Thursday, April 30, 2009

Welcome to the free market my friends

Melancholicus rather likes the nickname, namely The Suppository, coined by Mulier Fortis for that formerly Catholic journal The Tablet. Hence he shall start using it himself.

A few weeks back The Suppository featured an editorial which blazed indignantly against Catholic bloggers who, for some clearly malicious reason, seem to take a position diametrically opposed to that peddled by The Suppository itself. That piece was dealt with so ably and in so witty a fashion by so many Catholic bloggers that there is no need for Melancholicus to add his own ingredients to the stew. Instead he shall content himself with an observation.

What the staff of The Suppository are really upset about is not that ‘right wing’ bloggers have been having a go at them. No, for even liberals have a thicker skin than that. What upsets them runs much deeper and in its effects is much more profound than a mere fisking here and there.

The root of their distress is that with the spread of the internet and the proliferation of blogs representing what thousands of ordinary Catholics, both clerical and lay, really think about what’s going on in the Church, they have lost their control over the channels of Catholic communications. They are no longer able to set the agenda. Their own is no longer the only voice being heard. They are no longer able to confine public discussion to the fashionable left-wing causes of interest to themselves and their fellow travellers. Now they have to compete and, if they are to survive, they will have to do their work properly. It will no longer suffice to say what they like and have their diktat taken as the final word. Google has on a number of occasions already seen to it that they have been caught out in their spin-doctoring, their half-truths, and their outright lies.

Now they are immersed in the free market of ideas, and the buffets and billows of those waters are not to their liking. In order to win sympathy for themselves, they used to whinge and complain about the oppression under which free-thinkers like themselves were subject by the grey old men in the Vatican who were opposed to liberty, to freedom and to change. However, the recent growth of a samizdat press, thanks in large part to the internet, has turned this picture on its head. They are unmasked, finally, not as the brave champions of liberty struggling against authoritarianism, but as part of the propaganda ministry of a cabal of liberal bishops and revolutionaries long ensconced in power, the mouthpiece of a regime as arbitrary and authoritarian as they sought to portray the Magisterium of the Church, and far from being courageous freedom fighters, they are revealed as a tool of establishment power and control.

Small wonder they should feel uncomfortable and turn their anger against the light now shining on their darkest deeds.

The only channels of information on Church news once available to the average Catholic in England and Wales was the established Catholic press, and periodicals such as The Suppository, as well as occasional coverage in relentlessly hostile secular sources. With a singular exception, all of these portrayed events, persons and even defined Church teaching from a slanted and dissenting perspective. The Catholic faithful, appalled at the heresy being published weekly in these so-called ‘Catholic’ sources, likewise appalled at the audacity of those who published such heresy, were often denied so much as a right of reply. True, one could write a letter of complaint to such and such a newspaper or periodical. But would they publish it? The editors of these publications could exercise supreme control over what was selected for publication, with the result that their journals became vehicles for dissent. The Suppository is to this day still such a vehicle, as are many similar rags in Ireland—The Furrow, for instance, to name but one—but they no longer exercise a monopoly over the channels of communication. Their readership is falling, a new generation of Catholics has arisen who no longer unquestioningly toe the revolutionary line, and alternative platforms are now cheaply and easily available for the dissemination of alternative views.

And the old guard, hysterically reciting their satanic verses in shriller and shriller tones, are afraid.

It is natural they should be afraid, for defeat looms on the horizon.

The BBC on the first hundred days

Yesterday marked the 100th day in office of US President Barack Hussein Obama.

The celebration of this sacred festival was reported in a variety of media and without exception all coverage of Obama’s first hundred days was overwhelmingly positive. It was astounding to listen to the effusive, jaw-dropping panegyrics.

RTÉ Radio 1 featured an American commentator—Democrat, naturally—whose smooth, slick and syrupy tribute to the wonders of the presidency thus far was lapped up eagerly and uncritically by the presenters. The only negative notes allowed to ruffle the waters were found in passing references to the inevitable ‘far right’ and that favourite bugbear of leftist journalism, the ‘religious (i.e. Christian) right’.

But BBC Radio 4’s World Tonight programme, presented by Robin Lustig, went further than RTÉ in attributing a voice and a human face to those perfidious opponents of the Chosen One. The effect, of course, was to make them look ridiculous—which was surely the purpose of such coverage to begin with. In search of fruitful propaganda, the reporter, one Kevin Connolly, betook himself to the American mid-west, specifically to the state of Oklahoma, where he hoped to obtain a collection of suitably dotty soundbites from a collection of suitably dotty individuals, which would then be passed off by the BBC as representative of conservative American opinion at large. The premise: that opponents of Obama are unbalanced, uneducated, prejudiced, fundamentalist evangelical rapture-type rednecks who stubbornly refuse to render the great man his due adulation for a variety of specious reasons that no sane rational person could possibly take seriously. They are also, naturally, racist and ‘homophobic’. The BBC doesn’t have to say this, of course. The beauty of this propaganda coup is that the selected interviewees make such an arse of themselves denouncing the President that one feels positively embarrassed listening to them. One may safely assume that anyone expressing a more moderate view, or opposition to Obama on more specific and tangible grounds, would have been carefully edited out so as not to spoil the picture.

We do not exaggerate. For those who may have missed it, or who are so nauseated by the shameless bias of the contemporary BBC that they cannot bring themselves ever to listen to anything broadcast by that organ, here is the source. The anti-anti-Obama propaganda starts at approximately 39 minutes in.

Listen particularly to the group of “Bible-believing Oklahoman ladies who lunch” after 40:50 to get the kind of score the BBC was really after. The reporter’s caveat that one “wouldn’t wish to meet more hospitable, warmer people anywhere” is merely a disarming remark and nothing more.

It’s all really rather insulting to the good people of Oklahoma, as well as to the millions who voted either for John McCain or for another candidate, to suggest that opposition to Barack Hussein is based only on this kind of stuff.

Bravo comrades at the BBC, you’re doing your work well!

The 'Mass presenter', part the second

A fortnight ago Melancholicus dreamed a ‘liturgical’ dream—a nightmare actually—the particulars of which are described in the post immediately preceding this one.

After recounting the gory details, he remarked that the good news is that it was only a dream.

The bad news, however, is that it has doubtless happened for real in some God-forsaken hell-hole of a parish in the wasteland of the conciliar church.

Confirmation of that grim remark was not long in coming. For now Melancholicus has stumbled upon this atrocity, related for us by Fr. Ray Blake.

A whole coterie of Mass presenters, engaged in an invalid and sacrilegious simulation of the holy sacrifice.

So outrageous is this incident that not a few of those who posted comments on Fr. Blake’s post are convinced it is a hoax.

Melancholicus would like to think that this is indeed a hoax, but such is the wretched state of the Church in our time and the profound ignorance of the holiest things one finds even among those few who still practice, that one cannot be sure.

We await further news regarding this sordid affair.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The 'Mass presenter'

Driving back to Dublin one recent Sunday evening, I chanced to pass through the place where I grew up, a coastal town in north county Wicklow.

Not yet having satisfied my Sunday obligation, I intended to hear Mass in the parish church before continuing my journey. This would be something of a homecoming for me, since this was the church with which my earliest memories of the Catholic religion are associated, the stained glass windows of which have always captivated me, in which I had made my first confession, received my first holy communion and had been confirmed. It is also the church in which, in 1997, I resumed the practice of my religion after my youthful dalliance with secularism.

When I reached the church I was startled to find it shut. On the main door was posted a notice informing the public that the eucharist would instead be celebrated in such and such a place, at such and such a time.

Somewhat out of sorts, I made my way to the appointed place, namely a room in a nearby municipal building, which looked nothing like a suitable setting for a religious service, never mind the holy sacrifice of the Mass. The place was nothing more than a glorified schoolroom, with rows of chairs of the kind normally associated with modern education. There was a plain tiled floor, a tiled ceiling with hissing fluorescent lights, a beige curtain hanging along the length of one wall, and bare brick everywhere else. Think of the interior of any modern public edifice and in your mind’s eye you will see this scene exactly as I encountered it. Naturally there was no sanctuary—and no tabernacle—but in a corner of the room there was a dais on which was set one of those odious little Cranmer tables that are so much in vogue nowadays. Although the table was spread with a white cloth and flanked by the inevitable potted plants, neither candles nor crucifix were anywhere to be seen, nor was there any sign of shrines, statuary, stations of the cross or any other of the usual appointments one expects to see when one goes to attend a Catholic service. Not even the ubiquitous felt banners—so beloved of the Novus Ordinarians and correspondingly detested by Trads—put in any appearance here. The only indication in this room that Mass was about to be celebrated were two bowls on the table, piled high with what were clearly hosts. I say bowls, but they were really only plates, commonplace utensils of the sort from which one would eat one’s toast for breakfast at one’s kitchen table. There was also a carafe, or rather a large glass jug, filled with a pale reddish liquid, presumably some sort of wine.

My dismay in the face of this unpromising prospect was both heartfelt and immediate. At first I was thrown by the sight of the hosts, not knowing in this highly unusual setting whether they were already consecrated or whether they were to be so consecrated in the Mass that was about to begin. But I hesistated to make any sign of reverence, feeling distinctly that there was something very fishy, and indeed unholy, in what was going on here. A few yards down the road there was a perfectly good and indeed beautiful church, where Mass ought to have been celebrated with due solemnity, but this church was closed for no discernibly good reason, and the liturgy transferred instead to a decidedly secular and profane setting. It seems that the majority of the parishioners had already decided that, since they could not attend Mass in the parish church, they would not attend it at all, for as I glanced around the room I saw that there were only a half dozen other persons in attendance, seated in the front row of schoolroom chairs, with what looked like a programme or missalette in their hands. Aside from one elderly man, I was the only male present. The women in attendance were all in their fifties and sixties. The old man never once looked in my direction, but the women all smiled beamingly at me with a syrupy sickliness, reminding me of the facade of false friendliness I have encountered among store clerks, waiting staff and other service personnel in my travels in the United States. Although my senses were now screaming at me to shun this place and leave as quickly as I could, I took a seat a couple of rows back from the others, uneasy, yet curious to see what sort of liturgical atrocity would be played out in front of me.

Mass was about to begin!

Suddenly, from behind the beige curtain, a woman appeared. She was in her forties, short-haired, with hands clasped in an attitude of religiosity. What was most immediately shocking about her appearance was her dress. Although she was clad in one of those full-length, off-white, alb-like smocks tied at the waist with a cincture, it was not that which shocked me. Around her neck, over the alb and passing down beneath the cincture was a long strip of white cloth, camouflaged somewhat by its colour against the background of the alb but clearly visible nonetheless. I did a double take.

It was a stole.

A stole!

It is common in these days of increasing liturgical laicism for the conciliar church to kit out its extraordinary womenesses in those alb-like smocks and even cinctures during the celebration of holy Mass. This may be regarded pushing the envelope, but as it does not trespass egregiously against what pertains to the priesthood, it can be let slide.

But a stole is an entirely different matter. The stole is a uniquely priestly vestment. Not even a deacon may wear his stole in the inverted U-shape with both ends hanging down the front as this woman was doing right before my eyes. Needless to say, no-one who is not in sacred orders (with the singular exception of a mitred abbess) may wear a stole at any time for any reason whatsoever.

I was so shocked I neither moved nor spoke. The woman then proceeded to the dais, stood behind the Cranmer table and addressed the ‘congregation’. She informed us that “Father H. cannot be here this evening, so he has asked me to lead you all in prayer. My name is Barbara, and I am your Mass presenter.”

I remained rooted, immobile. Barbara, our ‘Mass presenter’, began to speak, an overflowing torrent of words, beaming smiles and waving hand gestures, but such was my stupefaction I heard nothing of what she said. When my intelligence began, slowly, to return to me, I noticed there was no book on the table in front of her. Whatever ‘service’ was being performed in front of me, it was wholly extemporised and bore hardly a tittle of resemblance even to the loosest interpretation of the Novus Ordo, at least as I knew it. At a certain point, I think the ‘Mass presenter’ may have read from the Gospel; I am sure I heard her say “The Lord be with you” and my fellow congregants responding enthusiastically. She also preached—naturally—and it seemed that more emphasis was laid on her homily than on anything else thus far, though I cannot quite recall what she preached about. When she finished her histrionics she returned to the Cranmer table—the Creed was not recited—and began elevating the plates of hosts and the jug of wine in what I can only describe as some sort of counterfeit offertory. At this point my senses returned to me completely and I realised with clarity that this was NOT a Mass, it was (at least if the elements on the table had been consecrated beforehand) a mere communion service, that I had no obligation to attend such a thing, and that if the elements on the table were not yet consecrated and the ‘Mass presenter’ were to attempt to ‘consecrate’ them herself, her ‘eucharist’ would actually be an invalid and sacrilegious simulation of a sacrament, and that I should leave immediately.

That is what I did. Rising purposefully from my seat I made a beeline for the exit, so I have no idea what sacrilegious antics the ‘Mass presenter’ got up to in my absence. As I left the building I realised I had forgotten to switch off my cellphone for at that moment I received a noisy text message from my fiancée, which woke me with a start.

The good news is that all of the above was only a dream, a dream which I had just last night.

The bad news is that all of the above has doubtless happened for real in some God-forsaken hell-hole of a parish in the wasteland of the conciliar church.

Incidentally, the ‘Father H.’ referred to by the ‘Mass presenter’ above is a real person. He no longer serves at the parish in question (Deo gratias) but he was a source of much annoyance to the orthodox during his ministry there, and prescinding from the celebration of Mass so a lay woman could have her turn playing priest at the altar is just the sort of thing he would do if he thought he could get away with it. A few years ago I dreamed of him celebrating Mass—in alb and stole, sans chasuble—elevating the host and chalice at the Per ipsum, flanked by women in albs, six on each side, with their hands extended, as though concelebrating. A nightmare, actually.

It was a night of strange dreams. I also dreamed that the university at which I work incarcerated me in my office for three days and nights, not allowing me to leave. This at the behest of an unidentified religious superior of somewhat conciliar inclinations who, having stumbled upon Infelix Ego, did not like what he found there. Whereat I woke up.

Then there was another dream in which I was walking along a street in an unidentified town in rural Ireland. There was a column of monastics from a decidedly ‘progressive’ community processing down the street in the opposite direction. Some of them were in the habit of their order, others in shirts and ragged denims. One particularly obnoxious soul, a mufti-clad middle-aged man with curly black hair was speaking into a tanoy, such that his voice could be heard throughout the village. With brazen arrogance he denied one Catholic doctrine after another—the Virginity of Our Lady, the Divinity of Christ, the Redemption, the Resurrection, Transubstantiation and Holy Orders. His language was the language of a marxist; when not denouncing the faith of our holy mother the Church he spoke of building the earthly utopia of which every socialist dreams. None of his brethren batted an eyelid. I swore at him, denouncing his monologue as “heretical shite”. He ignored me completely, but his voice grew louder as he continued his diatribe. Whereat I woke up.

There were other dreams, but I shall not tax the patience of my readers by recounting them all... what a wondrous thing is the unconscious imagination, which can generate pictures of not only such oddity but clarity and vividness—much more vivid sometimes than that of which one’s waking imagination is capable.

I know there are books and websites which specialise in the interpretation of dreams, and can inform one what it means if one dreams of flying, falling, death, etc.

But is there any such source which can interpret dreams of heretical monks, stealth priestesses and liturgical abuse?

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Melancholicus has spent much of Holy Thursday reading (or rather re-reading) the late Archbishop’s book Open Letter to Confused Catholics.

The Archbishop wrote this work in the 1980s, at a time when the conciliar revolution with all its excesses was going full tilt and there seemed to be no end in sight. It was still a tremendously topical work when Melancholicus first encountered it about the year 2000, and he found it most alarming reading.

Melancholicus first read the Open Letter online, but shortly afterwards obtained his own copy, rushed by special post hot off the presses of St. Mary’s, Kansas City. It was a defining moment, for it was one of those seminal sources which prompted him to try his vocation in the United States with the FSSP rather than risking his soul with his home archdiocese of Dublin.

Today Melancholicus re-read almost the complete text in a single sitting and, as topical as it had seemed when he first read it ten years ago, it left him this time round with the distinct impression he was reading a chronicle of a lost world.

With all due respect to the Archbishop, to whom in fairness Traditionalists everywhere owe so much, there is a great deal in the Open Letter that is now obsolete and dated, almost as dated even as the insane ravings of the modernists the Open Letter condemned over twenty years ago.

Reading through the grim chapters describing post-conciliar madness and seemingly inarrestable decline, Melancholicus was struck by the realization of how many of the front-rank revolutionaries, soi disant theologians and egregious bishops named by the Archbishop are now dead, or at least in senectitude and quiescent retirement. Each passing year thins their ranks still further, and since they have not inspired the generations that came after them to step into their shoes and take up the cudgels in defence of neo-modernism, their precious revolution will die with them.

What a difference has been made by the passage of a mere ten years!

The day after the bomb fell, the city of Hiroshima was unrecognizable, a scorched and flattened wasteland of charred debris. Observers on the scene were astounded at how quickly nature recovered from the shock; within a fortnight, the wasteland was abloom with flowers and green shoots and all manner of growing things.

Life finds a way. It will return even to the sterile wastes of the conciliar church, whereafter the latter will look less and less like the conciliar church and more like the Catholic one.

The conciliar revolutionaries having done their work, we, the orthodox, shall be left with the wreckage. But not only with the wreckage; we still have our faith, and the help of Divine grace, which no revolutionary can ever tear from us. It will be our task to painstakingly rebuild what has been destroyed by the malice and negligence of the last forty years. It will be an immense task. But we shall bear that burden gladly.

When the Lord in His agony on the cross cried out His consummatum est, bowed His head, and gave up the ghost, it seemed to His disciples as though the malice of hell had triumphed, and that evil had won.

But just as the Lord rose again on the third day in His glorified body, so shall He rise again in His mystical body, which is our holy Church. The Church can never be destroyed, and she will never fail, regardless of how many Neros or Diocletians or Muhammads or Luthers or Robespierres or Hitlers or Stalins or Weaklands or Küngs the angel of light may hurl against her.

We have the promise of Our Lord Himself, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

That so much of what the Archbishop said in his Open Letter now belongs to a vanishing past is surely a cause for great hope.

Melancholicus thinks that the Archbishop’s heart would thrill for joy, were he only here to see it for himself.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Where we're at

The past month’s inactivity on Infelix Ego may have given the impression that Melancholicus has given up blogging for Lent.

He hasn’t.

He has been tremendously busy with work, with wedding preparations, with planning his move to the United States and, most recently, with a family crisis for which he earnestly solicits the prayers of his benevolent readers. March has not been an easy month, and April looks to be no kinder.

Please, gentle reader, pray for someone close to me who is being harrassed by her employer. She is really suffering, has lost a lot of weight, has lost her appetite, is unable to sleep properly and is developing health problems as a result. In your charity pray for the persecutor too. It is easy to pray for one’s enemies when one doesn’t really have any, but when such are obnoxiously in one’s face, shoving their inimicitas down one’s very throat, it is difficult indeed to maintain a spirit of Christian charity.

As for the blog... dear blog, I shall update thee before long! But not before next week, for this evening I drive down to county Waterford for a two-day Lenten retreat in a Cistercian monastery, which I was nearly going to cancel on account of what’s going on in my life, but my friend—who is a good deal more than merely my friend—has insisted that I go and use that precious recollected time to pray to God for her. Please join with me in prayer for her intentions.

Yours with grateful thanks,

Infelix ego, Melancholicus, peccator.