Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Last stone, turned

I read the book by Brian Moore (it's pronounced "Bree-an," but only because he's Irish, and therefore difficult) some years ago while living with John Muggs, and his lordship recommended the film.

Just today, a friend sent this along

With an exceedingly young Martin Sheen.

Perhaps the most deliberately depressing examination of the effects of the Asteroid anyone has ever bothered to make. Moore already knew in the early 70s what it was going to take me another few decades to figure out.

When I was in Gardone, a friend of mine had rented a motorino and took me on a little ride up into the hills where we found whole little villages and hamlets left over from the Middle Ages tucked away in the shadow of the Italian Alps. Lots of beautiful little stone churches and wayside shrines on the tiny country back lanes. It seemed the remotest place in the world, with the incredible vista of Lake Garda spread out below.

But any look longer than a momentary glance brought the fantasy down. Every single one of those glorious little churches, all tucked away and hidden from the world as they were, had been savagely Novusordoed. All of them had the altar rails ripped out, the altars replaced with the standard wooden ironing boards, and the old statues removed from their niches. The wayside shrines were being updated, which meant that the popular statues of Our Lady and the Crucifixes had been replaced with meaningless blobs, impersonal, modern, faceless and hideous. The Churchwreckers really have left absolutely no stone unturned.

Brian Moore's story, in case you weren't around then, was about the last place on earth where the Old Faith was kept alive. A monastery on a rock off the coast of Ireland, headed by an old Abbot who, unlike Monsignore Lefebvre, decided in the end to throw in the towel. At the end of the book, the monks are removed from their monastery and the people are forced to conform when the last priests willing to give them the Sacraments are taken away.

There really shouldn't be anyone left who thinks that the War of the Real is just a matter of semantics.

It's a funny thing that there weren't more movies, TV shows or documentaries made about the drastic and very observable changes in the Catholic Church in the period immediately following the Council. It was certainly widely commented upon at the time in the press. I'm constantly amazed at how many non-Catholics of my acquaintance who still believe that the Catholic Church is some kind of monolithic, medieval institution with everyone marching in formation like the Swiss Guards.

I shocked an old friend when he said something like, "Well, you people have got the Jesuits to keep you in line..." when I burst out laughing and told him that the Jesuits are the ones leading the campaign against the Pope. He didn't believe me until I showed him some stuff on the internet.

Seriously Hollywood, what's up with that? Y'all are missing out.



Anonymous said...


Moore knew earlier than "the early 80's." He published his book in 1972, and the movie came out in 1973.

The Novus Ordo was only wet behind its pointy little ears, and it was already obvious what it would grow into.

~ Jon

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Yeah, there were a lot of people who knew right away. But they all got ignored.

Anonymous said...

In Okinawa they make bbq after Mass. They eat it in the back pews. When they do not have enough place in front of the church. Imagine that!

df said...

It's an odd film (haven't read the book); the ending leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Yes, it's horrifying, really. The idea that the authorities in the Church would, effectively, order Catholics to give up the Faith is a horror. Unthinkable, really.

But I understand that people were actually afraid that the Church would go that way.

Anonymous said...

Well, but doesn't the book end with the protector of Tradition actually having no faith at all? Isn't that the big reveal?

Lorraine in Atlanta

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

The abbot, you mean? Yeah. THat was the problem wasn't it? By the time the collapse came, a great many people had had their faith eroded away to next to nothing. They should have been the ones defending, but they let it all go.