Saturday, 28 February 2009

Discovering Ethics I: Introduction (Pinckaers 1995)

This is the first of a probably long series of posts where I will relate my thoughts on works on ethics which I am reading. In this day and age, it is hard to distinguish good, orthodox Christian books on ethics from dissenting ones. There is such confusion as to what constitutes genuine Christian thought, which is why everyone studying this type of subject should consult theologians whom one knows to be solidly orthodox and whom one trusts.

Incidentally, I got Servis Pinckaers OP's book The Sources of Christian Ethics as a present from my mother, who is not Catholic. But I had confirmed by a Priest whom I trust that it was an excellent work. Pinckaers is a member of the Order of Preachers, the Dominican Friars, who have a long tradition of scholarly excellence. Sadly, many of them have lately veered off into speculative non-Christian theology, but Pinckaers places himself squarely in the ancient tradition along with the greatest philosopher of the Middle Ages, St. Thomas Aquinas (also an OP).

Pinckaers' main point, with which I heartily agree, is made clear from the very start: any genuinely Christian view of ethics and morality must be based in the sources of the Christian faith - namely, Holy Scripture and the Church Fathers. This seems self-evident, but, as he shows, the sources have been largely neglected, not only during the past century, but in fact since the late Middle Ages.

I am always wary of theologians who imply that the pre-Vatican II Church went 'off course', as if it had completely misunderstood the message of the Gospel. Such a notion is of course intolerable for a Catholic. Yet Pinckaers is not the first I have seen raise the point that the late Middle Ages saw some unhelpful shifts happen in Catholic theology, and it seems there is something to it. If we look at the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, and further back of St. Augustine and most of the Fathers, they are adamant that the participation of the human intellect with Divine Reason, the source of all existence, is a necessary element of Christian faith. Life as a Christian is "Life in the Holy Spirit", is communion with God. Though we are fallen and sinful human beings, God's grace gives us the ability to overcome sin and become ever more like Him.

But from the late Middle Ages until modern times, moral theologians focused increasingly on the duties and obligations required of the Christian. Pinckaers points out that the need for Priests to determine (especially vis-à-vis Confessions) which actions were sinful and which sins were mortal and which venial (for an understanding of this distinction, read here) led to the drawing up of manuals classifying sins according to their nature, and listing moral obligations imperative upon Christians. These were intended for the formation of Priests, but Priests were influenced by them in their preaching, which perhaps at times led to an unhealthy focus on the letter of the Law rather than its Spirit in the life of the Church in general.

I contend here: duties and obligations are indeed important, something which our age has largely forgotten. Ills like divorce and abortion arise from a lack of sense of duty and a supreme focus on one's personal well-being. It is also important to know what is sinful and what not. But it is true that a genuine sense of duty and of love for others cannot arise from a purely juridical view of ethics which easily degenerates into legalism. It must be born from the encounter with the Divine, the infusion of God's grace into our lives.

Of course, moral theologians of the past centuries would have largely agreed. But Pinckaers' issue with them is that they wanted to treat moral theology as a science separate from the rest of theology, essentially leaving it in the hands of jurists who would work out what was sinful and not according to more or less arcane casuistic principles. This concept of morality focuses very much on the Moral Law, starting from the Ten Commandments as an expression of the Natural Moral Law (the Law inherent to all Mankind) and adding various prescriptions of the New Covenant, as well as some particular laws of the Church (such as the ancient obligations of fasting and attending Mass on Sundays). One can be forgiven for seeing in this the works-centred Christianity which Luther rebelled against (although it has nothing to do with 'justification through works'). It certainly is, Pinckaers says, a system which is more concerned with sin than with virtue.

Instead, or rather to complete this truncated view of ethics, Pinckaers offers a view of ethics as
the branch of theology that studies human acts so as to direct them to a loving vision of God seen as our true, complete happiness and our final end. This vision is attained by means of grace, the virtues, and the gifts, in the light of revelation and reason.

According to Pinckaers, theology has suffered from being divided into ethics, dogmatics, and various other disciplines. It must rather be integrated and seen as a whole. Also, ethics must focus more on both the external and internal, individual and communitarian realm, rather than merely on cases of individual conscience, such as the casuists did. All this is to direct us to God, our final end, but it must include the dimension of love, without which ethics is sterile. Also, it must include the dimension of happiness; not understood in a sentimental way, but as the natural aim of our actions. Grace builds on nature. It is perfectly natural for us to want to attain happiness, even if we have a distorted view of what happiness constitutes. By God's grace, our natural impulses are given the proper direction and become vehicles of grace.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Divine Beauty: The Elevation of the Host

The most beautiful and precious moment for a Catholic Christian is every time the Host and Chalice is transformed into the Body and Blood of Our Lord. When the Host is elevated, we adore and love the One who loved us and gave Himself up for us. The beauty of this moment is encapsulated especially well in the traditional Solemn Pontifical Mass of the Latin Church.

(At the top is the Celebrant, here a Bishop, to his left and right the Assistant Priest and Deacon, resp., and below them the Subdeacon flanked by the Assistant Deacons. Sober, dignified, not over-elaborate. In the post-1970 liturgy, on the occasion of such a Mass the sanctuary would be overcrowded with Priests in chasubles up to no good.)

More on the Eluana Case

From Zenit:

Cases Like Eluana's Can Have Happy Endings

Missionary Rejects Award in Protest of Italy's Euthanasia Ruling

ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay, FEB. 16, 2009 ( Father Aldo Trento has been caring for patients like Eluana Englaro for years, so when Italy refused to protect her life, he protested by returning one of Italy's highest honors. Since 1989 Father Trento has been one of the best-known missionaries of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo in Paraguay. He is 62 years old and is the head of a clinic for the terminally ill in Asunción. On June 2, the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, conferred the title "Knight of the Order of the Star of Solidarity" on Father Trento.

Last Wednesday, the priest returned the honor to Napolitano in the wake of the latter's refusal to sign the special decree that would have saved the life of Eluana Englaro, who had been in a coma since 1992, and whose father had succeeded in a legal bid to have her feeding tube removed.

The priest asserted, "How can I, an Italian citizen, receive such an honor from you, who, with your action, permitted the death of Eluana in the name of the Italian Republic?" "I have more than one case like Eluana Englaro," Father Trento told the Italian newspaper Il Foglio. He continued: "I think of little Victor, a child in a coma, who clenches his fists. All we do is feed him through a tube. Faced with these situations, how can I react to the case of Eluana?"

"Yesterday they brought me a girl who was naked, a prostitute, in a coma, who had been dumped in front of a hospital. Her name is Patricia and she is 19. We washed her. Yesterday she started to move her eyes."

"Celeste is 11; she suffers from a very grave form of leukemia; she was never taken care of and they brought her to me just to bury. Today she is walking. And she laughs."

The missionary said: "I have taken more than 600 of these sick people to the cemetery. How can we accept something like what happened to Eluana?"

"Cristina is a little girl who was left in a garbage dump, she is blind, deaf, she trembles when I kiss her, she lives with a feeding tube like Eluana. She does not respond except for the trembling but little by little she will regain her faculties."

"I am the godfather for many of these sick people. I'm not bothered by their decaying bodies. If you could see with what humility my doctors care for them." Father Trento says that he feels "immense sorrow" for Englaro: "It is as if you were to say to me: 'We're going to take away your sick children now.'" For the missionary, "man cannot be reduced to chemicals." He added: "How can the president of the republic offer me a Star of Solidarity? I took it and returned it to the Italian embassy in Paraguay."

God bless this Priest and the wonderful work he is doing for those poor kids. How can the Italian government give him an award for this work and then in another case act as if it has no value whatsoever? I can imagine the grief he would feel if the Paraguayan government one day were to come to him and say that the parents of the handicapped children for whom he cares so deeply had decided that they were to be killed, and the government had decided to comply with their wishes.

Every. human. life. matters. If nothing else, a severely cerebrally handicapped person teaches the persons around him/her how to love and care. That's what we are so afraid of, yes, I feel it in my own life often enough. But it is a challenge which must be faced. To shy away from it is less than human, and with the aid of God's grace anything is possible, even that which seems superhuman.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Viva Berlusconi!

I never thought I would ever had written that header, but Berlusconi (whom I have well and truly loathed in the past for his populism and not-so-latent sexism) has really impressed me in the case of Eluana Englaro, the young Italian woman in a vegetative state for 17 years whose father recently got permission to disconnect her feeding tubes and starve her to death. The Vatican and the Italian Bishops have attempted to save her life for a long time, but recently Berlusconi entered the fray, stating that he would not have Eluana's death on his conscience. His government drafted a law to protect her but President Napolitano balked and she sadly passed away because of dehydration on Tuesday. More about the case here, with observations by prominent Italian neurologists who opposed the murder.

Berlusconi seems genuinely upset by the whole matter and offers this pithy analysis:

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi rejected the notion that Englaro had died of natural causes after she was deprived of food and water. "Eluana did not die a natural death," he said. "She was killed."

Amen. Access to food and water is not an "extraordinary treatment". It is an inalienable human right, also for persons with severe cerebral damage. I'm glad Berlusconi has seen this; maybe there is hope for Italy after all?

Rabbi Defends the Church

No, really. An Orthodox Rabbi is doing a better job than any Bishop defending the Church over the reconciliation of the FSSPX - and defending Christian moral teaching to boot!

ROME, February 11, 2009 ( - The dissident, leftist movement in the Catholic Church over the last forty years has severely undermined the teaching of the Catholic Church on the moral teachings on life and family, a prominent US Orthodox rabbi told Rabbi Yehuda Levin, the head of a group of 800 Orthodox rabbis in the US and Canada, also dismissed the accusations that the Holy See had not sufficiently distanced itself from the comments made by Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) on the Holocaust.

"I support this move" to reconcile the traditionalist faction in the Church, he said, "because I understand the big picture, which is that the Catholic Church has a problem. There is a strong left wing of the Church that is doing immeasurable harm to the faith."

Rabbi Levin said that he understands "perfectly" why the reconciliation is vital to the fight against abortion and the homosexualist movement.

"I understand that it is very important to fill the pews of the Catholic Church not with cultural Catholics and left-wingers who are helping to destroy the Catholic Church and corrupt the values of the Catholic Church." This corruption, he said, "has a trickle-down effect to every single religious community in the world."

"What's the Pope doing? He's trying to bring the traditionalists back in because they have a lot of very important things to contribute the commonweal of Catholicism. Now, if in the process, he inadvertently includes someone who is prominent in the traditionalist movement who happens to say very strange things about the Holocaust, is that a reason to throw out the baby with the bathwater and start to condemn Pope Benedict? Absolutely not."


Rabbi Levin was in Rome holding meetings with high level Vatican officials to propose what he called a "new stream of thinking" for the Church's inter-religious dialogue, one based on commonly held moral teachings, particularly on the right to life and the sanctity of natural marriage.

"The most important issue," he said, is the work the Church is doing "to save babies from abortion, and save children's minds, and young people's minds, helping them to know right and wrong on the life and family issues. That's where ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue has to go."

Although numbers are difficult to determine, it is estimated that the Society of St. Pius X has over a million followers worldwide. The traditionalist movement in the Catholic Church is noted for doctrinal orthodoxy and enthusiasm not only for old-fashioned devotional practices, but for the Church's moral teachings and opposition to post-modern secularist sexual mores. Liberals in the Church, particularly in Europe, have bitterly opposed all overtures to the SSPX and other traditionalists, particularly the Pope's recent permission to revive the traditional Latin Mass.

May this good Rabbi live to one hundred and twenty and may his eyes witness the salvation of the Lord! He hits the nail right on the head; the wing which is causing the most problems for the Church is not the far-right conspiratorial wing but the vastly more numerous Liberal, moral relativist one. This wing claims to be so fond of Jews they will gladly stab their own Pope in the back to please them, but in reality they hate Judaism and all it stands for almost as much as they hate their own religion. Don't believe me? Look at the crusade this faction has waged against the traditional Catholic liturgy which was rooted in Jewish practices and imbued at the core with Jewish piety.

Orthodox Jews have far more in common with orthodox, traditionalist Catholics than with Liberal ones. Let us stop assuming that theological dialogue with the Jews, where we can never advance beyond the person of Jesus, will bring about a rapprochement; let us, as Dr. Levin says, focus on cooperation on moral issues where we are certainly in agreement and where we can bring benefit to society at large - if only we stay true to our authentic beliefs, rooted in the same Holy Scripture.

From LifeSiteNews, via the New Liturgical Movement.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Obama's Missing Powers of Self-reflection

Two days ago, the annual National Prayer Breakfast was held in Washington DC. As far as I can gather, this event mainly brings together politicians and social/religious field workers to discuss peace & justice issues. I don't know how much it actually has to do with prayer.

President Obama attended and presented his new faith initiatives, a Faith Advisory Council and the renaming of the White House Office for Faith Partnerships (started by George W. Bush) to the Office for Faith and Neighbourhood Partnerships. He also said this [emphases mine]:

There is no doubt that the very nature of faith means that some of our beliefs will never be the same. We read from different texts. We follow different edicts. We subscribe to different accounts of how we came to be here and where we are going next—and some subscribe to no faith at all.

But no matter what we choose to believe, let us remember that there is no religion whose central tenet is hate. There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know.


In a world that grows smaller by the day, perhaps we can begin to crowd out the destructive forces of zealotry and make room for the healing power of understanding.”

Given that Obama is himself an extremely "zealous" supporter of the "destructive" practice of abortion, having vowed to vote for an act intended to lift ALL restrictions on abortion whatsoever and having fought hard against an act intended to end the practice of callously leaving abortion survivors to die, I am not really sure how much he actually "knows".

It's sad - I really liked Obama at first, and thought he was intelligent. Well, he is, but probably too much so for his own good. I follow him on many oeconomic and social issues, but his abortion views can best be described as extremist, fundamentalist. He is, like, the Osama bin Laden of Abortionism! Even the vast majority of the American public disagrees with him on this issue. And if you don't believe me, watch this poll.

I'd much rather have this guy for a Black US President.

Thanks to American Papist.

Divine Beauty: The Rose Window of Strasbourg Cathedral

Beauty leads us to penetrate deeper into the mystery of the divine as well as all of creation, which is why I will suffuse this blog with images such as this:

Friday, 6 February 2009

God Sees

Ever wondered what women were doing all those centuries when men almost exclusively ran the world? Ever had the feeling that the poor creatures were wasting their lives away in the shadow of their husbands, leaving no mark on the world? Think again. I found this piece on Fr. Z's blog:

The Invisible Mom

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’ Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.I’m invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, she’s gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England .. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: ‘To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals we have no record of their names. [1] These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. [2] They made great sacrifices and [3] expected no credit. [4] The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.’ And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make everyday, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.’

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. When I really think about it, I don’t want my child to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, ‘You’re gonna love it there.’As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

God sees. Even the tiniest action committed out of love, even the most invisible sacrifice is not in vain. According to the Christian faith - and I know how provoking this will sound to some - the greatness of Woman lies exactly in her smallness. The Virgin rejoices that the Lord "hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble." Our Lord Himself promises that "he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." Many things will be reversed in Heaven; I have little doubt that that will be the case with the relative status of men and women. Women are the silent heroes of mankind, and they will surely get their just reward from Him who sees everything.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

When Does Human Life Begin?

It is amazing what lengths people will go to to deny that human life starts at conception. You hear arguments like, "What about sperm/egg cells, then? That's human life, too, isn't it?" or "But every human cell is alive. Should we avoid rubbing our skin because our epithelial cells might come off?"

That life starts at conception is proven beyond doubt by science. With the fusion of an egg cell and a sperm cell, the resulting zygote possesses all the genetic material characteristic of a unique human person and is also programmed to develop further into a fully-developed human being. Sperm and egg cells only contain half the genetic material of the parents; epithelial cells, while containing all the genetic material of a person, are not programmed to develop further into unique persons.

It really is as simple as that!

It is interesting that Christianity has not always argued that life begins at conception since in the ancient world the scientific basis for this was not understood. But it has always forcefully held that all kinds of abortion was morally wrong. Now we know why. Science has proved Christian faith right.

The Face of Abortion

And now for something connected to my profession. I intend for this blog to be dedicated to, among other things, bioethical issues and the pro-life cause and I consider both to be inseperable from a career as a medical Doctor.

Let us start with getting one thing straight: As far as I am concerned, the Catholic Christian faith holds the key to the truth about human existence. Its prescriptions regarding right behaviour is in full accord with the Divine and Eternal Law which governs the Universe, and thus also in accord with Natural Law. If Man rebels against the Natural Law, he rebels against the very foundation of his existence and things are bound to go wrong.

I won't go into a detailed explanation of the essence of the Natural Law here, but suffice it to say that basically this is the law which all persons, regardless of faith and culture, recognize as the foundation of society and human existence (even though they may not grasp all its implications). There is no culture whatsoever where it is considered legitimate to kill other people inidscriminately; all cultures recognize to a certain extent that life is sacred and worthy of safeguarding. When the Decalogue, the law given by God to Israel, states, "Thou shalt not kill", it is not an arbitrary commandment imposed for God's own amusement. It is an expression of the law which Man already in his heart knows governs him.

Now, this commandment is not absolute. First, it chiefly refers to human beings. Second, it is justifiable in a just war. Third, at least in the past when there was no such thing as CSI's or criminal registers, it was justifiable when it came to criminals. But every human being in his heart knows that it is never justified to kill an innocent human person!

So where does that leave, for instance, abortion? I've heard it said more times than I can remember that a foetus is not a human being. Which begs the question, what is it then? I'll come back to that in another post. For now, let me just share with you one observation:

I am acquainted with a lady with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder caused by brain damage which has left her unable to walk properly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her intellectual capabilities and she is a wonderful woman who works with my dad's charity and, despite her extremely poor walking abilities, spends a lot of time walking around town sharing her faith with others. She recently shared with me that she is a survivor of a late-term abortion. To the dismay of the Doctors, she was alive when they retrieved her from the womb and she was left on a table to die. When she refused to do so, the hospital staff finally had mercy on her and took her to neo-natal care, but not before she had sustained the injuries which mar her today.

Ah, the glories of 'choice' - being able to choose who we want to view as persons and who we don't, and when. Being able to choose for ourselves what is right and wrong. Welcome to the postmodern world, where nothing matters except my own opinions and desires. You? Who are you? Line up over there and I'll see if I can bring myself to acknowledge your existence...

Dark Forces Inside the Vatican

It also seems that the Pope was set up by his enemies within the Vatican. Rorate Caeli reports:

Several Italian religious journalists (including Rodari, for Il Riformista, Tornielli, for Il Giornale) are reporting today on a dossier circulating within the Vatican which could reveal that a plot was planned for several months to embarrass the Pope in the "Williamson affair".We had received the main accusation a few days ago, but had considered that it should be made public by other means.Here is the text received by us:

"Msgr. Williamson was interviewed on Nov. 1st 2008 on religious matters (tradition and Vatican II) in the Bavarian seminary of SSPX (this in order to let Msgr. Williamson be accused for negationism in that country). Suddenly the journalist Ali Fegan of the program Uppgrad Granskning (Mission Research) asked him about a quote of one speech that took place in Canada some years ago on the gas chamber during the WWII. We all know the trap in which the bishop put himself in a very ingenious way, too confident in the opportunity to diffuse his niche ideas on holocaust than to protect the Church from the evil. This trap was indeed prepared for His Holiness Benedict XVI."But who told the journalists of the SVT (Swedish Television Broadcast) about this speech of Msgr. Williamson? If you see all the program broadcasted on January 21st 2009 you will find out that the suggestions came from a french journalist: Fiammetta Venner. Who is she? She is a very well known french lesbian activist. She work together with her [partner] Ms. Caroline Fourest (see her profile here: Together the lesbian couple gave to the press a new book on sept. 2008 (during the Pope's visit to France). The title of this book is: Les Nouveaux Soldats du pape. You can read more at their web site: In the interview, the lady accuses the SSPX of connection with far right parties in France, an opportune preamble to the accusation of Antisemitism."Now we found the people that suggested the plot. But who drove it in order to have ready the program up to the moment of the certain signature of the decree or removal of the excommunication of the SSPX bishops? Certainly someone in the Vatican that attempted to hit the Pope and his entourage and to weak the ambitions of the SSPX."Who is he? We have up to now some ideas of the personality. It has to be someone well affirmed in Rome, with good connections in France and a good relationship with Scandinavian church. The program was prepared in Sweden, a quite cold country for Catholicism, but why there? One answer can be the idea to launch a crusade for the reconversion to Catholicism of Sweden made by the SSPX (that for instance has only 30 people as Swedish faithful). In the program there is also an interview made by the bishop of Sweden Anders Arborelius OCD. He spoke about inclusivity as a principle of Christianity, instead of racism and intolerance (of which he seems to accuse the SSPX). ..."So the people of which we are speaking as to be a Progressive high level Vatican officer that just few days in advance to the publication of the signed decree by the Commission of Legislative Text informed the journalist to come out with the incredible program. ..."
And how's this for the Liberals:

"Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you are like to whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men's bones, and of all filthiness. So you also outwardly indeed appear to men just; but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; that build the sepulchres of the prophets, and adorn the monuments of the just, ... Wherefore you are witnesses against yourselves, that you are the sons of them that killed the prophets. ... You serpents, generation of vipers, how will you flee from the judgment of hell? Therefore behold I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you will put to death and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city." (St. Matthew, xxiii, 27-34)

Shame on you, "Liberal Catholics", Pharisees of the "New Springtime"! You proclaim to tolerate all, and to respect diversity, but you loathe those whose only wish is to preserve the purity of what was always taught and of the prayers that were always offered, because their continued presence in the Church contradicts the new "house" you tried to build.
Shame on you, "Progressives", official Scribes of the "Spirit of the Council"! You build monuments to the "Good Pope John", but reject all that he stood for, in traditional doctrine and in liturgical beauty. You hail Paul VI, but have done all you could to ignore his greatest magisterial document, Humanae Vitae, and discredit him in the eyes of the world. You maligned John Paul II every single day of his pontificate, but now you praise him, for you have found your new scapegoat - Benedict XVI, a man who, as his last work on earth, has accepted the heavy burden of the Fisherman, trying to bring unity to the flock God entrusted him.
You crucify Peter in the global public square. You deliver him to the enemies of the Church of Christ. You hate him for his struggle to rehabilitate what the Church has always believed and the way the Church has always prayed. You persecute him for he removed the scarlet sign of "excommunication", which you used to despise, but which you now view as good!
You hypocrites! You are accommodating towards abortionists and you pander to politicians dedicated to the culture of death - but you misrepresent Peter's legitimate gesture of mercy as an act of uninformed weakness. Liberal serpents, pseudo-Conservative vipers, you are "witnesses against yourselves" for your relentless persecution of Peter. Yet, Peter will keep working for unity with charity, charity in Truth.
Those who love the Vicar of Christ will keep praying daily for him, so that he "will not flee for fear of the wolves", so that he may persevere in the mission he set out to accomplish. What about you? "Your house shall be left to you, desolate."

From Rorate Caeli, Brilliant.

The Pope, Holocaust Denial, and the FSSPX

The Pope has recently lifted the excommunications on the leaders of the FSSPX, the Tradtionalist Catholic priestly fraternity founded by Mons. Marcel Lefèbvre. I never really liked these guys; they and their perhaps 1.5 million followers were adamant that Vatican II had led the Church into heresy, that Rome had succumbed to 'Modernism', and that their brand of Catholicism was absolutely right on all issues. Boisterous, arrogant, and uncharitable. But they were challenging. There were points where I found it hard to reconcile Vat II with the constant teaching of the Church. Plus, I was gradually losing faith that Vat II was the "new springtime of the Church" it had been heralded as; after all, the post-Vat II era brought with it iconoclasm, a decline in observance of time-honoured devotions, a preponderance of openly heretical theologians, and a decline in Priests and vocations. But I just could not bring myself to believe that 99.9% of the Church could have just abandoned true Catholicism and that the Lefebvrists were the only true Catholics left.

When I heard that the excommunications were lifted, part of me was happy that the rift could now be healed, but I was uneasy that they were lifted without any formal apology from the society for its actions. After all, they have operated a parallel church illegally for 20 years. But at the end of the day, I am glad that almost 400 traditionally-minded Priests will now be serving the Church officially, and that the Traditionalists will come out of their bubble and have their stigma removed. Plus, we will finally get a clarification on the dubious parts of Vat II and bury its so-called 'spirit' for good.

There are still issues which need to be sorted out. The FSSPX are associated with some very radical rightists, among them Holocaust deniers. This is, of course, completely unacceptable but my guess is the more extreme elements will consider the FSSPX traitors and leave, becoming Sedevacantists or whatever. Either that or they will be silenced now the Vatican controls them. As for the rest, hopefully they will appreciate that not all 'mainstream' Catholics are Modernist traitors or heretics, but simply ordinary Catholics trying to get on with their lives, holding the faith but simply expressing it in a non-traditional way, be it with vernacular hymns or pop songs instead of Gregorian chant.

And as for the media's and the Liberals' response to this, they can go screw themselves. The Liberals spend so much time talking about 'inclusivity', but where is the inclusivity here? What, oecumenism is the dog's bollocks when (Liberal) Protestants are involved, but when it comes to Conservative Catholics who actually hold the Catholic faith (albeit with an ideological slant), then they must be left out in the cold? - Literally speaking, look here:

Even if they are very Conservative, the FSSPX and their sympathizers are a whole lot better than the heathen Marxists which have wrecked the Church over the course of the last 40 years. And I am sure a considerable number of Marxist Priests have denied that Stalin murdered 30 million people, but no-one have taken any notice of that.

Sanctus Pius X, ora pro nobis!


Now for a little background on my life. I am the son of two Protestant theologians who both came to the Christian faith in their mid-20's. My father was brought up strictly Atheist and my mother was baptized as an infant but dabbled in all sorts of occult sects during her youth. In the Charismatic Movement within the Danish state (Lutheran) 'church' they both discovered the joy of knowing Jesus Christ. My mother especially, who only ever found weird, manipulative people in the sects, for the first time discovered religious people who were genuinely happy and loving. They married and moved to the Middle East to work, where I was brought up.

Although my parents' background was Charismatic and High Church Lutheran, they were very open-minded. We moved in Anglican, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Catholic, and non-denominational circles with great dexterity. Not that my parents were in any way wishy-washy, mind you - anything which had the slightest appearance of New Age or focus on one's own acheivement got the boot. It instilled in me a great understanding and respect for all Christian traditions as long as the message was Christocentric.

As a teenager, my faith was retained and strengthened by Bible study and many Christian acquaintances. I did have a major crisis of faith at age 20 when I tried to develop a more 'philosophical', 'intellectual' attitude towards faith, but thankfully my whole life just came crashing down and I realized how important it was to just focus on God, pray, and stay humble.

At one point, I became greatly interested in the cause of oecumenism, gathering all the sheep of Christ together in one happy family. I figured, somewhat naïvely, that if all Christian groupings sat themselves down and discussed things through, the Holy Spirit would surely lead them to agreement in all essentials. Then it occurred to me that this was what the early Church had tried, with varying success. As I read more about the early Church and the oecumenical councils I was confronted with the claim of the Catholic Church that it is promised in Scripture that the Church will never be led astray and that the one, true Church thus exists today as it did in the beginning, and is the Catholic Church, headed by the first Bishop of Christendom (Rome). I was especially convinced by the Catholic view of the Bible and Tradition - I had always had problems deciphering certain parts of the Bible and now I understood that Tradition, guided by right authority, was the key! It all became too compelling to ignore, and I was received into the true Church in June 2008.

Before that happened, I was convinced that in the Church I had found the truth Jesus speaks about. But my quest for the truth had really only begun. I had reservations about certain aspects of Catholic teaching; they are mostly dealt with but I still stand aghast at the enormity of things I need to learn and explore. This will be especially important in my work as a medical doctor.

The parish I was received into was rather Liberal, and I thought it singularly odd that I should have spent the best part of three years becoming convinced by Catholic doctrine when my Catholic Pastor spent much of his time repudiating half of it! Then I discovered some more orthodox Priests, and the Traditional Mass, and Conservative/Traditionalist Catholic bloggers, and I could finally begin to seriously build an authentic Catholic identity - which I am still working on.

Getting Started...

After having spent a lot of time on the blogosphere lately I decided to give a go at it myself. Guess I felt I had a lot to say which needed my own platform. Well, here goes...

This blog will be about all the things which fill my life: religion, medicine, politics, ethics, philosophy, beauty - all which I consider relevant to a public discussion, anyway. I decided against having it primarily in Danish so that it was also accessible to overseas visitors, but from time to time I'll delve into a discussion on internal Danish matters. Enjoy!