Catholics in Ireland are often accused of stone-throwing and hypocrisy just because they don’t accept the current immoral trends such as contraception, divorce, abortion, homosexuality, etc. “Who are you to judge others and impose your moral values on them?” is a familiar taunt. “Look at what members of the Church have done in the past. Ye’re no better than anyone else”, and so on and so forth… And, it’s true that, in and of ourselves, we are no better than anyone else. Our own repeated personal experience convinces us of that. A Catholic is just as capable of the lowest moral degradation as a non-Catholic.
The difference between a Catholic and a non-Catholic is that, when the Catholic sins, he knows how to get back on track again. Imagine two hikers who wander off the road to their destination; one has a map and a compass, and the other doesn’t. True, they have both got lost. However, the one with the map and the compass has the means to get back on the right road; the other doesn’t. Now, apply this image to a Catholic and a non-Catholic: they can both commit sin. But, the Catholic clearly knows where he has gone wrong, and what he has to do to change. The non-Catholic’s knowledge of what he has done wrong is, at best, limited; his knowledge of what he has to do to change is even more so.
Now, if the hiker with the map and compass points out to his non-Catholic counterpart that he has strayed off the right path (and shows him the way back to the right one), would he be called “judgmental” or “hypocritical”? After all, who is he to lecture to someone else about being lost, when he has got lost himself?!… Obviously, this is absurd…and so is the accusation that Catholics in Ireland are hypocritical and judgmental simply because they try to call their fellow-countrymen back from the brink of moral collapse.
Now, the Catholic does not only have a map and a compass (in the form of the constant Teaching of the Church given to Her by Christ). He also has the powerful assistance of prayer and the Sacraments, which aid him in overcoming that wounded human nature which often inclines him to ignore the directions given by his map and compass and to follow everyone else over the edge of the moral cliff.
But, one of the chief means of assistance available to Irish Catholics in their quest for heaven since the time of Saint Patrick has been devotion to Mary – the Mother of God, Mother of Graces, and Mother of each Irishman and woman. Hardly surprising, as Our Lady told Lucia of Fatima: “I will be your refuge, and the path that leads you to heaven”. Each one of us Irish Catholics should be itching to share this path to heaven with our fellow countrymen.
To inspire us in our own devotion to this great Mother, and to spur us on to make it known around us, who better to go to than the Italian, Saint Alphonsus de Ligouri, founder of the Redemptorist Order. The Redemptorists were once much loved in Ireland for their zealous preaching of Missions in parishes the length and breadth of the country. Saint Alphonsus wrote an amazing book, called The Glories of Mary. Following is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of that book, where the Saint shows beautifully how Our Lady is, as the Salve Regina says, “our hope”:
St. Basil encourages sinners, saying: “Oh sinner, be not timid, but in all thy necessities flee to Mary, invoke her aid, and thou wilt always find her ready to assist thee, for it is the Divine Will that she should aid all men in all their necessities! This Mother of Mercy has such a desire to save the most abandoned sinners, that she even goes to seek them ; and if they have recourse to her, she will surely find a method of rendering them dear to God.
Isaac, desiring to eat the flesh of some venison, promised to give his benediction in exchange for it to Esau; but Rebecca wishing that her other son Jacob should receive this benediction, ordered him to bring her two kids, for she would prepare the food that Isaac loved. ‘Go thy way to the flock, bring me two kids’. St. Antoninus says that Rebecca was a figure of Mary, who says to the angels: ‘Bring me sinners (meant by ‘kids’), that I may prepare them in such a manner (by obtaining for them sorrow and good resolutions) as to render them dear and acceptable to my Lord’. The Abbot Francone, pursuing the same thought, says, that Mary so well understands Low to prepare these kids, that they not only equal, but sometimes even surpass the flavour of venison.”
The Blessed Virgin herself revealed to St. Bridget ‘that no sinner in the world is so great an enemy to God, that if he has recourse to her and invokes her aid, does not return to God and is not restored to his favour. And the same St. Bridget one day heard Jesus Christ saying to his mother, that she could obtain the divine favour even for Lucifer, if he would humble himself so far as to ask her help. That proud spirit would never stoop to implore the protection of Mary, but if such a thing could happen, Mary would take pity upon him, and the power of her prayers would obtain from God his pardon and salvation. But what cannot happen to the devil may well happen to sinners who seek the help of this Mother of Mercy.
And, in the words of the old Irish hymn:
A Mhuire na ngrás, a Mháthair Mhic Dé, go gcuire tú ar mo leas mé. Go sabhála tú mé ar gach uile olc, go sabhála tú mé idir anam is chorp.
O Mary of Graces and Mother of God, may I tread in the paths that the righteous have trod. And mayest thou save me from evil’s control, and mayest thou save me in body and soul.
Go sabhála tú mé ar muir is ar tír, go sabhála tú mé ar lic na bpian. Gárda na n-aingeal os mo chionn, Dia romham agus Dia liom.
And mayest thou save me by land and by sea, and mayest thou save me from tortures to be May the guard of the Angels around me abide, may God be before me and God at my side.
The World Meeting of Families (and its preparatory wing, “Amoris: Let’s Talk Family; Let’s Be Family”) has been completely discredited and shown to be fundamentally anti-family after the organisers of the 2018 event in Dublin invited the notorious Cardinal Christophe Schönborn of Vienna to give two conferences in Mary Immaculate Teacher Training College in Limerick on 13th July last.
Communion for the Divorced and “Re-married”.
According to Greg Daly of The Irish Catholic, Cardinal Schönborn said that he believes that a married person who is in a marital-type relationship with someone who is not his or her spouse (in other words, living in a state of sin) can in certain cases receive absolution and Holy Communion, without repentance and change of life. This opinion of Cardinal Schönborn is in line with the literal reading of Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia. In effect, Amoris Laetitia says (in number 305 and corresponding note 351) that a person living in an objective situation of sin can receive the Church’s help, which, “in certain cases, can include the help of the sacraments”. Cardinal Schönborn maintains that allowing such couples to receive these Sacraments does not change the Church’s teaching that marriage is indissoluble, even though it contradicts the Church’s constant practice of refusing absolution and Holy Communion in these cases. Four Cardinals (Burke, Caffara, Meisner and Brandmüller) were so concerned about this contradiction between teaching and practice that they presented five dubia (or questions) to Pope Francis in order to clarify the situation. They have still received no answer from the Pope.
Schönborn’s “pastoral discernment” an attack on the Irish family.
This double-speak by the visiting Cardinal amounts to an attack on the family. It is therefore an attack on Ireland, since the family is the basic building-block of our society. Schönborn craftily presents marriage lived according to the Law of the Church as a sort of “ideal” which cannot be reached by all in today’s world, and so the Church has to “listen to […] people in both regular and so-called irregular relationships”.
Now, imagine a couple in any Irish parish which is going through a difficult time in their marriage; will they really be inclined to stick to this “ideal” when they see around them others who have been unfaithful to their marriage vows receiving the Sacraments anyway? Since extra-marital relationships are only “so-called irregular”, will they be motivated to continue in their own “regular” relationship? Surely not! And what about those who are in “so-called irregular” situations? If their “conscience” tells them that that’s the best they can do, why should they embrace the “ideal”? Furthermore, if the Viennese Cardinal’s opinion is correct, then Christ Himself did not have “pastoral discernment” when he told the woman caught in adultery: “Go, and now sin no more”! Neither did Saint John the Baptist when he told Herod: “It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife”.
A non-Catholic notion of marriage and the family.
Catholics might wonder how a Cardinal can come to the conclusion that absolution and Holy Communion can be given to couples not living according to the Church’s Law. In this writer’s opinion, a good part of the answer lies in the fact that Cardinal Schönborn does not have a Catholic notion of marriage and the family. For Schönborn, while sacramental marriage is the “ideal”, other forms of “unions” contain elements of marriage which make them approach this ideal, to a greater or lesser extent. This is why he spoke to journalists of second unions, divorce and same-sex unions as being “part of a new narrative around the family in Ireland”. He clarified his thought in an interview with Antonio Spadaro in 2015, when he said:
“The Sacrament of Matrimony is realized fully there where justly there is a sacrament between a man and a woman living in faith etc. But, that does not prevent that, outside of this full realization of the Sacrament of Matrimony, there are elements of matrimony that are signals of expectation, positive elements”.
Therefore, Schönborn thinks that we should look at what is positive in these different types of sinful unions, rather than just looking at what is negative, and accompany these people, even to the point of giving them absolution and Holy Communion, without requiring them to change their life. But, why only apply this gradualism to marriage and family? Why not extend it to property, for example. So, people who never steal anything could be described as those who hold the moral “ideal” in relation to respect for the property of others. However, those who do steal should be seen, not as doing something wrong, but as embracing certain positive elements of this ideal! They should not be condemned, but accompanied on their journey towards full embracement of the ideal (if they ever manage to get there).
Applied across the board, this madness would lead to the breakdown of all morality and law and order. It would be like a Guard who, on the one hand upheld the principle of not breaking the speed-limit, but on the other hand treated all those who broke it as respecting the Law to a greater or lesser extent! No criminals; only more or less virtuous people!
The true root of the problem has been largely ignored.
The four “Dubia” Cardinals and many others have reacted courageously to this undermining of marriage, the family and the Sacraments. However, they have mostly failed to see the root of the problem and attack it there. Because, yes, Cardinal Schonborn admits that it goes much deeper! His false ideas in this matter are rooted in other, more fundamental false ideas on Catholic doctrine.
In his 2015 interview with Antonio Spadaro, he said that his non-Catholic theory of marriage and the family is based on the doctrine of Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium. Schönborn explains that the Council answered the question, “Where is the Church?”, by saying that the Church of Christ, although fully realised in the Catholic Church, is also present in the other “churches” in the “elements of sanctification” which are found in them, and which “are forces impelling towards Catholic unity”. He underscores that “the Vatican excludes an ecclesiology of all or nothing”.
Of course, this teaching of Lumen Gentium is false because the Church has always taught that the Church of Christ is absolutely identical to the Catholic Church, and that the other “churches” are not in any way in communion with the True Church. Furthermore, the Church never called those elements which belong by right to the Catholic Church, but which are still found in other confessions (e.g. the Bible, certain or even all sacraments), “elements of sanctification”. The Church called them “vestiges” or “ruins” of the True Church. They can only sanctify those who do not adhere formally to the schism or heresy of the “church” to which they belong. Sanctification in these cases is in spite of, and not because of the false religion. Finally, the Church does have an ecclesiology of “all or nothing”, since She teaches that outside of Her there is no salvation.
Schönborn: marriage extends beyond the Sacrament!
But, what has this got to do with marriage? For Schönborn, everything! After having outlined Lumen Gentium‘s doctrine on the Church, he concludes:
“I have simply proposed to apply this ecclesiological reading key to the reality of the Sacrament of Matrimony. Because marriage is the Church in the small, the ecclesiola, the family as the small Church, but it seems legitimate to me to establish an analogy and to say that the Sacrament of Matrimony is realized fully there where justly there is a sacrament between a man and a woman living in faith etc. But, that does not prevent that, outside of this full realization of the Sacrament of Matrimony, there are elements of matrimony that are signals of expectation, positive elements”.
In other words, just as (in Vatican II’s teaching) the Church of Christ extends beyond the Catholic Church through the so-called elements of sanctification, so marriage extends beyond the Sacrament through the so-called “signals of expectation, positive elements”.
However, the Catholic teaching is that, just as non-Catholic confessions do not save save because they are outside of the True Church, so all other “unions” are sinful precisely because they are lacking certain or all of the elements which make up true marriage. A poisonous cake is poisonous, no matter how much sugar, flour and chocolate is in it!
So, we see that the root of this false notion of marriage and family lies in the false notions concerning the Church which were formulated in Vatican II. Since you don’t knock down a tree simply by cutting off the branches, but by attacking its root, this is where defenders of Catholic marriage and family must ultimately strike!
Conclusion: Boycott the World Meeting of Families!
Irish Catholics must, therefore, have nothing to do with the World Meeting of Families and the “Amoris: Let’s Talk Family; Let’s Be Family” programme! It appears to be pro-family, but in reality it subverts the family. Instead, we should try to better understand the root of the current errors on marriage and the family. We should also arm ourselves with the constant teaching of the Church on marriage, which can be found, for example, in Pope Pius XI’s Encyclical, Casti Conubii. We should affirm the simple, constant teaching of the Church to whoever we can. Marriage is between one man and one woman for life. The family is exclusively based on marriage. Those living in a state in which they are unfaithful to the Laws of the Church must confess their sin and promise to leave their irregular state before they receive absolution. Otherwise, they must not present themselves for Holy Communion, and must not be given Holy Communion if they do present themselves. This simple teaching will be the basis of the salvation of the Irish family. Cardinal Schönborn’s “alternative” will be its destruction.
True “pastoral discernment”.
Finally, as the Cardinal of Vienna was speaking in Limerick, the Church was celebrating the 100th anniversary (to the day) of Our Lady showing Hell to the three shepherd children in Fatima. “This is Hell”, she told them, “where the souls of poor sinners go”, thus giving an example of Heaven’s version of “pastoral discernment”. Little Jacinta of Fatima said: “The sins which cause most souls to go to Hell are sins of the flesh”. She added that (already in the early twentieth century!) “many marriages are not good; they do not please Our Lord and are not of God”.
On Saturday 24th June last, participants in the “LGBT Pride” event in Dublin mockingly posed in front of the Calvary scene outside the church of Saint Mary of the Angels, Church Street. They also hung a rainbow scarf around the neck of the statue of the dying Christ. Afterwards, they triumphantly shared the photographs of this mockery (below) on Social Media.
This disgraceful act was hypocritically ignored by the media, which is constantly pushing the “LGBT” campaign against “homophobia”. But here we have a blatant act of Christophobia, and what does the media do? It conveniently turns a blind eye! Yet, how far is this mockery from the anti-Catholic mockery and destruction carried out by Spanish communists in 1930’s Spain (pictures below)?
Imagine the media outrage if this had been a mockery of an “LGBT” symbol! Imagine if this had been a Muslim or Jewish symbol, instead of the image of the crucified Christ! It would not be tolerated!
Public Act of Reparation
No Catholic can stand idly by while Christ is publicly mocked like this on the streets of Ireland! All the more so when it is Christ crucified Who is the object of this mockery. It is on the Cross that Christ gives the world the greatest evidence of His infinite Love – He is giving every drop of His Blood for the salvation of sinners.
Mindful of this, past generations of Dublin people built the Calvary in Church Street to thank Jesus for dying on the Cross for them. It was built in stone so that future generations of Irish people would not forget their “obligations to Our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial”.
In order not to forget these obligations, a group of Catholics led by two priests of the Society of Saint Pius X went to Church Street on Saturday 8th July to publicly make up to Jesus Christ for this public insult to His love. There, they said the Rosary, recited an act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart and distributed flyers to explain their activity to the people of Dublin. Their action was an open rejection of Christophobia, which cannot be tolerated in our country!
Prayer for those caught up in the “LGBT” illusion
Standing at the foot of the Cross, these Catholics could not, however, forget the words of Christ to His Father as He listened to the mockeries of His executioners at the original Calvary more than 2,000 years ago: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”.
Only God knows to what extent these people actually knew what they were doing, but there is no doubt that they belong to an abandoned generation of Irish people which has been taught little or nothing about Jesus Christ and His Moral Law.
Therefore, they also prayed for the conversion of those people who are caught up in the “LGBT” illusion. They asked Our Lady to obtain for them the grace to turn away from their sinful life and towards Jesus Christ Who died for them on the Cross.
This was the reply of the dying Gabriel García Moreno, President of Ecuador, to his assassin who rushed on him, shouting: “Die, destroyer of liberty!” It was Friday, 6th August, 1875. Moreno died of his wounds a quarter of an hour later in the cathedral of Quito, at the altar of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, having forgiven his murderer.
The Rights of God versus the Rights of Man
This last exchange between his assassin and himself summarises the whole political life of García Moreno, which was one, long, bitter struggle between the false freedom proposed by the Free-masonic French Revolution and the True Freedom offered by Christ through His Catholic Church. The Revolution had tried to replace the Rights of God with the Rights of Man as the basis of civil society. Everywhere, from France to the countries of the New World, this had resulted in slaughter, tyranny, chaos and constant instability. This was because, no longer based on God, the Source of the objective, unchanging Moral Law, nations were now based on the undefined Will of the People, which could manipulated and exploited by unscrupulous tyrants.
Simón Bolívar – independence… at the price of everything else
By his military genius, the famous Simón Bolívar liberated the countries of South America from the tyranny of a nineteenth century Spanish King who had also declared himself independent of God’s Church. But after twenty years of “liberating”, he was forced to conclude: “Fellow citizens – I blush to say this – we have won independence, but at the price of everything else… America is ungovernable”. This was because Bolívar, though personally and privately religious, did not want to replace the Rights of Man with the Rights of God as the basis of civil society – he was too seduced by the idea of the sovereignty of the People. As Father Augustin Berthe, García Moreno’s biographer, remarked: “Despite his glorious title of Libertador, therefore, Bolívar was not a real liberator of nations. While he ejected from America the tyrants who had oppressed it in the name of a royal omnipotence, it was only to hand it over to a horde of lesser tyrants who crushed it in the name of a sovereign people”.
García Moreno – seek first the Kingdom of God and His justice
Thirty years after the death of Bolívar in 1830, Gabriel Garcia Moreno became President of Ecuador for the first time. Like Bolívar, he was fiercely patriotic and an energetic leader. However, unlike Bolívar, he was not seduced by the liberal illusion of the sovereignty of the People. Instead, he set about building Ecuador on the only stable foundation possible: the Rights of God and of His Catholic Church. Father Berthe summarises Moreno’s convictions as follows: “As a true Christian statesman, García Moreno believed that God had sent His Son upon earth to govern nations as well as souls; and that in consequence the true Constitution of a people should have Jesus Christ for its Head, and the Evangelical Code for its formula. Under this first and great authority, the State is formed, sword in hand, to defend the liberty of action of the Church, and to provide for the order and material well-being of the nation, so that the children of the Church should enjoy that superabundance of all good things promised to those who seek first the Kingdom of God and His justice. This secondary organ of government should be united to the Church as the body is to the soul, and on their regular and combined operations depend the good order of State, the prosperity of society, and the true liberty of individuals”.
What was the result? By the time of García Moreno’s death, Ecuador had become a peaceful, prosperous country, on a civilisational par with its European counterparts. Although he had drastically reduced taxation, almost completely paid off the national debt and had carried out expensive public works, García Moreno managed to double state revenue between 1869 and 1874! This was the “superabundance of all good things promised to those who seek first the Kingdom of God and His justice”.
Ireland, a Nation under God or Man?
So, what has all this got to do with Ireland in 2017? The answer is: everything! Like Ecuador, Ireland was once a country with a crushing Catholic majority. Unfortunately, unlike Ecuador, Ireland never had a García Moreno who was willing to place our country completely under the rule of God and His Church.
Even though we had many well-intentioned, self-sacrificing, heroic patriots who were personally pious and holy, to a man they suffered from the same fatal flaw as Simón Bolívar: they could not see beyond the liberal illusion put forward by the French Revolution. In the Proclamation of 1916, although they “place[d] the Republic under the protection of the Most High God”, they undermined this by their statement that “the Republic guarantees religious…liberty”, with no distinction whatsoever between the True Religion and false religions. The extraordinary bravery of these men and their genuine, selfless love of Ireland – to the point of shedding their blood for her – only serves to highlight the tragedy of their blindness in this matter. If only they had followed García Moreno, rather than Bolívar, what a country Ireland could have been!
Independence was won, however, and after the Civil War, the Irish Constitution was drawn up in 1935. The Preamble of this Consitution began “in the Name of the Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions of both men and States must be referred” and went on to acknowledge “all our obligations to Our Divine Lord Jesus Christ”. However, these great statements were undermined in the body of the Constitution where the Catholic Church was not recognised as the One, True Religion founded by the same Divine Lord Jesus Christ, but only “as the guardian of the Faith professed by the great majority of the citizens”. Not only this, but the Constitution then went on to recognise “ the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Religious Society of Friends in Ireland, as well as the Jewish Congregations and the other religious denominations existing in Ireland”. So, from the beginning, Bunreacht na hÉireann bore in it the following glaring contradiction: on the one hand it professed to acknowledge Jesus Christ, but on the other hand it acknowledged the Jewish Congregations, who explicitly reject the same Jesus Christ, and the other heretical sects who explicitly reject the True Church of the same Jesus Christ!
“A kingdom divided against itself shall fall”
Christ said that a Kingdom divided against itself shall fall, and while the deep Faith of the Irish people maintained the Catholic character of the Nation in the early years, this failure to build the new country on that same Faith eventually came back to haunt us. By 1972, the same people had voted to reject even “the special position” of the Catholic Church. True, this rejection was paradoxically encouraged by the very representatives of that same Church, who had undergone their own French Revolution during the Second Vatican Council, but that is another story.
Since, like Bolívar, we were not able to replace the Rights of Man with the Rights of God, in 2017 we are forced to admit with him: “Fellow citizens …we have won independence, but at the price of everything else”. Today’s Ireland would not be recognised by Irishmen of only a generation or two ago. Of course, Ireland has changed a lot from a material point-of-view, with new technologies and ways of doing things – but these are changes which are part and parcel of the normal progression of the human race, and do not necessarily attack the soul of the Nation.
The Irish Nation is dying
It is from the moral standpoint, however, that change has brought destruction. Religious practice is at an all-time low, and much of what is there is not so much based on the authority and unchanging Teaching of the Church as on the personal will and fancy of individuals. The Church has been replaced by the media as the country’s “moral” authority, which is daily feeding the people with anti-Catholic propaganda. Meanwhile, crime rates increase, alcohol and drug addiction soars, broken families are becoming more and more common, suicide is rampant, and Irishmen and women live their lives almost exclusively on the material level – sports events, concerts, nights out, social media, holidays occupy their minds. God, virtue, life after death – all have almost completely disappeared. All the while, the media keeps Ireland on a perpetual merry-go-round of entertainment.
This tyranny of the media and the political elite is not (yet) a bloody persecution of Catholicism as Ireland knew in the Penal Days. It is much more subtle, and therefore much more dangerous. Irish people can no longer think for themselves in any important matter – almost without realising it, their thought has been (and continues to be) slowly, but surely moulded by the propaganda of the various media outlets. In 2015, the Irish voted massively to legalise so-called gay marriage, something which would have been unthinkable only a few short years before. Currently, in 2017, the charge is on for the extension of the “law” permitting the murder of innocent children before birth, euphemistically (or, rather treacherously) termed by the media and many politicians as “termination of pregnancy”. The reaction to this latest attempt, while being carried out by many very brave and committed people, will certainly fail in the long-term, even if there is a certain amount of success in the short-term.
Why? Because these people are trying to fight against the Revolution with the weapons of the Revolution – the Rights of Man. Like Simón Bolívar, despite their bravery and good-will, they are doomed to failure. And Ireland, like every country in the world, will sink further and further into chaos because the Revolution always has, and always will bring about chaos and disorder.
The only solution for Ireland – a return to God
That is, unless Ireland realises that it must do as García Moreno did – seek first the Kingdom of God and His justice. Only then, will our country enjoy the superabundance of good things that flow from this. We must stop trying to fight the Revolution on its own terrain, because it will always beat us there. Up to now, we have accepted the underlying principle of the Revolution – that the Rights of Man are more important than the Rights of God – but have fought against some of the ultimate conclusions of this principle (like abortion, for example) because they (rightly) hurt our sensibilities. But, if we really want to save our country, our only hope is to boldly assert the Rights of God and of His Catholic Church, all of them, and absolutely. We must become faithful to the Preamble of our Constitution by acknowledging all our obligations to Our Divine Lord Jesus Christ, the King. Many people will say that Catholic Ireland is dead forever. With García Moreno, we must reply: “God does not die!”