Catholic Clergy & The New Thinking

Catholic Clergy & The New Thinking

The article below by Father Robert Mann SCJ, who is billed to speak at our forthcoming Conference, featured on an American blog, Aka Catholic, recently, entitled A Great Deprivation. Hopefully, it will encourage those of our readers not yet booked to attend our June Conference, to do so without delay. Already, as soon as our February edition hit the doormats, the ticket orders started to roll in and continue to do so. You can read the advertisement on page 9 of the current newsletter, available to download on the Newsletter page of our website. We recommend early booking, therefore, to avoid disappointment. In the meantime, read Fr Mann’s article below, on the way the Catholic mind has been “disarmed” into accepting Modernism…  

collarpriestThere can be no disguising the fact that for Catholics serious about their faith the almost daily stream of ambiguous and dangerous words and actions emanating from this Papacy give good cause for alarm. Not that there was no cause for concern with previous post-Conciliar Popes. However, in these times, the revolution has moved up a gear with almost no pretence of disguising the ultimate goal of bringing “irreversible changes” to the Catholic Church in terms of attitudes to doctrine and universal disciplines intrinsically bound up with that doctrine.

Perhaps one of the greatest tragedies in all of this is that the vast majority of Catholics for the most part do not seem to care about doctrinal departure from the Church of the past or are not even aware of the catastrophe unfolding at the heart of the Church. The great majority of clergy and people seem quite happy to go along with the Modernist program. They are welcoming of the ‘new attitudes’ – especially the rebooted ecumenical thrust, with its disregard for defined dogma and, of course, the new attitude to morality with it’s “Who am I to judge?” approach.

There will be others of course who are troubled but feel powerless and unable to articulate an adequate response to the intended “remodelling” of the Catholic Faith. As for those most obviously opposed – if you were to include all traditional Catholics, of one stripe or another, who do care about the disastrous state of affairs, in terms of numbers they would be a small proportion indeed of the entire Catholic population.

It seems then that over the last few decades the Catholic mind has been slowly eroded. It has become a ghost of itself. It bears some outward resemblence to what it once was, it holds on to some remnants of Catholic belief and practice but in reality it has come to accept that truth is relative. What would have been repugnant not so long ago is now acceptable to most who call themselves Catholic. The Catholic mind has been “disarmed”, and this has been in process over the last fifty years or more.

It is this issue of “disarming” to which I want to draw attention. I am thinking especially of this in relation to the priesthood, for it seems to me that in that time the Catholic priesthood has “morphed” into something quite different, from an understanding of priesthood as primarily sacrificial in character to something more akin to a Protestant ministerial functioning. What are the causes of this change? Well, I am sure we can all identify many but there is one I particulary want to identify and that is the abandonment of Thomist philosophy and theology in the seminaries and Catholic educational establishments.

When I was studying for the priesthood in the late seventies and early eighties, and during later postgraduate studies, the theological sources were people like Rahner, Schillebeeckx, de Lubac, Congar and a host of others along with a growing North American school. (There was also the Canadian Jesuit, Bernard Lonergan – he appeared at first sight to be of quite a different shade from the others, at least in his early writings, but ultimately he seemed to go the way of all the others in terms of the Catholic Faith).

By my time, the Thomist approach (that is the school of philosophy and theology based on the writings of the great Dominican, St. Thomas Aquinas) had been well and truly abandoned. True, there were a few courses on different aspects of the Scholasticism and Thomism here and there but any sense that this was a perennial Philosophical/Theological system (with roots in the best of ancient classical thought) taken up and profoundly shaped by Catholic doctrine over centuries was well and truly lost. It was seen as an archaic intellectual product of a bygone age with little relevance for the modern world.

The contemporary philosophies with their atheistic presuppositions, doubtful of the possibility that the human mind could attain to objective truth, and their focus on the human person and the exaltation of subjectivity and relativism, were now ascendant.

Of course the Church has always made use of the best achievements of human reason while at the same time correcting error and distortions inevitably found in systems of thought; as she did with Plato and Aristotle. For no matter how clever and penetrating they may be they are always the product of a human intellect weakened by the effects of original sin and so liable to a darkening and the influence of the passions.

That is partly why the human mind needs the corrective and transformative power of God’s revelation and supernatural faith if it is to attain to absolute truth free from error and distortion – but it also needs this if it is to approach the truths about God that transcend the natural powers of the mind, truths that can only be known by God revealing them; e.g., the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Redemption and so on.

That being said, the new philosophies with their focus on the human person, by and large, had their roots in anti-Catholic thinking coming on the heels of the Reformation and preparing the ground for the French Revolution and all that it spawned. The new starting-point was the human person and subjectivity. This shift has been termed “the anthropological turn to the subject.”

Thomism also dealt with the human person but the major focus was always on the objective reality of God and his Revelation in Christ, known to us through the teaching of the Church. This context prevented such considerations of the human person from spiraling out of control with the consequent danger of exaggerating the human at the expense of the Divine, to the extent that the human person becomes the measure of all.

By abandoning the most potent system of Catholic thought ever attained, the clergy became vulnerable and ultimately overpowered by the new thinking. They were left with no effective means to evaluate and critique what humanistic thinkers threw at them. The best defence that could be mustered in the face of an attack against Catholic doctrine was often a fuzzy mushy appeal to God’s “luv,” but there was little powerful intellectual challenge offered in response.

Ask yourself, when was the last time you ever heard or saw a Catholic theologian or philosopher, or priest on the media defend ably and robustly the Catholic Faith? Do you ever hear priests in Novus Ordo parishes give solid doctrinal sermons anymore? Not many, I bet. Many no doubt will have gone along with the “party line” because they have virtually abandoned the Faith, but no doubt there are many others who, though uncomfortable with the present state of affairs in the Church, feel unable and ill-equipped to join the fray.

You see, the great advantage and power of Thomism was that it was razor sharp and unashamedly asserted the ability of the human intellect to grasp reality objectively. It provided the most powerful vehicle for conveying the truths of the Catholic Faith and integrating these beautifully with the best that the human intellect had to offer.

If theology (as St. Anselm defined it) is “faith seeking understanding,” then there can be no doubt that this system of Catholic thought which allowed the human intellect, formed by Revelation and aided by divine grace, to penetrate the mysteries of the Divine Essence in a way never before seen or achieved since, must be reckoned as one of the greatest achievements of Christian and indeed of human civilization. To abandon such an intellectual patrimony was true folly and a great deprivation indeed.

The pre-Vatican II Popes time and again insisted on the value of retaining Thomism in the education of priests. Just to give one example, Pope Pius XII writing in 1950 states:

It is not surprising that the Church will have her future priests brought up on a philosophy which ‘derives its conceptualization, doctrine and basic principles from the Angelic Doctor’ (C.I.C., canon 1366, n. 2). One thing is clearly established by the long experience of the ages – that St. Thomas’ philosophical system is an unrivalled method, whether for conducting the beginner through his early steps, or for the investigation of the most recondite truths; moreover, that his teaching seems to chime in, by a kind of pre-established harmony, with divine revelation – no surer way to safeguard the first principles of the faith, and turn the results of later healthy development to good advantage. Deplorable, that a philosophy thus recognized and received by the Church, should, in our day, be treated by some minds with contempt.” (Humani Generis)

My contention is that the abandonment of this superior Catholic thought stripped priests (and consequently laity by a trickle down effect) of the ability to adequately expound and defend the Faith. They were intellectually disarmed. Without this powerful weapon they were like soldiers in a battlefield without ammunition. Their ability to teach the Faith robustly, to engage with those who honestly sought the truth, and to attract those who would be drawn to the intellectual power and beauty of Catholic truth, evaporated over time and a weak, insipid, limp mindset appeared in which objective truth was elusive and relative at best.

Thomism, with its precise doctrine of “Being” and its constituent principles of potency and act, essence and existence, matter and form, substance and accidents, the reality of cause and effect, categories that helped provide an unrivaled explanatory power for the expounding the truth of Catholic doctrine: all this was swept away in favour of a tortured personalist language of subjectivity, experience, encounter, inclusivity, and relativism.

The consequences ultimately have been catastrophic. We now have generations of clergy who for the most part are strangers to that Catholic intellectual tradition. Not only are they alien to it, but actively hostile and dismissive of it. The contemporary person-centered philosophies now shape and form their minds and attitudes; faith and moral issues tend to be relativised and the attainment of objective truth is at best an elusive ideal.

The disarming of the Catholic mind (amidst other causes) begun in Catholic seminaries and educational institutions all those decades ago has slowly wrought its havoc. Thus in our times the successor of Peter can publicly make known his support for the admission of the divorced and “remarried” to Holy Communion, and more recently state his intention to attend a ceremony commemorating the Reformation, during which a prayer will be offered thanking God for the “gifts” that this disastrous Revolt brought to the Church, and this will not cause so much as a stir among the vast majority of priests and laity.

Not so long ago the Catholic mind would have recoiled in horror at such a prospect. It would have been seen as impossible that a true Pope would ever endorse such anti-Catholic acts, but now for a great many, its not such a big deal.

Truly, something catastrophic has befallen the Church, a spiritual and intellectual darkening has descended. The true Catholic mind can see straightaway that if the doctrines and universal disciplines taught authoritatively by successive pre-Conciliar Popes no longer hold and are binding no more on the Catholic conscience, then it would mean you could never trust the Catholic Church again on anything, because if it was wrong then on these core doctrines and consequent disciplines, why can’t it be wrong now and in the future on all other doctrines and disciplines? Why trust such an institution that could get these matters that pertain to salvation so badly wrong and with such unjust and tragic consequences for people?

The erosion of Catholic thinking goes a long way to explaining why, in the face of all the doctrinal and intellectual chaos so rampant in the “New Church,” so few Catholics even bat an eyelid at the damage done to the Faith and consequently to souls by the words and actions that continue to flow from the highest authorities in the Church. They are virtually powerless to react.

Indeed the seeds were sown many decades ago in the Conciliar documents as others have documented. What we are witnessing now is the next stage in the revolution, a stage that now seems in a hurry to shake-off the vestiges of Catholicism that still remain. Thus the Thomist system with its focus on the objective truth of the Catholic Faith had to go; it was too Catholic, it could have no role in the construction of the “New Church,” with its new ecumenical design in doctrine and liturgy.

It was despised by the Modernists and its demise had to be achieved if the new faith and moral order were to be attained. And so it came to be, and now we are living in the doctrinal and liturgical wastelands they have created, and sad to say our Church leaders have no remedy but to provide more of the same.

Yet the Catholic mind is directed towards objective truth, and even in the midst of this time of terrible tribulation, for however long it takes, those who hold fast to the true Catholic Faith will always find in that great Thomist intellectual tradition a great treasury of Catholic thought and a powerful instrument in winning minds and hearts for Christ.  Source 

Comments (52)

  • Michaela

    That is a marvellous analysis of the situation at the present time.

    Fr Mann explains very clearly how it came about that priests are not able to explain the faith properly, whether in sermons on or TV. Their thinking is fuzzy and weak and Father Mann has identified the problem perfectly.

    I’m not likely to make it to the June conference in Glasgow, more’s the pity. I bet it will be a day to remember, too.

    Will the talks be available on audio and YouTube?

    March 1, 2016 at 9:32 pm
    • editor


      Sorry, no. We never make our Conference talks available on tapes/CD or video because we want the people to come to the meeting itself. It’s a pity for those who really can’t manage but I know for a fact that people often don’t attend conferences precisely because they will be able to hear/view them later. I know that for a fact, because I’m guilty of having done exactly that myself! Oops!

      March 1, 2016 at 10:25 pm
  • Nicky

    Father Mann has given a concise and accurate explanation of what happens when belief in objective truth goes out the window. Let’s pray he’s made a bishop soon!

    I completely agree with him that the seeds were sown of this disastrous relativism in place of objective truth in the documents of Vatican II which should be (and probably will be) burned as a matter of urgency – next 5th November, say!

    The problem is, how do we get Catholics, especially priests, to see that their thinking is fuzzy. I think they know it’s new, and they like that because they’ve been schooled into thinking that “new” is good. They’ve only heard St Thomas mocked (I’ve heard it myself at various events/talks) so how many will think to investigate themselves to find out the truth.

    Father Mann says: “Yet the Catholic mind is directed towards objective truth” – but that begs the question of how come so many (the majority, I think) have gone along with the new thinking and seem quite comfortable with it?

    March 1, 2016 at 9:44 pm
    • Nicky

      I meant to say that this passage particularly struck me:

      “My contention is that the abandonment of this superior Catholic thought (i.e. Thomism) stripped priests (and consequently laity by a trickle down effect) of the ability to adequately expound and defend the Faith. They were intellectually disarmed. Without this powerful weapon they were like soldiers in a battlefield without ammunition. Their ability to teach the Faith robustly, to engage with those who honestly sought the truth, and to attract those who would be drawn to the intellectual power and beauty of Catholic truth, evaporated over time and a weak, insipid, limp mindset appeared in which objective truth was elusive and relative at best.”

      I wish every Catholic, especially every priest in the UK could read that. It really says it all.

      March 1, 2016 at 9:47 pm
    • Margaret Mary


      “Let’s pray he’s made a bishop soon!”

      Hear hear!

      March 2, 2016 at 12:24 am
  • diamhuireduit March 1, 2016 at 10:17 pm
    • Margaret Mary


      I don’t know enough about the Byzantines to comment on that article which I found interesting. I didn’t know Muslims believed in the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, so that is something I’ve learned today!

      March 2, 2016 at 12:26 am
      • diamhuireduit

        Margaret Mary
        The link also has a great deal of Thomism for those so inclined to “re-arm” themselves.

        March 2, 2016 at 1:46 am
      • Christina

        D, with respect, the immediate content of the link you gave brings back uncomfortable memories of a Melkite who caused some discomfort on this blog until one blogger (was it you MM, or maybe Therese?), in a beautiful post reminded him that we love our liturgy that he had been attacking, and he then had the charity to disappear. The confusion about the thinking on such doctrines as that of original sin, for example, and the ‘explanation’ that this is due to differences in the eastern and western ‘minds’ led me, for one, to resolve to stick to my western thinking which clearly contains quite enough confusions of its own!

        March 2, 2016 at 9:56 am
      • diamhuireduit

        ” the immediate content ”
        Thanks for pointing that out was not my intent to distract. The Thomist link I found of interest for the reason I mentioned above.

        March 2, 2016 at 11:43 am
  • editor

    N O T I C E . . .

    As I’ve explained already, I am having problems with my email – unable to send out emails. I apologise to those who are awaiting replies, but here’s one that I can answer on this thread, not least because it may help others who are thinking of booking for the June Conference…


    I’d like to book for the conference, but need some details before I decide whether to book for the evening meal, i e is there a suitable hotel nearby, is there a morning Mass, and if so how far away from it is the railway station? END.


    Celtic Park is not far from the city centre and won’t cost much in a taxi – especially if, as has happened in the past at our Conferences, there are a few of you staying in the same hotel and sharing the cost. I’m told it should be around a fiver, certainly not as much as a tenner, so manageable, hopefully.

    Click here to find a list of hotels in the city centre – varying prices. There is also a row of inexpensive hotels in Renfrew Street. I’ve selected this one to link here because it is right next door to the SSPX chapel where, to answer your question about Mass, there is Sunday Mass at 9.45.a.m. Again, although it is possible to walk to the railway station, it is a fair bit to walk, but a short taxi ride.

    Hope this helps!

    March 1, 2016 at 10:18 pm
    • Therese

      Thanks for the info Editor – I look forward to seeing you at the conference.

      March 3, 2016 at 11:58 am
  • Athanasius

    Fr. Mann’s article hits right at the heart of the crisis in the Church today, a crisis that has its root in poorly formed clergy. Archbishop Lefebvre likewise identified the crisis in the Church as first a crisis in the clergy.

    If I can add anything to Fr. Mann’s insightful piece it is that at the same time as the Angelic Doctor’s theological and philosophical formation of seminarians was being banished from the seminaries, the breviary was also being ripped from their hands. So they were deprived at the same time of both the scholasticism and the spiritualism necessary for their priestly ministry and personal sanctification.

    The post-conciliar high clergy responsible for these criminal acts, whatever their interior dispositions, without a shadow of a doubt carried out the work of Lucifer himself, the darkness who calls himself light. Pride is written all over the Vatican II reform programme.

    It was St. Peter who said that we should be prepared to give reasons for our faith. In other words, we should be sufficiently educated and informed to be able to defend our beliefs when they come under attack. What tragic irony that the post-conciliar successors of the first Pope should be the ones to undermine his wise and holy admonition.

    March 1, 2016 at 10:19 pm
    • christiana

      You say the breviary was also being ripped from their hands. Do you mean that priests no longer pray the Divine Office? I find the idea of that unbelievably sad. I can remember when my priest uncle came to stay and we had to be very quiet when Uncle Freddy was saying his office…

      March 2, 2016 at 4:57 pm
      • Josephine


        I have priest friends who say the breviary, so I don’t know what Athanasius means. Maybe it’s about the translation? As far as I know, priests are still bound to pray their breviary every day.

        March 2, 2016 at 6:27 pm
      • Athanasius


        The Latin Breviary was replaced with a Novus Ordo ‘Liturgy of the Hours’, which, on average, takes only about one hour to recite as opposed to the roughly 2 1/2 hours with the Traditional Office.

        For example, in the Tradtional breviary, which is read in Latin, the priest will recite all 150 Psalms in about one week. In the new vernacular book, the priest can spread them over four weeks. So the numbers of prayers are greatly reduced, and who knows what changes there are in translation from Latin to the vernacular. As usual, we have a conciliar reform that degrades rather than enhances the spiritual life of priests.

        I’m still not certain if the new breviary remained obligatory, but I will find out. Something tells me that the obligation was removed, at least for a while. I’ll come back to this.

        March 2, 2016 at 6:58 pm
      • diamhuireduit

        FYI The obligation still holds; However, the changes you mention alone make it almost a different entity. The latest re – translations of the Collects are a relief as the ISEL ’60s translations were murder on the pious heart.
        When you return to the subject could you mention a source for instructing in the Old liturgy (i.e. how to pray the breviary in the traditional liturgy?)

        March 2, 2016 at 7:15 pm
  • Margaret Mary

    IMHO, there is only one word to describe Fr Mann’s article – supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

    March 2, 2016 at 12:23 am
    • Josephine

      Margaret Mary,

      Agreed! A really fabulous article.

      Thank you Father!

      March 2, 2016 at 6:28 pm
  • christiana

    That is a truly excellent article which I think goes straight to the heart of the problem. Sermons are indeed uninspiring and lacking in doctrinal content these days. The question is of course, how can things be changed? It is going to take a seismic revolution at the top of the church to reinstall Thomist teaching in the seminaries. I wonder if this is a worldwide problem or are there still some countries which maintain traditional education! Fr Mann also provides a clear explanation of why the laity go along with the watering down of the Faith: they were never really taught it properly, certainly those under 50. I clearly remember being taught about Thomas Aquinas at my convent school pre Vatican II.
    Someone said here that the breviary “has been ripped from their hands” surely priests are still obliged to say the Divine Office aren’t they? Or has that too been discarded? Surely not!!

    March 2, 2016 at 7:36 am
  • Theresa Rose

    Fr Mann’s article hits the nail on the head with his analysis. As well as attending this conference, prayer and penance are needed for all priests, to bring an end to the confusion of our times.

    March 2, 2016 at 7:40 am
  • jimislander

    Archbishop Lefebvre on Vatican II
    ““The more one analyzes the documents of Vatican II, and the more one analyzes their interpretation by the authorities of the Church, the more one realizes that what is at stake is not merely superficial errors, a few mistakes, ecumenism, religious liberty, collegiality, a certain Liberalism, but rather a wholesale perversion of the mind, a whole new philosophy based on modern philosophy, on subjectivism.”

    How true are those words

    March 2, 2016 at 8:52 am
    • Lily


      “what is at stake is a wholesale perversion of the mind”

      That is what Father Mann is saying as well – it is so obviously true that it’s a wonder more Catholic churches aren’t empty on Sundays.

      I so agree about the sermons minus doctrine and the inability of Catholics, including priests, to explain the faith in the public square. How quickly this came about is just beyond belief, given that before the Council Catholics were able to explain their faith very clearly. This was obvious in apostolates like the Catholic Evidence Guild and the Legion of Mary, but not any more.

      The article by Fr Mann is excellent and should waken up any well meaning Catholics who read it.

      March 2, 2016 at 10:22 am
  • John Kearney

    This is one of the most important writings I have come across. I was in a seminary for three years and was taught Thomistic philosophy. On leaving I cam to London and heard a priest tell some young people “We cannot be sure that what we believe is true” I was amazed and replied “Are you absolutely sure that what you are saying is true” As a Thomas I could have written a couple of pages on he falsity of his remark. But he had already been taught to relegate the idea that `Jesus had come to give witness to the Truth to the rubbish bin no matter how often Jesus had repeated it in Scripture.

    Then there a discussion on the Real Presence in the Parish Magazine. I gave the distinction between Substance and Accident in the Real Presence and in reply the priest wrote there was no such thing as substance. Since the Real Presence was relegated to myth it was little wonder that we were soon taking the host in the hand and refusing to kneel at Adoration.

    Then there is the Doctrine of Grace and the existence of the soul. Well in the Churches now although we offer the Sacraments we no longer talk about such things grace and soul and indeed the reason why anyone should receive then at all is rather dubious.

    In the Missal now we read “What doth it profit a man to gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his LIFE” This renders the passage meaningless since we are all going to die one day.

    Then the attack on Our Lady “Hail, highly favoured…” We do not read “Hail, FULL OF GRACE’ The word has been abandoned and that probably started in the seminaries. As for Sacramentals- what was that. The laity who now give the host to people are now instructed to give a blessing to the person if he or she is not receiving. Apparently there is no real difference between a lady blessing and a priest’s blessing – I did once mention that the priests blessing was sacramental and the lay blessing had no significance but heck it does make the lay person feel important and after all that is what Church is about – making people feel important.

    March 2, 2016 at 2:02 pm
    • editor


      Well said. Very clear and on the button. Lucky Portsmouth! Don’t suppose you’d consider re-locating to Bonnie Scotland? We could use you here, these days!

      PS Conference, 18th June, Celtic Park (I repeat, Celtic Park!) 1pm…. hint, hint!

      March 2, 2016 at 3:03 pm
    • lupine22

      Thank you John, most informative….especially lay people giving Blessings ! I have formed my opinion that many NO priests do NOT believe in the Blessed Sacrament as I was taught…whether the recent Lutheran Holy Communion (by accident caper, (so we are asked to believe) or Biden and Pelosi et al presenting themselves regularly for Communion (daring any priest to stop them in their tracks) and Communion in the hand in parishes all over the world. The sin is SACRILEGE and it is a mortal sin, worse it also incurs our Blessed Lord in that very sin and NO ONE seems to care. This evidence before my very eyes, tells me that the perpetrators involved simply do NOT believe in the Real Presence, the immortal soul, grace or even have any sense of sin….they are play actors, acting out a scene in front of an audience masquerading as a congregation.

      March 2, 2016 at 10:16 pm
    • lupine22

      I was always taught “suffer the loss of his own soul” and on top of that:- cross your forehead when passing a church, take your hat off when a hearse passes by, out of respect, do not talk to a priest in the street casually but “salute” as he may be carrying the Blessed Sacrament to someone in dire need…This is the Blessed Sacrament that is now profaned daily and carried about in handbags by so called Eucharist Ministers whilst shopping or at the bingo, what a travesty….similar situation when Biden and Pelosi go to Communion or both Clintons receiving Communion in Africa years ago (not to mention the Lutherans and pre RC Tony Blair). The word is Sacrilege, it is that simple and involves the Blessed Sacrament in the very SAME MORTAL SIN…so I can ONLY look at the circumstantial evidence in front of my eyes and it tells me that MOST Novus Ordo clergy do NOT believe in the miracle of Transubstantiation.

      March 4, 2016 at 8:50 pm
  • Petrus

    Excellent article by Fr Mann. This paragraph really stood out:

    “The erosion of Catholic thinking goes a long way to explaining why, in the face of all the doctrinal and intellectual chaos so rampant in the “New Church,” so few Catholics even bat an eyelid at the damage done to the Faith and consequently to souls by the words and actions that continue to flow from the highest authorities in the Church. They are virtually powerless to react.”

    Absolutely spot on. Crystal clear. Thank God for priests like Fr Mann who have the Faith and have the courage to speak out. I think his talk at the Conference will be riveting if this article is anything to go by. In fact, I’d go so far as saying his talk will be the second best of the Conference!!!!

    March 2, 2016 at 8:23 pm
    • editor


      “I’d go so far as saying his talk will be the second best of the Conference!!!!”

      Well, if it’s true that humility means having a true appreciation of oneself, you’re about the humblest guy on the block!

      Seriously, this Conference is going to be so good that each and every speaker will be “the best” – absolutely definitely.

      March 2, 2016 at 9:29 pm
  • RCA Victor

    “So few Catholics…”: yet here is another piece of the puzzle. It’s not as if the traditional information were not “out there,” what with so many excellent resources on the internet, including the SSPX, John Vennari, Father Gruner’s Apostolate, this blog, Chris Ferrara, Louie Verrecchio, Michael Matt – and now, even such sites as Denziger-Bergoglio. No, the timeless teaching of the Church is available literally everywhere.

    That being the case, I think a more pertinent question is: why aren’t the “mainstream” faithful availing themselves of it? Three answers come to mind: one, they don’t care enough about their Faith; two, they prefer the modernized, dumbed-down, secularized “faith” to the real one, since it is much easier to observe, requires so little of them, and garners them plenty of human respect; three, closely related to #2, it is much easier to tell themselves that it’s OK to obey whatever the Pope says, and conversely, much easier to avoid being accused of “disobedience” by resisting each latest scandal. In fact, resistance to scandal, which is their Catholic duty, is frequently looked down upon, or worse, by the shepherds who have become wolves.

    Modernism is the opiate of the people.

    March 2, 2016 at 9:23 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      About a year or so ago, I had a telephone call from a woman in Glasgow who had been given a copy of our newsletter for the first time. She was brimming with enthusiasm about it and couldn’t believe that we had been publishing since 1999 and she had only just found out about it.

      She was ringing, however, not just to ask to be added to the mailing list, but to let me know that she was going to take it to her parish priest and ask him to announce it from the pulpit, because, she thought, he (and the rest of the parishioners) would consider it a “must-read”.

      Now, there’s someone, possibly middle-aged, although I didn’t ask, who, with bells and ribbons on, does not realise that we are in crisis, and who might as well be living next door to Alice, in that place, what’s it called? Oh yes… Wonderland.

      When I told her that her priest would publicise the Salvation Army’s War Cry before he’d recommend Catholic Truth, she was dumbfounded.

      So, while the facts are certainly out there about the crisis in the Church, no Catholic is going to go looking for them unless they realise, in the first place, that there’s a problem, and, moreover, that the problem is that the Pope, hierarchy and clergy are busy going about the place attacking and undermining the Faith. To them that’s Donald Trump talk. They just can’t take it in – i.e. they can’t believe that THEY are being taken in by said Pope, hierarchy and modernist clergy! You have to laugh.

      I did my best to outline the problem to that very nice lady, but it’s really above my pay scale to bring someone down to Earth from such heights of theological and ecclesiastical optimism, that would allow any Catholic to believe that their PP is about to hand out copies of Catholic Truth after Sunday Mass – as I say, more likely to hand out copies of the War Cry.

      For the record, I’ve never heard from that lady since. Pray for her and the thousands like her, who just don’t know and may now even be counted among those who don’t want to know.

      March 2, 2016 at 9:42 pm
      • RCA Victor

        Thanks Editor – I realized after I posted that I went off focus there, this is about a crisis of the clergy first, which in turn becomes a crisis of the faithful. That is, the VII revolution started amongst the clergy – long before VII, apparently.

        Since there are so many faithful who don’t want to know, and/or who run smack into a clerical brick wall when they try to object to the deconstruction of the Church, I suppose it won’t do any good, either, to urge people to leave their corrupted parishes and seek SSPX shelter.

        And even if Pope Francis moves ahead with his pastoral recognition of the Society, or whatever it is he’s up to, I bet there still won’t be many who will avail themselves of the opportunity to move to the lifeboats.

        Which leaves the “one soul at a time” process, doesn’t it?

        March 2, 2016 at 11:15 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        Well, now I’m going to seem to contradict myself, but, in fact, among those who are becoming more informed, notably converts, I’m finding, there is a leaning towards the SSPX. I met a couple only last Sunday in our tearoom who are in that category – they hope, in due course, to attend the SSPX regularly. For practical reasons, they can’t do so right now, but it’s on their list of “things to do” asap.

        March 2, 2016 at 11:35 pm
      • RCA Victor


        Interesting. I myself am a convert of sorts, or perhaps revert is the correct term. Removed from the Church at age 5, raised Protestant, returned at age 49. If my mother had remained in the Church, I’d probably be a Novus Ordo regular by now (Not quite a Canon Regular, I suppose…..) And same if a friend hadn’t introduced me to the TLM Indult Mass two years after reverting – otherwise I never would have known there was another Mass. Better to keep the real Faith under wraps, you see – once the box is opened, too many embarrassing questions arise….

        March 3, 2016 at 1:23 am
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        Hang in there – you’ll make it to Canon Regular one of these days 😀

        March 3, 2016 at 10:11 am
  • JohnR

    How I so agree with John Keaney. I too have a similar background. I was at The English College Lisbon for three years but left after Minor Orders. One of the subjects we also studied was Greek and I am furious each time I hear or read “Hail thou that art highly favoured. The Greek is ‘kecharitomene’ where “ke” is “one” and “charito” is “grace” and “mene” is “full”. The proper translation therefore is “one full of grace”. How I hate what is in the present lectionary!

    March 2, 2016 at 11:04 pm
  • gabriel syme

    This is an excellent article from Fr Mann. Very insightful and he accurately frames the problems with the modern priesthood.

    I particularly liked the analogy of modern priests as soldiers without ammunition. The novus ordo Church is indeed an empty vessel.

    The current Papacy is the fruit thus far of modernism since the Council – this was their big moment, getting “their man” onto the Throne of Peter. And, wouldn’t you know it, the Emperor has no clothes.

    The emptying out of intellectual content from the Church is sadly mirrored by the emptying out of beautiful liturgy and the Church’s fine musical traditions.

    What is left is a rather sorry looking replacement which has been a flop since day one. It only stuttered along for a bit thanks to the legacy of the what went before.

    March 2, 2016 at 11:05 pm
    • tonybuck321

      Why defame Pope Francis ? He isn’t a modernist and was elected by traditionalists, not some shadowy cabal of Modernist cardinals.

      Since the Council, the Church has blossomed in all parts of the Church, except the West.

      But that’s the West’s fault, not the Council’s. For one thing, where are all the great saints (or any saints) among the ultra-traditionalists ?

      March 3, 2016 at 3:04 pm
      • editor


        Before responding to your comment, would you please define “ultra-traditionalist”. I have no idea what that means. Thanks.

        March 3, 2016 at 7:05 pm
  • Michaela

    Every time I read the article by Fr Mann, I find some new insight. This passage, e.g.

    “We now have generations of clergy who for the most part are strangers to that Catholic intellectual tradition. Not only are they alien to it, but actively hostile and dismissive of it. The contemporary person-centered philosophies now shape and form their minds and attitudes; faith and moral issues tend to be relativised and the attainment of objective truth is at best an elusive ideal.”

    I added the bold because that is worth highlighting. It is frightening to think that clergy are now hostile to the traditional faith. That’s horrendous.

    May I suggest that we all send the link to this article to all the priests we are contact with? It needs to be spread far and wide.

    March 2, 2016 at 11:55 pm
  • RCA Victor

    Sorry to go off topic again, but the intro to this thread reminded me that I’ve recently removed “AKA Catholic,” which is Louie Verrecchio’s new blog, from my list of daily rounds. I did so because I found he is becoming more and more susceptible to sarcastic anger over our corrupt clergy, at every level – a fault I myself am susceptible to, so to read his posts is for me almost a near occasion of sin.

    The other thing that bothers me about him is his odd assortment of friends and followers, on both his blog and Facebook page. He has Michael Voris apologists, papolotrists, Resistance-to-nothing supporters, SSPX scoffers, Novus Ordo defenders – along, of course, with some reliable traditionalists.

    Not the sort of company that is very edifying, frankly.

    March 3, 2016 at 1:35 am
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      I never visit Louis V blog for a number of reasons – I went looking for the above article when Father mentioned it to me.

      One of the things that I found less than edifying on my recent visit, is the request for donation cheques to be made out to Louie by name (not aka Catholic), and the statement on the section “speaking engagements” : To schedule Mr. Verrecchio for your event, or for more information about his availability and honorarium, please send an inquiry via email to

      I’m not at all implying any financial irregularity – I’m sure that is not the case. I simply do not believe that the work of fighting the crisis should be a means of making a living. It should remain an apostolate, part of our Baptismal and Confirmation duty – and we should do all in our power to prevent it appearing to be a money-spinner. Mr V is not the only Catholic who seems to have made it his livelihood, and maybe others will think I’m wrong about this, but I find it unattractive and unedifying to put a “dollar amount” price on accepting an invitation to speak about the crisis in the Church in a public forum. Of course a speaker is entitled to his expenses and as much of a gratuity as the host can afford, but there should be no “price” put on such things, in my opinion. I suspect we could never afford him but, in any case, we’re happy with the humble speakers who have gladly accepted our invitations to, effectively, spread the Faith, without expecting to end up millionaires as a result 😀

      I didn’t study the links so missed the “odd assortment of friends and followers” which you mention, but, although I take your point, that could be explained as “keeping one’s enemies close” and trying to educate them.

      As to the “sarcastic anger over corrupt clergy” to which you refer – well, there I have to admit some sympathy. It’s very hard to be polite about them, and even harder to be charitable, so maybe Louie isn’t all bad after all 😀

      March 3, 2016 at 10:05 am
      • westminsterfly

        Yes, I can vouch for that. When Editor came to speak at a conference which I helped to organise some years ago, she didn’t ask for a fee. However, she demanded a wardrobe mistress, hair stylist, make-up artiste, drinks cabinet, hamper from Fortnum & Mason, fresh flowers in her dressing room, limousine to and from the hall, penthouse suite in a top hotel . . .

        March 3, 2016 at 3:38 pm
      • editor


        Fancy you remembering that, after all these years… I must say, the penthouse suite was fantastic, but the make-up artiste admitted being out of her depth… Next time, I’ll demand a cosmetic surgeon. Note: no exclamation mark, no smiley face. I’m deadly serious!

        March 3, 2016 at 7:07 pm
      • westminsterfly

        LOLOLOLOL !!! They were happy days . . . but what does that say about now, when I can look back to the ’90’s as ‘happy days’? God help us!

        Apologies – I don’t know how to do smiley faces!

        March 3, 2016 at 7:33 pm
      • editor


        To do a face with a grin, my favourite, you do the following.

        Type a colon : then without leaving any spaces, you type the word grin and then again without leaving any spaces you type another colon

        colongrincolon = : grin : (I’ll now do it without leaving spaces)


        Feel free to do some tests – I’ll delete them later.

        March 3, 2016 at 8:31 pm
      • westminsterfly

        OK Editor, thanks. But just be aware that the Ritz still seek your address about that champagne bill 😉

        March 3, 2016 at 9:00 pm
  • Tony Buck

    I doubt whether St Thomas Aquinas would approve this attempt to live in an imaginary past, whether medieval or 1950’s.

    There has certainly plenty of Modernism about; but that isn’t the fault of Pope Francis, it’s the fault of Western arrogance, rooted in the West’s (now vanishing) power and riches.

    BTW, the Reformation was “the best thing that ever happened to the Church” – it compelled reform as nothing else could have done.

    March 3, 2016 at 3:00 pm
    • editor


      Look. Anybody reading the basic statistics for parishes, hatches, matches and despatches, added to the standing room only at Masses, knows that there is no “imaginary past” being remembered here.

      And please stop being ridiculous about Pope Francis. Anyone who has read his shocking statements and seen photos of him wearing a red nose, a succession of idiotic hats and heard his assurance to Protestants, non-Christians and atheists alike that they are all destined for Heaven, no need to convert, that the only “rebels and idolaters” around today are those Catholics who adhere to the entirety of Catholic dogma and morals, know that he is heading for the same condemnation in history as other bad popes now suffer.

      As for this false and dangerous idea that Christ’s Church, His Spotless Bride, is EVER in need of reform – gerragrip. You and I, the individual members of the Church are always in need of reform – not the Church herself. Christ gave us the hierarchical structure of the Church, and those who wish to make “irreversible reforms” (to quote Papa Francis) are – to put it in plain and simple language – wrong.

      March 3, 2016 at 7:12 pm
  • Athanasius


    Is Tony Buck for real? More to the point, is he living in the real world? Only a complete religious illiterate could post comments like his. I can’t even be bothered responding, it’s just too silly.

    March 3, 2016 at 8:17 pm
  • Trollfinder General

    Therein lies the question . . . IS Tony Buck for real?

    March 3, 2016 at 8:51 pm
  • RCA Victor

    “To use the words of the fathers of Trent, it is certain that the Church ‘was instructed by Jesus Christ and His Apostles and that all truth was daily taught it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.’ Therefore, it is obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain ‘restoration and regeneration’ for her as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be considered subject to defect or obscuration or other misfortune. Indeed these authors of novelties consider that a ‘foundation may be laid of a new human institution,’ and what Cyprian detested may come to pass, that what was a divine thing ‘may become a human church.'” – Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Pope Gregory XVI, August 15, 1832, Mirari Vos

    March 3, 2016 at 11:22 pm

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