Tradition and Progress

My brush with pope Boniface X has been quite thought-provoking in an odd sort of way. There always has been tension between religion – any religion – being essentially a book containing precepts and teachings, compliance with which being the condition for salvation (a pleasant afterlife rather than the traditional image of eternal hell) – that, or an incarnate and mystical life based on symbols and sacraments making eternal realities present in time. Reading authors like Dom Casel, Louis Bouyer, Josef Ratzinger, Jean Hani, René Guénon and others brought me to condense a staggering amount of knowledge and experience in these terms.

In the history of Roman Catholicism, or simply the Western Church before the Reformation, and Orthodoxy, there were schisms at various times caused largely by the corruption of the clergy. There was a number of sects that arose in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries that rejected the sacramental system and the priesthood, or sought to bring about a new kind of priesthood. Many were based on the message of St Francis of Assisi. There were also Gnostic based groups like the Cathars. One of the most informative books I have read about them is the psychiatrist Dr Arthur Guirdham, The Great Heresy, St Helier 1977. Guirdham sets his subject in the historical context of the Lollards and Hussites who were the progenitors of the Protestant Reformation. The one common idea was to reject the tyranny of the clergy, bishops and the Pope and return to the practice of a Christian life based on individual and common prayer, nourished by the reading of the Scriptures.

However, not all the reactions from clericalism rejected the sacramental life and the liturgy. In this category we find the Raskol or Old Believers in Russia who refused the reforms of Czar Peter the Great and Patriarch Nikon of Moscow between 1652 and 1666. In France, there was the Petite Eglise that split off from the mainstream French Church in 1801 because of the Concordat between Pope Pius VII and Napoleon Bonaparte. They were both traditionalist reactions against changes they deemed to be unacceptable. They became “time capsules” of their Churches at a particular moment of history. The Amish in America came from the Reformed tradition and also set themselves in the period of time from when they emigrated from Europe to the USA. In the early Church, at the time of Saint Augustine, the Donatists showed their fierce rigour faced with Christians who had compromised in any way with the Roman Empire and the persecutors.

In more recent times, in the Roman Catholic world, there was the traditionalist reaction of Archbishop Lefevbre against the reforms of Paul VI following Vatican II in the liturgy and questions of religious freedom. However, the Society of St Pius X took a more pragmatic attitude and was prepared for certain compromises with Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis. They kept the 1962 version of the Roman liturgy, remained in the scholastic mould for theology and Aristotelian philosophy and continued to complain about religious freedom as the enemy of “integral Catholicism”, meaning rule by the clergy and a king or a Franco or Pinochet style dictator. In the 1980’s and at some other times, there were dissidences from the Society in the form of sedevacantism or the position of Bishop Richard Williamson objecting to too much compromise with Rome. Sedevacantism itself divided into several “positions”, sometimes combined with Feeneyism, a modern form of Donatism.

The most prevalent form of sedevacantism was the most pragmatic. Most of the founders were ordained before the changes or left the SSPX. As priests with a vocation to training new priests, they needed bishops. The solution was being consecrated by a small number of “respectable” bishops in the Ngô Đình Thục succession or former clandestine prelates found in the old Soviet bloc. They justify their ministry in terms similar to those used by the SSPX: in a situation where literal observance of canon law opposes its intended purpose, the letter of the law can be broken and otherwise illegitimate ministry becomes legitimate. This principle is called epikeia (ἐπιείκεια) roughly corresponding with the notion of οἰκονομία in the Orthodox Churches. However, Roman Catholics have always had a problem with private interpretation and the risk of abuse.

Within this “liberal” branch of sedevacantism, Fr Louis-Michel Guérard des Lauriers OP, a former professor at the Angelicum in Rome, formulated his Cassiciacum Thesis based on the notion of hylomorphism, Aristotle’s theory of matter and form. Matter and form would then be applied to the person occupying the Papacy: the Holy See being materially (materialiter) occupied but formally (formaliter) vacant. The theory is clever, but few follow it. One priestly institute following it is the Istituto Mater Consilii near Turin in Italy. The priests who founded this institute are also dissidents from the SSPX.

We then go a step further and find the conclavists. In the 1990’s certain prominent sedevacantist laity like Elizabeth Gerstner and priests seriously undertook the possibility of electing a Pope by extraordinary means and producing the situation in which that Pope would be legitimate. Here is an explanation of the theory by a fairly articulate lay author. The best known, distinguished from those who believed themselves to be appointed directly by God, are:

Pope Michael (1990). Teresa Stanfill-Benns and David Bawden of Kansas in the US, called for a conclave to elect an alternative pope. They publicised their request around the world, but only six people participated in the election. On 16 July 1990, they elected Bawden who took the name Pope Michael.

Pope Linus II (1994). Another conclave, this time held in Assisi, Italy, elected the South African Victor von Pentz, an ex-seminarian of the Society of St Pius X, as Pope Linus II in 1994. Linus took up residence in Hertfordshire, England. Nothing is known about his present ministry, if any.

Pope Pius XIII (1998–2009). In October 1998, the U.S.-based “true Catholic Church” elected Friar Lucian Pulvermacher as Pope Pius XIII. He died on 30 November 2009. No successor has been named since his death.

Pope Leo XIV (2006–2007). It is not known whether this group is a spoof or an existing group. It is claimed that on 24 March 2006, a group of 34 independent bishops elected the Argentine Oscar Michaelli as Pope Leo XIV. On his death on 14 February 2007, he was succeeded by Juan Bautista Bonetti, who took the name of Pope Innocent XIV, but resigned on 29 May 2007. He was succeeded by Alejandro Tomás Greico, who took the name of –

Pope Alexander IX (2008 – present day). Alejandro Greico was born in 1983, in Buenos Aires. This group claims bishops and churches all over the world. One of my principles is to take a step back and what “What seems to be too good to be true is not true”. No radical traditionalist group could have survived for so long without being known, suffering from splits and fraught with scandal. Pope Alexander is always represented by a photo of a man’s head photoshopped onto the cassock and body of Benedict XVI. This is clear skulduggery.

Alongside that, there are well-known characters like Clemente Dominguez y Gomez who claimed to be appointed directly by God. These are clearly cult gurus and are known for abusive practices. Magnus Lundberg has extensively studied the cult of Palmar de Troya in Spain, now led by a Swiss man going by the name of Peter III.

Going further down the hole of sedevacantism, we find a phenomenon akin to the priestless (Безпоповцы) Old Believers and the French Petite Eglise. These are the Home Aloners (description given by a priest of the first category of sedevacantists mentioned above). These are lay people for whom no mainstream Catholic bishops or priests are legitimate or even valid, and nor are the various priests and bishops deriving from illicit ordinations like those of Archbishop Ngô Đình Thục. Everything is stripped away in terms of liturgical observance or access to the Sacraments other than Baptism and Marriage. Perhaps some of these people say the Office. They will pray the Rosary and other standard devotions, and they will read the Scriptures, apologetics and a certain level of philosophy and theology. The circle is closed when I hark back to my definition of Protestantism: “The one common idea was to reject the tyranny of the clergy, bishops and the Pope and return to the practice of a Christian life based on individual and common prayer, nourished by the reading of the Scriptures“. The reasons might be different in theory, but the result is the same. However, I know of no “Home-Alone” church like the Old Believers and the Petite Eglise. How long will a person persevere in such conditions before lapsing into modern life like the rest of his family and friends?

Outside Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, there is Continuing Anglicanism, in which I serve as a priest. Frankly, there is no comparison with the radical ideologies described above. Our bishops and their predecessors simply broke away from the Anglican Communion because of matters like the ordination of women – and formed new Churches with their proprietary names. There has been a lot of trouble in the past between quarrelling bishops, but I am happy to relate that the difficulties of the past are being repaired through the “G4”: the primates of the Anglican Catholic Church, the Anglican Province of America, the Anglican Church of America, and the Diocese of the Holy Cross signing an agreement pledging to seek “full, institutional and organic union with each other”. This grouping of the more mainstream Continuing Anglican Churches is also in dialogue with the Polish National Catholic Church and the Nordic Catholic Church led by Bishop Flemestad in Norway.

The lesson to be learned from all this is balancing the notion of Tradition with life, growth and progress. I have approached this subject from various points of view, my most recent being Ecclesial Cosmopolitanism. There is the paradoxical posting “Catholicism made me Protestant” discussing Newman’s conundrum at trying to find Papal Infallibility more coherent than Anglican Liberalism in the early nineteenth century.

There is tension between Tradition and life as there is between faith and reason. It is not by accident that John Paul II and Benedict XVI spent so much time on this question which was at the heart of the Modernist “crisis” in the 1900’s.

Newman tried a distinction between homogenous or organic growth, a hermeneutic of continuity, and changes that involved rupture and contradiction. It is a good base, not perfect, but something. I discuss many issues of continuity and change in Nostalgia and Hope. Static traditionalism is compared with the changelessness of Parmenides – “all reality is one, change is impossible, and existence is timeless, uniform, and necessary” – and the semper idem of Bossuet.

The way ahead is accepting a via media between tradition and organic change whilst resisting rupture and contradiction. In medio stat virtus. The churches of the Reformation other than the glitzy American mega churches are declining. The Old Believers have happily gone back into communion with the Russian Orthodox Church, and they are allowed to keep their liturgical particularities. The Petite Eglise is declining as the children of those families marry Roman Catholics or embrace modern secularism. Anything can flourish in America, and there are some “moderate” sedevacantist communities in France. Palmar de Troya will end up as an exotic theme park or something that makes money. The other alternative popes will die lonely deaths. Continuing Anglicanism seems to have pulled itself together, and needs more time to be more firmly established without falling into the same traps as the mainstream churches.

Wisdom is sometimes found in the most unlikely places and the deepest of man’s folly!

* * *

I have just discovered the site of a man called John C. Pontrello, an American. I haven’t been through his writings yet, but I have the impression that he on the right track and coming to a state of self-awareness and critical mind. If he ever sees what I write here, I advise him to embark on a study of serious philosophy and theology, not merely the use of proof texts for the purposes of argumentation and refutation. I have just bought the Kindle version of his book The Sedevacantist Delusion. He has obviously chosen his title based on the God Delusion of Richard Dawkins and the Science Delusion of Rupert Sheldrake which I am presently reading. Interestingly, Dawkins writes from a point of view of mechanistic and materialist science, and Sheldrake also writes from a scientific point of view but with the notion of consciousness being the intrinsic principle of both energy and matter.

I will need to read Pontrello’s book so that I can ascertain the premisses on which he bases his arguments and critical thinking, and above all where he is going. I have already read some of the short articles on his site which indicate that he recognises some psychological aspects of religious memes as viruses of the mind and complete bunk. Two reactions are then possible on emerging from Plato’s Cave: denying everything except matter like Dawkins, or finding a higher dimension of Christianity that reveals the profound message of Christ. The enquirer might then be inclined to align with the contemporary Roman Catholic Church and Pope Francis, become Orthodox, Old Catholic or Anglican – or seek among the other religious and philosophical traditions of the world.

Do I still have an axe to grind after so many years? Honestly, à chacun sa merde, let each of us find our own way and deal with our own problems. We will never sort out the problems of the world, change people’s minds or get everyone to adhere to the best and truest message. Our truth is found in our own experience of life and above all our Sehnsucht. Sedevacantism is not a problem in my Church. My Archbishop is called Mark Haverland and my Bishop is Damien Mead. We do not speculate about whether Archbishop Justin Welby truly occupies the See of Canterbury or not. The Anglican Catholic Church is a distinct Church in the same way as the Orthodox Churches are distinct from each other and fully Catholic by virtue of their faith and their episcopate.

John Pontrello does not need to worry about the pathetic psychotic claiming the papacy any more than I do. In our age, we are not used to such violent and vile language. Some of us, like Magnus Lundberg, are collectors of curiosities and exhibit these creatures for the enquiring public. I think Mr Pontrello needs to sort out his own mind and soul, decide what he feels he is called to do, and then adopt a critical attitude without trying to convince others. There, there is Wisdom!

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Enigma Variations

No, this is not the beautiful music of Elgar, but another set of variations on the mystery of why so many men want to assume the role of the Pope, or find a solution to the contradiction between their belief and the observable reality.

Boniface X represents an anonymous man on the internet who obviously wants to gather a little credibility before going public. Putting it simply, he is self-styled, just like the “most Catholic” emperor.

This time, the story is different. This is the Byzantine Catholic Patriarchate based in the Czech Republic. It all looks above board: Byzantine rite and coming from Ukrainian Orthodoxy, but we need to exercise our critical minds. In the site, they say:

The Byzantine Catholic Patriarchate was established by seven bishops of the Ukrainian orthodox Greek-Catholic Church on 5 April 2011.

Elsewhere, they affirm:

It became an independent religious structure which exercises prophetic ministry in matters of faith and morals for both the Western and Eastern Churches. Archbishop Elijah OSBMr was elected Patriarch and Bishops Methodius OSBMr and Timothy OSBMr were appointed Secretary Bishops.

It seems that their primary objective is the anathematising and excommunication of the present Roman Catholic hierarchy. For some reason, they adopted Roman Catholic ecclesiology rather than continue in an Eastern Orthodox paradigm. Patriarch Elijah seems to believe this to be his prophetic mission to save Byzantine Orthodoxy by adopting a sedevacantist position. I seem to be missing something here.

This October, these Czech and Ukrainian bishops held a synod and condemned the present incumbent of the Roman See and declared it to be vacant. Patriarch Elijah then took it upon himself to elect Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò to the Papacy.

He then wrote an open letter to Archbishop Viganò to ask him to elect election to the Papacy. The text can be found on the church website or heard on the video.

The big problem is that Archbishop Viganò is unlikely to accept this honour. Perhaps those Byzantines, a church looking for a Pope, might consider Boniface X who is looking for a church! So in these variations, we have among others Dorabella and the cathedral organist’s dog having a vigorous walk by the river in Worcester – and finally, that  fourteenth variation of triumph –

In this enigma of Catholics looking for a Pope, Popes looking for a Church and the unholy mess of the dying embers of the Empire, we look elsewhere for a sign of sanity and Christianity.

Господи, помилуй

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Ecclesial Cosmopolitanism

The older I grow, the more I see a convergence of issues and thoughts. I began to read an article by Pauline Kleingeld, who wrote another work on Novalis and his puzzling fragment Die Christenheit oder Europa. This article is Six Varieties of Cosmopolitanism in Late Eighteenth-Century Germany. The article was written as a response to nationalist feelings in many parts of the world, by appealing to Kant and a number of German Idealist philosophers. Conventionally, cosmopolitanism is divided between its moral and political dimensions. In late eighteenth century Germany, its few proponents competed against the mounting nationalism which came to prevail in various forms.

Typically the relationship between cosmopolitanism and nationalism expresses the priority we give to our country, tribe, parish, whatever we have experienced and know – or to humanity as a whole without distinctions. Kleingeld expresses her desire to escape the tendency to put all the eggs into a single basket. She distinguishes six types of cosmopolitanism: moral, political and legal, cultural, economic – and Romantic, expressed in faith and love. Certainly there will be overlapping and grey areas.

Writing the articles of the past couple of days on some unusual aspects of Roman Catholicism, it occurred to me that there can be an ecclesial cosmopolitanism linked with thought about the moral, cultural and romantic dimensions. When considering the various tendencies in Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism, crudely called traditionalism and liberalism, I see exactly the same lines drawn in the political world between liberal or conservative democracy and populism of the extreme left and right.

The so-called liberals seemed to have come up with the idea of ecumenism as an expression of religious cosmopolitanism: the abolition of all differences by mixing everything up into a homogenous and bland paste. The traditionalists would react by claiming to represent the “one true church” outside of which there is no grace, no salvation or spiritual reality. My article on pope Boniface X shows the ultimate caricature of “true church” parochialism in an institution which cannot be identified or recognised as real outside the anonymous person making the claim.

I have already written on Sedevacantism which is a system designed to find an intellectual solution to the contradiction between the Counter-Reformation understanding of the Papacy and the current reality. Ultimately, there are few choices if the logic is taken to its conclusion: abandon Christianity, abandon Papalism or attempt to restore the papacy as they understand it. As someone who spent a few years as a convert to Roman Catholicism, my option was the second one, one that is held by the Orthodox, Old Catholics, Anglicans and the churches of the Reformation. Compared with politics, it marks a populist reaction to the liberalism of the mainstream institutions in Rome and the local dioceses.

Over its entire history, the Church has struggled between its witness to the teachings of Christ and the temptation to political power. I was particularly marked by the parable of the Grand Inquisitor in the Karamazov Brothers of Dostoevsky, especially that outrageous justification of the Inquisitor “correcting” Christ. Like so many others I was faced with the choice of abandoning Christianity as something corrupted to the core and looking to religious and philosophical alternatives, or separating faith and spiritual / liturgical life from politics and coercive power. I heard so much criticism of the teaching by Vatican II on religious freedom by the traditionalists that I began to be convinced that this very freedom constituted the basis of Christ’s teaching. Some wish to make Christ a king, but when Pontius Pilate asked that very question, Christ answered that his kingdom was not of this world, above all not a political or aristocratic kingdom.

When I looked at so-called liberalism in the mainstream church institutions, I found that only the appearances were different, but everything depended on a political ideology. This time it would be based on cultural Marxism and a different form of coercion and policing. These very problems were faced by Enlightenment philosophers in the changing world of the Renaissance and the late Baroque and Rococo periods. I found the key in the Romantic reaction: accept the rationalism of the Enlightenment but restore the place of the whole human being through imagination, emotions and feelings alongside the rigours of reason. The pieces fitted into place though various providential catalysts during my university days.

Cosmopolitanism sees humanity as essentially a single moral community notwithstanding the differences of culture, language and religion. In such a perspective, all humans are worthy of rights, impartiality and tolerance. Many ideas in the late eighteenth century came from the Cynics and Stoics of the ancient world. The moral variant did not seek to bring about political reforms or revolutions, but rather a qualitative movement of human souls. The Enlightenment and cosmopolitanism worked together.

The Church is not a closed and exclusive institution, but a communion of those who are citizens of something much greater than their immediate surroundings. It was in that same period that men like Captain Cook set out to discover new cultures in depth. Some reflections from that time are remarkably modern in our twenty-first century terms.

What man [der Mensch] could become, he has everywhere become in accordance with the local conditions. Climate, location of towns, height of mountains, direction of rivers,… have sometimes favoured him from one side, sometimes limited him from another and influenced his physique as well as his moral behaviour. In this way, he has nowhere become everything, but everywhere become something different.

The one who wrote this was the naturalist and anthropologist Georg Forster (1754-94) who sailed with Cook on the Endeavour. He opposed the notion of one superior culture acting as a standard for all but rather advocated diversity, pluralism and complementarity – equality. He did, however, blame cultures that practised slavery or cruelty, and praised those that allowed individual persons to flourish. Were his own standards not hypocritical, ie. judging from the standard of western culture? Complete freedom from prejudice is an ideal more than a reality.

Kleingeld’s final category is Romantic cosmopolitanism, the aspect that emphasises the elements that make us human: “love, emotional bonds, beauty, shared faith, and mutual trust“. They had to be restored to humanity on top of reason that was emphasised by the Enlightenment. The Church is no exception to the whole of human experience. One thing that has to be understood about Novalis’ vision of a medieval world was not the desire to retreat into obscurantism but its “Parousia, the cosmopolitan ideal of a global spiritual community“. Christenheit oder Europa is a parable, not a historical rendering, and we will find this same thought in Dom Guéranger, Viollet le Duc, Pugin, Newman, Pusey, the entire Oxford Movement, the slum priests, the Pre-Raphaelites, William Morris and the entire movement as survives to this very day.

Novalis and the other Romantics cultivated this rosy notion  of the middle ages to convey a religious form of cosmopolitanism in unity, beauty, sensuality and mystery. It is a desire for return to childlike innocence and the sense of wonder. This dream contrasts with competition and the power of money and brute strength. Materialism destroys the sense of the transcendent, and out of it came the persecution of Christians and anti-clericalism. This conflicts would cause oppositions between religion and politics, religion being locked into the confines of states. Europe ended up in crisis and perpetual warfare.

Novalis looked to a new world, the cosmopolitan ideal of a global spiritual community. I do believe that Romanticism can bring about an understanding of Christianity exactly as it did in that brief moment of the 1790’s in Saxony. Again we face nationalism and new forms of populism, new challenges to humanity and peace. I am also fascinated to see huge changes in science from materialism and mechanistic determinism to quantum physics and a notion of consciousness preceding matter and energy. The changes are bringing us to a new future as we live and breathe.

I hope that Romantic cosmopolitanism will play a role in emancipating Christianity from nationalism and populism, from prejudice and hatred. The horror of two world wars in the twentieth century saw the rise of the League of Nations, United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Union. Nationalism and populism may be on the rise, but so is cosmopolitanism. Ecclesial cosmopolitanism isn’t about mixing religions, apostasy, idolatry, unlimited hedonism and all the things traditionalists complain about. It is a search for something much higher and deeper within ourselves, the icons of God’s love that are love, emotional bonds, beauty, shared faith, and mutual trust.

I can but do my best along this lonely path.

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Another Alternative Pope – Boniface X

This revised story is one of a truly anonymous alternative pope and a howling banshee. I can only know he exists, because there is a website and my own writing has caused this person to write reams of shrill and incoherent “apologetics”.

Some years ago, an Englishman by the name of Thomas Sparks was running a website. His main thesis was that of Fr Leonard Feeney who favoured a rigourist interpretation of the doctrine extra Ecclesiam nulla salus (“outside the Church there is no salvation”). He took the position that baptism of blood and baptism of desire are unavailing and that therefore no non-Catholics will be saved. It would also seem that he promoted anti-Semitism and racism. Thomas Sparks went further and promoted full-blown Jansenism, which is based on a theory of predestination and grace based on Saint Augustine that is strikingly similar to Calvinism. The site was eventually closed down and no one heard any more from Mr Sparks. I am led to believe that he lost his Christian faith entirely and went into seclusion.

The same site was taken over by someone claiming to be pope under the name of Boniface X, undoubtedly inspired by Boniface VIII who issued the bull Unam Sanctam in 1302. This act of the papal magisterium represented the apotheosis of the claims of a pope to absolute political and temporal power.

This is quoted from his Twitter page:

In case there are liars who say otherwise, The Apostolic See acquired the electronic domain recently, and began actively using the domain in 2019. It does not approve of any errors taught by the original owners of the domain prior to 2019.

This American claiming to be pope Boniface X also runs a Twitter page on Pope Boniface X (Twitter).

It turns out that there are several claims to this name, but only one running this website. The name of Phillip Barlett is mentioned, but it could well be false. IP addresses and given phone numbers indicate that the centre of activity is Florida in the USA.

Published on 21st October 2019 on Twitter:

Boniface X wears the normal modest clothes of a layperson as often was done by Peter the Apostle. This is because there are no regular ceremonies in the Church at this time. In the event ceremonies are required and a bishop enters the Church, this may radically change.

The true Pope, Boniface X, is the one who holds to the medieval dogmas and can prove his jurisdiction. At this time there are no regular ceremonies happening due to the fact that there are no orders, and emphasis is placed at this time on holding the proper faith.

I have to conclude that, like Pope Michael in the USA, this is a layman waiting for a bishop to come from somewhere, confer the necessary ordinations (presumably in exchange for being “canonically regularised”) and making it possible to restore the sacramental life of that church. In the website, he writes “At this time the Pontiff is a layman“.

It is unlikely that this great pontiff was elected by any kind of shadowy conclave, more likely named himself. He has appointed a great emperorHis Imperial and Most Catholic Majesty, Michael Ioannes“, who even has the authority to condemn adult homosexuals to death by burning at the stake. No such executions have been known to have happened. It is unknown whether Boniface X has any followers other than the emperor.

A little research indicates several persons claiming the same name. The scholar Magnus Lundberg has “collected” about 55 alternative popes, of which some 20 would be jokes or hoaxes like Alexander IX. I received a very heavy barrage of feedback from the American Boniface X as a result of the previous version of this posting. According to Magnus Lundberg:

As I understand it, he has claimed the papacy for 13 years and all of a sudden he becomes extremely active in his internet ministry. There is one main difference between him and the other claimants. Boniface is clearly racist.

I wonder if this claim is not also a troll with a perverse sense of humour. In his feedback to me and in his site, he seems quite knowledgeable in Tridentine-style apologetics and polemics and scholastic methods of argumentation and refutation. This style is usually only to be found in the shrillest of traditionalists and sedevacantists.

Who is Boniface X? I did some searching on Google and found a number of radical traditionalist forums suggesting the name of Phillip Bartlett. Sources for such information are spurious and not from men I would trust. There is a certain Clayton, himself claiming to be pope Athanasius, who mentions Phillip Bartlett by name, saying that he was possessed by the devil! A South American source mentions the same name. Still, we are left uncertain.

To follow this new version of the posting, I have removed all the comments of Boniface X – not because I am afraid of his “truth”, but because they are extremely verbose and angry in tone. He threatens to publish them on his website against the “heretic” Chadwick, so they can be read there if you wish. I am honoured with the following promises / threats on Twitter! (I don’t use Twitter.)

The Schismatic and HERETIC Anthony Chadwick, who passes himself off as an “Anglican priest”, was devoid of any logical or legal/dogmatic proofs in his arguments, as expected from a liar and an heretic. When dogmatic arguments were given to him, he censored the most recent reply.

To anyone who reads the lies written by the SCHISMATIC ANGLICAN Chadwick, be sure to read the comments below the article as the Apostolic See ably responded to him. Of course, he blocked the most recent messages, but they will be posted at

A false and heretical priest by the name of “Anthony Chadwick” wrote some kind of screed against Boniface X and he will be thoroughly and clearly refuted at shortly in an epistle written by the Roman Pontiff against him, also exposing his obscene errors.

This posting attracted 78 views yesterday!

To resume the deleted comments, I am naturally a modernist and an apostate. I am also unstable. He seems to think the accusations of his being under diabolical possession came from me, but I was quoting pope Athanasius, a man I do not know in any way. Boniface X goes on to try to justify his claim against the others (Palmar de Troya, Michael Bawden, etc.). He then exposes my position, which is usual for an Anglican. The papal claims from Boniface VIII to Vatican I are bunk – and I will give him that one for free. He’ll have a hell of a job burning me at the stake or sawing me in half!

Of course, the Papacy could assure the unity of the Church – through constraint, political totalitarianism and terror. Dostoevsky characterised the attitude in his Great Inquisitor. The way of Christ is clearly other… Also, the Roman Catholic Church itself has changed in a more liberal direction. I abstain from commenting on the present pontificate. It is not my “thing”.

We get our fair share of conspiracy theories featuring Freemasonry. Perhaps I sympathise with the Revolutionary Jacobin Collot d’Herbois. That was a new one on me. Indeed many Jansenist bigots in the 1790’s flip-flopped and joined Robespierre. As a citizen of France, I accept the Republic and its principles of human rights. That seems to me to be fundamental. There were two main phases in the Revolution, the first elation on being rid of oppressive power in France, and then there was the fanatical and totalitarian regime of Robespierre and the Terror from 1793. Only in the late nineteenth century did France begin to find a new balance, and anti-clericalism faded away more or less after World War I. Perhaps I would see Boniface I on the guillotine, but here in Europe we don’t have capital punishment in any form or for any reason. I am not afraid of attempts to demonise me! I also have a sense of gallows humour…

I also get a little sermon about writing too much blog and not praying enough. He couldn’t possibly know, but perhaps he is right. Should I place liturgy in second place to counter-reformation scholastic polemics? Am I in rebellion against God? Good questions, and I have no pretence to virtue or holiness.  “…focusing on rites and externals instead of the dogmas of the faith proclaimed by the highest proximate rule of faith“? I have the impression of being preached at by a Calvinist. When I see how right-wing and left-wing politics collude and ultimately fight for the same thing, I could imagine a fire-breathing Boniface X in a Geneva gown denouncing the evils of alcohol and telling his congregation that they are all predestined to hell – apart from himself. Holy Willie indeed with his babies and gnashing gums! That is not the way of Christ.

I will also resume my own response, elements of which I have already given above. Many will find fault in my foray into Roman Catholicism from 1981 until 1998. My living a life of questioning and doubt may be a subject of reproach, but yet it may be a way of avoiding the Leaven of the Pharisees that comes from an excess of certainty. I am a Romantic, and have been intensely attracted to the epistemology of men like Novalis, his refusal of Foundationalism. Boniface X’s system of apologetics then becomes totally absurd in my eyes, not merely misguided but a caricature that becomes a laughing stock. Labels like “modernist” have no effect on me.

As for “being unstable”, the term is a euphemism with so many meanings that it becomes meaningless. The old Russian Soviet замполит officers had the task of ensuring that those engaged in the armed forces were stable politically, that they remained orthodox in terms of the Marxist ideology of Lenin and Stalin.

My “instability” is a very subjective notion. I certainly have more self-knowledge than my correspondent will ever have. That is irrelevant for the present discussion. I am in no obligation to justify myself. In my life, have I changed out of expedience or because evidence brought me to change my mind about certain things? Can a person not evolve? No, scholastics of the age of Torquemada would refuse all dynamism to emphasise the unchanging of God in the manner of Parmenides. Nothing in this life is stable. Everything comes into being and dies at two different moments in time, and all sorts of things happen between those two points.

I have nothing to say personally about Boniface X. I have never met him, and nor do I wish to. I quote these haunting words from Umberto Eco: “Fear prophets, Adso, and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them“. These words came into my mind when I read about pope Athanasius saying that Boniface X was suffering from diabolical possession. The evil spirits work in different ways as any exorcist will tell us. The most haunting work I ever read on the subject was Malachi Martin’s Hostage to the Devil. I heard dreadful voices one day during my stay at Triors Abbey. We do well to be afraid of the Archons of evil, but God will protect us if we want Him to.

I ask myself why people want to claim the Papacy. Some might be narcissistic personalities or suffering from schizophrenia, the usual cause of distorted belief systems. It takes a professional examining a person clinically to make a diagnosis – but anyone with some knowledge of such questions may have a suspicion that something is wrong. The more “successful” ones like Clemente Dominguez y Gomez at Palmar de Troya seem to have done it for money. Many cult gurus do. They also share the characteristics of being men without any moral conscience or care for other human beings, totally empty within. I noticed Boniface projecting that “interior emptiness” onto me. I have a certain amount of experience with these parasites of humanity.

Personally, I am elsewhere, but I do care about the possibility of such men gaining any influence. Few have any credibility to get off the ground. The Palmarians managed to build some impressive buildings and separate some wealthy people from their money. Pope Michael in America is quite active on the Internet, but seems to be an honest sort of person in his own way. Some of the historical figures like Clement XV in France and St Jovite in Canada did quite well for themselves. The French garage mechanic and pope had a small community of worshippers in his chapel. Some of the alternative popes worked from the premisses in which they believed to arrive at that conclusion, or received special revelations from supernatural causes or schizophrenia.

Of course he will deny the validity of my Orders. As a good Donatist, he would say the same of every priest and bishop on this planet! It doesn’t bother me, because I am a priest for the Church to which I belong.

I challenge Boniface X to “come out” and face his critics and competitors. I expect him to have a go at me. I am not afraid because I have nothing to lose. Christianity will survive this kind of madness which only gives fodder to atheists like Richard Dawkins, who claims that religious belief is a disease of the mind. Some religious beliefs are indeed diseases of the mind, but consciousness goes higher than either energy or matter. We need to look higher and deeper to find the Knowledge of God.

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The Name of the Rose

I open this brief posting with the title of Umberto Eco’s famous novel about an extremely corrupt abbey in the early fourteenth century where monks were ready to kill to preserve the secret of the legitimacy of humour according to Aristotle. I find it hard to believe that all or even most monastic communities were so deeply mired in sin, even then. Fast forward to modern times…

Someone left a comment on my earlier posting of today on other aspects of ecclesial sin and corruption. I decided to allow his opinion about an abbot I met last summer, in the name of free speech. I hesitated because I wondered whether I might be liable for libel. Therefore, if someone judges this to be the case, I am prepared to take that comment down with this posting. I will try to be objective and careful about what I write. What happens when you sail too close to the wind? The boat stops and ceases to respond to the helm, caught “in irons”. You have to push the boom forward with one hand and let the wind reverse the boat by pushing the helm over into the direction of the sail. When the boat is sufficiently to lee, it suffices to sheet in, get a bit of speed up, and then compensate with the rudder to keep on the new tack. So much for sailing close to the wind in its literal meaning. Figuratively, it means taking a risk, being at the limits. For this reason I reserve my judgement on the persons discussed here or in the web sites I link to. I wondered whether I should leave this subject altogether, but I believe that different opinions need to be heard.

What is this about. I opened the blog Another Abbot Extraordinary. This thing has been up for two years, and had the law been broken, it would have had to be taken down, so I express myself in good faith. I can make no comment about the various accusations this blog expresses. I met the Abbot of Farnborough for a short conversation one Sunday morning. I know Dom Alcuin Reid who is now in a community in southern France. I occasionally correspond with him about the liturgy, but I haven’t seen him for more than twenty years. I have been on a retreat at Fontgombault (1985) and spent six months as a working guest at Triors in 1996-97. At neither of those houses did I see the least problem or irregularity. I had a great deal of esteem and respect for Dom Hervé Courau, the Abbot of Triors. He is known to be stern and austere, but that is the nature of monastic life. It is the ultimate Communism, the subjection of the person to the collective. Thought of in those terms, monastic life is truly shocking. However, men join it freely and their commitment is made difficult by the novitiate and simple profession process, rightly so.

About the English communities mentioned in the blog, the problem seems to be one of sexual manipulation and carnal lust. Perhaps this is a consequence of sexual repression that is an intrinsic condition of monastic commitment. Whether monks in themselves are homosexuals or heterosexuals, the community is single sex like an English public school, the armed forces or a prison – so homosexuality is the only option a man has when he has poor control over his desires and feelings – and finds another who feels the same way or is weak under manipulation. I have great esteem for the monastic ideal, but I find it difficult to know how the circle can be squared. What is holiness? It is certainly a notion that goes far beyond the trite Catholic slogans we usually read in Counter-Reformation spiritual books.

This blog on the English abbots made me feel quite sick, though I have actually kept my food down today! Does such stuff belong on the Internet? Without public exposure, is the institutional Church able to reform itself? I think also of the priests who have been found guilty of child abuse and those diocesan bishops who covered up. In my article Clericalism and Priesthood, I commented on the big scandal in France involving Cardinal Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon and Primate of the French Church.

It is perhaps in consideration of such turpitudes and lassitude that I am more sympathetic to a few of the independent clergy whose visions and ideas are devout and noble. It was said that the Church in the early sixteenth century was extremely corrupt. There were the Borgias, prostitutes in the Vatican, executions by the most barbaric and sadistic means possible, simony and fraud, something like the old regime of Caligula or Nero. It was the primary cause of the Reformation, the French Revolution and the death of institutional Christianity in our days. It is not a subject I enjoy writing about! Because of these lassitudes, my own Church has been forced to implement procedures of screening, background checks and every other possible means of ensuring that one corrupt priest cannot destroy our entire work and modest resources.

I understand Mr Wood’s bitterness from his experience of a devout Catholic seeking his vocation. This is something that takes away a part of our soul and innocence, making us cynical. It’s all very well being told to forgive and forget, but the screaming wounds in a man’s soul cannot be consoled. Whether the Internet is a place for this kind of thing, I don’t know. I have been through a lot myself, but not sexual abuse. The closest I came was a parish priest stroking my thigh as I played the organ at age 18, but he stopped when I told him to. Self-control is more difficult for some men than others. It probably comes from self-knowledge, having come to terms with oneself, and especially having empathy for others. There are simply things we may not do, as a human being, let alone as a Christian.

I have written on the question before. I am not a psychologist, but I do have some knowledge in this field from reading. The kind of people who need to be rooted out of churches, politics, teaching, medicine or anything to do with people are the most successful and ruthless. I speak of sociopathy and narcissistic personality disorder. You don’t need to be a psychiatrist to recognise the symptoms. Any observant person can tell when they are dealing with someone who is toxic or manipulative. What narcissistic people stand for is the antithesis of the Christian Gospel of empathy, compassion for the weak and respect for children, women, vulnerable souls and other men. If a whole community becomes infected, then (if Karma is served) you get the ending of the Name of the Rose. The whole place goes up in smoke, the community is dispersed and those who have been wronged find justice by scavenging in the ruins.

I would hate to be a Bishop or an abbot!

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La Nausée

Yes, from the very author who wrote “Hell is other people” – L’enfer c’est les autres in his play Huis clos. Jean-Paul Sartre was unfamiliar with the various grotesque parodies of churches and bishops one occasionally sees on the Internet. This is certainly the only place you will see them.

I have already been familiar with one Anglican Rite Catholic Church with Cardinal Rutherford Johnson – see Rod Dreher’s Behold, the patriarch, which is an old article. One would almost imagine that this fellow has simply put up a parody, a spoof, but he seems to take himself seriously (see comment below). There is already a Pope Alexander IX who uses photos of American Anglican clergy and churches – with a liberal use of Photoshop. Some years ago, I came across a fake prelature (Prelature Personnelle de l’Institut Sacerdotal International Mater Ecclesiae) claiming to have secret approval from Rome (then it wouldn’t be secret any more…). The prelate’s name was that of a bishop who lived a couple of hundred years ago. That also was a spoof and its website disappeared many years ago.

This new one seems to be one of many taking themselves seriously – the Anglocatholic Church, which for once is not American! Its chief bishop, His Beatitude, The Most Reverend Dr. Heigo Ritsbek, MA, MDiv, DMin, LittD, DD comes from the little Baltic country of Estonia. There are bishops in the USA, Australia, Africa (several countries), Brazil (ex. ICAB), Costa Rica, the Philippines, France, Poland, Italy, Germany. The site is interesting to look at. Their liturgy is disappointingly modern Roman in style, and almost seems to be for the sole purpose of consecrating bishops! There is the old jibe about one of the old English Mathew succession bishops: Bishop Lines of many lines. In some of the African and South American countries, there seem to be small numbers of lay faithful.

Old Atkinson-Wake is still going in his Catholic Church of England and Wales, as grandiose as ever with some of his “wooden leg” bishops like whisky-breath Philip French in Whitby. See two old blog posts Philip James French: the Fake Catholic Bishop of Whitby and The Reckoning of the Fake Catholic Bishop of Whitby? What is incredible is that few ordinary people these days are going to be impressed with men dressing to the nines and living a lie.

My immediate reaction is that people with physical abnormalities used to be exhibited to the public in “freak shows” in return for being housed and fed, usually in appalling conditions. Perhaps this kind of show could be brought back for men who are physically healthy but suffering from conditions like narcissistic personality disorder! Prod them with sticks and shout at them…

I have written a few postings about this subject, which is close to my own life. I too went through the logic of independent clergy, trying to maintain the ideal of the Church and the priestly vocation outside the “system” of the Roman Catholic Church or the Anglican Communion. Some men like the dressing up, others feel that it confers status or power, and others have a higher notion of their calling. I recommend John P. Plummer’s The Many Paths of the Independent Sacramental Movement. The term “independent sacramental” was coined in an attempt to give a common title to an extremely diverse movement of single-issues and an idea of a church of the future composed of small independent communities and house churches. Given the free-fall of church attendance in the mainstream churches, it can appear to be an alternative to being resigned to the death of Christianity in the western world.

Many of these reflections have helped to form my own mind. I belong to a “mainstream” Continuing Anglican Church, which has gained pignon sur rue and is in serious dialogue with three other Continuum churches and the Polish National Catholic Church. I can claim a degree of canonical seriousness and respectability, but living in rural France, I am unlikely ever to find myself as a parish priest. One cannot make a norm from an exceptional situation like mine, but it does make one think.

One thing I have learned in life is that priesthood and liturgy alone do not create the Church or even ecclesiastical institutions. Every Church has been responsible for schisms and disputes in history, and none can before God make an honest claim to be unilaterally the “one true church”. There are still institutions that own ancient buildings and have influence over the “secular arm” and the politics of their countries – and still have plenty of money and visibility. There have always been conservative and radical breaks, and the fracturing process accelerates as the central notion of Christianity is questioned.

Increasingly, Christian commitment is a personal and individual approach, no longer the tradition of the tribe, community, parish, village or whatever. When I arrived in the village where I live, in 2006, there was a monthly Mass in the church. One Sunday, I my wife and I went, and I was in lay dress. It was dead, with a few elderly people without the slightest concern to take interest in potential newcomers. The liturgy, celebrated by a priest without a server, was deadpan. If I were a layman, my Christian life would be better without such a charade – and that is the “official Church”. A French friend of mine pointed out that there has never been a time when there were so many priests for so few laity. What is the justification for ordaining priests, and what becomes of the notion of “vocation”? Around the same year, Sophie and I attended a service in southern Rouen celebrated by an independent bishop and a bit more “show”. Blessed roses were on offer, at one price if blessed collectively and another price if “done” individually. Perhaps I was in the fifteenth century in some English country parish where – As soon as a coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs. I may be an enthusiast for the Use of Sarum, but I can imagine the reality of some sleazy dump of a parish in the 1490’s! I have to be a Romantic to keep sane. What is reality? I had about fifteen years experience of traditionalist Roman Catholicism. For most of them, it boils down to politics and forcing people to belong to the tribe for the sake of self-justification of the rich and powerful. The same old story repeats in history as the Church craves its Caudillo and its Inquisition to enforce the rule of “Christ the King”. Perhaps some might feel at home at Palmar de Troya in southern Spain, considerado por los especialistas un monumento a la demencia humana, with its businesslike Swiss pope Peter III. I feel quite cold within about the future of Christianity in an increasingly hostile and polarised world. We live in a world that is devoid of culture and education in essential philosophical principles.

My own experience has taken me beyond that question many people ask about who “is the Church” and who “is playing Church as an impostor”. The distinction for me has become highly blurred, at least with any real objectivity. This posting began with obvious shenanigans of dishonest or challenged individuals. But I see this whole thing as one who lives a private life without any desire to traipse around dressed as a baroque cardinal and attract ridicule both on myself and what I would be claiming to represent! Life has been both kind and unkind to me. I try to see the essential and go all the way.

I think there can be some opportunity to rethink Christianity beyond the failure of clericalism and the nausea of the population. My own intuitions have often been expressed in this blog. No one becomes a Christian without asking the right questions and without a certain culture that makes the soul seek something beyond our world of competition, status, power, money and mass fashion.

I look at the Church, at the lowness of politics in many countries including my own. I feel like Wordsworth at the cusp of revolution, wanting to rejoice in change and renewal, but knowing that there will only be more violence and death. The darkness is overwhelming, but the Ungrund itself contains grace and light. We need to have faith and hope, but above all, knowledge of ourselves and true humility. Perhaps this is fertile earth on which the priesthood of Christ may flourish and find new meaning.

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Why We Fight…

Anyone who reads the news will have some idea of the gravity of the situation in England. Unfortunately, journalists nearly always have a partial and narrow understanding of the situation. Of course, I speak of the British Government and the Brexit issue. Naturally this thing goes far beyond a simple question of the UK’s membership of a group of countries. I won’t go into the political ins and outs, which I can only understand partially with the help of political pundits and commentators on the internet.

I believe that the issue, shared between a number of European countries and elsewhere, is a transition from a more humanist and liberal paradigm to authoritarianism, from personalism to collectivism and a vision for which many have died. Nazism and Fascism in the 1920’s to 40’s were only manifestations of a same anti-humanism. The poisonous roots remain even if the outward appearance is so different as no longer to be recognisable. I live in the country, and am extremely fortunate to be protected from the loudest noises of various protest movements and their irrational ideologies. Indeed, I was lucky to have come to Europe when things were still going quite well. It was towards the end of the Thatcher era, and I was in France just after the end of the Falklands War. I sought my way in life and made many mistakes and followed illusions. I was fluent in French quite quickly and I ended up studying theology in that language. My time in Switzerland brought me into contact with a Germanic culture and my two stays in Italy brought me another dimension. I suppose it all made me quite rootless, and an attempt to settle back in England in 1995 was inconclusive.

Two experiences of life are clashing: those who have money and are settled, and those for whom the goalposts are too high. The polarisation between capitalism and socialism is widening, and the more they oppose each other, they more they resemble each other. We have to go deeper if we want to come to self-knowledge and thereby to empathy towards others. Alone, I cannot rebuild anything or even recognise what is broken. One issue I now face is not being able to identify with the idea that civilisation can be restored through authority and the State above the Person. It has challenged my entire feeling and understanding of Christianity, abused as it has been by men with ulterior motives throughout history. Talk of evangelisation has for me become extremely shallow, to the extent that I constantly question my calling to the priesthood. I have come to understand the Christian way as not flogging the dead horse of street-corner evangelists, but a quiet and interior life hidden from the world – something that can be transmitted to those who ask for it. It is the way of the Catacombs and the hermit’s cell of Charles de Foucault in Algeria. Priests are not only parish pastors but also contemplatives and teachers.

It is true that Europe is greater than the political institution called the European Union, but the latter has helped in many ways to solve the causes of the two world wars in the twentieth century and to promote cultural values. Nothing is ever perfect, and politicians are known for playing fast and loose with truth. However, the UK has hardly taken the moral high road! The old British Empire was established and / or maintained by theft, rape, pillage and murder – no better than the Nazis! I too have left the House of the Blind.

I have already written about the problems of nationalism, not only in our country but in Poland, Hungary, Italy and some other countries. Nationalism or patriotism can be a fine sentiment, akin to our attachment pro aris et focis to our homes, hearths and families, as the old Romans used to say. It can be a wonderful catalyst of the highest and best of human aspirations, but are we not enriched by diversity and the input of those who come from elsewhere? Going to England for me is very hard. Materially, I have my passport and places to go, with my family and my Church, and friends dotted around here and there, but I no longer feel a part of it. It seems to be a feeling I share with many of the younger generations who were unable to keep the aspidistra flying. When I last lived in England, in 1996, my nostalgia for the life I had known in France and Italy was inconsolable. I did not find what I sought on returning to the Continent, but I was looking for the wrong things. I needed to know myself and come to terms with what I would find.

If those who want the UK to stay on the way of cosmopolitanism can hope not to have our dreams shattered by the “reality” of other people’s big money, we have to have a positive desire instead of hating those who believe in the opposite and contradictory “truth”. It is something I have learned from Romanticism. I quote from Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil) (quoted in Rob Riemen, To Fight Against This Age, New York 2018, p. 97):

Thanks to the morbid estrangement which the lunacy of nationality has produced and continues to produce between the peoples of Europe, thanks likewise to the short-sighted and hasty-handed politicians who are with its aid on top today and have not the slightest notion to what extent the politics of disintegration they pursue must necessarily be only entr’acte, an interlude—thanks to all this, and to much else that is altogether unmentionable today, the most unambiguous signs are now being overlooked, or arbitrarily and lyingly misinterpreted, that declare that Europe wants to become one. … I think of men such as Napoleon, Goethe, Beethoven, Stendhal, Heinrich Heine, Schopenhauer. . . . They are related, fundamentally related, in all the heights and depths of their needs: it is Europe, the one Europe, whose soul forces its way longingly up and out.

Indeed Nietzsche is one of the most misunderstand thinkers of modern times. The Nazis misrepresented him, to say the least! Sehnsucht, nostalgia, call it what you will. When you have experienced Europe, it is not something you can put back into its box. Novalis centred his vision on an idealised notion of the Papacy, but we must look higher. If there is no future in Europe, then none of its countries can survive. Maybe they are all up for sale to the highest bidder – the USA, Russia, China… The Europe of which I dream is not so much a bygone historical era, but the light of what Christ gave us. The visible signs can only be icons of a higher reality. There can be no no cherries without the cake!

Europe is not the Kingdom of Heaven, but a place of humanism that brought truth and justice. Rob Riemen comes up with the sober point: “Truth can be known only because of the meaning of words, for what are love, friendship, freedom, and justice if we don’t know what the words mean? Where language has become meaningless, no truth can exist, and the lie rules“. When words become debased and perverted by evil men, they become meaningless. The very words we use to convey the message of Christ have also become meaningless for many people, because they become kitsch euphemisms for something else. Thus, Dietrich Bonhöffer tried to find Christ elsewhere from the churches. Our gift of language is indeed horribly abused, where words mean different things to different people. We need to develop different ways of expressing ourselves to protect insights from being banalised and abused. We are brought to think of Jesus’ teaching through parables and their secret meaning. This is why Nietzsche came up with such outrageous ideas like the “death” of God and the annihilation of all that is good. All that remains is lust for money and power. The liturgical world of symbols alone has conserved the Mystery of Christ in spite of the lamentable corruption of ecclesial institutions. There is a conservatism that seeks timelessness, truth and justice – but also a conservatism that crosses over to obscurantism and reactionary politics.

In a way, I sympathise with some of the feelings against the European Union, which as a political organisation has its own problems, and is hardly more outstanding in moral virtue than any other. The true Europe is the soul. Politics will never defend the spiritual, but only power and money. One thing that repels me from Brexiteer orthodoxy is the mendaciousness of its proponents – the contradictory propositions that cannot all be true at the same time. I have called some pseudo-ecclesiastical charlatans wooden legs because of the lying, but it is nothing compared to Westminster or Washington DC!

The quest of Europe must be philosophy, love of wisdom. This has to be the positive and transcendent aspect of our combat. For me and many others, the essence of Europe is a quest for the human being and our immortal soul which enables us to know the absolute and eternal, truth, goodness, beauty, love and justice. These transcendentals are not what concerns the men and women now running the British Government! Without the soul, all is chatter and dross. To this end, we need to fight for a truly humanist society via a new generation of schools and universities, though mystery schools that form the eternal Church. The EU has neglected this spiritual dimension in order to concentrate on money, technology and national interests, and the movement for its destruction can only lead to a return to the 1930’s! The media and the universities have become places of stupidity. Perhaps the desperate message of the Brexiteers in part is  the need for something new. Novalis – clearer of new land.

Es wird so lange Blut über Europa strömen, bis die Nationen ihren fürchterlichen Wahnsinn gewahr werden, der sie im Kreise herumtreibt, und von heiliger Musik getroffen und besänftigt zu ehemaligen Altären in bunter Vermischung treten, Werke des Friedens vornehmen und ein großes Liebesmahl als Friedenfest auf den rauchenden Walstätten mit heißen Tränen gefeiert wird. Die Christenheit oder Europa (1799)

Blood will continue to flow in Europe until the nations recognize their terrible madness. This will continue to drive them into circles until, moved and calmed by sacred music, they step before their past altars in a motley throng. Then they will undertake works of peace, celebrating with hot tears a great banquet of love as a festival of peace on the smoking battlefields.

I would like to see the European Union reformed and renewed, ordained to man’s highest realities regardless of our different religious faiths and ways of life.

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