Category Archive 'Catholic Church'

27 Aug 2014

Father Jean-Marie Charles-Roux

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The Telegraph memorialized recently a colorful priest remarkable for the soundness of both his political and ecclesiastical views.

Father Jean-Marie Charles-Roux, who has died [August 7th] aged 99, brought the mystical aura of French royalism to London as a Roman Catholic priest of the Rosminian order; he was devoted to the divine nature of monarchy and the Tridentine liturgy.

Tall, elegant, and with a theatrically silky voice, Charles-Roux wore buckled shoes and medallions commemorating martyred sovereigns, and used an eyeglass to read a newspaper during more than 40 years at the medieval church of St Etheldreda at Ely Place, off Holborn. There he celebrated the Latin Mass every morning with his back to the congregation. Sought after as a confessor, he preached lively and eloquent sermons, flattering and shocking his listeners in equal measure.

He would emphasise the Christian duty to the poor while maintaining that the parable of the talents proved that capitalism was not only acceptable but also a moral imperative. He made clear his abhorrence of the Allied bombing of Dresden by celebrating Mass for its victims. And once, comparing the transformation of the soul to cooking, he described how it was more likely to be successful in black saucepans (meaning priests) than in grander copper ones (casting a glance at Cardinal Hume sitting nearby).

In conversation with even the humblest, Charles-Roux assumed a shared familiarity with the families of the Anjou claimant to the French throne, the King of Spain and members of other European royal families; and he championed the canonisation of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Mary Queen of Scots and even Charles I of England who, he maintained, should be acknowledged as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

As communism tottered in Eastern Europe in 1989, the ambassadors of Poland and Hungary (possibly hedging their bets) were to be seen on their knees at a memorial service for the Empress Zita of Austria while Charles-Roux led them in prayers for the restoration of the Holy Roman Empire.

Jean-Marie Charles-Roux was born in Marseille into a French diplomatic family on December 12 1914. His first memories were of Rome, where his father was a member of the French embassy to the King of Italy.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Rafal Heydel-Mankoo.


Damian Thompson, the Spectator’s religious editor:

For many years he was based at the Rosminian church of St Etheldreda’s, Ely Place, where he celebrated only the Tridentine Rite.

‘When the New Mass came in I tried it in English, French, Italian, even in Latin – but it was like a children’s game,’ he told me. ‘So I wrote to Pope Paul, whom I had known when he was Cardinal Montini, and said, Holy Father, either you let me celebrate the Old Mass or I leave the priesthood and marry the first pretty girl I meet.’

15 Feb 2012

Quos Deus Vult Perdere Prius Dementat

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J.R. Dunn tries putting Barack Obama’s initiation of war against the Catholic Church into the proper large-scale perspective.

It seems that Obama, in a classic act of hubris, has created the means of his own destruction. Through his great historical contribution, his health care bill, he has struck what was surely intended to be a lethal blow against the oldest organization on earth — an organization with something on the order of a billion members, with a cadre of hundreds of thousands of highly trained and dedicated personnel, and a history of overcoming political threats that make Obama look like a kindergartner.

I’m referring, of course, to the Catholic Church. Now, I don’t mean that the Archangel Gabriel will appear out of the East to scourge the administration with a blazing sword, though I would pay to see that. What I’m saying is that Obama has at last taken the step that we all knew he had in him, the ultimate act of arrogance and contempt that will bring the forces of history down upon him.

The left has always underestimated the Catholic Church. “How many divisions has the pope?” Stalin once asked Molotov, mocking the Church’s powerlessness in the modern era. He was not around to see John Paul II rend the Bolshevik kingdom in twain at the climax of the Cold War, utilizing the only forces he required: moral certainty and absolute faith in the divine mission. Most American leftists are a little different, viewing the Church as an anachronism, obsessed with medieval ideas having no place in the third millennium and populated with strange figures in outmoded clothing, if not with an endless parade of child-molesters.

What they overlook is two thousand years of history. An organization does not survive for that length of time — and no other organization has — without internalizing things not completely understood by even the deepest thinkers among us. The Church survived the fall of Rome, the barbarians, the first Muslim upsurge, several schisms, the Renaissance princes, the 20th-century totalitarians, and its own plunges into decadence, and it will also survive modernism. Which is in fact what it confronts in Obama: a man of vast though superficial sophistication and little insight who has punched all the tickets available to him in his epoch and culture and truly believes there is nothing else. And now this man, afraid of revealing his own college transcripts, thinks he can take on the Church of Peter, founded a millennium before the appearance of any nation now existing on this earth.

Read the whole thing.

Mr. Dunn is right. The Catholic Church and the general community of American Catholics represent a formidable political adversary. But I think that, in attacking the basic principle of Freedom of Religion, in striking at the authentic principle of separation of church and state, Barack Obama has additionally declared war on the Constitution and the core founding principles of the American Republic.

The left can spin and quibble and manipulate, but this particular issue, this particular test of political principle, is not, in the end, spinnable or winnable.

Obama’s policy decision clearly identifies him as a radical extremist, perfectly willing to tear up the most basic tenets of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights when they come into conflict with the cultural agenda of the left. He won in 2008 by successfully posing as a moderate. He cannot compel institutions of the Catholic Church to violate that church’s teachings and still pretend to moderation.

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