Sunday, March 26, 2017

Dominica quarta in Quadragesima


  • Mass: Laetare, Jerusalem.
  • Anglican missal propers and readings. The difference in the standard Catholic version is the gospel goes on for one more sentence: When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
  • First photo: I haven't been but an old acquaintance's recent travels brought this to my attention. Les anglicans being plus catholique que les catholiques. The high altar of the Episcopalians' American Cathedral in Paris, seeming ready for a requiem (even though their Articles condemn our "Romish doctrine concerning purgatory") but with white candles, not yellow. Many of you know that traditionally the Reserved Sacrament is not on a cathedral high altar (and anyway those Protestant Articles condemn that too: "not by Christ's ordinance"; well, neither is Morning Prayer). Anyway, part of the point of Catholic traditionalists, reform-of-the-reformers, and the ordinariates of ex-Anglicans is we can and should reclaim this, building like this again (but not exclusively; the church has many cultures).
  • Second photo: no pink for me this Lent. My monthly Byzantine Rite Sunday, the Fourth Sunday in Great Lent, the Sunday of St. John of the Ladder: troparion and kontakion; epistle and gospel. The long St. Basil version of the Liturgy, here with the whole, longer anaphora chanted recto tono, the modern way. (Fr. John's got stamina.) By the way, not everything Eastern is old; the Roman Canon is older than the two Byzantine anaphorae. Afterwards, coffee hour and again meeting a couple I knew 20 years ago; he is of Ukrainian descent.
  • History: Beethoven's faith? Cradle Catholic but enigmatic; apparently he made his peace with God and the church. The great German composer with the Dutch name had his roots in Catholic Flanders.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Congregations that don't sing

I'm of two minds about congregational singing. Good thing it's not de fide and the church has many cultures. I understand in theory it's a Good Thing. Aware Christians, the community, etc. On the other hand, the community isn't just for the pious. "The Catholic Church: here comes everybody." Most of our people don't sing. Some can't and some shouldn't, so, playing on that old Anglican saying, maybe "none must." Quiet Low Masses (originally for monks' private daily Masses) have been a staple in the parishes for centuries... because ordinary people (and ordinary priests) wanted them.

The article makes the same point Thomas Day made decades ago: much unliturgical music really is a concert, unsingable by average people. The classic Protestant hymns we open and close our Sung Masses with are both orthodox and very singable.

Cranmer's busted religion and more

Chesterton wrote:
The Book of Common Prayer is the one positive possession and attraction, the one magnet and talisman for people even outside the Anglican Church, as are the great Gothic cathedrals for people outside the Catholic Church... might be put in a sentence; it has style; it has tradition; it has religion; it was written by apostate Catholics. It is strong, not in so far as it is the first Protestant book [but in that it was] the last Catholic book.
Which is why the Puritans hated it. I use its idiom just like the ordinariates (hooray for Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio, for example) but I wouldn't go that far about the BCP. Broken anaphora in the English original, Black Rubric (Anglicans kneel but "he is not here"), and Articles (fallible, fungible church and no Mass). No. The church is right to forbid Cranmer's anaphora as printed in the BCPs... but although I'm not a fan, I say it could be an option because the Antiochian Orthodox have done our work for us, unprotestantizing/catholicizing it.

I have no problem being gracious to born Anglicans acting in good faith, such as visiting each other's services. Of course Communion's out of the question. I wouldn't lend our churches to Protestants either; the Orthodox don't do that and I can't imagine the ancient church doing it.

The flashpoint of all rebellion is where God and his creation meet in the flesh. I understand Milton's Satan would not serve man; man's rebellion has three fronts: who Jesus is, what the Eucharist is, and sex.

People who object to the church's office of head bishop (yes, the papacy) 1) want to run the show themselves (emperor, tsar, sultan, comrade first secretary), 2) think they know better than the church, not just the head bishop, and/or 3) have sex issues.

I'm not that religious though I believe; religion is a perfect "safe" blog topic. Regular readers care about it a lot and prying people don't.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fisking a libcath post

Typical liberal Catholic bilge water, of course from an older person:
To say Vatican II is not Catholic is absurd! I was born in 1953 and grew up a child in the Vatican I era. I was an altar boy, did all the Latin etc., novenas, May processions etc. I know change is hard to accept and we want to remember in a moment of nostalgia the church we grew up with. With that said the Holy Spirit will never let the church get misdirected or misguided. Which means Vatican II was meant to be and we must accept it. The Holy Spirit wanted "a breath of fresh air" to enter the church. I believe we finally got it right. Each Catholic celebrating in their native language with the Body of Christ with the clergy amongst them is more like how I envision our first liturgies in the catacombs and the Last Supper, everyone gathered around a table. Be careful we don't let evil guide our steps backwards and let the Holy Spirit continue to guide our steps forward.
To say Vatican II is not Catholic is absurd! True; it didn't define any doctrine; it's not heretical. Maybe stupid, but not heretical.

I know change is hard to accept and we want to remember in a moment of nostalgia the church we grew up with. Don't patronize me.

With that said the Holy Spirit will never let the church get misdirected or misguided. True of our doctrine.

Which means Vatican ll was meant to be and we must accept it. No. It's suggestions and policy, most of which backfired.

I believe we finally got it right. The church is indefectible but things other than doctrine need reform now and then; sinless church, sinful people. But if true Christianity basically disappeared until Martin Luther, Joseph Smith, Vatican II, or who/whatever, Christianity's a sham.

Each Catholic celebrating in their native language with the Body of Christ with the clergy amongst them... An option. So's the traditional way. The clergy are among the people when all face the altar, and why not a vernacular option for the old Mass?

...more like how I envision our first liturgies in the catacombs and the Last Supper, everyone gathered around a table. More your imagination than history, just like the first Protestants.

Be careful we don't let evil guide our steps backwards and let the Holy Spirit continue to guide our steps forward. So your opposition to liturgical conservatives and I suspect against small-o orthodoxy isn't just a matter of having several styles and schools of thought aside from doctrine and of spirituality, but, just like the early Protestants, a battle between right and wrong, between good and evil.

With people like this claiming to speak for the church, and in the '70s and '80s, boy, did they, no wonder people leave it.

Mostly religious quick post

  • Good question: how much of your religion do you really believe and how much of it is really group identity?
  • "You know why we lack boys/men in church? Because It has become a feminized place." Men don't like sissy religion. Vatican II only made that worse; churchmen repeating globalist platitudes worse still. The old liturgies are masculine; they pre-date the feminization of Christian piety in the years before the council. Most Western men just write off church as for sissies including cucks; some become evangelical. When I was an exchange student in Mexico in the '60s, I noticed men and older boys were never seen at Mass. I believe it. That was thanks to the sissification of Christian piety going back to around the 1800s; Jesus as one's boyfriend. So I understand in Mediterranean and Latin-American Catholic folk cultures, churchgoing was for women with the priesthood both a respectable option for homosexuals and with the many (majority) straight ones having affairs or in practice married, with the bishop looking the other way; most men weren't really expected to participate in religion. Folkways nothing to do with our teachings.
  • I avoid lay Eucharistic ministers, not that it affects the sacrament but I resent being forced to play along with someone's un-Catholic agenda. In my five years back in the church I've never received from one.
  • Nobody asked me but... while I appreciate the idea behind connecting social service with Christian teachings, doing this to Confirmation could reduce Christianity to a kind of club for the socially skilled often of a certain class; like the Novus Ordo generally, the upper middle class patting itself on the back. "Good breeding." A sacrament, God's gift, reduced to the transcript- and résumé-polishing of that class. I don't know of anybody denying the sacrament to the disabled, but this phenomenon seems to make the disabled or even the socially awkward literally second-class citizens in the church. Somehow I have some kind of faith; otherwise being an angry goth kid has some appeal. (Buddhism's good too even though it doesn't answer ultimate questions.)
  • I didn't get ashes. (Best not to show that stuff at work.) I haven't been to Stations. I say a Lenten prayer in Slavonic doing prostrations in front of icons (looks like the Mohammedans except for the images; some say they got the prostrations from the Christians). Yes; I am Catholic. Small-o orthodox (that descriptor shouldn't be necessary; "Catholic" should cover it, but, hey, fallen world), non-fanatical TLMer with a side of Russian Byzantine.
  • "Our Orthodoxy is a little island in the midst of a world which operates on totally different principles — and every day these principles are changing for the worse, making us more and more alienated from it." What I got from reading Fr. Seraphim (Rose): I like the idea of a Christian traditionalism that both said no to the 1960s revolution in the West but acknowledged it sometimes had a point because the West's problems pre-date it. That said, I can say the same as this quotation as a believing (I didn't say good or holy) Catholic living in a Protestant country.
  • After Vatican II, Eastern-rite Catholics were still allowed to be traditional because they were relatively few enough to be considered well hidden plus maybe it was Catholic liberals trying to ecumenically bait-and-switch the Orthodox. (Note for newbs: there is more than one Eastern rite.)
  • "Autistic" is the "retarded" of the 2010s. What a shame that well-meant "awareness" about a real problem, autism, has become the playground-style putdown of the 2010s ("sperg," "autistic screeching"), replacing "retarded" (almost gone because, valid point from the liberals, labeling is bad). The schoolyard is a cruel place. Kids have been using “special” for “retarded” for years.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Dominica tertia in Quadragesima: Oculi mei semper ad Dominum

  • One of those fine Sundays in which the old Book of Common Prayer collect, epistle, and gospel still match the traditional Roman Rite, so here are the Anglican Missal propers. Mass: Mine eyes are ever looking unto the Lord.
  • The Latin propers.
  • Happy St. Joseph's Day, I believe pre-empted in the 1962 Missal. Great stepfather and often unsung hero.
  • Why the ordinariate? Of course I love the ordinariates; brother Anglo-Catholic alumni promoting real Catholicism (commonly called conservative or orthodox Catholicism) in classic English. Certainly there can be an English Catholicism (echoing Anglo-Catholic N.P. Williams' idea of a Northern Catholicism) like Polish, Italian, etc., but I think Fr. Tomlinson is overstating it in this case. For one thing, as Msgr. Edwin Barnes has mentioned, in England the English, Anglican things such as the Book of Common Prayer were Protestant things used against Anglo-Catholics, who largely were would-be Catholics, Anglo-Papalists. So my impression is the British ordinariate is really the Pastoral Provision with more clout; good, conservative, married Novus Ordo priests. The old BCP means something different to American A-C alumni; like the Tridentine Mass for cradle Catholics, it was part of their big no to the Sixties. So the American ordinariate is a little different culturally.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Protestant claims and my background

The International House of Pancakes Prayer, whatever that is:
We invite you to pray with us for the nations that have not yet heard the gospel. Let the word of the Lord run swiftly to Syria and Lebanon in Jesus' name.
"You know that Jesus preached in Lebanon's Sidon and Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, right?"

"Do they know it's Christmastime at alllllllll?" Ethiopians were celebrating Mass for it when most of our ancestors were still worshipping the Norse pantheon. (A fourth of mine converted with the Romans, in Iberia, that is, Spain.)
"But ancient, apostolic Christians aren't Christians. They need the true gospel. It's the white (Protestant) man's burden!"
I know the rap. Ironically it helped get me started Catholicwards as a kid. A sister was a '70s charismatic "Jesus movement" person who left the family's tepid Episcopalianism (my parents really got their religion from the televangelists and self-help books old and new; a home brew) for at least theologically conservative Protestantism so I'd actually hear that stuff. "So-and-so was raised (name the Catholic-ish church) but he became a Christian." I figured if it's that old and she and her friends were reacting that strongly it has to have something going for it. And the little I knew of the culture, such as filtered through the not-yet-crazy Episcopalianism in the parishes, spoke to my heart, at the risk of sounding Protestant, like the Russians visiting Hagia Sophia.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Nuns and feminism

Kathy Shaidle: Twisted sisters.
Those feminists’ fascination with Catholic nuns made sense, actually. Here were women living and working together, doing good — and without men around.
That's why Ida Lupino, a Hollywood type not interested in Catholicism as far as I know, made the movie The Trouble with Angels in 1966 (right before the church and the rest of the Western world went to hell), more than a comedic vehicle for the cute Hayley Mills about a convent boarding school.

I'm a convert so I didn't grow up with nuns, old-school or liberalized (Catholics know what I mean: boo, Vatican II). I've heard the good and the bad from people who loved or hated them. Their virtual disappearance from American life is a reliable sign that Vatican II was a mistake (it didn't define any doctrine so I can say that). Little homegrown conservative orders are doing okay but we'll likely never see the big teaching and nursing orders again.

Anglicanism's charm

Anglicanism is charming to me for three reasons: they don't hate old-fashioned high church (here I'll include their classic music and classic English) like Catholic liberals do and they're more flexible liturgically than our trads (it's not my way or the highway), and their semi-congregationalism can be a hedge against liberalism. It's why some conservatives are still Episcopalians, believe it or not. But the "Reformation" was still evil.
The break with Rome in England was complex and initially was schismatic and not heretical. Whatever Henry VIII's faults he was not a protestant unlike Cranmer and Henry's daughter, Elizabeth I.
I know. Henry appointed Protestant-minded clergy who would do his bidding and when he needed Protestant allies in Europe but they couldn't practice their Protestantism. Anglicanism didn't really become Protestant until Henry died and Protestant regents ruled for his underage son, Edward VI. I lived in England nearly 30 years ago; largely anti-religious but if you're a believing Catholic it's obvious it was once ours.
Just now a High Church clergyman called to be bishop of Sheffield has had to resign because he has received so much hatemail from the liberal, woman-priesty side of the Church of England. They loathe the High Church wing so much.
Has he? I used to slightly know him; all I can say is "wish you were Catholic."

There's conservative high church and liberal high church in the Church of England and Episcopal Church. Conservative high church has existed for many years thanks to semi-congregationalism but obviously has no future in those churches and anyway doesn't make sense; doctrinally you are who you are in communion with. (Sometimes it's would-be Roman Catholicism; sometimes it's a rival Catholicism.) Liberal high church is virtually unknown to Roman Catholics; it's not like Catholic liberals. In Anglicanism you can find clergy who are lesbians but believe the creeds and love medieval liturgy. This alterna-Catholicism is becoming a house style of Episcopalianism, formerly the Sunday holding pen for religiously indifferent preppies and/or Masons.

It's not the church but I get it.

The trouble with gestures such as lending St. Peter's in the Vatican to the Anglicans for Evensong (a fine service; culturally it beats most of the Novus Ordo parishes) is they see it as validation for remaining outside the church. What have 50 years of these gestures really done? They keep moving away from us.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Byzantine Rite and wrong


  • Today's kontakion: Today the time of earthly deeds is revealed for judgement is at hand. Let us be found fasting, and let us bring cries of supplication, begging mercy and crying out: “I have sinned more times than there are sands of the sea; but forgive me, O Creator of All, that I may receive the crown that does not perish.” A troparion, and a kontakion is a kind of second troparion, is like a collect except it doesn't follow the Western formula (it isn't to the Father through the Son, etc., or it talks directly to saints) and it's not one of the priest's prayers; in theory the congregation but often in practice the choir sings it. (Real Byzantine Rite piety is wonderfully medieval folk Catholicism; the people can tune in and out.)
  • What a letdown. The church that Stalin couldn’t kill: Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church thrives seventy years after forced reunification. What an opportunity to tell the wonderful, moving story of a traditional Catholic church surviving real persecution in modern times, the church where I first saw traditional Catholic worship "live" three decades ago (when the Eastern rites were the only Catholics still allowed to be traditional), where I first experienced Byzantine Christianity (there is an Orthodox tradition, not an Orthodox Church), and where I am honored to worship one Sunday a month, and what a way to blow it. The story: during World War II the Soviets invaded and annexed Galicia, by then all that remained of the Ukrainian Catholic Church except immigrants abroad, because of past Russian westward expansion. Of course, besides their being atheists the Soviets hated the Catholic Church for many of the same reasons the Orthodox tsarist Russians did; they couldn't own it and they were doubly outraged that western Ukrainians, close cousins they thought should belong to their empire (the empire being a substitute for the universal church), chose not to — why Russian churchmen hate Uniates. A traitorous priest presided over a synod "returning" the Ukrainian Catholic Church to Russian Orthodoxy, which by then had been beaten, literally, into being a Soviet puppet. None of our bishops would leave the church; they were murdered, imprisoned, and sent into internal exile, never to return home. So the head metropolitan (his official title is major archbishop, essentially a patriarch), Josyf (Slipyj; Byzantine Rite bishops are normally, nominally, monks so they don't use their last names), was imprisoned until some kind of deal between the Holy See and the USSR got him released in 1963; meanwhile our top churchmen weren't sure the Ukrainian Catholics still existed in their homeland. Then as Communism began to fall at the end of the 1980s, this church resurfaced. Parishes supposedly Orthodox declared themselves Catholic again (same thing happened in Slovakia during the 1968 Czechoslovak revolt) and an acting metropolitan, Volodymyr (Sterniuk, pictured), appeared. He had run the Ukrainian Catholic Church from his apartment. You had crypto-Catholic parishes and underground ones. So what's wrong with this article?
    The next three-and-a-half centuries established the church as a thriving spiritual center that was closely connected to rising social and intellectual movements as they struggled to define an identity for nascent Ukrainian populations that found themselves under the serial domination of empires and states in the region... The church’s influence on Ukraine’s social and political life has been evident since independence. Students from the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv were some of the first to come to Kyiv in 2004, to support the ideas and aspirations of the Orange Revolution against an authoritarian regime. And in 2013-14, Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity was suffused with the moral values and tolerant attitudes propounded by the church. Its clergy were a daily presence on the Maidan throughout the three months of struggle. Together with the other churches and religious denominations of Ukraine, the UGCC has helped to create an ecumenical and diverse environment for social movements in Ukraine. As a bulwark against authoritarianism, this spirit of ecumenism continues to be Ukraine’s best instrument as it struggles toward becoming a democratic and prosperous state.
    The current metropolitan sounds like this. This isn't the exile Ukrainian Catholic Church I met in the 1980s, blessedly still pre-Vatican II. An empire, a neutral thing, isn't a substitute for the universal church but neither should churchmen tie themselves to the liberal idea of the nation-state, let alone the rest of liberalism. (The Orange Revolution and Maidan, in which the Ukrainians overthrew their lawfully elected president: American, that is, liberal, puppetry?) Why, seemingly ironic but because I'm Catholic, I'm moderately pro-Russian against this. Putin could be a new Constantine; Russia a sword of Christendom. But "diversity" and "tolerance," politically correct platitudes, in Byzantine drag? (I knew things were bad when 25 years ago I heard a Ukrainian-American priest apologize for "sexist language.") Not what Metropolitan Josyf suffered for; no, thank you. Why men such as Roissy think Christianity is for cucks. Liberalism is a Christian heresy; I understand its appeal, but it's still wrong.
  • Nice to hear about St. Patrick, as we are this time of year (thanks to so much 1800s immigration, March in America is Irish Month; by the way, he wasn't Irish, only evangelizing in Ireland), but... Russian Orthodox Church adds St. Patrick to its calendar. Aw, they're pretending to be a universal church. It makes sense because he's pre-schism so of course in theory they have always claimed him but still. Of a piece with the Western Rite Orthodox experiment (rootless, unlike Ukrainian Catholics). Reminds me of the Mormons proxy-baptizing the dead.

Don't sell consecrated things


Shame on you, antiques vendor. You're among my favorite people but consecrated chalices, something we Catholics believe has been set aside to hold God himself, shouldn't be sold. But you probably don't know better.

I have two first-class relics, of St. Augustine and of St. John Neumann, without certificates, Augustine is in a reliquary I got separately from an antiques shop (my bedroom windowsill is like a gradine: a crucifix flanked by candles, a statue of Mary holding Jesus, and the relic). I ransomed the one of Neumann from a thrift shop; they didn't know better.
I have saved vestments and relics etc. from going into the skip.
Why a friend and I once liberated two Roman chasubles from a decades-disused sacristy. (By the way it's not a fiddleback; the weird violin-shaped back was briefly a fashion about 400 years ago. Violin-shaped front and rectangular back is a Roman chasuble.)
A chalice that is sold loses its consecration. The bishop who ordained me re-consecrated my chalice.
I see. It's just like a blessed devotional object such as a rosary losing its blessing if it's sold. I understand a consecrated church (with consecration crosses on the walls the bishop made with chrism, with cross markers and candles afterwards, lit on the anniversary of the consecration) can never return to worldly use; it has to be torn down if you don't want it anymore. Most American Catholic churches are only blessed so that's not an issue.

If the chalices are still there next time I'll see about ransoming them and giving them to a priest or society at least conservative, explaining what happened, so they'd be reconsecrated and properly used again. Like most of my things (furniture, some appliances, clothes, and car), from golden-era America, ransomed from hipster vendors to be given a real home again.
At the Marché aux Puces in Paris in the 1980s there were still entire sacristies being sold off, much of the stuff bought by traditionalist communities, and some going for collections or profane purposes.
Of course I knew of things like that. I wondered if a Catholic parish threw these out because of the rampant heresy since the '60s, basically agreeing with the Protestants that sacrifice and adoration at the Eucharist are superstitious, ignorant papist trash, with the excuse that a church detached from greed wouldn't have gold chalices, etc.
The iconoclasm in France was usually less radical. Most of the old altars are still there but unused. Many sacristies still contain old vestments in more or less cared-for condition. Parish inventories are usually under the control of the local municipal authority. However, the religious orders threw out or sold most of the old stuff to "look poor" with ugly and expensive vestments, altars, etc. in a modern style.
I have no problem with space-age or "looking poor" churchmanship as long as it's still Catholic and churchmen don't try to take the old form away. Modern Anglicans including the new liberal Anglo-Catholics often get the second part right. (They love my Mass, on their own terms; Catholic liberals hate it for the same reasons classical and evangelical Protestants did.) In practice neither was the case 30 years ago in the United States; priests would literally yell at you, abusing the church's authority to try to force you to accept their heresy as God's will.

From this article:
In my diaconal formation I've been taught that the church is not a hierarchy. That it's not some grand pyramid with the Pope at the top, and that we are all the the same loving and inclusive level. Until you start asking about tradition and or question something the [reigning?] Pope said. Then all of a sudden [a clericalist caricature of the church]: “HOW DARE YOU QUESTION THE POPE! DON'T YOU KNOW IT’S A MORTAL SIN TO QUESTION A PRIEST, NEVER MIND HIS HOLINESS!!!?”
But they'd likely phrase it "you're outside the church/no longer Catholic; how dare you question the church?" to try to shame you, rather than the sound idea of mortal sin, or in their smarmy terms, such as "you're not open to the Spirit" and "this isn't healthy for you" ("you need help" as an insult), both of which priests said to me 30 years ago. (A friar brother also called me a fundamentalist: let's shame you into accepting our neo-Protestantism by calling you a Protestant. Ooookay.) I know the church's teaching just enough so that doesn't faze me. I'd forget such priests as soon as I'm out the church door, cruising in the Edsel on another wonderful Sunday. If one confronted me (why? I'm pretty low-profile at the new Mass; among my few tells, I genuflect during the creed and I don't go to Eucharistic ministers — nobody has bothered me in person the five years I've been back in the church, but I don't pick such fights), I'd quote Huckleberry Finn, "All right; I'll go to hell" and keep the faith somewhere else. But more and more the few remaining practicing Catholics really believe in Catholicism so no problem.

Moments at Mass

It seems the archbishop or one of his auxiliaries was to come round to do confirmations so the singing for the service was moved to the slightly later Novus Ordo Mass. So we had a nice quick Lenten (no Gloria) Low Mass, which threw off our altar boys; we're not used to it, Sung Mass being our norm. Hesitations and a missed cue (no shaking of the two sets of bells at the Sanctus). In the Our Lady of Lourdes recension of the Roman Rite, the maniple might or might not be taken off for the sermon, usually not with in-house priests, as was the case. Fr. Matthew looking over his right shoulder before genuflecting so as not to inadvertently mule-kick the face of one of the altar boys on the step just below him. Our usual Anglican recessional hymn. Communion and afterwards silently by heart, the Anglo-Catholic "Blessed, praised, hallowed, and adored be our Lord Jesus Christ on his throne of glory in heaven, in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar, and in the hearts of his faithful people."

Dominica secunda in Quadragesima: Domine, bonum est nos hic esse

The Second Sunday in Lent, not of, as a pukka Catholic reminded me last week.
  • Mass: Reminiscere miserationum tuarum, Domine. Collect, epistle, gospel (we love the Transfiguration so much we commemorate it twice), and propers.
    Deus, qui conspicis omni nos virtute destitui: interius exteriusque custodi; ut ab omnibus adversitatibus muniamur in corpore, et a pravis cogitationibus mundemur in mente. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.
  • Classic Book of Common Prayer collect and epistle for this Mass.
    Almighty God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
    Cranmer threw a word into the collect, not changing the meaning (the real collect happens not to say omnipotens), and shortened the ending formula (usually Western collects are to the Father, through the Son (cf. Ferrara-Florence!), and in the unity of the Holy Ghost, "world without end." Why did he use a different gospel, Sarum or his own idea? (The BCP is not Sarum in English; that's a myth about Anglicanism.)
    We beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
  • The Catholic generation gap. Good except the hippies didn't start the Sixties' corruption in the church; they didn't care about the church. It was their parents' generation's naïveté about progress, the Zeitgeist of the space age. After all, John XXIII announced the council in 1959. "Streamline the church like a jet plane for a new age and it will get even better." Which made churchmen sitting ducks for the Age of Aquarius. Their failure (my archdiocese's version) imitates mainline Protestantism's; the people leave and the churchmen think it's because they aren't being liberal enough! And the church can't really split; there's only one church. (Born Orthodox are estranged from us; I don't believe in them as a separate church because they make no sense as such.) Either you're in the church or not. Our teachings are online for all to read; if you knowingly say no to them, you're out. Within the church, within authentic Catholicism, there are cultures and schools of spirituality and even theological speculation (anything that's not doctrine is open to debate) that don't necessarily get along. That's what our "worship war" should be; keep the old forms but fine if you want to experiment as long as Benedict XVI's English text reform is American Catholics' baseline.
  • Catholic high churchmen's problems/frustrations: As with other things, when something gets your hopes up then blam. You're combing the antiques malls and find, offered for a C-note, a two-volume 1960 (the one that's easiest to use) Roman Breviary in good shape... but it's not the Vulgate Latin psalter; it's Pius XII's rewritten one that nobody likes. Of course you know to check.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Fasting and abstinence

I don't fast much because I can't, but Sonny Shanks gets the reason for doing it:
...once we got to Lent, our RCIA class began discussing related topics, and one of the first of them was "fasting." About 1/2 the class was Protestant, the other 1/2 returning Catholics, and between them there was almost no thoughts on either the definition or necessity of fasting.

Many of the Protestants said it was an Old Testament idea that the New Testament had "cancelled." Many of the Catholics thought fasting was on the order of "making a deal with God," i.e., starving yourself to get your way.

"Ummm," I chimed in, "does any one in here think fasting has something to do with denying the flesh? Like in 'spiritual discipline'?"

Almost everyone in the class gave me a funny look and a blank stare.

"Well," I said, "Maybe I'm way off!"
If I recall rightly, classical Protestants, magisterial Protestants, didn't discard fasting.

"Many of the Catholics thought fasting was on the order of 'making a deal with God,' i.e., starving yourself to get your way."

Which of course they're right to oppose but it's not what the church teaches.

Penance: I steal a thousand dollars. I'm remorseful and go to confession. God forgives (the priest doesn't forgive; God does) but I still owe a thousand dollars.

Discipline: Training in hardship so you can handle real temptation.

Not dieting or even giving the money saved to the poor even though those are good.

The St. Pat's Lenten Friday dispensation: my archdiocese is doing it. Someone has claimed that fewer bishops are. Good and I'm not saying that to be showoffy trad. Because you're supposed to come up with an alternative penance and nobody does. Rather than try to remember, I just don't eat meat on Fridays year round.

Clerical marriage

High-ish ecumenical First Things has an article from I presume a Protestant-turned-Orthodox (of course for his well-being I hope he's not an ex-Catholic), something that was hip in religious circles a couple of decades ago: Of marriage and Orthodox priests. Are Catholics willing to pony up to pay to support priests' families? Probably not. The Orthodox are very small and often relatively poor in America; many of their priests are worker-priests holding secular jobs. Met a girl whose ethnic ROCOR priest father was a longtime high-school science teacher. You end up with part-time priests, possibly a lapse in ministry, basically with the workload of permanent deacons. Episcopal priests similarly have less demanding work for some reason. None of which means I object to ordaining the married on principle (longstanding custom, we made a horrible mistake many decades ago by banning it in America, causing many Byzantine Catholics to leave us, and everything that's not doctrine is negotiable), but let's be practical. And it doesn't attract vocations like you might think.

My first traditional Catholic Mass in person 31 years ago turned out to have been celebrated by a married priest, back when in America the Eastern rites were the only Catholics still allowed to be traditional: Fr. Joseph Panasiuk, a refugee from the Ukraine who had been pastor of his New Jersey parish since 1951. Eternal memory.

The Traditional Anglican Communion, which wasn't traditionally Anglican

A word to the wise: Do not make silly jokes or double entendres about Immanuel Kant in the presence of TAC seniors. They will not be impressed.
TAC?
Thomas Aquinas College.
Thanks. That reference whizzed right by me, not being the father of collegians. (My friend's son is a talented philosophy student.)

I thought "Traditional Anglican Communion," which was not traditionally Anglican (which would be weekly Matins, quarterly Communion, "the north end," and next to no popish ornaments as real trad Anglicans deny the Mass) but part of the largely Anglo-Catholic Continuum (conservative unofficial Anglicans who started when they left the official Anglicans a few decades ago). TAC, at least at the top, said it wanted to come into the Catholic Church, a reason Benedict the Great chartered the ordinariates. (The other was Catholic-minded Church of England priests realized the game was over when that body started having women bishops.) But it didn't; interestingly in America a couple of Episcopal parishes did, which I honestly wasn't expecting. I like the American ordinariate from what I know of it and am eligible to join, but I'm settled into my rare high-church, partially Tridentine parish (run by a mainstream but conservative religious order; plainchant Sung Mass with Anglican hymns and a pipe organ) and besides the local ordinariate parish is hard for me to get to. Knowing the Book of Common Prayer's history including the intent behind it, I don't miss it that much. But I love that there is something approximating Western Catholic traditionalism with a vernacular option (and in classic English at that), which deflates most people's possible objection to it (few want Latin; fine).

A minority of Episcopalians, a small denomination (then mostly indifferent Protestants; very Masonic), by the 1950s American Anglo-Catholicism had become an imitation of the Catholic Church in practice (from a movement that began as an objection to an effect of Catholic emancipation in Ireland!) except for its semi-congregationalism (interesting to me as a hedge against liberalism; anything not against our doctrine is an option) and, important, a belief in something they thought was Anglicanism but really wasn't, an idea that while the "Reformation" was unfortunate, somehow in theory Anglicanism's framers were right. It came down to a belief that Catholicism and a kind of magisterial Protestantism are really the same. (Which, as Michael Davies once pointed out, insults the courage of the martyred Anglican founders. He also pointed out that when classical Protestants used realistic sacrificial language about Communion they didn't mean what the church does.) So no wonder TAC's American branch balked at becoming Catholic. Anyway, the old Prayer Book, obviously Protestant, and its unofficial catholicized variants, the Anglican missals, became American A-Cs' symbol of saying no to the Sixties cultural revolution including many Christians' liberalization then newly out in the open; their Tridentine Mass (fitting since their missals largely copy that). I use its idiom such as many of its translations, part of English-speaking culture and yes, a conservative statement (I use them when I'm at "the new Mass"; Benedict's reform is so close there is little difference), but not its original Protestant compositions (except I like reading those collects, which are sound and beautiful). Its anaphora is banned in the Catholic Church. (If I understand rightly, the ordinariates use the Roman Canon translated and aloud.) I think since the ordinariates are using Cranmer's collects, why not use the Antiochian Orthodox' work? They've unprotestantized that anaphora for their use. Interestingly Michael Davies, a traditionalist, thought that an ex-Catholic priest with the intent of celebrating Mass but using the old Prayer Book's Communion service would be celebrating a valid but illicit Mass. Msgr. Edwin Barnes has pointed out that the old Prayer Book was actively used against the A-C minority in the Church of England (a denomination that's long been indifferently Protestant); I add that a lot of them weren't really A-Cs but Anglo-Papalists, what many assumed A-Cs to be, would-be Catholics, always mostly a clerical thing. I imagine the few remaining ones have come into the church.

The other possibility was The American Conservative.

P.S. The National Catholic Reporter is a sorry excuse for a Catholic newspaper.

The sad thing is from the late '60s until Benedict XVI such people hijacked the church in America, trying to use the church's authority to shanghai you on board their heresy ("be open to the Spirit"). This of course pushed well-meaning orthodox Catholics into more extreme positions than necessary ("the Novus Ordo is in itself invalid," etc.). The slow recovery began at the end of the '80s and Benedict really got it going. Anyway, I know the church's teachings well enough and it's a matter of telling those who ask. A bad Pope doesn't faze me; why would he? And the NCR types are almost all old.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Do we still need Marines?


Do we still need Marines? Don't mistake this question for some leftists' including left-libetarians' anti-authority (daddy issues) thus anti-military kick. Being pro-military doesn't mean you think the military is infallible or above criticism. (My brown leather jacket is regulation Navy/Marine.) It's not a religion. Some say the Marines are a religion as well as a huge self-promoter. Anyway, in Base Nation, David Vine's liberal exposé (risking national security?) on the real problems of too many overseas U.S. military bases and a self-serving/self-perpetuating military-industrial complex, he brings up the old (since armed-forces unification at the top, what's now the Defense Department) question of whether we still need the Corps. We should have stayed out of World War II (let the Soviets, the real threat, and the Nazis destroy each other and make a deal with Japan) but we didn't use Marines at Normandy. The services cooperate much more now, and Vine makes the point against an empire of bases that with modern travel we can send ordinary troops from the U.S. to hot spots in enough time. So do we still need a small (1/8 the Army's size by law?) seagoing army integrated with the Navy (speaking Navy lingo) for amphibious landings, which we rarely do now? We haven't used the Marines as marines since Inchon in 1950. In Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan (Iraq's an immoral war) they have been used exactly like the Army. I understand to the Corps' credit it is the service that the Sixties revolution has affected least, still more interested in winning fights than political correctness; its machismo is why it usually meets its recruiting goals with young malleable men setting out to prove themselves. But as a creature entirely of the government, although military and conservative values work well together, the U.S. military is not conservative.

Ninny non-Catholic apologists and more

  • "The Pope appointing the bishops in other sees directly contradicts Canon 2 of Constantinople..." Plausible but ever notice that the usually convertodox and Anglicans, and the occasional Catholic liberal, who make these arguments against the reality of the Catholic Church often really have a problem with our other teachings? It's like the old joke about the celibate Roman Rite diocesan priest asking his bishop to be released from the ministry, rattling off an impressive list of theological objections to the church. "What's her name?" "The Pope has overstepped his authority!" screeches the schismatic who accepts divorce-and-remarriage and contraception, the convert schismatic who wants the sugar of exotic hipster Catholicism without the scrutiny and possible martyrdom being a real Catholic invites in today's Western society, and the liturgical Protestant who has "married" another man with a woman priest officiating. When travel and thus communication were difficult, "universal and immediate jurisdiction" really meant a laissez-faire governance largely by custom; how the church really works. There's only one church, it has a head bishop, and his office has certain powers. Not a problem.
  • What's now the Ukrainian Catholic Church was originally, at the union in 1596, the metropolia of Kiev with much of Byelorussia; Russian westward expansion and its accompanying persecution left it with only Polish Galicia, which the Russians didn't invade until World War II. Yet ironically, as a Polish acquaintance points out, that region was the last to accept the Unia: The archeparchy of Halicz Galicja was the last Orthodox diocese in the Commonwealth to join the Unia. This occurred in 1697. Before the Russian expansion it was called simply the Uniate Church as it was multiethnic. Please don't forget that the center of the Unia from 1596 to 1836 was the area of what is now called Belarus. In 1700, 80% of the population of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania now Belarus was Uniate (for comparison 10% Roman Catholic and 8% Jewish). The center of the Unia was the city of Vilnius, not Lvov. The Unia of 1596 was not exclusively Ukrainian as it also included ethnic Poles and Belarussians, which many seem to forget. I doubt the claim regarding Vilnius as Lithuania's fervently Roman Rite just like Poland (and, interestingly, the last European country to become Christian).
  • Christian images: all can, some should, none must, but always respect them. That there are ignorant people isn't news. What gets to me are things like this from people who know better: a local conservative Catholic meeting place for parties and conferences has icons as signs for the men's and ladies' rooms. Hello, I use icons to pray, exactly like the Orthodox. Way to set back the only ecumenism worth a chance. Icons are optional but they're not decorative. My icons are in a corner of my home where I do bows and prostrations; some say Mohammedans got the idea of prostrations from Christians. Icons are a beautiful part of our common heritage. The Catholic Church actually helped preserve icons during iconoclasm. Thanks for the reminder that iconoclasm was the Byzantine emperor's project if I recall rightly. God works in mysterious ways; wasn't one of the defenders of icons the iffy ("actress," which in classical times meant prostitute) empress Theodora?

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Religious ramble

After Mass this morning, my priest told me that I am not supposed to kneel when receiving the Blessed Sacrament. Is this a requirement? Or is this a suggestion? I would like to know because kneeling seems more reverent.
I don't make a scene at the new Mass if they stand for Communion (I did 30 years ago, kneeling); I've received that way exactly once since I've been back in the church (five years). I go to the priest, not the Eucharistic minister, bow before receiving, and receive on the tongue as usual. My parish by registration and by choice uses the altar rail again. Of course I receive standing in the Byzantine Rite, which I go to once a month.

A reason I like where I am now ecclesiastically is everything religious I do, including Byzantine Rite things such as having an icon corner and crossing myself that way and saying those prayers in front of it, is only for Jesus, not to make a statement against somebody else. Believe it or not, I don't stay up late thinking of ways to cut down the Orthodox, and I'm sure many devout Orthodox mirror that. The people at the hearts and centers of their churches are often closer to God and to each other than the fringe people fighting each other.

That said, someone online was quoting ancient rules from Constantinople about bishops not interfering in other dioceses, to try to discredit the Catholic Church. I don't care how clever or well-researched your argument is; the reality of Western Catholicism for 2,000 years touches my heart. Turn my back on St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis, and St. Teresa? I'd sooner cut off my right arm. Constantinople is now the ottoman (ha) of the sons of Mohammed. Byzantine culture is great but it's not the whole church, and don't try the Western Rite Orthodox argument. That's all converts, unlike generations-old Eastern Catholic communities. Name the countries and villages in Western Europe that have been Western Rite Orthodox for 400 years like Ukrainian Galicia has been Catholic again.

Everything that's not doctrine is negotiable. A more collegial/synodal/decentralized form of governance? Sure! Because travel and thus communication used to be so difficult, by default that's how Western Catholicism really worked. I don't jump when the Pope coughs; that's not how it works.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore and more


  • Happy feast of St. Thomas Aquinas: Catholics don't have to use scholasticism or Latin for that matter (Eastern Catholics, Byzantine and other, are only about 2% of Catholics but are generations-old real communities, unlike Western Rite Orthodox) but from the five "proofs" of God's existence on down he is the greatest theologian, giving our doctrine a convincing voice. Yet he stopped writing after a mystical experience. Ora pro nobis.
  • What's so bad about globalism. As far as I can tell, globalism is a scheme concocted by the rich to destroy the working and middle classes through worldwide financial imperialism. I have a strong hunch that globalism is also a plot hatched to obliterate indigenous cultures and real human differences under the deceptive ruses of “multiculturalism” and “diversity.”
  • 10 things American liberals used to say.
  • Tee-vee land.
    • "I HATE spunk!" Kathy Shaidle on Mary Tyler Moore. "An incandescent performer," sexy when young and when fashion happened to be flattering ("Laura Petrie"), and admirably not a lockstep liberal in real life: ...a lifelong Republican (except for a lapse campaigning for Carter) — a Fox News fan and “libertarian centrist.” An ancestral connection led her to help fund the renovation of Stonewall Jackson’s headquarters. ... In fact, Moore told PBS in 2013 that she’d been a reluctant symbol of women’s liberation and “did not believe in [feminist Gloria] Steinem’s view that women owe it to themselves to have a career.” Further: ...she’d also endured tragedies and troubles — alcoholism, diabetes — without becoming a public nuisance. But, surprise, surprise, the mild women's-lib message of her most famous show, eponymous with her full name, was fake: She made a show about how single career women could still have fulfilling lives, with the help of the powerful TV executive she was married to. Media execs were selling girls a bill of goods.
    • Six horrifying things about living in a sitcom's world.
    • Watching early most mornings: "77 Sunset Strip." Noir lite; fairly entertaining, unrealistic private-eye stories. A style showcase: '58 and '59 cars from Ford; pointers on hats, suits, ties, and décor; light pop music; pretty women in the flattering fashions then (Mary Tyler Moore's in at least one episode); and Kookie parroting hipster talk as comic relief.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Conservative high-church ex-Episcopalians

Wouldn't it be great to win the high-church ACNA Diocese of ___ for the ordinariate?
It sure would but now that I understand Anglo-Catholicism better I think I understand why it's not happening. People assume they're would-be Roman Catholics but in their origin in classic Anglicanism, the old high churchmen, and the Tractarians that wasn't so. Like classic Anglicanism, it's a rival true-church claim against Catholicism even though it ended up imitating the Catholic Church. (Anglo-Papalism was different, here the opposite of A-Cism.) In the 1970s places like this believed in something they thought was Anglicanism and I reckon still do, so many of them formed the Continuum. (Plus we were a basket case after Vatican II, acting like liberal Protestant wannabes with an uglier liturgy than theirs.) They see themselves as the faith once delivered (both Catholic and Reformed); we see them as small and stuck in sectarian Protestantism where they don't belong. It's good to see these cultural conservatives say no to the Sixties and Spirit of Vatican II but if they wanted in, they'd be in by now. So some such dioceses moved from the Episcopal Church to another Protestant denomination slightly less liberal, ACNA. (The few such parishes still Episcopal have their semi-congregationalism as a decreasingly effective hedge.) Also, as I believe ACNA Bishop Iker said of Fort Worth, a number of parishioners are divorced and remarried so there you go, kind of historically fitting given Anglicanism's origin (even though those technically weren't divorces; Anglicans used to ban divorce and remarriage just like Catholics, why Edward VIII abdicated).

Sunday, March 05, 2017

First Sunday of Lent

  • Mass: Invocabit me. In my parish, a plainchant Sung Mass sandwiched between Anglican hymns (recessional: "Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days"); Communion. Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam annua Quadragesimali observatione purificas: praesta familiae tuae; ut quod a te obtinere abstinendo nititur, hoc bonis operibus exsequatur. Per Dominum ... The propers of course echo the gospel, namely, ironically, the psalm the devil quotes: 90/91, Qui habitat, "Whoso dwelleth under the defence of the most High," also a Byzantine Rite favorite (in the Sixth Hour, and I understand Russian soldiers traditionally carry it on their persons into battle).
  • Classic Book of Common Prayer collect, epistle, and gospel, almost the same as ours but Protestant Cranmer changed the collect, although his work here isn't heretical and very good in its own right, as his collects are. Unusual: it's to the Son, not the Father. O Lord, who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights; Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen. The epistle: about καιρός, opportune time, vs. χρόνος, time.
  • Ending the epistle: "... as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." A Russian Catholic parish used to quote this on its website; more on that Particular Church here. Putin's Russia is great; it may well be a sword of Christendom. (Witness how the American left hates it.) But nobody can own the Catholic Church. The Russian Catholic Church is a good thing but endangered. Tiny, mostly outside Russia; non-Russians who love things Russian and Orthodox but stay in the church.
  • Orthodoxy Sunday. Catholic teaching on venerating images: thanks to the Incarnation, all can, some should, none must. And Byzantine Catholics shouldn't be afraid of the word Orthodox; the Ukrainian Catholic Church has always used it when using English. Just keep the teachings of the church.
  • Schmemann: The mission of Orthodoxy. Of interest because it transcends Orthodoxy; that is, it's not really about Orthodoxy but all churches' approaches to the world. As many of you know, Schmemann and John Meyendorff were the Russian intellectuals in the otherwise Ruthenian second-generation ex-Catholic Russian metropolia in America/OCA. We Catholics can relate to this article: the Modernists sell out to secular America while the rad trads are an escapist cult like the Orthodox temptation to worship the motherland. Schmemann appeals to me here more than conservative Novus Ordo because his church group had the sense not to rewrite its services (but it's still declining: Eastern-rite churches don't do well in America in the long run).
  • The Pope visits a Church of England parish in Rome, blessing an icon. Well and good. But ecumenism can't be based on wishful thinking about the past. Classic Anglicanism saw itself as both Catholic (creed, liturgy, and bishops, not the rest of our doctrine or our ceremonial) and Reformed (why they cut out most Catholic stuff; Renaissance Europe's fanciful idea of the early Christians) but "Catholic" Anglicanism as we know it, venerating and invoking saints (which violates the Thirty-Nine Articles), is only about 150 years old. (The Tractarians weren't Romanizers.) There's being eirenical and then there's ignorance or worse, rewriting history, which insults the English Catholic martyrs. It's good to try to make peace but these gestures haven't brought these people back to the church. The Catholic Anglicans who wanted in are now in.
  • "Powerhouse of prayer": Millennials are drawn to monastic life in Prairie du Sac. America's only Cistercian nuns. Yes, the cognitive dissonance of traditional habits and Novus Ordo liturgics (I hate it when layfolk grab the chalice) is jarring but not heretical; as I love to say, the church includes many cultures, and as long as we have Benedict XVI's English Mass as the baseline, it's all good. This is another story of how small conservative orders are thriving. What my late rector called proper nuns.
  • After 47 years, a Catholic mall chapel is evicted. That's a shame. A good apostolate, even though it's not traditionalist, that I hope continues elsewhere.

Too many bases, a real hero, and more: Books recently read


The demands of my job preclude a lot of book reading (and blogging), except on the commuter train or bus. Here are some recently finished reads.
  • Base Nation by David Vine. A cause familiar to this longtime Lew Rockwell reader and Ron Paul supporter (I still am; his critiques of Trump are worth reading, not the usual lefty idiocy, even though Trump's all we've got now). As gentleman George McGovern said campaigning in 1972, "Come home, America." In a way it's hard for me: like the neocons part of me likes the idea of America rather than someone else as the lone military superpower with clean-cut "little Americas," big bases, in places such as Germany. I'm anti-war, pro-military: I never served and probably wasn't fit to serve, but I wear a Navy leather flight jacket as a tribute (not stolen valor; active-duty and veterans give it the thumbs-up). Authentic American conservatism wasn't about a big standing army and an overseas empire; those were part of a liberal political crusade. Vine is fair, noting that it largely began with Roosevelt's run-up to World War II, not with conservatives. But 50 years ago liberals were different; social conservatives (very much in the yes-sir on-duty military mode) who really wanted to help the world. But as this liberal writer notes, our many military bases abroad brutally affect the people whose countries we occupy (Vine describes how we horribly treated the island of Diego Garcia, for example, which you can look up). Filter out Vine's liberal sermonizing (ripoff of Christian ethics) about "gender" (anti-masculine; the military being masculine, that is, good at brutal fighting, is bad?!) and "people of color" (anti-white nonsense; Vine is a white liberal) and a good Christian will agree on the social evils this occupation causes, from prostitution (a kind of slavery) to abandoned women and children. (As one anti-military Lew Rockwell writer has said, underneath the spit-shine surface, military culture can be rotten; I'll add that even though military values and goals work well with conservative values, as a creature of the government, the military's not really conservative. In some ways it's a perfect social laboratory.) There's government waste of money (a budget where $1 billion is a rounding error, Vine writes) with bases for their own sake ("the self-licking ice-cream cone" or something else: Vine gives the example of private security hired to protect civilian cooks, whose job was to... feed the security guards). From this book I learned what "lily-pad" bases are, small and supposedly temporary or foreign-owned. Vine mentions that a withdrawal of overseas forces appeals to Americans across the political spectrum. Some of his claims about costs are just guesses. I wonder how much of this presentation compromises national security. But I appreciate the argument that with modern fast travel, we might not need lots of overseas bases anymore for actual national security. America First!
  • Badge 387: The Story of Jim Simone, America's Most Decorated Cop by Robert Sberna. The conservative feel-good true story of a brave, wounded combat veteran turned hard-working, conscientious career cop, recently mandatorily retired from 30 years on the Cleveland force and still working for a suburban town's police. His nickname, which he modestly disclaims, is "Supercop." A glimpse of war's horror: recently hospitalized, he had a flashback so again he was a 20-year-old sergeant in Vietnam: "Where are my men?"
  • Out West by Tim Slessor. Part of American history I don't know well. From this retired BBC journalist (who lived out West for a couple of years 50 years ago and loves the place and people) I got a fair-minded lesson on the subject, from Little Big Horn to the Wyoming cattle wars of the 1890s, neither romanticizing nor demonizing the Indians, for example, or Custer for that matter.
  • Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush by Robert Draper. A sympathetic account of the man and thus valuable against all the leftist hate. A likable good ol' boy, sort of (Draper describes him getting the Crawford ranch: a city boy not interested in farming), different from me but sounding many of the right cultural notes and smarter than people give him credit for. Plus as recently as 2000 he talked conservative common sense about a humble foreign policy. Then 9/11 Changed Everything™ so he invaded Iraq for no good reason. Seems like a bait-and-switch, why I will never vote for a mainstream Republican nationally again. Trump obviously isn't one. If Bush really was the power behind the Iraq war, not Cheney or someone else, he's even more monstrous than I thought. Here's one of Bob Wallace's posts on him. Bush is from an old New England liberal Republican family; I think Bush the conservative evangelical was a character Karl Rove created.
  • Malled by Caitlin Kelly. Like many young people I tried working in retail, I can honestly say not for spending money but to survive until I got something more substantial. I understand the definitive book on this subject is Nickeled and Dimed, which I guess I'll have to read. Anyway, in this one a laid-off Canadian journalist not quite slums/goes undercover, working a day or two a week for about two years at an upscale mall chain store in her New York suburb. The nature of the work is it's not meant as a livelihood; to the company you're disposable, and yes, snotty customers disrespect you too. And it's not for people my and Kelly's age; it's for a flexible young person with stamina. A well-written tribute to the hard-working young blacks and Hispanics commuting from the city to work these jobs because they had no other option. A conservative argument, not in the book as I recall: raise the minimum wage like the left wants and they wouldn't even have that.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Ukrainian-American Catholics in the movies: "My Life"


My Life (1993) starring Michael Keaton and Nicole Kidman.

I'm posting this out of season liturgically (no weddings during Lent) but just discovered it. I have never seen this movie. Here it seems Ukrainian Catholics have had their due in the movies, and in the form of a big happy wedding with a solemn church scene and folky reception, alongside two other groups of fellow Byzantines, their Rusyn cousins in the American Russian Orthodox metropolia (The Deer Hunter) and the Greeks in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. My take as an outsider to begin with, somewhat in the know: just like the old Russian metropolia (now the OCA) in America's industrial Rust Belt, in The Deer Hunter set about 40-50 years ago, this community probably was last this lively about 30 years ago. Eastern-rite churches just don't do well after three generations in America, something I'm certainly not wishing on them. Quite the opposite! I go to such a community (Ukrainian Catholic) one Sunday a month, supporting it as best I can.

Cheesefare Sunday

Cheesefare Sunday in the Ukrainian Catholic Church, the last stop before Great Lent tomorrow. Low Divine Liturgy (Mass) as the cantor was absent: no singing nor incense, and at such Liturgies everything here is in English. The priest started his sermon with something from the Ukrainian archdiocese for Forgiveness Sunday, which is what today traditionally is in Byzantine Rite (Orthodox) monasteries (Forgiveness Vespers in some parishes is new): this was a new mini-service a bit Novus Ordo-ey but true. Went to Communion. The weekly coffee hour afterwards. Bought a box of parish-made pierogi. Got advice about my car (new springs?) and social history: in the '50s the original parish that this one came from had something like four Masses on Sunday with one High Mass, like the traditional Roman Rite. (Natively the Byzantine Rite doesn't have low Liturgies or more than one Liturgy a day on an altar.) After that, at the market I stocked up on tasty seasonal food for today (Polish pączki, "poonchkey"; my supermarket in ethnic and Catholic Delaware County sells them) and fasting foods both for Monday (Byzantine Rite) and Wednesday (Roman Rite, the one I'm canonically obligated to). Even went interfaith when I found hamantaschen for Purim. Ukrainian and Ruthenian Catholic Lenten rules for eating are almost like modern Roman Rite rules except they keep the Orthodox rule against dairy on Clean Monday and Good Friday, and like the Orthodox they don't say anything about the quantity of food on a fast day.

Impious but honest statement: if I last only 10 more years I won't have to worry about abstinence from meat and Lenten fasting anymore. Woo hoo!

P.S. Talking online with other Catholic returnees in the Christian East.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Holy Ascetic Fathers


Today, the Saturday before Great Lent, in the Byzantine Rite is the Commemoration of the Holy Ascetic Fathers: ancient monks and nuns. I enjoyed reading this morning's canon in my Uniontown office books (it takes a small library to do even an abridged office in this rite; I jump around in the books). Many saints' names, a few I'd heard of and many I have not. Nice this year as the Western Catholic and Orthodox Easters match (so the world's Byzantines are in sync); the different calendars are a cultural thing nothing to do with theology. Most people don't know that the Catholic Church usually has two Easters and always has two Christmases.
The holy ascetics are virtuous men and women who contended against the devil and their own passions. By examining their lives and their struggles against the Enemy, we take courage from the victory they have achieved, and are inspired to imitate their God-pleasing conduct. They also teach us that fasting is not merely abstinence from food, but involves refraining from inappropriate speech and unseemly actions.
My contribution to Byzantine Christianity in America: the Vestal church-calendar people used to label this day "Holy Hasidic Fathers" until I pointed it out one year. Oy vey!

Chaplets, prayer beads, are really an esoteric monastic practice in Orthodoxy (the beads are part of the monk's and nun's habit, worn on the left wrist), not a popular devotion like Western Catholics' rosary, a favorite of mine for "redeeming the time" but I'm a Mass-and-office Catholic.

Tomorrow: monthly Divine Liturgy with the Ukrainian Catholics.

Praise music in Catholic churches

This just in from my archdiocese:
Please join us for our first special concert uniting the praise music of Chester and Wallingford! Enjoy performances by St. Katharine Drexel’s Gospel Choir, the First Pentecostal Church Voices of Samuel, St. Katharine Drexel Spanish Choir, Shiloh Baptist Church Mass Choir, and St. John’s Adult Choir. Sponsored by St. John’s Justice & Peace Committee.
Oh, sh*t.

Don't get me wrong. Black American Protestants have a wonderful faith (this is sincere from me, not condescension) and I love listening to gospel music devotionally.

But you can see where this is coming from, from miles away.

In the context of American Catholicism, I have a reason to be suspicious.

Yes, it's only a concert, which is fine.

This music is not liturgical; it's devotional. It's Protestant.

These Catholics' fascination with Protestantism seems dated, from right after Vatican II, as does the likely "liberation theology."

Somehow I doubt the Spanish Choir (I'm 1/4 Hispanic; my dad grew up speaking Spanish) will be singing selections from Victoria.

Inculturation is fine.

But this "diversity" business is really a war that liberals including Catholic Modernists are waging on conservatives, including traditional Catholic culture, and even on the Catholic faith.

Who else pictures some old whites who read the National Catholic Reporter?

"Justice and peace" types, white liberals, often don't believe in Catholicism, which is why they like to try to Protestantize people like me. They used the charismatic movement in the '70s for the same reason. They don't even take the conservative Protestantism of many blacks seriously; they're just using its non-Catholicism and its cultural trappings as a truncheon against us.

Their "inclusivity" doesn't include my churchmanship. I remember this type well from the '80s. They think they're doing God's will; you're bad and/or sick if you object. And, exploiting non-whites, they can cry racism when you do.

P.S. An Eastern-rite church, Catholic or Orthodox, wouldn't have this; they love their own customs. And nobody calls them racists for it. But that's probably because most Americans don't know they exist.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Milo Yiannopoulos and Catholics in Orthodox countries


I'm not disowning Milo Yiannopoulos. Some sanity from a priest.
Milo Yiannopoulos was abused by a priest when he was only 16 years old [13?]. Milo himself has never abused a child (a small miracle considering what he had been through.) Today, he apologized for the dark humor he used to deal with that horrible abuse of his past. He even admitted it sounded like a promotion of such sin. But he didn't mean it as such, and a skeptic like me actually still believes him. Milo remains an orthodox Catholic, despite having being abused by a priest and turning him gay. Think about that. That can mean only one of two things: 1) It's all a show. *or* 2) Milo seeks the truth more than a political party. So, Milo might be obnoxious and even tragic in his pursuit of free speech in America, but the man is authentic and real. Fear has led not only liberals yesterday, but even conservatives today to cast the first stone at this man who is clearly broken, trying to figure things out. A fifth-century African orator (orator: one very clever with words, like Milo) was once famous for saying "Lord make me chaste, but not yet." You see, sometimes people can be convinced of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but not yet have the strength to live the calling to sexual purity. (That crafty orator became the great and simple St. Augustine.) So, I'll respect any conservative *or* liberal who has the guts to admit that one's ideal (Christianity) does not yet match one's lifestyle (sin). These people actually become the favorites of Jesus Christ Himself: St. Peter, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Augustine. All of them were courageous but not perfect. So lay off Milo, or just have the guts to cast the first stone.
I was surprised that he's Catholic, given his name. Anyway, in politics and, I hope, friendship, homosexuality isn't a dealbreaker. Gore Vidal was an ally. In the clergy, if you don't commit crimes and don't attack the church's teachings, no problem; a lesson Anglo-Catholicism at its best taught me.

His Greek father didn't raise him. And there are Catholics in Greece, actually more Roman Riters than Greek Byzantine Catholics. ("Greek Catholic" means Byzantine Rite Uniates generally. "Uniate" cheeses off anti-Catholic Byzantine fetishists. Good.) The former are descended from converts on Venetian-owned islands centuries ago; Taki is a lifelong one. The latter were largely a rather recent, early-1900s missionary project of ours (plus a few Orthodox converted) that flat-out failed, plus that Orthodox country, the world's only official one, understandably defended itself.

The Russian Catholic Church was different but also a failure. Late tsarist intelligentsia read their way into the church so St. Pius X commissioned this project. It remained small and the Soviets squashed it. Like the tsars, they hated a church they couldn't own.

Going head-to-head with the Orthodox fails. The Ruthenians started a parish in Anchorage to bring in the Tlingits; it didn't. Likewise, the Orthodox going head-to-head with us fails; their Western Rite experiment (almost all converts) is microscopic and Eastern-rite churches generally fail within three generations in the West. (Their convert boomlet was mostly Protestants.)

It seems obvious to me that God wants their return to the church to be deep and whole rather than through piecemeal individual conversions; possible and desirable because they have real bishops ("corporate reunion": ideally, all of the bishops would come in at the same time), although of course we accept those conversions, as the late Catholic-turned-Orthodox-turned Catholic Fr. Serge (Keleher) said, quietly.

And once they were in, we would pretty much leave them alone. No latinizations.

Clip: Catholicism in stereo. Eastern rites (only the Byzantines in this are Orthodox) and the Tridentine Roman Rite, with Msgr. Kirill in Moscow and Cardinal Burke, among others, like dueling banjos.

Talking about Vatican II


I constantly have to educate "trads" about the pre-Vatican II Church, starting with using the 1917 Code of Canon Law to explain why you cannot call everyone a heretic and schismatic.
It's like the left's "everybody I don't like is Hitler" error.
It really kills me; it makes traditionalism look like a religion of fear and ignorance, easily exploited.
Right; we end up living down to our church enemies' caricature of us. I won't let the self-righteous liberals push me into an extreme position.
I stopped attending an SSPX chapel here because the people you describe pushed everyone else out.
I'm not surprised. The SSPX means well, and I know exactly what they're reacting to, self-righteous liberals telling them they were bad and sick, but they're wrong.
Well, I am not entirely sure what you mean there, but if not by principle, then certainly in execution!
I'll back off a bit: there is a spectrum in the SSPX, from the sound who simply are defending the old Mass and their culture ("the Novus Ordo is unfortunate but valid") to the unsound who worship their culture, putting it above the church, just like the Orthodox do theirs. Having been in and out of the church, I am convinced that liking the traditional Mass better isn't an excuse to leave your diocese (the church's basic unit) now that we have Pope Benedict's reform to the English Mass. Benedict the Great really did undo the effect of the council: the liturgical baseline everywhere is sound again. You can high-church the new Mass so it's virtually like the Tridentine, you can have a no-frills early-morning Mass lasting 15 minutes (I've been to those), and you can have low-church and/or experimental styles you and I might not like. It's all good.
Not sure I am that versatile, but I certainly see a broad possibility where the reform could have gone. I and another friend are currently exploring the 1965 Missa Normativa, which I believe Pope Benedict was moving toward. If only he had finished.
His reform was a big step in that direction.

Things went wrong for Catholics in the 1960s because the idea behind the council was wrong: experiments are fine but changing the whole church's culture was a huge mistake. I don't buy the claim that it was God's will; that's the liberals' self-righteousness. You had two things going on, with crossover between them: belief in space-age progress (the thought behind the council) and heresy (neo-Protestantism and Modernism). The strict constructionists about Vatican II ("let's properly implement it") are naïve; the game was to praise an old practice, then effectively abolish it a few lines down by making it optional. We can write new services but probably shouldn't. Best if we just ignore Vatican II, which we can do since it didn't define any doctrine.
I told my friend that I often wonder how the church might have gone if they simply decided to modernise rather than change. The 1965 Mass updated the Mass but it remained essentially the same Mass. It could still have been done with modern styles of vestments and music and such. Not that I favour that, but the integrity of the faith would not have been as much impacted.
All the good that Vatican II ostensibly was trying to do could have been done with less or no harm to Catholics with just a few papal pronouncements, one authorizing the vernacular as an option for the Roman Rite (which almost everybody would have adopted), one authorizing limited liturgical experimentation (inculturation is a good idea, for example) but essentially keeping the old Mass (as was the case in 1965), another stating that American-style religious liberty is an option, and still another authorizing some dialogue with non-Catholics.

The Russian Orthodox metropolia in America, now the OCA, did it almost right then: they didn't write new services, only translating the old ones. They did have their worship war, though: because of the Zeitgeist (space-age progress) and particularly a desire to Americanize (which obviously Catholics strongly had too; Fulton Sheen was a fan of the council), they were ruthless, suppressing Slavonic and the Julian calendar.

Thumbs up to space-age traditional Catholicism. That was happening right before Vatican II.

Everything that's not doctrine is negotiable.
It is still possible, and I think its time is still coming. The vision of Benedicit did not die; it simply took a break.
He isn't even that conservative. Just Catholic and, a Bavarian, without American Catholics' hostility to high liturgics.

The biological solution is under way. Church liberals are old. Young Catholics who no longer believe leave the church. Those who remain want real religion, not that of the liberals. We will have another Pope Benedict.

On just wanting to be Catholic

I'm a Novus Ordo Catholic, and the more I learn about Traditional Catholicism the more I say to myself, "I just want to be Catholic."
I hear you. I'm a traditional Latin Masser and have taken to calling myself a "very conservative Roman Riter" rather than a traditionalist. Distancing myself from the sedevacantists (that scenario can happen but isn't), conspiracy theorists (Jews! Masons! Six Protestant ministers wrote the Novus Ordo! Imposter Pope! Benedict is still Pope!), neo-Nazis (but fascism is an option; I'm pro-Franco and many Jews hate us), people who deny the validity of the new Mass even as reformed in English by Benedict XVI, and people with devotional hobbyhorses such as apparitions taken too far.

"You are not what we were." The real pre-Vatican II church was deep and broad, not the narrow caricature or fever swamp the traditionalist scene can be.

I read conservative Anglicans and conservative Lutherans to stay focused on God and love instead of majoring in the minors. But I believe everything the church really teaches and go to traditional services, either the Tridentine Mass or the Byzantine Liturgy (I'm functionally biritual, liturgically Orthodox at home and one Sunday a month in church), almost exclusively (Novus Ordo on holy days of obligation or when traveling).