Montag, 7. September 2015

Urgent need for a more equal distribution of asylum seekers across Europe.

In order to measure the burden of asylum seekers for individual countries I use the following statistic: the annualized monthly rate of asylum applications per million inhabitants (AMAPMI).

AMAPMI = monthly asylum applications *12 / inhabitants (million)

Applying this formula to the latest data for the average of the second quarter of 2015 (asylum applications and population data downloaded from Eurostat website) gives the following rank order of AMAPMI by European country, both EU and outside EU, where data are available. 

The results show that the rank order of AMAPMI has barely changed, with Hungary, Germany, Austria and Sweden still carrying the greatest burden, while some large European countries like the UK carry a minimal burden. There is an urgent need for a more equal and just distribution of asylum seekers across Europe.


Montag, 15. Juni 2015

Asylum in Europe in Early 2015

For a while and because the public debate in Austria is dominated by this topic I have sought a way to compare the burden of asylum seekers on respective European countries in a simple statistic that is reactive to the fast changing trends in these numbers. I propose the following statistic: the annualized monthly rate of asylum applications per million inhabitants (AMAPMI).

AMAPMI = monthly asylum applications *12 / inhabitants (million)

Applying this formula to the latest data for the average of the first quarter of 2015 (asylum applications and population data downloaded from Eurostat website) gives the following rank order of AMAPMI by European country, both EU and outside EU, where data are available:


AVG Q1 2015





















United Kingdom



Czech Republic









What immediately becomes apparent is the extreme imbalance in the burden of the asylum driven immigration into different EU countries. Austria, on this measure (AMAPMI) takes in as many as 48 times as many asylum seekers as Lithuania and more than 10 times as many as the United Kingdom.

It is clear data that the current system of “laissez faire” distribution of asylum driven immigration in Europe is extremely lacking in European solidarity and is basically morally bankrupt, because it introduces a disproportionate burden on different countries in the European Union.

The logical political consequence, in my opinion, has to be to abolish the Schengen agreement, to introduce strict border controls and to install and mandatory distribution system of asylum seekers in relation to population size.

Dienstag, 17. Februar 2015

Evelyn Waugh Lamenting the Reform Of the Holy Week Liturgies

Four years before his passing on Easter Sunday 1966, Evelyn Waugh was sharply critical of the Reform of the Holy Week Liturgies by Pope Pius XII. This is relevant as these liturgies did start the whole unholy process of reform that ultimately led to the Novus Ordo mass. This reminds us of the loss of the Tenebrae services and the non-traditional and non-mystical timing of the Triduum services in this reform and that that the missal of 1962, the only missal allowed under "Summorum Pontificum" for the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, is much less than perfect.

Evelyn Waugh

"During the last few years we have experienced the triumph of the liturgists' in the new arrangement of the services for the end of Holy Week and for Easter. For centuries these had been enriched by devotions which were dear to the laity—the anticipation of the morning office of Tenebrae, the vigil at the Altar of Repose, the Mass of the Presanctified. It was not how the Christians of the second century observed the season. It was the organic grovith of the needs of the people. Not all Catholics were able to avail themselves of the services but hundreds did, going to live in or near the monastic houses and making an annual retreat which began with Tenebrae on Wednesday afternoon and ended at about midday on Saturday with the anticipated Easter Mass. During those three days time was conveniently apportioned between the rites of the church and the discourses of the priest taking the retreat, with little temptation to dis- traction. Now nothing happens before Thursday evening. All Friday morning is empty. There is an hour or so in church on Friday afternoon. All Saturday is quite blank until late at night. The Easter Mass is sung at midnight to a weary congregation who are constrained to 'renew their baptismal vows' in the vernacular and later repair to bed. The significance of Easter as a feast of dawn is quite lost, as is the unique character of Christmas as the Holy Night. 1 have noticed in the monastery I frequent a marked falling-off in the number of retreatants since the innovations or, as the liturgists would prefer to call them, the restorations. It may well be that these services are nearer to the practice of primitive Christianity, but the Church rejoices in the development of dogma; why does it not also admit the development of liturgy?"

From "The Same Again Please" in THE SPECTATOR
23rd November 1962

Montag, 5. Januar 2015

On definitions of Catholic factions

Recently in many online discussions I have seen that people use many different definitions for different points of view or currents within the Catholic Church. In order to bring a bit more structure into these discussions and because there seems to be a polarisation of opinions within the Catholic Church during the pontificate of Pope Francis, I though it useful to propose definitions for the different factions or currents of thinking.

In fact, one can pose two questions which divide the opinions within the Church in the 21st century into four groups, depending on whether these questions are answered with a “yes” or a “no”. Here are the two questions:

1)                    Was the Second Vatican Council as expressed in all its documents a hermeneutic rupture with the tradition and the magisterium (teaching) of the Catholic Church?

2)                  Are the reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council especially the liturgy reform a negative development that weakened the Church?

Those who negate both statements are best called “neoconservatives”. They believe the Vatican II to be in hermeneutic continuity with tradition and they believe the reforms of the Vatican council to be a positive development, especially the liturgy reform. Prominent representatives of this position are Bl. Pope Paul VI., Pope John Paul I, Saint John Paul II. and Cardinal Mueller the current prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith. The neoconservatives tend to hold to moral positions as defined in the 1990 catechism of John Paul II. and do not want a further change to these positions. They are not fond of the old form of the liturgy and will tolerate it at best but do not wish for the old liturgy to be celebrated more widely.

Those who negate the second statement but not the first are best called “liberals” or “modernists”.  This means they believe that exactly because Vatican II was a break with tradition the reforms that followed the council were positive and the even more reforms need to follow. This group of modernists often invokes the “spirit of the council” an unclear concept that spurs on to further thinking about reform of the Church and of its rituals. In this group belong the current Pope Francis as well as Cardinal Kasper and some of the 8 chosen advisors of the current Pope, for instance Cardinal Marx of Munich.

Those who negate the first but not the second statement are best called “Conservatives”. They believe the council is in continuity with tradition but they also believe that some of the reforms following the council where an over-interpretation of the intention of the council. The conservatives believe that the old form of the liturgy needs to be more widely celebrated also as an inspiration for the new form of the liturgy. They believe in a "reform of the reform” of the liturgy to create a liturgy more in keeping with the tradition of the Church. Prominent exponents of this position are the Pope emeritus, Benedikt XVI. , Cardinals Burke, Brandmueller, Castrillon-Hoyos as well as the Institute of Christ the King (ICRSS) and the Society of St. Peter (FSSP).

Those who affirm both statements are best called “traditionalists”. They believe that Vatican II. was a rupture with tradition and the reform following it were a negative development that weakened the Church and the faith. They will on occasion question whether the new form of the Mass and sacraments are actually valid. They do however except the primacy of the Pope and hence are not sedevacantists. The most prominent exponents of this position are Archbishop Lefebvre, the founder of the Society of St. Pius X., the society of St. Pius X. itself as well as its current superior general, Bishop Fellay.

Donnerstag, 27. November 2014

Do the Jesuits hold the answer for misfiring multinationals?

The order’s structure has attracted business school plaudits
Any ambitious entrepreneur seeking to lay the foundations of a 21st-century multinational would start with some of the following principles: set a strong purpose; be global from the start; maintain a firm governance structure, but devolve decision-making to your highly trained frontline managers; and communicate constantly.

This was the basis on which Ignatius of Loyola, the Spanish saint, founded the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits – in the 16th century. Jose Bento da Silva of Warwick Business School, who has studied the Catholic organisation for more than 10 years, believes it can offer lessons for modern multinationals.

Jesuits, whose mission is founded on vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, may balk at the parallel with profit-driven enterprises. But Prof Bento da Silva, who was himself a Jesuit novice before turning to engineering and then management studies, says the organisation has shown over the centuries how it is possible to balance central control and local autonomy.

The Society of Jesus has a military-sounding structure, headed by a “superior general”, based in Rome, who oversees a network of “provincials” in charge of geographical areas. The provincials supervise local operations including the Jesuits’ famously exacting schools and local charitable organisations. The society has 200,000 staff, of whom 20,000 are Jesuits, many undergoing lengthy training.

When he established the order, Ignatius had limited ability to contact his network of missionaries. Abundant exchanges of letters helped to keep him in touch. Occasions when provincials must notify Rome of big decisions are still clearly codified. But above all, Ignatius imbued the priests with the right purpose before they set out, and then trusted them to do the correct thing. It looks like the “loose-tight” management approach praised by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman in their business classic, In Search of Excellence .

Even in a world of email, “there’s no way a global organisation can run unless its power is divided [between] a group of men trained in a ‘way of proceeding’,” says former British provincial Father Michael Holman, using the Jesuit term for the organisation’s values and behaviour.

Autonomy has its pitfalls. Some Jesuits told Prof Bento da Silva the society was “a clear example of disorganisation”, suffering from inefficient duplication of activities. Far worse, Catholic child abuse scandals have hit some Jesuit outposts.

The Jesuits’ networked structure and the fact it promotes people only from within its ranks are mainly, however, sources of strength, according to Prof Bento da Silva. He was first driven to study the society because of the way Jesuits seemed to play a role in many breakthroughs in global history, science, philosophy and exploration. “Either they were there or they taught those who were there,” he says.

The society’s wider organisational principles are now visible at the top of the church. Pope Francis is the first pontiff from a Jesuit background. Fr Holman says he has shown “clear traces of his Jesuit identity” in his emphasis on collegiality and use of councils of senior churchmen.

Fr Holman, who heads the University of London’s Heythrop College, points to two other pillars of Jesuit vocation with wider application. One is “discernment”: “We are constantly looking for where the Lord is calling us at any time,” he says. The other is “disponibility”, drawn from the Spanish word disponible, according to which Jesuits are always available to answer that call. Executives at multinationals may not use the same terms, but they need to apply these principles every day: they are the spiritual equivalent of trend-spotting and remaining agile.

Andrew Hill, Financial Times, 27.11.2014

Montag, 10. November 2014

Dienstag, 21. Oktober 2014

Freitag, 25. Juli 2014

Donnerstag, 24. Juli 2014

Review of Patrick Leigh Fermors "Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece"

A wonderful book chronicling the famous authors travels through northern Greece in the year 1966. The authors deep understanding of Greece and its 5000 year history, language and culture is impressive. Sometimes its almost too much knowledge conveyed for a reader no that much familiar with Greece. Since the book is almost 50 years old it also serves as a kind of time capsule of the times before Greece was mutilated by mass tourism and the ill effects of the recent Euro-crisis. My favourite story in there is the search for Lord Byron's slippers in Missolonghi and a mountain hike with a friendly Greek military officer who turns out to be quite a hedonist. Definitely worth reading for anyone that loves Greece.

Sonntag, 6. Juli 2014

Traditional priests in France until 2050

Based on a suggestion by Christopher Gillibrand, I decided to apply the forecast method used for global numbers of priests to the dramatic situation in France. First I obtained the latest values for ordinations, which is 96 and the total number of priests in France, which is 14000, from the website of the French Bishops conference (1). I also got the information from a different source (2) that the average age of the current 14000 priests is 75. Therefore I assumed a still optimistic retirement rate r of 20% for this group.
From the various sources quoted in the previous post on the traditional groups of priests I obtained the percentage of those traditional priests currently based in France, as shown in table 1.
Table 1
I applied those percentages on the forecast of the number of traditional priests as shown in the previous posts.

It is obvious from the above values that there will be a catastrophic decline in the number of non-traditional diocesan priests in France. The interesting result is that by the year 2038, traditional priests will outnumber priests celebrating the new mass. See chart 1.
Chart 1
Another chart is very impressive in this regard, it shows the % of priests in France that will be traditional during the forecast period. This number increases from 2% in 2014 to 56% in the dynamic of an S-shaped curve. The S-shape is by the way very characteristic of introduction ("diffusion") of innovative or ground-breaking ideas. Quite an irony that the traditional mass will be the innovation that replaces the dying former "innovation" of the new mass. See chart 2.

Chart 2

So in conclusion, if the Roman Catholic faith will be saved from secularism in France, it will be the achievement of the traditional groups of priests celebrating the Traditional Mass such as FSSPX, FSSP and ICRSS.