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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Music, music, music





  • So "the Voice of a Generation," Bob Dylan, is 75. Rather fitting that a figurehead for an awful time I lived through, the Sixties conquering Middle America, has a terrible singing voice, a Pied Piper for the mad. At least the two main Beatles could sing (I've seen Sir Paul McCartney in person; he's charming), as can Joan Baez. And by the way, while big bands (the past has a past) and rockabilly are my staples, I also like pretty, tuneful hootenanny music such as the Kingston Trio, the Serendipity Singers, and, answering a record company's casting call to cash in on Dylan's and Baez's popularity, Peter, Paul, and Mary, as well as cool jazz such as Dave Brubeck and Vince Guaraldi (the piano jazz in "A Charlie Brown Christmas").
  • Recent passings of musical people I do miss:
    • Sir George Martin: One of the driving forces behind a phenomenon I have mixed feelings about (the Beatles, basically, four English kids who did mean impressions of Little Richard, et al., who like Dylan became accelerants for the Sixties' inferno) actually was rooted in an earlier, better, era, even dressing like me throughout the group's run. You can argue that his contribution, from a man half a generation older (a Fleet Air Arm veteran from the war who made it to 90), epitomized the establishment's share of the blame for the Sixties or at least acquiescence to it (witness how so much of the church caved with Vatican II). But the music is very good and Sir George, a "blimey" Londoner (you could still hear traces of that from him) but with Prince Philip's looks who taught himself the old cut-glass BBC accent, was a "quintessential English gentleman" (as the announcement of his knighthood said), calm/unflappable, self-effacing, and supporting talent he judged greater than his. And his light classical music wasn't bad either: "Pepperland Suite" for example, one of my favorites.
    • Prince: Like Michael Jackson and so many others, in Donald Clarke's words, a black talent who worked his way to success by putting on a professional show, honing his act by paying his dues in Minneapolis clubs. Like Jackson, gone too soon. Both his appearance and his music had a very Latin (Mediterranean) Catholic sensibility in their sensuality.
    • Isao Tomita: A synthesizer player who made Debussy sound cosmic. Fell in love with his rendition of "Arabesque No. 1" when it was the theme of PBS's "Star Hustler," later "Star Gazer," the astronomy bit those stations used to show before signing off for the night.
  • What my Sunday mornings before going to Mass look and sound like: "Hound Dog," for example, on my radio. The slightly older, crooning Elvis is relatively easy to impersonate; next to nobody can capture the energy of the very young Elvis.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Caudillos with heart, and more


  • Charles A. Coulombe: The quest for a Catholic state. Franco’s and Sálazar’s ways are valid options.
  • Discuss: Some say nationalism, the nation-state, is modern, a Protestant error; I think I see the point while agreeing with Steve Sailer and other conservatives that "charity begins at home" with local loyalty, love of family, community, church, and ethnos, as long as they don't become idols (schismatics often worship their culture, putting it above the church). Good "blood and soil" loyalty that will have the chattering class accusing you of Nazism (actually considered "progressive" then; of course it was wrong to idolize race). How is the medieval and Catholic res publica Christiana, Christendom, dozens of little countries sharing the universal church, different from modern secular liberal internationalism such as the UN (space-age idealism) and the EU (partly the idea of a Catholic if recall rightly)? The ruling Western culture now, a bastard only Christendom could have sired, is a mock catholic church. Sailer: liberals leapfrog their loyalty, claiming a universal love for humanity while hating their own people for being narrow-minded.
  • From last year, by a strict-constructionist Vatican II priest (conservative Novus Ordo "reform of the reform"): The sinister story of Communion in the hand while standing. Not his title. A rank Protestantization, actually outprotestanting the Lutherans and the Anglicans. Why only 30% of Catholics now know what the church says the Eucharist is, Christ's sacrifice and its grace, here and now, literally awesome. That ignorance among the people was the liberals' intent. They broke the rule on how to give Communion (the council didn't call for this change even as an option), then forced that on the Pope, the vacillating Paul VI, as a fait accompli. But it didn't change our teaching, because nothing can. Churchmen such as Fr. Heilman are right about the letter of Vatican II, which, like Archbishop Lefebvre but more so, I don't have a problem with. (His SSPX's real objections are to religious liberty and ecumenism.) The trouble is everybody knew what the real game was, and you see this in the liturgy constitution for example: praise an old practice rhetorically, then effectively abolish it by making it optional. Also: next to no churchman in the early '60s was so arrogant as to consider writing new anaphorae as alternatives to the Roman Canon, the second oldest Eucharistic prayer still in use (the Nestorians, with no institution narrative, have the oldest). By the way, the Lutherans and the Anglicans respectively are rival true-church claims that by historical accident are our close cousins for different respective reasons (the Anglicans getting a mention by Vatican II), the Lutherans being willing at first to use our trappings to spread their new faith and later unsuccessfully trying to reconcile with us, and the Anglicans being confused and sad because their kings and queens literally forced them out of the church for selfish (dynastic and avaricious) reasons.
  • Face to Face: The American multi-party system of shifting coalitions, and third-party prospects today.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday-morning religion and politics

  • To a high-church gentleman of conservative tastes who has left the church. I understand. I don't approve of course. Fr. LaRue has a point and I wish him nothing but good.
  • Things Episcopalians say: "You don't have to check your brains at the door." A true-church claim veiled in passive-aggression. Not that there's anything wrong with those claims per se! Classical Anglicans were open about theirs (it was all theological, not personal), minus the snobbery here, namely, the implied insult "Catholics and evangelicals are stupid." Yeah. St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the world's greatest intellects, was a brainwashed moron and an Eye-tie anyway. Classical Anglicans were content just to say they believed he was very wrong. The joke's on these mainline liberals: the cool, open-minded upper-middle-class whites (basically Nordic) they hope to attract (that culture being their gospel, the Christian ethos minus Christ really, like the Jefferson Bible: teaching it to mascot-ized minorities) don't go to their church or any for that matter.
  • One of the ironies of the Episcopalians, that weird Reformed church I was born into, because my dad had left THE church, the Catholic Church (he came back): since the 1800s it has had remarkably Catholic-like buildings. The parish is likely post-"Enlightenment" liberal but it falls into this pattern because this style was fashionable. What's more, you had the would-be Catholics, Anglo-Catholics, whose churches were meant to look like Catholic churches, pre-Vatican II; that hooked me as a teenager. Why did that exist, since Anglicanism is really Reformed? My theory is it's because England was a consecrated Catholic country driven from the church literally by force. (Heartbreaking: the people remained furtively Catholic until the 1580s, 50 years after the "Reformation.") The church haunts England (I've lived there) in its old place names and the structure of its church, in a way it doesn't America (which is a sort of spiritual no-man's-land, though Christian; Protestant but neutral). It's a scar on English people's souls. I've stood in a ruined abbey and knelt at the tomb of St. John Southworth so I will never look at Anglicanism the same again. But I'm thankful for the formation it gave me.
  • We have wonderful news! The diocese is re-opening St. Stanislaus Parish in Nashua. It will serve as a Tridentine Rite-only parish so everyone who loves the Latin Mass can now find it in another one of our churches. Wonderful indeed, but what floors me is that for all of New England's historic, populous Catholicism (Irish and Italian in Boston, Portuguese in Fall River, French in the far north) there is only one such parish and only recently. Why did ethnic Catholicism up there cave so readily to Vatican II and the rest of the Sixties? Pedantry: our Tridentine Use is not a rite but part of the Roman Rite. The Byzantines are a rite. Msgr. Gamber: with Fr. Bouyer's canon, the pseudo-canon of Hippolytus, or as I call it the express-line canon, etc., is the Novus Ordo still the Roman Rite or a Latin rite but not Roman? Fr. Bouyer was a fine fellow, perfectly orthodox; writing a new anaphora wasn't his idea (no Catholic churchman in the early '60s imagined such impertinence) but he did what he was told to.
  • I see Pope Francis' gaffes as a teaching opportunity: tell people who ask that Catholicism is not the cult of the reigning Pope's opinions. His office is infallible ex cathedra and I owe him due obedience (actually something that never comes up since I'm a layman; he's not my employer), but in most ways I don't care what he thinks.
  • Pentecost: the long liturgical off-season is here, with green vestments almost all the time. Punctuated with a couple of feasts to boost morale, Corpus Christi and the Assumption, and a few more localized ones (Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Rocco, for example). Salve regina, mater misericordiae...
  • In Nearer, My God, which I've just re-read, Bill Buckley mentioned the fallacious assumption that the home and Sunday school offset public-school indoctrination. One measly Sunday church service plus Sunday school or CCD (After Vatican II? Forget it!) leave kids with the impression that religion 1) is and should be 100% private, kicked out of the public square for pluralism's/good manners' sake, and 2) because it's purely private, is just a hobby for some. So you have a nominally Christian people, Protestant-based America (but with a huge minority of us Catholics), acting as if Christ had never come to earth.
  • "A right to health care" sounds Christian and may very well be (we are free to disagree regarding which means are best) but these same people think it's okay to kill "inconvenient" human life, just like the Nazis did. As humorist P.J. O'Rourke (fun guy; met him) wrote, it takes a lot of "therapy" (brainwashing) to reach that conclusion. (Him: a cold-hearted pragmatist may support both abortion and capital punishment. A devout Christian may oppose both. It takes a lot of "therapy" to be pro-abortion AND anti-death penalty. An inconvenient baby hasn't forfeited his right to live. A violent criminal has.) Actually it's just selfishness: it's easy to look righteous by supporting government health care while really being monstrous by murdering unwanted unborn children.
  • We don't need deaconesses (who weren't lady deacons; there was no such thing). They did what "active" women religious (sisters) do.
  • I've noticed Google's liberal bias in its special banners, and take it for granted that anybody I've not heard of whom it honors on his birthday anniversary was no good. What a shame. The card catalogue of the greatest library ever is run by Com-symps. So do Sergey Brin and his family live in a worker hovel on subsistence wages, his profits going to "the people"?
  • "He's 24 months old." 2. Your child is 2. Thank you.
  • We had no business invading Iraq. Here the reigning Pope's opinion agrees with mine and his predecessors'. I've marched against abortion. I marched against that war to try to stop it. I stand by both of those actions.
  • How abortion and birth control destroyed traditional families. Right; all that and no-fault divorce, so now women start 70% of American divorces, not because of abuse but because they're bored with their domesticated, nice provider husbands (doing everything modern society and even well-meaning Christians tell them to). Society now encourages women to have sex with alluring strangers and laugh about it with their gal best buddies over drinks the next day. It's party time for a minority of men; unlike a healthy society, most men are frozen out. And most women aren't really happy with this either.
  • Obama is an ex-Muslim (lapsed Muslim father and he was raised in the world's biggest Muslim country, Indonesia) but that's not the issue. (Logically ISIS should hate him more than a born Christian president.) He's really a WASP (his white mother's family) with no use for religion. Rather, like white liberals, he likes to use the Muslims to stick it to conservative whites (so "down with Christianity"). Funny thing is only a Christian society could have produced a bastard like our modern secular society.
  • The Loyalists were right and the "Enlightenment" wrong in many ways but the founding fathers started a good thing with the old American republic, a serviceable home for Catholics.
  • I'm as patriotic as the next normal guy and love the WWII generation (and big-band music), but I'm a complete revisionist about WWII, or rather I'm an "isolationist" without apology. The America First Committee was right. The imperial Japanese weren't saints but weren't our problem. All they wanted was an Asian empire, not to conquer the U.S.; we should have made a deal with them like Nixon later did with China. Instead, because both the British and the Soviets (lots of Commies in FDR's government) wanted us in the war, FDR baited the Japanese to attack (and stirred up racial hatred in America to drum up support for the war). Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field were MILITARY targets; fair game for the Japanese navy carrier pilots. Targeting civilians is a war crime, even when all-American boys do it; Hiroshima was inexcusable, according to Catholic teaching. Fr. Leonard Feeney and Cardinal Ottaviani were rightly horrified, as were old-school American generals and admirals. The Germans weren't our problem either; they had neither means nor plans to invade us. They wanted to get rid of the Slavs and annex Eastern Europe (and yes, they were mad at the Jews). WWII was the Soviet Union's war and victory, not ours; the truth you won't learn from a John Wayne movie. We were played. The smart answer would have been to make a deal with Japan and to let the Soviets and the Nazis destroy each other.
  • The bathroom controversy is obviously not about the fraction of a percent of the population who want to pretend they are the other sex because they're mentally ill; it's about sticking it to straight conservative America. There are quiet ways to accommodate such people and keep others safe, for businesses that can afford it: "family bathrooms" with completely secure stalls, for example.
  • The Mohammedans are easily dealt with. Don't invade (don't take their bait; they're here to pick a fight); don't invite (they can't bait us if we don't let them in). I'm more worried about our own bastard in Christendom, secular humanism, which is trying to use the Mohammedans as its "muscle" here.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The righteous remnant's enthusiasm, criticism of traditionalism, and bigotry Western and Eastern


  • Reading: The Righteous Remnant: The House of David by Robert S. Fogarty. Published in 1982, second edition 2014, about the House of David, a sect I'd never heard of, based in Benton Harbor, Michigan, about 100 years ago. The author traces this variant of the "enthusiasm" described by Msgr. Knox and of "the American religion" described by Harold Bloom to 1600s England, the spiritual turmoil that the English Civil War caused. Ignorant, heretical rants from charismatic personalities male and female, taken seriously even in an age when we think people knew the Bible, etc. better. Many really didn't! Me: Some of this in England paralleled folk religion in Catholic countries; Fogarty mentions followers of the prophetess Joanna Southcott outwardly conforming to the Anglican Church (which the English impressively saw as "the church" vs. us "Romans" as well as vs. the Non-Conformist Protestants); Anglican priest Jacob Duché of the First Continental Congress, later a Loyalist who moved to England, was into this sort of stuff (Boehme and Swedenborg). Unsurprising to Dr. Bloom, this hysteria found fertile ground in America; same revivalist/burned-over enthusiasm as begat the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses. Millennarianism (predicting the end of the world and a righteous remnant of 144,000, misunderstanding the code of the book of Revelation) as exemplified by the first Seventh-Day Adventists (Miller and the failed prediction for 1844) and later the JWs. Also, judaizing (here, Israelitism), a strain in Protestantism, particularly evangelicalism, despite this being settled as far back as the Book of Acts. Actually zero to do with real Christianity but a lot of people were ignorant of that, even then. (But once you tear down the church and get going with Protestantism, anything goes.) Anyway, claiming the mantle of a mostly English line of self-styled prophets including Southcott was an American wannabe Joseph Smith (apparently there were many, as there were many messiah-like rabbis in Jesus' day) called Benjamin Purnell, a fellow sporting Jesus-like long hair and a beard, which marked the men in his faith; he and his second (but not legal; he was already married) wife, Mary, set up a heaven on earth in Benton Harbor for the elect to hunker down for the imminent end of the world (predicted for succeeding years), purifying themselves with sexual abstinence, vegetarianism, and communal living (like Oneida and several other religious experiments roughly contemporary). Like the Mormons, they had aggressive missionaries (bringing over a number of like-minded British and Australians) and good public-relations stunts, from businesses selling goods to a touring baseball team to an amusement park on their property. But Purnell turned out to be a Warren Jeffs-like (hetero) sexual predator, the religion a control cult to service and make money for himself; after his losing a trial and dying shortly thereafter in 1927, the community split and dwindled much like the Shakers so by the early '80s it was down to a few old true believers. Fogarty also draws parallels to the hippie Children of God cult and the deadly Jim Jones (a religious darling of the left, by the way, which was how he got away with it for so long).
  • The end of traditionalism. Amidst another rumor of the regularization of the SSPX, a former Catholic brings up some longstanding valid criticism of the traditionalist movement: that it misses out on the depth and breadth of pre-conciliar Catholicism (I forget who first said this but Christendom is big and messy, a hospital for sinners, not a pious remnant like the catacombs) for a nostalgia only about externals. My answer for some time: I know that, for all the good that Archbishop Lefebvre and the order he founded have done (face it: we have our Mass because of him, and his issue wasn't even liturgy but opposing relativism regarding ecumenism and religious liberty), one need not fit into his opinions or the order's mold to be a good Catholic or to have a vocation. Of course I think regularization would be good and, I dare say, it would solve the problem this blogger brings up. I try to balance things out, finding the depth, the breadth, of the real pre-Vatican II ethos, including being challenged by Catholic social thought (maybe the Protestants of the Republican Party aren't always right), by... being in the official church. By the way, my semi-traditionalist parish, actually a territorial one but a magnet so people like me jump parish boundaries to register there, isn't re-enacting; we have Anglican hymns, for example.
  • Bigotry in the Christian West and East. There is a true church, and besides that, Latins and the East are one big apostolic family, but we're all sinners:
    • The Toth schism, according to Catholic World Report. Our fault thus heartbreaking; even more so the Chornock schism still barely in living memory, but a friend notes: I think I had mentioned to you before about some letters of Ireland's that were published posthumously I had read about. They were written to another bishop, I believe, and said that Toth had approached him about a problem with debts he had accrued as a result of gambling. Ireland refused monetary help but the Orthodox bishop agreed to help with a condition of becoming Orthodox. To me, the fact Ireland had not spoken about this publicly gives veracity to this account. Goes to show that there are always two sides to every story. I'd love it if American Catholicism were Byzantine, not Novus Ordo, but that just isn't happening; Catholic or Orthodox, it loses most of its people to assimilation by the third generation.
    • The Orthodox don't necessarily recognize our baptisms. In their own words. Many do but they don't have to. They don't because they think they're hot stuff, because they used to have an empire. They have bishops and the Mass, and a traditional Mass at that, but I take this theology about as seriously as I do Benjamin Purnell's.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Dating: Notes on my first post-red pill relationship

Dating: the manosphere is a map of the treacherous social terrain; blogger Roissy's my virtual coach. Good and bad, it's all true. Conservative Christians (traditionalists, would-be white knights who idealize women) have to deal with that or be alone; it's not just for players but for marriages. A red pill a day keeps the "let's just be friends" line away, my riff on MGTOW apostle Sandman's slogan alluding to The Matrix (take a dose of the truth and wake up to reality). Him: "A red pill a day helps keep the divorce lawyer away." The "red pill" is a limited dose of thinking and acting like an a**hole (confidence/mastery and even some detachment). Just as important as the blue pills some men need (no shame in that, just biology; I happen not to need them*). Mainstream relationship advice is worse than useless. Let him who has taken the red pill understand: game does work.

20 years ago when I had no game, even anti-game, my girlfriend would have turned me down flat.

Roissy maps fallen feminine nature, stuff feminists don't want you to know. He admits that players/pickup artists are bad for society; knowing the truth about human nature, he's actually profoundly conservative. Nice-guy beta providers had a chance before the Sixties ruined everything; the Sixties were a reversion to the law of the jungle.

The McKays, authors of the watered-down men's site The Art of Manliness (Roissy bowdlerized and sugarcoated for conservative Christian men), have a fine post, "Stop Hanging Out with Women and Start Dating Them," a good intro for those for whom Roissy's bluntness (and at face value much of what he says is immoral) would be too much.

Believe it or not, promiscuity as in "casual dating"/"casual sex" and weird, unnatural "platonic" relationships between the sexes are connected, to the same disordered understanding of the sexes (I'm deliberately using that Catholic phrase), which is why post-Sixties Western society glorifies both. I've had peer-pressure liberals turn on me in a rage over my hostility to the latter: "You HAVE to change your attitude!" Threatening me, Mr. Tolerance? Heh. Everybody older than junior high knows that "let's just be friends" is a condescending line for rejects (Roissy: "beta orbiters" think they have a chance); the few actual cases of that are homosexuals or, likewise now celebrated in our debased culture, jaded players and hardened-hearted whores "hanging out" trading stories about their sexual conquests. (When Harry Met Sally... was post-Sixties Hollywood Jews sticking it to Christian America again.) Some manosphere fellows and MGTOW writers/speakers glorify that too; they're fallible. It's evil. The generation born in 1930 didn't have that kind of relationship because those people were normal.

As you can tell from looking at me, I am not of this era. My first cultural memory is pre-Sixties America, in the '60s; I have a kid's memory of the change as the Sixties took over, from 1968 to 1973. That other America has haunted me all my life. (Tried to find it in other things: living in the mother country, England; Russian Orthodoxy.) Think of me as someone a generation older than me, born around 1930. (I should have been working in the newsroom of the Pottsville Republican around 1960.) I'm benevolent (loving a relationship with another rational adult) but as the man I call the shots; if you don't like it, there's the door. I am never friends with women one on one in person (and I don't use that line in breakups); I court them, only one at a time. I don't have a little black book and don't want one. People understandably think I mimic "Mad Men"; actually I started watching that when it was well under way and after I started "turning back the clock" in my life. (I ransom '50s and '60s things, giving them a true loving home again.) I don't want to be a player like Don Draper ("he's a miserable drunk," the actor who played him rightly said), Ricky Nelson's "Travelin' Man" or Dion's "Wanderer" (funny; that's the name of a fine conservative Catholic newspaper). Among that show's characters (few of whom are good or nice), I aspire to be Henry Francis, a stand-up guy very much in love.

Love's great; contra MGTOW, worth the bother of growing up; God made it including sex of course.

"Love one another."

*Obviously I'm not überfromm pious; what little religion I have is all Catholic before Vatican II, sometimes translated into Anglican English. I don't live up to the teachings of the church but I never attack them, something cultural Catholics understand. My goal's modest: confess and commune before I check into purgatory. My girlfriend is a Slavic lapsed Catholic who unofficially adopted her ex-husband's Baptist faith, bemused by my religion but somewhat familiar with it.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Another argument with ex-Catholic Orthodox


My Facebook posts have largely replaced my blog posts; I like the added privacy (you can narrowcast to friends). That and I've been busy with my job, taking care of my classic car (just got a buffer to wax her like a pro), and my first post-red pill romance (let him who reads that understand — long story short the manosphere is right about fallen feminine nature and it's a matter of us conservative Christians learning how to deal with that, modern mainstream relationship advice is trash, and "casual dating" and weird unnatural platonic opposite-sex relationships are both evil and connected to each other; I refuse both on principle and my girlfriend respects that as a sign of a real man, and by the way, we voted for Trump). Anyway, this story on the occasion of the church's second Easter last Sunday (I love shouting "Χριστὸς ἀνέστη!" to Christos and his crew at Colonial Kitchen this time of year) started yet another online argument, again with that rarity in real life, religious Catholics who leave the church for the estranged majority of Byzantine Riters, commonly called the Orthodox: Yes, well-meaning followers of Fr. Gruner and neocon idiots trying to revive the Cold War, Russia isn't Communist anymore. My Facebook post says:

1. Христосъ воскресе! 2. Hooray for Putin, the new Constantine. 3. Msgr. Kirill shows Pope Francis how to do liturgy.

A Catholic friend:
The Russian Orthodox know liturgy and do it well — and take it more seriously than some of us Catholics. I always enjoy watching the DL at Pascha and Christmas on RT or even YouTube. When you were Orthodox, did you attend a ROCOR or OCA parish? I remember that video you made praying in Slavonic.
You got that right. A big part of their appeal, and something they can reteach us, is they don't hate their past the way too many of us were forced to. My first traditional Catholic Mass in person was 30 years ago and Ukrainian, thanks to my meeting Ukrainian exiles. Thing is, after a while trying out the rite in the Catholic Church, I made the mistake the Orthodox do of thinking their culture is the church, so I left, but ultimately I admitted that wasn't true. Yes, I learned Russian and Slavonic; I love languages. I belonged to two parishes, neither of them OCA. My first parish, where I was received by confession, was OCA-like; descendants of Slavic ex-Catholics who schismed 100 years ago. It was Moscow Patriarchate; some parishes obeyed the Soviets after WWII and joined that. My second was ROCOR but that needs explaining. My experience wasn't really ROCOR. My parish priest there was an emotionally wounded traditional ex-Catholic grieving because of Vatican II (he spent time in a mental hospital then) and still very pro-Catholic. Which was good and bad. He provided a refuge but it delayed my return to the church. When he left, I came back.

Ex-Catholic Richard:
The "Slavic" ex-Catholics were former Uniates from western Ukraine. From Galicia.
Right, it was a split from the city's only Greek Catholic church at the time, which is Ruthenian. A Galician group left and formed an uncanonical parish. And three years later there was a split in the split when one group returned to the church to become the city's Ukrainian Catholic cathedral and the other group went to the Russians, being in the Metropolia, now the OCA, until the Soviets sent a bishop to New York right after WWII, who ordered the Russian churches in America to submit to him. This parish did; most didn't.
A mental hospital? John, how can you smear his memory in this way after he was so kind to you?
No smear, Richard; he told me and there oughtn't be a stigma to mental illness and treatment for it.
John, then keep it to yourself!
But it's an indictment of our own churchmen for Vatican II, not of Fr. A. That they caused that kind man so much suffering says it all.
John, you're living in a fantasy world. Buona fortuna.
One faith and one church acknowledging the good in both sides and not being limited to one rite or culture is not a fantasy world, Richard (I know you won't read this or answer), but the wondrous reality instituted by Christ: the Catholic Church.

Ex-Catholic Eric:
It baffles my mind how you can both praise and demean a whole Church and its Patriarch at the same time.
That's the whole paradox of schism, Eric. There's much to still praise and much to criticize. You know what I believe. In a way we still include them; because they have bishops and the Mass they are still a part of us. But they are not the church as they claim to be.

Their being in schism, and daring to call us graceless (which we don't teach about them) for not being in their countries and culture, is demeaning to themselves.
I think that considering not a single church canon of a pre-schism ecumenical council said anything about Roman supremacy, you have no right to call us schismatic.
If there is only one church as is only logical, then a head bishop is logical. He's a caretaker of the faith. It's not so much about one see's supremacy (although I explained that just now) but that the church is more than one culture or rite. I like the Byzantine Rite. I don't mistake it for the whole church (never mind the small, half-hearted Western Rite Orthodox experiment). I'm where I am based on which side is fairest to both sides (acknowledging we have essentially the same faith). That must be the church. The thing confusing a culture with the church is obviously not the church.

There is no such thing as the Orthodox Church. There is only one church, the Catholic Church, and there are Byzantine and some other bishops estranged from it.
There are canons in the early councils which contradict the Roman model of church government and support the Orthodox. It's not the same exact faith, sorry.
It reminds me of the Old Catholics many years later, Eric. Both groups of schismatics, they and the Orthodox, have plausible arguments on paper. As I like to say, alterna-Catholicisms such as these fascinate me because they have a point, often about Catholics' human failings; there's more than one legitimate way of looking at things apart from doctrine. If the Old Catholics really were the true Roman Catholic Church, it would be self-evident: in America you'd see thriving Old Catholic dioceses with schools and hospitals, and religious orders full of vocations, for example, while the Pope's church languished in obscurity. Likewise mostly estranged Byzantium, which has an impressive résumé. Real bishops, the Mass, and, unlike Protestants, all its defined doctrine is true (because it's the first seven councils of our doctrine). But the truth is self-evident: the church includes many rites and cultures, one message for all mankind. One alterna-Catholicism pretends its rite and cultures, even its states, are the same as the church so all outside are graceless (such as Westerners believing in the same God with the same sacraments), but it's really just an Eastern European backwater; the other is a Middle European rump sect, basically Episcopalians.
Where did Jesus say His church would have worldly success and would be huge?
Byzantium (including Russia) thought so. The true church includes (ideally) but is bigger than Byzantium.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

RIP Warren Bradway, a traditional Catholic gentleman


Agathonikea, "good victory." A colorful life "lived large" has moved to a new chapter. Warren Bradway, a stalwart of the old Anglo-Papalist St. Clement's whom I got to know nearly 30 years ago, and like me a returnee to the Catholic Church, has just died. He lived in eccentric baronial splendor in downtown Philadelphia (rambling old house full of Victoriana and holy relics) and, back in the church, had become a stalwart of the servers, again, at "St. Clement's Jr.," the Traditional Latin Mass Community of Philadelphia meeting at St. Edmond's. RIP.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The car and I: Night cruise and keeping her out of the rain


I've kept my car at home nearly a week now, tarped through two precipitations, and as I drive her she's sounding even better than her old self, getting used to my local mechanic's adjustments. Even the seemingly recalcitrant starter's behaving. Great drive yesterday in the sun. Topped off the tank just to be extra careful. A few days ago I filled it up and put in the lead additive. But she still smokes like a disillusioned French writer. Still renting the garage monthly for use as needed (seasonal or severe-weather forecast). Forecast calls for rain today so as a good classic-car daddy I went outside at 4:30am to tarp her... and of course it rained overnight. "Break out the towels and give her a rubdown!" That done, the opening for the antenna (hole punch through the material and a layer of packing tape) made putting on her raincoat relatively easy by the iffy light of the back lot.

Talked to a recommended local body/paint place and he's booked for the next couple of weeks. OK. She's not a trailer queen but she came that way. Her new hood ornament from Jerry Lasseigne's workshop and her legal 1958 Pennsylvania license plate (registration sticker for 1964) make up for it.

Photo: last night. "Baby, let's cruise." The green ghost car of Delco.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Low Sunday: Don't ignorantly use a rite's imagery


Mass: Quasi modo geniti infantes, alleluia.

The Divine Mercy devotion is wonderful. I don't know why it was suppressed in the good old days (I think the story is St. Faustina, not a theologian, made some innocent mistakes); the Polish Pope restored it.

A beautiful picture. That said, from my years when I knew Byzantine Catholics and Orthodox and was nominally Orthodox, I've picked up the church's policy of not mixing the rites. (Yet I still have a couple of icons respectfully on display and wear a three-bar cross, to prove the point that the church includes all that. Some Western Catholics are called to the East; I don't think I'm one of them.) Lots of well-meaning Western Catholic artists appropriate Byzantine iconography without understanding it, in order to depict Western subjects, inadvertently offending. (One of the worst things I've seen: a nice conservative Catholic foundation using icons of Jesus and Mary respectively as signs for the lavatories.) That said, Middle Eastern Christians don't get upset about those things, and I imagine many Greeks and Russians don't either. Most often it's the converts understandably and commendably in love with the Byzantine Rite. Anyway, asking for Jesus' mercy with you on Low Sunday (Quasimodo Sunday, Dominica in Albis) in the Roman Rite.

I like Leonid Ouspensky's rather recent notion (as far as I know) of icons as halfway between a regular picture or statue and a sacramental presence.

Make China economy strong!


From a couple of months ago:
A Communist superpower 1 billion strong and armed with nukes, extending its military and economic tentacles, persecuting Christians, and forcing abortions? Embrace it!
I'm conflicted. On one hand I find the betrayal of Nationalist China and South Vietnam abhorrent; on the other, if not for the Sixties' war on the old America and Nixon's self-defeat caught trying to cheat in an election, he would have been remembered as a master statesman. (He would have got my vote in '60; I have campaign swag.) Our business interests with China are about where they were before World War II (a reason we entered the war, which I think we shouldn't have), and Taiwan's doing just fine, thanks; not bad for a country that no longer officially exists. (Also: China may be a chamber of horrors but in practice they know Communism doesn't work; they're still mouthing the party line, though.) The dominoes fell in Indochina yet we're still here, relatively free. (A Democrat got us into Korea and Vietnam; a Republican got us out.) China's problems aren't our problems, but... as Nixon said of Russia, they'll never be our friend but are too big for us to make an enemy of them. Chinese-made stuff floods our market; it's inescapable. But I want to make America great again.

As for the Pope, his opinions aren't our doctrine; there are Realpolitik and retreats underground with honor, or bravado facing the Communists can cause bloody retribution, and then there's surrender; discernment tells you the difference (the difference between, in the Ukraine, Fr. Gabriel Kostel'nyk on one hand and Metropolitans Josyf and Volodymyr under Soviet rule on the other).

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Anglicanism is an engine swap

Some ramblings about the denomination of my birth, which didn't see itself as a denomination. As I think Msgr. Burnham recently mentioned, in England it really thought of itself, Catholic-like, as "the church" (as I intentionally, habitually call the Catholic Church), the country's other major Christian groups being "Romans" or "nonconformists/dissenters." Catholics were considered "Catholic too" but in grave error; other Protestants seen much as we see them ("No bishop, no ministry!").

Michael Davies for example has taught me that Luther and the original Anglicans really weren't big on continuity with the medieval church; any resemblance was either accidental or a cover to promote the new faith, which of course they saw as a long-belated recovery of the original from Christ. Luther kept externals and Melanchthon tried most of his adult life to reconcile Lutheranism to the church so Lutherans ended up our close cousins.

Anglicanism is Reformed, a label that doesn't necessarily mean Calvinist. A few generations after the King forced England's separation from the church, the high churchmen claimed the new religion was the old religion minus "accretions," complete with real bishops so the church fathers were writing about the high churchmen's faith, neither "Roman" nor nonconformist. (The high churchmen according to Jonathan Mitchican: the true church, thanks to being both Catholic and Reformed, "Catholic" meaning creeds, bishops, and the idea of a liturgy, not a "branch" of the church and certainly not wannabe Catholics.)

An analogy to classic cars comes to mind: they're claiming they've customized and streamlined the car (no more drag from those "Roman accretions") but it's still a real '58 Chevy Impala (to use a favorite example: the bigger, cooler, double twin-headlight cars, not the cliché Tri-5 Chevys, which look like taxis to me), for example, original "guts," engine, drivetrain, and all. It's more like an engine swap and more, exactly the opposite, plus the cosmetic changes, which in this case reflect the new faith. If the body shell's a '58 Chevy but a modern hemi and transmission are powering the car, is she really still a '58 Chevy? Not enough to be registered in Pennsylvania as an antique.

In any event, while there was enough remaining orthodoxy to give people a good start in Christian formation (happy historical accident: why Catholicism in English speaks to me in its idiom and why I'm not Novus Ordo), it was Erastian, solely to give the King what he wanted, so no wonder the English elite (and their cousins, America's founding fathers), having pillaged the church locally thanks to the change in religion, lost their belief when the "Enlightenment" hit.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ameriphobes


Kit Brewer writes at VDARE:
I’d like to introduce a new word into the American conversation: ”Ameriphobe.”

I would define “Ameriphobe” as a person who would act in the best interests of foreigners at the expense of his fellow Americans. Ameriphobes can be conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat.

I introduce this word to counteract the word “xenophobe” which the multiculturalists use so effectively against us. The “phobe” or “phobic” at the end brands us as not just wrong, but unreasonable to the point of being psychotic. Never mind the the rational arguments of avoiding economic, environmental and cultural ruin, the term “xenophobe” makes us seem clinically deviant. It’s easy to dismiss the arguments of a clinically deviant person.

We’ve been using the word “traitor” to counterattack, but I think the term “Ameriphobe” would cause some people (at least the literate) to pause and think about the word’s meaning and cast the multiculturalists, not patriots, as being the clinically ill deviants that should be locked up after the coming cultural revolution.
An example of what Steve Sailer calls liberals' leapfrogging loyalty. Conservatives naturally put kin and community first (the Chinese love being Chinese, the French being French, whites being white, etc.), loving their neighbors (charity begins at home); liberals profess a Christian-sounding universality loving humanity in the abstract while hating their own people as hopelessly backward, disguised as Christian humility about your own country. It's really a form of showing off: "See how learned and cosmopolitan I am, not like you flag-waving prole trash" (such as Trump's base). "I thank thee, O Lord, that I am not as other men..." (Cf. "The Third World is our playground/zoo." Why lefties used to pillage non-Western cultures' trappings before 180ing about "cultural appropriation" to try to boss us around yet again. Decent people such as pre-Sixties "squares" weren't rude about that to begin with.) There are variations: neoconservatives are patriotic leftists, Jewish liberals (good Cold Warriors who rightly hated the Sixties) who want to spread that liberalism around the world like a gospel (changing from awaiting a messiah to ushering in a messianic age); "nation-building." Also, for our elite there really are no more countries; they serve themselves, not you or me either individually or collectively.

And yes, truth being objective, some cultures and thus countries are better. Other cultures have their treasures we can learn from, but Western civilization is the greatest.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter 1964 ;)

'64 because that's what's on Miss Edsel's registration sticker ('58 plate that really is registered in Pennsylvania). I'm holding my Maryknoll Latin/English hand missal.

Mass: Resurrexi, et adhuc tecum sum, alleluia.

The church's two Easters


Seeing "Christ is risen!" "Indeed he is risen!" online now, I understand the bind American Eastern Catholics are in; the push and pull of being in sync with most Christians vs. with most other Eastern Christians, part of the unnecessary pain of schism. Before the '50s, all Eastern Catholics used the traditional Eastern dates. Ruthenians in America changed about 10 years before Vatican II. Most born Greek Catholics I've known don't give it a second thought; they love mother church and do what she says. (Remembering the 70th anniversary of the pseudo-council of L'viv with which the Soviets outlawed the Ukrainian Catholic Church; ordered to leave the church, all of Eastern Europe's Greek Catholic bishops and many of the priests and laity refused. With the Prague Spring in 1968, almost all of eastern Slovakia returned to the church. The Ukrainian Catholic Church in its homeland resurfaced from the underground with the collapse of the USSR.) The only people who fret are the converts understandably in love with the Byzantine Rite (its beauty being the result of the Roman Empire becoming entirely Catholic). The calendar is not de fide (also, a big minority of Orthodox use the Gregorian calendar for fixed-date feasts such as Christmas) so the church says two Easters and two fixed-date calendars are fine! But the only reason for the different Orthodox date for Easter is the same reason England didn't adopt the Gregorian calendar at first: spite Rome! They use the old, increasingly inaccurate Julian charts to get their Easter date while the rest of Christendom uses accurate astronomy. In person I use those greetings after the Orthodox date, in Slavonic, which I somewhat know ("Христосъ воскресе!" "Воистинну воскресе!"), with a parishioner who grew up Ukrainian Catholic (another was born Greek Orthodox but culturally is entirely Roman Rite), and in Greek ("Χριστός ἀνέστη!") with the Greek immigrants in my town who make the best spaghetti sauce here, Christos and his crew; also the good folks at the Olympic Diner in Clifton Heights and the Olympic Flame boardwalk diner in Wildwood if I'm there in the spring (classic-car show). Nothing beats a whole diner kitchen yelling back "Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!" My little part in someday bringing these often maligned estranged Catholics home.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Paleo-Democrats and Republicans


I like Jim Webb and understand he'd vote for Trump, not Hillary Clinton. Why on earth is he a Democrat?
Webb was a Republican who switched sides in protest of the Iraq War.
In his good book Born Fighting which is about the folkways and political history of the American Scots-Irish, he talks about the tectonic shift in voting habits from Democrat to Republican between 1964 and 1980.

It's clear he is a natural Blue Dog who can't figure out which party to be in since the Yankees took over the Democrats. I.e., a Paleo-Democrat, part of the same (sometimes uneasy) Democrat coalition my northern, ghetto-dwelling Irish Catholic grandparents were part of.
Right; most Americans don't remember that the Democrats and Republicans weren't always America's liberal and conservative parties, our Labour and Tories, respectively. Some remember that Southern Democrats like Webb were socially conservative before the Sixties. And a '50s liberal isn't the same as a Sixties and post-Sixties one. Blue Dogs, Reagan Democrats, and Philly Rizzocrats (when the great man died I went to the viewing and shook hands with his brother and son) were SOCIAL conservatives, such as religious Catholics before Vatican II, and ECONOMICALLY slightly left-wing (the story of immigrants and unions, built on Catholic communitarianism), patriotic, grateful that this country was a great new home, and very anti-Communist. The kind of person the Sixties turned on with a vengeance, creating the Archie Bunker character to make fun of him. (Actually Archie sounds like a worldly-wise folk hero; the show's hippiefied young people sound naive and dated.) Think of a civic-minded guy like Jack Webb (a Catholic) and his cop character. Also, Vietnam was actually an anti-Communist cause for establishment liberals.
Fulton Sheen never voted Republican.

A lot of Catholics today would have a hard time letting that thought sink in.
A lot of religious Catholics; sure. Since the Sixties the GOP's been the default of religious Americans.
Also, the Jews who invented Archie Bunker got him all wrong.

"Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again..."

What bullshit. An Al Smith Democrat never voted for Hoover.
Joke from America's golden era last century:
"I heard that Joe's become a Republican!"
"Impossible! I saw him at Mass last Sunday."
There were always exceptions. In Hollywood, Pat O'Brien, for example. Because of Irish hegemony of the Northern Democrats, there were Italian GOP enclaves, and my Pennsylvania county, Delaware, has an Irish GOP tradition.

You're dead right about Norman Lear and Archie Bunker. He is amusingly tone-deaf about his gentile targets. For example, making the blue-collar, Queens-accented Bunkers Episcopalians.

Before the Sixties, the Republicans were a weird mix mostly of the social opposite of the paleo-Democrats: admirably pro-market (laissez-faire) and pro-liberty (strictly constructionist about the Constitution) but socially and religiously LIBERAL rich WASPs (the Bushes, the Romneys), the bosses who provoked the Catholic workers to unionize and go on strike and generally looked down on the ethnics, maybe being nice enough to be patronizing.
Being a Republican was not unusual among German Catholics, who resented Irish Catholic mores and folkways, and who got on better with their fellow German Lutherans who they sang and drank beers with at the Maennerchor.

The Rodhams were Republicans.

What Republicans today call RINOs... those are the traditional Republicans.
Right; don't forget the Germans, a livelier strain of American Catholicism than the Irish, and the Lutherans are our close cousins.

Yeah but I understand that the elder Rodhams weren't phonies; real conservatives. They weren't rich. The Sixties flipped Hillary. That this cultural movement won her fervent conversion is enough reason for me not to want her to run the country.
I'm afraid I don't even know what the word "conservative" means.
Given the fluidity of politics I guess we do need a definition. Conserving as much of the past as possible, because it's that way for a good reason and only preserving the best, as Edmund Burke believed?
Everyone who cares about his family and his local community does his best to conserve their folkways, and balance what he was taught against the problems of his time.

I come from Taft Republicans (my dad) and Irish Democrats (my mom).

So I conserve both.
Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater should have been president. My Catholic-turned-Episcopal dad (he married a WASP but came back to the church two years before he passed away) was a civilian Cold Warrior in aerospace and a Goldwater man. The GOP stole the nomination from Taft, plain and simple, drafting Ike (a shadowy New World Order pick?), and Goldwater of course was the victim of the Kennedy publicity machine supercharged by President Kennedy's "martyrdom," JFK being good-looking after his cortisone treatment and thus a media darling. Most American Catholics (but not Cardinal Spellman) had the mistaken notion that Jack and his family were "one of them," which the Kennedys exploited well, also being careful to distance themselves from the church enough to get Protestant votes.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Appreciating Pugin


From Watts & Co.:
Earlier this week [March 1] was A.W.N. Pugin's birthday, and so a Requiem Mass was celebrated for him at the altar in the Pugin family chantry chapel at the church he built: St. Augustine's, Ramsgate.
Pugin's medievalism (which I mean as a compliment) is a high-church option most Catholics don't know about, from the Gothic Revival in England, a reaction against the Industrial Revolution and thus arguably part of Romanticism. The same cause started Anglo-Catholicism (also a continuation of old high churchmanship; at its best a Romantic conservatism), which met up with this revival a little later. This chantry altar reminds me of the Lady Chapel of a formative place for me, Good Shepherd, Rosemont. Finding Contrasts at a library at the same time was educational too. Pugin was Catholic, as only made sense, but you're more likely to find this style with the Anglicans such as Watts. (Confusing for people new to this.) He was unappreciated by Catholics as many traditionalists are now, and arguably still is. His way was a compromise: headed where the later Sarumophile Anglicans wanted to go but of course accommodating the Tridentine use normative in the Roman Rite in his day. As I like to say, the church isn't tied down to one culture (Pugin's idealizing the Middle Ages threatens to err from that), but Pugin had a point about Renaissance through "Enlightenment" Catholics being too attached to pagan Greece and Rome, whether baroque and rococo (which run the risk of being sexualized or just tacky) or, at the other extreme, the Georgian and Greek Revival looks (which can be cold) the rationalists such as many Anglicans liked before the neo-Gothic fad, and yes, there were Catholics like that then. (Bare churches reflected the Anglican framers' Reformed faith; medieval English churches were colorful inside.) Anyway, rest in peace, good and faithful servant.

N.B. It isn't Pugin's tomb. He is interred in the vault beneath.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Religion: The balance between submission and individual or local expression

The first words of the psalm quoted in the introit remind me of what a friend told me some time back: false religion is always about self; "fakedty-fake." Inculturation and even a semi-congregationalism can be good things; the local church as the steel-mill town Sportsmen's Club, a community and its customs, strong just like in the Middle Ages, being a hedge against heresy and the merely banal or silly. (If only more Catholics 50 years ago had that fight in them like Archbishop Lefebvre and Fr. De Pauw did.) I refer to "my Mass." But putting that above the church is taking your eyes off the Lord and stepping into a trap, the besetting sin of the alterna-Catholicisms (which do have a point) vs. the church, such as the Orthodox ("Christianity and Greekness"; as C.S. Lewis observed, that eventually becomes only about Greekness) and of the Anglo-Catholics, either thinking they're the true church vs. us (a lot of people assume all A-Cs were would-be Catholics; A-Cism started as a competitor's claim against us so only some wanted to reconcile with us "with honor") or putting off coming into the church because of our human failings, understandable stuff such as local inhospitability, even heresy locally (Anglo-Papalism in theory wasn't an alterna-Catholicism but simply trying to come into the church "with honor"). Rather, we're bigger than the apparent sum of our parts, the paradox of the infallible, sinless church made of fallible, sinful people. Even the Pope's person is fallible; his office, part of the church, in infallible. (The Articles of Religion are hooey.)

Classic A-Cism in either form, anti- or pro-Roman, really believed: "We do these things because they're objectively true." Trading the Prayer Book for copying the church appealed to a higher authority, "the larger church."

There's a difference between that and "this practice fits my religious needs; I happen to think pre-conciliar Catholicism is neat" so I come up with something that looks like it, even better-looking. John's ultimate religious authority becomes John, not God through the church. Protestant private judgment, even if it uses the Tridentine Mass. That's not the church. Also, when the local club becomes just "me and my friends," powered by the supposed warmth of the personalities involved, it's the error of well-meaning liberals such as St. Lydia's. It's not Catholic partly because it's no longer catholic. The parish, one faith for all, vs. the private club, the boutique, even if anyone is welcome to join.

Today's liberal high churchmen are the old anti-Roman party, indeed demonstrating a loyalty to Anglicanism by adopting innovations. Wrong? Sure. But sincere. But their boutique still isn't the church.
The Catholic Church is for saints and sinners alone. For respectable people the Anglican Church will do.

— Oscar Wilde
Mark Bonocore once said the same thing: Catholic cultures have extreme holiness and extreme evil; Protestant ones favor lukewarmness, mediocrity.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Notes on a council


An acquaintance writes on a book I've not read, Roberto de Mattei's The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story:
It was an exhaustive chronicle, occasionally dry, which admirably avoided tempting digressions. Some thoughts:
  • 1. If you're looking to point fingers at a single group for "hijacking" the Council, look no further than the German hierarchy. Seriously. Especially Julius Cardinal Döpfner.
  • 2. The conservatives at the Council should have been more organized; Pius XII had decided against convoking a council precisely because of the likelihood that a Modernist phalanx would form. The conservatives, especially in the Curia, should have known better. By the time the Coetus Internationalem Patrum got itself up and running their victories were too little, too late. But there were relative victories; do not be mistaken about that.
  • 3. The unsung heroes of the conservative resistance were Ernesto Cardinal Ruffini, Archbishop Geraldo de Proença Sigaud, Bishop Luigi Maria Carli, and Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. Without them the conservatives would have had no organization and less intellectual focus.
  • 4. Pope Paul VI is often depicted as having a dithering "Hamlet complex," but if anything this applies more accurately to Cardinal Siri; between his abstention from membership — let alone leadership — in the Coetus and his lack of resolution in the papal conclaves, the regret His Eminence felt late in life is little wonder.
  • 5. Who would have thought the Melkite Patriarch of Antioch, Maximos Saïgh, would prove to be one of the most consistent liberals at the Council?
  • 6. Charles de Gaulle connived to get a liberal elected at the 1958 conclave, specifically Cardinal Roncalli, rather than a Pacellian "reactionary" such as cardinals Ottaviani and Siri, while Konrad Adenauer privately preferred a conservative to be elected.
  • 7. With the exception of the drafting of Dignitatis Humanae, the American bishops were surprisingly conservative. What was less surprising perhaps was that they spearheaded the opposition to a debated resolution condemning the use of nuclear weapons.
  • 8. For a brief, shining moment Leo Cardinal Suenens broke from the Modernists to criticize a schema perceived as diminishing the role of Mary in redemption.
Who would have thought the Melkite Patriarch of Antioch, Maximos Saïgh, would prove to be one of the most consistent liberals at the Council?
Exactly. "Inspiring" the "Orthodox in communion with Rome" a**holes on the Internet (rare in real life) 50 years on, or as I call them, the National Catholic Reporter disguised by a cool liturgy. "See how cool and spiritual we are, unlike those dumb traddies who dare to use our churches as a refuge." Got to give the Byzantines credit; they turned me against them.

The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber, trying to protestantize the church for the space age (the actual spirit of the council, the mode of progressivism at the time):
Why are the Germans such bad theologians?
Because they were never fully Christianized? The Orthodox use that as an excuse for being in schism: the Frankish Pope was no longer part of their Christian empire. But there is a point here. Why the northern Germanic countries left the church in the 1500s.

By the way, Vatican II didn't define any doctrine and our doctrine's unchangeable anyway.
The temptation towards Arianism has never died in the Anglo-Saxon West. It continuously reappears in new guises, always appearing (like most fads do) as the sophisticated option, before landing back on history's ash heap.
The wise teacher, more than man but less than God; the Anglosphere sophisticates' Jesus.
The problem with theologians is that, as intellectuals, they're tempted to gravitate to this stuff even more deeply than your average bear.
Right. Vatican II wasn't a revolution from the people in the pews. It was sophisticated European churchmen.
The post-war "space age" aspect must have been pervasive. You find it even in the writings of the so-called traditionalists. Ottaviani's Eleanor Roosevelt-like fawning over the UN as the source of world peace, to name just one example that comes to mind.

In the end, we are men of our age, whether we like it or not. That's why the term Modernism is a bad one, very confusing. Apt to turn its heresy hunters into hapless reactionaries.
I did not know that about the traditionalists. The space age in many ways was neat: unprecedented prosperity and upward mobility, and decreasing inequality, in America while at the same time the old values and norms still were in force. You have innovation in design, "populuxe," the American '50s look. But we see now that its assumptions could be dangerous; a continuation of the "Enlightenment," they begat the Sixties.

Photo: Pope Paul VI and Msgr. Meliton of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. If the libcaths really cared about the Christian East, they wouldn't have rewritten the Roman Rite, although ecumenical types go on about how Eastern the new services really are, just that we traddies are too dumb or ignorant to see it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Those goofy kids and more


  • Sanders supporter literally cries over Trump supporters disagreeing with her. I wonder what she said on the phone or how she said it to tick them off; we're only hearing her version. It can give one a false sense of security, that our opponents are that fragile. They can still do a lot of harm when they're in power in the workplace, for example. Make an innocent political comment to a friend, one of these little brats hears it and cries to another brat manager or HR, and another brat is threatening your job. "You will comply" or at least be silenced. By the way, this girl has quite an accent, a big generational and class marker, not a regional one like a normal accent. I remember America before people were, like, talking like this? The fashionable English-based romance-novel name (give your girl a man's first name or that of a London neighborhood) is another marker. Many Sanders supporters' hearts are in the right place; I don't hate them. His candidacy like Trump's (my choice) is actually a good sign.
  • Brown students complain homework is interfering with their activism partying, networking, and bragging/virtue-signaling. In a lot of cases, college isn't really for the education but a kind of sleepaway camp for the rich whose purpose is social; people of a certain class keeping their kids (daughters) away from riffraff. (Same as soccer's place in American culture as exercise and a social marker for the elite, not a competitive sport for the masses.) The smarter, socially gifted kids network. And Brown U. is an Ivy League college! Good goin', folks! Exactly. Seems to prove the point that it's more a place for a class to stay together or to aspire to the class than to get a real education. The lesser schools promise that to rip off the proles trying to move up.
  • "Survey says": American Catholics are socialized to say they agree with Pope Francis but many will vote for Trump. Understandably, the man in the pew has conflicting feelings. Pope Francis is appealing to altruism, seemingly Christian, while the man's instincts tell him to defend his family including the extended family who are his people, his tribe, his nation. The answers: charity is for citizens first and we are not obligated to commit suicide by letting in terrorists. Also, Pope Francis's opinions are not our doctrine. Trump '16: let's make America great again.
  • The B-52. Roughly the same age as my car and STILL part of America's first line of defense.
  • FBI wins lawsuit forcing Apple to install spyware on iPhone devices. I wonder if the hipster class who love Apple know they're the bad guys from 1984 (which I read in 1984).
  • Hypervigilant college mistakes skin-care masks for blackface. Seriously, things such as blackface and minstrel shows went away pretty quickly after World War II, nothing to do with the Sixties' "consciousness" (preening). My theory is the Holocaust shocked many decent white Americans into stopping it where it persisted. Same reason many good-intentioned people who looked like me (as in "not the hippies") did the dog work for civil rights.
  • Corn syrup by another name. How food packaging lies.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The north end, the Lutheran claim about the Eucharist, and more


  • Archbishop Peter Robinson: The view from the north end. Right; the Catholic ceremonial I love isn't really Anglican. A bare commemoration ("the sacrifice is of thanks and praise given by Christians") with church in the round, like Catholic liberals minus the guitars, is what the framers did, going beyond the Lutherans. Luther proposed doing this but never did, being inconsistent plus willing to bait and switch. Once the king was really on their side, Cranmer and his pals were upfront about being Protestants. Bare commemoration is not really Anglican either. Zwinglian Memorialism gets as much stick as Transubstantiation in the Articles of Religion. Which, according to Michael Davies, still make it clear that the Reformed religion doesn't believe in Christ's sacrifice made present on an altar, the elements completely changed, the Sacrament literally giving the grace it signifies. Also from Davies: when Protestants use realistic-sounding language about the Eucharist being Christ's body and blood, they don't mean what we mean. Pictured: the Communion service as Anglicanism's framers made it, not nearly as conservative as the Lutherans but still too Catholic for the Puritans.
  • One of our Lutheran close cousins: Luther did not bait and switch. He restored the Communion doctrine as it had been in the late 5th century. Take a look at what Gelasius wrote then, when he was Pope; it's the Lutheran doctrine exactly. Luther from the first set out to restore the catholic doctrine as it had existed in the first five centuries, and on the Communion, that was exactly what he accomplished. We truly receive Christ's Body and Blood. Gelasius, in 490, actually used the then well-established doctrine of the sacramental union of the Body and Blood with the elements to explain the then-controversial doctrine of the hypostatic union. As Christ is true God and true man, but one Christ, so the Communion is true Body and Blood and true bread and wine, but one Sacrament, neither confusing the natures nor dividing the substance. The Roman transubstantiation loses sight of the reality of bread and wine; the Zwinglians lose sight of the reality of Body and Blood; the High Calvinists (Cranmer, et al., following Bucer and the late followers of Melanchthon) recognizing the reality of bread and wine and the reality of Body and Blood but considering them separate. The sacramental union is not the same as the hypostatic union, but it is analogous to it. Luther never set out to separate from Rome. Rome kicked him out at the end of 1520, and he refused to back down, holding that he was teaching the catholic faith. The Augsburg Confession in 1530 was the Lutherans' effort to reach out to Rome, to show that they were good Catholics. In fact, many high-ranking Catholics agreed that there was nothing in the Augsburg Confession that a good Catholic could not believe, and there are some prominent Catholics now who say that. But at that time, Rome would not bend, and the opportunity for reconciliation passed. But this wasn't bait and switch at all. On the position of the celebrant, Luther wrote that it would be desirable for the celebrant to face west, but that, because of the way the churches of the time were built, this was impractical; so until churches had been built for celebration facing. Pope Gelasius interpreted the only way he can be in our teachings: the Sacrament has the true "accidents," outward manifestations, of bread and wine, and in fact remains the Sacrament only as long as they are there. The essence (substance), however, is no longer those things. If the church got the Eucharist wrong after the 400s, the Jews are right that Jesus was a fraud.
  • As part of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis is encouraging governments, particularly Catholic politicians, to suspend the death penalty for the year, an impressive example of mercy; something he can say. But it's being reported as a change in our teachings, of course, a distortion of the old seamless garment going back to Cardinal Bernardin: "'thou shalt not kill' is an absolute." (The old Prayer Book: thou shalt do no murder. Different.) We can spare the lives of the guilty in capital offenses but don't have to. There he goes again, seemingly getting his cues from the secular world, but, like him or not, he seems to have a quality of great men in that nobody owns him. But that's irrelevant to his job, which most people don't understand. His job is limited to defending our teachings, which allow the death-penalty option.
  • Pope Francis may well be trying to melt down the Catholic Church. The thing is, it can't be done! His reign is a cakewalk to me because unlike Paul VI or even John Paul II, as Elena Maria Vidal wrote, he's leaving us alone to be Catholic at the traditional Mass, etc. Like St. Clement's, Philadelphia, 30 years ago under the benign neglect of a Protestant Episcopal bishop, Lyman Ogilby, who like many such with extreme Anglo-Catholic parishes in his diocese was "hands off" because he didn't know what to do with them. The system's semi-congregationalism helped. So I can just filter out the crap and continue indefinitely this way in the church, even without a Pope Benedict the Great.
  • The 74th anniversary of Japanese internment in America during World War II. The Democrats who suckered us into the war, in order to help the USSR win (Joe McCarthy was right), scapegoated not only innocent immigrants (number of spying and sabotage incidents in heavily Japanese Hawaii, where internment was impossible: zero) but born Americans because of their race (including Pat Morita and George Takei, then children). Opposed: J. Edgar Hoover, proud that his FBI could stop any spies and sabotage without it and because he was enough of an old-school gentleman to have a sense of decency about these things. Yet our elite venerates Roosevelt.
  • Ten little-known facts about the movie Christine. Scott Baio was considered to play Arnie Cunningham and Brooke Shields was considered for Leigh Cabot. No. Scott Baio wasn't badass enough and you needed relative unknowns as the leads, because the car is the star. But Kevin Bacon would have worked. The movie's arguably a black comedy played straight, not really scary (taken seriously, it's Carrie for men) and poking fun at nostalgia and at men and their cars, but Christine's every put-upon kid's best friend, the Santa Muerte of cars, besides being sexy. By the way, my car's AM radio, from the factory in July 1957, only picks up a news station and an evangelical one (she's Protestant?). It doesn't start blasting pop hits when she runs over my enemies. That's annoying; I paid for that option.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Facebook ecumenism's ups and downs

Fr. David Straw and I are like fraternal twins: the same age, growing up in conservative pockets of the Episcopal Church so we were mugged by the same changes at the same time. In large part we share a culture, praying in the same English when I use English for worship and hearing the same hymns. Anglicanism at least since Jewel has claimed to be both Catholic and Reformed, so in our respective conversions we went in opposite directions, he Reformed (Reformed Episcopal, that is), I Catholic. (Reformed Christianity isn't schismatic Catholicism like Orthodoxy; it's a 1500s creation that claimed to restore primitive Christianity.) We share the Bible and the creeds, and Fr. Straw is of the modern Reformed Episcopal kind that accepts our externals (so crucifixes and chasubles are OK, and he goes by Father!) but still not our theology other than what I named. Reformed Episcopal vs. regular Anglican/Episcopal: the episcopate is nice to have but not essential; the Reformed Episcopal denomination was founded as a reaction against the then-new Anglo-Catholicism. So my criticisms of cultural Protestants (our American host culture) sometimes inadvertently push us one post or comment away from restarting the "Reformation" battle. (Political correctness/"the Cathedral"/the media-academia-government complex/SWPL, the Anglo-American ruling elite, is English Protestantism gone bad; Christian ethics no longer with Christian faith.) We have common cause in America's current culture war (people like us vs. the Sixties essentially) but 450 years ago in the mother country our sides were literally killing each other, in combat and at the stake and gallows, as Christians on both sides believed in that for the common good (and we didn't do it nearly as much as accused of, according to Eamon Duffy; torching the city of Exeter likely would have saved the church in England but the end doesn't justify the means). Infallible church or not? Holy Communion as Christ's sacrifice literally made present giving grace, the elements changed completely, or none of those things? Whose reading of the Church Fathers is right? No hard feelings personally, brother, but those are bigger than either of us.

I let a Catholic, someone who theologically agrees with me on everything and was otherwise very helpful to me, walk off my Facebook page because he was rude every time I mentioned not only the Anglicans — "Fakedty-fake!" — but the Anglo-Catholic alumni like me, in the church. Essentially, "you're not really Catholic, you're snobs," etc. Keep at it; the old folks at the National Catholic Reporter thank you.

A couple of years ago I was kicked off the Byzantine Christian pages (not Orthodox; they're supposed to be generally Byzantine) for defying the "Orthodox in communion with Rome" and their ecumenical Orthodox friends, or as I call them, the National Catholic Reporter but with a cool liturgy. Dumping half our doctrine to walk into schism is not an option, it's not OK for Catholics to switch if they feel like it, and the Greek Rite Catholics' self-latinizations have the right to be, alongside the unlatinized form of the rite.

Ecumenism's only achievement is we're no longer trying to kill each other.

Why Anglo-Catholicism isn't convincing: Archbishop Peter Robinson explains

Archbishop Peter Robinson wrote:
Anglo-Catholicism and I had a long flirtation when I was in my twenties, but I never found it completely convincing. I can see High Church Protestant (either Anglican or Lutheran) or Roman Catholic as positions with integrity, but not so much Anglo-Catholicism.
So why didn't Anglo-Catholicism convince you, so that you agree with me and Bill Tighe that it's really Reformed? Historical facts? Anything else?
The line of argument Newman took in Tract XC is all too reminiscent of Samuel Clarke's line of argument for Arian subscription to the Articles of Religion back in the early 1700s in that it indulges in a lot of special pleading and logic-chopping. It got well and truly whomped by Daniel Waterland's defence of Nicene orthodoxy, which was a standard theological work for the rest of the 18th century, and into the 19th. Newman's great error is that he tries to assert that the AoR are not talking about Trent, which is patently a falsehood, and if it is you can logic-chop your way around it, which is unconvincing to say the least, when you consider that except for Christopher Davenport's efforts back in the 17th century, Newman's take on the articles appears like a certain king of Salem in 1841. Newman is fairly convincing on the first reading, but not on the third.

Liberalism is invalid for the same reason as Newmanism, which leaves two possible ways of reading the AoR. The first is in the context of the Reformation, which is generally what Evangelical Anglicans do. However, the old-school Evangelicals relied heavily on folks like Payne-Smith, Wace, and Boultbee, who knew their way around the Fathers of the first five or six centuries.

The other way of looking at the AoR is that of the old High Churchmen, who went to the Father of the first five centuries, and then read them in the light of the AoR. The primary interest of the OHCs was the ante-Nicene Fathers and the Four Latin Doctors. Martin Routh spent about thirty years working on a monumental edition of some of the minor Fathers of the second and third century, and this is typical of the more archaeological approach of the Old High Churchmanship.

I think you do have to be a little careful with the word 'Reformed' when talking about Anglicanism, as the harsher forms of Calvinism — especially Dortian orthodoxy — did not have a long-term effect on Anglican theology. The middle way between Lutheranism and Calvinism, with the episcopal form of government, would be on the money.
Thanks, but "Reformed" doesn't necessarily mean "Calvinist." So it's accurate to say Anglicanism is at heart Reformed.

A movement that set out to assert Anglicanism's true-church claim vs. the Catholic Church eventually imitated the Catholic Church.

That Newman converted early on seems to say he came to agree with you.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Fisking an Orthodox parish page about us


From the respected Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick's parish in Pennsylvania. Let's take apart their apologetics on the parish tract-rack level, not a bad effort for these things but Fr. Andrew would do no less.
For a Roman Catholic walking into an Orthodox church, there will be many elements that are familiar — services led by an ordained priesthood, sacramental worship, ancient tradition, Christian art, etc.
Got to love the "canon" of St. Vincent of Lérins, "always, everywhere, and by all," which we ancient churches share with our Anglo-Catholic brethren, who often articulate this family feeling as their branch theory. Even limited to the church's first few councils, a Catholic liturgy, and lots of immemorial custom, you essentially get the church.
But Orthodoxy also has much that is unfamiliar — a mostly married priesthood, communing infants, no papacy, and so forth. It is also likely that an Orthodox church will be a riot of color in comparison with the simpler statuary of Rome’s churches.
All of these EXCEPT the papacy are ONLY cultural differences, and, thanks to Eastern Catholics, centuries-old communities largely converted from the Orthodox, we have those things too!
But beyond these initial impressions, there is actually much that continues to separate Rome from Orthodoxy. One of the most common mistakes is an assumption that surface similarities mean that there really isn’t any major difference between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy.
Your defined doctrine is only our first few councils and your liturgy is entirely Catholic. Proceed.
What is necessary for unity between Rome and the Orthodox Churches? From the Orthodox point of view, Roman Catholics would be expected to return to the Orthodox faith that the Church of Rome professed during the period before it broke from Orthodoxy in roughly the 11th century (the Great Schism).
Dump our defined doctrine after the 11th century. Well, you DO have your Western Rite experiment, with St. Augustine's, Denver, for example; as we have Eastern expressions, you do have a fair copy of Western Catholicism, and in my cultural form, so what's the harm, for unity's sake? I'll turn that around. Our defined doctrine ONLY defends the ancient faith, which I sum up here. We don't need to, shouldn't, and anyway can't drop our defined doctrine. If we did, either the Protestants were right all along that there really is no church, certainly not an infallible one (so Jesus at the end of Matthew was a liar or the disciples made that up, since he didn't rise from the dead: the Jews are right?) or God mysteriously went mute after the 11th century because the Pope happened not to live in your empire anymore. Catholics spread that faith literally all over the world, including creating Catholic cultures in Latin America, not being bound to one culture or set of cultures; Eastern Orthodoxy remained parked in Eastern Europe really, chained to rulers, states, and ethnic groups. Church, sect; sect, church.
From Orthodoxy’s point of view, it is Rome who has left the tradition of the Apostles and introduced new teachings, such as Papal Infallibility, Purgatory and the Immaculate Conception, not to mention unilaterally altering the Nicene Creed to add the word Filioque (“and the Son”) to the phrase concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit, a term that was not in the original version of the Creed agreed upon by Rome with the eastern churches.
"The Pope is a Frank, no longer in our empire. So he's not really in the church anymore." There is only one church and it has a chief bishop who shares in its infallibility under certain conditions, God's mercy and justice call for an intermediate state, without which prayer for the dead (which the Orthodox enthusiastically do) would be nonsense or even the blasphemy Protestants claim it is, Mary is all-holy, redeemed by her son, transcending time, and we don't believe in a Quaternity of two Holy Spirits, "through the Son" not being impossible to understand well enough.
How is Orthodox worship different from Roman Catholic worship? Even prior to the 1960s, the Eastern Christian liturgical tradition was different from the Western Christian tradition represented by Rome. Even then, it was far more complex and multi-vectored (i.e., multiple things going on at the same time)...
Right, a cultural difference that we include. And my parish's pre-1960s Sung Mass has three activities going on at once, the actual Mass with the priest at the altar, the people's prayers, which may or may not be in sync with the prayers at the altar, and the music, likewise, over it all. No different really from a Russian congregation quietly standing as the service proceeds with or without them, in a haze of incense like grace. We cense too.
...a difference which has become more pronounced since the major liturgical changes beginning in the 1960s and continuing since then for Roman Catholics.
We Roman Riters flubbed, but this is culture, not doctrine. Our teachings remain.
Orthodoxy has not made any similar alteration to its mode of worship.
Nor, for the most part historically, have we. The 1960s were the huge exception.
While Orthodox worship has changed somewhat over the centuries, the changes have been extremely gradual and comparatively minor. Orthodox worship has never been modernized and continues much as it has for centuries.
Exactly how the Roman Rite historically has operated, and what my Sunday worship is still like: the Divine Liturgy without an iconostasis and with the second oldest Eucharistic prayer still in use.
Regarding the language of worship, Orthodoxy never had a single liturgical language like Rome did with Latin prior to the 1960s. The language of worship has generally been the local language. In the case of some parishes in America with many immigrants, it is possible that one will hear a language in addition to English used in worship as part of the ministry to those immigrants.
Cultural, not doctrinal, Eastern churches do have archaic liturgical languages (medieval Greek and Slavonic, for example; modern Greek and Russian not being allowed in your rules), and if by "Rome" you mean the Catholic Church, false. We have had all the Eastern liturgical languages for centuries and in some cases now their vernacular (such as Ukrainian and English) like you.
The Rosary dates from the 1400s, well after the split between Rome and the Orthodox Church, so the use of the Rosary is unknown in Orthodoxy. In Orthodoxy there is, however, the similar practice of praying the Jesus Prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me”) with a knotted prayer rope (or sometimes with beads). Other brief prayers may also be associated with the use of the prayer rope, though there is not any corresponding system of imaginative systems of meditations as there sometimes is in Roman Catholicism.
The Rosary might be a little older but it is post-schism medieval Western. There are different schools of spirituality and even theological opinion, not doctrine, in the church; we're a big tent, not a Byzantine straitjacket. That also answers the shallow argument against purgatory, in addition to what I've written above. These meditations obviously aren't heresy, and in any event you don't have to use them. A modern myth about the Orthodox is that the Jesus Prayer and prayer ropes are a staple of their spirituality, among the laity, for instance. It's really an esoteric monastic practice (the rope being part of the monk's or nun's habit like the Rosary is for many Western vowed religious), truly different from the Rosary that way. Their lay spirituality is more about going to the services and keeping the fasts.
There is just sin, and although some are more serious than others, Orthodox do not make the distinction between mortal and venial sins that Roman Catholics do. All sin is believed to be serious in Orthodoxy.
Some do, from us. As long as mortal sin is absolved in the sacrament of confession, which they do, no problem. But the trouble with this "Orthodox" spirituality is it feeds the neurosis of scrupulosity. The distinction is comforting; God forgives venial sin outside of confession.
Orthodox Christians believe in the Real Presence and accept it as a mystery. Western theology tends to approach theological matters via the use of reason; this is a legacy of Augustinianism and the medieval Scholastics, who applied the techniques of Greek philosophy to the investigation of theological matters. Orthodoxy believes that certain matters are beyond the use of reason, so it is presumptuous for us as limited human beings to think that we can use our reason to understand that which is beyond us. As a consequence, we Orthodox are comfortable with accepting mysteries like the Real Presence as what they are—mysteries, without feeling obliged to explain them.
See above on different schools of spirituality and not just opinion but theological method. That's fine. The Christian East has never defined doctrine on this nor has it formally denied ours. It has always passively accepted that the Mass is Christ's one sacrifice made present, actually giving the grace it signifies, the elements completely changed into him. Entirely Catholic. The objection is a lame culturally based one.
In former centuries, Roman Catholic fasting and other asceticism was in most respects quite similar to Orthodoxy—nearly half the days of the year were fasting days! This kind of practice really is part of Roman Catholic tradition, as well, but it has largely been almost completely abandoned in our own day. It is now rare to find a Roman Catholic who goes without meat on Fridays in Lent, something that was normal even just a few decades ago.
A cultural difference, the church can and does change such disciplinary rules, and the Orthodox do the same with "economy," where the nearly impossible fasting rules are not under pain of sin (them priding themselves on not being legalistic like those Romans). Their canon law is an outdated, contradictory jumble so they're winging it. And the rule in the Roman Rite still includes Friday abstinence in Lent.
What is the Orthodox view of Original Sin? ...not all Roman Catholic theology (especially official dogma) has tended to this strong contrast toward favoring the “guilt” model, and Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism are sometimes understood as not being far from each other in this regard.
Admitting it's not a doctrinal difference rather than the Pelagianism some of their apologists do in order to deny they're really Catholic. Good.

Regarding the Immaculate Conception, we have to believe that Mary has always been all-holy; the difference is of theological method, not doctrine. Catholics don't have to use St. Augustine's method.
...while both Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians believe in the Virgin Mary’s great holiness (perhaps even to the point of sinlessness), for Roman Catholics, this holiness is the result of the Immaculate Conception; that is, she could not have sinned.
Eve was created without sin. Mary had the same choice.
Roman Catholics believe that Mary, because she was born without the stain of Original Sin (see the previous question on the Immaculate Conception), did not have to die; as a consequence, she is the only human being to be assumed directly to heaven without passing through death.
The schismatics denying the Assumption are especially comical, because it is an Eastern story! Their version is far more flowery, with the apostles being whisked from their locations to Mary's bedside. Anyway, the church says no such thing. When Pius XII declared this longstanding belief a doctrine, he purposely left Mary's death an open question out of deference to the Christian East. We don't have to believe she died, but we can.
It was at the First Lateran Council in 1123 (after the Great Schism) that celibacy became mandatory for Roman Catholic priests. Before this, a local council in Elvira, Spain, in 316 declared that celibacy was mandatory for clergy, and the practice began to spread in the West over the following centuries under the encouragement of various popes.
Disciplinary rule and culture, not doctrine. Eastern Catholic priests in their homelands, and now again in America, may marry before ordination, just like theirs. We have ex-Anglican priests following the same rule.
Roman Catholic doctrine holds that a child must be old enough intellectually to understand the mystery of Christ according to “his capacity.” He should be able to discern the difference between the Eucharist and ordinary bread. Western doctrine places a premium on the role of reason in understanding God and in forming a relationship with Him. Orthodoxy, on the other hand, believes that God in His Essence is unknowable, and dwells in “divine darkness.” No one will ever apprehend the mysteries of God, the Incarnation, or the Eucharist through reason. Why, then, withhold the grace of the sacrament from those whose understanding is after all only a little less than an adult’s? As a consequence, Orthodox do not believe in holding back children (or those who who are developmentally challenged and may be permanently incapable of reason) from receiving the Body and Blood of Christ.
Disciplinary rule and culture, not doctrine. The Eastern Catholics confirm and commune babies too.
For Rome, the declaration of a saint is a more-or-less top-down process; by recognition of miracles by the hierarchy, analysis of the prospective saint’s life under the direction of the hierarchy; and the juridical approach involving a “Devil’s Advocate.” For Orthodoxy, a saint is recognized as such by more of a bottom-up process: the community recognizes the saint’s holiness, which is then investigated, acknowledged and proclaimed by the hierarchy.
I'm going to surprise you. I don't see this as a problem to us. Not doctrine. If they come back to the church, they should have far more autonomy than the Eastern Catholics now have, including on this.
Why does the Orthodox Church use leavened bread and the Roman Catholic Church use unleavened bread (wafers)?
Disciplinary rule and culture, not doctrine.

Photo: Benedict the Great and Msgr. Bartholomew; actually Msgr. John in Damascus is Fr. Andrew's patriarch. Orthodox bishops are real bishops but don't have titles by right; those come from the Pope.