Editor’s Note: This personal remembrance of a great man is something I wrote 10 years ago, days after the death of my friend, Michael Davies, on September 25, 2004. We’re posting it here, unedited from how it first appeared, so obviously some of the dates and chronology mentioned herein are dated by one decade. Younger readers may wonder about the title of this article. For over 30 years Michael Davies wrote a bi-weekly column for The Remnant called, simply, “A Letter from London.” May he rest in peace. MJM
Thirty-three years ago this past June, Michael Davies submitted his first article for publication in these columns. I was five years old at the time. I don’t remember when he wasn’t a vital part of The Remnant family.
For well over three decades his “Letter from London” came in month after month and year after year, keeping thousands of post-Vatican II Catholics informed and encouraged during three of the most turbulent decades in the history of the Church.
American Diocesan Priest Interviewed on Effects of TLM, Summorum Pontificum
It would seem quite fitting for the Third Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage to Rome to field three senior Cardinals as main celebrants of the three extraordinary rite pontificals scheduled for late October: H.E. George Pell in the traditional parish church of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini on Friday, October 24th; H.E. Raymond L. Burke on Saturday, October 25th in St. Peter’s Basilica; and H.E. Walter Brandmüller on Sunday, October 26th, in the Benedictine community in Norcia on the feast of Christ the King, October’s last Sunday in the Tridentine calendar.
The unprecedented development on the occasion of this third traditional pilgrimage is the fact that the religious services will be ushered in H.E. George Cardinal Pell, generally regarded as the highest-ranking prelate in the Vatican after his appointment in February 2014 as the first Cardinal-Prefect of the newly created Secretariat for the Economy to oversee the Vatican finances. But the former archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney is also known for his sensitivity in favour of the traditional liturgy, which he himself celebrates from time to time.
The other day, while the rest of the Catholic world was reeling at the abrupt dismissal of Cardinal Burke from his curial office, Elizabeth Scalia, Queen of the Rose Tinted Patheos Bubble, in an apparent attempt at the gold for team Pollyanna, has given us an excellent and admittedly very attractive version of events.
I so much enjoyed the happy picture woven of Cardinal Burke moving to Malta to work hand in hand with the knights to ... uh ... better Catholic health care... or something.
Let have her own words:
The Modernist Quest to “Save” the Church
(Read Part I here & Part II here)
“To the modernist there was but one remedy—the old faith must be remodeled. Catholicity must be reconstructed on a new basis… Indeed, adaptationists would seem to be the proper term to apply to them in this view of their work; for all their efforts would seem to lie in the direction of an adaptation of the Church's organism, its machinery, its discipline, its supernatural influences and effects to modern conditions as they regard them. They would apply its supernatural powers naturally. They would retain all the light and heat of the sun with all its marvelous effects, while discarding the sun itself.”
- Rev. Simon FitzSimons -
But there was more even than the work of exemplifying the workings of a great natural principle in this skillful manipulation. There was the task of saving the Church. For the first time in her history - in the opinion of the modernist - the indestructible Church stood in actual danger of total destruction, and the modernist alone seemed to comprehend the danger. These men, wiser than their generation, with a keenness of perception greater than that of their fellow-men, realized the awful peril of the situation. They beheld - or seemed to behold - science (modem science), with all its inventions, discoveries, incontrovertible facts and marvels of every kind, to say nothing whatever of its numberless hypotheses and theories, rushing with irresistible force against the Catholic Church.
So, this week, the pope married a bunch of people who were already living together and had children in the union. That’s the news.
Oh, wait, no. That’s been done before (*cough* JayPeetooweluvyou! *cough*). What’s news is that it’s news. Suddenly, the newspapers are FULL of the headline that, in a “first for his papacy” Francis chose (the implication is that he chose knowingly) to regularize the union of couples who had already been publicly living in unlawful unions, in a state of mortal sin.
In the usual fashion, no mention is made by anyone, whether the MSM’s “religion reporters” or anyone else (Fr. Lombardi, call your office) whether the canonical requirements were met. We are left to speculate, to wonder, whether the couples had repented of their sinful life, agreed to separate, receive the Sacrament of Confession, and gone to their weddings morally in the right with God, the Church and their fellow Catholics. It's glazed over with carefully constructed omissions, backed up by the dogged silence of the Sala Stampa.
Neo-Catholicism Refuted in 1881!
Unfortunately for the Neo-Catholics, evidence once again shows that the positions of the so-called “radical traditionalists” are nothing more than the perennial teachings of the Catholic Church. In an 1881 article published in The Month and Catholic Review, the Rev. Michael Gavin responded to a lengthy attack on papal infallibility launched by a Protestant named Dr. Littledale. As it turns out, Dr. Littledale was as well informed on papal infallibility as most modern Neo-Catholic apologists. Fr. Gavin goes about setting the poor Dr. Littledale straight on several points, some of which could also serve as a lesson to our Neo-Catholic friends. I’ll now list a few Neo-Catholic whoppers, with quoted rebuttals from Fr. Gavin.
Bishop David Zubik is a good man, reportedly one of the better bishops in the country in fact. He has been an outspoken opponent of homosexual “marriage”; he has prayed the rosary in front of abortion clinics; he’s even gone on the record opposing Common Core.
Because he’s a good man we’re confident he must be concerned when members of the Catholic faithful become confused and scandalized by something his chancery office has done.
A bit of background: Last week we reported that Bishop Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburgh encouraged the Catholic faithful of Pittsburgh to join him in joining hands with Billy Graham's son, Franklin, for the recent 3-day praise and song festival in Pittsburgh—the Three Rivers Festival of Hope at which “altar calls” and “forgiveness of sins” by Protestant ministers were reportedly part of the program.
(Read Part I here)
The Absurdity of Modernism
“We are asked to cast aside the whole Christian teaching and to overturn the whole Christian fabric simply, it appears, because there are men who want to be in the forefront of a shouting, braying, shallow age. Thus for the first time in the Church's history do we find men calling themselves Catholics who have undertaken to blot out the name of Jesus Christ as the Son of God in the true meaning of the term, who mingle blasphemy, heresy and piety in equal proportions, and who would take away the sign of man's salvation and redemption; for if Christ be not God, as they would persuade us, what meaning can be attached to His life or to His Cross?” Rev. Simon FitzSimons
While here in the United States we are startled by the virulence of the errors and amazed at the sweeping infidelity and even pantheism of the doctrines as exposed by the Holy See, it appears that the matter is not wholly new in Europe. Neither does it seem to be a passing aberration of misguided enthusiasts. The error seems to be deeply seated and deeply rooted. It comes as an unpleasant surprise to us in this Western Continent, to find that there should be any class, or school, or number of men within the bosom of the Church, whether associated together by definite ties or not, who entertain views of Christianity utterly subversive of all Christian belief and order.
Will the Synod on the Family Endorse Consecutive Polygamy?
Introduction by Chris Jackson
As the Synod on the Family grows nearer, I want us to understand exactly what the stakes are for our Church and our society. What follows are excerpts from an article entitled “The Catholic Doctrine on Marriage” by the Rev. Henry A. Bran. Amazingly, this article first appeared in the American Catholic Quarterly Review in July of 1883. This is indeed noteworthy because Rev. Brand absolutely nails the cause of our ever increasing moral decay as a nation: the poisonous Protestant teaching on divorce and remarriage; a teaching which is supported almost completely by many prelates such as Cardinal Kasper who are to attend the Synod. Here, Rev. Bran demonstrates how this pernicious erroneous understanding of marriage has consistently unleashed unprecedented levels of destruction upon society. And yet this is the very error some Catholic prelates want to foist upon the Church. Over 130 years later, Rev. Brand’s words stand as a direct rebuke to those who would dare sully the pristine Catholic teaching on this subject. I now present to you, the Rev. Henry A. Bran. ..CJ
"Any attempt to make the ‘Church learning’ (discens) and the ‘Church teaching’ (docens) collaborate in such a way that it only remains for the Church docens to sanction the opinions of the Church discens is categorically reprobated and condemned." …Pope St. Pius X
Near the end of his pontificate Pope John Paul II famously decried the massive “silent apostasy on the part of people who live as if God does not exist." It was one of the late Pontiff’s more prescient observations, coupled as it was with poignant warnings against what he called "widespread and growing religious agnosticism" and the "profound moral and legal relativism" of the "culture of death". But apostasy does not exist in a vacuum. People, not things, are apostates. More specifically, Catholics are apostates for only they can renounce the Catholic Faith. Only they can abandon the Catholic religion and thus become, by definition, apostates. John Paul was thus lamenting the horrific reality that millions of Catholics have become apostates.
In honor of the 100th anniversary of St. Pius X’s death, I would like to make widely available the following article. It was written by Rev. Simon FitzSimons and published in The American Catholic Quarterly Review in 1908. Over a century later, Rev. FitzSimons’ brilliant insight into the driving forces behind this heresy as well as its remedy are needed more than ever. Writing shortly after Pascendi was published Rev. FitzSimons is able to give us a unique “fly on the wall” perspective of a Catholic living at that time. In this first installment, Rev. FitzSimons gives us a fascinating summary and analysis of public reaction to St. Pius X’s encyclical just months after it made its debut. Without further ado, I give you the Rev. Simon FitzSimons…Chris Jackson
The Reaction to Pascendi
“They had looked for a new religion which would be a sort of eclectic association of religion, science and socialism. Their new form of religion would be a sort of potpourri of modern science, advanced Protestantism and emancipated Catholicism, where the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man would be the chief corner-stone, where each man would be his own moral law and where the chief architectonic features would be a Saviourless Christianity, a Godless Christ and an unknowable God."