The Bourgeois Religion of Fr Joe Borg

Blogpost by Fr. David Muscat

On the morning of Tuesday 27 July last, I accompanied an Italian friend of mine to Valletta to help allay his fears after he reluctantly opted to take the Covid vaccine jab. He was upset at having to take this injection, as he was afraid that he could not fly back to his country without it.

When I explained to a churchgoer that I was in a hurry to go to Parliament Square and accompany this Italian, he angrily replied ‘’how dare you mix with the unvaccinated crowd, the fabbriki tal-varjant , and then come to celebrate mass?  I will ask for your replacement with a true Christian priest who cares for us.’’ 

I immediately understood that this person was parroting Fr Joe Borg’s prejudices but since I was very worried for my panicked friend in Valletta,  I felt I had to ignore this person and dash to meet him even if that meant mixing with the ‘’deplorable’’.

This Italian’s meekness of character and his agreeable disposition are striking.  He wouldn’t hurt a fly and had his reasonable reasons for objecting to the “vaccine” that were not motivated by fears of aliens, 5G pollution, insemination of reptilians, or any other fanciful conspiracy theory found in YouTube.

There are many in our country like him, but they choose to remain silent. God forbid they publicly state that they will not take the jab for medical or ethical reasons, as the barrage of insults and criticism they would unleash would goad them into an uneasy silence forever. 

One of the vaccinations promoters is the editorial direction of official church media that has opted to ruthlessly attack the anti-vaxxers to the extent of calling them fabbriki tal-varjant – “manufacturers of the Covid variant”. 

It isn’t the first time that Fr. Joe Borg mauls his opponents.  I will not forget how Fr. Joe humiliated the director of the Cana Movement around ten years ago, for the “sin” of stating that a true family should consist of a mother, a father and children, while other social units did not precisely constitute a family. The Cana director had no intention of insinuating that single mothers or fathers or separated spouses had no place within the Church; on the contrary, his view was that those suffering as a result of failed relationships were always welcome with open arms. Yet Father Joe decided to ridicule him.

I’m not surprised, for Fr Joe’s retreat from anything resembling clarity about sexual morality has a long time coming. Like other forms of established Christianity in the Western world, he takes the form of bourgeois religion which is the fusion of church culture with the moral consensus held by the good and the respectable people – like the fake Christian who condemned me last Tuesday.

For a long time now after the sexual revolution, it has been socially acceptable to divorce and contracept. Soon thereafter it was OK to cohabitate, and then the good and responsible people who run things adopted an affirmative attitude toward gay sex. During all this, the same consensus became hostile to those who say otherwise and it became “cruel,” “hateful,” and “bigoted” to call something wrong that the bourgeois consensus now deems right. In this way, Fr Joe with the good and responsible people did not just accommodate themselves to the sexual revolution; they took ownership of it.

This applies very well to our wannabe cardinal. As R.R. Reno, editor of the First Things explains it perfectly:

Most Catholic bishops and priests have been disoriented. Not too long ago, they were happy chaplains of the bourgeois, the good people, who tended to affirm the moral code that the Church taught. As the sexual revolution worked its way through elite culture, bishops and priests were eager to sustain their place as chaplains of the establishment consensus. Unfortunately for them, the Catholic Church has a rigorous tradition of moral philosophy and theology. This closed off the broad, travelled avenues of revisionism used by mainline Protestants. Do the loving thing! This noble and conveniently vague imperative offers wide latitude. In the smug and self-complimenting culture of the bourgeois, that meant pretty much anything they did was by definition loving. These sorts of people are always seeking to do what’s best!

… Reconciling the Catholic Church with the sexual revolution is necessary in order to preserve Catholicism as a bourgeois religion. Unless this is done, more and more of the good and responsible people will come to regard the Church as a regressive, harmful force in society, a source of repression and bigotry that is antithetical to the spirit of inclusion and affirmation that promotes human flourishing. This is especially obvious in the controversy surrounding divorce, remarriage, and communion. These are good, sensitive people trying to make the best of a difficult situation! How can the Church deny them communion? The same is true for those who use artificial means of contraception or who are committed to another person of the same sex…

Christianity orients us upward and toward the divine. Bourgeois religion is horizontal. It takes its cues from the consensus of the moment, the opinions of the good and responsible people. This reduces Christianity to a political religion organized to buttress the status quo.

R.R. Reno couldn’t have said it better.  Whereas Christianity orients us towards the divine, Fr Joe’s faithless bourgeois religion is horizontal for it takes its cues from the consensus of the moment. This reduces Christianity to a political religion organised to buttress the status quo.   

This is why Fr. Joe rarely quotes the Church’s official Magisterium such as encyclicals, Motu Proprios, Apostolic Exhortations and formal pronouncements of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).  

Incidentally, one pronouncement made by the Vatican’s CDF on 17 December 2020 clearly states that: “At the same time, practical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary” (Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines, no. 5).

Predictably, Fr. Joe would never mention something like this because for him the Church’s official Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur will only be granted to the rantings in The Times of Malta, Stradarjali, Lovin Malta and journalists’ books about Pope Francis. 

Who can forget Pope Francis’ declaration on a plane journey: “Who am I to judge?”  The liberal media took this to be a formal papal endorsement of homosexual “marriage” and woe betide any Catholic who did not understand this in the way the journalists present did.

Given the mental laziness that permeates most Catholics, who can’t be bothered to read an official Catholic document in its entirety, the Newsbook approach is to post an “article” on one webpage with a few selective quotes and footnotes. It thus presents its own “Magisterium” and asserts that the article conforms to the Pope’s intentions. We saw this clearly in the case of the homosexual marriage controversy and, more recently, with the Covid jab.

Thank God we have the gospel narratives that are simpler to read and the lives of the saints that are more vivid to remember. Jesus broke all the sanitary laws and the canonical prohibitions of his day when he touched the lepers. Saints like Francis of Assisi, Therese of Calcutta, Charles Borromeo, Aloysious Gonzaga and many others imitated Jesus by frowning the established experts of all ages (the Fr. Joes) and mixed with ‘’the beaten man on the road to Jericho’’ (Luke 10, 30).

If we want to defeat the pandemic we need three essential ingredients: prayer, penance, and amendment of life, not virulent declarations from the Newsbook pontiff.

One thought on “The Bourgeois Religion of Fr Joe Borg

  1. STOM opinion & letters of 01/08/21 refers:- The ink Joe Borg used to smear ‘anti-vaxxers’ oozed like the slimy mucus secreted by a fat slug. “Away with you Joe Borg!” Not a single mention of Jesus Christ. Directing men and women away from God the ((ONLY)) Father, to become injected pawns of the ‘AI’ experiment. Joe Borg is far-removed and buried too deep in shadow which douses the Spirit to extinguish the Soul. Joe Borg is a heavy burden unworthy of whatever robes he dons.

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