Sunday, February 05, 2017

Old Timey Catholic Muscle

Have you heard that the Auxiliary Bishop of Newark was assaulted and punched in the face while celebrating Mass in his cathedral last week? If you missed this it is not surprising - the media was dominated that week by Trump news and this really fell though the cracks. Apparently Bishop Manuel A. Cruz of Newark was celebrating some sort of commemorative Mass when, according to the report:

"...a man wearing a white robe over a red suit shambled up to the altar from the crowd, reached Bishop Cruz and struck the 63-year-old in the face, knocking him backwards until he fell on the altar...several Essex County's Sheriff's police officers [who were present] ran onto the altar and handcuffed the man. One officer at the scene who saw Cruz after he was struck commented to another officer that several of the bishop's teeth had been loosened in the attack."

The incident is documented here at TAP into Newark, a local news outlet who actually had reporters present at the attack.

It sounds like the attackers was probably mentally deranged or something. But what really struck me about the story was this little detail from the above mentioned article:

"Inside the cathedral immediately after the attack, the shock of the assault stunned the crowd. Many in the pews ducked when Cruz was first struck, not knowing what further to expect from the assailant. Others among the approximately 75 people assembled stood and screamed."
I understand not knowing whether the assailant had a gun. But the statement that many of the people "stood and screamed" seemed indicative of the weakness of contemporary Catholicism in the face of aggressive anti-Catholic violence. Gray-haired parishioners standing and screaming helplessly as the successor of the Apostles is pummeled. The modern Church wringing their hands helplessly as radical Islam continues its anti-western jihad unabated. The Christian west everywhere standing and doing nothing as civilization is dismantled. It is a very apt and powerful symbol.

There was a day when the very approach of a threatening stranger to the altar would have been greeted with a rush of angry Catholics eager to defend the bishop. To lay hands on the bishop himself or any sacred item in the Church would have been to risk one's life. Three hundred years ago, if this would have happened, the bishop would have had to forcibly restrain his flock from lynching the assailant from the nearest tree.

Catholics used to take physical attacks on their faith very seriously. In 1099, the event that finally gave the Crusading army the impetus to storm Jerusalem was the rage caused by seeing the Muslim defenders of the city desecrating crosses upon its walls. This insult was too much for the Franco-Norman army to endure, and their subsequent berserker assault upon the walls led to its downdall.

In 1131, the iconoclastic heretic Peter of Bruis was burning crosses in a gigantic bonfire near St. Gilles in France. At the site of the Lord's cross being profaned, the locals were so incensed that they picked up Peter and tossed him into his own bonfire. And that was the end of that.

In 1844, when anti-Catholic "Know Nothings" went on a riot in New York City and threatened to burn down the city's Catholic Churches, Archbishop John Hughes hastily assembled a mob of rugged Irish-Catholic laymen armed with bats, chains, and all sorts of maiming instruments and had them stand shoulder to shoulder around St. Patrick Cathedral (these are the sorts of fellows that we would say "had balls" in modern parlance). Then he threatened the Mayor of New York that if one single Catholic Church was burned he would turn the city into another Moscow - a reference to how the Russians burned Moscow rather than let it fall into the hands of Napoleon's army.

I know Cardinal John O'Connor of New York was not always the best exemplar of a traditional Catholic bishop, but I will never forget his bold stand against the homosexual lobby when the latter insisted on representation at the St. Patrick's Day parade; what a contrast to Cardinal Dolan's jovial collaboration with the gay lobby and Bishop Barron's sad acquiescence to the new norm.

Old timey Catholicism was not afraid to flex its muscles when threatened with blatant thuggery.  Vandalizing a church or punching a cleric was likely to get you whacked in the skull with a board or taken out behind the church and roughed up by a group of half-sober Irishmen with big faith and bigger fists. But now white-haired Q-tips stand in place and scream.

I am not saying the people who witnessed the attack are blameworthy; in the moment of confusion, you don't know if the assailant has a gun or what. Good thing he didn't though, because this congregation would have been useless. But I do think this scene of parishioners standing there helplessly yelling while the successor of the Apostles is assaulted at the altar is an apt symbol for the current impotence of the west.

16 comments: said...

Please scroll to the photo bearing the caption

"Card. John O'Connor posing with Freemasons wearing their ritual aprons."

We've been lied to for a long, long time.

Boniface said...

^Hence the disclaimer "I know O'Connor is not the best exemplar of a traditional Catholic bishop."

Karl said...

I think you've on the rose-tinted spectacles half-way again, Boniface. Even in Brazil or whatever country that was, where a Church was to be assaulted by a feminist mob, men were there to stop them. They didn't use violence, but let us hope that they would've if things worsened.

What you wanted to happen, happened: A man assaulted the bishop and men of the parish stopped him. Do you think they were all policemen because the article says so? I doubt it. And of course there were "people who stood and screamed in the pews": They're called women!, in traditional parlance. What more?

But I have often wondered how I should react if something blasphemous happened before me. What if someone desecrated a Bible? I hate most Bibles. They've awful, disingenuous translations. What if someone desecrated a crucifix? Most of them are ugly and insult the faith. It probably isn't blessed anyway. But, should I attack and make a fool out of myself for all the world and ensure that many other will follow the iconoclasts example for fun and on principle - to defend freedom of speech and what have you - or play it cool and disregard it as childish outbursts toward a father that is not me?

Boniface said...

Yeah they could've been women for sure.

It is irrelevant to if the crucifix is ugly or what. I would think if someone attacked an article of faith in the house of God itself people would respond with visceral aggression.

Boniface said...

Let me put it this way - our parish priest once told us that if someone ever came into the parish and behaved violently, he wanted all the men in the parish to swarm the guy and punch him and stomp on his head until he was absolutely totally incapacitated. That's what should have happened to this guy who punched the bishop, and it should have been the natural impulse of the congregation.

c matt said...

AS to free speech - no, there is no free speech on private property. So if someone wanted to desecrate a sacred object in the Church, he has no right to do so under a guise of free speech. Also, free speech is a restriction on government action, not private action - a cop can't arrest you on a public corner for blaspheming, but a private citizen could punch you in the nose. That may be assault, but it is not a violation of "free speech."

Again, hard to fault the laity too much, for all they knew, the guy walking up the aisle was part of some NO ritual, and by the time he punched the priest, too late to do anything to prevent it. Looks like some reacted (apparently, those with some training for such situations), but I imagine there was a lot of confusion.

Kathleen1031 said...

I get your frustration, totally, it's just that we keep getting whacked and there's no pushback. Ever. It takes a toll.
I'm middle-aged, female, and sometimes I've wondered what I would do in similar circumstances. In this case I bet the people just assumed he was there for some purpose, with the robe and all, and it surely happened fast, but at any NO Mass, it's mostly middle-aged women, or elderly people, because our church is in serious decline and is super feminized. Just the way they want it. Of course, men aren't what they used to be, have you observed today's young men or boys? Many of them utterly incapable of doing anything, much less act like a man. They've had the man beat out of them by public school teachers who are horrified if two boys try to wrestle on the playground. Can't do it anymore! Tag is the last game left with any physical contact.
So we can expect men to get more and more helpless, just as our nation is filling up with savages. What could go wrong!
Yes, I miss the days when men were men and women were women. I hate to be a downer, but our culture is idiotic.

Karl said...

Boniface & Matt,

my example was meant to go beyond the confines of a Church. Almost every time when the virgin birth is made fun off on the Internet, it is not that Our Lady and Joseph may have engaged in the marital act to conceive Christ, but that she was a whore. What if that happened at a bar with a friend of a friend instead of an anonymous stranger? How do you think I am to react? I believe I would have had a hard time reacting with violence or even anger as I have reacting with horror toward abortion, or with disgust toward certain omnipresent sins.

In your average age, outbursts as that of Pope Francis would lead to shock and consternation. How have you declared to act, Boniface, as seems the only wise choice? To ignore it, to let it pass and look on other things.

Boniface said...

Well...okay but I'm only talking about an assault inside the church.

Anonymous said...

Well, next time I go to mass, I'm packin. Just sayin.

Ahnold s

Anonymous said...

The unfortunate fact is that, as a whole, we faithful Catholics want to punch a bishop (or at least want to make IT ALL Stop). It is sacrilege, so we don't do it. And the rot goes on...

I am not saying that this bishop deserves it, but many actually do. And we put up with it.

So this stuff happens. And it will get worse(whatever you think of my opinions). An army needs leaders. If the shepherd is struck (or minces off to some cabaret) the sheep scatter.

Then where are they? Where are their brothers?

I'd much rather smite enemies of the faith...but when we find them in the bosom of the Church? All I can say that discretion is a virtue that is frowned upon these what now?

How did he lead his flock before he got his sock in the kisser? How is Cardinal Dolan doing? What new videos has Bishop Barron been putting out lately? And how have such men "formed" the conscience of their people lately?

Taking the Lord's name in vain?
The reality of Hell?
The universal validity of the 10 Commandments?
Anything from a good Catechism...?

This is all beyond me.

But I can see where many bishops could reap good fruit by a pummeling or two. Reality is gonna come through one way or another. Better the laity grow some balls before the hierarchy are tossed to the actual wolves...

Boniface said...


James Joseph said...

The Chaldeans that borrow the church I used to attend have a ritual, I've seen a couple of times, where man pretends to be a non-Christian, and approaches the sanctuary. The altar servers come down body check the guy ass over tea-kettle. This happens like three times in a row. It's quite violent and dramatic. It clearly hurts. After the last time -- the actor gives up and converts realizing how stupid he was to take on the true religion.

Karl said...

Huh, I see others were not as interested as me in what to do if confronted socially and especially rudely so. I think it's a good thing to prepare for and often wonder what the right thing to do would be.

c matt said...

That is a fair question Karl. I don't know - a lot depends on the specific situation - how well you know the offender, in particular. A stranger at a bar, suppose you could make a simple statement that you find the conduct offensive and leave it at that. A private party with an invited guest you don't really know, probably the same, maybe approach the host/hostess and see if they can approach the offender. Someone you know pretty well - I would let them know exactly how I feel about it, and probably a more "warning" type of tone. I really don't see a need to get violent about it unless in a self-defense situation. Of course, having Latin blood (and depending on my blood-alcohol level), the passions may get the better of me.

Anonymous said...

Ever think God is trying to give the Novus Ordo a message by the presbyter being knocked to the ground?
I agree with your sentiment that this scenario is a overall view of Western Christianity in general.
Good post not many people have covered this story nor taken your point of view.