Monday, July 25, 2016

The Timothean (Kaine-ian) creed

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

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

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Cruz's speech and Hillary's possible seizure

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

Why we should keep classical languages

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

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

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Trump-Pence, Clinton-Kaine

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

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

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

We work with what we've got. Trump.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Defending my part-time church home

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Racial self-hatred: A subway performance

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

Monday, July 18, 2016

Parish report: My monthly Byzantine Rite Sunday

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

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

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

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ad-orientem ramble

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

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

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pro-cop regarding Dallas? You bet! And more

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

Monday, July 04, 2016

Being unfair to Catholic charismatics

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

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

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

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

Ross Douthat on cosmopolitanism true and false

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

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

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

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

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

Being a Christian reactionary on American Independence Day

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

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

Pictured: our lawful flag at the time.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Integral Catholicism vs. secular humanism AND the alt-right

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

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

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

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

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

So no, we traditionalists are not Nazis.

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

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

What Catholicism wants for the Orthodox

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

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

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

Monday, June 27, 2016

Politics, religion, and psychology

  • The Latin Mass Society chairman: assuming the British government acts on the recent non-binding referendum that voted to leave the EU, now to rebuild Europe. By the way, Norway and Switzerland are not in the EU. Looked it up: Switzerland has withdrawn its application; some say Norway basically pays tribute money to the EU but has no say.
  • A storm that erupted recently among conservative Protestants over the doctrine of the Trinity. I had no idea. The fairly well-known Catholic lay evangelist Karl Keating has explained that fundamentalism has the best intention, defending orthodox Christianity, but without the church backing it up, it doesn't have a leg to stand on. So this stuff happens. Ignorance leads to things such as Mormonism and the Jehovah's Witnesses, which outsiders think are conservative Protestant but are really no longer Christian.
  • Two about psychology, one about such and the media.
    • The weird way social media is messing with your brain. I've worked with the written word for 25 years so I can tell you media is plural. Anyway, this isn't surprising. It's the celebrity effect from modern communications technology such as movies: we think we know certain people, and extremely well, because we know every detail of their faces and voices, but we really don't! Throw in the Internet phenomenon of narrowcasting and everyday people become our celebrities. A now well-known, maybe unintended trick on/trap for the socially isolated: "social media" can be a lifeline but it can easily be an illusion of friendship ("friendship with no strings attached" really means no friendship), masking a problem. I'll say if you often exchange comments and messages, you probably really are friends even if you've likely never met.
    • More unintended effects as science learns more about the brain: An experimental autism treatment cost me my marriage. Reminds me a little of Flowers for Algernon. By the way, not every autistic person is unemotional as this fellow apparently was in his natural state. The treatment woke up the part of his brain that's supposed to read people's emotions but the rest of his autistic brain couldn't handle all that information; understandable.
  • Five groups who are as loud as their causes are pointless. Warning: language. Cracked at its best, as it was before peer-pressure liberalism took it over. Thanks for calling out anti-Christian stuff.
  • Snarky social commentary: the affluent young laughing at their own foibles (Christian Lander did it better with Stuff White People Like) or picking on a convenient target? My guess: if von Trapp family member Nathaniel Peters were homosexual and not a devout Catholic (not pre-Vatican II like me), nobody of that blog's kind would be making fun of him.
  • A handy chart explaining confusing family relations. First cousins once removed, etc.
  • A Catholic option from history: de Valera's Ireland, not bowing to the sickle, the swastika, or the almighty dollar.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Orthodoxy without the attitude: I'll be back

As there was a car show this Sunday, I went to the Saturday-evening spoken Divine Liturgy (Low Mass) in English at Holy Myrrh-Bearers Ukrainian Catholic Church, Swarthmore, Pa., a recent merger of two parishes. Almost exactly like the first traditional Catholic Mass I went to in person 31 years ago. Here, that evening, no altar boys; small, older Saturday congregation. Orthodoxy without the attitude. I'll be back.

An enjoyable Saturday-afternoon drive though the little WASP college town of Swarthmore brought me (past a decent-sized Roman Rite church nearby ) to this romantic Gothic church complete with cemetery and lych-gate, the former Leiper Presbyterian Church. Several members of the Leiper family are buried here.
She looks good by the lych-gate.
She got a lot of love from the congregation; met a few of them that way.

The lych-gate. I think in medieval England the funeral procession with the coffin would stop under one of these for part of the service.

Copies of icons by renowned painter Christina Dochwat. This parish has third-generation Americans but many such parishes have families who fled from the Soviets right after World War II; all are grateful, patriotic Americans as well as enthusiastically nationalistic about the Ukraine. In the opposite corner is the Ukrainian flag. (Ukrainian Catholics are actually a minority from the country's far west.) The Litany of Peace in the Byzantine Rite, in the tradition of praying on a Christian empire's behalf, prays for the government and the armed forces specifically.

A detail I remember from my first traditional Catholic Mass in person in 1985. The embroidered towel (рушник, rushnik, towel) placed on some holy images is a surviving pagan Ukrainian custom.

"In peace let us pray to the Lord." "Lord, have mercy." Fr. John Ciurpita, pastor. The fine iconostasis is from the former Holy Ghost Church, Chester.
The servant of God John partakes of the Precious and All-Holy Body and Blood of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ unto the remission of sins and everlasting life.
Orthodoxy without the attitude, from me: being at a Byzantine Rite service for the right reasons, not to look cool or make some anti-Catholic statement, left or right, is great. At home I broke out the Orthodox prayer books for the pre- and post-Communion offices.
It's nice to know that a building once used for schismatic purposes is finally being used to celebrate the one true Church.
Worse than in schism; in heresy, but their heart was in the right place as born Presbyterians. We should pray privately for them, commending them to God's infinite mercy as I'm sure Fr. Ciurpita does.
A spoken Divine Liturgy? The Ruthenian Byzantine church I occasionally attend has one on Saturday evening. An anticipatory Sunday liturgy. (Oh, the awful and horrid latinisation.) I have not yet been to one.
My instinct is to try to be a purist too, and unlatinized Byzantine Catholicism is a desire of the church deserving of much-needed support. That said, the people want the latinized forms and deserve respect, and this spoken Liturgy doesn't offend me. The only thing I didn't like was a Novus Ordo-ism, having a lady lector facing the congregation from a lectern off to the side, rather than a man facing the altar, but you can't always have your way and her heart's in the right place. I'll take it over schism.

By the way, in this country the Ukrainian Catholic Church normally uses the Western date for Easter and the Gregorian calendar, unlike in the Ukraine. No problem; it's not doctrine. The only reason the Orthodox date for Easter is different is to spite Rome by retaining the inaccurate Julian calendar to calculate the date. Again, not de fide, so the church is fine with having two observances of Easter and two fixed-date calendars to keep the peace. Everything that's not doctrine (and most things aren't) should be negotiable.
Not having ever been in a Byzantine jurisdiction, it's not my place to say. Still, sometimes I feel that some Byzantines online can be a bit over-zealous in campaigning for de-latinisation, to the point where they seem to side with the schismatics against the orthodoxy of the Latin Church.
You're right; that only adds to the difficulty of being an unlatinized Byzantine Catholic as the church wants and some are called to be. Some Byzantine Catholics online do side with the schismatics (or rather, in the case of born Orthodox, people born into schism but not personally guilty of it; estranged traditional Catholics), which is why I don't read their fora anymore and would never send inquirers there. They're almost always converts who in their understandable love for the rite make the mistake of putting it above the church. The sin of the Orthodox is they think their culture is the church. The church has many cultures: rites, schools of spirituality, and even theological opinions (not to be confused with doctrine) that don't always like each other.

Rome didn't intend to have latinized forms of Eastern rites; the Byzantine Catholics usually latinized themselves. An ecumenical problem because it makes the Orthodox think they can't trust us to preserve their customs. And sometimes we screwed up. The church can set and change disciplinary rules such as having married priests or not in a certain country, but banning the practice in America caused two waves of schism, circa 1900-1914 and in the 1930s, for no good reason. Something like 60% of American Russian Orthodox are descended from ex-Byzantine Catholics.

A detail about this place: Presbyterian pews without kneelers, a nice halfway practice for a moderate Byzantine Catholic parish. You may sit, and their custom has that in parts, but kneeling isn't traditionally part of the rite.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A bit about Brexit but mostly religion

  • I guess Brexit is good. The right people like it and hate it respectively. Hooray for Nigel Farage. As most now know, the British just had a non-binding referendum in which most say they want their country out of the EU, a first. Looks like the stock market (that is, the powers that be manipulating it?) will drop for a while to punish the world. This week was the feast of SS. Thomas More (the king's good servant but God's first, so no stealing the church locally) and John Fisher (the only English bishop to say no to Henry VIII) and someone has called the English schism and forced conversion to Protestantism, part of Britain's national myth including independence from Europe, the first Brexit. Clever. Good point to ponder. People often try to start schisms in the name of forming "national Catholic churches." But as Peter Anson wryly noted, even proud ethnic Catholic groups always prefer to remain in the international church. Catholics have healthy local pride; we have countries. But neither that nor property rights are absolutes in our social teaching. It seems to me the left's (including that granddaddy Freemasonry) internationalism/universality, based on values above blood and soil, is aping the church. How can we distinguish between the two? Leftism is Christianity's bastard and a temptation for many of us. For our ruling elite there are no more countries. Beseiged by hostile Mohammedan migrants, the Brits are starting to push back. Not surprising because... Britain is in a way an American protectorate (Airstrip One); same empire but with the capital moved west, definitely since World War II. So it's in a position to tell off the EU. Europe naturally would be a standoff between Russia and Germany; Russia's not our problem anymore, not Communist, and we should welcome them as a Christian ally (not that we should entirely trust them, but they're not threatening us). And as Catholics we should want these estranged traditional Catholics back.
  • David Mills from 1996: Latcons: the long and the short of latitudinarian conservatives. Churches that are just conservative enough to be successful in the religious "market," teaching just enough about Jesus and not just repackaged secular humanism, but not so conservative as to get secular reprisal/backlash. There's discretion and then there's compromise. Reminds me of the Laodiceans in the Book of Revelation and of Newman figuring out that the middle way such as Monophysitism anciently or 19th-century Anglicanism vis-à-vis Catholicism and Protestantism isn't necessarily the truth. This link came up in a conversation about "neo-Anglicans" in the "Realignment," such as ACNA, ex-Episcopalians basically simpatico with English and Third World Evangelical Anglicans. Like with the Lutherans, they try to be about Jesus, but they end up defending Episcopalianism circa 1980: half the Modernism (including women priests; hey, Articles XIX and XXI teach a fallible church so there you go) but none of the homosexualism or upper-middle-class snobbery. It also seems where the Reformed Episcopal Church now is: not classic Anglicanism's true-church claim (their branch theory rightly understood: the true church; we're Catholic too but in grave error; no bishops mean no church) but an evangelicalism that believes the historic church's structure and usages are nice but not essential.
  • Ex-Catholic Orthodox. Rare, thank God. Two unfriendly bloggers at odds with each other but both knowledgeable square off.
    • Lessons learned from Rocky One to Rocky Three. This fellow left the church and seems to have settled into a Modernism in which there is no true church, which of course is not what the Orthodox teach, but he describes well the (extremely rare) mistake of traditionalists trying to move to the most Rome-like of that loose communion, pretty much mine 20 years ago, which I took too long to undo. Regular readers know my lines: We include them sacramentally. They don't include us. If you can really believe that Byzantium is the center of the universe so all outside are apostate or a big unknown, then this schism is for you. If not, be Catholic!
    • Response with a good comments thread including the very knowledgeable former Russian Orthodox priest Dale. Likewise Bernard Brandt here happens to express my view. Mr. Sanchez confirms an impression I've had: A good number of ex-Catholic Orthodox I have met over the years either married into Orthodoxy or weren’t strong churchgoers prior to finding the Christian East. Functionally they were Protestants (many such seem to have learned about God in evangelicalism first) so their first consciousness about hierarchy, liturgy, sacraments, etc. came from Byzantium, just like born Orthodox. If you're acting in good faith, God understands.
  • Which reminds me: the bottom line about Slavic-American Orthodox' foundational myths, the Toth and Chornock schisms. What our churchmen were telling Greek Catholics to do in America was distasteful and unfair (most notably, banning married priests), but was it heretical? And don't give me the lines against the Pope that you copied from the Russians and the Greeks after you left. According to either side, were the new disciplinary rules for America heretical? Traditional churches change discipline all the time; witness economy in Byzantium.
  • Conservatism Inc. has no answer to Islamic terrorism except to invade the world. Don't invade; don't invite.
  • Trump gets it: We've spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that, frankly, if they were there and if we could have spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems — our airports and all the other problems we have — we would have been a lot better off, I can tell you that right now. We have done a tremendous disservice not only to the Middle East — we've done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have been wiped away — and for what? It's not like we had victory. It's a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized, a total and complete mess. I wish we had the 4 trillion dollars or 5 trillion dollars. I wish it were spent right here in the United States on schools, hospitals, roads, airports, and everything else that are all falling apart! LRC has its limitations ("everything the government says and does is bad; question authority, man!") but like Catholic social teaching it teaches you to think outside the box of modern, media-fed political "thought," and it has said: why not take the terrorists such as Omar Mateen at their word and stop bombing their countries?
  • Lee Penn on what's wrong with Ayn Rand.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Byzantine Catholic resurrection in Delco

A story from about a year ago: Two Ukrainian Catholic parishes become one in Ridley.

On my list to visit: Holy Myrrh-Bearers Ukrainian Catholic Church in Swarthmore, Pa., created by the merger of Holy Ghost, Chester, whence came the fine baroque iconostasis, and SS. Peter & Paul, Clifton Heights, which I visited once (sorry, dismal; no iconostasis or singing); the church bought a closed old Presbyterian building. The people probably want a Saturday-night Mass so they have one rather than Saturday Vespers, like the first Ukrainian Catholic church I went to 30 years ago. I imagine like that place it could be to accommodate two languages; one service is in English. But I've been told this place does everything in English. Ukrainian Catholics probably still used Slavonic 30 years ago; now they use Ukrainian. Pictured: Metropolitan Stefan (Soroka) and other bishops consecrating the new church.

My first traditional Catholic Mass in person when the American church offered nothing similar; thanks. Eastern rites, such as the relatively large Byzantine Rite including this, seem self-limiting in America, parishioners gone often within three generations, but have much potential to bring in the lapsed and unchurched, a traditional Catholicism without some of our cultural baggage (such as Latin, not that Latin's not good). They have a spectrum of practice from unlatinized to latinized and that's fine. Its online dissenters from church teaching (usually converts making the Orthodox' mistake of putting their love for the rite above the church; worse because it's liturgically conservative, getting some Catholics' trust) seem rare in real life, thank God. In the western Ukraine, under the Communists, church members were heroes, often refusing to leave the church when ordered to (all of their bishops said no), forming an underground church (a survival lesson), and those who were forced out (the Soviets gave parish churches to the Russian Orthodox) came back as soon as possible, when Communism collapsed.

Being an unlatinized Byzantine Catholic who supports the magisterium is probably one of the hardest Catholic callings.

Ukrainian Catholicism has been in the Philadelphia area for about a century (often refugees from the Communists, right after World War II, like the priest and congregation I visited elsewhere 30 years ago) but not as numerous as upstate in now-declining coal-mine and steel-mill country (like in The Deer Hunter), immigration from before World War I.

Slavonic's medieval, related to Russian and Ukrainian; Ukrainian is to Russian as Portuguese is to Spanish.

I'll probably catch the Saturday-night Mass on a summer weekend when there's a car show or flea market on Sunday.

Monday, June 20, 2016

To an English friend: Why I'm on board the Trump train

I do not consider Trump a fit candidate for the US Presidency.
I never claimed Trump is perfect; after all, only a couple of years ago he agreed with all of the left's platitudes. This candidacy is about the movement, a popular one, more than the man, though he would (will) make a serviceable president. Americans are getting fed up and buying fewer of the left's lies. (Sanders' movement is a popular protest too; good but they don't understand economics.) Humanly speaking, it's now our only hope in this country. As for the Mohammedans, the same thing is happening in both our countries, though it's probably affecting Britain more as Britain is smaller: the left is importing these people precisely to destroy the old, Christian Britain and America. No matter that the Mohammedans want to kill them too; the left thinks it's worth throwing some of their own under the bus. (They just blame guns and conservative Christians anyway, though last time I checked, American gun enthusiasts, Catholics, and evangelicals weren't shooting up nightclubs.) The Mohammedans are picking a fight, wanting us to invade so they can slaughter us. Don't invade; don't invite. Trump is the only serious candidate who sounds like he gets that. I'd opted out of mainstream politics for 16 years but my country's people and culture are at stake, so I'm on board the Trump train. And yes; vote for your country to quit the EU.
Hi, John; I admire your insight and passion, and totally agree with your assessment. The sad truth is that the left-wing media here are portraying Donald Trump (and Boris Johnson) as ranting and ill-informed baboons. It's the old ridicule, make irreverent, and remove tactic. In the UK the real issues have been lost in the fears generated by a possible financial crisis. And now, with the murder of Jo Cox, the Left have shamelessly used it to shift the debate, and demonise many on the Right. Fly the flag, John.
The Catholic Church at least implicitly condemns "my country, right or wrong" but normal people love their countries. (Liberals ape the church by claiming its universal love for humanity but they hate their own people. A lot of what we're seeing is a civil war of liberal whites upon conservative ones, with the Mohammedans as imported muscle like Hessian mercenaries.) For our elites, there are no more countries; they have no loyalty/feel no obligation to us (unlike a good king, a father to his people).

The Orlando massacre and our cathedral

Holy Mass in Remembrance of Orlando Shooting, Sunday, June 19, 2016. Like decent people I'm appalled by the Mohammedan terrorist attack in Orlando, but it was local. Though it seems many of the dead were Catholics, why was our cathedral nearly 1,000 miles away having a big, publicized Requiem (they didn't call it that) for them? It seems more of a secularized, politicized abuse than actual public prayer for our Catholic dead: begging our anti-Catholic overlords not to hit us by implicitly agreeing to blame guns and "homophobia." Also, Catholics don't have "memorial Masses" or Masses "in remembrance of the Orlando shooting." We have public Masses for the repose (Latin requies, -em) of the souls of Catholics. (I think privately a priest may offer Mass for anyone.) We also don't have Requiems on Sunday (because Sunday is a little Easter, about the joy of the Resurrection) but as it was Sunday evening, with the same logic behind Saturday-night Masses (I sometimes go to those), arguably liturgically it was Monday. Probably not a Requiem but a Mass of the Sunday with the intention of offering it for the repose of these dead. Theologically no problem but the publicity here is problematic.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The church: Balancing our truth claim with fairness to our estranged brethren

Friends, "Romans," countrymen, lend me your ears.

Fr. LaRue writes: Why we should not say "the Catholic Church" to refer to the Roman communion. As he and I know, what he now calls the Roman communion and I just call the church has always maintained a balance, insisting there can be only one church, indivisible, yet implicitly including those of good will born outside its visible boundaries. If, like us, you have the sacraments, all the better. For instance, there are our fellow Chalcedonians the Orthodox and indeed the rest of the estranged Eastern churches; each likewise claims to be the true church but doesn't extend sacramental recognition in principle (the Byzantine Orthodox think we're not Christians because we weren't in their empire). We on the other hand believe they have real bishops and the Mass (even if the Nestorians and Monophysites are heretics), as close to a branch theory as we get. Born Orthodox are definitely an estranged part of us (that sometimes hates our guts). Our close cousins the traditional Lutherans have an implicit true-church claim; we're in grave error. Fr. LaRue doesn't say it here but his argument about subsistences reminds me of the great recent Anglican apologist Fr. Mitchican teaching me that the classical Anglicans' branch theory was no bland ecumenism; just like the Orthodox, they thought they were the true church. So the Tractarians didn't want the Greeks ordaining an Englishman for their country and neither they nor Charles Grafton wanted the Catholic hierarchy in their lands: get off our turf, "Romans"! Originally, Anglo-Catholicism, like old high churchmanship, was about asserting a truth claim against us.

Modern high-church Anglicans, left or right, don't quite put it that way. They're Romanizers, holding pretty much the same beliefs about the Mass and the sacraments as ours and beyond that identifying Episcopalianism with Western Catholicism and indeed the Roman Rite, but not Papalists (the would-be Catholics people assumed Anglo-Catholics were). Another way of putting it is they want to be in the church but on their terms, not the church's. Find some nice quotations from the Caroline divines, translate our traditional missal and invent your own church, essentially. I just chalk it up to the sadness and confusion the "Reformation" left on English people's souls.

Sorry, folks, your state church is Reformed, not Catholic. Straight shot from Articles XIX and XXI to women priests: fallible, changeable church. It doesn't act like the Catholic Church because it's not the Catholic Church.

But, some balance: I still use Fr. LaRue's religious English (but not the actual Prayer Book, which is Protestant) and my semi-traditionalist parish sings his side's hymns, which are very good.

By the way, it looks like Msgr. Bartholomew's council's a no-go or at least a big nothing. (Orthodox politics: Msgr. B and the rich Greek-Americans vs. Putin's Russia, an empire with real power.) Maybe the Orthodox can't call a council. As I say, there is an Orthodox small-t tradition, entirely Catholic as Fr. Serge (Keleher) said, and Orthodox bishops, but they are Catholic bishops estranged from each other as well as from us; sister dioceses to Catholic dioceses but the Catholic Church has no sisters. There is no such thing as the Orthodox Church.

I was just rereading parts of Fr. Serge's translation of Metropolitan Andrew. Cardinal Gibbons called it over a century ago: the Eastern rites fade away in America within three generations. The people Americanize (lose their language, marry outside the group, etc.) and it's over. And it's not just an Orthodox problem. But his solution was rude and caused a schism: force these immigrants to become Roman Rite immediately. No. The church, which includes the Christian East on principle and thus tries to protect those rites, didn't buy that and at least set up Eastern rites' dioceses here to prevent more schisms. The Byzantine Rite for example has a lot of potential here: a Catholic traditionalism minus some of our cultural baggage. But it just isn't happening here. If we're honest, we'll say that those rites in America are a temporary, transitional phenomenon for some immigrants and their children; Byzantine for East Slavs (Ukrainians), for example. Ruthenian immigration ended 100 years ago so they're done here. Ukrainians really last came as refugees from the Soviet takeover during World War II; immigration since the fall of Communism doesn't seem to help the Catholic Church here. I take no pleasure from that. Regular readers know my first traditional Catholic Mass in person was Ukrainian so I'm thankful.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Another reason not to buy from the Disney behemoth

Finding Dory gets a transgender stingray.

Another reason to stay away from the Disney behemoth. Transsexuals are less than a percent of the population (hardly a huge social problem, and most of them are harmless) and people with problems deserve compassion, but another big company is trying to brainwash us (why? to create deracinated cogs in a state machine; no natural sex, no loyalty to kin, only the state and the corporations, a parody of a universal faith and church)... here, as early as possible, sermonizing to ruin a children's story.

Homosexuals, social engineering, and the military

President Barack Obama declared June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, and the Defense Department is highlighting the importance of leadership as it celebrates the achievements and sacrifices of LGB service members and LGBT civilians.
The issue isn't really the homosexuals, at most only 3% of the population and you'll always have some in the service: faraway stations mostly with other men and nobody asks you why you never married. So like with Roman Rite Catholic priests (celibacy), you might have more than the general population (with Roman Rite priests it's probably about 6%, double the rate in the general population). It should be at local commanders' discretion: if you behave when on duty, then no problem. No, it's about the social engineering our elite is forcing on everybody else (so that 3% is hyped; far overrepresented), only more so since the military is perfect for that, a government lab. (None of this makes the military better at fighting.) The object is to re-educate/mess up straight people: "gender is just a construct" (including putting girls in combat, defying common sense) and separating sex from both love and kids; a world of good consumers who obey orders with no family but the state. And not all homosexuals act like the elite wants nor want the attention (no stupid identity politics; your orientation isn't the sum of who you are); some are honest about their orientation and never attack traditional Christian teaching, now largely only retained by the Catholic Church.

I think we should have stayed out of World War II (let the Soviets and Nazis cancel each other out, and make a deal with Japan) but the old values (as held by the generation of Americans who fought it) made America the greatest nation the world has seen right after the war. Not that we were perfect (who is?) or founded as Christian (the founding fathers were largely agnostic) but the republic as set up gave the majority's Christian values the freedom to make us great, and made this culturally Protestant land a great home for Catholics and even non-Christians of good will. By the way, those values taught me not to pick on people with problems.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Orlando terrorist attack

It's about terrorism, not homosexuality or guns. So it's about human suffering and a Christian response; Chick fil-A gets it. So does the people's pro bono candidate (cut straight to the chase — restoring the dignity of blue-collar white men, while keeping culturally incompatible foreigners out), talking sense in this video link. Violent reprisal is exactly what ISIS wants. Don't invade; don't invite.

So why do Hillary Clinton (so corrupt she's a joke; I think the elite will try hard but fail to force her on us) and the rest of the left want to keep importing Mohammedan terrorists? To stick it to conservative Christian men; sure, the left will throw some of their own under the bus. "All for the struggle, comrades."

One detail that brought home to me the human suffering: someone on the scene said the dead's cell phones were constantly ringing; frantic loved ones hoping they were okay.

My Jesus, mercy.

P.S. Christian charity knocked off course: blaming conservative religion. Obviously Bishop Lynch here is not speaking for the church. I understand he's retiring; such churchmen really should find another line of work. More Sixties aftermath: when America assimilated its big Catholic minority, getting most of them to think like a Protestant denomination. Bishop Lynch is a sellout.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Car-show weekend

Just got a real 1983 movie poster for Christine. Obsessed? Sure!

The Morris Racing and Philadelphia Area Corvette Club show, Yeadon, Pa.: Edna's first with me and my first as an owner. (Yes, she has a name: a tribute to one of the ladies who supplies my wardrobe. Also, Baby and the Green Ghost Car of Delaware County.) All she got was a participation trophy but what a great way to meet people; happens all the time when we're out. The only Edsel there and one of only three '50s Fords; should have got an "orphan" trophy ("Most Unique").

Cruise Down Memory Lane in Vineland, NJ, my favorite regional show (Das Awkscht Fescht in a park in Macungie is better, with many, many cars, if you consider the Lehigh Valley part of our region, but I like the downtown setting in Vineland), with my favorite local music radio station, WVLT in that town, broadcasting from the sidewalk.

This General Lee is autographed by the cast. I didn't watch the show so I didn't much care but now that the liberals have decided to dump on this car, namely, the flag on the roof, to show off, I say "Yeeeeee-haaaaa!" (Actually, making the show, each jump totaled a '69 Charger; not worth it!) Buddy Holly's bassist, Waylon Jennings, was the narrator.

'60 Chevy Biscayne in very rough condition. I love this design. I admit a nice thing about going to these when you're also an owner (I didn't show my car here; too far away) is that the cars in rougher shape make you feel better about your car's blemishes.