Dom Jean Pateau
I have a friend who entered a monastery a few years ago, whose prior told him in so many words, "We don't do pro-life here - were contemplative." Not that my friend was a pro-life activist or anything like that, but the prior was probably just trying to explain 'the life' to my friend. Nevertheless, the impression was made - the issue was pretty much a secular concern, and not a focus for monastic life. Kinda-sorta. At least that's how I perceived it when my friend told me. I thought it an odd distinction to make, especially since the monastic community got a lot of press in business journals and newspapers - for being so hip, business savvy and everything the world admires. That particular monastery is now closed.
I mention this because the killing of children in or out of a mother's womb is not just a political concern - or an activist's job - it is a humanitarian issue which needs to concern all of us. Which is why I was very happy to discover the homily delivered by the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau, Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault for the Solemnity of the Assumption, posted by New Catholic at Rorate Caeli blog. I know! Rorate Caeli! Seriously, there is nothing wrong with that blog - every blogger online has written things that offend or upset other bloggers. Nothing is wrong with Rorate, or Fontgombault. Nothing is wrong with being Catholic.
That said. I'll reprint a couple of very important statements from the Abbot's homily.
Love of God unto death inconveniences those who only know love of themselves. - Dom Jean Pateau
Fontgombault Sermon and Address for the Assumption
The third World War, that the Holy Father mentioned several times, has many battlefields… Those very visible in the East… those less visible in the West. Still, the reasons for the battle are everywhere the same: refusal of God our Maker, refusal of Christ and His love message. The opposing forces make up two sides: God’s side, and Satan’s side. Satan is the destroyer of creation, he is par excellence he who divides, he is the apologist of individualism, of a quest for pleasure that despises the weak and the little, he is the instigator of the most vile and barren instincts in the hearts of men and in laws. His aim is to defile creation, to incite men to squander their dignity of children and friends of God, so as to acquire another kind of “dignity”, far more elating, the dignity for mankind to define itself, to legitimate any kind of behaviour, especially if it is out of keeping with nature and its laws.
Satan has been at work for a long time. The light of God and the enlightenment of freethinking have often clashed together in the hearts of men. Yet, our times witness a paradox. How can a society that commits itself to promoting an ecology of nature, deliberately ignore the fight for an ecology of man? True enough, once reason had been set free it became destructive, and its first aim was to assault nature; more recently, it has turned on man.
Baby seals are protected, while human babies are jettisoned… We commit ourselves to preserving clean air, while we omit to fight images and media texts that promote violence and debase human bodies to the status of slaves. We rhapsodise about peace in the world, while we bring war into mothers’ wombs by abortion. We claim for brotherhood in various countries, while we deny children the imprescriptible right to know their biological parents and to live with them. What shall we answer when the little ones and the weak make themselves our accusers? How long shall we have to wait, how many corpses, before the world takes pains to promote a true ecology, understood as a quest for the good of all? - Fotgombault Sermon - Rorate Caeli
The real ecclesiastical periphery ...
I think we can no longer dismiss traditional Catholics who hold fast to Catholic teaching and who are unafraid to proclaim it. I want share something Bishop Athanasius Schneider had to say regarding the faithful who adhere to the Traditional Liturgy:
I would like to say to these priests, seminarians, young people and families: “It is an honor and a privilege to be faithful to the Divine truth and to the spiritual and liturgical traditions of our forefathers and of the saints and being therefore marginalized by those who currently occupy administrative power in the Church. This your fidelity and courage constitute the real power in the Church. You are the real ecclesiastical periphery, which with God’s power renews the Church. Living the true tradition of dogma, liturgy and holiness is a manifestation of the democracy of the Saints, because tradition is the democracy of the Saints. With Saint Athanasius I would like to tell you these words: Those in the Church who oppose, humiliate and marginalize you, have occupied the churches, while during this time you are outside; it is a fact that they have the premises – but you have the Apostolic Faith. They claim that they represent the Church, but in reality, they are the ones who are expelling themselves from it and going astray (cf. Letter to his flock)”. - Interview: Mons. Athanasius Schneider