The grinch who stole Holy Week, or more honestly put, the attention whore who tried to upstage it - Sunday 25th to Saturday 31st of March - Holy Week

As we all should be aware, but most are not, the Holy Week reforms of the 1950s were quite sweeping. Berfore Holy Week, Rorate Caeli once again re-posted an article on " The Reform of Holy Week in the Years 1951-1956". It is well-worth reading, especially in connection with the news recently that some traditional orders had been allowed to celebrate the pre-1950s Holy Week on a 3-year experimental basis starting this year.

Traditionalists are nothing if not resourceful and it didn't take long before there was a resource for the pre-1950 Holy Week with English translations, aptly called Pre-1955 Holy Week (although I grant that it may well have been present before the announcement). Rorate Caeli also provided us with a clarification on who exactly may chant the Passion. These two interventions by Rorate Caeli were quite helpful to me personally, as I finally came to realise taht the Passion is not actually the Gospel reading for Good Friday, but that we actually have a Passion reading followed by a Gospel reading, at least in the traditinal liturgy, pre-1950s edition in any case. Rorate Caeli was also kind enough to provide us with pictures of Palm Sunday from the pre-1955 Holy Week celebration.

Anybody who knows anything about Christianity knows that Easter is the biggest event of the Church year (yet it seems that professional journalists writing for major state-sponsored publications don't have a clue about what Easter is all about, to nobody's surprise, and they are probably even proud about it). We shall also know that Holy Week is the most august week of the year. It is for this reason that the secular anti-Catholic world generally steps up its attacks on the Catholic faith and the Catholic Church. It is also the week that the world's most popular attention-whore gets up to his usual attention-seeking antics in order to seemingly steal attention away from the Church's commemorations and celebrations.

This year was no exception, but having noticed that his Maundy Thursday foot fetish doesn't get the attention it used to , Bergoglio decided to get a little help from his now 93-year old atheist friend Euginio Scalfari. Every time he speaks to that an he can be guaranteed a few scandalous headlines and this time was no different. Just in time for the Holy Week Celebrations, in which Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist and died to save us from the fires of hell and allow us too spend eternity with God, Bergoglio told his friend that there is no hell, and that those who die in sin simply vanish, while those who repent before end up spending eternity in the presence of God. This interview was timed to coincide with Maundy Thursday, and naturally overshadowed his feet-washing ceremony, which was once more carried out in prison and against the rubrics of the Novus Ordo, rubrics which he himself amended, it has to be mentioned.

The reactions were not long in coming, and predictably, much of the Catholic press tied itself up in knots, blaming the poor atheist fool Scalfari, instead of pointing to Bergoglio as the culprit. The Vatican issued a non-denial denial, informing us, as we all know, that Scalfari does not record his interviews so it cannot be ascertained whether what was reported was the exact phrasing that Bergoglio used. In other words, they were saying loudly and clearly that Bergoglio is a heretic, as we all know, but we can use the he-doesn't-record-interviews card to get us out of a very serious doctrinal situation. They could really have done little else, for had they said that Bergoglio had actually admitted that he doesn't believe in hell, then they would efffectively have been confirming what we all know, that the man is not Catholic. Had they come out and denied that Bergoglio said that, then they would have had to explain how it is that a man who, as far as I know, hasn't faced many accusations of total misrepresenation in his work before - save for when he speaks to Bergoglio - could get such a fundamental thing so wrong.

Bergoglio himself did not come out and deny it, so we can rest safely in the knowledge that Bergoglio told his atheist friend that. It must be noted that this is not the first time that Bergoglio has denied that souls end up in hell, as Scalfari has reported on this before, and even in Church documents Bergoglio has written something to the tune of everything been on its way to Heaven. His defenders have pointed out that Bergoglio mentions the devil quite a lot, and so he must be misquoted if he has said that the devil does not exist. That is a logical fallacy if ever there was one, as it is entirely possible to believe that the devil exists and yet believe that nobody ends up in hell; that the devil would spend eternity in hell with his demons. In any case it was dishonest of them as they could easily have found multiple instances of Bergoglio telling us that those who die in mortal sin never end up in hell, assuming that anybody can even die in mortal sin, which Bergoglio does not seem to believe - save for traditional Catholics who use doctrine as stones to throw at people while sitting in the judgment seat of Moses. That's his phrasing, not mine, of course.

On the topic of attacking the Church's doctrines, Bergoglio could not resist taking a barb at the notion of truth, insisting that priests ought not to make "idols of certain abstract truths". This was in a separate speech, mind you, proving beyond doubt, if anyone is still not convinced, that the man is in constant heresy mode, and not just when speaking to his atheist anti-Catholic friends who, if you are to believe his enablers, have nothing better to do than represent what Bergoglio tells him, and Bergoglio having nothing better to do - like say, answering dubia - keeps returning to these people in order to get misrepresented all over again. A striking story, if true, but one which actually only illustrates that if you set out trying to defend Bergoglio you will end up a liar, just like he is.

On Palm Sunday, the pope, well, Beroglio in any case, celebrated at the Vatican, in the usual manner. Fr. Allan J. McDonald was quick to point out just how empty the venue was, presumably having been accustomed to larger turnouts in previous years. Attention-whoring can only get one so far before people realise that you are nothing but a huge anti-Catholic boor with nothing of any value to offer them.

Before finishing off Bergoglio and Holy Week, I would just like to point out how apt it is that Bergoglio seems to prefer celebrating the Maundy Thursday rites in prison. Perhaps, sub-consciously, the man realises that he belongs in prison for the grave offences that he has committed against the Holy Catholic Faith and against Holy Mother Church, and against the laity, who have been like flock tended by a wolf and not a shepherd. Another thing that strikes me is that the whole purpose of washing people's feet on Maundy Thursday, even if we are to leave it at a purely human and historical level and leave out theology, is to show that one must humble oneself in the face of all, even to the point of serving those who are placed under one's rule. One would, therefore, expect non-Catholics to scream in rage at a pope who dares to broadcast to the entire world that every single person, Catholc or non-Catholic, male or female, stands below him. After all, one can only was the feet of hierarchical inferiors, if one is keen to preserve any relation to the Biblical washing of the feet on Maundy Thursday.

Part of the problem with Bergoglio, and the whole NOChurch edifice, is that it is built on lies. These lies infect everyone, including the Catholic and not-so-Catholic journalists, who are supposed to report facts as they see them. One way in which they do this is by 'normalism', a phrase I borrow from Christopher Ferrara, who himself borrowed it from Italians. Apparently, it describes the phenomenom of saying everything is normal, even when it evidently is not. In NOChurch, we also see a lot of false positive stories, which when one deegs just slightly deeply, one realises are more or less misrepresentations if not outright lies. In  "Mongolia, Sweden and Algeria: the unlikely centres of Catholic conversion", the Catholic Herald egaged in precisely this, fake news, Catholic edition.

They start off with a headline which is not supported by the facts in the piece. It's possible that Mongolia is the only place in the world where the Catholic Church has grown in NOChurch times, having recently ordained its first ever native-born Catholic priest, either last year or the year before, in 2016, the piece states. I remember reading about that from the Catholic Herald actually. The piece tells us that there are about 2,000 Catholics in Mongolia, but I seem to recall from the original piece that a large chunk of those 2,000 are diplomatic staff. The piece about Mongolia is not entirely fake news, but not entirely real reporting.

It then brought up Sweden, a country I know much about given I live here and I am somewhat engaged in discussions regarding the health of the Diocese of Stockholm, which, let not the name deceive you, actually covers the entire country. I'll get to it last, but before that we have UAE. Now, I have visited the UAE and I can testify to at least one church being very full, and since I spent a lot of time searching for Mass locations, I can also testify to the fact that they have several parishes. Here is the problem though: They are virtually all guest workers. In other words, Catholicism isn't growing in the United Arab Emirates. What we have is a situation in which the UAE requires a lot of guest workers and many of these come from Catholic countries. They are allowed to pray and congregate, and even have schools (at least one for sure, which I witnessed personally), and for this we can all be grateful. However, after 10 years, or however long the work permit is, they are expected to return to their home countries.

In other words, the Church is not growing at all in the UAE, but simply congregating there with borrowed parishioners. An analogy would be the following. Imagine that you had a small town, which annually hosts a large music festival. If I  was to measure the number of people in the town at the time of the music festival and use that as proof that the population of that town had grown, I would be accused of being entirely dishonest. Even if the music festival had a perpertual presence in the town, it would still be dishonest to claim that the population of the town has grown, since those who attend the festival woulc come and leave, and would be different people depending on when you do your census, and none of them would have any roots in that town.

I have no qualms about the reporting about South Korea, although the 10% they give as the total number of Catholics is short of the number I read a few years ago. I do know, however, that the Church in South Korea has an aggressive evangelisation policy called 20/20, in which they envition 20% of South Koreans being Catholic by the year 20/20.  The last time I read about the progress I think the number was at 12%, so things are going well there, but presumably largely in part due to a large evangelisation drive, a point worth remembering as I shall come back to it. The reporting of Algeria I cannot comment about much, since there are no numbers whatsoever provided. Furthermore, we are told that many converts don't legally change their religion, so it really is anybody's guess where the Church is growing at all. If it is then all well and good, but with 99% of the country evidently being officially Islamic, it is difficult to know how many of the remainign 1% are Catholics and the piece does not even attempt to enlighten us. I certainly hope that the statement "Catholicism is also enjoying something of a renaissance in Algeria" is not more than mere wishful thinking.

Finally we get to good old God-forsaking Sweden. On the 22nd of March, the Diocese issued a notice about a film which was to be shown at the Polish Mission. The film is by a Polish director called and is titled Gzregorz Braun "Luther and the Protestant Revolution". In what can only be termed the greatest movie endorsement in Swedish history, the diocese told us the following:

Just nu visas en film av Gzregorz Braun: "Luther and the Protestant Revolution” på olika ställen i vårt stift.

Filmen är från Polen och därifrån har det kommit reaktioner om att filmen inte skildrar Luther och reformationens framväxt på ett rättvist sätt. Filmen kan inverka negativt på den ekumeniska dialogen och inte minst på påven Franciskus strävanden till en djupare dialog med de lutherska kyrkorna. Den ligger också i strid med det kristna kärleksbudskapet.

Stiftsledningen för Stockholms katolska stift tar avstånd från hatiska budskap mot och orättvisa beskrivningar av våra systrar och bröder i andra samfund. Vi manar därför till kritisk distans mot framställningar som denna.

I shall not trouble you with the entire translation, but what they are trying to tell us is that the movie does not depict Luther and the "reformation", as they call it , in a "fair way" - 'rättvist' is more correctly translated as "just" but as Swedish language use is quite informal I am quite sure that they were aiming for the 'fair' usage of the word. What follows next is most telling and is the following.

The movie can impact negatively on the ecumenical dialogue and not least on Pope Francis' [Bergoglio] quest for a deeper dialogue with the Lutheran churches. It is also in opposition to the Christian message of love.

The diocesan leadership for the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm distances itself from hateful messages and unfair descriptions of our brothers and sisters in other confessions. We therefore urge a critical distance to depictions such as these.

I point out simply that "i strid med" can be directly translated as "in combat with".

I would like you for one moment to pause and consider just how "in combat" the attitude of the Diocese of Stockholm is to the attitude taken by the Catholic Church in Korea, which is (at least by its admission) in a quest to aggressively convert non-Catholics to the one true faith (Novus Ordo, no doubt, but let's ignore that for a minute, as they can always convert the second time later). We have here a Church in Sweden which seemingly couldn't care less about whether people are Catholics, and when a movie director in Poland has gone to great pains to make a movie portraying the real Martin Luther, and spent time interviewing well-known Catholic personalities, the Church does not only urge us to seek the truth about the man, but positively discourages Catholics from learning about what happened. They point to no error in the movie, only that it will hurt ecumenical dialogue, whatever that means in NOChurch Swedish speak!

Never has a movie come so highly recommended as this one did! I had not even heard of it until it was brought to my attention that it the diocese had taken a stand against it, but given the (non-)reasons they have given in support of their decisions, one can only assume that the movie has merit. It also came to my attention that nobody at the diocese had actually seen the movie before the statement was issued, a fact which would not surprise me one bit since the only fact the probably got right in the description was the English translation of the movie title and the name of the director.

Now back to the Catholic Herald piece in which we are told that "Recognising the Church’s astonishing progress in Sweden, Pope Francis named Anders Arborelius the first Swedish cardinal last June". This was without doubt the most false portion of an article which seems to have been an exercise in practising Berdoglio's admonition not to make "idols of abstract truths". We have a pope who comes to Sweden to celebrate the arch-heretic Luther, who tells people that proselitysm is "solemn nonsense" and we are expected to believe that the pope rewarded a bishop because he was churning out growth in Catholicity. It's no co-incidence that this piece was written by Michael Davis, the same man who did a hit-piece on traditionalists the other week, something I wrote about.

Ponder this: We have a diocese which tells people to keep away from a movie which attempts to tell the real story about Martin Luther because it will hurt the ecumenical dialogue, and we are told that the Church has made "astonishing progress". "Astonishing progress towards what+", one might wonder. We are informed that there are 116,000 Catholics in Sweden, (by which they mean those officially registered as Catholics) and that 4,000 register each year (registration is extremly important here), with about 100 adult conversions.  So we have about 100 adult conversions, yet we are told that "Arborelius [our bishop] was raised Lutheran and converted in his 20s, which is common for ethnically Swedish Catholics". How common is it, one may ask? Well, it is so common that less than 100 Swedes per year follow the same journey!

You have heard of the common cold. You have heard of common sense. Now, thanks to NOChurch, we have the common rarity.

Imagine we had a cancer which took the lives of 100 people a year out of about 10 million. Over the course of 100 years, this cancer would claim the lives of about 10,000 people. I bet that there is not a single honest person who would claim that a cancer which claims 10,000 lives over a century, from a population of 10 million people, is a common type of cancer. Yet we are somehow supposed to believe that it is common practice for fewer than 100 ethnic Swedes convert. More people die from falling from staircases every year than that, possibly!

What the piece did not mention is that about as many, if not more, leave the Church every year as well, but "In any event, Sweden is one of only a handful of European countries where the Church is growing." How exactly can it be growing from 100 entering and as many leaving every year? Well, rememmber the UAE? It's the same kind of thing, except in Sweden we have permanent immigration. In other words, more or less all of the increase in the population of Catholics in Sweden is due to the mass immigration which has taken place in this country, the majority overwhelming of immigrants being Muslims.

So it's not so much that the Catholic Church is growing in Sweden, more than that Catholics are moving from other countries and settling here. As to what happens to Catholics who move to Sweden and those who are raised here, maybe the movie review can give you a hint...

Now I really must start wrapping this up but I would remiss if I did not mention the timely Easter resurrection of Yulia Skripal, the British spy within Russian intelligence who the British claim was poisoned at the beginning of the month. These 2 people were supposed to be poisoned by one of the most dangerous chemicals known to man, so dangerous in fact, that nobody who comes into contact with it actually dies. It has since come to light that even the father has woken up, but that happened the week after this. This story has many more miles to run, so I shall not exhaust it today save to say that it has more holes than a woodpecker's favourite tree. It did bring one amusing episode though, with Boris the boor Johnson comapring Vladimir Putin to Hitler (and who said Brits lacked imagination) only to then have the every pugnacious Maria Zakharova of the Russian Foreign Minstry dig up some photos of the English football team doing the 'sieg heil' to Hitler when they played Germany in the 1036 Olympics games.

This particular event was humorous because Johnson had compared having the World Cup in Russia in 2018 to Nazi Germany hosting the Olympics in 1936. BoJo, as he has come to be known, really should be better known as Bozo.

In "Don't Let The State Brainwash Your Kids: Homeschool!", Ron Paul and Daniel McAdams were joined by Tom Woods to discuss why home-school has to be the go-to option for people who want their children to have a good education. Homeschooling, I am sad to say, is pratically banned in Sweden. In theory it's legal, but you have to have the spine of a serpent to jump through all the hoops they throw at you. If the U.S. has any virtue at all and it does -, then one of it's prime manifestations is in the fact that the home-schooling movement is big and growing, although even there there has been an assault on the movement as well as the concept.

In "Quo Vadis?", Patrick Archbold explained that the war on the Church began even before he was born, only that the Catholic Church at large seems not to have woken up to that fact.

The always-combative Peter Hitchens pointed out that this has been a much-ignored story, probably because it became very clear very early that the man was a Christian, and displayed the self-giving concern for our fellow beings which Christ called us to show, if need be.

We have the tragic case of the death of a police officer in France, Arnaud Beltrame, who gave his life to rescue a hostage. It turns out that he was a practising Catholic. A better description would be that he was someone who had come to realise that the Catholic faith is true, and had amended his life to reflect this, and was in the process of wedding his long-time girlfirend (and civil wife) and mother of 2 children in order to live according to the rule of righteous living. Unfortunately, his life was snuffed out before he could wed his fiancé. Let us pray for his soul!

I had not intended to comment on the fact that the assailant was a Muslim since this seemed incidental. On closer reflection, a few thoughts came to mind.

It is somewhat symbolic that in embracing Catholicism, Arnaud realised he had to die to his old self, to the extent of living right by Christ by entering into a sacramental marriage, as opposed to only having his civil marriage. He probably did not realise that it would call for him to give up his life, but when called upon he gave his life, so that another would live, in Christ-like fashion, like so many martyrs whose deaths sparked Christianity towards meteoric growth in many parts of the world. The assailant, on the other hand, however deranged he seems to have been, followed Mohammed even unto death, taking the life of others, as Muslims have done so often throughout history in order to spread Islam.

It's interesting to note that he said he was doing this for Syria, showing once again just how ill-informed people in the West are, given that France has been giving material support to Islamists in Syria since the 'civil' war started, and I put 'civil' in quotes because a war fought largely by foreign actors can hardly accurately be described as a civil war. That there is nothing civil about war is also worth mention, but not the reason.

Finally, we end on a positive note, with Taylor Marshall informing us that faith and reason - in this case represented by modern science - can provide us with the exact date of the first Easter, through the dating of Good Friday which took place  on the 3rd of April in A.D. 33. Our faith is concrete, so it is important to have firm knowledge of the historicity of key events.

This week's Bergoglio victim of the week would have to be Holy Week, whose great festivities and commemorations were once again cast in the shadows by the major press outlets because Bergoglio wanted to signal yet again just how much he disdains the Holy Catholic Faith.