). They are so completely contemptible that no one today—not even those thoughtless youth most in agreement with their heresies—wants anything to do with them at all.

Of course the most infuriating thing about the dissidents’ revolt against Humanae Vitae is that—as in every other area in which they have challenged Church teaching—the dissidents are quite simply wrong. They have backed the wrong horse—one that will not even pass the post, never mind win the race. Contraception is NOT a good thing. While it might at times be convenient for individuals, it is ruinous for society. There is not one country in the entire European Union—apart perhaps from Malta—which is producing sufficient children to replenish its population. This means that population is falling across the EU. The birth rate must be at least 2.2 children per woman if a given population is to be sustained. This is what is known as the “replacement level”. No EU state—and certainly not Ireland, which has embraced the contraceptive culture with gusto—has a birth rate anywhere near replacement level. Some states—Germany, Italy, Spain and Greece, for instance—have birth rates so alarmingly low that these countries will assuredly experience dire economic and social problems in a generation or two.

A low birth-rate spells disaster for society. It always means more older people and fewer young. As the population ages, and begins to retire from the labour force, there will be fewer younger people available to meet the demand for workers and to keep the economy moving. Fewer workers means the state has a much reduced tax revenue—but not reduced costs, since there are now disproportionately large numbers of older people requiring pensions and expensive medical care. At a certain point, in order to avert the unsavoury prospect of an unsustainably large proportion of society being dependent on the support of an insufficient few, the state will begin to take certain measures. Old or chronically ill people requiring constant and costly care, will be required to be “put to sleep”. Able-bodied elderly people will not be permitted to retire at 65, but be required to remain at work for several years more. And the deficit in the working population will be further relieved by importing young immigrants from the third world, not a few of which will profess the religion of Islam. These latter, of course, will have more than 2.2 children per woman, not having embraced the contraceptive culture that has already sounded the death-knell of the west. Over time, the proportion of Muslims in the population will steadily increase—as it is in France, Britain and the Netherlands—with further chaos and destabilisation the only result of such a process.

We are already seeing and living through the endgame of the contraceptive mentality in so many different countries in the west; but will anyone sit up and take notice? Or are we now too firmly attached to playing God with our marriages, and with our children?

When one practices contraception, especially if one is aware of the Church’s teaching on the matter, one does not please God; one pleases oneself. To persevere with one’s own will against the holy will of God is always—in whatever matter—to invite catastrophe. Those who in the ’seventies, ’eighties, ’nineties and today took it upon themselves to have but a single child—or even no child at all—are precisely the same generation that will most feel the pain when the looming demographic crisis finally hits home. They themselves will be euthanised for purely pragmatic reasons by the same offspring they raised to be godless and secular, under the same laws permitting abortion and euthanasia for which they will have striven so hard to keep on the statute books. As all historical precedent has shown, wherever contraception is approved and practiced, the legalisation of abortion is sure to follow. For abortion is in the final analysis simply an extension of contraception, one that seeks to remove a conception rather than merely prevent it in the first place. For if one can in so cavalier a fashion interfere with human life at its very beginnings, why not also at its end?

Pope Paul was prescient. Humanae Vitae is the true teaching of the Catholic Church and may not be gainsaid without consequences, either in this world or the next. Defy it at your peril.

You have been warned.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Just a note to say I'm still alive

To my few faithful readers that have persevered in visiting this blog over the last three weeks in the hope of finding some fresh posts for their entertainment, all I can say is ... sorry.

I have rather a lot on my mind at present, and this has rendered me somewhat uncommunicative and less inclined to post.

This is unfortunate, since there are so many fascinating things going on in both Church and State at the present time, not to mention the catastrophe now snowballing through the Anglican Communion ... but personal circumstances being what they are, I am preoccupied and unable to reflect on anything else except that which preoccupies me.

I am meeting my beautiful fiancée this evening—she is in Ireland at present—and she will doubtless notice how preoccupied I am and invite me to explain.

So concerned souls may like to offer a prayer. Or two. Or whatever. In any case, normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. For regardless of personal circumstances, life—and Infelix Ego—must go on.

Faithfully yours,

Infelix ego, Melancholicus, peccator

Monday, July 07, 2008

Accidents and the holy eucharist

Sometimes they happen. It’s a fallen world.

Melancholicus has read of instances of hosts being found, unaccountably, on the floors of churches, between the pages of missalettes, under pews, or even—what sacrilege—in the trash.

These last, especially if the sacred host winds up in the trash, cannot reasonably be described as accidental.

Melancholicus remembers seeing a parish priest doling out holy communion at Sunday Mass, and not even noticing that a host had slipped to the floor at his feet. Fortunately, a young woman waiting in line had noticed, and picked the host up and returned it to him. He replaced it in the ciborium and went on doling out communion. None of the traditional rites of purification prescribed in the case of a host that falls was followed in this instance, but to be fair, these rites are no longer mandated by liturgical law.

It is really quite amazing. No wonder so many Catholics regard the Blessed Sacrament as no more than a wafer, when they see it treated with such casual regard even by their priests.

Back in his pew after communion, Melancholicus tarried in the church when Mass had ended, as is his wont, offering his private prayers up to the Lord. He loves the silence of the church after Mass when the last members of the congregation have departed. Sometimes he shares the quiet of the church in these moments with the cleaning lady, who potters about the sanctuary and dusts the statues and shrines when the lights have been switched off. This particular Sunday, the cleaning lady was moving about the pews with a brush, sweeping the floor. Melancholicus was reciting his office.

The sweeping drew nearer and nearer, until the cleaning lady was practically only a pew in front of Melancholicus, whereat he noticed her bending down and retrieving an object from the church floor. It was round, white, flat and about the breadth of a €2 coin.

It was, of course, a sacred host.

We looked at one another in startled amazement. She did the only thing she could do; she received as reverently as she could, under the circumstances. Melancholicus was upset, this being his first encounter in the real world with the Blessed Sacrament thus carelessly discarded. He closed his breviary and made some prayers of reparation, but was so filled with distress and repugnance that he could not stay in the church but rose almost at once to leave. In the church porch he addressed the cleaning lady.

“Do you often find hosts on the floor of the church?”

“Every now and then,” was her reply. “Sometimes it’s children, and of course it’s because of communion in the hand, but you really don’t know what some people are up to.”

She really hit the nail on the head. The shoddy catechesis which prevails in our schools has ensured that Catholic children grow up without the slightest knowledge of what the eucharist really is. Dare we be surprised if such children then discard the host in the strange places it has turned up ever since the whole liturgical reform debacle was first imposed?

But the most nefarious culprit in these desecrations is the abominable practice of communion in the hand, which continues to be permitted in practically every diocese, despite the accumulating mountain of evidence that it has greatly facilitated countless sacrileges as well as an incomparable loss of faith among churchgoing Catholics.

Consider this a plea, gentle reader, for the restoration of the traditional method of receiving holy communion, with the reverence and decorum attached thereto. If you are a Catholic, and are not already doing so, please consider refraining from receiving the host in your hand. Please insist only on receiving on the tongue, even when this is difficult, or an occasion of inconvenience. Please insist on receiving only from the hands of a priest; leave the so-called ‘extraordinary ministers’ well alone. If you are yourself an ‘extraordinary minister’, please desist from being so immediately, no matter how fulfilled, spiritual or useful your function may make you feel. Please take care to educate your children properly on the truth about the blessed eucharist; don’t leave it to their school—their school won’t deliver. Please offer up whatever difficulties and inconveniences you may experience as a result of putting these recommendations into practice in reparation for outrages and sacrileges committed against the most holy sacrament of the altar. If more and more people insist on the traditional method of communicating, their example will influence others, and little by little the execrable practice of communion in the hand will die out.

As communion in the hand dies out, sacrileges against the blessed eucharist will become less frequent, for the two are inextricably connected.