Friday, November 27, 2015

The ordinariate missal and more

  • The ordinariate missal is in print. Divine Worship — The Missal, replacing the 1979 Rite I Episcopal-based Anglican Use, improved with Pope Benedict the Great's reform of English Novus Ordo and elements of the Tridentine Mass, my Mass. (It's usually eastward-facing, a simple thing that makes a big difference.) That's fantastic. A few points.
    • The church has never approved Thomas Cranmer's Eucharistic prayer in any form, even the old-high-church (1600s-1700s; an attempt a century after the "Reformation" to sound patristic*) Scottish form in the old American Book of Common Prayer that I grew up with. Understandable as the man was a heretic; his Eucharistic theology as enshrined in the Articles of Religion is why the church took him at his word by never recognizing Anglican orders since the Edwardine ordinal, Leo XIII making it official. But the Anglican and American Missals (unofficial; banned in many Episcopal dioceses), which this new missal echoes, spliced the Prayer Book's canon, collects, and lessons into the framework of our Mass and seem to work. Here Cranmer, filtered through the old high churchmen, sounded like he still shared enough orthodoxy with Catholicism to make it so. Counterargument: Michael Davies pointed out in Cranmer's Godly Order that Protestants using realistic-sounding language about Holy Communion don't mean what the church does by it. (For them there's no making Christ's sacrifice present on the altar; it's a bare commemoration so the Mass is a blasphemous fable.) But with this new missal, as with the Anglican Use, we've officially included many of Cranmer's orthodox prayers, including collects he wrote or modified because the originals were too Catholic. And his new collects are beautiful, little lessons in English. I don't miss the old Prayer Book such that I need to hear it every week (canonically the ordinariates are for people like me; I can join if I want to), like I would the Tridentine Mass (but in much of my prayer including occasional Masses in English I quote it from memory: "And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary"), but it seems to me if you're going to go this route, let's be ecumenical with our estranged Catholic family to the east. In the beginning, in the late 1800s, the only Western canon the Orthodox allowed for their Western-rite experiment was the Roman one; much later the Antiochians brought the Anglican missals on board by slightly byzantinizing their Eucharistic prayer, and of course that catholicized it. Problem solved, for those who want this. Ours for the asking.
    • That said, why not just do that to the Anglican missals, and add the Roman Canon as an option, and issue them, rather than mixing with the Novus Ordo? (Anglo-Catholics did our legwork for us decades ago.) That, using classic American Anglo-Catholics' big no to the Sixties just like the Tridentine Mass for cradle Catholics, is something our churchmen are not yet ready or willing to do. Still toeing the line that Vatican II was good even as the parishes and schools keep closing and the dioceses and orders go broke. Benedict the Great came thisclose to publicly coming clean, then somebody got rid of him.
    • The British Anglo-Catholic alumni experience is different; they've been Novus Ordo for 45 years (because they were Anglo-Papalists, believing everything the church says and wanting a "reconciliation with honor" with it). For them, the Prayer Book only means Protestantism, not orthodoxy or the '50s. That's the British ordinariate. Let them be.
    • As the Antiochians' work is ours for the asking, so is that of classic Anglo-Papalists. It's Not About Latin™ (but Latin has its place: template and international language) so the English Missal (Tridentine in English) should be approved as an option too.
  • The ordinariates' first bishop designate is the American one's new ordinary-to-be, Msgr. Steven Lopes, a born Catholic but very familiar with the tradition he's been assigned to, as Msgr. Steenson (nice, nice man I knew when he was rector of Rosemont) takes a well-deserved rest in retirement (he's still administrator until Msgr. Lopes' consecration). Ad multos annos.
  • The ordinariates still won't train new married priests, only allowing ex-Anglican ones. The church has the authority to make that rule. I am not attacking the Latin Church's longstanding rule but, given the Slavic Greek Catholic experience in America (we caused schisms), for example, priestly celibacy is not a hill I'd die on. I understand faithful celibate priests' resentment of a change but ordaining the married in the ordinariates would give it a lot more appeal for ex-Anglicans, showing we're serious about preserving all of their patrimony that doesn't go against our doctrine. (My same answer to the Orthodox, including the American descendants of ex-Catholics: please come home; everything that's not doctrine, even parish ownership of property, is on the table.) Then again, by now, just about every Anglican who really wanted to be Catholic now is.
  • Possible Episcopal argument: "You're proselytizing with the ordinariates, so you can't complain about our Hispanic outreach." It's not a false-flag operation; the Anglo-Catholic alumni asked to come in. We're really talking about rival true-church claims (they are the direct successors of the old high churchmen with their misunderstood branch theory: they're the true church; we're a real church with real bishops and the real Eucharist but in grave error) so this is fair game. Except for the 150-year-old border skirmish because of Anglo-Catholicism, the Catholic and Episcopal churches don't really compete; the Episcopalians' real rivals are other English Reformed churches and offshoots, the United Church of Christ and the Unitarians.
*Traditional Lutheranism is a similar retrofitting. Luther's Christianity (according to Davies: I say I'm saved so I'm saved; the Eucharist isn't Christ's sacrifice pleaded on the altar) was radically new but he wasn't consistent and he was for using the trappings of the church to deceive the simple faithful (for their own good). His followers (Melanchthon most of his life) tried to reach an agreement with the church and wrote down a theology to answer us after Trent. Thus a made-up Christianity accidentally became our close cousin some time after its founding (similar line as Anglican old high church: they're the church; we're in grave error).

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Vatican II is policy, not doctrine: Catholicism and Americanism

America can work for us: by the '50s the Northeast was almost a Catholic country.

Francis is bad but this was one of our worst Popes, the vacillating one who let the Sixties in.

Paul VI: Vatican II is not binding on Catholics. Vatican II didn't define doctrine and nothing can change doctrine. The vernacular in worship, religious liberty American style, and ecumenical and interfaith studies and talks are fine, rightly understood, but we're better off ignoring this council.

Thomas Case in 1992: "A contention between American patriots and European fascists is ripping the Society [of St. Pius X] apart."

That is a difference between American and European Catholic traditionalisms but it doesn't have to split Catholics. The church doesn't define doctrine about politics or economics; the political means to the end of saving souls and human flourishing are up to us, as long as we don't buy the end justifying the means.
Religious liberty is fine?
Sure! The generosity of some American colonies and of America's founding fathers made the country a great home for Catholics.
Religious liberty American style is heresy.
So Catholics before Vatican II who were proud American citizens were in mortal sin?
Catholics before Vatican 2 who support the idea of separation of Church and State as per the secularist understanding of the liberals were and are heretics. Heresy existed long before your country was created.
It's a razor-fine distinction but on one hand there's religious freedom as a relative good for the church to flourish, or how Catholics could be Americans, and then there's indifferentism, the fashionable modern belief that all religions are really the same, like denominationalism in modern liberal American Protestantism; your choice and strictly a private matter, like what brand of motor oil you buy. John Courtney Murray went too far, being Americanized (the Americanist heresy Leo XIII condemned?): seeing Catholicism as just another denomination. That doesn't mean Catholics can't be good Americans. Pre-Vatican II American Catholics were! (Are, as arguably we are pre-Vatican II Catholics.) Vatican II rightly interpreted says the American way can work for the church, a policy change from favoring a state church (which as Catholics we still can do), not a change in our doctrine, which is impossible. I know it sounds close to what the Syllabus Errorum condemns but again it's a fine distinction. In other words we accept religious freedom as an option but without the secularist understanding of it that the church condemns (insisting that freedom's the only way: the Americanist heresy).
There can be no policy change from favouring the true religion to having the State treat religion and falsehood equally. That idea of change is condemned by Vatican I.
Policy can and does change. Doctrine doesn't. We still teach we are the church, even with the council's subsistit in (which I have no problem with; we've always recognized the Orthodox' bishops and Masses and Protestant baptisms).
It is doctrine that States have the moral obligation to support and promote only the true religion (Social Kingship of Christ). The negation thereof is absurdity and heresy.
But there are different ways of promoting and supporting the true religion. We can have a state church like Franco Spain (and I like El Caudillo) but we don't have to.

Catholic vs. classic Anglican debate

Rural vicars "drowning" amid battle to keep empty churches open.

Right, the C of E is endangered. Many well-meaning Christians and I differ on the solution, either a return to a godly evangelicalism or what I believe, the C of E becoming the C in E again, a return to the faith of the Popes. I maintain that the perhaps well-meant evangelicalism got the ball rolling on the secularism that's emptied these churches. And yes, Catholic churches in Europe are dead too, because of the "Enlightenment," or Protestantism, Part II, accelerated by Vatican II. Orthodoxy? No, thanks. Estranged Catholicism with the same anti-Westernism as ISIS; denying your own Christian heritage (rewriting your history so somehow you were part of the Greek Empire) is no answer worth taking seriously.
A return to Papism isn't the solution for the CofE, since that's inimical to her constitution and canons. It is rather a return to the faith of the Reformed Church of England and that of Holy Scripture, the BCP & Ordinal, the Articles of Religion, and the Homilies. I'm familiar with the revisionist history that claims secularism is a result of Protestantism, but that's specious.
But the Reformed Church of England (and you're right; it is a Reformed faith) is part of the same Renaissance second-guessing of tradition (in the name of casting off medievalism) that in our day has produced women priests and gay weddings, which the Reformed Church of England in fact now teaches and practices, which by the way doesn't cause the English to go back to church.
I'm not moved by the genetic fallacy injected into church history, it's a well-trod path that leads nowhere. The modern CofE, ACC, and TEC deny any sort of Reformed doctrinal connection — that's what that business about consigning the AoR to the "Historical Documents of the Episcopal Church" was about in the US, and the same could be said of the CofE. Homosexual marriage, WO, and other forms of gender confusion aren't a result of the Reformed faith, but rather an absence of it. The Carolines had just as much right to the patristic mantle as anyone, and the English could easily read the Fathers as consonant with Reformed Eucharistic doctrine. Bp Beveridge taught that “Whatsoever doctrine you find to be clearly propounded, asserted, or suggested, either in our Articles or Common-Prayer Book, you may and ought to rest fully satisfied in your minds that that is the true doctrine of the Apostles, which you ought to continue firm and steadfast in", and I've found no valid reason to deny that.
Then how do you explain the unreformed Christian faiths, us Catholics and the estranged Eastern churches, not having homosexual marriage, WO, and other forms of gender confusion in our doctrine?
Continuing Anglicans don't have homosexual marriage, either. It's only the civil religion oriented, burned-out, numerically declining mainline churches in the West that have gone antinomian on homosexuality. Making that argument would be like me pointing to the vocal "women priests" movement, or, if you will, various forms of cafeteria Catholicism as proof of the secularism of the modernists. Anglican doctrine doesn't allow for it. That there are rebellious elements in the churches that do it is another thing. Don't forget that at least in the US, WO was at the very first done illegally, unconstitutionally, and uncanonically.
But the Continuing churches are small squabbling sects. Clearly the universal church of the centuries and in just about every place can't be that. The Carolines' church was invented by them; you're right that the Anglo-Catholics' attempt to shelve the Articles was intellectually dishonest just like Modernism. That's why Newman converted.
But so what? Dogma isn't a majority vote. Surely you would agree with me on this, because if you didn't you'd see the apparent dilemma. I'd add that it's not all down to the Continuers. There are a huge number of African and Asian Anglican Provinces that do not ordain women and have very serious legal restrictions on homosexuality in their cultures, let alone in the ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons.
"Dogma isn't a majority vote." No, it's not. The thing is, the universal church does a better job of teaching those truths than a gaggle of sects with purple fever (lots of wannabe bishops; not a lot of parishioners). So I don't see the point of reinventing the wheel by starting another church! "There are a huge number of African and Asian Anglican Provinces..." Protestants: "The church got it wrong until our godly framers made it right. Jesus is sure lucky to have us." No, thanks.
Don't look now, John, but it looks like Papa Francis may be reinventing the wheel himself. I guess I'm a pretty conservative Anglican high churchman. I don't see any dilemma in that at all. I've been an Anglican since the time of Lambeth '98, and I've never received the ministrations of a priestess nor have been asked to marry two men or two women. I'm praying, ministering, and fighting for the same things the Anglican fathers were, and in their time they had to work within periods of sometimes severe moral decline. I'd be the first to admit and agree with you that the current malaise is very severe, and the Christian faith is under attack in ways it never has been before.
I was an Anglican because my dad left the Catholic Church after marrying an Episcopalian; I was baptized in '66. I was a would-be Catholic seemingly sucker-punched by Spong-ism, women's ordination, and homosexualism, then I read the Articles honestly and put 2 and 2 together. I never wanted to be a Protestant.

Ha ha; I was expecting the Pope Francis remark. No problem: papal infallibility is part of church infallibility (which your Articles deny, hence WO and same-sex marriage, for example), which limits the Pope to defending our doctrine. Pope Francis doesn't have the authority to change it.

The universal church is all the inclusivity I need.

It's Rome or the abyss, folks. By Rome I mean our doctrine, not Catholic churchmen's opinions, even the Pope's.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Latter-day tribal Christianity

Last month, interestingly from Canada: The Pier’s patriarch: Waterman enthroned to head church. African Orthodox leader “man of great compassion.”

Sincere vagantes. Vaguely high-church but either creative or ignorant about the traditions they borrow piecemeal.

And interestingly this outfit isn't the real African Orthodox Church but a more liberal splinter; I understand the original doesn't ordain women.

Mike Myers' Linda Richman of "Coffee Talk" character: "The African Orthodox Church is neither African nor Orthodox. Discuss!" It's true. The original is a 1920s black ex-Episcopal offshoot of Marcus Garvey's movement in America. An Episcopal priest got vagante episcopal orders from some ex-Old Catholic and set up his own thing, interesting-looking in America's golden era because it looked just like a small version of Cardinal Spellman's Catholic Church but it was all black. 25 years ago I met one of their bishops, a dignified old gentleman dressed in choir habit (cassock, zucchetto, mozetta, lace rochet, and chimere) just like Archbishop Lefebvre. (By the way, older black men are the only ones in Philadelphia who still dress like me; they do it on Sunday for church.)

Vagantes often call themselves Orthodox because they know it means Catholic without the Pope. They have no connection to the real Orthodox so they aren't recognized by them (actually the Orthodox don't recognize anybody outside Orthodoxy) and they usually don't follow those rules any more than they do ours.

This crew, while not Byzantine by any stretch, goes one further, though: just like the real Orthodox, they've essentially made the tribe their faith. We inculturate so the church is very local: Italian, Polish, and Melkite Catholicism are each unique, for example, even though most national Catholicisms share the Roman Rite. (For us, it actually doesn't start with the Pope; the church's basic unit is the diocese, gathered around the bishop as in apostolic times... who is in communion with the rest of the world's Catholic bishops, who of course include you-know-who in Rome, who has a unique, indispensable job in the church. There. I think I've got it covered.) But when you're worshipping Greekness or blackness (or whiteness; why Catholics aren't Nazis), you've got a problem. Franciszek Hodur did it with Polishness; his tiny church still exists in America but is on life support.

I think the real African Orthodox Church has the church named for John Coltrane, whom they canonized. That says it all.

Nearly 70 years later, troublemaker ex-Catholic priest George Stallings basically reinvented the wheel, starting his own version of this church; I think he and it are still around, but like it very small. Stallings also paralleled Hodur: troublesome but a bishop gave him a chance, sending him to seminary and ordaining him, then he bit the hand that fed him.

Reminds me too of another founding reverend father in America's vagante scene, Carmel Henry Carfora, an Italian-born ex-Franciscan priest an ex-Old Catholic, de Landas Berghes (a European nobleman who eventually came into the church), jumped up to bishop, so for decades he both imitated the church and railed against it at the same time (a lot like Hodur, a liberal wack in Catholic garb). Italian folk Catholicism and Italian anti-clericalism (we revere the office of the clergy but know priests too well to worship them) all in one go!

Religion is by nature serious but it sure can be fun sometimes.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Remembering American Anglo-Catholicism: Fr. Wetherell and All Saints, Orange

In 1876, a mission of St. Mark's Church was started in an old schoolhouse at the corner of Valley Road and Forest Street. In 1885, the name was officially changed to All Saints (Episcopal) Church. Eventually, the parish purchased land and constructed the church...
All Saints, Orange, NJ, was the first full-fledged Anglo-Catholic church I saw, as Fr. William Wetherell had it.

Walking into All Saints then was my "Russians in Hagia Sophia" experience; it felt like coming home to the church so my religious expression has reflected it ever since. (And the lesson that such semi-congregationalism can be a hedge against liberalism. Fr. Wetherell's church was the same as in 1957, intact after Vatican II.) All the mystery, reverence, and folk religion of Tridentine Catholicism enhanced by things such as the rood beam and seven hanging red lamps. Three altars (big high altar and two side ones), statues and votive-candle stands everywhere, Stations of the Cross, crucifixes, confessionals, and holy-water fonts, jammed into a charming little building originally just late-1800s Protestant Episcopal. Outside, a crucifix on a wall, a statue of Mary, and the church sign announcing Sunday Mass. I think Fr. Wetherell also promoted devotions such as the Green Scapular. It sure wasn't Protestantism, the religion of the Prayer Book, even though it used the idiom of that book; it demonstrated Catholicism in English. Outsiders usually have no idea how close parts of the Episcopal Church came to Catholicism.

Fr. Wetherell was married; maybe if the ordinariate existed in his day, he would have come in.

I saw All Saints again in the late '80s; most of this was gone and it had been Episcopalianized. It's now closed. But arguably Fr. Wetherell's work was done. I have much the same experience at my Sunday Mass, sadly rare in Catholic churches but it's there if you're looking for it. Just like the Episcopal Church in Fr. Wetherell's day.

The anniversary of JFK's death

A handsome man who in ways reflected the better era he was a part of, and sincerely anti-Communist. (He was sickly all his life and gangly as a young man. Cortisone treatment in the '50s for his Addison's disease gave him his famous chunky look. Epitomizing the era, Camelot was largely his beautiful wife's creation.) That said, I'm not part of his cultus (media promotion going back to when his father wanted to be president; the Kennedys have been part of the American imagination since the late '30s). I have a Nixon campaign souvenir on my desk, next to a Goldwater one. (As young congressmen, he and Kennedy were once friendly, fellow anti-Communists. If not for Nixon's understandable insecurity — Kennedy stole the election — which enabled the Sixties to knock him down, he would be remembered as a great statesman, governing non-ideologically.) Kennedy's nominal Catholicism didn't matter but I understand why so many of us supported him (most of us were Democrats: labor, unions, but socially conservative; the appealing notion that one of our own was coming in). He didn't fool Cardinal Spellman. Besides, knowing he had the Catholic vote, he basically disowned the church in a speech, just like Catholic Democrats now. Anyway, what a horrible way to die; such a glamorous figure doing so hurt the country very much. We'll probably never know the truth but I believe it was a conspiracy. Oswald was probably an American agent (being a lone Red nut was his cover). Could have been working for Johnson (he and Kennedy hated each other) or the CIA. The Mafia wanted Kennedy dead too (they helped get him in but his brother turned on them as attorney general); maybe one of their men fired the fatal shot from the grassy knoll. And I don't believe the boomer mythology that Kennedy's death kicked off the Sixties; that rot set in later (I saw it win by 1973). God have mercy on him.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

When Italian immigrants were "the other"

From 2012: someone trying to shame American white ethnics into buying into Sixties identity politics (political correctness: you too can be a favored victim class) to let in a hostile religion (let's ask the families of the Boston Marathon and Paris victims how that's working out): When Italian immigrants were "the other."

Right, and the Irish 50-100 years earlier faced the same problem almost to the same degree (it's been exaggerated but it happened), even though they were fellow northern Europeans, because of course they were Catholic. But these groups (don't forget the southern Germans, here since colonial times, the Poles, and the Louisiana French) didn't cry victim like Sixties identity politics (the Poles in Britain still don't; they're pillars of society); they built their own Catholic America (Catholic schools, for example) and enriched their hosts' society, 100% Catholic and proud to be American, so our Protestant hosts came to love us Catholics, by the '50s. (Every war-movie platoon had a Tony from Brooklyn, because it was true, and everybody loves Italian-American food.)

It all really comes down to whether the church and America are compatible. (America should have stayed loyal to Britain in the 1700s, but let's work with what we've got.) The Protestant nativists rightly saw that the church and their vision of America, not as truly neutral/impartial but Protestant, weren't. (They really wanted heresy to be the law of the land, and the modern liberals really still do; the church said no to heresy and indifferentism and of course still does.) I'll say that the church and true religious impartiality (neutrality, not indifferentism) at least implied by the founding fathers are compatible, which is why pre-Sixties America was such a great home for Catholics. We peaked around 1960; the American Northeast was almost a Catholic country. At least we and the Protestants had Christianity and European culture in common, so it worked. (Then we squandered that at Vatican II; the Rockefellers bought us off and so we caved to the Sixties, in practice, not in principle.)

Some say only the best Italians stayed here; those who couldn't make it here went home. (By the way, there's nothing wrong with making your fortune here, then returning. I understand the Greeks do that, or used to.) And maybe the 1925 restriction on immigration actually helped the Italians here stabilize and move up. Basic economics: a country has limited resources, which is why illegal immigration is theft, not mercy. Even too much legal immigration puts too much of a strain on a country. Citizens first.

The lefties often have a point, as they do here about "othering"; most of their ethics are stolen from Christianity and distorted, here a distortion of the ethic of universal love.

By the way the Italian immigration was overwhelmingly southern (lots of Neapolitans, Calabrese, and Sicilians), the regions that lost out in the Risorgimento that created Italy (the northern secular liberals won), so the Italian that survives here, either the whole language among the second generation (I know some of them) or food words the third etc., English-only generations still use, is southern dialects (half-)remembered phonetically (so for example mozzarella is mootzarell or, Sicilian, mootzadell).

ISIS in their own words

Cracked presents a variant of one of its strong suits, reporting news of the weird (the other being teaching little-known history that should be better known; its weakness is it's becoming as cravenly politically correct as The Onion with sermonizing): 7 things I learned reading every issue of ISIS' magazine, Dabiq.
  • In important ways they're exactly what you think and are honest about it: they're evil killers proud of their slaughter.
  • Don't invade, don't invite. Killing them doesn't deter them; they're willing to die. Their violence in the West (to Muslims here: "If you can't move here like you should, kill a Crusader there for us") makes sense because they're picking a fight, not trying to get our sympathy. They want us to invade Syria so they can fight us on their turf. Makes sense militarily plus it conveniently fulfills one of their prophecies.
  • Western politeness/lefty showing off — "It's Daesh, not ISIS" — doesn't mean anything to them.
  • They're thieves, parasites: they get most of their money from robbing banks and steal most of their weapons from us and the Russians.
  • Their worst enemy and biggest fear, the biggest threat to them: they're going broke. Like depriving a fire of oxygen, just let them burn out over there.
  • Stopped clock: drugs are bad and gold is good, common sense they believe in, which the lefties at Cracked make fun of, taking a swipe at Ron Paul and Internet libertarians for the gold part. I'll add: they realize that having lots of kids is good; contracepting and aborting yourselves into extinction is stupid.
  • The people they hate the most aren't white Westerners but heretical or lapsed Muslims, even the Taliban and al-Qaeda. They mostly kill other Muslims.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Paris: Don't invade, don't invite

There is nothing new really, I don't have much if anything original to say, and as for sharing links and memes, that's what Facebook's for, for now (until something replaces it?). Those are among the reasons I hadn't written anything here about the Paris massacre last Friday.

Obviously, there's no tricolor flag, no "La Marseillaise," and no Eiffel Tower peace sign (Sixties) from me. Many well-meaning (ignorant) people, intending to honor Catholic or at least European France, have posted such of course. But of course modern France, post-revolutionary France, secular(ist, as in anti-religious) France, partly caused the problem. (As the black militants used to say, "If you're not part of the solution...") If you want to display a flag, make it the royal fleur-de-lis and/or the Catholic (Sacred Heart) flag of the Vendée.

Prayers for the dead? Asking Our Lady, St. Genevieve, and St. Joan of Arc to defend what's left of Christendom, including "the church's (long wayward) eldest daughter"? Those go without saying.

"Kill them all"? Carpet bombing? Understandable, and a healthier reaction (love starts at home), a conservative one, than the leapfrogging loyalty (that is, disloyalty to your own community), self-hating response of the ruling left, a Christian heresy as regular readers know; defending "multicultural France," etc., an ersatz version of Christianity's universal love. (Also, showing weakness only makes a bully worse.) But, trite but true, two wrongs don't make a right. (The Catholic Church: the end doesn't justify the means. Bombing civilians on purpose is a sin.)

Just like 9/11, what's happening is partly payback for our (actually, our "progressive" politics trying to remake the world in its heretical Christian, multicultural, etc. image) "invading the world." ISIS is evil but they and their legions of sympathizers are mad at us for a reason.

Iraq and Syria weren't really Muslim governments before we butted in. Why couldn't we leave well enough alone? Neither were anything to do with 9/11. Saddam Hussein, once our ally (on our payroll?) vs. Iran (another mess we arguably created, backing the Shah, setting off a reaction), was a bad Muslim, a secular ruler, the kind of Muslim whom Osama bin Laden (another onetime ally we basically created to fight the Russians in Afghanistan) hated. Assad's Alawism is to Islam as Mormonism is to Christianity, which is why the Muslims hate him. You could be a Christian in both countries. Syria is the home of the Melkite and Antiochian Orthodox (Byzantine twins) and Jacobite churches; Iraq the Nestorians and their Chaldean Catholic offshoot, the country's biggest church.

But our mistaken foreign policy (including neocons, really just a kind of "progressive": "nation-building") has destroyed those ancient churches in their homelands. Destroyed as in these Christians are being slaughtered. (Martyrdom isn't just in history books; that long list of Roman names the priest recites in the Canon at Mass.) I understand Iraq's Christians have dwindled from at least a million to about 200,000.

ISIS: we have created a monster. They're angry, they're virulent, and they were smart enough to take advantage of Western liberals' charity (residual Christian ethics) by sneaking into our countries, "hiding in plain sight," as "refugees." (Right. Women and children stay behind while military-fit men come to Europe.)

I bring all this up because defending what's left of the Christians in those countries (who are either Catholic or estranged Catholics of the East: they have real bishops and the Mass) appeals very much. I don't have an easy answer.

A man who formed my worldview (and he's Catholic), Lew Rockwell, has reminded his readers of the teaching of one of his columnists, military analyst Bill Lind. While our military has technologically advanced in 70 years, of course, it is still really geared to refight World War II (better aircraft carriers and planes, as if we were still trying to sink the Japanese Navy), as outmoded as the Maginot Line. Let's look at our track record vs. guerrillas on their turf. Didn't work in Vietnam. A land war vs. ISIS would be another unwinnable one, and unnecessary to protect Americans at home, which is the American government's (including of course the U.S. military's) proper job.

The ruling Western liberals seem to want to replace our population (at least replace recalcitrant conservative whites, people of the wrong class), thinking the second generation will assimilate, since Western liberal values are taken to be self-evident truths, or least the newcomers will be so grateful for the welcome, multiculturalism and all that, that the ruling liberals will remain in power or least be spared. The history of dhimmitude or at least the Tsarnaev brothers blowing up the affluent lefties' little fun run in Boston (thanks, Roissy, for that turn of phrase) should have ended such notions, but the libs are either willfully ignorant or hey, to make an omelet you've got to break a few eggs.

Signs of a country and, locally, a church that have lost their nerve or are at least ignorant: I saw a picture and headline about Notre Dame Cathedral's organ playing "La Marseillaise" during a "memorial Mass" for those killed. Memorial services are for Protestants, since they don't believe in prayer for the dead so the service is just to comfort the mourners and/or pay a tribute to the dead person. We have Requiem Masses ("Grant eternal rest..."), pleading Christ's sacrifice on our altars for God to show his mercy to the departed one, saving his soul and easing purgatory.

So it seems to me the answer's still "don't invade them; don't invite them." Steve Sailer on the Paris attack: "That's what separate countries are for." Build more pipelines here so our contact with those countries is minimal, buying oil. Stop the "refugee" Trojan horse and that will stop ISIS. (Among others, Archbishop Lefebvre of blessed memory warned of this about 25 years ago: if you let lots of Muslims in, they will take over. It's the nature of their religion. The battles of Lepanto and Vienna weren't exceptions.) They can pull operations like 9/11 and Paris, but they have no big army to occupy us, no real navy to bring one here or attack us, and no planes or missiles with the range to attack. We in turn should stay out of their countries' politics.

At long last, let's leave each other alone.

Some interesting posts: P.S. And of course all of Europe should become Catholic again.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hellenes and Rhomaioi

"O heavenly King, the Comforter, Spirit of truth..." Said this prayer here yesterday. Jesus saves; Mary prays. St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church, Cherry Hill, NJ. One of their women's groups, a chapter of the Daughters of Penelope, was having an early Christmas bazaar. One thing struck me: perhaps understandably, all the banners in the church gym celebrated ancient, pagan Greece; still kind of ironic, especially at a church, from Christian Greeks, Rhomaioi, "Romans" whom British historians named Byzantines. (Their empire WAS the Roman Empire, in the exact sense Taiwan is Nationalist China. Anyway, providential that early on "Roman" and "Christian" became synonymous.) St. Demetrios Church near me is similar: the church stuff is fine, Byzantine; the undercroft is a mini-museum celebrating Hellenism, not Byzantium. Makes me think of a secularist element of Greek nationalism, rather like in the Irish kind; it's long been about Hellenism. Like with Katharevousa, the Greek government pretending people still spoke ancient Greek by pushing a version of it in the schools for a few decades.

The beauty of Byzantium is repentant gentiles, the Roman Empire, became entirely Catholic. The tragedy of Byzantium is they later got the wrong idea that if you weren't in their empire, you were outside the church.

Pan-Slavism is Byzantium redux: Russia and its satellites such as Serbia and Bulgaria. Catholic Slavs won't have it. It's another attempt at a universality opposed to the church's universality.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Phila Flea Market, Pumpkin Run car show, and Fury Jim

I'm a regular at the Phila Flea Market when it's at its winter indoor venue. Last season I saw this man filming and talked to him between shots.

Almost at the New Jersey shore, the Pumpkin Run's an amazing show and swap meet, despite the rain this year that broke it up early. At least 1,000 cars, "more than Lead East." Hey, I wore my boots and had my big umbrella.

Fury Jim's Christine "Bad 58" (actually a Belvedere) and '57 Plymouth wagon were there; met him.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Which religion?

The pagan in the jungle who understands sacrifices are necessary is closer to God than the modern materialist who says there is no God.
Right. The Aztec really believed in the sun god he cruelly offered a living man's heart to; we continue Christ's sacrifice minus cruelty with the Mass. St. Thomas Aquinas' five proofs for God the prime mover trump the atheist's nihilism (hopelessness) and lack of an answer for the universe and the way things are, so I'm a Catholic. Beats despairing and jumping off a bridge.

All the Protestant offers are excuses why he's not Catholic and an easily disprovable narrative that he alone rediscovered true Christianity ("and everybody got it wrong until our founder set things right; Jesus is sure lucky to have us"). Orthodox are obviously just an estranged, ethnic part of our family. Judaism? Tribal religion, and I'm not in the tribe; superseded by the New Covenant. Mohammedanism? Mormonism? Made up. So the church it is.
I can take the people that have good theological reasons for not being Catholic as long as the arguments are not based on historical and theological straw men. But most Christians today know nothing about Church history or they've only read the revisionist history propagated by their own denomination. And let's be honest, most people simply don't want to do the work required to honestly research any issue. But the reforms keep coming, in the way of "that's pagan" and what will supplant the liturgical year will continue to be a gross simplification and only market based. And all error comes from gross simplifications. Take every single historical heresy...they all stem from gross simplifications. Islam is a gross simplification of Christianity. Mormonism and Hinduism might be the ONLY two religions I can think of that aren't over-simplifications.
As I like to say, I respect principled high churchmen who don't quite accept Catholicism. Men like Bob Hart and Peter Robinson. As long as it's not just bigotry, culture masquerading as theology. Somebody once wrote that heresy often is an attempt to simplify some Christian doctrine. Fr. Serge Keleher once told me over dinner that in small-o orthodoxy there is tension; heresy is trying to relieve that.

A recent ex-Catholic preaches online, and my answer

From 2012: He's still outside the church.

1. "...over a year ago when I was still nominally a Roman Catholic." A new convert to anything shouldn't preach. The Orthodox agree! 2. You bring up some good points: Calvinism eventually shatters into unbelief; the Novus Ordo never should have been written. 3. You're Catholic: now you're trying to buy into a system that really believes only Byzantium is the church but your experience and your heart tell you otherwise. Basically, 20 years ago I was you (except I wasn't born Catholic). You obviously still care about traditional Western Catholicism. Good. 4. Latinization wasn't our original plan. Nine times out of 10, Eastern Catholics latinized themselves. Both the unlatinized and the latinized versions have the right to exist. 5. Although writing new services is un-Catholic, the Novus Ordo isn't heretical. Benedict XVI fixed its mistakes in English. It has grace even though the old Mass is better. (I go to the old Mass almost exclusively.) 6. We should learn a lot from the Christian East: the church should be a grassroots communion run by custom. That and the Pope aren't mutually exclusive, as Benedict XVI reminded. 7. Eastern Christian cultures are great, but to become Orthodox is to confuse culture with the essence of the church. Catholicism is one set of doctrine not tied down to any one culture. 8. We include the East. The East doesn't really include us. An Orthodox can either mirror our recognition of his church or believe we are bogus, even our baptisms. Orthodoxy has its tiny Western Rite experiment but the Orthodox obviously don't really want it. 9. I owe something to the East: my first traditional Catholic Mass 30 years ago was Ukrainian. 10. Eastern Catholicism is endangered in America due to assimilation (the main reason the Orthodox lose Americans too); unlatinized and latinized, it needs and deserves our support.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Disrespected tabernacles and more

  • Man dressed as tabernacle at Halloween party ignored; is moved to corner of room. Seriously, first, the Protestants' and Catholic liberals' point: Jesus didn't institute the Eucharist to be reserved but to be used. But just because reservation and adoration outside of Mass aren't the Eucharist's main purpose doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't do them. (He didn't institute Choral Matins or Evensong either.) We reserve it in order to use it (why Episcopalians have aumbries now: to give Communion to the sick instead of having a bedside Communion service). Logically, if you reserve, you can have holy hours, Exposition, Benediction, etc. And traditionally the church didn't distort this by exaggerating it as the liberals claim. "It's the Mass that matters." Technically, use of the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass and Communion is tightly controlled: a parish church etc. needs to get the bishop's permission to have Benediction. (A hundred years ago Communion apart from Mass was normal.) If I recall rightly, even the ceremonial around reserving and exposing the Host ties it into the Mass so in theory that Mass continues until the Host is eaten. That said, here are the problems with the Protestants and their Catholic liberal imitators in this regard. The Protestants think Jesus' saving work is all in the past; Communion isn't the re-presentation of his sacrifice, just a commemoration so the "fellowship" and "participation," laudable in themselves, are ALL that matter. (Related: the idea that ANY "participation," no matter how inane, is good, better than adoration, which is considered backward.) It's just bread and wine. Catholic liberals fell for this 400 years later. (Not the church as such, whose teachings can't change. Trent is our doctrine.) Pushing the tabernacle "out of the way" is a sign of heresy: Catholic liberals don't really believe in the Mass. Another tell is they call the consecrated species bread. If it is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, then the sacrificial (echoing the Jewish Temple) and courtly ceremonial of the traditional rites (Western and Eastern; low-church liberals praising the East are hypocrites), and extra-liturgical devotion to the Eucharist, are only meet, right, and our bounden duty. (The Eastern rites don't have these devotions natively for historical reasons, not theological ones, as Ware has written. They do reserve: Communion for the sick, and the Presanctified service, Communion from the Reserved Sacrament, during Lent.) By the way, for the past 25 years such low-church neo-Protestantism has been slowly fading away; why blogs such as Fr. Zuhlsdorf's and the New Liturgical Movement exist. (Reform of the reform, including Pope Benedict XVI, like what the old high churchmen and especially the Anglo-Catholics did to the Prayer Book.) And conservative Novus Ordo Catholics' Exposition fad is a distortion, though not heretical. Don't overdo Exposition; bring back the old Mass! Vespers too (hard to do since modern technology for entertainment killed Sunday-night church services). Plus: not reserving on the high altar is traditional in a cathedral.
  • By the way, because Quebec used to be so Catholic (been there; I could tell that in the '50s it had been a "Catholic country"), the strongest cuss words in Quebec French are Catholic words, "tabernacle" being the strongest. (Thanks to 1800s-1925 immigration, my region, the urban American Northeast, is/was almost a Catholic country.) Quebec's part of Canada because the King kept his word. Colonies including us weren't under English religious law; the King's being Protestant wasn't our problem, and loyalty oaths to Christian kings matter, so in the American Revolution I would have been a Loyalist. (By the way, we were freer under the King than we are now.) When the French lost Quebec to the British, the King said it could remain Catholic and keep speaking French, so Quebec never supported the radical Protestant/skeptic American rebels to the south. The Puritans turned into agnostics (still our ruling class) but revivalism and Catholic immigration made the "godless republic" more religious than the British and Canadians.
  • I understand some Conservatives in the western provinces are so upset over the Canadian government overtaxing them (and their getting no benefit) and by the Liberal Party's win (so "dumb as Joey from 'Friends'" Justin Trudeau is PM) that they are proposing secession or even being annexed by the U.S. I don't see the last ever happening; Canada has a proud history of not being American going back to the refugee Loyalists (such families get to use "U.E.", United Empire, after their names). The first proposal offers a blue version of the Maple Leaf flag for a Republic of Western Canada. With some friends I'd prefer at least making the new country another dominion like Canada (the Queen as head of state), which would make sense for Tories (then again, like the mother country and Australia, all of Canada skews left of the U.S.), and while they're at it they can bring back the Red Ensign (Canada's unofficial flag until 1965, the flag with the British flag in the corner, like Australia's Blue Ensign). It could probably make it as a country; it's their Midwest, their breadbasket, and their West Coast.
  • RIP Maureen O'Hara. Not only beautiful but of course proud of being Irish, and God and the church mattered to her. I've read that Ireland was so Catholic that even American Catholics visiting 50 years ago had culture shock. People stopped on the street for the Angelus, which was also announced on TV. The church and Irish republicanism are not synonymous but good Catholics such as de Valera were part of that story.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Book reports

  • Fires of Faith by Eamon Duffy. I have but have not yet read The Stripping of the Altars, but arguably I can be forgiven because it's huge and I've already read much on the English "Reformation" (Michael Davies' Cranmer's Godly Order, for example). Most of the English were happy being Catholic and thus welcomed Mary's reign. A respected historian, Duffy agrees with what I of course wanted to read, that the horror stories of "Bloody" Mary's rule are a Protestant myth (Foxe's Book of Martyrs). (The Protestants and the Masons having won in Anglo-America, they have manufactured our history.) Her government burned people but so did the Protestants, on principle (protecting the common good), and Catholics in England did it relatively sparingly and as a last resort. I think Cardinal Pole's a saint. The church's successful revival in England under him (holy people including good writers effectively teaching; Trent's reforms), on top of the people's retained piety from before the changes, was why (according to Christopher Haigh) many English people remained Catholic through the 1580s.
  • Name, Rank & Serial Number by Charles S. Young. About both sides' POWs during the Korean War. I didn't realize that it was really two wars; we won the first (saving South Korea; sounds like a good cause) and lost the second (trying to take the north; when the Chinese stepped in, we were through). Or that there's a myth that our POWs were cowards who helped the enemy. (I haven't read or seen The Manchurian Candidate.) Young (I don't know if he has any bias) says 1) because of limited war, the atomic threat preventing total war, Korea was fought for show, because it was strategically unimportant (was there a smarter way to contain Communism, which would have kept us out of Korea and Vietnam?); 2) the war should have ended early but both sides dragged it out by using POWs as a bargaining tool; 3) all POWs survive by making little, non-treasonous concessions to the enemy (like sitting through the Chinese' political lessons; "only give name, rank, and service number," to use the right term for the last, is never literal) but our Cold War propaganda unfairly blamed our Korean War POWs (bad psychology at the time, then as now a "progressive" field: blame moms for raising pampered cowards and even Freudian stuff about incest); 4) the North Koreans and the dire conditions at the beginning of the war were brutal to POWs but the Chinese were relatively decent jailers (the political indoctrination didn't work because our boys remembered that America's system worked; the Chinese were clueless); 5) the Chinese lied about Americans conducting germ warfare, forcing POWs to confess; 6) the inmates largely ran the Americans' camp for North Koreans (including South Koreans forced into North Korean service) and Chinese, and, with our agents, bullied many POWs into defecting (though of course many really didn't want to go back); 7) a CIA agent, Edward Hunter, made up the idea of Chinese brainwashing (Orientalism meets pop psychology?), part of discrediting American POWs. (Looking Hunter up, he seems to have been a fine anti-Communist.) I knew that 21 American POWs defected and that at least some eventually came back.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The myth of dueling Bibles and more

  • Face to Face: For moron skeptics, the Bible allows everything because "Many versions, QED." Protestants said, "The Bible, not the church" (which compiled and interprets it), then took the Bible apart.
  • Bob Wallace: Manpleasers. Women.
  • Goodbye, middle class. America's been in decline since 1973.
  • Pat Buchanan: Is Pope Francis toying with heresy? Francis' biggest fans hope so. He might be. The hoopla in my city over his visit last month wasn't really for Catholicism. But the church is indefectible and infallible. The teachings can't change. The media act like they don't get that. And maybe the newsmen — diluted/lapsed Protestants (America's culture), badly catechized fallen-away Catholics, or Jews — really don't know (and don't want to know: bad journalism, advocacy, Sixties journalism). I won't get played. If something doesn't jibe with the catechism, I ignore it. Popes and synods don't have the power people think they do.
  • Cuts to the Army. Historically that sounds about right: we're supposed to be at peace with a small standing army. Having big "peacetime" (de facto wartime) forces is an anomaly from when FDR was breaking the law to get us into World War II (which we helped the USSR win; we were dupes for the Reds) and then for decades the Cold War (ostensibly against the USSR). Basically the capital of the British Empire moved from London to Washington. I'm pro-military, not pro-war (Smedley Butler was right).
  • Cracked doing one of the things it does well, which you can still find amidst recent Cathedral (narrative, MAG = media, academe, government) sermons, news of the weird or fact vs. fiction, here on emergency medicine, of course not at all like on TV. The other version of its good stories is fun history lessons (hooray for Nikola Tesla).
  • Roissy: No uptalk. Like, I remember it started, like, a little over 30 years ago? (This abuse of like is older: '40s jazzmen, someone told me.)
  • Episcopalianism: A downtown church for boomers and what we used to call yuppies who think they're smarter and more moral than everybody else; Middle Americans who want to follow Jesus go somewhere else. Built to be an established church, it's really jockeying to be the MAG complex's, but that blows it off (its movers and shakers, including Obama, don't go to church), only using it for occasional hit pieces against the real church.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The decline from progress to escapism and more

  • Probably a sign of civilizational decline (which I say America is in and I remember the starting point, around 1973): Where technology was once a tool for exploration, today it’s a tool for retreat. I didn't see Back to the Future II so I was only remotely aware of the joke this week (the date the characters ended up in), but this is good via Rational Review. In the '50s, much technological progress was outwardly focused (while Western society was still anchored in the old values of the classical world and Catholic Europe); today's it's escapist and narcissistic. No flying cars but we have video phones and the greatest library ever in this medium. (Actually picture phones have been around quite a while. Formerly, people didn't want them, for privacy's sake; I don't always answer video calls.) Problems with social media include being an easy means of surveillance (stalking including an institutional kind, writ large) and the risk of being a substitute for a real social life (the flip side is it can be a lifeline like letters and phone calls used to be).
  • From Dale: The convertodox internalize the anti-Westernism even when they claim to remain Western. Self-hating insanity; exoticism like anti-white political correctness. The Russians are receiving a continuing Anglican parish in Northern Nevada as western (sic) rite, and one of the things they are doing is inserting an ikonostasis. Hardly western at all one suspects. Goofy is the only word that comes to mind. Westerners becoming Eastern don't offend me; some are called to that. They deserve their own saint; I nominate Metropolitan Andrew (Sheptytsky). Obviously I think if you are so called, be it unlatinized or latinized (latinization wasn't our original plan; the Eastern Catholics did it themselves), do it in the universal church, where we don't have this pathology. In person I've rarely if ever found the Orthodox hostile to converts but given their fundamental problem of confusing their cultures with the church, blogger Stanley/Varvara makes sense from them: like the Jews, an openly tribal religion that doesn't want converts, many Orthodox don't really want them either. You can come in, and they say you can remain Western, but you really can't be Western. As the Ukrainians, Malankarese, Melkites, and others show, you can be truly Eastern and Catholic; the Pope is only tradition's caretaker (as Benedict the Great reasserted in our time), which is authentically Eastern.
  • Manosphere lesson. Roissy: Betas love the idea of “feelings” conversations because betas are romantic idealists at heart and have no understanding of the true nature of women. Betas tend to project what they themselves want to hear from women — a steady stream of sappy feelings and vows of love for the beta — onto women as something they believe women wish to hear from men, and so it is that betas fool themselves into sounding precipitously similar to women when all the women want is for the beta to act more like a cocksure, self-entitled, sexily aloof, charming, ZFG alpha man. As a business article recently said, it's not exactly the golden rule; with that you can make this mistake of projection. Rather, flatter people effectively by treating them as they want to be treated. A pretty girl has heard compliments all her life, so yours actually devalue/disqualify you to her.
  • Face to Face: Why Wendy's is succeeding while McDonald's and Burger King aren't. The kiddie image backfired.
  • Justin Trudeau. Ugh. But it's no secret Canada, like Britain, is more liberal than the U.S.
  • For Halloween: Do ghosts exist? Yes and watch out. Plus, from the Christian East, there's Fr. Seraphim (Rose)'s pious opinion that departed spirits can haunt a place for a while before the particular judgment (the aerial toll-houses). And some appearances are just like a movie, an impression left by someone's long presence or a big event.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cars: Flemington Speedway Historical Society show in Ringoes, NJ, and Historical Car Club of Pennsylvania show at DCCC

The Hunterdon County 4-H Fairgrounds used to be the Flemington Speedway.

The Chevy Fleetline Aerosedan, this one from '47.

Even slightly schlock-rodded, a quintessential beautiful '40s car.

'59 Ford: Mike Torello's cop car.

'49-'51 Mercs were then the last word in streamlining: the ponton look.

Inside a '62 Impala.

'57 Volga, a high-end Soviet car.

Some say the '53 Studebaker was a perfect design: smart, ages well, and practical. So if carmakers were practical we'd all have been driving something like that, like a nicer version of the Volga and a much nicer version of the Volkswagen (the Karmann Ghia is reminiscent: a VW in an Italian style). But that would have been boring. Some of Detroit and Madison Avenue was hype and waste (planned obsolescence; let's pretend your car is a jet plane or spaceship) but the market (including competition) made some great designs and engineering too. In America you could work hard to afford a choice of the best cars, etc., supporting the country because they were made here. Populuxe ("the '50s") was the style of a country on the leading edge but keeping the old values.

Mopar: the Forward Look.

Playing a recording of the national anthem. Military regulations once said you weren't supposed to salute in civilian clothes; that's been changed so off-duty personnel and veterans can. (Also, the naval services only saluted wearing a cover, a.k.a. hat.) President Reagan started returning salutes from his guards, et al. Naysayers call that playing soldier; I like it just because I like the military, but I appreciate the traditional rule.