They have an engine called the Press

Ransom, the Director at St Anne’s, explains to Merlin the Magician why it is that modern people cannot overthrow their evil rulers: “They have an engine called the Press by which the people are deceived.”

That goes double when the Press is discussing Catholic matters; triple when it is an English paper; and quadruple when the paper is aligned with that faction calling itself Liberal, Leftist, Progressive, Socialist, Social Justice Warriors, Gnostics, or Morlocks or the Nameless Slaves of the Dark Lord. They change their name once a generation. It is not hard to see why.

I am told that the Telegraph is what the English call a conservative paper, so only assume a triple layer of deception.

Compare this (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/3295124/Vatican-bans-rogue-angels.html):

THE Vatican has banned the veneration of angels who do not appear in the Bible in an attempt to ward off the influence of New Age religious movements and other angel-based cults.

Prayers to disputed celestial beings such as Uriel and Jophiel – viewed by some as the angels of peace and enlightened understanding – were proscribed in a 300-page Directory of Public Piety, published last week by the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship.

The document makes it clear that all veneration and prayer should be directed solely towards Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. The aim of the directory, say its authors, is to distinguish between acts of piety which belong to “true faith” and those which are merely “pseudo-spiritual experiences”.

Chapter six deals with angels, delivering a stinging rebuff to followers of Uriel, Jophiel, Chamuel and Zadkiel, who enjoy a burgeoning reputation in New Age religions but make no appearance in the New or Old Testament.

[…]

The Vatican directory states, in unequivocal language, that “the practice of giving particular names to angels, with the exception of Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, is to be disapproved of. Popular piety towards the angels, which is legitimate and healthy, can nevertheless sometimes lead to deviations”.

[…]The directory reflects unease in Rome about the role of angels in rival and often obscure Christian denominations.

[…]The Vatican also has bad news for those who believe that a guardian angel follows their every move, helping out where possible. Protestants have traditionally rejected the idea of angelic intervention in human lives, but popular Catholic piety has long maintained that guardian angels are available to provide supernatural assistance when needed.

“Deviation [in the veneration of angels] also takes place if the everyday events of life come to be seen in a schematic and simplistic mode,” states the directory, “whereby the smallest setbacks are attributed to malign forces and successes and achievements which have nothing to do with man’s path towards the maturity of Christ are attributed to one’s guardian angel.”

[…]

Compare it with this (http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20020513_vers-direttorio_en.html):

Holy Angels

213. With the clear and sober language of catechesis, the Church teaches that “the existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls ‘angels’ is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition”(280).

Tradition regards the angels as messengers of God, “potent executives of his commands, and ready at the sound of his words” (Ps 103, 20. They serve his salvific plan, and are “sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Hb 1, 14).

[…]

215. The Church, which at its outset was saved and protected by the ministry of Angels, and which constantly experiences their “mysterious and powerful assistance”(281), venerates these heavenly spirits and has recourse to their prompt intercession.

[…]

216. Down through the centuries, the faithful have translated into various devotional exercises the teaching of the faith in relation to the ministry of Angels […]

Popular piety encompasses many forms of devotion to the Guardian Angels. St. Basil Great taught that “each and every member of the faithful has a Guardian Angel to protect, guard and guide them through life”. This ancient teaching was consolidated by biblical and patristic sources and lies behind many forms of piety. St. Bernard of Clarivaux  was a great master and a notable promoter of devotion to the Guardian Angels. For him, they were a proof “that heaven denies us nothing that assists us”, and hence, “these celestial spirits have been placed at our sides to protect us, instruct us and to guide us”.

Devotion to the Holy Angels gives rise to a certain form of the Christian life which is characterized by:

  • devout gratitude to God for having placed these heavenly spirits of great sanctity and dignity at the service of man;

  • an attitude of devotion deriving from the knowledge of living constantly in the presence of the Holy Angels of God;- serenity and confidence in facing difficult situations, since the Lord guides and protects the faithful in the way of justice through the ministry of His Holy Angels.Among the prayers to the Guardian Angels the Angele Dei(294) is especially popular, and is often recited by families at morning and evening prayers, or at the recitation of the Angelus.

217. Popular devotion to the Holy Angels, which is legitimate and good, can, however, also give rise to possible deviations:

  • when, as sometimes can happen, the faithful are taken by the idea that the world is subject to demiurgical struggles, or an incessant battle between good and evil spirits, or Angels and daemons, in which man is left at the mercy of superior forces and over which he is helpless; such cosmologies bear little relation to the true Gospel vision of the struggle to overcome the Devil, which requires moral commitment, a fundamental option for the Gospel, humility and prayer;

  • when the daily events of life, which have nothing or little to do with our progressive maturing on the journey towards Christ are read schematically or simplistically, indeed childishly, so as to ascribe all setbacks to the Devil and all success to the Guardian Angels. The practice of assigning names to the Holy Angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael and Michael whose names are contained in Holy Scripture.

So, trying to count the distortions and outright lies in the Telegraph piece is difficult, but, in round numbers, every line contains a falsehood. What the directory is talking about is Manichean heresies, or popular superstition that says every trivial loss or trouble, such as a flat tire, is caused by a devil, but every benefit caused by an angel, who are evenly matched.

The Vatican has not banned the veneration of angels; the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy enunciated guidelines telling faithful Catholics the practices of inventing up new names for spiritual beings, add “-iel” to the end and calling them angels should be discouraged.

Where the idea comes from that this is an intent to ‘ward off influence of New Age religious movements and other angel-based cults’ is not identified. Perhaps this is a speculation by the writer.

Prayers to disputed celestial beings such as Uriel and Jophiel were not proscribed, and who it is who defines these as “the angels of peace and enlightened understanding” is not named. In common Christian lore, Uriel is the archangel of the sun, which perhaps has a symbolic meaning as enlightened understanding and perhaps not. But it would serve no rhetorical purpose to announce that the Catholic Church discouraged adoration of the archangel in the sun. The sentence serves no purpose except to create the impression that the Catholic Church is opposed to enlightened understanding, or, at least, to innocent New Age hippies worshipping the angel of peace.

Jophiel, in Christian tradition, is the archangel who drove Adam and Eve from Eden, and guards the tree of life with a flaming sword. In religious art, the sword is shown with the tip broken off, to symbolize that the whole of the way back to the tree of life is not guarded, but a narrow passage exists for the faithful Christian. This is not the angel of peace. But, as before, no purpose would be served by saying the Catholic Church discourages prayer to the archangel guarding the Tree of Life. The sentence is to create the impression in the unwary reader that the Catholic Church is opposed to peace, or the innocent New Agers worshipping peace.

Time does not permit that I should wade through this horse manure line by line. If you are adroit at spotting the normal, run-of-the-mill propaganda techniques used to sell commercial products or political indoctrination disguised as news, you need no assistance from me. It should be enough to point out that the paragraph put into quotes consists of two sentence taken from two different parts of the document.

36 Comments

  1. Comment by Zaklog the Great:

    As someone currently between Protestant and Catholic, I’m a bit annoyed with the writer myself. “Protestants have traditionally rejected the idea of angelic intervention in human lives.” I’m a bit confused who he’s been talking to. For one thing, not being united by a single leader, the range of beliefs falling within Christian Protestant is enormous. As far as I can see, many of the more “progressive” churches have become little more than spiritual, feel-good clubs, but I digress.

    Yes, Protestants believe in angels and in angelic intervention. We(?) don’t have everything worked out in the systematic detail Catholics do, but that’s pretty typical. But actually taking the time to develop a nuanced understanding of such a trivial subject as religion is obviously beneath this guy’s time.

    (I start RCIA class later this month. To be perfectly honest, I mostly consider that a chance for them to talk me out of it. I’ve been persuaded. As far as I can see, the only real change they can make is to convince me to reverse course.)

    • Comment by Mary:

      I suspect that those who rejected it found it part and parcel of the intervention of the saints.

      • Comment by Zaklog the Great:

        Probably the main difference I can think of is that most Protestants would not ask angels directly for intervention, instead asking God to aid and protect us by angelic help. But in terms of actual experience, I’m still mostly on one side of the divide, so I can’t really speak for the other.

        • Comment by TimP:

          Yeah, most Protestants I know wouldn’t ask an angel or a saint directly for help, even addressing a pray to the Holy Spirit [as opposed to “God”, “Jesus Christ”, or “Our Father in Heaven”] is unusual.

          Still the idea that Angels don’t intervene in human life would be news to most Protestants.

  2. Comment by Stephen J.:

    It’s all about click-bait and holding eyes. “The Vatican has re-stated its discouragement of particular deviations in angelic veneration” is far less of an attention-grab than “The Vatican has banned the veneration of angels”.

    And to be fair, the effect is not limited to matters Catholic (though I find it quite plausible that it’s at its worst on such topics): in 2002 Michael Crichton coined the term “the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect” to describe the phenomenon by which we easily perceive the media’s utter incompetence at covering areas of our own expertise, yet somehow attribute competence and accuracy to it in those areas where we know little or nothing.

    • Comment by Mary:

      One must always remember that there is selection bias: you can see the problem easiest when you know the facts.

      • Comment by TimP:

        Yeah, I think that’s the joke. :-)

        We can see the problems when the media talks about our own areas of knowledge, but most people have still accepted the various media myths: “layers of editorial oversight”, “impartial”, etc. [Perhaps they where true at some time, or for some producers, but they aren’t true Today for the majority of news sources]

        And yes it does apply all over the place; tvtropes calls this “Cowboy Bebop at His Computer” for example as a result of a hilariously wrong caption on an Anime screenshot. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CowboyBebopAtHisComputer)

  3. Comment by Tom:

    John (or any well informed other readers of this blog), could you help me to understand what exactly “veneration” means to an actual practicing Catholic? How is it different from worship? Are saints venerated? Are they prayed to? I’m also curious about the origins of the beliefs surrounding the Virgin Mary that I’ve heard described a million different ways.

    I ask you instead of searching the Interwebs because the Interwebs now lies more often than it tells the truth. I can’t trust what I don’t hear from an informed trusted source. Plus, you write good books. I like to read them.

    Want to read the first few chapters of my novel I’m trying to write? Its got an angel in there with a name that ends in -iel! I’m actually serious about that.

    • Comment by Zaklog the Great:

      You might find helpful my questions on this (or at least a similar) topic a few months ago. Look at the comments section of this post, near the bottom.

      http://www.scifiwright.com/2013/07/a-universal-apology-point-eleven-on-tradition/

      • Comment by ConceptJunkie:

        That was a wonderful discussion from last July.

        While an online forum is too limited in some ways compared to a class or a group discussion in person, it also provides some really good advantages. For one thing, you can carefully consider and word your questions and answers… sometimes I spend an inordinate amount of time posting online and often end up erasing all or most of what I write… and you can also take the time to do some research so as to try to get your facts straight. I think a well-moderated forum with a patient host and a thoughtful and honest (and humorous) audience would be a welcome supplement.

        • Comment by Zaklog the Great:

          On the other hand, being in a public (if, on an old post like that, low-traffic) forum discussing matters so close to one’s personal identity can probably cause a bit of defensiveness and misreading, as Mr. Wright apparently discerned when he suggested we move our discussion to direct e-mail. He was right, and things proceeded much more straightforwardly there.

          • Comment by ConceptJunkie:

            Absolutely, that’s why I said “supplement”. You should consider yourself lucky that you have that resource available to you. If more people had serious, knowledgeable Catholics to talk to in detail, we would have more converts.

            I know the priests, deacons and bishops and RCIA directors, etc., do their part to work with people personally, but there are only so many of them, and we need dedicated lay people who can also help out. And the sad truth is that most Catholics are not well catechized. Even if you were raised going to CCD and go to Mass every week… it’s just not possible to get what you need in such a limited amount of time.

            It takes some honest effort, but as with all good things, you will get more value out than the effort you put in, especially because there’s Someone Who will make sure of that.

            That’s why it’s a real blessing to have someone like Mr. Wright to take on the responsibility of talking to people like you and answering questions in addition to the “usual” avenues for approaching the Church. I think he would be the first to acknowledge he’s not an authority (few people outside the clergy are), but he does know what he’s talking about, and has the patience and skills to help people learn something about the Faith, and to cut through the lies and misconceptions.

            God bless you, Zaklog.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      Veneration means to hold in great respect. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/veneration); Worship is showing respect to a god, particularly by means of a ritual (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/worship). So in other words, veneration means to honor a person, a created being; worship means to offer divine honors to a god, a divine being.

      The confusion is caused in part by the fact that the Church still uses the words in their original meaning, as do the courts of law. the word ‘prayer’ used by a modern means a petition or praise offered a divine being. In the original, it meant a petition (which is why plaintiffs to this say do not submit motions called ‘Asking for a Jury Trial’ it is called ‘Prayer for a Jury Trial’). Worship originally mean showing respect or granting a deserved honor. When Sir Lancelot goes jousting, according to Mallory, he does it to gain ‘worship’ that is, gain public honor.

      Christians, like the Jews, hold that there is only one divine being, and that is God. Trinitarian Christians, and this includes all mainstream Protestants as well as Greek and Russian Orthodox, hold that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are at one with this divine being: He is one being, even though, in a fashion no human understands, He has three persons within His unity.

      Now, the Ten Commandments and all of Jewish and Christian history are quite explicitly clear that divine honors are to be paid to no one but the One God.

      All Christians up until the Fifteenth Century, that is, once Christianity was ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED YEARS old, did not imagine that this prohibition prevent you from asking your brother, father or mother or best friend from praying for you. Indeed, certain passages in the Bible explicitly ask us to pray for each other.

      Christians also hold that people whose bodies are dead are still alive. You can talk to them in the same way you talk to a living man. You can ask them to pray for you.

      If you were a lame beggar seated near the gate called Beautiful, and you saw Saint Peter and Saint John walking by with your eye, and you asked alms of them, you would not be offering either of them divine honors. If they saw fit to heal you, it would not be by their own power, but by the power of God. Since Peter and John are still alive and still within earshot, you may likewise this day and this hour ask alms of them without offering them divine honors. And if they did something for you for which it is right to give thanks, you can thank and honor them, without offering them divine honors or calling them gods.

      The saints are men famous for sanctity and for their power to do great and mighty works for the Lord, that is, miracles.

      A few odd and heretical thinkers in the Fifteenth Century, Luther and Calvin and their epigones, made up out of whole cloth the idea that asking the Virgin Mary to pray for you, or asking Saint Peter for alms, was the same as offering the Virgin or the saints divine honors.

      From that day to this, Protestants and Muslims have accused us of being polytheists. It is nothing but a slander. More than that, it is an absurdity. There is a heresy called the Collyridians (http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/questions/yq2/yq315.html) who offered divine honors to Mary, that is, they worshiped her as a goddess. They were denounced and anathematized by the Church.

      I have yet to hear any of the slanderers who claim that Catholics worship Mary as a goddess explain why, if we worship her, we also explicitly outlaw worshipping her.

      If Jesus invited you into His home, which He has, and His Mother opened the door for you, you would not shove past her without a word. If you had the courtesy of someone not raised in a barn, you would ask her to escort you into His presence, which is exactly what our prayers say. Mary is important only because Christ is all-important.

      We revere Mary above other great figures in Christian history because she was better than them, born without sin, and assumed alive into heaven like Elijah. There is no Biblical account of her denying Our Lord, like Peter, or persecuting the faithful, like Paul, or committing adultery, like David, or committing idolatry, like Solomon. So our respect for her outstrips our respect for them, immense as it is; and the other saints are not related by blood to Our Lord.

      In the Jewish tradition, the Mother of the King was often the figure one would first approach if one sought mercy from the King. We Catholics are the new Jews, and we keep alive many traditions the Jews abandoned after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.

      Forgive me, but time does not permit me to read your chapters. I have unfinished novels of my own waiting.

      • Comment by Tom:

        Thank you for the in depth response and the other posters for their time and information as well.

        By the way, just finish the Metachronopolis book, and it is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It had a much better, deeper, more complete ending than Awake in the Night Land. Up until the end I would have put Awake ahead of it, but the Emerald Towers were terrific.

        I’ll do more research online and let you get back to finishing the books I want to read. Get to it!

      • Comment by Richard A:

        On an otherwise excellent survey of the topic, a few quibbles for the sake of scrupulous accuracy.

        1) You wrote in the main text, “But it would serve no rhetorical purpose to announce that the Catholic Church discouraged adoration of the archangel in the sun.” I think you meant “worship”. The Catholic Church only “adores” God. She would discourage adoration of the archangel of the sun, or any other non-God being.
        2) When you say, “I have yet to hear any of the slanderers who claim that Catholics worship Mary as a goddess explain why, if we worship her, we also explicitly outlaw worshipping her.” you undermine the definition of “worship” (the definition the Catholic Church uses) you explicated above in your discussion of Sir Lancelot. We outlaw worshipping her as a goddess, which would be adoration. We do worship her as the most exalted of created beings, higher even than the cherubim and seraphim.

        It appears that most combox Catholics, even fairly educated ones, have thrown in the towel on “worship” in its classic meaning of “conveyance of the worth of a person or thing”, that is, “worth-ship”. Rather than patiently explain the nuances of honor, veneration, worship and adoration, we’ve mostly decided to agree with the protestants that we only worship God. As with “gay”, I just hate surrendering a perfectly good word without a fight. Besides, apropos of a more recent post of yours, what do you do when a Jane Austen-based movie has the bride and groom exchange promises that “with my body, I thee worship”? Which both Protestant and Catholic wedding partners did in those days.

        • Comment by Patrick:

          ” Rather than patiently explain the nuances of honor, veneration, worship and adoration, we’ve mostly decided to agree with the protestants that we only worship God.”

          Is this kind of clarification actually necessary outside of a discussion specifically provoked to address these distinctions? I’m not sure that it is.

          Perhaps I’m being disingenuous, as I do suspect that if Catholics were to insist that we ADORE God rather than worship Him, any investigation of that claim made in our churches would invite derision.

          However, I did trouble myself to look this up, and the Latin text and the English Douay does put ‘adore’ where the Protestant versions have translated ‘worship’. Thanks! I hope someone comes along to tell us whether or not this discrepancy is a matter of linguistic necessity in translation to Old English, some theological violence to the text, mistranslation on somebody’s part, or some other reason.

    • Comment by R.Carter:

      I’m not really qualified to answer this, but here goes a basic explanation anyway (and anyone more wise and informed should feel free to offer correction or supplementation):

      To venerate someone is to essentially respect them to the highest degree. This is fundamentally different from worship, though it is often confused as worship. It is the difference between how you see a trusted mentor and how you see God.

      Saints are venerated and they are prayed to. They are venerated because the Church has determined that these individuals are in heaven. This determination has been made through what is usually a slow and meticulous series of tests. There are certainly many people who are in heaven who are not officially labeled as “saints” by the Church, and there are many more in Purgatory preparing to be ushered into heaven. This situation is understood and accepted. Catholics pray to saints in the same way that you might ask your trusted mentor to pray for you. That is, you want a good and Godly person praying to the Lord of Creation for your sake. The difference between your trusted mentor and a saint is that the saint is in heaven. They are literally standing next to God! In addition to the proximity of saints to God many saints are also associated with specific aspects of this world either because of how they lived their lives or in special cases because of things they said before they died (St. Therese of Lisieux).

      Mary is similar to the saints, but she also stands apart from them. Catholic belief attributes to Mary the Immaculate Conception. That is, Mary was born without Original Sin through the sacrifice of Jesus. Catholics believe that through the Grace of God Mary lived her life entirely without sin, making her a perfect example of what all men should aspire to. Mary is also the Mother of God. Mary also has the power of intercession which is revealed in the Wedding at Cana. It was at Mary’s request that Christ performed his first public miracle. Furthermore, Catholics claim that visions of Mary have revealed themselves to people throughout the centuries, offering new forms of devotion (i.e. the Rosary), prophesies of future events, or more personal calls (i.e. Mr. Wright’s own experience). Mary is venerated just like the other saints, but her position as Queen of the Universe and her powerful intercession make devotion to Mary its own special subject. It is important to remember that within Catholic belief Mary always points to her son, Jesus Christ.

      Oh, and Catholics also believe that Mary was assumed into heaven.

      I hope some of that helped.

      Edit: I clicked “Post” only to discover that Mr. Wright had already responded, and in much greater depth and detail. Lol.

    • Comment by sator:

      Long story short, if i might: generally
      Worship is asking this or that entity (wich is supposed to be indipendently powerfull enought to warrant worship) to either accept your repentance for a sinfull/unclean act or do something to help you.
      Veneration in the context of catholicism in particular is to ask someone,that is supposed to be able to hear you, to Worship (as by previous definition) God so that HE might forgive, help or accept you. In the second case the Angel or Saint or Mary isn’t presumed to have any power to help you indipendently from God, just the capacity to express your Prayer to the Lord in a better and more honest way than you.
      The second case isn’t substantially different from asking your Prayer group to Pray for you, except to a catholic the “Prayer group” includes the whole communion of the saints and Mary. They’re even presumed to be able to hear you by Grace of God and not by indipendent act. The fact that respect and love are due to them for their Santly nature and that they can intercede on your behalf to the Allmighty doesn’t make them worthy of indipendent Worship and the Church historically persecuted those that tought they were.

      TLDR:
      “Gea allmighty accept our sacrifice and grant us good harvests”= Worship of Gea, a false Idol.
      “Holy Mary Pray for us now and in the time of our deaths”=Veneration, paying Respect to the Mother of God and asking for her to Pray for you.
      If you were a pagan, you wouldn’t ask Gea to Pray Zeus on your behalf so that he might give you good harvests, would you?
      Edit:ninjaed!

  4. Comment by simplemind:

    ” . . .inventing up new names for spiritual beings, add “-iel” to the end and calling them angels should be discouraged.”

    Soooo, your tellin’ me the Browns didn’t draft an Angel? Johnny Manz”iel”? That tears it, I’m converting to soccer.

  5. Comment by Tom Simon:

    This reminds me of some wise words of Tolkien’s, written to his son Christopher:

    Remember your guardian angel. Not a plump lady with swan-wings! But – at least this is my notion and feeling – : as souls with free-will we are, as it were, so placed as to face (or to be able to face) God. But God is (so to speak) also behind us, supporting, nourishing us (as being creatures). The bright point of power where that life-line, that spiritual umbilical cord touches: there is our Angel, facing two ways to God behind us in the direction we cannot see, and to us. But of course do not grow weary of facing God, in your free right and strength (both provided ‘from behind’ as I say).

    (Letters no. 54)

    A little later, in another letter to Christopher, he described a ‘vision or apperception’ he had had in church:

    I perceived or thought of the Light of God and in it suspended one small mote (or millions of motes to only one of which was my small mind directed), glittering white because of the individual ray from the Light which both held and lit it. (Not that there were individual rays issuing from the Light, but the mere existence of the mote and its position in relation to the Light was itself a line, and the line was Light). And the ray was the Guardian Angel of the mote: not a thing interposed between God and the creature, but God’s very attention itself, personalized. And I do not mean ‘personified’, by a mere figure of speech according to the tendencies of human language, but a real (finite) person.… As the love of the Father and Son (who are infinite and equal) is a Person, so the love and attention of the Light to the Mote is a person (that is both with us and in Heaven): finite but divine: i.e. angelic.

    (Letters no. 89)

  6. Comment by markwark:

    John, a quibble. You suggest the quoted piece is from a “paper [that] is aligned with that faction calling itself Liberal, Leftist, Progressive, Socialist, Social Justice Warriors, Gnostics, or Morlocks or the Nameless Slaves of the Dark Lord,” and later call it a “Guardian piece,” but the link actually goes to the Telegraph, which is aligned with the Conservative party. Not to say that the Conservatives are much friendlier to Catholics…

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      The Telegraph is conservative? Well, butter my bald spot and call me a biscuit!

      • Comment by markwark:

        Well, Wikipedia says so, so I believe it!

      • Comment by ConceptJunkie:

        You have to remember that European “conservative” is not what Americans would consider “conservative”. The whole axis is shifted significantly to the left.

        • Comment by Zaklog the Great:

          As I understand it by way of Sarah Hoyt & a few others, there really is nothing comparable to American conservatism in the rest of the world. This is why when things go badly for them leftists say they’ll leave for another country and when things go badly for us, conservatives say we’ll secede. There’s no place else left for us to go.

      • Comment by Legatuss:

        The Telegraph was conservative. It used to be a reliable news source where one could find news that other sources would not even mention. Then, some years ago, it changed, adapted the usual censorship, with the usual editors (censors) and slanted reporting, the works. It is to the right of Karl Marx, but not very far to the right, so, according to modern logic, that makes it conservative.

        • Comment by Sean Michael:

          More and more, I think real conservatives in Great Britain are to be found mostly among the supporters of UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party). UKIP is best known for advocating that the UK should leave the so called European Union.

          I’ve read Edmund Burke and Winston Churchill as well. They were both far more to what we call the Right today than are too many “conservatives” in Britain today.

          Sean M. Brooks

  7. Comment by Rainforest Giant:

    The Telegraph has bravely not allowed comments on the story. I guess that would minimize any chance of corrections.

    • Comment by luckymarty:

      Well, the story *is* twelve years old at this point.

      • Comment by Rainforest Giant:

        It still has zero comments showing perhaps they purged the ones they received when they first posted it?

        And that gave them twelve years to ask the Vatican for a comment/correction and they could have posted that. So they have let their lies and/or ignorance stand for twelve years. I think that makes it worse not better.

  8. Comment by Malcolm Smith:

    As someone whose degrees were in science, I have always been aware that journalists almost always miss the point when reporting on scientific issues. Therefore, it does not surprise me that one reporting on a 300 page directory of public piety is likely to get it wrong, no matter how sympathetic the journalist may be.
    Nevertheless, the discussion does highlight two difficulties which the Church has to address if it does not want its followers to descend into superstition.
    (1) Although a theologian may make a clear distinction between venerating and worshiping the saints, the distinction often tends to become blurred in popular piety, and so continually needs to be restated. One simple way of getting around the problem is to point out that there is nothing wrong with petitioning God directly, that prayers to the saints are not mentioned in the Bible, and it is hard to find a reference to them in the sub-apostolic literature, and that the saints, glorified though they may be, are still human, and thus limited. We have no way of knowing whether (for example) St Peter or the Virgin Mary can actually hear all the prayers addressed to them, let alone pass them on.
    (2) There is definitely a New Age “cult” of the angels. I have seen many books about them in the stores. As far as I can tell, this is just another way of keeping God at arm’s length. People are torn between their normal religious instincts and their desire to live life as they want to. One solution is to get a nice warm feeling about benevolent spirits out there whose job is to watch over them, but who will not make any unwanted demands on their time or effort. It is an attitude which should be discouraged.

    • Comment by Patrick:

      “Although a theologian may make a clear distinction between venerating and worshiping the saints, the distinction often tends to become blurred in popular piety, and so continually needs to be restated.”

      I’ve never met – or even heard of – a pious Catholic blurring these distinctions. I’ve never heard of a priest or a deacon screwing this up. Even impious Catholics don’t get veneration of the saints wrong.

      The only people who bungle this doctrine are people from other religions (Santeria, New Age trash) who appropriate the names of our saints in their cults, and bigots from other religions who revile our worship under any pretext whatsoever, and are only too pleased to tell us that we don’t even know the difference between worship of God and the worship of our dead ancestors in the faith.

      In either case, the popular piety of Catholics has no resemblance to the apparently immortal accusation of misplaced worship. The detraction is an automated response to our existence, and needs no attention from us.

      • Comment by sator:

        “I’ve never met – or even heard of – a pious Catholic blurring these distinctions. I’ve never heard of a priest or a deacon screwing this up. Even impious Catholics don’t get veneration of the saints wrong.”

        And even if someone did it’s of no object for the many that don’t: When we “sign up” for catholicism we sign up for the real deal. If someone gets it confused afterward it’s nobody business but his own and his confessor’s.

  9. Comment by sator:

    Might Francis of Sales Pray for the press so that it might transform from a den of corruption to an instrument, willing or reluctant, of God’s Grace in the world. Might he Also Pray for each and every righteous journalist that works in the service of Truth, Goodness and civilization; so that they might know that they’re not alone and that their uncompromising honesty is not a burden but a Gift to be used for the benefit of every sinner on the face of the earth. Amen.

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