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Monday, March 30, 2015

Church, state, and more: The usual from me

  • Church and state. Ms. Pelosi and Ms. Boxer I find extremely distasteful. And regardless of where a person's religious conviction lies I found the threats that Ms. Pelosi has leveled against the Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco absolutely wrong and an infringement on his religious freedom. Were I the Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco I would have long ago excommunicated Ms. Pelosi and quite possibly banned her from church properties. The biggest political football now here in California: do religious leaders have the right to set religious standards in their private schools? I say the government has no right to interfere with standards that they set for their faculty. Quite right. The government has NO STANDING in the church. NONE. We permit transgressions of that at our peril. Catholics haven't exercised that clout since the Sixties. The great Cardinal Spellman would have done that and most Catholics would have obeyed, so even though the Rockefellers and other Protestants would have hated it, they would have had to go along. (Our primatial see should be Baltimore but is really New York, which was Spellman's.) Politicians of Nancy Pelosi's kind would have been finished. But in the Sixties, what with Vatican II, Catholic churchmen went for mainstream acceptance, "the seamless garment" packaging the Rockefellers' liberalism, for example, as Catholic social teaching. (For example, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh at Notre Dame, a leader from before the council who sold out so the mainstream loved him. Reduce Catholicism to St. Patrick's Day parties and sports.) What's happening now is this accommodationist "Catholicism" that took over all our pre-conciliar institutions such as parishes and colleges is dying out. As it dies, those old institutions, our footprint in America, are going away; closing. The good news is the remnant that still goes to church is conservative, even sometimes traditionalist, and has kids. (My magnet parish, for example.) But in the meantime, we still have bishops who'd rather have their pictures taken with the president and get government funding than act Catholic. While of course the church has been amenable to arrangements with the state (being the state religion), the state can't own the church (why sultans, tsars, and Communists have hated it).
  • Congregationalist Catholicism? This charter and amendments from a Greek Catholic parish that went into schism in the '30s are interesting. Historically American Greek Catholics (Greek Rite but not ethnic Greeks; mostly Slavic) didn't organize like in the old country (state churches) or like Orthodox in their countries (again, state churches). They went congregationalist (very American, like the Pilgrims), organizing as private clubs as protection against hostile local Roman Rite bishops (who really started the schism here; it wasn't about our doctrine). The Polish National Catholics, offshoot Roman Riters, do the same. Most here know that congregationalism isn't how the Catholic Church in America operates. But as I like to say, everything in church polity is on the table except the papacy and the episcopate, which are doctrine. Now congregationalism, like clerical marriage, can be abused: it could be a libcath fantasy, part of the protestantization of American Catholicism I describe above (the Rockefeller liberals to us snappers: cut your apron strings to Mamma Rome and don't let some celibate bishop in a dress tell you what to do). Spiritus Christi Church in Rochester, NY, for example, a latter-day vagante schism when a new bishop acted Catholic and cracked down on a liberal parish; the vagante bishop's just a hired hand like a funeral director, popping in for ordinations. But just as Anglo-Catholic alumni and Eastern churchmen are fine conservative examples of ordaining the married (we don't marry the ordained and all our bishops are celibate), conservative congregationalism is worth a look. Also, because Episcopalianism is semi-congregational, some Anglo-Catholic parishes managed to resist the spirit of Vatican II. (Part of one here, St. Clement's, became the core group of one of our Tridentine parishes, Holy Trinity.)
  • Ex-Army: The boomers didn't start it. As I say, they were just dumb kids buying records. Good reactionary talking point: the kids were just a propellant for what older generations had started.
  • The "Enlightenment" steals credit from... medieval Christendom. Progressivism is a Christian heresy. No culture other than Christendom could have come up with it.
  • A scare article about spring break. Unsurprisingly I've never been. What this article touches on is how the left seemingly has changed and has its wires crossed. Back in the days of Hugh Hefner and the swinging Sixties, this degeneracy was considered progressive. Then a reaction set in among the left; it came up with its ripoff of Christian morals, political correctness, in which "rape is pretty much anything that makes a woman uncomfortable." (I guess "microaggressions" are their "venial sins.") But what's telling is spring break, like Hef, still gets a free pass in mainstream society including the media. If you criticize it, you're just a stick-in-the-mud, probably one of those dangerous conservatives. Like I've said before, all those outrageous dirty jokes including about homosexuality, in the '70s and '80s, that are called un-PC now really were PC; they were part of a program to desensitize Middle America to that stuff. (The "free speech" movement?) So, right; don't let your daughters go on spring break in Florida, Mexico, etc. I wonder what Face to Face has to say about all this: unsocial Millennials in an age of cocooning vs. the sociable '80s, or if these stories are true, are these kids really being anti-social?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Numinosity


Does anyone have the foggiest idea what this could be? I'm pretty sure it's from an Episcopalian source.

I believe that's a photo from Compline at Christ Church, New Haven (Episcopal).
The Episcopalians like our stuff; Catholic liberals don't.
That's Exposition, not just Compline.
I think in the traditional Roman Rite there is no incense at Compline.

Compline and Exposition are things libcaths wouldn't be caught dead at, because those are elitist or something. The Gothic reredos and the candles all over the place, even on the steps (where they're in the way and a fire hazard for the vested priest and servers; that frontal could light up at any second), told me this picture is modern Episcopal; liberal high church.

SAT word for the day: we Roman Catholics at our best, the Anglicans at their high-church best, and the Eastern churches understand and show the numinous. Including liberal St. Gregory's Episcopal in San Francisco; they are smart and talented but of course nowhere near Catholic or Orthodox, etc. The Novus Ordo normally doesn't unless it's been high-churched (reform of the reform, including Pope Benedict; what Fr. James Mayer did at my parish starting about 10 years ago); it's didactic like old-school non-liturgical Protestants.

Dominica in Palmis

Domine, ne longe facias auxilium tuum a me. We had Sung Mass without the blessing of palm leaves or the procession; maybe the blessing was at the vigil or early Novus Ordo. So we got one of the 1962 missal's changing Last Gospels, the one about Palm Sunday. Hosanna filio David. For the gospel reading, a marathon (St. Matthew's account of the suffering and death of Christ) for Fr. Matthew, who chanted the whole thing, with different tones for the different parts, like a one-man play without the annoying acting. It wore him out but he got through it and even preached afterwards, no problem. Few and overworked, our priests are troupers.


"When I survey the wondrous cross..." Our organ-playing (former sub organist at St. Mary the Virgin, New York) and hymns are very Anglican. We're not re-enactors but a living tradition (the Mass that would not die) using the best of Western high churchmanship, in the spirit of the Anglican Use and the ordinariates.

"Thanks, Anglo-Catholicism." — The Catholic Church


Ut in nomine Jesu omne genu flectatur caelestium, terrestrium et infernorum. The Greek word to describe today's epistle is κένωσις, kenosis, "self-emptying," echoing both the Passion story in the gospel and, here towards the end, the joyous procession the day more famously celebrates. (People are fickle; a case against democracy. A mob elected Barabbas.) While remaining God, the Son became a true man, on a secret mission as I like to think of it. But Jesus never lied about his mission when asked.

Book of Common Prayer translation of the collect and readings.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The '58 Plodge and more


  • The '58 Dodge Regent: the Plodge. Not well-known automotive history, at least in the United States. In the golden era, not only did American carmakers sell autos to our northern neighbour (to honour their spelling: God save the Queen and bring back the Red Ensign) — with imported parts (Australians built and drove our cars too, with right-hand drive); they came up with unique Canadian models. I've seen one, the Meteor Rideau, a mid-'50s Ford with a different style of chrome; a survivor because it's from sunny British Columbia. (Canada's winters destroyed most of them.) Then I found out about the Plodge, formally with the fine British name of Regent. Like toymakers at the time mixing different makes in one design so they wouldn't have to pay for the rights, Chrysler/Mopar (now Fiat?! — the marriage with the Germans at Daimler didn't work out) took elements of two of their Virgil Exner forward-look beauties (think Christine) to come up with this in '58. A Dodge front "face" but a Plymouth rear end, and more. Smaller and dorkier than the Belevederes and Furys but if that's all you could afford, you got some Virgil Exner style.
  • The church the way the world would have it. Written by a devout Episcopalian. Regular readers know where I'm going with this. This sounds really cool! Have the best of traditional liturgics and sound, Christ-centered doctrine, AND be charitable and fair the way the world says to. Of course I love women; why not ordain them? Now the other shoe drops. God obviously has other plans. Not only do natural law and the magisterium make sense, but this invented religion really doesn't appeal to many: you offend the real Catholics as well as fervent evangelicals, plus it doesn't impress the secular people you're trying to do that with or even convert them. They move along still thinking religion is passé. I'm actually not that religious; religion is a must, though, and what religion I have is Catholic before around 1965. Don't settle for imitations.
  • Yesterday's feast: et Verbum caro factum est. Everything else is commentary.
  • A reader of this blog has been received into the church. Gaudent angeli.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Passion Sunday


The veiling of the images.


Fr. Brannan, one of our living links to before Vatican II. Low Mass with hymns today, the service he prefers.

Mass: Judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta. Dixit eis Iesus: "Amen, amen dico vobis, antequam Abraham fieret, ego sum." Book of Common Prayer translation of the collect and readings.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Italians in Canada


Italian Canadians preserving their heritage like never before. They're concentrated in Toronto and Montreal and much of the immigration was after World War II. All I know about what's uniquely Italian-Canadian is that they have some of their own slang (mangiacakes for British-Canadians) and that Toronto's British-Canadians have their own putdowns for them; Kathy Shaidle says she hates them. Gino and gina mean guido and guidette. Her story: a convert or revert Catholic writer who turned on the church, now basically a libertarian on an anti-authority kick like liberals with the same slurs against the church, understandable because she fell in love with a divorced man and couldn't marry him in the church while pervert clergy almost got off scot-free. (A reminder: way back under John Paul II and maybe earlier, good conservative Catholics blew the whistle on the pervs; the church liberals were the enablers. Right after the Sixties, the left was almost OK with sex with kids.)
The immigration occurred in two main waves, from 1900 to the First World War and from 1950 to 1970.
A reminder that Canada's British. (God save the Queen and bring back the Red Ensign.) For some reason, after World War II, Italian immigrants went to British countries; in America, Italian immigration largely ended in the '20s with a restrictive new law in place until '65. Anthony LaPaglia grew up in Australia after the war; I think he likes it better in America (he speaks with his own invented American accent) because he says he wasn't welcome in Australia for being Italian. (Canada and Australia: lots of lapsed Methodists and lapsed Presbyterians, and now generationally unchurched in Australia. More secular than here.)

Interesting that at least some Italian-Canadians follow Italian soccer, being like modern Italians. Not so of Italian-Americans, American since the '20s so almost all sports are American (the older generation playing bocce; Wildwood has a court by the boardwalk). As Christian Lander wrote in his smart self-satire Stuff White People Like (hence SWPL to describe liberals), in American culture, pretending to follow soccer (at least at World Cup time) is lefties' way of pretending to be European; fellow liberals vs. heartland Americans they consider clods or even dangerous (America's civil war since the Sixties).

So the question for us is are the third-generation Italian-Canadians identifying with the old Catholic Italy (easygoing, long love-hate relationship with the church and some voodoo-ey devotions but deeply Catholic) or today's secular socialist Italy?
From what I've met of them, it seems more the older, immediate postwar version of Italy they identify with (which is pretty much the same as the Italy of the 1920s that Italian-Americans do).
Right; remembering the country as it was when they left. That makes sense. Glad they still identify with a good version.
I don't think that modern Italy is too off the wall as compared to some other European countries. It's not exactly the same as it was 50 years ago (what is?) but still better than many other places.
Like the recent media row with Dolce & Gabbana: Mamma Italia, where even the homosexuals are still just bad Catholics. Got to love those two: like Camille Paglia (met her; she's fun), they know they can't change nature, society, or the church; they're admitting the church may be right so they're wrong. Italians don't waste their time trying to change the church like the dumb northerners; if they sin or lose their faith, they just lapse.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

St. Joseph's Day High Mass

With a procession of the Blessed Sacrament and the Litany of the Saints to open the Forty Hours Devotion at St. Joseph's Church, Collingdale, Pa., with the servers from Holy Trinity Church, Philadelphia (St. Clement's, Jr.), and local Knights of Columbus.




Censing the altar as the choir chants the Introit.


Pange lingua gloriosi...

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Old news: Good Catholics aren't Democrats anymore

"Mike, didja hear Pat's become a Republican?"
"Go on! No, I saw him at Mass on Sunday."
Salon's not hip: The Democratic Party is facing a Catholic apocalypse. That train left the station about 40 years ago when the old party of labor unions and yes, conservative Southerners turned its back on its base, sharply turning left following the Sixties' lead. Religious people across the board are much more likely to be Republicans. Longtime readers of this blog know I'm no shill for the GOP; I started blogging partly to protest the war in Iraq even before it began. Locally they're often an honorable choice. Nationally I've functionally opted out since 2004: Libertarian or sometimes nothing.

While it's flattering to think of ourselves as kingmakers, that there's still a Catholic vote, we're not; there isn't anymore. Not only because the Democrats abandoned us but because we shot ourselves in the foot with Vatican II; American Protestants had their dream of absorbing, protestantizing, the country's big Catholic minority handed to them. But the church, being the church and once being so big here, isn't going away; the few actual Catholics are regrouping politically. What's happening is the the big rank and file of Catholics who still vote D are slowly coming clean by no longer identifying as Catholic. (Millennials more and more don't.) My guess is we are or will be too small to be a swing vote.

Plus there is actually an Irish Catholic GOP tradition in my Pennsylvania county, and there have been Italian Republican enclaves reacting against Irish domination of the local Democrats.

The Dems' moderate socialism (the New Deal) plus our social conservatism used to be seen as American shorthand for Catholic social teaching. Sometimes the left tries to identify itself similarly, easy to do since leftism is a Christian heresy, but mostly they hate us now because of abortion and homosexuality. Like how they turned on Pope Paul VI regarding birth control, when the Pope turned out to be Catholic.

From Ad Orientem.

I'm not Irish


  • I am one of the few Americans who claims no Irish ancestry. WASP, some very diluted German, and a quarter Spanish. But I'm Catholic. So sláinte.
  • My usual summary of Irish and Irish-American history. St. Patrick wasn't Irish; he was a Romano-Briton kidnapped by the Irish who returned to evangelize them. (Neither is Lucky Charms, entirely American; leprechauns are Irish but actually not a big deal in their folklore.) Apparently religious fervor in Ireland is cyclical. Fervent (severe as monks) in the Dark Ages (in which they helped save civilization), casually Catholic by the 1500s. Maybe St. Brendan sailing in a curragh did discover America; can't prove it. The first people in Ireland to object to Henry VIII's leaving the church were the ethnic English in the Pale around Dublin. The rest of the Irish people didn't know there was a change until later (because the English rulers hid it for a while: the Mass remained); when they knew (no more Mass), they rejected it, almost alone among northern countries (Flanders too) remaining Catholic. After that, Irish religion, persecuted, was low-profile, creating a kind of low churchmanship that influences American Catholicism (cf. Thomas Day). Catholic emancipation in Britain revived the Irish church; hardworking, tough priests and nuns and pious laity still part of our cultural memory in America, as Ireland's biggest export used to be its people. They built the American church, institutionally, despite lots of native Protestant resistance (burning our buildings) in the early 1800s. (On sitcoms you still sometimes hear priests talk with a brogue.) Oh, and they weren't Jansenists (Calvinist-influenced heretics), just strict. Churchy, unlike Italian folk Catholicism, for example. Now, also because of secularism and Vatican II, religion has waned in Ireland. The Sixties (the Rockefellers pushing contraception, and Vatican II) neutralized America's huge Catholic minority (arguably by 1960 we almost became a Catholic country) so most third- and fourth-generation Irish-Americans are like everyone else. The church and Irish nationalism are not synonymous. Actually Popes wanted the northern European kings to come back to the church, not secular-inspired rebellions copying the French Revolution. So the church has always kept its distance from "the cause": Communist terrorists collecting donations from well-meaning naive Irish-Americans. Cardinal Spellman had no time for it; he identified himself as an American. To this day, now among traditionalists, the argument continues: were the nativist Protestants right that Catholicism and Americanism are incompatible? (Leo XIII vs. the Americanist heresy, when some churchmen uncritically adopted American values, as John Courtney Murray later did.) Hard for patriotic immigrants and second-generation people from 50-60 years ago to come to terms with, as golden-era America was a great home for the church. Which is what American St. Patrick's Day is really all about (in Ireland it's a holy day of obligation and used to be solemn): celebrating the Irish making it over here. And by extension, since they really created the American church, all Catholics, so it's my holiday too, as is Italian Columbus Day with its parade in the heart of South Philly.
  • Sounds like a bad joke but it's true: Omagh's "Shawshank Husband" dug tunnel from bedroom to pub over 15 years.
  • New Age "Celtic" stuff is made-up garbage. Ireland is Catholic; deal with it.
  • Recorded by Judy Collins (with that name, is she Catholic?): "Drink a round to Ireland, boys; I'm home again. Drink a round to Jesus Christ who died for Irish men."

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spiritual advice, and more


  • Letter to a new convert by the late Mother Thekla. Classic spiritual advice C.S. Lewis would approve of. It only happens to be about Orthodoxy (this is a neutral piece I wrote for a newspaper 7 years ago); real religion vs. playing church. As Lewis wrote "to an American lady" who left his denomination for Catholicism as they started their correspondence, the people at the centers and hearts of their churches are closer to God and thus to each other than the fringe-y people in them.
  • She was "the last surviving nun to have occupied the enclosed Orthodox Monastery of the Assumption in North Yorkshire." The Eastern rites don't "take" in the West; they fade away within three generations there (the Americanized grandkids bag it).
  • RIP Fr. Matthew Baker. His story has been making the rounds of the Interwebs; of course I'm sorry he died. I don't know all the facts but it sounds like he had "pious" bad judgment that killed him and risked his kids' lives. If there's a snowstorm or the forecast of one, cancel church services!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pink Is Beautiful Sunday


  • Yes, I know; "rose." Mass: Laetare, Jerusalem, et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam. The word "convent" comes from the idea of Christian community, believers coming together. The epistle: Christianity supersedes the old covenant, changing the faith from Judaism's tribal one to universal. The gospel: the loaves and fishes, a miracle that's a type of the Eucharist, and no, it wasn't that Jesus inspired people to share.
  • The crucifixion of Patricia Jannuzzi. No surprise: under the Christian heresy now our de facto state religion, we are not allowed to criticize homosexuals (as well as blacks and Jews). Conservative self-pity posts are a dime a dozen but what's striking here is her putatively Catholic employer doesn't have her back. As far as I know, all she did was repeat common conservative talking points about a political agenda, in line with Catholic teaching, with her personal Facebook account (not a school or church one; did she post from a school computer?), not harming or threatening anyone (not yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater). Conservative Christianity has taught me it's a sin to pick on homosexuals. The agenda she wrote about is not "tolerance." It is about conquest. Standard in these stories: force a confession (again, this is twisted Christianity)/apology out of the person, then suspend or fire him anyway (lesson: don't apologize), but it seems they only forced her to take down her Facebook page. Not every churchman is a Cardinal Burke or Archbishop Cordileone; of course it's always been so. (St. Peter renounced Christ three times.) While I'm sure there are diocesan schools just as cravenly politically correct, I think technically Immaculata isn't a Catholic school, meaning it's not diocesan. I think all such private schools, left and right, just call themselves Catholic. Like Catholic colleges: under Fr. Theodore Hesburgh they cut their ties to the church in 1967 to get government funding. Legally that's even how conservative (sound) ones operate. Rod Dreher says the diocese betrayed her, not the school, but: Jannuzzi is still working as Director of the New Evangelization and of the St. Thomas More Ministry at the parish. The "chilling effect" the left complains about except when they're doing it: why is the local Catholic Church, a diocese, letting an actress and a "reality TV" star order it around? Since Vatican II, a generation of Catholics has been chasing American respectability (they think PC's the same as Catholic social teaching), but that generation's fading.
  • Speaking of which, USA Today notices the "Latin Mass"'s little comeback.
  • My personality clash with Pope Francis. He seems like a jolly Italian (but with a great man's trait, an iron will that doesn't fit an ideology) who thinks introversion's a sin.
  • Kathy Shaidle from 2008: The truth about "Mad Men" fans. Actually few watch it but the elite does. Online some sound very much on board with Matthew Weiner's agenda: accurately re-create America's golden era in order to smash it like a piñata, celebrating its fall. The nostalgia's (post-algia) probably unintended but the real secret of the show's popularity. Feminist Peggy's plausible deniability for girls of a certain class to watch and fantasize about being ravished by Don. Chicks dig jerks: Jon Hamm's right that Don's a miserable drunk and that Ken's a catch, one of the show's few nice people and good-looking.
  • From romanticism to traditionalism. Contemporary Traditionalism picks up where Berdyaev, Guénon, and the mid-Twentieth Century anti-modernists, and again where the Romantics, in their century, left off. René Guénon, who inspired Fr. Seraphim (Rose). Catholicism is anchored partly in reason (in the classical sense of conforming to objective reality) as seen in the medieval scholastics; Anglo-Catholicism a product of Anglican churchmen's claims about their church (that it's the purified, that is, mildly Protestant, continuation of the original, medieval Catholic Church in England, restored to square with the ancient church of the fathers) plus the romantic movement reacting against the "Enlightenment" and Industrial Revolution. (Their framers retained our view of reason.) Romanticism can be very compatible with Catholicism but can't be the only thing. By the way, before "traditionalism" meant "old-fashioned orthodox Catholicism in the present day," it referred to an obscure heresy that I think had a romanticized view of the faith in which you don't need rational proofs, just the authority of the church's tradition.
  • The Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian. Amidst the sound and fury of religion online, this may sound passive-aggressive but it's sincere: Yea, my Lord and King, help me to know my sins and not to judge my brother, for thou art blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Mormons, the Episcopalians formerly, and Kansas City

A Facebook ramble. It started with this news story: Execution by firing squad in Utah.
Mormons believe that certain sins, like murder, cannot be forgiven by God unless there is an "atonement of blood" from the guilty. Firing squad is a preferred way of getting this done.
Guess the Mormons don't believe in Jesus' sacrifice, but I knew they're not Christians. When I was a kid I knew little about them; I just assumed Donny and Marie were a kind of conservative Protestant. The Mormons want you to think that.
You know it, John, but it's unbelievable how many people out there don't. I've sent this vid to a number of Christians and they were shocked at what they saw. They honestly didn't know.


You probably know my line: nobody who becomes Mormon does it for the theology. They don't get John Henry Newmans reading their way in; no intellectual conversions. No, people convert because they love the version of '50s America that Mormons adopted to blend in. They met some nice Mormons and liked what they saw. As my friend Jeff Culbreath says, they've made a religion out of natural goodness, to which I add "with wacky theology mixed in." Their theology makes no sense. It's sort of like Hinduism and Buddhism in that the universe is eternal; what they call God isn't. He is an evolved man, and a good Mormon man gets to be a god too in the hereafter, begetting spirit children with his wife or, preferably, wives (why polygamy is part of their doctrine) to populate a planet with people to worship him. They're henotheists, believing in many gods but worshipping only one. No, thanks. I'll take Aristotle's and St. Thomas Aquinas' prime mover, identified with the Hebrew God.
Their theology is a mishmash of Protestant Christianity and 19th-century New age beliefs with a sprinkling of Freemasonry added to the mix. It was actually cutting-edge at the time (Like Christian Science was also), but now seems ludicrous.
Right; Joseph Smith was an ex-Mason so I understand Mormon liturgy is based on Masonic ritual. He was smart, writing a pastiche of the King James Bible that people still believe in. But his garbage was easier to preach when it couldn't be disproved. Now we can read Egyptian hieroglyphics and have DNA testing; Smith's story doesn't hold up. Plus Mormonism was largely Brigham Young's invention, a gunslinger terrorist in the Old West massacring people; interestingly, Smith's own descendants remain Christian.
Few people realize that various occult beliefs which we'd term "New Age" were actually very big in 19th-century America (look at spiritualism). There really is nothing new under the sun out there. Most of what's big in New Age circles today was either believed by the same types back then or else has been rehashed with more modern-sounding terms and explanations by them in order to sell to people these days.
New Age isn't really paganism but like the left/political correctness obvious invented by apostate Christians; Christianish ethics about love and doing good, without Christ.

Right, Missouri has a mild version of that, the Unity School of Christianity, part of the 19th-century New Thought movement, only iffily Christian but their heart's in the right place. A lot of it's true, as far as it goes, which isn't far enough.
Yes, Unity Temple still exists in Kansas City. I don't know what they believe, but they are always mentioned for their charity work by local media.
Unity on the Plaza, right? As a kid in KC I'd hear them on the radio, with a woman minister and everything. Modernist, I know now, but they make valid spiritual points.

By the way, as an Episcopal kid by accident of birth (since my dad left the Catholic Church), growing up partly in KC I had the benefit of conservative Episcopalianism (believe it or not, that used to be a thing), a big reason why I normally don't go to the Novus Ordo. We had the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (which I still say the Gloria and Creed from in English, by heart) with eastward-facing Communion while the Catholics were hippie-ing out with guitars.
Yes, KC is an epicenter of various conservative as well as liberal religious movements, including traditional Anglicans.
The Episcopalians there could be conservative because their culture isn't anti-high church/egalitarian (at least it wasn't, once) and because they're semi-congregational; every parish is almost its own church. So we kept using the old books even after the national church brought in the new ones. Didn't know about women's ordination until we'd moved elsewhere, and it was a sucker punch to me (I thought I was in part of the Catholic Church).

I remember in 1979 or 1980 hearing a radio commercial in KC about the Anglican Catholic Church, and I thought, "This jibes with what I was taught in confirmation class, that we are a Catholic church, and why leave over the new Prayer Book? We don't use it!"
Yes, the have a cathedral in KC. I used to see pamphlets advertising their faith in a local religious bookstore some years ago. I've heard that they've even broken up between one faction that wanted to be more Anglican and another that wanted to be Catholic.
What I wrote above and finding out my dad was Catholic to begin with set me on the path I'm on, with a few slight detours. (Catholicism to Orthodoxy: "moving from Dallas to Fort Worth.") By the way, he reconciled with the church before he died; I like to think I helped. (Even though he liked Vatican II. But like with lots of Catholics, the old religion formed him and stayed with him.) I'm grateful the Episcopalians accidentally gave me a pre-Vatican II basic catechesis and liturgical formation, and a refuge in Anglo-Catholicism a little later on. These days I've talked to a few Episcopal women priests, unthinkable decades ago, but the other side of that is I don't think that's the church. Catholicism is home. The Continuum is a divided mess, though I've met some nice and holy people in it. (One thing that impresses me is they're not all ex-Episcopalians.)
Catholicism works for me. We got "issues," it's true, but we are still number 1.
I never wanted to be a Protestant, which was why women's ordination seemed like a sucker punch. There is only one church. I picked up on that young.

That isn't un-ecumenical, by the way. If you're as Christ-centered as the Missouri Synod Lutherans and Fr. Robert Hart's Continuing Anglicans, you're doing it right. Just do it in the church as God intends.

Mormons and Episcopalians: both very northern European (the Mormons aren't just English; in the late 1800s, lots of Scandinavians converted to Mormonism and immigrated to Utah) and both believing in progressive revelation; doctrinal change, by decree (Mormon) or vote (Anglican).

Friday, March 13, 2015

The case against raising the minimum wage

Somebody else writes:
When I was struggling to put myself through college, I worked part-time at Burger King. I worked a 10-hour shift on Saturday and another on Sunday. Then the government raised minimum wage. My boss cut my hours from 20 to 15 but expected me to complete the same amount of tasks. And it got harder because he didn't hire new people when they were needed. The restaurant had previously let employees eat lunch for free, but we lost that. In other words, the restaurant made up for the slight wage increase by cutting our hours and benefits, making life harder for us. They also raised prices across the menu, thus screwing the consumers.

Some would object that no one can support a family on today's minimum wage. But isn't that exactly the point? In the American economy, minimum-wage jobs are meant for high-schoolers and college kids trying to make extra cash, disabled or retired people supplementing their Social Security, and bored housewives who want to earn some spending money.

Nowhere does the Constitution guarantee that you can support a wife and kids flipping burgers. Working-class adults have been forced into minimum-wage jobs as their main livelihood because the politicians have wrecked the economy.

If politicians really cared about Americans who earn low wages, they'd stop forcing American workers to compete in the wage market against illegal aliens. They'd stop killing jobs by constantly obstructing the oil industry. They'd stop killing job-generating small businesses with Obamacare. They'd stop exporting our industrial and agricultural jobs to Communist countries.


So let's stop pretending that the champions of a minimum-wage increase are the heroes of the poor. They are merely throwing crumbs from the table to the poor in exchange for political gain. What the working poor in this country need isn't a better wage in their dead-end menial job. They need a better job in the first place.
In the West there really are no countries anymore; our elite has no loyalty to us.

Putin, Ferguson, the unthinkable, and more


  • Tsar Vladimir Putin. A article for the new Cold War, now that the left hates Russia for not being liberal. He's not a monster. A reason he's in power is the Russians love him; after all, he saved the country from the rich gangster looters under Yeltsin after Communism fell. Bet his love life is complicated. (Action-packed but he knows he's a sinner.) And over there, politicians want their pictures taken in church lighting candles in front of icons. Imagine that: the Russians like being Russian. He's certainly popular over there. I don't think that "regime change" will be easy to accomplish in Russia as some in the West seem to think. As for sanctions crippling their economy, as I understand it, the average Russian (outside of a few cosmopolitan cities) never really had that high of a standard of living in the first place. It's not so easy to take away something from people who've never had it in the first place. "I don't think that 'regime change' will be easy to accomplish in Russia as some in the West seem to think." None of our business and you know my line: they're not Communist anymore and I don't think they want to force us into schism; they just love being Russian. The people from Russia I used to know were like that. Your second point is good; hadn't thought of that. I hope Putin's a new Constantine for Russia. (As I would welcome a caudillo here.) The bad part is this is why the Russians hate the Ukrainian Catholics (not a problem since Russia doesn't have the Ukrainian Catholics' land anymore): the latter are "Russians" (but don't call them that!) who don't answer to the tsar or Comrade First Secretary. Non-Catholic Byzantines, the Orthodox, think their kingdoms, etc. are the church. Russians have a deep, dark history of anti-Catholic animus, at least in the higher echelons of their culture. It's no secret that they don't like Catholics and no surprise that Catholics both tend to fear and loathe Russian power and control (at least in Eastern Europe). When the whole Ukraine crisis broke, I noticed that there was a lot of fear and apprehension over Putin coming from Catholic websites and news sources. I thought it strange that people who are usually beating the drums for peace would suddenly start pushing for aggressive solutions to this dispute. Given the deep and lasting hostility of Russia towards all things Catholic (i.e., Western), maybe it's not so hard to understand why most Catholics react to a resurgent Russia as they do. But often those Catholics, including Metropolitan Sviatoslav, have hitched their wagon to Western progressivism (liberté, egalité, fraternité), not the faith. I'm not buying it, and defending Russia, because I'm Catholic. And the left isn't really for peace. They're weirdly nostalgic about World War II, the draft and all, when they handed half of Europe to the USSR, even while at the same time they're Sixties anti-military, looking down on conservative types who gravitate to the military (and have done so since the Sixties?). Plus: as part of the government, our military isn't really conservative.
  • That ginned-up race riot in Ferguson has shot two cops.
  • The unthinkable: what if the official church OK'd divorce and remarriage by giving such people Communion? Concretely: if the Church issues a wannabe formal statement in which what was formally condemned is now formally approved, this statement is heretical and is to be rejected by every Catholic, and that’s that. But how do we know, then, which one is the right statement? The right statement is the one that is in line with the Depositum Fidei. The wrong statement is the one that isn’t. It’s not complicated. Just go wherever that depositum is still taught, be it a diocese or the SSPX. The sedevacantist scenario can happen; so far it hasn't. Obviously the answer is not to join a schism that thinks Western Catholicism is graceless and communes the (church-) divorced and remarried.
  • Unz Review, home of Steve Sailer:
    • Do many neocons just hate all Europeans? An American caricature of conservatism that fits some: They see America and Israel as the true West and Europe as a backwater. With the possible exception of the UK. American conservatism's attitude to Europe is complicated and confusing. On one side, beyond the American right, are reactionaries, royalists who reject the American experiment. On the other, for much of American history, Americans have feared and disliked Europe (until World War I, the British were a threat that could reclaim us), a populist strain you hear from parts of the right today. But you also hear it because liberals often are internationalists who think they're cultured and cosmopolitan vs. hick American conservatives. (Liberals say they love humanity but hate their own people; conservatives love their own people first.) Socialist, secular modern Europe is more liberal than we are; American liberals imitate that. Further complicating things, and part of Europe's appeal for American lefties now, is: American conservatism is in some ways on par with classical European liberalism (laissez-faire economics, somewhat libertarian strain as well). European rightists are far more approving of the welfare state and government centralization. I think you can describe that as Europe's social conservatives seeing the role of government as a kind of noblesse oblige, social responsibility, something Christian. Limousine liberalism like what Lord Mountbatten meant when he called himself a socialist (he certainly didn't want to stop being a nobleman). Like one of history's jokes, Protestant individualist America (which, to be fair, created a great home for Catholics before Vatican II ruined everything) ended up more conservative and more religious. In general, in Europe the center-right parties tend to have Liberal Conservative or Conservative Liberalism as their ideology, which is essentially similar to American Conservatism I believe. There is nothing like Christian Democracy in the American political system that I can think of.
    • When Tokyo Rose ran for president. It's probably true we abandoned hundreds of POWS in Vietnam. Was McCain a collaborator? Maybe.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Back and forth about Catholic integralism, and more


  • The Del Satins, "Feelin' No Pain," 1963. Co-written and produced by Dion.
  • Good friend Diane Kamer: We want it all. I'm a shade more liturgically traditional but yes; the beauty of Catholicism which sells me on it is it doesn't force you to hate the East to love the West, for example. My first traditional Catholic liturgy in person, three decades ago, was at a Ukrainian church in New Jersey with the same accented World War II refugee priest since 1951. I have icons on a small wall and wear a three-bar cross (hooray for grassroots traditionalism that had the sense not to modernize church services), but partly because of being called a graceless heretic by the schismatics and "you Westerners wouldn't understand" ("Orthodox in communion with Rome": let's dump our doctrine and join the true church, being received in our orders), home is the Tridentine Mass (the Divine Liturgy without an iconostasis). I like Leonid Ouspensky on icons: halfway between a picture and a sacramental presence.
  • From Roissy's other blog: A woman first sergeant gets an ARCOM for trolling. She’s the First Sergeant of crying like a widdle baby to the thoughtcrime police.
  • Back and forth on Catholic integralism. Compromising churchmen including Popes are nothing new.
    I was surprised in the Shadle article to see Pius XI, the pope who abandoned the Mexican Cristeros, condemned Action Française (a blow from which French royalism has really never recovered), and bent over backwards to appease the new Spanish Republic, identified as a champion of "integralism." Seems to me that "integralists," if one means Catholics who are not only doctrinally orthodox but thoroughly opposed to liberalism in all areas, have not had an unambiguous papal champion since St. Pius X.

    I read recently that the Catholic scouting association in Italy, ASCI, which was founded by Count Mario di Carpegna (a member of St. Pius X's noble guard), was suppressed by Pius XI between 1927 and 1928 in exchange for the survival of Catholic Action under the Fascist regime.

    And yes, Pius XI did condemn Action Française, an act which lead to the resignation of Cardinal Billot from the sacred College.

    In fact, Pius X had made a decision reluctantly to condemn Action Française, but delayed doing so. He died before the official condemnation ever took place. There is a brief discussion of this in Marvin O'Connell's
    Critics On Trial, which is a history of the Catholic modernist crisis.

    Catholic integralism, like distributism, are interesting ideas, but they simply cannot be applied in the real world that we actually live in. They are like Catholic "Dungeons & Dragons," or a religious SCA of the mind. Another reason why I am a Vatican II person.
    Funny thing is, technically I'm a Vatican II person like conservative Novus Ordo (arguably once our worse enemies than the liberals, who didn't take us seriously once they'd hijacked the parishes and schools), even though in the popular sense I live as though the council doesn't exist (the only difference is I jump parish boundaries to register and go to Mass; Pope Benedict's reform has turned back the clock to 1965 for the content of the new Mass in English, thank God). My differences with the SSPX are to do with its "platform," its main real reasons to exist, which aren't the liturgy or Latin as commonly assumed by the few people who've heard of them. American religious liberty created a great home for Catholics as recently as 50 years ago, and ecumenism rightly understood is a chance to teach the faith including through charity to our neighbors. The letter of the council. That said, I don't hate the society and always acknowledge the good they do (Fellay for cardinal, Lefebvre for saint); the real pre-conciliar church is a collection of different schools of thought and spiritualities that don't always get along, from Francisco Franco to Dorothy Day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Is real Catholic integralism even possible? And more

  • Catholic integralism today. The church's future (my view) or impossible because the bishops don't back it anymore because of Vatican II (which isn't doctrine)? Is it just a lifestyle choice (how we amuse ourselves on Sundays, a private matter; Rod Dreher's "let's play high church and eat kale" while handing over the world to the secularists) thus not really integralism? Are we just pious LARPers? Gabriel Sanchez repeats a point I've made, that space-age optimism (faith in "Progress!" that characterized the '50s) caused the council, which more and more people (importantly, more and more of the Catholics left in the pews) see as naïve and dated. Humanly speaking, that's why we, the church, have a future. I'll level with you: not that many people go to my Sunday Sung Mass, only filling about half our city Victorian exposition chapel. But look who's there: it's a magnet for young families, not the old people the mainstream assumed 20-30 years ago. (We do have people I call living links, who were adults before the council, helping us keep it real. We are a living tradition, not a re-enactment: "the Mass that would not die.") Then, charismatics were the "happening" orthodox Catholics the Pope and bishops favored; ecumenical, spirit of V2, and all that: "Streamline the church and the Protestants will come in and society will be renewed by the Holy Spirit!" The clergy, to us: "Give up all that artsy, elitist old-fashioned stuff, and all that steerage Catholicism, and be open to the Spirit! The church is vibrant now, the ministry-filled People of God!" (Some of that is things priests actually said to me.) Guh-roovy, bishops. All those closed parishes and schools (in my formerly important big-city archdiocese in part of what used to be American Catholicism's white ethnic base in the Northeast) tell the truth about all that. And Medjugorje's bogus and a cult. But in the last years of John Paul II's reign, the bromance between the old protestantizing Catholic liberals and the charismatics (they both loved guitar Masses) broke up as the latter recatholicized (granted, Mud Gorge, ostensibly about Mary, was mixed up in that); there's even a Tridentine Mass at Steubenville U. now. But as far as I know, the charismatics are on the wane.
  • The Rad Trad on wishing people to hell vs. what the faith really teaches. "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins..." God is infinitely just but infinitely merciful. There may be no people in hell but Jesus makes it clear we can't presume that. Universalism would take away free will. From the Christian East, St. Isaac the Syrian has the beautiful thought that the afterlife is God's all-consuming love experienced as heaven by the just and hell by the wicked (and purifying for those in the intermediate state, for whom prayer for the dead makes sense; commonly called purgatory?).
  • The tao of MGTOW. Like the manosphere generally, valid insights (facts about fallen feminine nature worsened by feminism) but the same selfishness, cruelty (f*ck and chuck), and refusal to grow up (gay Peter Pan syndrome as Face to Face would describe it, a subculture famously narcissistic)? "Herbivore men" and those kid recluses in Japan: part of it's their shame culture (bad grades, family dishonored, don't show face in public again) but something's very wrong with Japan. I understand their economy's been dead a few decades (remember, before Nixon gave in to Red China, after the war when half of everything was from Japan or Taiwan?) and as Mark Bonocore told me, losing World War II dragged their medieval society into modernity (before the war: modern technology, medieval society), good and very bad, and the Japanese understandably can't handle it.
  • Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams are plagiarists. Obviously. Good for Marvin Gaye's family.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Orthodoxy's a cultish knockoff of Catholicism, and more

  • Orthodoxy's a cultish knockoff of Catholicism. Fr. Seraphim (Rose) was a genius who made many of the same points as traditionalists; too bad he ended up in a cult that thought it was the church. You mean ROCOR? Yes, and Orthodoxy generally: just because of politics and culture, they're allowed to believe we're frauds, even though we hold the same essentials (God, Christ, the Trinity, the hypostatic union, Mary the Mother of God, bishops, the Mass, and the option of using images in worship) they do. With the reconciliation of the ROCOR with the Moscow Patriarchate, it would seem to be harder to refer to them as a "cult." In American Orthodoxy, either you're in something like a Masonic lodge (usually ethnic) with a true traditional Mass but also divorce & remarriage and contraception, just like Protestants, or if you want something like the consistency of the magisterium you end up in a cult that denies even other Orthodox are the church, like what ROCOR had become before it rejoined the Russian Church.
  • Comment not published by Rod Dreher. Worshipping with the body. That's great. I was reminded last night how much deeper my spirituality has become since I became Orthodox. My comment, not published: Some Westerners are called to the Christian East. You didn't have to leave the church for that; you could have got it by joining the Melkites (note: an example of unlatinized Greek Catholicism). As for fleeing scandal, seriously? Those cheerily corrupt little clergy mafias put our bishops to shame. By the way, being Catholic doesn't mean you have to pretend the Greek Catholics are perfect or that the Orthodox don't exist.
  • The PNCC redux. I visited a few of their churches years ago, before they adopted the Novus Ordo-style Mass. The pew books had a slightly modified traditional Roman Mass with the Roman Canon, but the appendix contained a Hodur-composed alternative called the "Canon of the Polish National Church," in which all the references to sacrifice were eliminated. One of their churches near me (now closed) used to advertise in the local advertising circular that they would welcome divorced (and presumably re-married) people to Holy Communion. I don't think these people are coming back. The PNCC's story is of tension between its founder's liberalism and Polish conservatism. He was taking advantage of strife between the Irish bishops in America, one of whom gave him a chance by priesting him after he'd been kicked out of seminary in Poland, and the Polish immigrants, only a small minority of whom followed him out of the church. If Hodur were around now he'd be a Call to Action liberal preaching a Slavic version of liberation theology along with his universalism. The parishes, however, for a long time just did the Tridentine Mass in Polish with married priests; that's what the people wanted, for things to stay the same (which was what Greek Rite Slavic-Americans wanted too). Today they're a Novus Ordo copy with two factions, one sort of interested in returning to the church but with their customs intact (the PNCC has parted with the Episcopalians and the Old Catholics over those groups' liberalism), and another that wants to be more like Catholic liberals and the Episcopalians. (The Nats have birettas and nice old churches but with guitar Masses.) They have generational members but a lot of their new priests seem to be ex-Catholic ones from Poland who switched to marry. I don't know if Hodur or the Mass he wrote (I knew of it) were heretical about the Eucharist; given that the church recognizes PNCC orders, I guess not.

Monday, March 09, 2015

"Make Mine Freedom" and more


  • Make Mine Freedom. Bob Wallace rediscovers a 1948 cartoon classic. The trouble was the Reds in our government had just helped the Soviets win World War II, but this cartoon shows the old America was alive and well, if only for the next 20 years (a boom time for us).
  • False ecumenism. Huw Richardson is against the ecumenical outreach I give Jerry Falwell credit for. Against what C.S. Lewis called the "Christianity and" temptation: mix your faith with some worldly goal and it isn't Christianity anymore, rather an "ism" like the socialism (a Christian heresy like the rest of leftism) Make Mine Freedom criticizes. Before his well-meant reaction against the Sixties, like all Baptist fundamentalists, Falwell shunned politics as worldly. Huw resonates with libertarianism too: We tried it in Prohibition and it flopped there. We've not yet learned. Huw makes me think. But where is the line between not falling for this kind of worldliness (one of the temptations of Christ in the desert; apropos for Lent) and Rod Dreher's plan for conservative Christians, his Benedict option to surrender the public square? (Escapism: be good slaves and play high-church privately, actually very un-Byzantine, vs. an honorable retreat underground, the Ukrainian Catholic story under Soviet rule.) By the way, first and foremost, Huw is Orthodox. And a homosexual. But like many of the old Anglo-Catholics at their best, "Don't call me a gay Christian; I am a Christian above all. Homosexuality is not the sum of my identity. Maybe the church is right so I'm wrong."
  • Much like Fr. Seraphim (Rose). A 20-something Rose sent a letter to Thomas Merton (before Rose entered the religious life). I have always rather barely liked to loathed Merton — Rose takes him on; in the letter he predicts the rise of liberal watered-down Catholicism that nearly ruined my life and still pervades. A California boy, he is a major figure, blessed in the East; rather unknown in Catholicism. For those of us who dealt with same-sex attraction, we have no one like him in the West. Actually you do. Fr. John Jay Hughes, for example, an Anglo-Catholic alumnus who, if asked, will tell you he's bisexual but he has never used this to attack the church's teachings, which is why you don't hear about people like him. I love the sound Catholicism of The Seven Storey Mountain; the wrong people loved Merton in the Sixties; his star has faded since. Good for Rose for calling Merton on mistakes, but Rose bought into an ideology that considers the church of Mountain a fraud; our church, with the same essentials as Rose's. No sale.
  • Another lefty tries to tell the Pope what to do, this time about women. Writing from within the Catholic Church, I call bullsh*t too. To his credit, Pope Francis has no time for the cause of the attempted ordination of women. Thing is, neither do most Catholics, and that's becoming more so as the liberals age and die and young unbelievers just walk away from the church. That's on top of women's ordination being impossible: the Pope can't change the matter of the sacraments. It's a story the media amuse themselves with on slow news days. Right; the Anglicans do it (the chick Pope!) and it's only accelerated their decline in the First World. This stuff doesn't impress feminists. (Right; nothing impresses a woman like a man who caves to her.) They won't start going to church because of it, and it only drives away the believers you have. Finally, even though he's a Jesuit, who are big on obedience, you don't tell Pope Francis what to do, a trait of great men.
  • From November 2013: The case against Daylight Saving Time.

Talking with a Polish National Catholic priest

Yesterday was the Solemnity of the Institution of the Polish National Catholic Church, an American denomination spun off from Catholicism by some Polish immigrants a little over 100 years ago, today basically a small Novus Ordo clone with married clergy (including married bishops) and parish ownership of church property.

Going over many of my talking points, I asked Fr. Jim Konicki of New York state: As I like to say, everything in church polity except the papacy and the episcopate is negotiable. Married priests and parish property ownership are on the table, as far as I'm concerned. So if we really solved the problems that caused the PNCC, would you, individually and collectively, consider coming back? (I say the same thing to Slavic-American Orthodox, whose story parallels the Nats'. It wasn't about our teachings.) After all, there's been a Polish Pope. I understand the PNCC's conservative wing, such as former Prime Bishop Swantek, recently was interested in such a "reunion with honor."
John, thank you for your comment. As a general rule I think you are correct; much of the differences between Catholic Churches are issues of polity. The theological issues can be studied and differences of understanding on the Filioque and aspects of the life and death of the Blessed Virgin might not present real impediments. As you had often commented in the past, the key issue is over the role and scope of the Bishop of Rome. Is he the absolute head and sole final decision maker or is he the bishop of a local diocese with an honorific position in a Church Council? How he is seen by most Roman Catholics covers a range of possibilities, but we have to look beyond individual opinion to the Church's understanding of his role. That issue is the true show stopper in the way of unification. Yet we hope and trust. Who ever thought the Cold War would be overcome? Certainly not most of us who grew up in that environment. Yet it did happen. So nothing is impossible with prayer and hope. As an aside, having a Polish-born Bishop of Rome was nice, I met him, humble and prayerful man — but that did not change the bigger issue. It did help to open the door to dialog between the R.C. and P.N.C. Churches.
Right; besides divorce & remarriage and now contraception, the only real difference between the Catholic and Orthodox churches is the scope of the Pope. A few things put me on the Catholic side. There is a checklist of essential beliefs I hold: God, Christ, the Trinity, the hypostatic union, Mary the Mother of God, bishops, the Mass, and the option of using images in worship. As far as I can tell, the Pope has only been a good defender of them. So I have no problem with him as a final decision-maker because he can't change those teachings. He's not the General Convention of the Episcopal Church or the President/Prophet of Mormonism: he can't declare ex cathedra that the Holy Spirit isn't God after all, that women can be priests, or that two men can marry each other. To say he can, and remain Pope, with all Catholics required to accept the change, is to misunderstand Catholicism. If he did, he'd put himself outside the church and not be Pope anymore. His office is the church's, a subset of church infallibility. The other reasons I'm Catholic are divorce & remarriage doesn't make sense for Christians, the church has kept the faith on contraception, and we include the East (even though we haven't always treated Eastern Catholics well, causing a schism in America much like the Nats) but they don't really include us. Again, I see Catholicism defending those beliefs I named; the Orthodox have too, but they say only they have truly kept them. And on that they're wrong. Again, the fights that caused the PNCC and Slavic-American Orthodoxy were nothing to do with our teachings.

Henry VIII's churchmen and other Protestants made the excuse that the Pope claimed too much power. Now they claim power the Popes never dared, so I'm not buying.

The Pope can't change the creeds (I'll get to the filioque), natural law, or the matter of the sacraments.

The filioque obviously didn't change what came before; we don't worship a Quaternity, for example. The case against it sounds like an empire defending its turf (what Orthodoxy really is) rather than the church.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Don't be chumps for the New World Order, and more

  • Roissy: American Dalit. I haven't seen American Sniper but this is good. The Anti-Gnostic has made the same point: good-hearted conservative young white men, don't be chumps for the New World Order (the Cathedral, etc.). Consider channeling your natural patriotism into something worthy.
  • 50 years ago yesterday was the beginning of the disastrous changes in the Roman Rite. Neither the introduction of the vernacular or the ritual reforms that this date saw (or their successors) has led to a “flourishing” ecclesial life in the decades since. It's Not About Latin™ (those of us who were Anglican know worship can work in English) but yes. Then, most Catholics thought the partial translation and paring down/tweaking of the missal were the extent of the changes. As you can see in the picture, Paul VI's Mass (partly) in Italian that day wasn't radical (you always could do the traditional Mass versus populum). Amazingly, as Michael Davies wrote, hardly anybody before Vatican II wanted the language change. Today few want to go back to Latin, and I can work with that. Just turn back the clock like Pope Benedict started to, so you have essentially the old services with a vernacular option. (Like the Eastern churches did.) Most Catholics would be fine with that. More and more so as the liberals die of old age and unbelievers just leave the church.
  • Another libcath media darling on a slow news day. My comment with 2¢ about Orthodoxy farther down.
  • It always takes me by surprise but Saturday was that great unofficial holiday the local college kids (at Penn and Drexel in the city) celebrate, Fake St. Patrick's Day with its bar crawl. Why not the Saturday before the holiday? Midterms? Spring break? Mardi Gras customs (bead necklaces) are thrown into the mix. There are worse things. At least they sort of remember this upcoming Catholic holiday; the American version's really celebrating our first big Catholic minority succeeding here. (In Ireland, March 17 is a holy day of obligation, for the descendants of repentant pagans to celebrate the country's foreign evangelist; traditionally the pubs are closed.) Actually yesterday commemorated the greatest theologian.
  • Obama's not a "secular Muslim." Once more, Steve Sailer's levelheadedness on Obama's (non-) religion. If he's anything, he's a Unitarian (lapsed Congregationalist) with some romantic ideas about Islam as black nationalism. I never put this 2 and 2 together until now: the grandparents who helped raise him were lapsed Unitarians; his joining the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's liberal Congregationalist church (because Americans still expect their presidents to be churchgoers; good) was a kind of homecoming. He's not black: Obama switched identities in the mid-1980s from multicultural to black. Because it's good box-office politically. Won him two White House terms. As Sailer has said, he's actually one of our WASPiest presidents.
  • The tall ships will return to Philadelphia this summer. I've been aboard the Eagle, when she was here a few years ago.
  • On the folly of Daylight Saving Time. Great quotation from Facebook: Fiddling with the hands on a clock doesn't change the amount of daylight hours in a day! Like this classic: When told the reason for daylight savings time, the old Indian said, "Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket."

Friday, March 06, 2015

Marriage pros and cons, and more


  • Michael's first wedding, from The Godfather. Very Catholic romance, one of the best parts of the book and the movie. Interesting detail: it's not a big American-style church wedding. Ordinary Catholics in Italy were married at the church door, and that is probably only post-Tridentine. Remember, in the Western theology of marriage, the couple are the ministers of the sacrament. The matter of the sacrament is the couple making promises to each other and having sex. So most medieval people didn't have church weddings. They told their families what they were going to do (remember Appolonia's family? Michael had to court her, not just date her), or the families arranged it (nice ones giving the girl veto power?), and the bride's family supplied a dowry and threw a big party. It's not really about the couple but bringing two families together to continue them (children). The bride moved into her husband's home, it was consummated, and that was that. Of course that's hard to enforce (how can the church keep track of who's really married and who's not?) so later the church required a priest to be a witness to the promises part. Hence the church door for regular folks; church weddings were for rich dynastic families such as nobles. I don't know why the Byzantine Rite is different: the priest is the minister, as Roman Rite Catholics often assume. The situation in the eastern Roman Empire (which to the end in 1453 was the Roman Empire in the same sense Taiwan is Sun Yat-Sen's Republic of China) was very different from the chaotic West after the western empire fell.
  • The down side of marriage. From a divorced manosphere blogger in New Zealand. At least a cautionary tale about marrying wrong. Given fallen human nature, it can get ugly. It should go without saying, but most men hate violence against women.
  • Harrison Ford's plane crash and hospitalization. Son Ben: Dad is battered but OK! He is every bit the man you would think he is. Actors often aren't their characters (part of their talent; Joe Pesci's not a crazy evil killer, for example) but part of Harrison Ford is Han Solo; no wonder the girls are still crazy for him after 40 years. A private pilot (who's flown on charity/rescue missions), still doing risky stuff like flying a beautiful World War II training plane when he's 70-ish. Good for him and best wishes to him, his wife, and family.
  • Jesus is not your invisible magical friend. To test your religious faith, you ought to try to describe it in derogatory terms and admit that this is an accurate description. See if your Christianity can "handle" making this admission. Apologetics 101: an imaginary wish-granter doesn't have authority over/make demands on you like God does.
  • Grief counselors dispatched to San Diego after "progressive" bishop named. Condescending, unfunny joke from Eye of the Tiber. Insult: orthodox Catholics don't care about the poor. In Catholic real life, in my archdiocese that Vatican II ran into the ground (which took 40 years, a testament to its vitality before the council), my archbishop is mostly a retirer of debts, closing parishes and schools in order to stay solvent. He's sound enough that American neocon Catholics like him, but to me he's mostly just a name the priest whispers during the Canon at Mass.
  • I'd welcome a caudillo but American liberty used to be good to Catholics so I'm loath to dismantle it, and of course I don't want a Protestant state, even a conservative one (a liberal boogeyman).
  • I think Chesterton wrote that when people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing; they'll believe anything. Even the atheists aren't really atheists; they're angry at God.
  • Of course the aging libcaths aren't going gently. (And why should they? They think they have the truth.) Why are seminaries afraid of the Extraordinary Form? Glad I don't have to take that crap as a layman. I go to my Mass and the churchmen get my collection envelope and leave me alone.
  • Homosexuality: My view's unchanged in 40+ years, as I was taught by... an evangelical. Don't pick on homosexuals; they have a problem, and as long as they're not harming you, it's their business, not yours. What's happened in my lifetime is the culture warriors of the left have progressively desensitized Middle America to this matter. From bawdy jokes making fun of homosexuals, in the '70s and '80s (it sounded un-PC but it really wasn't; sort of like before PC, "liberated" guys were skirt-chasers, all to undermine "bourgeois" stuff like marriage... like some manosphere guys), the mark of a hip, "liberated" person, forcing people's attention on the issue, to what we have now, where you're forbidden to criticize homosexuality and forced to say it's normal and good.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Spoiling for a fight in the Ukraine that is not ours, and more

  • American military instructors arrive in the Ukraine. Oh, sh*t. Not. Our. Fight. What if China got California to secede from the Union, then put military advisers there? Obviously the U.S. and EU want a liberal puppet in Eastern Europe to stick it to Russia, which they hate for not being liberal. Again, here's hoping the new Ukraine is a conservative Slavic state, a Catholic-friendly little version of Russia. By the way, Metropolitan Sviatoslav, cozying up to the U.S., EU, and pluralism (being all nice and PC by defending freedom of religion, not the faith) doesn't promote the faith; that's not why your church heroically went underground under Soviet rule.
  • 25 maps and illustrations about the English language. Our clanking Germanic language, which has been partly Frenchified; America sounds different because English sounded different in the 1600s when it was settled.
  • A requiem for Richard III. Too bad the Anglicans have stolen his bones. Even though last century our Catholic community was bigger and more lively than England's (not anymore but it has left its imprint on our culture), England obviously used to be a Catholic country, with little reminders of that everywhere (such as the names of its old churches), both part of its appeal and part of its problem. The elite know what the church is and say, "I will not serve."

A good, quick guide to Europe's languages, and more


  • The word for honey gives you a good breakdown of Europe's main languages. As much as we've tried to pretend to be a Romance language since the French conquered England in 1066, English is solidly in the Germanic group. (Even though we can't understand each other anymore, 60% of our words are the same and our literature translates well both ways.) Finnish (Suomi) is probably using a Germanic loan word; like its cousin Estonian, Sami (Lapp), Hungarian, Turkish, and prehistoric Basque, Finnish isn't in the Indo-European family. (Culturally Scandinavian but ethnically and linguistically not.) Pick up a Germanic language, a Romance language, and a Slavic language, and you can communicate with most of the continent. So I'm covered. Of course English is now the world's auxiliary language. (Europe's used to be Latin, Catholicism's language. It's Not About Latin™ but I love using it as my posts about Sunday Mass show.) Made-up languages such as Esperanto never caught on and weren't really needed.
  • Steve Sailer's posts and links have explained transgenderism including phenomena like Bruce Jenner, older straight guys who suddenly do that. (Mr. Rothblatt post-op seems to have lost interest in it.) In a word, a rare hetero fetish, transvestites turned up a notch. Again, my line about Bradley Manning. That troubled boy obviously had no business being in this man's Army but arguably he's a hero. Thing is, the military has a job to do ("You can't handle the truth!"), so part of Manning's heroism would be taking the punishment due to him for breaking orders. The Chelsea thing looks trans all right, a transparent bid for leniency, unheroically trying to weasel out of the consequences. It didn't work for Maxwell Klinger on "M*A*S*H" (a comic-relief character, a draftee trying to get a Section 8 ticket home by pretending to be a cross-dresser; I'm neither a fan of conscription nor foreign wars).
  • Photos. Sunday Mass Reminiscere miserationum tuarum, Domine, snow day (woo hoo; age and looks notwithstanding, I'm still a kid), my town's colonial house, built about 150 years before the town was (the redbrick part is an addition probably from the early 1800s; me in 1776: "Long live the King"), and what used to be its Episcopal church (about the same age as the town), authentically Gothic, very English. Regrettably the evangelical church that has it now has painted its lych gate electric green. At one point ('30s?) its interior was high-churched (but it was never Anglo-Catholic), so like many Episcopal churches since the late 1800s it would be perfect for traditional Catholic worship. (Better than a lot of our own churches.) Like a darker version of my parish church (built in the same period, mine's a French exposition chapel pretending to be Gothic), substituting a deep chancel with choir stalls for the side altars.

Ways the Pope can be a heretic, and more

  • Opus Publicum: Ways the Pope can be a heretic. I'm sure most non-Catholics who bother to really inquire about the faith are surprised to learn that the Pope is relatively not that important; as Fr. Hunwicke tirelessly explains, our doctrine really limits his office's powers. Our first loyalty as Catholics is to Jesus Christ, true God and true man, and to our holy mother, the church; it's about the Pope's office belonging to the church, not the man sitting in the Chair of Peter. Every movement that thinks it knows better than the church is a dead end. Unsurprisingly, charismatic-bred Steubie U. decides in Pope Francis' favor, and they happen to be right. He is the Pope.
  • Ad Orientem: Eastern Orthodoxy's Modernists. Orthodox Metropolitan Ambrosius of Helsinki of the Finnish Orthodox Church invited female Evangelical Lutheran bishop Irja Askola to the altar with him during a clergy ordination at the Sunday Divine Liturgy. This has sparked much controversy. Just like when a Catholic bishop does that, it doesn't mean anything. What Orthodoxy teaches on that, as Archbishop Leo teaches, is pretty clear. Just shows they have the same problems with Modernism that we do, only they had the sense not to fall for the space age; they didn't modernize their services in the '60s. But underneath that strong selling point, they have divorce & remarriage and now contraception, just like Protestants, and that's on top of their anti-logic and xenophobia. They don't think they know better than the church; they think they are the church. Obviously they're not.
  • Why our children don't think there are moral facts. Commentary from Rod Dreher, who writes good things when he's not subtly trying to get conservative Christians to surrender.
  • Golden-era deism. Frank Sinatra in 1963 quoted on Wikipedia (also, a reason the mainstream loves Hugh Hefner, who printed this): I think I can sum up my religious feelings in a couple of paragraphs. First: I believe in you and me. I'm like Albert Schweitzer and Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein in that I have a respect for life — in any form. I believe in nature, in the birds, the sea, the sky, in everything I can see or that there is real evidence for. If these things are what you mean by God, then I believe in God. But I don't believe in a personal God to whom I look for comfort or for a natural on the next roll of the dice. This, brewing since the Renaissance, Protestantism, and the "Enlightenment," is what caused Vatican II (faith in "Progress!") and the rest of the Sixties; the hippies were both part of the problem and reacting to it (was it Chesterton who wrote that if you take away God, people will believe anything?). This is what our elites believed at the time (not Middle America — yet); everybody on "Mad Men" thinks like this. Gives credence to the reactionary paleo-conservatives' and traditionalists' point that back then, the Sixties were like a zit about to pop. Dr. John Rao has pointed out that churchmen in the "Enlightenment" were like this too. The Sixties were reality mugging Sinatra, who then became a Republican ("the Chairman of the Board") and reconciled with the church by the time he died.
  • The Anti-Gnostic: The Bumbling American's Twitter feed of one-liners. Finally a use for the thing.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Beam us out, and more

  • Radix: Beam us out. From Chronicles in '94 (noted the dated reference to bookstores; hey, we have Amazon and the world's greatest library, the Web). The elite doesn't think the rest of us have art, plus what's wrong with "Star Trek" (as I say, liberal sermons in fable form, pretending to be science fiction).
  • Nerding out about Spock. The show couldn't get its story straight. In the beginning, he had angst, making him even more interesting, because he had emotions from being half-human, on a planet where people have no emotions. Then the show's writers changed their minds: Vulcans do have feelings, maybe even stronger than ours (former warrior people), but through a religious/philosophical reform suppressed them, possible because they have psychic power we don't. Me: that's it? So he has the same psychic power as full Vulcans and pretends he doesn't have feelings, just like them? Also, I don't think beings with copper- and nickel-based blood, respectively, could reproduce. So Spock couldn't exist.
  • Cracked: 28 fun facts about the human body.
  • Face to Face: Boomers were happy to ask for and receive grandparental help, but are loathe to give it now that it's their turn. It's another case of re-writing the rules to benefit them in whatever life stage they're currently in. Being tight-fisted is one thing, but when you yourself benefited so much from asking for generosity when you were an upstart, it makes the hypocrisy unbearable.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Charles Rice, Theodore Hesburgh, and more


  • Chicago: the Cantius success story. "Rebuild my church." And they — the "neo-traditionalists" the Catholic liberals humph at — will come to it. Been once and of course love it; never been to Mass there. My parish by choice, another city church, is a miracle compared to the rest of American Catholicism the past 40 years, high-church (my Sunday-morning Mass is Tridentine) with the best of the Episcopal hymnal along with plainchant and old Catholic hymns; amazingly, ex-Episcopalians didn’t start that, just a Catholic priest with small-o orthodoxy, good sense, and good taste, about 10 years ago. A number of us are from Good Shepherd, Rosemont (much of the rest of which, including David Moyer, is now Catholic too: Blessed John Henry Newman Community).
  • Two passings related to Notre Dame University. Contrasts who died a day apart, a conservative lay hero and a priest who personified American Catholicism's sellout assimilation 45 years ago (so much for the Fighting Irish). I don't follow sports; that and Fr. Hesburgh's effect mean I normally don't give Notre Dame a second thought. But I hear it's so big that, unlike Villanova University for example, it is a microcosm of the American church, including young conservatives. I understand it even has a Tridentine Mass, as does '70s-bred charismatic Steubenville U., unthinkable at American Catholic colleges 30 years ago. ("Kids relate to us," said the old boomer.) As the church recovers, so will ND, but maybe the Holy Cross Fathers, liberalized, will disappear. Locally, LaSalle U. has its first lay president (Slavic-Canadian lady; Ukrainian?); not enough Christian Brothers anymore. The Fr. Hesburghs hijacked the American church at the end of the ’60s (yes, Vatican II, a policy mistake, not doctrine, made that possible) but they’re dying out. Millennials, for all their sociopathy, have enough sense to just leave rather than try to change the church. That means our churchgoers are on average becoming conservative. The mainline denominations will all but die out as they have in British countries. Mainliners and sellout Catholics see the mainstream leaving the churches and conclude the churches aren’t liberal enough. From a group that's "raised my awareness" for 30 years, the John Birch Society.
  • Preparing for the catacombs. The sedevacantist scenario can happen. It hasn't. As I like to say, study the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the 20th century to learn how to survive as a church.
  • Regular readers already know this, but Patricia Arquette at the Oscars was wrong. The gender-gap fraud. Innumerable studies, going back for decades, have shown that women do not average as many hours of work per year as men, do not have as many consecutive years of full-time employment as men, do not work in the same mix of occupations as men and do not specialize in the same mix of subjects in college as men. So of course women on average make less.
  • The history of Jews and country clubs. As with the story of Jews in the South, it's not what you think. What you think you know is actually retconned social "history."
  • A maligned music maker. "Had circumstances been more favorable, my wife might have bought tickets to tonight’s Barry Manilow concert. And I would have been expected to come along." I like Barry Manilow for a few reasons. His achy, breaky beta voice (not a putdown; it takes all kinds) is perfectly suited for certain heartfelt songs (including hits he happened not to write, such as “Mandy”), and he’ll tell you he’s not the best singer; the man went to Juilliard so he knows how to use the basics of Western music to touch people’s hearts (the Chopin prelude that’s the base of “Could It Be Magic?”; I like the “Midnight Special” clip of him playing the whole Chopin piece, then segueing in and out of “Magic”); and he loves golden-era American music. One of my favorite albums is his fave among his works, the unusual-for-him 2:00 AM Paradise Café, from 1984 if I recall rightly. ’50s-style jazz pop, “smoky,” featuring Mel Tormé and Sarah Vaughan. (Manilow’s voice is the weakest part of the album, but hey.) Johnny Mercer’s widow gave him permission to write music for Mercer’s unused lyrics (one of the songs on the album, "When October Goes"), the album “came to me in a dream,” and he and the band recorded it in one take. He makes millions of people happy. Good for him. Anybody hipsters hate, not even ironically adopting him to make fun of him, has something going for him.