Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Statement from Catholic Bishops’ Conference on Holocaust Memorial Day

A spokesperson from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales issued the following statement on Holocaust Memorial Day:

“The views of one of the bishops of SSPX in denying the reality of the Holocaust are totally unacceptable. His personal positions do not affect in any way the position of the Church’s most authoritative document on this dialogue, "Nostra Aetate," which deplores any type of anti-Semitism.
“Today on Holocaust Memorial Day we remember the death of six million Jews and follow Pope Benedict XVI in deploring anti-Semitism in all its forms. We call on all Roman Catholics to do the same.”

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Benny and The Schismatics

I insist that it's a very bad idea.

Quite unaccountably, His Holiness didn't consult me before lifting the excommunication on the Ecône Four. I would have advised him against this course of action and told him more iron fist, less indulgence, Your Holiness. It's the only language they understand.

Over at America Magazine's In all Things, James Martin SJ has blogged on Bishop Bernard Fellay's characteristically vainglorious statement.

“We are ready to write the Creed with our own blood, to sign the anti-modernist oath, the profession of faith of Pius IV, we accept and make our own all the councils up to the Second Vatican Council about which we express some reservations.”

Impudent so and so.

As Martin - and how I love quoting a Jesuit on this topic - notes:

"All the councils up to the Second Vatican Council. FYI, the teachings of an ecumenical council are among the highest levels of teaching authority--if not the highest--expressed by the magisterium."

The Roman Catholic version of Keith Flett

has died, I'm sorry to say. I speak, of course, of none other than that inveterate letter-writer, Bishop Emeritus Hugh Lindsay. I don't know how the letters pages of The Catholic Herald, Tablet and Catholic Times are going to manage without him.
I think this is a suitable occasion for the editors of the above mentioned publications to, how shall I put it, er, restructure, the letters pages, take a broom to them and sweep out some of the crankier correspondents, like those crashing bores, Elizabeth Price and Sean Fagan. Fagan's last epistle in The Tablet, gushing about one of Tina Beattie's pieces, was more than my stomach could bear.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bad call, Your Holiness

It's not often that I have disagreements with Pope Benedict but every so often these things happen and this is one of those occasions. He's lifted the excommunication on the four bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X.

Bad, bad move.

Frankly, I can't think of anything good to say about this poisonous groupuscule of ultras which emerged from the worst tendencies of Action Française Catholicism and is infested with Jew-hating conspiracy nuts fathoms deep in spite-ridden decrepitude.

Anyone whose interested in the minutiae of Lefebrvist lunacy can read Damian Thompson's blog but it's one sorry story of medieval anti-Semitism and far out wingnuttery after another. But perhaps the SSPX's lowest point - and its a stiff contest with so many examples to choose from - was its helping the Vichy collaborator, Paul Touvier, evade justice by allowing him to hide in a SSPX priory in Nice. Touvier was later convicted of crimes against humanity for ordering the assassination of seven Jewish hostages at Rillieux la Pape.

Benedict's Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, which loosened the restrictions around the celebration of the Extraordinary Form was controversial in some quarters, though not with your humble blogger. By all means let the faithful have access to the Church's liturgical riches; let a thousand flowers bloom and all that. But was it really necessary for him to act like an indulgent parent to a bunch of wilfully disobedient schismatics?

I don't think so.

Bad call, Your Holiness. Bad call.

Still, at least there's one bright light on the horizon. For once it's the Church of England leading the way in the battle against heresy; the General Synod is considering banning clergy from joining the BNP.

Memo to the General Synod: Just do it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

This, Mr President

Chen Guangcheng, a human rights activist was planning to launch a class action lawsuit against the Chinese government for human rights abuses perpetrated in the course of its one-child policy in 2005. He was arrested, beaten, subjected to a staged trial and imprisoned.


Mao Hengfeng was forced to abort her fourth child. She has been repeatedly detained in prisons and psychiatric hospitals and tortured by being tied up, suspended from the ceiling and beaten.

You Shouldn't Fund UNFPA

Pastor Liang Yage's wife, Wei Linrong, was forced to abort their baby seven months into her pregnancy.

“The doctor said it was a boy. My friends who were beside me said the baby's body was completely black. I felt desolate, so I didn't look up to see the baby.” Wei Linrong.

Obama: The Great Disappointment begins

I wish I could have shared in the jubiliation over President Obama's inauguration. Sensible trade union laws. Good. Constructive engagement in the Middle East. Good. Closoure of Guantanamo Bay. Good. America's first Black president. Wonderful.

But as expected, one of his first executive orders has been to rescind the wise and necessary Mexico City Policy, which insists that foreign aid is precisely that and prevents it from being diverted into the pockets of croesus rich anti-natalist organisations to promote abortion overseas.

In a statement which oozes with fork-tongued mendacity, Obama declared:

"It is time that we end the politicization of this issue."

By giving a fat cheque to abortion groups.

"In the coming weeks, my Administration will initiate a fresh conversation on family planning, working to find areas of common ground to best meet the needs of women and families at home and around the world. "

Common ground, my foot.

"I have directed my staff to reach out to those on all sides of this issue to achieve the goal of reducing unintended pregnancies."

Oh, spare me.

But there's worse. Far worse:

"In addition, I look forward to working with Congress to restore U.S. financial support for the U.N. Population Fund."

Catholics United: Obama's shafted you.

And he's about to sell out countless Chinese and Vietnamese women as well.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mao Hengfeng detained and beaten - again

Remember Mao Hengfeng, who I wrote about in October? Human rights activist, Mao was forced to have an abortion in 1989 something she has courageously protested about ever since. For this she's had to endure years of cruelty and persecution at the hands of the Chinese state, including repeated detention in prisons and psychiatric units. In 2004, she she was sent to a Re-education Through Labour (RTL) camp, where she was reportedly tied up, suspended from the ceiling and severely beaten. She was released, then re-imprisoned, released again and ... guess what?

I'll let an Amnesty press release take up the story.

Human rights activist Mao Hengfeng has been detained and reportedly beaten after protesting about forced evictions in Shanghai. The Shanghai Public Security Bureau yesterday sentenced Mao, 48, to seven days administrative detention.
Mao Hengfeng and her daughter were taken by police from outside the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress meeting on 12 January. They were there with 100 other Shanghai residents calling for action on the issue of forced evictions and other human rights abuses in the city. The police sealed off the venue and the protestors were held at a distance. Mao Hengfeng shouted: 'Shanghai representatives, you should serve your people. Come listen to us! We want democracy and freedom, and an end to torture!'
The police seized Mao Hengfeng and her daughter, together with several other protesters, and drove them to an unknown detention facility. At midnight everyone else was sent home, but Mao was transferred to Daqiao police station. The police then issued a notice to her family stating that she will be held for seven days for 'disturbing public order'.
After visiting Mao Hengfeng earlier today, her family say that the police had not fed her, and it was obvious from her appearance that she had been beaten.

Doesn't it make you feel good to know that leading anti-natalists, Harry Jooseery, executive director of Partners in Population and Development and UN panjandrum, Sara Seims are so impressed with the Chinese model that they want it exported to African countries?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

On the perils of inbreeding

Prince Harry has apologised for using a racist term to describe a member of his army platoon.
There he is pictured in a Nazi uniform attending a sedate gathering of like-minded intellectuals, sorry, I meant a Colonials and Natives party. Snigger, snigger.
A few days ago his cousin's car was stolen after she left the keys in the ignition of her unlocked car. By the way, she's supposed to be the family brainbox because she achieved an outstanding A and two Bs at A' level in such difficult subjects as Politics, Art and History of Art.
It's sobering to think that we subsidise this family of twits to the tune of £37.4m a year. What on earth do these shameless freeloaders spend such a magnificent sum on? Champagne cocktails, racehorses and deluxe skiing holidays? Well, yes, actually.
Look, don't get me wrong, I don't begrude them these harmless pleasures. I just object to paying for them. They could, at the very least, have the manners to ask my permission before they spend the money I have no choice in giving them each year. Ok, so it's only 62p but it's not the point, it's the principle. And that is that I shouldn't have to shell out for a whole family of wealthy leeches. They have enough accumulated personal wealth anyway - and is that even taxed at the appropriate rate? In 2005 Prince Charles paid just 23% tax on his income, though as far as I'm concerned he should definitely be in the higher rate 40% bracket. Incidentally, why isn't more of a fuss being made about this?
I'm prepared to be reasonable about this. I propose a deal. I pay for their security - fair's fair, after all - and they pay their own way after that. Even with interest rates plummeting as they are, the Queen's estimated fortune of £349m would, with a little judicious economising, safely cover her, her husband and her brood's living costs.
Think of what we could spend all the millions of pounds sterling their lavish lifestyles cost per annum. Some would naturally suggest more in the way of schoolz 'n' 'ospitals. But that would be unimaginative. No, the money would be better spent, especially in these dark days, on the nation's gaiety. I'd suggest a radical programme of ice-rink building, with a target of, say, an olympic sized ice-rink per medium-sized town or London borough and bouncy-castle ownership - a free one for each family within ten years. Who on earth could object?

Dilemmas of our time: What to do and where to go when you're penned in and being bombed to bits?

Alongside the shells falling all about them, today the terrified residents of Gaza also saw a confetti shower of leaflets drifting towards them. Dropped by the Israeli military, these warned them, in chillingly antiseptic language, that it was about to "escalate" its offensive against Hamas. The leaflets added, "To keep yourself and your families safe, you are ordered not to be close to terrorists, weapons warehouses and the places where the terrorists operate."

Far be it for your humble blogger to quibble with the IDF about anything but the obvious question is where, precisely, are the Gazans supposed to find safe refuge when a UN run school has been bombed, UNRWA has pulled out of the area because it can't guarantee the safety of its own personnel and the border with Egypt has been sealed?

Meanwhile, over at Harry's Place, David T has posted a selection of photographs of placards and banners from today's Gaza protest in London. Some depicted the swastika, either slap bang in the middle of the Star of David, in place of the "s" in Israel or prominently placed in the centre of the Israeli flag. One doesn't have to be a fan of the Israeli government to find such imagery inflammatory and offensive. The cretins who carried these things aloft would have done better to remember that there are an awful lot of Jewish people who oppose Israel's actions and that some of them would have been on the demo itself. Yes, of course, criticism of Israel is not by any means necessarily anti-Semitic but equally, vigorous opposition to Israel should not be used as an excuse for people to lapse into base anti-Semitism.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The slaughter of the innocents

Four exhausted children have been discovered cowering next to the bodies of their mothers in a house in Zeitoun, the Red Cross has accused the IDF of "unacceptable delays" in allowing medics safe access to Gazans ... UNRWA has suspended its operations in Gaza because its staff have been hit by Israeli attacks ... Some 765 Palestinians are said to have been killed since the Israeli offensive began 13 days ago ... and on and on. The grim litany of news coming out of Gaza is ceaseless and unbearable.
Yet Engage, the group formed to oppose the academic boycott of Israeli institutions, has little to say on this. Engage says that it supports "Palestinian rights ... and the Israeli peace movement" but aside from a piece by John Strawson questioning the wisdom of the Gaza war, ringing condemnations of the slaughter and clarion calls for peace are conspicuous by their absence. Why is this?