24 October 2010

SOMETHING QUITE WONDERFUL

I. It appears that a crack is opening up in the space-time continuum. Let's check it out and see what's going on:
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) will hold its annual Plenary Assembly October 25-29, 2010, at the Nav Canada Centre, Cornwall, Ontario. About 90 Bishops from across the country will gather to review pastoral activities of the past year and share their experiences and insights on the life of the Church and the major events that shape our society.[1]
The Star Chamber is about to hold sessions.

II.
Now a lot of stuff has been happening since the bishops convened last year, like, for example, that whole "long form census" thing[2] and other irrelevant goodies that only a bureaucrat would love. Yet much of the energy expended has involved keeping that monster in the closest, otherwise going by the name Development + Peace. Thing is, this monster wants to stay in the closet. Looking at the timetable for Plenary Observers, however, one would think the D+P scandal to be a mere triviality[3] The first day is a "public session", open to "appointed observers, invited guests of various faiths and accredited media professionals". Unfortunately, these folks are to get a mere 15-minute talk on D+P. Lunch follows.

III. Rules and regulations are set in place for journalists. Behave or else this stipulation comes into effect: "The CCCB reserves the right to refuse entry to any media professional and to refuse or revoke accreditation at any time".[4] Surely, this gorgeous disqualifier will be on the mind of (if in attendance) Abp. James Weisgerber, well cognizant that a LifeSite News reporter will be scoping him out. Remember, this is the man who, in response to the scandal, said: "These bloggers who claim to be more Catholic than anyone - I think first of all they're not part of the church".[5] Though the Holy Father would take issue with that statement, recently speaking of "the extraordinary potential of the new media to bring the message of Christ and the teaching of his Church to the attention of a wider public."[6] Anyhow, I'm sure some stoolie from Salt+Light TV will be there to play back-up for the good archbishop. Redundancies are requisite. I suggest that Fr. Rosica dispatch Mr. Dmytrenko to Cornwall. He seems pretty good at it.[7]

IV. Other topics to be covered in The Star Chamber include: "relations with Muslims", "principles of evangelization in contemporary culture", "reviewing the work carried out over the past year by CCCB councils, commission and committees", "the CCCB restructuring process" and "the role of Bishops in life issues." Certainly, a cornucopia of paper-shuffling delights. Much work, obviously, needs to be done on the latter. Just recently pro-life student protesters were arrested by police at Carleton University in Ottawa and all that the CCCB would muster (surely after much prodding) was a fuzzy statement in a letter to Prime Minister Harper: "increasing levels of incarceration of marginalized people is counterproductive".[8] Astounding. This aversion to making bold proclamations or enunciating Catholic specificities just betrays the Politically Correct cowardice involved.

V. The report on D+P during the public session is to be presented by Bps. Claude Champagne, OMI and Richard Grecco. Don't know much about Champagne, who was appointed by B16 to be bishop of Edmundston, New Brunswick in January 2009. [9] Previously he was provincial superior of the oblate province of Saint-Joseph, Montreal. [10] Available data makes me pause. He is an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, studied and taught at St. Paul University,[11] for a long time now a hotbed of heretical craziness, and a pontifical university no less. OMI have done much good work throughout Canada in the distant past, yet its association with St. Paul University over recent decades, including the heterodox liberalism regularly issued by Novalis Publishers (which OMI controlled until recently) has to figure in here somehow. If living, studying and teaching in an atmosphere of dissent, in an aura of "social justice", antinomianism and radical theologies, where will Champagne's sympathies skew with respect to D+P, an organization of people whose lifeblood consists of these very horizontalisms? It is an open question.

VI. Grecco is not as hard to gauge. At last year's Plenary Session in October, just months after LSN exposed D+P to be funding pro-abortion groups in Latin America, Grecco (on the D+P governing board) released the following in an initial written report: "[D+P] came under a concerted Internet-based media attack by certain militant advocacy groups and individuals, alleging that DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE was financing and promoting abortion programs and advocacy through our partner network".[12] Not a good sign. Later in a verbal report he specifically mentioned LSN as being one of the "militant advocacy groups". Not a good sign at all. Grecco's background is interesting. Since 1997 he was an auxiliary in London and Toronto, then appointed bishop of Charlottetown, PEI in July 2009.[13] He is from St. Catharines, a tough industrial town in southwestern Ontario. He studied theology at St. Augustine's Seminary in Toronto, ordained in 1973,[14] right at the time when the V2 "spirit" was shifting into overdrive. Also notable is that he taught Moral Theology at Toronto's St. Michael's College, another institution that has succumbed to anti-Catholic forces for some time now.[15]

VII. Not much can be gleaned from the abovementioned with respect to what exactly will be reported on the D+P scandal. However, we can capture a glimpse of the whitewash to come by statements recently made by Msgr. Patrick Powers, the newly appointed CCCB General Secretary. Here it should be interjected that The Star Chamber did excellently in getting Msgr. Powers to tow the party line. Prior to entering the seminary he worked for "a major Canadian company where he served as employment and personnel services manager."[16] An administrator! Anyhow, read some remarks by Powers quoted in a report earlier this week on CCCB committee dealings with D+P and "life and family issues" (n.b. both involve abortion and morality, effectively making them the same subject):
...Both committees have worked extremely well and they have excellent results to report... Members of the ad hoc committee were genuinely astonished at the level of complete cooperation that became evident early in their work on the part of CCODP... over the years the two organizations had not talked as much as they should have... They will have a report for the plenary where absolutely all the issues have been looked at... something quite wonderful... [will result]... I would say the results of the reports of these two ad hoc committees will go a very long way to establishing a climate of confidence... The CCODP people have given more than ample evidence of how all sorts of approaches are being changed...
The two keys: results and cooperation. What does "excellent results" mean? Seems like they will claim no evidence of pro-abortion group funding by D+P. What else would "excellent" mean? They have looked at "all the issues", yes? What exactly does "complete cooperation" mean? Well, of course, two groups of like minded thinking are going to cooperate, even if strayed from one other over the years. Obviously there will be a "climate of confidence". The only difference now is that cooperation has been forced. The performance of an internal review, whatever it has entailed, was due to challenges from extraneous agencies (i.e. LifeSite News, bloggers) who have presented disturbing evidences of anti-life facilitation. Even though D+P "made full disclosure" to the CCCB, it certainly did not cooperate with LSN, despite D+P's mantra of transparency. Just recently, D+P lawyered up to disallow a Freedom of Information Request submitted by LSN[18]. Having a CCCB committee investigate the D+P is like asking an inebriated doctor to excise his own ruptured appendix.

VIII. But the story does not end here. Not at all, ladies and gentlemen. An out is necessitated to account for or nullify any and all accusations of malfeasance. The Star Chamber is well cognizant that, despite its reports extolling hope and change and other nebulous phraseologies, "militant advocacy groups and individuals" (as Bp. Grecco would say) would continue with their campaign of disbelief. Enter the bureaucratic magic of Msgr. Powers and, presto!, an escape hatch materializes:
There will always be questions that arise, not only at CCODP but at any Catholic organization... They have to be looked at and they usually turn out to be not quite what they appear to be.
Indeed, something quite wonderful.

IX.
Resolution to the D+P scandal, based on my analysis, will not come from within this icy domain called Canada. The CCCB is a magisterium unto itself and evidently that old heresy of conciliarism is operative.[19] No options or solutions exist therein. There is a smattering of hope, however. Accordingly, let's go transatlantic...

X. Now whatever one may think of the late Fr. Malachi Martin's writings, he was nevertheless correct when he penned that the Chair of Peter is world's greatest "listening post".[20] Peter hears, and he hears globally. VIS is reporting that Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S. had four "separate audiences" this month with His Holiness, on October 4th, 11th, 18th and, most interestingly, on the 22nd, just a few days prior to when The Star Chamber convenes.[21] Notice the weekly (7-day) cycle, October 4th-11th-18th, but the 22nd is out of sync. Routine audiences, yes, though undoubtedly Ouellet, in at least one of these meetings, was apprising B16 on the CCCB/D+P ongoings. Why is this Cardinal important? Two interrelated reasons: Ouellet is a Canadian, from the formerly Catholic province of Quebec (to which he was archbishop and Primate of Canada), and (more influentially) he is the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, appointed as such last July[22]. This is a powerful position as it involves the selection of diocesan bishops on an international scale. Admittedly, I was initially dismayed when Ouellet was appointed as Prefect, even though a fellow Canadian. Beforehand, the blunt and thoroughly orthodox Cardinal George Pell came up for the position, which pleased me enormously. I would venture to say that, upon hearing the name Pell, late night cartwheels were being performed by liberals across the Piazza. It would have been an absolute joy to see George hop on his bulldozer and clear the track. It would have been something quite wonderful. Don't mess with the Aussies. Yet the pacemaker matter and false allegations came up against Pell. The Holy Spirit has deemed otherwise and Ouellet was appointed as Prefect. After further review, I now understand that this is an exciting development.

XI. Cardinal Ouellet is a theologian, not an administrator (very important); he is on the editorial board of the influential theological journal Communio, founded in 1972 by a certain Joseph Ratzinger; he is definitely on board the ship called "Hermeneutic of Continuity"; he is a long time ally of Pope Benedict. Within a Canadian context, it should be remarked that Ouellet is a hold-out in a province whose bishops and priests have fallen far astray for decades. To understand deeper let us provide a historical backdrop of the Cardinals' home province: In the early seventeenth century, Catholic Frenchman settled in Quebec (New France), the Maritimes (Arcadia) and the St. Lawrence Valley, under the leadership of the explorer Samuel de Champlain. The Church provided religious orders, such as the Sulpicians, Recollects and Jesuits, to establish missionary stations and to attend to the spiritual requirements of the colonists. Aided by the Quebec Act of 1774, which worked to reconcile the French population with the British government, Catholics in Quebec were thereafter free to practice their religion, amongst an Anglo-Protestant population in neighboring regions. Catholicism flourished in Quebec until the about the 1950s.

XII. But the so-called Quiet Revolution of the 1960s (concurrent with Vatican II) inducted the new age of Quebecois nationalism. The role of religion was swiftly cast aside to make way for future liberation (the sentiment is in some places akin to the revolutionary spirit of France in 1789). Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (a Gallican) wrote that "the politically powerful Catholic clergy in Quebec was theocratic and obscurantist". True, some Quebec clergy were too far embroiled in political affairs by the 1960s. Yet with such remarks an entire tradition was almost immediately relegated into nothingness, as if Catholicism played no ameliorating role whatsoever in Quebec. From such attitudes arose the myth of "the great darkness", everywhere maintained by Quebec separatists and secular intellectuals, meaning that before the 1960s priests ruled like tyrants, freedom was nonexistent, and so on with the bromides.[23] Historian Preston Jones wrote:
So the story goes that in the 1960s myriad puny Davids slew the retrograde Catholic Goliath. And lo, the revolution was good. For intolerance, tolerance; for taboos, the pursuit of fun; for conformity, self-expression. But that story is a myth. For the truth goes more like this: for old fashioned intolerance, newfangled intolerance; for granny’s taboos, the 60’s generation’s taboos; for conformity to the old creed, conformity to a new creed.[24]
It was this inability to see anything exemplary in Quebec’s Catholic past that had helped spark the separatist’s disdain of their forefathers - in what they believed, in their way of life, in their contributions to Canadian culture.

XIII. The spiritual vacuity that attended the rejection of Catholicism in Quebec has simply been replenished with the new religion of messianic nationalism, spearheaded by an elite of venomous free thinkers. One organ of the nationalist cause is the newspaper Le Devoir. Started in the early part of the twentieth century, it was once a Catholic-inclined periodical directed to the intellectual class. Since the 1960s, it has devolved into a platform of radical individualism and piggybacking leftisms (let alone the Marxist FLQ). The nationalists and their supporters feign that they have a collective sense of purpose. In actuality, the emergence of Quebecois nationalism has mostly been the consequence of a loss of values. Quebec has no present moral or cultural value system to give it a sturdy foundation. An antinomian haze chokes a once Catholic Quebec. It has pervaded its way into nearly every aspect of life. Quebec has one of the world's lowest birth rates, until a few years ago it had the world’s highest rate of sterilized women of childbearing age, the suicide rate is very high amongst its young people, and anti-clericalism is a provincial sport. Certainly, Quebec is worse off now after its disenfranchisement of Roman Catholicism, and the relativist comportment of its intelligentsia and politicians, separatist or federalist, counteracts any type of restraint and right reason which Catholicism would encourage. Further compounding this circumstance is that most of Quebec’s bishops, like terrified children, never speak out against eventualities, now more prominent than ever, which compromise, let alone vilify, Catholic peoples and their beliefs.

XIV. So that is the atmosphere from which Cardinal Marc Ouellet has emerged, a loyal son of the Church under incessant attack. Anti-Catholicism is rife from without and, more disturbingly, from within. One recent example would be the ravings of the pro-abortion homosexualist priest Fr. Raymond Gravel, a former federal politician and celebrant of a "gay pride mass". At least twice this year he slammed Ouellet for his emphatic pro-life pronouncements.[25] Gravel even wrote a letter to Le Devoir, charging LSN with conducting a witch hunt against him.[26] Reading the rants of Gravel (a real trial) just goes to prove St. Peter Damian's observation made a millennium ago: "For God's sake, why do you damnable sodomites pursue the heights of ecclesiastical dignity with such fiery ambition".[27] But the Bavarian brilliance of Benedict XVI, in choosing Ouellet as Prefect, really came across when Bishop Martin Veilette (Trois-Rivières diocese) said in response to the appointment that the Cardinal is "emotional" and out of touch with Quebec.[28] Tough luck, bishop. The party is over. Deal with it.

XV. The logical deduction from the abovementioned analysis is this: The D+P scandal will not be resolved with the CCCB Plenary commencing tomorrow. Fortunately, however, there is a powerful Canadian Prefect on the side of truth advising Peter of the situation. Rome is monitoring the ongoings within The Star Chamber. God willing, something quite wonderful will arise in due course.


NOTES / REFERENCES

1. Media Advisory, "Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' Plenary Assembly", October 13, 2010.
LINK

2. Letter from Most Reverend Pierre Morissette, CCCB President to the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry concerning his position on the census, July 28, 2010. LINK

3. Timetable, CCCB Plenary Assembly, Public Session, October 25, 2010. LINK

4. Regulations for Journalists to Attend Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), October 13, 2010. LINK

5. J.-H. Westen, "CCCB President on Websites Confronting D&P: 'they're not part of the church, they're not Catholic'", LifeSite News, June 25, 2009. LINK

6. "Pontiff sends greetings to Catholic media convention", ZENIT, June 2, 2010. LINK

7. K. Dmytrenko, "Development and Peace investigation results: 'No evidence', Salt + Light TV (blog), June 19. 2009. Especially read Dmytrenko's remarks in the com boxes. LINK

8. G.M. Gordon, Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper from Bishop Gary Gordon concerning plans by the Government of Canada to build new prisons, October 1, 2010. LINK

9. Vatican Information Service, Other Pontifical Acts, January 5, 2009. LINK

10. Vatican Information Service, Other Pontifical Acts, March 25, 2003. LINK

11. See Diocese of Edmundston website here.

12. Quoted in J-H. Westen, "Ottawa Archbishop Objects to "Business as Usual" with Development and Peace", LifeSite News, October 20, 2009. LINK

13. Vatican Information Service, Other Pontifical Acts, July 13, 2009. LINK See also W. Thibodeau, "Torontos Richard Grecco named Bishop of Charlottetown", The Guardian (PEI), July 11, 2009. LINK

14. See Diocese of Charlottetown website here.

15. C.I. Staff, "A Catholic College Betrays the Church", Catholic Insight, May 2003, vol XI, no. 3. LINK

16. "Msgr. Patrick Powers, New CCCB General Secretary", Catholic Ezine, July 9, 2009. LINK

17. D. Gyapong, "Life and family issues and CCODP on bishops' plenary agenda", The BC Catholic, October 21, 2010. LINK

18. M. Swan, "Court quashes access to information on D&P", Catholic Register, September 29, 2010. LINK

19. The Conciliar Movement arose during the "Great Western Schism", around the time of the "Avignon Popes" (ca. 1378-1417). Essentially, it was an attempt hijack the plenitudo potestatis of the pope. It's origins can be found in the writings of two persons: First, the heretic William of Ockham (ca. 1288-1348). For example: "the papal principate does not regularly include the power to abolish or disturb the rights and liberties of others, especially those of emperors, kings, princes and other laymen". From Ockham's De imperatorum et pontificum potestate. In Medieval Political Ideas, trans. E. Lewis (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1954) vol. 2, pp. 608-609. The second was John of Paris (d. 1306). In his De potestate regia et papali he wrote of "two powers not only distinct in themselves but also by the subject in which they are found, that they should not be held by one and the same person as the primary authority". See On Royal and Papal Power, trans. J.A. Watt (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1971), ch. x, p. 118. Other notables include the Defensor pacis (1324) by the Averroist Marsilius of Padua (ca. 1275-1342), conferring authority to the "human legislator" (a precursor to Rousseau's "General Will"). Konrad of Gelnhausen (ca. 1320-1390) wrote Epistola concordiae (1381), copying almost verbatim sentences from Ockham’s political work Dialogus. Heinrich von Langenstein (d. 1397) composed his Concilium pacis (1381), a barely concealed reference to Marsilio's Defensor pacis. Generally, the Conciliar Movement was an effort to shift authority away from the papacy through the ecclesiastics and then (ultimately) to "the people". It was a call to democratize the Church. The movement perpetuated the following ideas, later to effloresce at the Reformation: [i] the equalization of papal and clerical power, [ii] a universal church of the people, [iii] an allowance to depose and militate against the pope in times of necessity, and [iv] the prioritization of Scripture and the writings of the early church Fathers over the pontiff. Similarities between the abovementioned and the "spirit" of Vatican II are manifest.

20. See M. Martin, The Keys of This Blood (New York: Touchstone Books, 1990).

21. Vatican Information Service, Audiences, October 4, 11, 18 and 22, 2010. LINKa LINKb LINKc LINKd

22. Vatican Information Service, "Cardinal Ouellet, Envoy To Centenary Membertou Baptism", July 26, 2010. LINK

23. A good book covering parts of Roman Catholicism and Quebec politics before and around the Quiet Revolution is C. Black, Render Unto Caesar: The Life and Legacy of Maurice Duplessis (Toronto: Key Porter Books Limited, 1998). Originally published in 1976.


24. P. Jones, "Quebec's Shining Bright Lie", Gravitas, Summer 1997, vol. 4, issue 2, pp. 34-38. A now defunct Canadian periodical.

25. J.-H. Westen and P.B. Craine, "Pro-Gay Priest Condemns Canadian Cardinal for Remarks on Abortion/Rape", LifeSite News, May 18, 2010. LINK P.B. Craine, "Renegade Priest: Gravel Celebrates Gay Pride Mass, Bashes Cardinal Ouellet again", LifeSite News, August 19, 2010. LINK

26. R. Gravel, "LifeSiteNews.com - Une chasse aux sorcières organisée", Le Devoir, July 12, 2010. LINK

27. This line comes from his Book of Gomorrah, addressed to Pope Leo IX in 1049 when, at the time, clerical homosexuality was rampant.

28. P.B. Craine, "Quebec Bishop on Cardinal Ouellet: 'Emotional' and Out of Touch with Quebec", LifeSite News, August 17, 2010. LINK

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10 comments:

Al said...

TH2, checked out the CCCB site the other day after a comment of yours about this upcoming gathering. Had many of the same thoughts about D+P, press coverage etc that you did. Depressing as things can be with the USCCB, the CCCB is definitely worse.
Between Burke & Oullet we can only hope that most of the upcoming appointments will be of a better caliber than what we have now.

Mary said...

I'll be praying fervently this week for "something quite wonderful" to come out of this session.

Patrick Button said...

What is it with Canadian liberal Catholics and the plus sign? Salt+Light, Development+Peace. Do they just really like addition?

Clotilde Frazier said...

TH2, are you familiar with the prophecies of Mary, under the incarnation: Our Lady of Good Success? Four Hundred years ago in Quito she specifically gave us a description of our times. ALL her phrophecies have met the reasonable person fact check. All but one have come to pass i.e., Mary's triumph over Satan.

To whom were the messages given? Mother Marianna de Jesus Torres. The cause of this splendid soul was forwarded in the nineties by JPII. It was she to whom our lady condescended and protected 400 years ago, in Quito.

To paraphrase in part (too tired to dig up the quote) WHEN ALL SEEMS LOST, AT THAT MOMENT [SHE] WILL INTERVENE AND DEFEAT SATAN. She also mentioned that corruption would begin at the top of the church hierarchy. TH2, does it feel like all is lost? I appreciated your (looking for cracks) post.

Finally, while I pray daily for the sanctification of the Pope,et al., I am also mindful that he largely speaks out of both sides of his mouth, the Motu Proprio, being one of his
double-speak documents. VII fruit has largely been bad, very bad.

From the suffering church, wherein U.S.Catholics struggle to keep the faith, while attending masses in homes etc., I am grateful you are out there. Clotilde

TH2 said...

Al: Ditto on Burke and Oullet. Coming over to your blog to comment on your CCCB/USCCB post.

Mary: Muchly needed. However, I am pessimistic re: the CCCB. Too much of an Aquinas rationalist. Perhaps I should read some Bonaventure to counteract.

Patrick: Not a dislike for addition. Just too lazy to type 2 extra characters.

Clotilde: Always good to hear from someone from the great state of Alaska. Re: your HHB16 comment - I will respectfully disagree. Not that familiar with Our Lady of Good Success. Will check it out.

Al said...

TH2, as I said at my blog, I got your comments on my CCCB post twice, so I published 1 rejected teh other. Not that what you said doesn't bear repeating.

You probably have a better idea of how the D+P scandal will/won't be dealt with by the CCCB. The USCCB will be dealing with the CCHD scandal, sort of. They will be hearing a report on it called "The Review and Renewal of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development". Personally, I don't hold out much hope for honest reform from within the CCHD based on the way they have done things the past few months. I suspect the report will be more of a whitewash & cover for those Bishops who don't want to deal with it. They will be able to point to the report & say it has been dealt with. But I suspect those Bishops who have halted the CCHD collection in their dioceses will raise a few questions, if allowed.

Patrick Button said...

TH2: Oh. That makes more sense. I was thinking that they really had + signs. Never mind. Anyway, great post!

Al said...

TH2, I was just over at the CCCB website to see what they had to say about the goings on at teh Assembkly. While I can probably guess your take, I will just make 2 comments.

1. From CCCB President Bishop Pierre Morissette's address: "We also could not have managed without the expert help of Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., President and CEO of the Salt + Light Catholic Media Foundation, who was our media liaison for the event." & "We are grateful also to Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., of the Salt + Light Catholic Media Foundation, who has given his wise counsel for our media relations."
I refer back to my comment about things sounding incestuous in the post before this 1. Just more proof of how accurate your evaluation of the relationship between CCCB & S+L is.

2. The letter from Morissette to Papa Benedetto. My initial reaction: GAG!!!!!!!!!!! It was full of BS that was PhD as the old higher Ed joke goes.

& did I miss something or was D+P given a total pass?

TH2 said...

Al: Have not yet had a chance to check it out (just got back in), but will do so after I comment here:

"We also could not have managed without the expert help of Father Thomas Rosica..." etc etc... LOL LOL LOL LOL (stomach contracting)

But why am I laughing at something so terrible? Your word sums it up: incestuous. Do not know what else to say except that I REALLY REALLY need a cheese sandwich.

Marco said...

Yeah,..as much as Bishop Veilette may believe Cardinal Ouellet out of touch with Quebec, I think we can counter with Veilette and the rest out of touch with the Church!

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