Tuesday, January 24, 2017

"The pretty stuff motivates me to worship": Christian images


The pretty stuff motivates me to worship. I am a very visual person; I must have beauty. That's why my house resembles a shrine.
Right; the church took that natural religion and ran with it. And when we wondered about the First Commandment vs. graven images (a valid question), the church explained at the seventh council: the Incarnation makes using images possible. I have a foot-and-a-half-long crucifix high on the wall over my kitchen alcove, ruling this whole home, because like the Mass it calls to mind, it calls down the power of Christ's sacrifice, his love and grace, on me and my home here and now. I wouldn't say we must use images; that would be taking a cultural preference and making it doctrine, which would be a kind of idolatry. The Orthodox are guilty of that. Not to be confused with requiring images in a rite as a matter of discipline. The Roman Rite has a cross at the altar; the Byzantine icons; the Assyrian/Nestorian can have no images! (It's an interesting sight: what looks like an Orthodox service in an imageless church.) No, all we have to believe is that we have the option of using them, thanks to God becoming man; Catholics who do so are not worshipping idols. (And let's give pagans credit: their images are a kind of icon too; few are so stupid as to literally worship things they've made, as Lawrence James once wrote.) "All can; some should; none must."

I think, thus explained, our close cousins the traditional Lutherans (they kept crucifixes and other images but don't venerate them) and classic Anglicans (who used to be iconoclasts like other Reformed Protestants) can better understand our seventh council (which some Anglicans frankly believe in). It's not superstition like the Protestants thought. Hey, thanks to ecumenism even the anti-Catholic Reformed Episcopal Church doesn't have a problem with my crucifix anymore. But the Protestants believe Christ's saving work is all in the past, so no Mass and most say no to my crucifix; ultimately they lead to not having a church: secular humanism. See, it's all connected.

Interesting: the seven councils and Vincentian canon (what has been believed always, everywhere, and by all). To give the Orthodox credit, with those you do pretty much get Catholicism (doctrinally, Orthodoxy is Catholicism circa 800), which is why Anglo-Catholics, pushing a claim against us, ended up looking just like us.


My roll call of saints' images is modest; not much if anything to alarm a traditional Lutheran or classic Anglican. Nothing for its own sake and not at all superstitious. Besides Mary (big statue, small statue, both holding Jesus, big picture of her with two saints, handing them rosaries, and small metal Greek icon), St. Clement (patron of the Anglo-Papalist parish that helped form me; the decent-sized picture is the same as in their narthex), St. Panteleimon (tiny Russian cloth icon in brass frame), St. Dominic, St. Catherine of Siena, and Mother Cabrini.

Mass-and-office Catholicism in Anglican English here.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Fake Catholicisms: Rex Mottram, papolaters, and Ancient Faith Radio

Mark Cameron writes:
I would like to propose a name for this phenomenon of inveterate support for any and all Papal actions, imputing to him wisdom and spiritual insight beyond all the Saints and Popes of past ages: Mottramism.

This takes its name, of course, from Rex Mottram, Julia Flyte’s husband in
Brideshead Revisited. At one point, Rex decides to convert to Catholicism in order to have a proper Church wedding with Julia. But the sincerity of his conversion becomes suspect when he is willing to agree with any absurdity proposed in the name of Catholic authority, and shows no intellectual curiosity into its truth or falsehood. As his Jesuit instructor, Father Mowbray describes his catechetical progress:

“Yesterday I asked him whether Our Lord had more than one nature. He said: ‘Just as many as you say, Father.’ Then again I asked him: ‘Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said ‘It’s going to rain’, would that be bound to happen?’ ‘Oh, yes, Father.’ ‘But supposing it didn’t?’ He thought a moment and said, “I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it.’”
An online former acquaintance shown the door after this rant (old man yells at cloud):
You are still a Protestant! Heretics one and all. Too proud and stiff-necked to take lawful orders from any other human being, even the Vicar of Christ! Born traitors. Roma Dixit Causa Finita. A right-wing heretic is just another heretic, and a traitor. Have you been seeing visions in the maple grove like Joseph Smith? You are just arrogant self-righteous egomaniacs. Really who do you think you are, and in what church? I thought we were speaking about The Roman Catholic Church? The Pope is the head of that! Go play as a Protestant. You don't really expect me to discuss de fide doctrine and the pope speaking ex cathedra as a canon lawyer in this forum, on social media? If you can't obey the Pope as the lawful head of the Church you are not a Roman Catholic, why not go elsewhere, heaven knows there are enough other Christian churches to choose from. Papal Infallibility was defined in 1871 (sic), not last week! I like to obey the Pope, even outside areas where that is strictly required, and I don't like traitors who openly show disrespect to the Pope. Orthodox are you, perhaps? I was military: It was not our custom to speak disrespectfully of your commanding officer. So full of their own opinions and so adverse to showing respect to the clergy who devote their whole lives to these matters, let alone to The Holy Father! They probably tell their own mothers how to cook as well. Ha ha.
Friends, that's not Catholicism. It's what too many, even some well-meaning Catholics, think it is. We're not the Pope's personal cult.

"The Pope isn't a Mormon Prophet. If he says 2+2=5, or that the divorced and remarried, and Protestant spouses, can receive Communion for 'pastoral reasons,' it still isn't true. That is just basic theology. We are to obey the Roman Pontiff in matters of faith and morals. We are not to say whatever he says goes. Certainly you are aware of the various times this has happened in the past, no? He's infallible but that doesn't mean he's always right. Gotta love lay Popes — hurling anathemas left and right! Sorry, what you are espousing is not Catholicism but some chauvinist caricature of Catholicism. No point in arguing further; have a good day."

Reminds me of Fulton Sheen, who said most anti-Catholics don't hate the church; they hate what they think the church is.

Read Fr. Hunwicke on how Vatican I actually defines the limit of the Pope's authority. Then again, crazy Catholic reverse snobs will just dismiss him as a "stuffy Englishman" who's still really Anglican; their loss. Like what Newman went through: too conservative and orthodox for the Anglicans; too liberal in his opinions for many Catholics then.

A real Catholic, Melchior Cano, theologian from the Council of Trent:
Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See — they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations.
In the news, a bishop bans ad orientem at Mass. He can do that. The Roman Rite has many options, and within those rules, the bishop is the "liturgiarch" of his diocese. But if I lived there, I'd only give my weekly offering to my parish; all other charity would go to traditional Catholic and other causes. The crazy man above is partly right; there are right-wing schismatics and heretics. I'm not one of them. Liking ad orientem is not a reason to leave the church. As long as we have Pope Benedict's English Mass, I'm good. Bad clergy can huff and puff but they can't change our teachings, and I'd only have to put up with them an hour a week and forget them as soon as I'm out the church door. "That, Bishop, is how little you mean to me. You can't threaten my job; I'm not a priest in your diocese and this is America. So go soak your head."

P.S. Dear Ancient Faith Radio: The West already has the true apostolic faith. We're Catholic! We don't need or want a foreign imitation. Maybe that's why Eastern-rite churches fail here in three generations as the people assimilate.

P.P.S. Dear Continuing Anglicans: Much as with traditional Lutherans, I like you. Your liturgical language is one of mine, always. But I doubt that God's plan for the true church was for it to end up a gaggle of squabbling little sects top-heavy with clergy, not even in communion with the Church of England. If the Anglican enterprise were true, wouldn't you all still be Episcopal with the Modernists beyond the pale?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Current events


  • The oddly spelled Dylann Roof deserves to be executed for murder if he knew what he was doing (mere mental illness doesn't excuse), which the court thought he did. The state can spare him but doesn't have to. There should not be "hate crime" in the law. The state ought not have a window into men's souls; bigots have rights. It is none of the state's or my business if young Mr. Roof hates Negroes. It and I should care if he harms them.
  • Bradley Manning (no, I won't play along): The U.S. government is guilty of wrongdoing so he was arguably heroic. But part of the heroism is taking the due punishment so that the Army can do its job. That said, he had no business being in the military. Looks like the Corporal Klinger game worked for him; seems cowardly. Anyway, when he gets out, he'll be kicked out of the Army with a dishonorable discharge so no VA benefits, so who if anyone will pay for the operation and artificial female hormones he wants? Obama pardoned him as a parting insult to the old white America including its military. Ditto provoking Russia, leaving a mess for Trump.
  • Looking at the left agitating for civil war against Trump, if I were him I'd have Homeland Security on the lookout for Bill Ayers-style terrorism. Other than that, I doubt many of these social-justice weenies know how to fight. Enough water cannons will shut them up.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gay priests, the "gathering rite," and more


  • A lavender clergy mafia? From a conservative Protestant minister who knows many Catholic clergy who've talked about this: his guess is the Roman Rite priesthood is about twice as gay as the general population. It's a natural hangout for them even though it's not allowed. Just like the military: seeming to sacrifice normal married life for a noble cause, so nobody asks why you never married. Similar: sailors and oil-rig workers. That and the helping/caring professions attract more gays, much like those jobs' appeal to women. Most of "the scandal" wasn't pedophilia; that was just a liberal lie. They were gay priests attracted to teenage boys. Anyway, twice as gay is only 6% of priests, gays in the general population being only about 3%. If they don't attack the church's teachings or commit crimes, no problem.
  • The Remnant's Michael Matt on a "gathering rite" at an old Midwestern city Catholic church. I'm not a rad trad like him. Catholic churches are both gathering places for the assembly (ekklesia) and temples of Christ's sacrifice. These bad liturgics seem based on a Protestant denial of the latter, though even the Protestants would have found this "gathering rite" strange, the purpose of church for them being to sit and listen to the Bible and the sermon. And yes, I get "modes of presence," seeing God in your neighbor. That means charity, not this. My guess is this stuff is slowly going away; its perpetrators are old. Reform of the reform (let's high-church the Novus Ordo) will win, in a much smaller church. We've spent down our capital earned before Vatican II and haven't bottomed out yet. By the way, Bianca Jagger, Sting, and the late Andy Warhol (born into the Byzantine Rite) preferred the traditional Mass to the new.
  • The Chair of Unity Octave starts today. Forget "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity," a betrayal of Fr. Paul James Francis Wattson: he said to return to the Catholic Church and himself went from Anglo-Papalist Episcopal (rare) to Catholic. In the 1962 rubrics, a priest may offer the votive Mass of Saint Peter’s Chair at Rome, so we still have our octave in the traditional Roman Rite.
  • A friend, a conservative Episcopalian for about a decade, is dead against the Novus Ordo but Cranmer's Prayer Book in its 1979 Rite I Episcopal form is OK. What? Bad/rad trads and the Orthodox are guilty of something like this, and Anglo-Catholicism's rife with it: religion becomes about me, that is, my culture, my taste, my labors, and my entertainment. (There is religious entertainment and then there is religion.) Henry VIII didn't drive England into schism and Cranmer didn't force it into heresy so we could have nice services, and both of us would have hated Cranmer's creations (destroy the altars, statues, and chasubles, and let's have church in the round for Communion).
  • On the Vatican commemorating the "Reformation." Humility is good of course (we, but not our teachings, caused the Chornock schism, for example) but the "Reformation" was evil, a made-up Christianity set off by a madman; Renaissance Europeans' fanciful idea of the early Christians. That said, I like traditional Lutheranism: our close cousins because Luther wasn't consistent, he was willing to use the church's trappings to bait and switch, and his followers tried to reach an understanding with the church; they ended up closer to us than to the Calvinists. They don't reject things just because they're Catholic.
  • How the Church of England changed my life. A conscientious Anglican priest "being there" for everyone who lives in his parish. I hold no brief for Anglicanism but give credit where it's due.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The scoop on the Novus Ordo

The Novus Ordo has more flavors than Baskin-Robbins.
Unlike the Orthodox, the church has many cultures so it has several traditional rites* and in those many sub-rites.

I understand that until rather recently, churchmen didn't study the liturgy as history so they were cautious, changing things very little. Some things did change a lot but that took a long time. Priests were taught the liturgy as handed down, according to the rules, and that was that.

Then the new field of liturgical studies changed from appreciating the liturgy as it was to thinking it could improve it with a rewrite, an update. The spirit of the Space Age: progress! Streamline the Mass and the church will get even bigger and better; the Protestants will love us and come back.

So churchmen wrote a new Mass.

It wasn't heretical, but the English paraphrase was borderline until Pope Benedict XVI replaced it with a real translation.

That's the scoop on the Novus Ordo. Since I've been back in the church, I have worshipped and communed at it; I respect it. But it's not my home.

If you were expecting a rant on the apostles using the Tridentine Mass, "Quo Primum forever," six Protestant ministers co-writing the invalid new Mass, the real Pope being kidnapped and replaced with an imposter, no real Pope today, and all the church's problems being due to Russia not being consecrated following Our Lady of Fátima's command, you're reading the wrong blog.

*Roman (including local medieval sub-rites and those of certain religious orders), Byzantine (Orthodox culture), and others.

Religion, politics, and media


  • Religion:
    • The myth of the big, bad Catholic Church forcing the Byzantines to latinize. Gabriel Sanchez back to doing good work for the church.
    • What soured me on ultramontanism: in the '80s, well-meaning conservative Catholics were dragged into the liberals' Protestantizing agenda for obedience's sake, while the local Episcopalians, not even in the church, kept Catholic beliefs and practices thanks to their congregationalism. Similar with the Orthodox; traditional thanks to not being ultramontanist. I'm Catholic without apology but I learned from this.
    • Home devotion is a free-for-all. Rite sometimes barely puts a lid on anarchy. It's fun being functionally biritual; in church I worship in the Byzantine Rite 1/4 of the time. (I'm not against the latinized but with the church I don't push latinizations.) My native religion is Latin Christianity in that language and Anglican English, but, knowing what I know, grace before dinner for example can well be in Slavonic.
    • Bad religion. "The 'professional' lives of 'youth' is mentioned first. A totally natural approach for a false horizontal Christianity that no longer believes in Hell." This made me realize that even though the liberal campus ministry at my "Catholic" college would have hated Joel Osteen's guts, they weren't that different in this regard, but they gave lip service to liberation theology, etc., as something to assuage the yuppie wannabes' consciences. Do volunteer work/be a voluntourist for a year (gap year, a rich kids' thing) and vote Democratic all your life, and you too can have it all including heaven!
    • Eucharistic prayer in the 21st century. I'm not sure this is heretical. As we've seen with different traditional rites and now with the Novus Ordo, the church can write different and new services. (That doesn't necessarily mean it should write anew.) But no experimentation; dangerous. NCR wants heresy so there you go. Plus, frankly, when I read this I see a pathetic, desperate boomer or older priest putting on a Star Wars Mass and the millennial Comic Con-goers laughing at him and still not going to church. I understand the Episcopalians have a Star Wars-like Eucharistic prayer written 40 years ago that's often laughed about.
    • Do I understand this rightly? Kids in Western countries are being given anti-Christian indoctrination in college but Pope Francis thinks Catholic youth's main problem is "rigid" orthodoxy?
  • Politics:
  • Media:
    • The questionable ethics of computer animating dead actors. Kathy Shaidle also makes an interesting point about "Star Trek" vs. Star Wars fans. The first Star Wars is better art in my opinion (the best of old adventure movies, an intelligent philosophy, and boffo special effects vs. a rehash of 1960s America good and bad, a liberal sermon) but maybe Trekkers have more real-world success.
    • Culture is downstream from politics: TV shows adapting to Trump era. In which Face to Face explains "All in the Family" and "Family Ties."
      Archie Bunker arrived to television a full two years after Nixon's first inauguration. A key demographic in the Nixon coalition was working-class whites who were sick of the excesses of the Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War movements, whether these were rural Southern whites or urban white ethnics.

      In 1968, both groups had been loyalist Democrats for generations, but the influx of the Civil Rights movement antagonized them enough to defect at least temporarily (for white ethnics) or permanently (for white Southerners).

      The Democrats were apoplectic that such large chunks of their New Deal coalition had been so effortlessly poached by the GOP. It couldn't be because the Great Society policies were failures — it was because... uh, well, let's explore who these Nixon voters are in sit-com format, contrasting them with their liberal Democrat children. Maybe by portraying them halfway sympathetically and "feeling their pain," we can bring some of them back into the fold.

      Another show in the vein of "All in the Family" was "Family Ties," wherein liberal Jewish media executives tried to explore the nascent conservative and yuppie phenomena, as the liberal Boomer parents struggle to understand their
      über-Republican son Alex Keaton. Nixon did not run as a conservative, but as a pragmatist, law-and-order, liberal-moderate. Reagan's landslide was even more unforeseen to Democrats in the media than was Nixon's, and provoked greater panic to figure out what went wrong.

      "Family Ties" debuted nearly two years after Reagan defeated an incumbent Democrat, again showing that culture follows politics and economics. The producers hoped to pull the Alex Keatons at least halfway toward the liberal Boomer generation...
      The producers also tried to do this by bowdlerizing "conservatism" into "plays the stock market" for boys and "shops at the mall" for girls but otherwise being on board with the Sixties. And/or the über-Republicans (such as the neocons, really liberals) did that themselves.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Answering an Anglican


The Episcopalians, that goofy counterfeit Catholic church run by Masons.
Unlike, I suspect, most Anglicans today, I'm more or less at peace with the fact that historically we owe our distinctive existence to King Henry VIII.
Right; we disagree but I'll say it anyway. Henry didn't want to change the church other than getting an annulment he didn't deserve, and to the Anglicans' credit, for centuries their teaching on marriage was the same as ours, which is why as recently as 1936 a King had to abdicate. But with all due respect, Henry didn't force England into schism, and his churchmen later didn't literally very violently force heresy on England, so you could have nice music on Sunday mornings. If you really believe Cranmer's fanciful idea of the early Christians is true, then Anglicanism's for you; otherwise you're kidding yourself.

But as Thomas Day wrote, Episcopalians don't have American Catholics' pathological hatred of high-church liturgy. They're at least as liberal as the National "Catholic" Reporter but a good number of them worship like I do.

What if Pope Francis took away the traditional Latin Mass?

What would you do if Pope Francis prohibited the traditional Latin Mass and removed Summorum Pontificum?
I don't think he will because he doesn't care about liturgy. He's probably clever: giving confession faculties to the SSPX, for example, to throw traditionalists off guard. But given his hostility to trads ("rigid," "Pelagian," etc.), he might. If the TLM were taken away I'd be hurt and disappointed, and wouldn't make any extra financial effort for the institutional church as a result, but I wouldn't leave the church again. If I have Pope Benedict XVI's English Novus Ordo I'm fine, plus, as in the dark days of Paul VI and John Paul II, depending on where you are, there are the Eastern rites.

Nobody before Vatican II imagined the ordinary practice of Western Catholicism would just stop. The Pope has the authority to suppress the TLM and write a new service but like what provoked the Chornock schism in 1930s America, it would be stupid of him.

Writing new services isn't something we historically do. This may be a fairy tale from the liturgical-renewal folks but the story goes that churchmen didn't study the liturgy as history until at least the 1800s, so they were cautious about changing it, lest they cut out something essential. Just pass it along and learn the rubrics. It did change but very slowly because of this.

The SSPX means well but is wrong. Liking the old Mass better as I do isn't enough of a reason to separate from the official church. It was arguably different before Benedict's English Novus because the translation then was so bad. But arguably not, because, bad or stupid Popes notwithstanding, our teachings don't change.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The free market, the manosphere, and race realism are reality: Talking to anti-Trump orthodox Catholics

I continue to worry about some of my fellow Catholics who have fallen headlong into the Trumpist Cult: the Leader can do no wrong.
All politics are provisional. I've got the church, just like you. So I don't worship Trump, thinking he can do no wrong. You know my preferences: a king, a caudillo, or a Ron Paul. He'll do. He is a stay of execution for our country and besides, and go ahead and hate me, I like the man. The only candidate I didn't like personally was the one the Democrats betrayed Sanders for to try to force on us; the people to their credit didn't buy it.
I wish you would ask yourself why you like the man, and whether those reasons are good, and whether they are true and reflect reality. And I wish you would fess up to what you are ignoring about the man.
An Anglo-Catholic alumnus and Catholic convert like me, a Canadian subject and a monarchist, has pointed out facts: Trump isn't perfect. Namely, he's living in concubinage/adultery and his daughter is an apostate. But in our system, it doesn't matter. We are religiously neutral politically, which protects us as Catholics. Just like George III was in heresy, a Protestant, but we still owed him our allegiance as our Christian king. Religious law in England didn't apply to us, as the Crown showed in at least one colonial court case. The American Revolution was wrong.

I'm not making the perfect the enemy of the good so Hillary Clinton and her minions, the people whose theatrics have been making the news since Trump and we won, can bury us like they want to.

Ideally I'd like to have a Catholic Stuart monarch too.

Catholicism isn't a peculiar way of doing things but the way to look at everything. Reason is accepting objective reality. In our fallen world, the free market, the manosphere, and race realism are reality. Our challenge as Catholics is to deal with them as realistically and charitably as possible. Hillary Clinton and her minions want to bury us. Trump doesn't. Nobody else had a chance. My duty was clear and I can stand before our Maker and own it. He's not some lisping guitar-Mass idea of a Christian; he's a man. A pagan man, but a man. I like him without apology.
He is indeed a man, but that's not enough. He's a bad man. He'd turn on you in a heartbeat. It's fine to be glad that he's not Hillary and hope for the best, but any enthusiasm beyond that has to come — in my humble opinion — from a disordered place.
No need to worry, old friend: he's not my Dear Leader.
"The free market, the manosphere, and race realism": in point of fact, all of these are distortions of reality, despite the truths they might contain. Reality is found only in light of faith, and of reason illumined by the Faith. Trumpism needs to be evaluated accordingly.
I said "fallen." All have natural truth but all have sin too. The market is the only system that works, God made differences and a hierarchy for the sexes, and there are differences on average among the races. But the church condemns greed, abuse of women, and racial hatred. Our job is to discern.

Enforcing the law on immigration is common sense, not race-baiting, it was politically popular as recently as 10 years ago, and how dare one assume because I'm part-Mexican I'm for the illegals?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Catholic liberals are hypocrites: trads and the Christian East


Верую во Единаго Бога Отца Вседержителя...

Tisk... tisk... look at all those traditional hats! Fancy vestments! Gold! Tradition! Why is it that when Byzantine Christians wears lots of gold vestments and crowns and use tons of incense and march in grand processions, etc., it's beautiful and mystical and wonderful—but when Roman Catholics do similar things (as we have done for 1,500 years and more), it gets called rigid, old-fashioned, garish, triumphalistic, pharisaical, and who knows what else!!! Strange double standard going on there.
Fr. Z calls it: Catholic liberals (who doctrinally aren't really Catholic anymore) are hypocrites.

That's why my first traditional Catholic Mass in person (not counting Anglo-Catholic services) was Ukrainian: in 1985 Eastern rites were the only American Catholics allowed to have them.

Given the doctrinal fervor with which Catholic liberals tore down the traditional Roman Rite and anybody who wanted it for any reason, it is surprising. The implied doctrine: the Protestants were right. Like them, the liberals had a fanciful idea of the early Christians (varying to fit whatever they wanted) that disappeared in the big, bad Middle Ages; the Protestants were "renegade prophets." (A putatively Catholic book, from the Redemptorists, I had to read in college said that!) Good Pope John and his council set things right.

Self-hating Catholics, rather like self-hating Jews. Traitors.

True to form, Pope Goofball Juan Perón and his fans are silent when Msgr. Kirill celebrates Christmas Midnight Mass (Divine Liturgy) in his Moscow cathedral. (Monsignor doesn't believe we're baptized. We are required, indeed glad, to believe that he is a bishop and this is a Mass. We're not baptized, but divorce-and-remarriage and contraception are OK? People will believe anything if they want to.)

So why have Eastern rites long had a free pass?

  • Anti-Westernism/exoticism/Orientalism. Same as the beatniks who dabbled in Buddhism (before the left decreed that cultural appropriation is rude, to which we squares say, "Told you so"), the hippies who played with Hinduism, New Agers, and the kind of Westerner who betrays his people as well as the truth by becoming Orthodox or Muslim.
  • Ecumenism. But logically, given libcaths' anti-traditional bent, doesn't it look like a bait-and-switch? And at least condescending? To the Orthodox' credit, they've noticed and called it. Not at the useless ecumenical confabs, but their vicious anti-Catholic apologetics sites. And here this papist doesn't blame them. No wonder that among them "ecumenist" is a fighting insult.

Surrounded by so many lies, even from our own Catholic people, it's easy to be pushed into one of them: the heresy and cultural idolatry of the libcaths, the rad trads, or the Orthodox.

For me, it took reading and knowing reasonable traditional Anglicans to see through that... and find my way to the mind and heart of Christ and the Catholic Church. These essentials come in many cultures.

I spent Russian Christmas snowed in, lighting a candle in front of an icon and reciting Slavonic prayers (trisagion, canon to the Mother of God, troparion and kontakion), serving the same Christ and Catholic Church, praying too for these estranged traditional Catholics to return.

The libcaths won't come back to real Catholicism. They're old and will literally die out.

I don't mind if you want a simpler Mass than ours. As long as we have Pope Benedict XVI's English Mass as a baseline, we're good. Just don't deny us what's rightly ours. In Summorum Pontificum and the "reform of the reform" (high-churching the Novus Ordo just like Anglo-Catholics did with the Prayer Book), the church has spoken.

My guess is high-church Novus will win in the Roman Rite. I'd prefer the old Mass with a vernacular option. (In English, the Anglo-Catholics have already done our work for us.) Offer that and most Catholics' objections to it would vanish like a puff of smoke.

By the way, interesting: Midnight Divine Liturgy isn't Russian Orthodox parish practice in America as far as I know. A late priest friend who'd been on both sides of the schism told me that Russians have native Easter customs but the Christmas customs, such as they are, are really imported Latin Catholic ones at a few removes: the tree, the carols, and the vigil supper ultimately came from Germany. The Russians got them from the Ukrainians who got them from the Poles who got them from the Germans.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Historic mistreatment of Greek Catholics: Father, forgive us


This is a pretty picture, and the traditional Roman and the Byzantine rites obviously share the same faith (and are equally medieval in evolution), but here is some historical background.

Ruthenian (western Ukrainian) Catholic mountaineers in Poland were heroes fighting but losing a guerrilla war with the Polish Communists. The Poles, who never liked them simply because they're not Polish, dispersed them, ethnically cleansing the Ruthenian villages, either deporting the people to the USSR or moving them elsewhere in Poland. The Ruthenians' Greek Catholic churches were given to the majority Latin Church in Poland.

Doctrinally and liturgically sound Catholics aren't always right. Witness the Chornock schism in America.

One of the reasons I go to a Byzantine Catholic church one Sunday a month and worship there exactly like the Orthodox (bowing, not kneeling, no filioque, and all).

Без числа согреших, Господи; прости мя.
Someone who was at this Mass clarified that they were having a retreat nearby and needed somewhere to have their Masses. So the priest at the nearby Byzantine church, the closest church to where they were having their retreat, let them have their Masses there for the duration of the aforementioned retreat.
Thank you. But such churches and mixtures are in southern and eastern Poland for the reason I give.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Catholics being stupid: Infantilizing church

I very nearly spat my coffee onto my computer screen this morning when I learned (and confirmed) that the Holy See has published an order of worship for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which has as its central act... playing with blocks. Well, specifically, playing with shoeboxes covered in packing paper to represent stones (I'm dead serious) which are first built into a wall and then rearranged in a cross. THE SEVENTIES ARE BACK!
It's not heretical but it's stupid. This Pope is at best a doofus.

Thank God the '70s aren't back. We still have Benedict XVI's English Mass, not the possibly heretical monstrosity then.

When I was a teenager, the local Catholics went for this condescending crap; the Anglo-Catholics treated me like an adult.

That week, Jan. 18–25, began as the Chair of Unity Octave, started by Episcopalians who were would-be Catholics; Anglo-Papalists. Not Anglo-Catholics, who pushed Anglicanism; they wanted to come home to Rome, and when the Episcopalians let other Protestant ministers preach in their churches, in 1909 they did. Fr. Paul James Francis Wattson and Mother Lurana White of the Graymoor Franciscans.

Do yourself a favor and click the link, to a blog post from Fr. Hunwicke.

Another swing at the Orthodox because they deserve it

The thing is, you can't really argue with the Orthodox, since most of their arguments are constructed ad-hoc based on personal opinions and personal interpretations of documents of "Church Fathers"—and by the way, who's a Church Father is also completely arbitrary. There's no Orthodox Catechism, there's no Orthodox council documents, other than those from the first seven. You ultimately end up where you'd be arguing with a Protestant.
Yes! There is no such thing as the Orthodox Church. It's just a gaggle of tribal/national churches very little to do with each other that happen to share a rite because their founding church was part of an empire. The self-hating Western converts use it to try to invent a hipster Catholicism, cool because it's Popeless. Lifestyle accessory, such as shopping at Whole Paycheck, er, Whole Foods with the other SWPL bohos because "I'm fasting, I'm fasting, I'm fasting." Well and good; the Byzantine Rite is entirely Catholic. But what about divorce-and-remarriage and contraception? Behind the traditional liturgy there's really nothing there. Which is why they lose their people when those people Americanize.
René Guénon was a cuck who converted to Islam, the ultimate betrayal of his civilization.
His disciple Eugene Rose wasn't that different, converting to an anti-Western sect and rebaptizing Catholics and Protestants.

Whether he lives in Rome, Avignon, or Timbuktu, there is only one church and it has a head bishop; the Orthodox' old empire is nothing to do with it. Mistaking the empire for the church was the Orthodox' first mistake.

There are churchmen who don't quite accept Catholicism and then there are bigots.

Following the mind and heart of the church, I don't preach to Greeks and Russians. Traitors, Western converts to Orthodoxy who are online, are fair game.

Preaching to the Greeks and Russians has never worked. The Greek and Russian Byzantine Catholic churches are failures; they failed in their original missions. Better to try to bring in all of the Orthodox at the same time.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Good Pope John's council, etc.

If Pope John XXIII had lived, Vatican II would have been different. I don't think that it would have gone on for three years and from what I know about him I don't think that he would have approved the new Mass.
All possible. John XXIII was a good-hearted Italian who wasn't the liberal people think.
I always say, the Second Vatican Council would have been the perfect opportunity to promulgate the fifth Marian dogma. Marian devotion was very high after the war and through the fifties.
We can agree to disagree on that. I'm Marian as far as the creed etc. are, and I pray the Angelus and the Rosary, but that's it. She's the Mother of God; can't get any better than that.
She is co-redemptrix.
I can accept that as the church does but it's too much of a headache to explain. Luke, the creed, and Ephesus said it all for me: she's the Mother of God. I accept everything else the church teaches about her but there you are; I think it's commentary to the main thing. My patristic-like Anglican roots? Sure.

The real John XXIII told seminaries to step up teaching and using Latin and told religious orders not to ordain homosexuals. You never hear that of course.
Read his autobiography, Journal of a Soul. He was a very holy man. I don't know the veracity of this but I once heard it said that he felt it improper to look directly into a woman's eyes.
I believe that about Pope John: he had been in seminary since he was 11 (yes, junior seminary) so I'm sure purity including custody of the eyes, in a land with famously beautiful women (Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, et al.), was a big struggle for him as a young man even though he had a vocation.

All the good that Vatican II ostensibly tried to do could have been done without the damage to the church's morale and standing, and without the scandal to the faithful, with a few papal pronouncements: American-style religious liberty can work, let's teach the Protestants and others by meeting with them, and allow a vernacular option for the traditional Mass. Done. (By the way, the Russian Orthodox in America, the Metropolia/OCA, handled the last perfectly: they just translated from Slavonic to English and adopted the Gregorian calendar; they didn't write anew.)

The trouble was our churchmen bought into the Zeitgeist, not of the hippies, who didn't yet exist and anyway didn't care about religion, but the Space Age (yes, my era!): everything streamlined and updated, getting better through "Progress!" Now that we've studied the Mass, let's write a new one for modern man. Catholics will keep coming to Mass in droves and the Protestants will love us and come back!

How's that working out?

Look at the UN building and the '64 World's Fair: that's the Zeitgeist of Vatican II. Not necessarily heretical but foolhardy when applied to the life of the church.

I wonder if you remember the crap I read and heard from Catholics in good standing in the '80s, basically saying the Protestants were right. Even books with imprimaturs taught this. No wonder congregational Anglo-Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy seemed better.
I remember all too well.
A pastor literally yelled in my face that "the church now is vibrant!" and I wanted "a church that no longer exists."
Many people are still being told that nonsense. I feel very blessed to have access to solid, orthodox parishes.
I know our teachings and I'm not the narrow reactionary the liberals think I am, so a priest or whoever couldn't cow me with that if he tried. I'd give him Huckleberry Finn's line: "All right, I'll go to hell." And leave and never return to that parish. I'd go to another.
I also know of instances where people have gone to confession to confess a mortal sin, and the priest tells them that what they have confessed is not a sin. The uncatechized simply believe the priest.
That's on that priest's soul; if he knows better (and wouldn't he?) he'll have to answer to God for it.
Yes he will indeed. I'm not sure which saint said this, but one of them said something to the effect of, "the floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops and priests." Very scary.
Indeed. I first heard that 30 years ago, from a holy SSPX priest. It's because of the (much overused word) awesome responsibility of the clergy for other people's souls.

Of course priests mustn't lie about the church's teachings but that doesn't mean being an ogre in the confessional. I've run across that exactly once and that was enough. I've been told that traditionally priests are taught to be gentle in the confessional. Where I go for that, a city church manned by a mainstream religious order, they are, very peaceful.

A traditionalist pioneer and a spiky liturgical question


The late Fr. Gommar DePauw celebrating Low Mass from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary at his Ave Maria Chapel in Westbury, L.I., N.Y.
One of the heroes of the movement to restore the traditional Latin Mass (TLM) to the Catholic churches. Many still remember Fr. DePauw at Mount St. Mary's.
That's right; before Vatican II he was a respected canon lawyer teaching the subject at a seminary.

Fr. DePauw's recorded Low Mass (same as this: Common of the BVM) on New York radio was my introduction specifically to the TLM 35 years ago! Being Episcopalian then (born into it), I knew of some Episcopalians' resistance to the Sixties, holding onto the older form of their liturgy (I was formed in a parish that was among them); he introduced me to the Catholic version. He had presence: big man with that Flemish (Belgian Dutch) accent and bass voice. The first clergyman I know of to publicly take a stand for the traditional Mass, a few years before the Novus Ordo! (But don't forget Cardinal McIntyre in L.A.: as far as I know he never implemented the changes; he was forced to retire right when the Novus Ordo came out. He never celebrated the new Mass, even in retirement at a parish. Only the old.) I don't agree with Fr. DePauw's argument (his canon lawyerly one that Quo Primum Tempore forbids any change; on the contrary, the new Mass in its original Latin and in the English approved by Pope Benedict XVI is valid) but am grateful all the same.

But now that this Mass is my home, now that I'm acquainted with the rubrics, my question remains: what day is this video Mass for? All of the propers are from the Common like a feria (weekday Mass or votive Mass) but it has the Gloria and Creed like a Marian feast. So what's going on?

No trad or conservative parish? No problem!

It's sad: where I live we have no churches with the traditional rite, and the "normal" ones look very Protestant, with loud music and people clapping... It's sad and outrageous.
That's bad but in the '80s with the bad (bordering on heretical) English translation it was much worse. I've been back in the church five years, since Pope Benedict the Great's cleanup of the English Mass. I can go to Mass anywhere: the text now tells the truth. If the parishes screw up, it's on them, not me. If I were you, I'd offer it up for the 45 minutes or so every week, then go home and not give them a second thought. Put your money in the basket and nothing more. Give to traditional causes on your own time. Disclosure: I'm blessed with a conservative and even high-church parish 15 minutes from home whose main Mass is Tridentine even though the rest of parish life isn't. (Pipe organ, Anglican processional and recessional hymns, and white-gloved altar boys, no altar girls, ringing two sanctus bells.) That's my registered (not territorial) parish I call home. If I didn't have that or the Ukrainian Catholic parish I also attend and support, I'd do what I say here.

There is always orthodox Catholics' mainstay since Vatican II: the earliest, lowest Mass your parish has. No funny business, no attempt at music; just recite what's in the book, Father, and get it over with.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Tale of two American Catholic colleges


Big difference between the Franciscan University of Steubenville and my so-called alma mater, Villanova University: Steubenville, very "Vatican II," has always acted religiously in good faith, trying to follow the magisterium. They're not heretics. Villanova from what I can see online has moved even farther from the church in 30 years since I was there (largish and sportsy; not just militantly low-church but heretics); it wants it both ways, using the church socially (false advertising) to get the alumni's kids and "leaving behind the Catholic ghetto" for political correctness (Protestantism's bastard), betraying Christ and the church for mainstream respectability, the big time, arriving in American society. Pope Benedict's reform of the reform (high-churching) isn't happening there. I predict their old church liberals* won't keep many followers among the young, most of whom eventually will leave the church. (Kids figure out that liberal church isn't worth their time.) In their minds Villanova's competing locally with Temple and Penn. Academe as big business. I took myself off their mailing list about 20 years ago and long have not set foot there. In contrast, I visited nearby Good Shepherd, Rosemont (first went there in 1985) until the Episcopalians took it back only a few years ago. (Their core group converted; they are now good Catholics and still brother high churchmen.)

Before Vatican II these places existed to teach not just practical academic skills but an entire Catholic worldview (vs. our Protestant host culture), sometimes called integrism. Catholicism isn't just a way of doing certain things, like an eccentric hobby, but a way of looking at everything: from the Trinity to transubstantiation (blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man) to learning to chant a High Mass to, yes, working for peace and justice (the social reign of Christ the King), from opposing unjust wars and standing up for labor to opposing contraception (the truth, whether fashionable or not) and abortion; it's all connected.

A big story of Sixties America is the neutralization of the country's big Catholic minority: JFK disowned the church to get elected, Vatican II was exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time, and the Rockefellers bought off Notre Dame's Fr. Hesburgh and pushed the Pill. The Protestants pretty much got their wish.

*They remind me of the Old Catholics; a rump sect.

P.S. The autobiography of Fr. Ray Jackson. Villanova has virtually canonized this fellow, naming a dorm after him. Sad to us; a good traditional vocation blown far off course. Blame Vatican II and the Sixties generally.

RIP Fr. Michael Scanlan: Charismatics and the American Catholic Church

Franciscan University of Steubenville today mourns the death of President Emeritus Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, 85.
I'm sure he will have many Masses and other prayers said for him; good. This news brings back memories of my sometimes stormy relations with the charismatic movement he was a leading light of. I don't hate them; not in the least. I don't mind much of what they do. The trouble was it got started right after Vatican II and was part of many Catholics' war on us traditional high churchmen. In the '70s and '80s, priests like him told people like me to drop our artsy old-fashioned stuff to "be open to the Spirit"; otherwise we were sick or even bad, disobedient, even no longer in the church! The liberals loooooved this movement: it was a weapon against us, much the way secular liberals try to use the Mohammedans now. (So I said screw this and went back to the Episcopalians, who at least left me in peace for a while.) But... the movement seemed to grow up, losing its anti-high church bias it dragged in from Protestantism as it ... re-Catholicized. It went from giving devotion to Mary and Eucharistic adoration another chance to falling in love with the church's teachings (the magisterium) to giving us a break. And their romance with the liberals predictably fizzled because the charismatics are based on conservative Protestantism, so ultimately no feminism or homosexualism; politically incorrect! There have been Tridentine Masses at Steubenville and Pope Benedict the Great reformed the English Mass. We won; more important, God and the church did, and the charismatics didn't lose either.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Catholic trads good and bad

What is the main goal of Catholic traditionalism, the salvation of souls or restoring traditional Catholic culture? Might there sometimes be a conflict?
I've come to realize that both many Catholic traditionalists and the Catholic liberals they are reacting against are wrong. The '80s American church was bad: Protestantized and militantly low-church. If you wanted old-fashioned high church, they told you that you were bad (disobedient, "not open to the Spirit," and even no longer Catholic) and/or mentally disturbed. A great thing about being in England then was you could find Catholic high church if you were looking for it. The liberals are heretical, but come to think of it, both sides make the same mistake as the Orthodox of thinking their culture is the whole church. Anglicanism, which I came from and in the '80s returned to, doesn't have that problem, hence its appeal to me then, but it's heretical. Orthodoxy seemed to offer a way out too but it idolizes a culture. With our doctrine, a non-negotiable, and Pope Benedict XVI's English Mass as a baseline, I'm fine. If you want a simpler Mass than mine or even an experimental Mass, fine with me as long as you hold to our doctrine and don't step on my toes.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

I like being white

Whites should be proud of being white: of their many accomplishments. That doesn't necessarily mean picking on other races, and of course it shouldn't.

That's why I'm a casual consumer of the alt-right, as I am of the manosphere and MGTOW.

A lot of the alt-right's behavior is taking bait. "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." Pick on nice whites long enough, in the name of "justice," and you get a backlash.

In other news, I don't give a toss what the HuffPo is telling me to think.

Journalism has gone down the toilet. Metro is preaching that all correct-thinking people hate and fear Trump. And forget the entertainment industry. I will never watch "SNL" again. The good news is, thanks to this medium (even though Google and Facebook are likely spying on us), the old media aren't gatekeepers of information anymore; they have no more power. I don't watch national TV news; I don't need to.

In 30 years of public life, Trump was never accused of race-baiting until he ran for office making a campaign promise to, get this, enforce the law on immigration.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Ripping apart an anti-life propaganda cartoon

The original is from Everyday Feminism, a site so insufferably PC I can hardly tell if it's sincere or satirical.

"Can't we all agree on contraception?"



My take.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Catholic men on the manosphere and MGTOW

At Fisheaters:

Catholicism is about objective reality. Faith isn't a fantasyland but about seeing things as they really are.

When it comes to the sexes and relations between them, the manosphere in all its 21st-century ugliness, thanks to fallen human nature made worse by feminism, etc., is reality. Our challenge as Catholics is to deal with it as realistically but charitably as possible. In short, men, relearn to assert yourselves, and well-meaning men putting girls on a pedestal only inflate their already big egos thanks to original sin (they've been complimented/hit on all their adult lives).

This sounds like faking yourself out but it's true: if you really don't feel like you need a woman, if you're not desperately trying to be loved by one, your strength and assertiveness are more likely to attract and keep one, and a more attractive, higher-quality one than you otherwise would have gotten.

More.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

What would I do after being elected Pope?

Once I was a priest (as a Catholic man I in theory can be elected Pope but, like St. Ambrose, I would have to jump from layman to bishop!) I would celebrate Mass "facing east" almost exclusively. Don't ban "facing the people" but come clean about its not really being historic, and lead here by example. In short, step up "reform of the reform," high-churching/recatholicizing the Novus Ordo. I would also support the Tridentine Mass, my home, by learning how to celebrate it and doing so publicly. Not much else I'd do differently except no more press conferences on planes hinting I could change the church's teaching, which the Pope can't. Like Benedict XVI I would make clear my job is only as a caretaker and defender of that teaching. Given my history and personal interest, I would be ecumenical with the Orthodox: everything that's not doctrine would be on the table, for real. I would offer them everything Fr. Chornock wanted.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christian eccentricity

The eccentrics have a lot to teach us.
To quote an old friend, despite the lefist "diversity" cant, "the business/corporate world despises eccentricity, which is why Anglo-Catholicism can be a solace." I got the benefit of that in my late teens. The real Catholic Church of course is tremendously "eccentric," far more so than Orthodoxy or Anglicanism, which arguably are monocultures really. (Anglicanism, for all its latter-day indaba-ing, is the Church of England.) We're not, even though we're based in Italy and, for now, 98% Roman Rite. About seven rites (with centuries-old communities), dozens of cultures, and characters from St. John the Baptist to the real St. Francis to seemingly crazy homeless guy St. Benedict Joseph Labré (same type as the wandering Russian pilgrims and holy fools).

Friday, December 16, 2016

Explaining the English


In the facts-delivered-with-snark tradition of Lisa Birnbach's The Official Preppy Handbook, Paul Fussell's Class, and (not read) Oliver Sacks' An Anthropologist on Mars is Kate Fox's Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour from 2004. For many normal people, it's self-aware humor*, maybe sending up themselves (what Birnbach and her friends were up to, making fun of their own class); for foreigners, even or maybe especially from other English-based countries expecting more similarity/familiarity than there is, and for natives on the autism spectrum (being a foreigner in your own land thanks to having a different kind of brain), it's useful to avoid common social misunderstandings/pitfalls.

An overview of England 12 years ago is still current considering most Americans who have never been there have an image of the country at least 40 years out of date: Dickens, Right Ho, Jeeves, Brideshead Revisited (of course I've seen it and read it), "Downton Abbey" (which I didn't follow; I understand it's politically correct revisionist in ways, such as zero religion, the anti-Brideshead), moptops, "Monty Python," and punk (which was invented in New York but the English owned it). My firsthand knowledge is only 25 years past, which isn't too bad. "Mainstream" as a putdown (an example of what the English call naff) still sounds current on both sides of the Atlantic.

Interesting points:
  • That English reserve: Fox calls it "negative politeness," giving you and everybody else a lot of personal space. That's why American-style friendliness, sticking your hand out and giving your name, doesn't work with them. The famous English banter about the (crappy) weather, and about sports, actually follows one of many unwritten rules in society, asking the other person's permission to speak to them.
  • Offsetting that reserve is that famous English humor, often self-deprecating. Like the weather talk and sports talk, a way of safely interacting, without getting too close. Me: Canada (been there), really being a British country, famously seems to have that reserve (basically, unsocial Americans who say "sorry" a lot) without the wry humor. (I love "SCTV"; I don't get "Red Green.")
  • Masters of wordplay: again, as part of interacting comfortably on the surface, the English often don't say what they mean or mean what they say.
  • Fox has noticed that her people are like the Japanese: super-capable, living on crowded islands, hierarchical and ultra-polite to keep the peace, but with unofficially sanctioned violence (from weekend nights at the pubs to soccer hooligans) to let off steam.
  • The place of the pub in society: a safety valve, the bar being the only place you can talk to strangers, but within certain bounds; very English!
  • A good deal of overlap with Fussell: the upper and upper-middle classes in England and America are very similar, as he pointed out. Unlike the "diversity" propaganda claim (anti-whiteness from certain whites!), we have a foundation culture, which is English. Me: Some of the class markers are different besides national differences in accent and slang (short version: we talk funny because English sounded very different in the 1600s when the English settled in America, as you can hear in clips of Shakespeare's Original Pronunciation; then throw in 400 years of separate development), the biggest probably being soccer. In the mother country, which created it, and most of the rest of the world, it's a prole competitive sport taken seriously. In America it's considered to have class because it's European; a non-competitive way for upper-middle-class kids to get exercise. Class insecurity: the uppers and the lower proles have nothing to prove. The upper-middles and middles are nasty/snobbish because they fear losing status: every class hates the one right below it, with cultural boobytraps to catch those trying to move up. Great quotation from Fox: social climbers aping a class they don't really know end up performing "an anagram" of that class, throwing markers together wrongly because they don't understand them. The two books share a quotation: "Mummy says pardon is a worse word than fuck."
  • Class markers are less obvious in this weird era when people buy into the egalitarian myth but they're still there (including accent, even though Received Pronunciation seems to have been waning since the Sixties), sometimes very subtle: upper-middle-class kids almost always dress down/go slumming but choose more muted, tasteful colors than the lower-class kids.
  • It's so funny because it's true: Fox on Anglicanism. As you might know, the English are irreligious, and the Church of England is really the church of "I don't care": indifferent Protestantism, lately with Catholic trappings. "Mummy, what religion are we?" "Nothing really; just write 'C of E.'" According to Fox even retired Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey (an Evangelical Anglican) has compared it to a senile aunt talking to herself. Me: But at heart England is a Catholic country with a guilty conscience, having been driven from the church by force. Reminders are everywhere for those sensitive to that (such as the old churches, the names of the old colleges, and the Catholic trappings the C of E has readopted); it haunts that country but doesn't haunt America, which doesn't have those roots. (Our Catholicism famously has become defined by non-English immigration; it's Irish-based. The remaining church in England became very Irish too but is much smaller numerically and proportionally than ours.) Reformed Christianity is a made-up religion from the 1500s which largely lost its faith at the "Enlightenment," hence the unbelieving English today.
More: Alex Gross on the differences between the two Englishes.

*Noah Webster invented American spelling out of spite after independence.

Monday, December 12, 2016

American Catholics' future and politically correct punditry


Four corners: The changing landscape of Catholicism in America. A look at who we are, where we are and where we’re headed as a Church.

American Catholic churchmen have to face the obvious that Vatican II backfired on them, assuming they even meant well. I've been to the South only a couple of times really but I've been told that the church is doing well there (thanks to transplants; corporate nomads? An unhealthy way to live but that's another discussion). What I did see down there may be unique: a Byzantine Catholic parish that's a magnet for orthodox Catholics (ex-SSPX go there), accidentally reaching beyond its Ruthenian ethnic border. Here in our old stronghold, the Northeast, we're sharply declining, the church having spent down all the financial and social capital it earned and accumulated before the council. (Closed or merged churches and schools, and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is about to sell its big seminary campus.) We'll bottom out here (haven't hit bottom yet), not disappearing but ending up much smaller, but orthodox, even quasi-traditionalist, because the liberals are literally dying out, among the young only the orthodox still go to church, and conservative Catholics tend to have kids.

Reading churchmen preach "diversity" (although the church has many cultures; I object to the lie that America doesn't have a foundation culture, anti-white nonsense) and "perpetual change," leftist staples (take people's support systems away to break them down so you can control them), is worrisome. Cut it out!

For some reason, despite many years of prediction, "Hispanics"* aren't the Next Big Thing in American politics or American Catholicism, and I'm 1/4 Hispanic so that's not malice from me.

Photo: Charismatics, the other American Catholics besides us (quasi-)traditionalists who still go to Mass, although that movement seems to be waning. Know what? I don't mind this. As long as you don't disrupt the service, this and my high churchmanship aren't mutually exclusive. Rites are partly to teach and partly to keep order in church. For home devotion, almost anything goes: mix rites, have your own saints such as deceased relatives and friends, etc.

*Too big a catchall to mean much, although sharing Latin culture and the church means something. But it's like saying all English-speakers are alike.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Backhanded testimony

Tom Hanks joined and regularly attends a church that publicly opposes gay marriage. When he got married he joined the Greek Orthodox Church and I have seen YouTubes of him celebrating the Pascha/Easter liturgy. But the liberals won't attack him because he is also a leftist person.
I see it as backhanded testimony that Orthodoxy is not the church. I'll 'fess up: a little over 20 years ago I liked a traditionalism that seemed cool, acceptable to the mainstream, unlike Catholic traditionalists. I wanted to be liked. So I became Orthodox. The powers that be have no problem with the Orthodox because the Orthodox are harmless to them; underneath the traditional liturgy, the Orthodox sold out long ago. State control of churches, divorce and remarriage, and now contraception: what's next? So all that's okay, but we might not be baptized because we weren't in their empire and aren't in their culture. Sure.

The devil doesn't bother attacking things and people he already owns.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

A blast of high churchmanship


Wow. At first I thought this was Cardinal Burke. It's at St. Silas, Kentish Town in London (their patronal festival in July), part of an Anglo-Catholic Anglicanism that was "Romanized" or even Anglo-Papalist (the former don't believe everything in Catholicism but love our liturgy; the latter said they believe all we do). I guess they're Romanizers, because when offered the chance to come into the church they remained in the Church of England; alas. In Philadelphia, St. Clement's is like this. It's vacillated between Romanized and Anglo-Papalist; now it's Episcopal in fact as well as in name (I don't go there anymore) so Romanized it is. In some cases, such people were the only ones in town doing this stuff, so while pushing a true-church claim against us (what most Anglo-Catholics were about) is wrong, thanks.

Oddly, no maniples, so they're not following the Tridentine Mass (I knew that about this place), even though you can use them in the Ordinary Form.

SSPX "poachers" and confusing form and substance

From Church Militant: SSPX poachers. The SSPX has a habit of luring the faithful away from diocesan-approved Traditional Latin Masses.

I sought out and went to the SSPX for a year in the '80s when there was no diocesan-approved traditional Latin Mass. They do much good, often being the only kind of Catholic orthodoxy in their area, and we have the old Mass back in the official church thanks to them. (That is, thanks to church authorities reacting to them.) The article is essentially right (the SSPX does confuse form and substance; don't leave the church even for an apparent good such as the traditional Mass; a good thing put above the church becomes an idol) but let me explain. In the '70s through the '90s, the ruling liberals in most of the American Catholic Church, besides often being heretical ("Jesus isn't God, the church is fallible, the Eucharist is just a symbolic meal," political correctness), were just as culturally idolatrous and self-righteous as we traditionalists are accused of. They told aspiring high churchmen such as me (born Episcopal, which although it is usually just as liberal as our liberals, isn't anti-high church; "high and wide," they often worship like we do) that we were bad (sinning, leaving the church) and/or mentally ill (Pope Francis' cracks about "rigidity" are more of the same; by the way, the Pope's opinions don't matter) for wanting to worship as had been done for centuries and well reflecting all our teachings. The church may be defectible and fallible in their view, but by God, they said, they were the church and we were to obey. No wonder I left the church for a long time (even doing the unthinkable, returning to an Episcopal parish: conservative, left in relative peace because of semi-congregationalism, and not rigid/self-righteous nor condescending; Anglo-Catholicism is almost the right faith, taught by the wrong side). Part of it was I was confusing form and substance, but that's exactly how Catholic liberals presented things to me in the '80s (their form "was" the church; take it or leave it). I don't mind if some Catholics want to be low-church (low and modern but not heretical: Catholic charismatics, the other American Catholics who still go to Mass); I object to the pathology I just described (which Thomas Day describes perfectly, with roots going back to before Vatican II) as well as to heresy. The church has several rites (and sub-rites such as the Novus Ordo) and many schools of spirituality and speculation, which don't always like each other even though all are Catholic. The first English Novus Ordo was borderline heretical (because of the dumb idea of "dynamic equivalence," paraphrasing, not translating); Benedict XVI "the Great" (not even that conservative, just Catholic) corrected that. Now, I have no conscience problem with the new Mass; as long as it's by the book, we're good. (The earliest, lowest Sunday Mass has been a mainstay for 45+ years for orthodox Catholics with no other official option.)

I belong to a parish 15 minutes from home that's conservative and has the Tridentine Mass as its main Sunday Mass, which I go to most of the time, and, having been Russian Orthodox (the Orthodox make the mistake too of confusing a culture with the whole church; a good traditional culture entirely Catholic), I also support the nearest Byzantine Catholic parish, which happens to be Ukrainian, going to it 12 times a year (one Sunday a month). (By the way, my first traditional Catholic Mass in person over 30 years ago was Ukrainian, one of the only places in the official church where traditional worship was still tolerated.) Been active as a Catholic again for five years and will go to a liberal parish to cover my Sunday or holy-day obligation. Grounded in small-o orthodoxy and, I dare say, far more "openness" than any Catholic liberal showed to me.

Looking to the right of the SSPX, the sedevacantist scenario can happen. (Again, given "Catholic" liberals' arrogance, presuming to speak for the church, no wonder since the '70s some traditionalists have thought apocalyptically.) It hasn't so far.

I've known enough "religious" people in my half-century on earth, and tried being one, to realize that much of the time it's just a prop, a game, or entertainment, like a hobby; left and right. Goofball clergy including Popes aren't my problem; God saw fit not to call me to be a priest so they're not my bosses, thank God. Don't get me wrong; I believe. I don't have much religion, but the religion I have is Catholic, culturally before 1965, and I don't settle for imitations.

Most Catholics use the new Mass and don't want Latin. Pope Benedict's Mass delivers the goods and comforts many, but it is not my home. The gates of hell can't prevail against Rome; I'm confident that the reform of the reform will eventually win. (Familiar to me; it's a lot like Anglo-Catholics unprotestantizing the old Book of Common Prayer.) The Tridentine Mass will keep going as a minority. Kids realize liberal Christianity isn't worth a second thought; the few religious kids want real religion.

P.S. Latin is great; long a common second language for European intellectuals, a template for sound theology and liturgy in the West, and pretty, the Romance languages' mother. "Sacred languages" are just something people naturally do. (English-speaking Protestants did it with the King James Bible.) But traditionalism isn't about Latin. Witness the Eastern rites plus Anglo-Catholics translating our services, reflected in the practices of the ordinariates.

Update: A sharp reader points out that "diocesan-approved traditional Latin Masses" simply means "traditional Latin Masses in the official church." Thanks to Benedict the Great's Summorum Pontificum, we don't need the bishop's permission.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The papacy for dummies

The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers. For it is impossible that the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church," [Matthew 16:18], should not be verified. And their truth has been proved by the course of history, for in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been kept unsullied. From this hope and faith we by no means desire to be separated and, following the doctrine of the Fathers, we declare anathema all heresies, and, especially, the heretic Nestorius, former bishop of Constantinople, who was condemned by the Council of Ephesus, by Blessed Celestine, bishop of Rome, and by the venerable Cyril, bishop of Alexandria. We likewise condemn and declare to be anathema Eutyches and Dioscoros of Alexandria, who were condemned in the holy Council of Chalcedon, which we follow and endorse. This Council followed the holy Council of Nicaea and preached the apostolic faith. And we condemn the assassin Timothy, surnamed Aelurus ["the Cat"] and also Peter [Mongos] of Alexandria, his disciple and follower in everything. We also declare anathema their helper and follower, Acacius of Constantinople, a bishop once condemned by the Apostolic See, and all those who remain in contact and company with them. Because this Acacius joined himself to their communion, he deserved to receive a judgment of condemnation similar to theirs. Furthermore, we condemn Peter ["the Fuller"] of Antioch with all his followers together together with the followers of all those mentioned above.

Following, as we have said before, the Apostolic See in all things and proclaiming all its decisions, we endorse and approve all the letters which Pope St. Leo wrote concerning the Christian religion. And so I hope I may deserve to be associated with you in the one communion which the Apostolic See proclaims, in which the whole, true, and perfect security of the Christian religion resides. I promise that from now on those who are separated from the communion of the Catholic Church, that is, who are not in agreement with the Apostolic See, will not have their names read during the sacred mysteries. But if I attempt even the least deviation from my profession, I admit that, according to my own declaration, I am an accomplice to those whom I have condemned. I have signed this, my profession, with my own hand, and I have directed it to you, Hormisdas, the holy and venerable pope of Rome.
— Formula of Pope St. Hormisdas, 6th century

"The papacy for dummies": Christians believe Jesus was God and founded only one church. That church has a head bishop who under some circumstances has certain powers, such as to define doctrine. And what has he defined since roughly the time we clarified the extent/limits of those powers? Things about Mary that Catholics already believed. That's how it works. He's a caretaker, not a creator of doctrine.

19th-century Anglicans were admirably "conservative" like the Orthodox with their scruples about the development of doctrine (only a theory of Newman's, not our doctrine!) regarding the Pope. Really, I think that they imagined the 21st century as having the Episcopalians, the one true church (churchmen such as Charles Grafton believed that), holding fast to the ancient faith, creeds, apostolic ministry, morals, and all, while that madman in Rome did things such as attempt to ordain women and marry the same sex.

Western Catholicism without the Pope is a will-o'-the-wisp as the history of both Anglicanism and "independent" bishops shows, That said, I respect fellow Westerners who can't quite accept the Pope for theological reasons, not just bigotry like much of the Christian East: Continuing Anglicans and Missouri Synod Lutherans, for example, our estranged but still close cousins.

And... although classical Anglicans see us as in grave error (put on your fireproof suit to read the Thirty-Nine Articles), they claim the episcopate from us and recognize us, our bishops, our sacraments, as still Catholic too. Near me lives an Episcopal priest, an ex-Catholic, I have the utmost respect for; he is a marvelous Anglican apologist in C.S. Lewis' league. The sanctuary of his middle-of-the-road parish church has a mural from the 1950s depicting their understanding of holy orders that literally includes the Pope. I find that moving.

Pictured: St. Pius X, foe of Modernism (Protestantism on steroids, the heresy of heresies) and "founder" of the Russian Catholic exarchate (nec plus, nec minus, nec aliter: you don't have to give up your Orthodox customs to be Catholic).