Good Friday

My column for Good Friday (here) was written before I read the news of the latest papal expostulation, and the latest dishonesty in “spinning” it, from Rome. This makes no difference, of course; the Catholic Church to which I belong does not allow doctrinal innovations. What Christ preached, cannot be “updated.” When innovations are attempted, they fail. Our history is littered with the attempts; as, too, by some very bad popes. Christians should not be alarmed by them. “Fear not,” we were instructed.

We have this year, it would seem, the perfect Good Friday of desolation. The magnitude of the current programme, to bring Christ’s Church “down to the people” — to reduce the whole edifice to post-modern gravel — has been made plain.

Under the previously received dispensation, Hell is contained; the Church has her commanding rôle, at the front line. Now, perhaps, we may review that sometimes puzzling expression of the Christ:

“Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”

For if the very existence of Hell can be denied, by no other than our Supreme Pontiff, the gate is quite ajar. And as Hell most certainly does exist, it is no longer confined. To reverse the words of Georges Bernanos’ dying country priest: “Hell is everywhere.” (He said, “Grace is everywhere,” in the original.)

Under the latest “merciful” revision, death is not defeated, for men who persist in sin simply “disappear,” into the all-embracing void. Christ is left with no one to save. He is made redundant. It is God the Father, alone, who remains, in this perverted new teaching: God now surrounded by the void of nothingness, having drawn a finite number of penitents to himself. Rather, it is Heaven that is now contained, within a universal field of non-existence. But do not fret: for if worst comes to worst, then poof, you just vanish. (God turns out to be like the merciful Juan Perón.)

I think I have quoted before the late Polish poet, Czesław Miłosz:

“A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death: the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders, we are not going to be judged.”

Yet this is plainly stated in the “new theology,” now coming from Rome: a reversal of all previous Catholic teaching. The Christian cosmology is turned inside out.

We are at the nadir of Good Friday, it might seem, at the feet of a dripping corpse, beneath a Christ himself gone to the void; a Christ forsaken by the Father, sent into the Nowhere. Thus a Christ who lied to us even about Hell, and must have lied about everything else as well. A Christ who left us to sordid human pastors, to play upon our gullibility. A Christ who, unknowingly of course, cheated his followers through twenty centuries, spoiling our fun with abstinence and fasting. A Christ who only makes us feel guilty. A Christ who “meant well,” to be sure, but could never deliver.

Instead we are now offered a “new,” substitute, “Christ of Surprises,” and comprehensive “mercy”; a sweetheart, who will forgive anything; who is not hung up on theology at all; and dispenses the Host like candy. A Christ for our ironical times.

This cannot stand. It is too wicked. The reversal will itself be reversed, and has, in fact, already been reversed. For the truth was, is, and will be, that Christ rises!


I learn that as this latest news was breaking, plaster was falling from the ceiling on the tourists, inside St Peter’s. The image of the Rending of the Veil comes to mind. See Bible.