A funeral for Sunday

From the sermon notes of Blessed J.H. Newman, we learn the names of the pallbearers at today’s funeral in the city of Naim. They are Pride, Sensuality, Unbelief, and Ignorance. The burial of the Natural Man will proceed — through the city gate, to the cemetery beyond — accompanied by a large crowd of mourners, led by the keening mother of the deceased.

“He was so young!” … “And she a widow, and this her only child!” … “It is all so sad!” …

But what’s this? … Jesus and His disciples are approaching the same town. The two processions meet. It is a memorable day, for the Natural Man is about to be raised from the dead.

From the sermon notes of Saint Augustine: “If all men have eyes to see the dead rise, like the son of this widow spoken of in this Gospel, all nevertheless have not eyes to see men rise from spiritual death. For that, it is necessary oneself to have undergone spiritual resurrection.”

We are burying once again, in the West, the old Natural Man. In his millions. In Switzerland, for instance, they are burying them — the dead burying the dead, in the mountains. No Jesus in sight, unfortunately.

“Traddies” — i.e. faithful Catholics, like myself I dearly hope, tend to become vexed by news that Swiss bishops, along with a liberal selection from France and Germany, are endlessly meeting to prepare their strategies for the upcoming Family Synod at Rome. They have made their position clear. They claim to have Pope Francis on their side, but unlike the pontiff they are not proposing “mercy” for the divorced and remarried, for homosexual couples, for contraceptive practitioners and the like. Not at all.

They are demanding that the “official” Church recognize all these modern, essentially sterile couplings as a good thing. The Church must bless them!

Permission was hardly required. There is now on the books of no Western country of which I am aware anything to prevent them. The disapproval of the Catholic Church gets in no one’s way. Not even in the way of Catholics, today. They may continue copulating like stoats, and celebrating themselves in a kind of stoat glory, whatever Holy Church might happen to say.

So what is the Natural Man’s big problem? His medical “issues” are covered by the State, and when it comes to that, he hardly needs the Church to be buried or otherwise disposed of. The rebels from the “traditional” doctrines of Rome have got it made. It is as Philip Larkin put it:

Then all at once the quarrel sank:
Everyone felt the same,
And every life became
A brilliant breaking of the bank,
A quite unlosable game.

These are bishops, mind, of the Catholic Church, making these demands. But as Sandro Magister points out, the German bishops especially — the ones we know as talking faces, such as Cardinal Marx and Cardinal Kasper — are conservative, and come across as prudes — when their views are compared to those of their nomenklatura. They may cite a survey done last winter of six thousand “professional Catholics” in Switzerland — of pastoral workers, catechists, parish councillors, the formal reps of women’s and men’s associations, groups and communities — who demand more, in unprettier language. The mitres are only the top of the iceberg: the bits we can see.

In Switzerland, as in Germany, registered Catholics pay tithes to the Church through the tax system. This helps to explain the extremely high production values in their latest publication (this one) in German, French, and Italian. The title could be translated, Diversity of Families in the Catholic Church: Stories and Reflections. It is their red flag for the upcoming synod. In the course of telling smarm stories about the latest new forms of family life, it simply ignores two millennia of Catholic teaching, and avoids mentioning such figures in the history of that Church, as Jesus Christ, or Mother Mary. Instead it celebrates “the way we live now.”

Far from merely tolerating, or forgiving, we learn that the Church must recognize this “progress” in our social life, encourage and support it. Or else: there will be an unprecedented “migration” out of the Church. All these modern people inside will just up and leave, we are solemnly warned. The way they’ve been leaving this last half-century, “in the spirit of Vatican II,” I should think. Well, maybe not unprecedented, but the ones who have stuck around will leave, too. Mark their words!

And you know what that means. They will no longer be paying tithes, and all those liberal German and Swiss bishops might, as the terrible consequence, lose their funding. They won’t be able to spread their “new gospel” around the rest of the world, any more. Not if they go broke. Maybe some of them will have to look for other jobs. I am trying to imagine it, as I write.

I think this would be great. The more post-Catholics out the door, the better. The expression is “make my day,” I believe.

Good luck to them all. …

Adios! arrivederci! tchau! au revoir! … Auf Wiedersehen!

Until we meet again!

Either in Hell, or on the road to Naim.