Thursday, October 06, 2016

Let's not take the bait

  • Old news: Sick, crooked Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" remark, a kind of class sneer. There was the "yeah, I'm a deplorable and proud of it" reaction; understandable. "Agree and amplify" can be good to defuse that stuff but we don't want to fall for bait either, nor let the other side frame the discussion ("Am not! Why, some of my best friends are..."). On that note, the left keeps shoving race in our face hoping one of us will snap and say something nasty about race.
  • Barney Fife runs North Carolina. Something to think about: don't surrender in the culture war (rather, a retreat with honor like the Ukrainian Catholic Church, where I worship once a month, going underground under the Soviet ban) but maybe let's not take the bait and get Barney Fife-ish about any trannies using the ladies' room in North Carolina. Take away the left's pulpit: secure the stalls or put an inside lock on the door, and just call it a restroom or a family restroom (yeah, stick it to the left that way) and best of all, ignore them (the left). I was taught not to pick on people with problems.
  • School district declares "gorilla war" on employee speech. From Rational Review, left-libertarian but a useful non-mainstream source of real news. We are not free; social media are in part a trap, tricking you into helping potential enemies surveil you. A school district fired a teacher's aide, not even a teacher, for calling Michelle Obama a gorilla and saying that Muslims have no business being in America, neither of which was at work in person or posted on a work site on work time but on her private Facebook page. (Who will they go after next to prove their righteous anger, the old white janitor?) The government shouldn’t be allowed to punish people for what they say. There’s a word for that. That word is “censorship.” The content of Allen’s personal, non-work Facebook profile was and is, quite simply, none of the school district’s business. Firing her is essentially fining her, in the amount of all future wages and retirement benefits she would otherwise have earned, for the “crime” of having opinions the district’s officials disagreed with, and for expressing those opinions on her own time and using her own resources. "People were offended," based on the distorted Christian gospel of niceness, is the workplace truncheon or whip of the 2010s.
  • Whither Sanders' supporters? Face to Face says the blue-collar ones have switched to Trump.
  • Why Trump. Skewering the holier-than-thou opposition. "Ew, he sounds like a dockworker." = "I'm afraid of a candidate who appeals to dockworkers." (Language.)
  • My guess. Trump owns the popular vote. (He's all we've got so he's got my vote.) George Soros and the elite in both parties are fixing the election so Clinton will get enough electoral votes. She'll drop dead in office so boomer Modernist Catholic Tim Kaine (that impolite creep in the recent debate with Catholic-turned-evangelical Mike Pence) will be president.
  • A Catholic angle on this election dog-and-pony show. The two would-be veeps illustrate a big story from Sixties America, that the Protestants got their wish (partly because of our misstep of Vatican II) of neutralizing and assimilating the country's big Catholic minority (also, the Pill, and the Rockefellers buying off Fr. Hesburgh); the "Catholics" in this case are just a mainline Protestant/secular humanist (same thing) vs. an evangelical. (Conservative Protestantism is liberal Protestantism on the slow train; fundamentalists mean to defend the faith but, not having the church, don't know how.) Catholics who actually try to follow Catholicism are a small minority.
  • All signal, no virtue. Photo from Goodbye America.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

"No Ordinary Fool"

I recently read No Ordinary Fool. Fr. John Jay Hughes is very nice, a WASP gentleman, understanding the heart of the Christian message. His main ministry seems to be writing sermon topics to help other priests. Primarily an academic, not a pastor, he's a retired priest of the St. Louis Archdiocese. And an Anglo-Catholic alumnus, the son of a high-Episcopal priest, spending his childhood at New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine in the '30s (and being so smart he graduated from prep school unusually young and went to Harvard when most kids are still in high school) and becoming an Anglo-Catholic rector himself. His father held a true-church claim he took as seriously as we Catholics do ours, so understandably he was as outraged by our rejection of his orders as I am by the Orthodox being allowed to believe I'm not baptized. Very Catholic but not a would-be Catholic! (You wonder if women priests and gay marriage would have changed his mind about us. But a lot of these men just changed with their denomination.) So Hughes made a big personal sacrifice when he came into the church; he never saw his father again. Part of what converted him as he was struggling with this: English "liberal" Catholics studying in continental Europe in the '50s described the papacy to him exactly as I believe in it; papal infallibility is really church infallibility. That said, he was once famous among some Anglicans and Catholics for his understandable mistake: he seems to dissent from the church on Anglican orders; trying to reconcile with his late father (who died before Hughes' Catholic ordination). So he is one of the only ex-Anglicans who's been conditionally ordained (the other being Msgr. Graham Leonard; both had claimed an Old Catholic line of succession). He buys into Anglican apologetics on the matter (so why's he Catholic?): the English "Reformers" were objecting to late-medieval misunderstandings about the Eucharist, not the teaching of the church. Michael Davies refuted this: they knew exactly what the church teaches (most of them were priests) and rejected it, making up a new version of Christianity (which in England happened to keep the church's structure), in which Christ's saving work is all in the past so no Mass, never mind good works, and ultimately, no church! (And, I dare say, their logical conclusion is no God: Unitarianism is their destiny.) His thinking also comes from the late '60s, right after Vatican II, when many people thought Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, and Lutherans would merge. Being in liturgical-movement Germany changed him from '50s high-Episcopal (Tridentine ethos in English) to amenable to the Novus Ordo (but he doesn't like the heretical extreme there). He's upfront about being bisexual. As far as I know, he's never used that to attack the teachings of the church, so no problem.

Update: Deborah Gyapong speaks for me: Traditional Anglicanism provided the lifeboat to bring me home to the church Christ founded.

Articles and comments on worship: The place of culture in Christian faith

Suscipe, sancte Pater...

  • Mass: Omnia, quae fecisti. Commemoration of the Guardian Angels? Probably not in our 1962 Missal. Gaudeamus omnes in Domino. External Solemnity of Our Lady of Victories, commonly called Our Lady of the Rosary, with commemoration (second collect and second postcommunion verse) of the 20th Sunday after Pentecost. Preface was of the Trinity, for the Sunday. I thought the external solemnity would be next Sunday, after the feast. Anyway, as Fr. McKale mentioned, this celebrates the victory of the allied Catholic European naval forces under the papal flag at the battle of Lepanto, "saving Europe" from the Mohammedans. Don't invade; don't invite. Jesus saves; Mary prays.
  • Communion of love: Thomas Merton and liturgical reform. I'm not liberal high church (Episcopalian) but I agree with him. Among the places I like going to Mass is the daily Mass chapel, the 1920s former convent chapel, in the parish I live in, the Novus Ordo in spirit and in truth. (The return to tradition in English that John Paul II signed off on and Benedict XVI implemented five years ago. I've been back in the church going on five years.) But the old Mass is home. The goal of the old liturgical renewal was do the old services well, in the right spirit and knowledgeably (as Merton found at Corpus Christi, Manhattan), not to write new services, which is un-Catholic. At least three bad things happened to Roman Rite practice with Vatican II: 1) the space-age notion of "progress," a shiny, streamlined liturgy for modern man; not heretical but naïve, partly coming from the hubris of the new field of liturgical studies, so let's throw centuries of caution to the wind and write anew; 2) the dumb notion that "active participation" means any audible or visible response from the congregation, no matter how off-base or insipid, not a knowledgeable joining in common prayer, which can be silent; and 3) while most liturgical-movement clergy were sound (the movement revived Gregorian chant, wanting a congregationally sung High Mass, and created a traditionalist standby, the wonderful hand missal), a few, such as Annibale Bugnini, were heretics; neo-Protestants.
  • Lutheran Satire, from our close cousins, traditional Lutherans: Mr. Thompson and the vicar invent Children's Church. Blaming the Anglicans and Victorian sentimentality.
  • From the evangelicals: Dear parents: Your teens don't need contemporary worship.
  • Meanwhile, the secular world pushes religion as mere self-expression: deep-six that Jesus stuff and worship your blackness, for example.
  • The Anti-Gnostic: Hierarch of "Eastern America." The Serbians, the Levantines, the Meso-Americans, the Afghans, and on and on, are not coming here to be HERE; they are coming here to have a better THERE.
  • Two from Huw Richardson (paraphrasing: "I'm Russian Orthodox. I'm gay. But there's no such thing as gay Orthodoxy, just Orthodoxy."). Don't miss the comboxes:
    • Boutique-odoxy. Like inculturation: parishes have personalities and reflect the quirks of their priests, but how far should that go? Mistaking your nations/tribes and cultures for the church is the sin of Eastern Orthodoxy. An approach that's too parochial, that's congregationalist, can turn into that. On the other hand, semi-congregationalism, such as Easterners' grassroots traditionalism, can be a hedge against liberalism.
    • Relevant beauty. A Protestant culture isn't hospitable to Catholicism, so you can, and in some cases such as that, should mimic the old country, but you don't have to, sometimes you shouldn't, and let's not get confused about our mission.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Convert utopianism

The convert hipsterdox have a point: part of Byzantium's potential in the West today is at best it's a Catholic traditionalism without some of our baggage. I like my church culture (traditional Roman Rite with Anglican hymns) but no one culture is perfect or right for everyone; only the faith itself, our doctrine, is. A reason I support the Byzantine Rite by going to it locally once a month. Anyway, a while back, a Presbyterian-turned-Orthodox-turned Catholic friend mentioned some of the convert hipsterdox wanting to live in pacifist communes, etc. Understandable appeal. Some Christians have long been called to something like that: monks and nuns, East and West. Some convert parishes become cults trying to live the ideal she describes. It also comes from a corner of conservative Protestantism, some of which tried to adopt the hippie-commune culture: the Jesus movement in the '70s; "covenant communities." Another chapter in American religious idealism. But what struck me when she mentioned that is no country in Eastern Europe has been like that. Putin's Russia has its very good points (why our establishment hates it: it's a society that says it supports traditionalist Christian principles) but it's obviously not the utopia she says the converts believe in.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

This month's Byzantine Sunday: A bit about latinizations

This is such an action-packed month of weekends of car shows and flea markets, as summer ends and these taper off into autumn, that today was my monthly Byzantine Rite Sunday because I was free. At coffee hour we talked mostly about cars (my Edsel in the lot being an opener; by the way, today's the anniversary of the make's launch) and what a great place Chester, Pa. was for a thriving working-class Catholic community 50-70 years ago. Thought so. Got to field-test one of my positions with nice older born Ukrainian Catholics. (These are Americans descended from immigration before World War II and likely before World War I.*) They mentioned moving from the Chester church to the new merged parish and regretted the clergy's decision to delatinize by not bringing the old church's Stations of the Cross. I stated my case: yes, the church wants the rite to be in its original form (the church always did; even the filioque wasn't required) but you have to strike a balance because the people want their devotions they adopted decades ago. I'm fine with latinizations if they're old (pre-Vatican II) and if they don't take over the rite. In this case, the people were fine with what I said. Elaborating here: there should be entirely byzantinized parishes and there should be hybrid ones for the people who want them. This stuff is cultural, not de fide. Another of my sayings: rite is to keep order in church; home devotion is a free-for-all where you can have your own canon of private saints such as deceased relatives and do any practice from any rite. (Yet another: Catholicism includes Byzantium. The Byzantine Orthodox don't really include us.)

An observation I and others have made: I say being a faithful Catholic who's unlatinized Byzantine is a hard, rare calling; the observation is they're usually former Latin Catholics who've fallen in love with the rite. This fellow (pictured) who died four years ago (eternal memory, вѣчная память) reminds me of that: Brother Ambrose (Moorman). (There have been a few cases of Russian Old Believers becoming Catholic; in tsarist Russia after the small Russian Catholic Church started. "The enemy of my enemy [in the Old Believers' case, the official Russian church] is my friend.")

Nec plus, nec minus, nec aliter as St. Pius X said "commissioning" the Russian Catholic Church to follow official Russian Orthodox usages. The Russians' main successor in America, the OCA, had the right idea: just translate the old services (don't write new ones!) and neither suppress nor advertise the ethnicity lest hypothetical inquirers assume they're not welcome. The Antiochians are doing the same. This little corner of the Catholic Church where I hang my hat once a month is doing likewise, of course hoping for the best. As I like to say, there's so much potential: a Catholic traditionalism without some of our baggage.

P.S. A no-brainer in a way: Mother Teresa has been canonized. Worth learning about besides her famous charitable work is her apparently long dark night of the soul where she felt like she had lost her faith. We are saved by faith but it's still hard work.

*As a friend upstate, a Ukrainian Catholic by choice, says of his parishioners, when these families weren't sure which country if any they identified with, their part of the Ukraine long being absorbed into Poland, or, to the south, being in eastern Slovakia (Rusyns, in Ruthenia), both places being parts of Austria-Hungary. (And Galician Ukrainians and Rusyns didn't always get along. Hey, Joan of Arc was burned by fellow Catholics.) Po našomu (should be po našemu, по нашему), meaning "according to our way," or "Slavish"; "Ukrainian" sometimes came later. Like a lot of people from outside, I'm a bit of a russophile (I know Russian), seeing all the things these Eastern Slavic sub-groups have in common, but if the Ukraine wants to be independent, fine with me. Anyplace where the Catholic Church has a chance.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

I only sort of like Ike

A young David Eisenhower asked his grandmother Mamie whether she felt she had really known Dwight David Eisenhower.

"I'm not sure anyone did," she replied.
I'm reading Jean Edward Smith's largish one-volume biography Eisenhower in War and Peace. Better eras in America, from late Victorian on the prairie through our peak in the '50s, as seen through one man's extraordinary life.

You have to filter out personality (Ike was fairly personable, blessed with looking more affable than he was, but so what?), nostalgia, the natural affinity of military and conservative values thus my liking of the military (I'm no pacifist but an isolationist without apology so Ike would have thought me stupid), and Allied World War II propaganda ("the saintly FDR and Ike saved the world; we'd be goose-stepping and speaking German if not for them") to ask the real questions, such as did we even have to be in the war? Pre-nukes, Ike strikes me as an Army careerist who ambitiously wanted war. (Madeleine Albright decades later: "You have this big, beautiful military, so why not use it?") It so happened that FDR and the Reds in his government really wanted war too. Along comes likable, reliable Ike, the good staff member (smart, level-headed, got things done) who never saw combat, and he's suspiciously leapfrogged over scores of senior officers to command of the European theater of operations. I give Smith credit for hinting that the British, who once war broke out were literally defending their homes, deserve far more credit for doing the actual fighting (real fighting generals such as Montgomery); in lots of battles, including Normandy, they were the majority. Guess it didn't look good in American movies. (Our narrative/national myth: we saved the world for democracy while the British were our charming, ineffectual sidekicks, like a butler in a screwball comedy.)

From my reading of Smith, it seems the early European war (the invasions of North Africa and Italy) was political theater, but Ike deserves credit later on for taking his responsibility for his men seriously, visiting them and "looking them in the eye" before Normandy.

Some well-meaning apologists for the American narrative think we went to war in Western Europe really to keep it out of the Soviets' hands. I'm not convinced. Ostensibly we (starting with the British in 1939) went to war to free Poland, but as most know, FDR and his men handed half of Catholic Europe, including Poland, to the Soviets at Yalta.

The Communists killed far more than the Nazis but the narrative gives them a free pass, even during and after the Cold War.

Joe McCarthy was (accidentally?) right about there being Communists in our government. We were played.

Here's the real story. Smith doesn't get into this because it's not part of Ike's legend; doing the right thing wouldn't have advanced his career. The isolationists, Lindbergh and America First, were dead right. Not pacifist; they were for a strong military for its real purpose of defense. I understand that Hitler had spelled out his intentions, none of which threatened American sovereignty or citizens. He wanted to clear out Eastern Europe for a continental German empire; nefarious but not our problem. He didn't even want war with Britain, whom he respected as equals (envisioning them as a junior partner of the Reich, keeping its big overseas empire). The Germans had neither plans nor means to invade the United States, which they envisioned as controlling the Western Hemisphere pretty much as it already did. So the real story of World War II was the Eastern Front: Germany vs. the USSR. Operation Barbarossa. A smart president who actually cared about the American people would have let the Nazis and the Communists destroy each other. (Japan? No plan to conquer us. They wanted a local empire too. Revert to our military's original Plan Orange to defend American territory, make a deal with them, and that's that. FDR's war with them was an excuse that stooped to racial hatred to justify itself.) Stay out of it like that underrated, maligned Catholic gentleman, Franco.

Also, if Wilson hadn't gotten us into World War I, the emperors of Europe would have remained so there would have been no Communist revolution and no Nazis, thus no World War II. The Central Powers should have won.

So I'm suspicious of Ike, a shadowy New World Order figure handed power during the war and again in '52, stealing the Republican nomination from the worthy Robert Taft, a real conservative (who would have died months into his term). Another NWO aspect: his rise seems part of the top-secret shift of the center of the old British Empire from Westminster to Washington (decades in the making as the British saw the limits of the empire; a secret wish of FDR?).

Interesting how Ike's parents' radical Protestantism (his mother apostatized to the Jehovah's Witnesses) seemed to naturally lead to their sons' irreligion as adults. Ike had no use for church, only joining his wife's Presbyterianism because it was good politics.

But for all that, Ike literally peacefully governed America at its peak, acting like the experienced soldier who hated war that he said he was: getting us out of Korea, not being provoked even by Communists (he hated McCarthy but I don't think he was a com-symp), at Dien Bien Phu, Quemoy and Matsu (but deftly showing force and speechmaking; he was a skillful liar, "good at bluffing" being a nice way of saying that), Hungary, etc. So of all the hallmarks of his administration I like the New Look in defense ("peace through strength," rightly defense, not war) best, or nukes changed everything.* Moralists argue the rightness of doomsday weapons and they should; the end doesn't justify the means in Catholic theology. But now that nukes exist, better a strong deterrent than lots of brush-fire wars. (Son John, a general himself and lifelong Republican, voted for Kerry in 2004 in disgust over George W. Bush's Iraq war.) His big no to the military-industrial complex was right. His domestic policy? Opening opportunity to blacks and building infrastructure such as the interstate highways (partly inspired by the Autobahn) sound good. Back when a liberal was often just a civic-minded social conservative. That government seemed bland during his terms is to his credit.

P.S. I believe Kay Summersby. Understandable as Smith explains. I believe that Marshall squelched it when, right after the war, Ike told them he wanted a divorce; ambitious Ike obeyed.

*The U.S. Air Force's case for independence from the Army and postwar military doctrine putting air first, arguable now that nukes were in the picture, but a study by John Kenneth Galbraith (my source: an interview with him in Studs Terkel's The Good War) showed that strategic bombing wasn't decisive in the victory; a long-slog land war was.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Religious ramble

Happy feast day. "I believe in... the resurrection of the body." Mary is assumed into heaven.

The flashpoint of all rebellion against God is where he and his creation meet: who Jesus is, what the Eucharist is, and sex.
One reason for growth in Black Masses all over is Communion in the hand (a reason Bernardin fought for it). The host is grabbed and pocketed for Black Mass...The devil knows his enemy; why there are no black Protestant services.
Most of Satanism is theatrics by apostate Christians to make us react; so obvious it's easy to ignore. I'm more worried about Tim Kaine-ish heretical Catholics trying to subvert the church, which they really can't do but they can drag a lot of people down with them.

There are no "Black Protestant Communion services" (black meaning Satanic, not black people) because with Protestants it's not really the Sacrament, per their own beliefs. What a backhanded witness! Communion in the hand in Catholic churches in modern times was a move to Protestantize the people's faith, against the rules but the Pope caved when it was a fait accompli, which of course has almost worked. Good thing the church is indefectible.
It isn't a sacrament in Catholic terms yes, but that is hardly informative. Whether the Pope caved or not isn't really relevant. What the magisterium normatively permits or proscribes is.
All matters of rite such as Communion in the hand are matters of discipline only. I'm Catholic because we don't idolize one culture. Traditionally we were hands-off about liturgical development and should be again; the Novus Ordo was an anomaly and, practically speaking, a mistake. Our teachings can't change; the Protestantized liberal Catholics didn't get that.
Paul VI caved — he even stated he knew it was wrong — but that was Vatican II. Bernardin's goal was to diminish respect for the sacrament. The grabbing away the host was an added benefit...
Vatican II didn't change that rule. Some Dutch and American liberals started doing it, breaking the rule, and Paul VI gave in.

I much prefer the 19th-century Anglican way I learned to receive the Host in the hand and sip from the chalice to the Catholic liberals' way, literally grabbing the Sacrament, outprotestanting the liturgical Protestants.
I can't stand Communion in the hand. Can't stand it!!!
Right. I never do it.
Rome approves the new Mass as valid. Done.
Sure, it's valid. The actual text in Latin isn't heretical. All I'm saying is before the Novus Ordo (only a nickname, by the way; the church doesn't give the new Mass a special name, saying it's the normative form of the Roman Rite), churchmen weren't sure where the parts of the rite came from so they didn't dare change any of it, lest they mess it up, losing something essential, making it invalid. I think that more reverent approach is better but I also believe that studying the liturgy as history is good.

I prefer the old rites, Roman and the Eastern ones, but thanks to Benedict XVI, just like a Catholic 60 years ago I can go to Mass anywhere in the English-speaking world. Thanks to him, it's Catholic in spite of the local liberals; they have to say it right or else. I know the church. Any funny business is the local liberals' fault, not the church's.
I also hate the casualness most Catholics have about it. I want to scream at their non-reverence.
Right; thanks to the new Mass, before Benedict's reform in English, the liberals had only a third of English-speaking Catholics knowing what the Eucharist really is. Catholics had been protestantized.

The late Msgr. Klaus Gamber brought up the interesting idea that since the Novus Ordo uses other Eucharistic prayers besides the Roman Canon (which is rarely used), although it is a Western and Latin rite, like the Ambrosian in Milan for example (which only used the Roman Canon, traditionally), it is no longer the Roman Rite.
John, it's sad that in many, many dioceses they are still the ones running the show. People will continue to swim over to Orthodoxy for some meat among the Catholic rainbows.
Few Catholics do but it's an understandable reason; hey, I fell for it. On the corridor walls on the way to the hall at my part-time (monthly) Ukrainian Catholic parish are signs blown up from a church tract trying to teach people that the Novus Ordo in most parishes and the Byzantine Rite are both Catholic and good. One has Mass facing the people with guitars. If I didn't know better I'd say it's a great negative advertisement for Orthodoxy!

And sure; I've been to liberal parishes. Guitars, pianos, a squad of women readers, cantors, and Eucharistic ministers; in fact the whole sanctuary party is female except the slightly older effeminate priest. (Altar girls in albs carrying torches remind me of the Swedish Lucia Fest, a 19th-century Romantic custom.) They won't go gently. They hijacked the American church (but of course nobody can hijack the Catholic Church, not even the Pope) and liked it. But Benedict the Great knocked the wind out of them with his English-language reform. They can be the biggest blowhards but they still have to say the Mass right. Plus they're not my employers so I don't care what they think. Another reason I'm glad I'm not a priest; I'd hate to depend on a liberal bishop for my livelihood. I imagine such dioceses kick orthodox vocations out of seminary, but the joke's on them, because the few orthodox vocations are the only vocations.

By the way, the lay head of the British Latin Mass Society argues for a theory that starting around 1800, Western Christianity was feminized. Protestants swung from misogyny pre-1800 to putting girls on a pedestal; Catholics fell for it too. You see it in political correctness, itself a bastard of Christianity. Nothing about feminine vices; all about feminine virtues, so men are told that to be a Christian is to act like a woman, which of course turns most men off. The thing is, the traditional Mass pre-dates all that; at heart it's still masculine (offering a sacrifice on a stone altar), even as devotional piety arguably got too girly.
I think that started someone in the 1700s, John. That's why I focus so much attention on medieval Catholicism — because that's the really good stuff.
You're entitled to your opinion and Pugin is among my formative influences; I read Contrasts on my own when I was in college. But I'm Catholic because the church doesn't make me choose one culture (though you are assigned to a rite) and forsake all others as un-Christian, be it Byzantine, medieval Western, or baroque.

Interesting to see the phases Anglo-Catholicism went through. At first, in the early 1800s, it was nothing to do with ceremonial; it was just a younger, more assertive version of the old high churchmen's claim to the early and medieval church's authority. Then, influenced by Romanticism, it got together with Pugin's revival (Pugin had more Anglican fans than Catholic), which arguably was as Romantic as it was theological, and went through a Sarum ceremonial revival phase. Some wanted to reconcile with the church even then but most were pushing a true-church claim against us. Then in the late 1800s, even though most didn't want to reconcile with the church, they started mimicking our good practices at the time, including baroque etc. stuff you might not like.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

On trying to make America great again, as in Eagleton's day, and why Anglicans claim to have bishops

  • A mainstream article sort of sympathetic to Trump supporters. Its starting point is J.D. Vance's book Hillbilly Elegy. A little condescending but what did you expect? Money quotes: Americans who built the postwar glory ... now feel they’re being ignored or outright mocked. They do want to turn back the clock, but not because they’re racist or afraid of modernity. They want to go back to having good-paying jobs. They want to go back to being proud of themselves and the things they produced. For years, they’ve essentially been told to sign up for welfare and shut up.
  • Missing Tom Eagleton. I've just read Call Me Tom, a biography of Sen. Tom Eagleton, not always right but a liberal gentleman from a better era when a liberal was often a civic-minded social conservative. A neo-New Deal (Great Society) Democrat who didn't fall for the Sixties' craziness (pro-life as a senator but wrong in retirement about embryonic stem cells; against racial quotas); never mind the Reagan-era Republicans' accusations. What much American Catholic politics (except the German Republican Midwest) used to be like. (Eagleton was an iffy Catholic and honest about that, fond of Vatican II liberals. My guess is he was a typical guy turned off by a Christianity feminized since the 1800s so he wasn't a churchgoer.) He was right about asserting Congress' power to declare war vs. presidential undeclared wars; good constitutional strict constructionism that conservatives can support. I dare say that, like Eugene McCarthy, he could have been a decent president but because of his then-underdiagnosed manic-depressive disorder (now called bipolar), nothing to do with his views or his character, he wasn't well enough.
  • The real reason Anglicanism is episcopal. From an anti-ordinariates, clerical-gossip blog I won't link to. Too good to pass up: I believe it was Diarmaid MacCulloch who pointed out that the Church of England emerged as a Reformed, congregational denomination that retained bishops and cathedral chapters because they provided opportunities for political patronage.
  • The quotable Theodore Dalrymple at Takimag:
    • It is hardly surprising that newspapers nowadays more and more resemble magazines that are produced weekly or monthly instead of daily. With modern technology they can hardly any longer be the first to break news; as their circulations fall and journalists are “let go” — to use a delightful euphemism for dismissal so dear to more refined or sensitive bosses — they cannot do much investigative journalism, either. What is left is gossip about celebrities, explanations of the obvious, speculation about the future based on what has happened in the recent past, drivel about sport, and articles catering to modern man’s fathomless narcissism. Glad I'm out of the business. I only pick up papers to do the crossword on the train.
    • Perhaps answering J.D. Vance and the New York Post writer on Trump supporters: I have spent much of my life among the poor or relatively poor. I can honestly say that it never occurred to me for a single moment that any one of them was not a true human being. Indeed, if they were not true human beings, their poverty would be nothing to worry about. I neither romanticized them as the fount of all goodness and wisdom nor saw them as mere objects.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Anglo-Catholicism again

From an Episcopalian in 1932: Anglo-Catholicism: What it is and what it is not. Really, "lame arguments against the church." I'm grateful to the movement for a lot of knowledge and culture, which is partly why I'm not Novus Ordo, but the truth is. Outsiders assume they're wannabe Catholics; insiders think they're theatrical, aesthete male homosexuals. Actually, as this article says, historically they usually weren't would-be Catholics but pushing a rival true-church claim against us. Some, particularly a very few in England, were: Anglo-Papalists; plus you had the more numerous Romanizers, who Romanized the liturgy and sort of wanted to reconcile with the church but on their own terms, whatever they were. The homosexuality has always been a part of the movement (which I didn't know for a couple of years; I was that innocent) but it wasn't the whole story, and to be fair, it wasn't their teaching. Before the Sixties' hit on religion, families, with kids, went to Anglo-Catholic parishes too: Sunday school, etc.

People in the church know we're not the cult of the Pope's person or opinions. His so-called "autocratic Catholicism" (the Anglicans keep saying that like it's a bad thing) has always defended the essentials (such as belief in God, Christ, the Trinity, the hypostatic union, Mary the Mother of God, bishops, the Mass, and the option of using images in worship); the Anglicans haven't. In fact they killed people in the 1500s for defending the Mass. (Protestants: Christ's saving work is in the past; you're saved by believing you are; "he is not here" so the Mass is a blasphemous fable.) So they're not the church. (Anglicans are Reformed, not Catholic. Articles XIX and XXI: fallible church, really no church.) And as Fr. Hunwicke points out, now that they are in communion with other Protestants, they've proved Leo XIII right; their claim to the episcopate is out the window. The English are still sad and confused because of the "Reformation."

Got the best of the culture in my little corner of the church and I'm not even in the ordinariates. (I use Anglican English when worshipping in English but nothing by Cranmer.)
...if we had the time and the means, we might call one hundred and fifty to two hundred million Eastern Orthodox ... to the witness stand to testify that [Eastern Orthodoxy], with which Anglo-Catholicism is almost identical in fundamentals, does not logically lead to submission to Rome. Not for one day in the last nineteen hundred years has it ever done so, a fact which Western Christians are too prone to overlook or ignore.
They think their culture IS the church and are Erastian besides; do you really want to adopt that idolatry as a defense?
The importance of the laity in matters of faith has always been very real, although too often forgotten or overlooked.
Good point we need to be reminded of. The laity as defenders of the faith. Lay pushback can be a hedge against liberalism.
...democracy, in spite of being prone to inefficiency, is the best form of government yet discovered by which men can in fullest measure develop their personalities and bring to fruition the latent powers, talents and capacities with which God has endowed them. Dictatorships may sometimes be expedient for a season, but it is not too much to say that democracy is of divine order and most akin to the Mind of Christ.
Nothing to do with Christ. Masonic (which has long been big among Episcopalians), not Catholic.

So-called "democratic Catholicism" voted to ordain women and marry the same sex. And next to nobody goes to it; its assumptions are better served by secular humanism, now a given in our society now so people aren't conscious of them and don't need to go to church to hear them.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Will the SSPX become a personal prelature?

Sounds good. Not as good as making Fellay a cardinal (great though he's unlikely to become Pope) but one step at a time. Can anybody confirm either of these?
I find it hard to believe either party can accept union. Differences on doctrine are the biggest problem; neither side will budge.
The difference with the official church is not about doctrine. As you can imagine, I am grateful to the SSPX for all the good it has done but I'm not affiliated with it; I'm in the official church. (The only religious organization I belong to is my parish.) If not for them, I wouldn't have my Mass. Their rationale is there is a state of emergency in the church that calls for what they're doing, which can happen (as can the sedevacantist scenario), but isn't. But unlike the Orthodox, the Anglicans, and the Old Catholics, they've never claimed to be a separate church. (The vagante temptation: try to start your own church by somehow trying to become a bishop.) Their bishops are only sacramental bishops, not diocesans, because only the official church can assign bishops to dioceses. Nor is the big difference really about liturgy or Latin. It's over Vatican II on religious liberty and ecumenism. Policy; Vatican II did not define doctrine. I live as though Vatican II does not exist but I have no problem with it on religious liberty and ecumenism, rightly understood. One true church, not indifferentism (such as that assumed in Anglo-American Masonic society); "subsists in" isn't new as we've always recognized the Orthodox' bishops and the Protestants' baptisms.
The Brotherhood has long had extremist members in its ranks, such as Bishop Richard Williamson, who denied the Holocaust. Did this harm the negotiations?
Bishop Williamson has questioned the magic number six million regarding the Holocaust, claiming it's too high, making me think. Irrelevant; not doctrine. Besides, the order kicked him out for disobedience (doing confirmations without its permission?) and he's excommunicated again for consecrating a bishop without Rome's permission.

Burke or Sarah for Pope; Lefebvre for saint.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Religious magazines

Magazines seem doomed in the Internet age but being old-fashioned and having a friend who reads much and passes it to me, I've caught up with two Christian ones lately.
  • Rediscovering the joy of Touchstone, "a journal of mere Christianity." A cantankerous, theologically conservative but politically leftist, on-and-off blogger hated them for some reason; I just don't see it. (I think he or she just doesn't like social conservatives, whom he or she sees as bourgeois and beneath him or her.) A natural, back-to-basics home for Mass-and-office Catholic traditionalists, our conservative Novus Ordo brethren, Robert Hart and other classic Anglicans (like C.S. Lewis was), Missouri Synod Lutherans (our close cousins), and polite Western convert Orthodox whom I think are a good nudge from becoming Catholic (again). The right kind of ecumenism, credally small-o orthodox and Christ-centered. First Things (another admirable magazine) without the political neoconservatism?
  • Sophia, the diocesan magazine of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton, Mass. A mixed bag. Hooray of course for the Byzantine Rite including in this lovingly unlatinized form, for the small-o orthodoxy (me: Catholic traditionalism without some of our baggage) inherent in it, and for the right kind of ecumenism: of course it makes sense to acknowledge most of the world's Byzantine Christians even though at the moment they're outside the church. The joy possible in "Orthodoxy without the attitude," part of the church, not opposing it. The down side: sometimes they seem like a dressed-up version of Novus Ordo liberals, sounding more like such 45 years ago than like the Orthodox. An example: an article on how "progressive" they were at Vatican II, like that's something to be proud of. (Maximos IV was right that the Eastern patriarchs should outrank cardinals; polity, not doctrine.) On their agenda then: watering down our true-church claim by encouraging communicatio in sacris and by teaching more contemporary philosophy. Reminds me of "trans men" at women's colleges majoring in "gender studies" and wanting "safe spaces"; couldn't be less manly. This stuff couldn't be less Orthodox! In contrast, when Benedict XVI repeated our true-church claim, the Russians respected him because they understood him.
The people at the hearts, the centers, of their churches are closer to God and thus to each other; Touchstone reflects that. Ecumenism really means teaching people Catholicism. The basics, but also being upfront with and about some people who don't think we have real sacraments. (We teach, not just opine, that they have bishops and the Mass.) As Fulton Sheen and more than one convert has said, there's what people think the church is and teaches, and what it really is and what it really teaches.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Timothean (Kaine-ian) creed

I'm a Catholic; Hillary is a Methodist. Her creed is the same as mine: do all the good you can.
What Christianity has been reduced to in mainstream America, outside of evangelicalism and our ghetto of real Catholicism (vs. Kaine's Protestantized Catholicism; Pence is an evangelical convert). The liberal Protestants think this was the goal of Jesus and Christianity, but that doesn't square with what Jesus said or with the church fathers such as Athanasius. (The classical Anglicans, who put much stock in the fathers, were wrong but weren't relativists or agnostics.) "Do all the good you can," like you can earn your way into heaven, but "imagine there's no heaven" as Boomer Jesus sang; just be nice, whatever that means, and IF there's a God, you've earned your ticket. Moralistic therapeutic deism; as long as you're not intolerant or something, God's Santa Claus in the sky. No. This thinking has been around since the "Enlightenment" (at least they believed in natural law over emotion) but as recently as 60 years ago the churches defended small-o orthodoxy on paper. It's a trial by fire; of course the "last man standing" is Catholicism.

The good news is few younger than boomers still think this is Christianity, or they think secular humanism is Christianity fulfilled so they drop church and don't try to pass this off as Christian. The few young believers want real religion.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Cruz's speech and Hillary's possible seizure

  • I don't hate Ted Cruz. It's nothing personal; he's just not the man of the hour for the job at hand. Besides being diametrically opposed, the only candidate I don't like is Hillary Clinton. (Trump doesn't care about the church. Hillary wants to obliterate it, maybe first subverting it à la Tim Kaine, Protestant/Masonic America's longstanding dream à la Henry VIII, in which we become a big, innocuous liberal Protestant denomination with some cute ethnic stuff.) He was brave with his convention speech and not derogatory. Counterpoint: if he wasn't going to endorse Trump, he should have stayed home as others did. Maybe this was last-minute. Thomas Cranmer also went back on his word: a weak man as well as a rank heretic (I use Anglican English in prayer but nothing he wrote), in prison/on trial he did the right thing for the wrong reason, recanting his Protestantism because of cowardice, then as he was being burned at the stake he reneged, doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, principles and courage. Anyway, this is a chance for me to show the too-good-for-Trump Christians, including some fellow conservative Catholics, that we on board his train can be mannerly and charitable when called for.
  • Did Hillary have a seizure? Again, it's not personal so I'm sorry if she did. Sure looks like it. If so, then the question here is, is she medically fit for office? Or like FDR's paralysis, is it irrelevant? Someone mentioned she seemed incoherent before it happened; she doesn't sound too out of it to me. But: It couldn't be one of those silly (to them, awkward to us) head movements that arrogant Baby Boomer women do to feign surprise (at all the reporters shoving recorders at her) or other emotions? I've seen Hillary bob her head around when making points before and it looks similar. Was it just a reaction to the iced chai as she joked?

Why we should keep classical languages

Fr. Hunwicke writes: As long ago as 1933, C S ('Patrimony') Lewis advanced the suggestion that the attacks — even then — upon the position of Latin and Greek as the basis of education, might be part of a plot devised in Hell to subvert the Faith.

Not only did the real John XXIII (not the legend) want to step up teaching Latin in seminaries but the Oxbridge don C.S. Lewis (also one of the greatest ambassadors and apologists not only for Christianity generally but for England's weird, confused Reformed church that's long been a halfway house back to the church) understood the importance of classical languages to teach new generations; evil people want you to be ignorant that way ("suppressing every kind of knowledge except mechanical knowledge"). (I don't know much Greek; I know Latin but am not fluent.) I add: classical languages (especially Latin?) were also how educated Europeans, with very different vernaculars, communicated for about 1,500 years after the fall of the Roman Empire. Reasons the church uses Latin (traditionalism is not about Latin, but...), still another being a dead language is a good template for precise understanding because its meanings don't change anymore.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Trump-Pence, Clinton-Kaine

It seems the presumptive Dem nominee for U.S. president and her masters are trying to cadge benighted boomer liberal votes with a social-justicy Catholic in name only as her running mate, like claiming an endorsement from Pope Francis. My guess is it wouldn't work as she'd like. In a sense there's no more Catholic vote; the lapsed rank and file know she's a corrupt joke and don't want her, just like other non-elite whites. White liberals wanted Sanders. The small-o orthodox Catholics, who vote, are about split between the Trump train that I, Pat Buchanan, and others are on board and "principled opposition" that unintentionally supports the other side and gets annoying with its self-righteousness, but they have a point that the church is above politics. (Theological conservatism doesn't necessarily mean political or economic conservatism.) The only people this move impresses are those few she already has. Trump's move, picking a seemingly real conservative but an iffy Catholic (he's really turned evangelical; irrelevant here?) to try to win a swing vote of suspicious social conservatives including conservative Catholics, is smarter. Anyway, in a real election Trump would blow her away (even without an effect from Pence) but it probably won't be real; the elite will force their pick on us.

The church doesn't endorse bare-ass naked capitalism or the Republican Party (not our conservative party; conservatives' refuge by default since the Sixties turned the Democrats against real Catholics and against evangelicals) but Kaine's version isn't really the faith but a ripoff of it. (A lot like mainline Protestantism, which is dying out.)

America's Masonic-bred (religious relativist) Protestant elite has long wanted the church here to commit suicide; it has wanted to absorb the huge Catholic minority that came here 100-150 years ago. The Sixties (including Vatican II, actually an effort of the Space Age midcentury, which partly fueled the Sixties) effectively did that for them; real Catholics are now a rump here. Our rulers want to reduce the church to political correctness (Christianity without Christ really) and a few ethnic trappings (green beer on St. Patrick's Day; Mexican food). Conversely, critics say the American right wants to reduce the church to blessing neo-liberal economics and rampant Protestant individualism (consumerism, etc.).

We work with what we've got. Trump.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Defending my part-time church home

An ex-Catholic pundit on the Web takes a shot at my Ukrainian Catholic part-time (monthly) parish. (I don't read this cat anymore but a friend sent this in an e-mail circle.) I'm not there to critique them or tell them what to do; just to pray and support this place. The video screens are a mistake (illogical in a rite that uses an iconostasis) but I've never seen them used. It's a beautiful Liturgy (big L, meaning Mass) with simple chant, better than the Novus Ordo; Orthodoxy minus the attitude. I'm still an Anglo-Catholic-tinged Tridentiner (forever) but it's great to use all this stuff I learned, this time using it in the church.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Garry Marshall's passing and the rise and long fall of "Happy Days"

Right when the Sixties were pummeling the old Middle America, you started to see some nostalgia, starting with some Columbia students forming Sha Na Na, about part of the '50s. Around then, veteran TV joke writer Garry Marshall wrote a pretty good sitcom pilot about being a teenage boy then, featuring Ronny Howard from "Andy Griffith." The pilot didn't sell and ended up being used as a "Love, American Style" episode. But it got Howard one of the lead roles in American Graffiti ("Where were you in '62?"), and the movie's success resurrected it, creating "Happy Days." So the show wasn't originally a ripoff of the movie but ended up one, sort of: same lead actor, lettering for the credits, and opening song ("Rock Around the Clock").

Its first year, in 1974 and set 18 years earlier, is very good: believable people (including minor character Fonzie the mechanic) and stories, and enough attention to detail to re-enact the time.

But viewers lost interest in it so Marshall sold out: "filmed before a studio audience," Fonziemania, and lazy, anachronistic 1970s style ruined it. "A loud, kid-friendly, multi-camera comedy more about gimmicks than intelligent storytelling or nuanced characters." If Bill Haley isn't singing over the opening credits, don't waste your time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Racial self-hatred: A subway performance

Just an observation I found interesting and thought you might, too. Riding the subway to work, a white woman at least my age, probably a little older, with a mannish haircut, started a cordial conversation with a young black woman. The white woman was a type usually much younger, a whigger (usually spelt wigger), speaking entirely with a heavy black accent and with black slang (I don't know how current; usually our knowledge of black slang is outdated). Like Barbara Billingsley's jive-talking old white lady in Airplane! This one sounded like she watched a lot of the Wayans brothers and Arsenio Hall on TV 25 years ago. This sort of thing has been around since at least the 1920s: American whites being fashionable by showing off a knowledge of black culture ("the white Negro"). There's nothing wrong with that per se, up to a point. Sure; learn from other cultures. Two things struck me, though: why was someone her age doing it? And why was she seeming to try so hard to pretend? She didn't look like Rachel Doležal; her appearance wasn't ambiguous but obviously white. She didn't dress "black" either. I felt sorry for her. After the white lady got off the train, another black woman said to the first, "What the f*ck was THAT?" Exactly. How can you respect someone seemingly that craven? It backfires now: white liberals used to do it to show how open-minded they were; now the left has turned against "cultural appropriation." It can be rude. There has to be a true middle way here. My guess is rather like Doležal ("too pale for her pious parents") and the rest of the white left, with this lady it's humility gone too far, becoming self-hatred. Like most whites, from what little I know of black culture, there are things I like. I'm still proud to be white.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Parish report: My monthly Byzantine Rite Sunday

Yesterday was my monthly Byzantine Rite Sunday at the nearest Ukrainian Catholic church. (I honor my commitment to my parish: I plan these trips and double up the collection envelopes the preceding Sunday.) My first Sunday (vs. Saturday evening) sung Liturgy (vs. spoken) there. Smallish congregation, maybe 30 to 45 people; a few relatively young ones and even a child or two. (A screaming baby is a sign of a future.) A cantor with a little help from another singer, not a choir. Singing rightly from the stand in back (the kliros, a piece of furniture, in some other Byzantine churches), not at a lectern waving his arms as in the Novus Ordo. (More below on the music.) One man doubling as server and reader, properly vested (sticharion; looks like a dalmatic but it's actually the alb's cousin), simply reading the epistle (traditionally it's chanted, such as recto tono, mostly on only one note, like in the traditional Roman Rite) but standing in the nave facing the altar as is called for. No other altar boys. Liturgy mostly in English but, contrary to what I'd read reported, some in Ukrainian (nice; no problem; I know Slavonic and Russian so it's intelligible and familiar; actually their traditional liturgical language is Slavonic, which some parishes still use). Incense of course from a Greek-style thurible jingling with many sleighbells. Hymn during the censing before Liturgy, just like the Ruthenians; in fact one of the same hymns. In the Liturgy itself, Ukrainian chant is new to me; it's in the same family as Ruthenian prostopinije (plainchant) but the tunes are different. Very memorizable and singable. (I'm retired from church singing.) No sermon on a hot day. The anaphora chanted recto tono, a modern liturgical fashion. (Traditionally except for the words of institution and a few other things, it's whispered just like the Roman Canon.) Ethnic and a very few immigrant (old exiles who escaped the Soviets) Ukrainians, not Internet-type converts attacking the teachings of the church (giving the term "Orthodox in communion with Rome" a bad name); "real people." The Ukrainianness literally isn't advertised but it's there; the people want it. But it's not about nationalism; it's about church, which is right of course. Coffee hour at which you can buy lunch, in the hall in back after the service. Thumbs up! Слава Богу (glory to God).

Liturgical colors among the Orthodox often parallel the traditional Roman Rite but not necessarily; such is the case here. White and/or gold, not green; also there was a special commemoration (of the first six ecumenical councils, I was told).

Going here part-time is something I think I'm called to do for my own edification, in reparation for how our churchmen have treated Byzantine Catholics historically (often pushed out of the church for no good reason), and of course to pray to bring the Orthodox back into the church. Maybe some good can come from my learning so much of this stuff.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ad-orientem ramble

So our top liturgy cop Cardinal Sarah says something nice about liturgical east (not literal east, though in the beginning it was), commonly called "having the priest's back to the people," or really the common-sense practice of priest and people facing the same direction to pray, suggesting that most of the Roman Rite go back to it, and churchmen in high places (Cardinal Nichols in England, for example) squelch it. Not surprising. The Catholic liberals are dying but of course won't go gently. Dom Hugh makes a good point, rather like G.K. Chesterton mocking atheists (nobody rails against belief in Thor like they do against God). If the old Mass is so patently ridiculous, why are they so afraid of even something that looks like it, such as dressed-up conservative Novus Ordo (déja vù for Anglo-Catholics; it's like high-churching the old Prayer Book)?

The facing-the-people craze was based on slanted, now discredited scholarship and experience with part of the liturgical movement in Germany going back to the 1930s. Not based on history so much as what some congregations liked. I can understand Catholic liberals in the '60s, not necessarily heretics, buying it: put on a happy face for the space age and the world will love us, converting in droves; the gospel of God's love and grace will be spread. All it got us were empty churches. How much now does the Catholic left believe its own bullshit? My guess is some of them really are trying to undermine the church from within.

As Thomas Day can explain, this form of iconoclasm and related heresy is just about unique to Roman Riters; the Episcopalians believe the creeds and love our traditional liturgy.

Pictured: the parish I belong to by choice; high-church for about 10 years.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Anglican vesture, the roots of the "Reformation," and Freemasonry

  • Religious non-story, not news: Church of England makes clerical vestments optional. On this they've almost 360ed to their founding, but the historically and religiously illiterate press of course doesn't care and is too lazy to research it. (In the Internet age that's inexcusable.) But I believe this is the first time vestments have been completely optional for them. When Cranmer and his friends cut loose under the regency for Edward VI, really starting Anglicanism, they reduced vestments to the old choir habit, which aren't really liturgical vestments: cassock, surplice, black scarf, academic hood, and Canterbury cap (the medieval English version of the biretta). Which the very low-church, the Puritans, fought the law about, and anyway, after the Sixties low-churched many people (even actual Catholic churchmen lost their nerve and sold out: Vatican II), Evangelical Anglicans took this to heart so they often don't use vestments. This change just ratifies longstanding practice. The Catholic vestments associated with Anglo-Catholicism (usually a rival true-church claim against us; only sometimes would-be Catholics), especially the Eucharistic vestments (the Protestants including Anglicanism's founders hated the Mass: "Christ's saving work is in the past; he is not here"), were actually illegally introduced to Anglican churches starting in the late 1800s (vicars went to jail) and I think remained technically against the law until 1964 (same process as just now, in reverse: it long was no longer enforced).
  • Book reports:
    • The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation by Alister McGrath. From an Oxford don at Wycliffe Hall, an Evangelical Anglican seminary. At lot of it goes over my head, but the points I think I've picked up are that the first Protestant leaders came out of the confusion among late medieval Catholic thinkers (one idea: maybe Luther mistook one school of speculation on justification for the teaching of the church and attacked it), and while the humanists (such as Erasmus, who as far as I know never attacked the teachings of the church) and the first Protestants were intellectually related, there were also important differences.
    • That Religion in Which All Men Agree: Freemasonry in American Culture by David G. Hackett. In "Enlightenment" England, upper-class men of letters met at each other's houses, in coffeehouses, etc., just to talk freely about ideas; nothing wrong with that. (The church says that's what the university is for, even discussing/debating our doctrine but of course we have ground rules.) They ended up taking over the old, real stonemasons' guild, turning it into their private club. (What happened to the real stonemasons?) Upper-class colonial Americans brought this over to emulate the mother country's upper crust, and the rest is history, basically the story of America and how secular humanism, liberal Christianity without Christ, became the ruling class's religion. (One change in America: after the Revolution, Freemasonry actually changed from elitist to popular.) Liberal Protestantism got started at the same time, basically all the English Reformed churches going bad, including the Anglicans (the English Masons started by attacking what doctrine the Anglicans still had and ended up taking over the Anglicans); they and Freemasonry became interchangeable. (Some things never change: Hackett mentions that Unitarianism was originally snooty New England Congregationalists looking down on George Whitefield's evangelicalism.) Hackett thinks the accusations of being in league with the Illuminati are hooey but he points out that for many 19th-century American men this goofy fraternity with made-up ritual was literally a serious substitute for church, which was seen as feminine. Reading between the lines, you see the Catholic Church's point against it, even though Hackett's unsympathetic. Even though Freemasonry banned atheists, if you take their ideas to their conclusion, man is so naturally good and perfectible that we don't need that Jesus story after all (some early-1800s Protestants got the picture; there was a backlash against the Masons). Even if there wasn't a conscious plan against the church, it does work against it. Today, both the lodges (and the knockoffs/wannabes: the Odd Fellows, the Elks, the Moose, etc.) and the denominations are shrinking, considered quaint/passé (interestingly, like the old left, Freemasonry and the Sixties didn't mix), but their work is done; America has been shot through with these ideas from the beginning.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pro-cop regarding Dallas? You bet! And more

  • Race in America today. Pro-cop regarding Dallas? You bet. Anti-war, pro-military, pro-cop, and pro-gun here. (None of that left-libertarian sassing-Daddy nonsense. Bob Wallace nails it: leftism is hatred of the Father. Fatherhood comes from God.) My impression is in America, white hostility to blacks, as in the liberal narrative of the pre-Sixties South, was just about dead before this presidency. Nice whites for decades have wanted to make things right, so you had both progress and well-meant mistakes such as affirmative action (one of two objections I have to Nixon; Watergate's not one of them). I wonder if the small uptick online in recent years was by accident or somebody's design. Race-baiting from things such as Black Lives Matter, which in Dallas showed they're terrorists.
  • Another well-meaning, self-righteous Christian commentator disparages Trump. As far as I can tell, the only semblance of a pro-life case for Trump is let's face it, the Republicans don't really care about this. Catholics and evangelicals have been played for decades, since we flocked to the GOP after the Democrats turned on us in the Sixties. Everybody knows him well; basically a peer-pressure liberal who unlike the elite still cares about the country as a country, a nationalist, which is great. (Illegal immigration is theft.) My guess is he'll do what most candidates do: assume his base is in his pocket (in his, populist conservatives) so lean left for a running mate to try to grab the swing vote in the middle, such as disaffected Sanders supporters left in the cold by Hillary getting the nomination. Why at least one prospective running mate has said he's pro-abortion. Repugnant, but I still feel this election is too important to sit out or waste with a token principled candidate. The movement is more important than the man. We might get fooled again or we just might save the country. Pat Buchanan's on board and so am I.
  • The fix is in. Next to nobody wants Hillary. The elite including the Republican one does. We'll see the biggest election fraud in America since Kennedy to force her on us.
  • Roissy: Reversing the sap-snark polarity. Contemporary society encourages snark about things that should be considered sacred, and sentimentality about things that call for hard-headed realism.
  • I don't go to a yuppie hipster farmers' market but an old one largely Amish and thus closed on Sundays. Part food market, part bazaar and flea market. It's local but like being in upstate Pennsylvania. Got bacon and spinach last time I was there.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Being unfair to Catholic charismatics

This memoir/exposé on Catholic charismatics wasn't at all what I expected. There's plenty to criticize in the movement: its recent, Protestant origin (an ecumenical version of 100-year-old Pentecostalism), its honeymoon with Catholic liberals after Vatican II, when ecumenism was cool and these neo-Protestants were a perfect way to stick it to us traditionalists, its well-meant excesses (which segues into this piece) such as the "enthusiasm" Ronald Knox described historically and the "covenant community" cults; really the same problems as the Protestantism this movement came from (putting feelings and immediate religious experience above the church). Often right after the council, for believing Catholics it was the only thing on offer. Churchmen left and right (John Paul the Overrated's fans) were telling high-church folks like me to forget all that artsy old-fashioned stuff and "be open to the Spirit" and even accusing us of being outside the church by being disobedient. Huh. Giving the impression that the Pope should change centuries of practice on a whim (historically not how we operate); makes the Orthodox and the conservative version of high-church Anglicans look good in comparison. No wonder I was ecclesiastically confused as a young man. (I adopted the young-fogey moniker 13 years ago, a milestone on my long road back to the church.)

But although the movement seems to be waning, not, it turns out, the hope of the church, it has changed for the better. For one thing, they and the libcaths broke up. Inevitable really, considering the charismatics' roots in politically incorrect conservative Protestantism. These sincere folks 360ed back to the church, in fact as well as in name. Now they love Mary, Exposition and Benediction, the miracle stories of the saints, and the Pope. The few times a year I'm at Benedict the Great's reformed Mass, I see them lifting their hands in the orans position at the Our Father. I call them the other American Catholics who still go to Sunday Mass besides us trads. As far as I'm concerned, they're welcome at our Mass, and they're far more open to it now. (Steubenville U. has had Tridentine Masses.)

This piece takes aim at the movement's emotional excesses but strikes me as another snobbish, smartass, sophomoric testimony of "enlightenment" (such as people raised evangelical turned Episcopalians or honest secular humanists; usually they're just mad at God), this time making fun of... just another form of perfectly good folk Catholicism, fine as long as you realize these pious opinions and practices aren't required. Abusus non tollit usum; the danger of superstition doesn't mean we should turn Protestant.

The Holy Spirit still works in the world and miracles can happen.

Ross Douthat on cosmopolitanism true and false

Genuine cosmopolitanism is a rare thing. It requires comfort with real difference, with forms of life that are truly exotic relative to one’s own. It takes its cue from a Roman playwright’s line that “nothing human is alien to me,” and goes outward ready to be transformed by what it finds.

The people who consider themselves “cosmopolitan” in today’s West, by contrast, are part of a meritocratic order that transforms difference into similarity, by plucking the best and brightest from everywhere and homogenizing them into the peculiar species that we call “global citizens.”

This species is racially diverse (within limits) and eager to assimilate the fun-seeming bits of foreign cultures — food, a touch of exotic spirituality. But no less than Brexit-voting Cornish villagers, our global citizens think and act as members of a tribe.

They have their own distinctive worldview (basically liberal Christianity without Christ), their own common educational experience, their own shared values and assumptions (social psychologists call these WEIRD — for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic), and of course their own outgroups (evangelicals, Little Englanders) to fear, pity and despise. And like any tribal cohort they seek comfort and familiarity: From London to Paris to New York, each Western “global city” (like each “global university”) is increasingly interchangeable, so that wherever the citizen of the world travels he already feels at home.

Indeed elite tribalism is actively encouraged by the technologies of globalization, the ease of travel and communication. Distance and separation force encounter and immersion, which is why the age of empire made cosmopolitans as well as chauvinists — sometimes out of the same people. (There is more genuine cosmopolitanism in Rudyard Kipling and T. E. Lawrence and Richard Francis Burton than in a hundred Davos sessions.)

Being a Christian reactionary on American Independence Day

My line on Independence Day: I like my country, my people, so in that spirit I participate, enjoying the parades and fireworks, but not my government. If we had done the right thing, remaining under the King, we'd still be America (we're different from British countries because America was settled so early) but with a clear conscience, loyal to our Christian sovereign. It isn't snobbery, and anglophilia is nothing to do with it. (That form of looking down on one's people is for liberals.) But my other line on this is I wouldn't have wanted us to end up burned-out anti-religious as British countries have; they're not a Burkean Tory high-Anglican ideal, far from it.

Hooray for that kind, maligned man, our King, George III.

Pictured: our lawful flag at the time.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Quotations on respectable American Catholicism and America's lost Catholic moment

The kind of thing we should ask ourselves in America every Independence Day. Of course we don't need to antagonize our Protestant neighbors all the time, but:
Here's the right question for Catholics who have made a cozy and comfortable compromise with the USA:
"It does look, to the superficial view, as though Catholicism will be able to do in America, and in the twentieth century, what has hitherto been impossible to it, and what Christ said was impossible. It looks superficially as though we Catholics could ride with the tide of Americanism, flourish and prosper, increase and multiply, and even gradually win the respect and conversion of our fellow citizens — all this without martyrdom, singularity, misunderstanding or ostracism. Indeed we seem already to have arrived at such a state. You will find Catholics prominent in almost every field now, working beside non-Catholics without discrimination, in factory, office and examination room, on wards and in laboratories. You will also find that these Catholics who have in such large numbers 'arrived' at respectability and comfort and country club membership, resent the 'radical' elements within the Church which disturb the neat compromise they have made. Are the 'radicals' really wrong? Are things going as nicely as they seem to be going?"
— Attributed to Carol Jackson Robinson, This Perverse Generation

The church established schools including colleges to educate the multitude of Catholics not just to prosper materially, but to hold fast to the faith and have that faith permeate society. Life magazine in 1960 commented that at the current rate of growth, America would be majority Catholic by 2000. Then along came Vatican II and the "respectable Catholicism" of JFK who virtually rejected his faith in order to win office.
Of course I like my country, my people, and the old American republic was serviceable for us, a relative good, not an absolute one, but we should have remained under our Christian king, the kind, maligned George III (Protestant but not our problem as colonies with different laws from England's).

It's easy to rally with the right around the sexual issues that before the 1930s were commonly Christian but now are seen as peculiar to us: objecting to abortion, contraception, and same-sex pseudo-marriage. We still share the first and third with evangelicals. To which some thinkers will add: don't forget our social teaching, or people and the common good come before making money and the individual; no to greed, materialism, and consumerism. (Response: it's not necessarily about greed; capitalism has produced the best average standard of living ever; planned economies, even Christian-intended, don't work.) We believe in an infallible church; true Christianity really is in part about community.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Integral Catholicism vs. secular humanism AND the alt-right

Regular readers know that outside of Catholic doctrine I try to do the right thing keeping an open mind. Catholics agree on the basics and on the goals; the means are provisional except of course the end never justifies the means. Why the church as such stays out of politics. So over the years I've learned a lot from movements that dare to think outside the box that our secular humanist overlords in America (including the Republicans, historically not our conservative party) have constructed: movements such libertarianism from Lew Rockwell, and the manosphere plus the rest of the alternative right, including nationalism and human biodiversity/race realism, even though these movements aren't Christian. The government is not God or the church; that's actually a modern "progressive" notion. (You can also trace it to the divine right of kings, which was modern, not the medieval idea of kings. "There are no absolutes so what the king says goes.") Where libertarians fail: there is authority, given by God (we are all under authority as was the centurion in the gospel; "render unto Caesar"); "there is no social contract" and "everything the government does is bad (so let's hate the cops and the military)" are childish, from people with daddy issues. ("Question authority, maaan!" is not a complete worldview worth taking seriously.) So eventually I stopped reading libertarians but haven't thrown out what I've learned from them. (I voted Libertarian nationally from 2004 until this year.) Manosphere writer Roissy says as a worldview it's autistic (every man for himself; monstrous Ayn Randian selfishness, or the Talmud for gullible goyim as another commentator put it) but, like the authentic Catholic attitude to religious liberty as a relative good, not an absolute (evangelize; not this "Fortnight for Freedom" nonsense, begging our overlords to tolerate us), it can provisionally work for a society. At heart it's good: non-aggression; don't start fights or otherwise harm your neighbor. (Jesus' Summary of the Law; this movement obviously comes from Christian culture.) Plenty of room for us fisheaters to live in peace and for you to do likewise alongside us. Also easy in a big country such as America: "diversity plus proximity equals war"; tensions rise in smaller countries such as Britain, now burned-out anti-religious.

Also, at least America's founding fathers believed in natural law, unlike our rulers now. We should have remained loyal to the King, though. (Timely for the Independence Day weekend here.) Oaths to Christian kings matter, and his being Protestant wasn't our problem over here. You don't even have to be an anglophile to see the point; we would have remained distinctly American.

Anyway, Opus Publicum asks rhetorically if Catholic integralism (from Franco to de Valera to Lefebvre) is inherently connected to the alt-right's nationalism and racial pride, and rightly says no. That doesn't mean we should throw out the alt-right's insights any more than we should reject the polio vaccine because a Jew invented it.

My take: secular humanism is very appealing in the West; it's now our ruling ideology because it's so familiar. It is a ripoff of Christianity. (Steve Sailer: liberals profess the church's universal love but hate their own people; "leapfrogging loyalty.") An alt-right approaching Nazism is natural: a reversion to paganism! (Also, ironically, to the Old Testament; blood and soil, wiping out your enemies. No, I'm not a Marcionist; just looking at the Old Testament through the lens of the New. There is only one covenant, the new.) Of course, Catholics shouldn't swallow either whole. "Neither the sickle nor the swastika" as the man who largely formed my worldview taught.

The alt-right's points: charity begins at home; love and protect your family, tribe, race, etc. Illegal immigration is theft. The church: those things are true but not absolute. We also have a universality. Property rights, which libertarians hold dear, are not an absolute. Thou shalt not steal from citizens, but if a Catholic sees someone on the border who needs help, we forget the border and help. We don't have to play stupid saying there are no differences on average among the races, or that certain groups on average are hostile. We can't make race a criterion pseudo-scientifically, let alone commit atrocities, like the Nazis did, nor for that matter traditionally as the Jews do, including Israel vs. Palestine. (Jewish liberalism in the West is about keeping the host gentile culture weak to try to protect themselves.) There is being proud of your race, and the white man created the greatest civilization (like air conditioning? thank a white man), and then there is making an idol out of it. Nazism was actually an offshoot of progressivism (see above about worshipping the government). Not to be confused with fascism generally, which is a legitimate option but not necessarily the best (arguably outmoded: street gangs to fight the Bolsheviks there in the '30s) nor doable in American society. (It works for small homogeneous countries with an authoritarian tradition such as Spanish ones.)

So no, we traditionalists are not Nazis.

Novusordoism in America, in practice, "Vatican II Catholicism," is secular humanism with Jesus talk tacked on, like mainline Protestantism. Retrofitting the ripoff and passing it off as the real deal. American civic virtue. Selling out the faith in order to succeed here. Vatican II didn't actually teach heresy; we can't change doctrine and it didn't even define doctrine. Ironically, I live as though it doesn't exist but at face value I have no problem with it.

I don't think the left believes its own bullshit about Mohammedan migrants. Everything the left does is to stick it to white conservative Christian men, the makers of the greatest civilization, because the left is a sort of false rival church stealing credit for that civilization; the terrorists are imported muscle for that sticking it, and yes, the white liberals know the Mohammedans want to kill them too but are willing to sacrifice their own in a few mass shootings for the cause. Hey, blame guns and Trump; they think you're that stupid.

What Catholicism wants for the Orthodox

What we Catholics want to happen: recently the Orthodox unsuccessfully tried to hold a world council of their bishops (right reverend monsignori*); most countries' bishops didn't show up, or at least the ones from a very important country, Russia, as well as the Antiochians based in Syria. It ended up just being the Greeks and their friends. (Their power struggle: these bishops actually have little to do with each other. Rich Greek-Americans vs. the old Soviet empire?) What if they'd pulled it off? We want "corporate reunion" (anti-Catholic Orthodox from ex-Catholic family: "sounds like a retirees' picnic"; well, it does): their bishops all meet and decide to come into the church. They accept the Pope and our teaching on divorce and remarriage and, again, on contraception while retaining most of their autonomy as patriarchates. (Do we really need a Congregation for the Eastern Churches with a cardinal telling Eastern patriarchs what to do? No. Curial reform: get rid of some of that.) We leave their rite alone. (You don't have to latinize like the Ukrainian Catholics to be Catholic.) Orthodox families, parishes, dioceses, and countries would be intact. Despite our historical mistakes, we are not trying to destroy their culture; we have to walk that talk.

Opus Publicum reminds its readers that the Ukrainian Catholics' great dream is to be the Patriarchate of Kiev, the country's national church, with the Orthodox back with them under the Pope (truth: there is only one church, the Catholic Church) and real autonomy (see above). That's great; we certainly can do that but let's get ecumenical. Using the Ukraine against the Russians politically (as the U.S. government is doing) and ecclesiastically is wrong and shortsighted, even though the Russians are in schism and don't like us. (As anti-Communist and pro-Ukrainian Catholic as I am, Cold War nostalgia [!] doesn't apply; it doesn't cut it.) See above. These are real bishops who have the Mass (and, great for us traditionalists, a traditional rite at that, better than the Novus Ordo), an ecumenical opportunity we don't have with Protestants (non-churches; only individual conversions are possible). We should look at the big picture: bringing the Russians and the others back in, together, not pushing the Ukraine at their expense, which only confirms their distrust of us. (My analogy: how would Americans feel if China got California to secede from the Union?) No longer Communist, the Russians aren't America's problem anymore; heck, they should be our Christian allies. They're Germany's problem as the rival for leading Europe. (Russia controls the natural-gas supply.) Anyway, except for that, I have no problem calling Metropolitan Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) a patriarch as he might like.

Pictured: the late Metropolitan Josyf (Slipyj), a giant among Catholic churchmen, going through hell on earth (the gulag) to remain Catholic, a cardinal who wanted to be patriarch of Kiev with the Orthodox justly reconciled, in truth. I've read Jaroslav Pelikan's biography of him (too bad Pelikan ended up in schism; what a waste); he proved that a grand thing about being Catholic is you don't have to hate the West in order to be truly Eastern. His training was largely Western, in Innsbruck; we're not talking about two faiths but schools of thought and spirituality, Roman and Byzantine. Catholic is Catholic but respect the integrity of the rites. In his absence the Ukrainian Catholic Church continued in Galicia, underground, unknown until Communism fell/the USSR collapsed.

I would love to see Ukrainian Catholics I've known, people who chose exile or worse to remain Catholic, tell the anti-Western converts to Byzantium (not all converts to Byzantium, which can be a calling from God; the anti-Western ones who litter the Web) where to shove their precious phronema.

*Sacramentally they're bishops, but only Catholic bishops can have authority of jurisdiction as diocesans, lawful heads of local churches. That comes from the Pope. Some perspective: they're "Monsignor" to me while they're not sure if I'm really a Christian, really because my people weren't in their empire.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Gripes: Altar girls and the attempted ordination of women, charismatics, Opus Dei, and Pope Francis on gays

  • Altar girls. "They look ridiculous in men's clothes." That's what I thought when as an Episcopalian I belatedly learned of women's ordination among them. I couldn't articulate why then but knew something had gone wrong. It was like a flashing red light: "This is not the Catholic Church." So it hurts when Catholics do this stuff, as they have been allowed to since St. John Paul the Overrated caved on it. Liberal Catholics have been trying to soft-sell women's ordination in this and other ways (women lectors and women Eucharistic ministers) for 40 years. How's that working out? Vocations up? Why not? Altar boys are chierichetti, little clergy, in Italian, stand-ins for men in minor orders (which are rare); JROTC for priests as I say. When girls do it, the boys quit or don't volunteer, so the girls take it over: the sanctuary party in liberal parishes looks like a Swedish Lucia fest. And to what end? They can't become clergy; the church has made fairly clear that the ordination of women is impossible. It's a dead end and some girls' feelings are understandably hurt. It's pretty entrenched in the parishes now, lots of cute daughters and granddaughters doing it, so it will be herculean to eradicate. There's the biological option: liberal Catholics are dying out; young Catholic churchgoers are conservative, so altar girls will naturally, eventually go away. Interestingly, there is no big movement among Catholics to ordain women; people know we can't do it, not "won't." I say that's the Holy Spirit talking. Women clergy and something we can and sometimes do have, married clergy, don't reverse church decline. The Episcopalians have both and are still tanking for example. From a conversation about "three streams" in modern conservative (Realignment) Anglicanism (which has women priests; it's not Catholicism but a Reformed faith with the church's shell), which apparently are Anglo-Catholicism (not would-be Catholics but pushing a rival true-church claim), Evangelicalism (capitalized as an Anglican churchmanship), and charismatics.
  • Charismatics. Alice Linsley writes: Archbishop Mark Haverland makes this important point: Neo-pentecostalism simply didn't exist among Anglicans until after WW II. It certainly has no "semper" — nor "ubique" nor "omnes" for that matter. This is all post-1960s thinking, not the Catholic faith. I'm suspicious of it for that reason and because it's Protestant. Liberal Catholics used to love the Catholic charismatics because it was Protestant and ecumenism was cool; it was another way to stick it to traditionalists. It was dangerous. But in the Catholic Church it eventually catholicized (they love Mary, Eucharistic devotions, and apparitions) and, because it was based on conservative Protestantism, its honeymoon with the libcaths ended. It seems on the wane. Since it's catholicized here, I can live with it. I see them doing the orans position with their hands at the Our Father the few times a year I'm at the modern Mass. I call them the other American Catholics besides us traditionalists who still go to Sunday Mass. Pentecostalism's only been around for about 110 years. Oral and Richard Roberts... The Holy Spirit works in the world and miracles can happen but yes, be suspicious. Discern.
  • Opus Dei, "The Work," is nice; the right people respectively love and hate it. But I found it too Novus Ordo and if one isn't called to it like a religious order, one doesn't need it; all you need is a nice parish, a good confessor, and enough knowledge of the faith to be the best Catholic CEO, garbage man, and so on, that you can be. So, the rather hamfisted OD guy who tried to recruit me at a party was all, "Oh, it's just Catholicism, nothing more." I told him that therefore I already had what he was selling. Exactly.
  • Answering well-meaning, mainlinish, bumbling Pope Francis: Yes, we Catholics should apologize to homosexuals but not for the reason you want to hear. By the way, the church doesn't tell such to lie by living in sham marriages, for example. We do teach all to deny oneself, take up one's cross, and follow Christ. St. Peter, the church's earthly head after Christ, was crucified upside down for his sake; in the beginning there was no incentive to be a Christian.
  • Happy Gregorian-date (that is, the date most Christians use) feast of SS. Peter and Paul. Deus, qui hodiernam diem Apostolorum tuorum Petri et Pauli martyrio consecrasti: da Ecclesiae tuae, eorum in omnibus sequi praeceptum; per quos religionis sumpsit exordium. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.