Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Americans’ love/hate view of royalty
The craving for the fake kind is part of narcissism, this argues. I rather like the HuffPo’s idea of making Caroline Kennedy ambassador to Britain (as her grandfather was). What better way for Obama to further identify with Camelot?
Dismantling a ‘libertarian’ argument for restricting immigration
Refuting the racist and nativist elements that sully the corner of the right where I live. From RR.
Guess who’s financing Israel’s war on Gaza?
From the LRC blog
Christmas in South Philly
Is Italian-American culture on the wane there?
The roots of the Feast of the Seven Fishes (“La Vigilia”) are in southern Italy and the Roman Catholic Church.

Counterintuitively, the feast started as a fast. Traditionally, Catholics abstain from eating meat on holy days, which lead to the custom of preparing fish on holidays.
The vigil of Christmas — Christmas Eve — is a fast and a day of abstinence (no meat except fish) as well. Not the holy day itself.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

‘May we no longer be silent’
Father and son Anglican vicars now Roman Catholic priests
Both of us were in the Catholic tradition of Anglicanism.
From T1:9.
From Rod Dreher
Jay Leno and the dumb millennials
From RR
A blog from Gaza via Samer
From Joshua

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
Throw out the ‘Reformation’ and its conjoined twin Erastianism.
From RR
From LRC
Why I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The place name that changed, then changed back
From Steve Sailer
‘The hospitals in Gaza City cannot cope’
How Thatcher became Thatcher
And: Thatcher and Palin. But did Thatcher do the equivalent of running Wasilla into the ground?
Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
  • Fr Franklin Joiner 60 years ago on Modernism. Or liberalism as he called it here.
  • Catching up with Owen White: taking apart an ideal that in many ways I’ve liked (as does Joe Sobran), Newman’s description of a gentleman. Taken too far you get polite agnostics (old mainline Protestants), quintessentially English (in pre-Asbo days anyway: the stuff of historical dramas and which you still find in people over 60), yes, Anglican.
  • An East-West common Catholic statement on marriage and the family.
  • Folk Catholicism. From a friend of a friend of the blog.
    How 80-90% of European Catholics practiced their faith from the 5th through the 18th centuries would appear almost as shocking as voodoo to most first world, non-Latino Catholics. (But folk Catholicism has not involved spirit channelling.)

    We have three choices:

    a) We can do traditional Church history and focus entirely on councils, popes, emperors and sanitized lives of canonized saints, and ignore how Christ lived in the lives of most Catholics;

    b) We can dismiss the complex blend of sacramentals, folk customs and magic in the lives of the majority of Christendom as peripeheral or extrinsic to Christianity — which amounts to saying that most of Christendom was not actually Christian; or

    c) While maintaining our critical faculties, we can expand our understanding of theology beyond systematic theologies and think about how Christianity becomes real to people living in world outside of cloisters and courts.

    My bet is the Holy Spirit favors option (c).
    Fine with me as long as by ‘maintaining our critical faculties’ one means retaining doctrine not becoming only an anthropologist with all this or a liberal Protestant, which I would have described as plan b (this person’s a and b describe the same approach).

Saturday, December 27, 2008

‘Coming together’ rhetoric often mouthed by champions of “diversity” has one again proven to be a farce. For a true “coming together” of any sort on social issues, one might expect political opponents to either agree to disagree, yet still join and work together where they can, or for both sides to at least concede some principles as a compromise. In this case, as in most cases, the champions of diversity simply do not want an evangelical of Warren’s stripe to even be allowed a seat at the table. And while Warren hasn’t budged from his stance on gay marriage, neither will the Left anytime soon. It seems that the oft-desired “coming together” means not any new, warm embrace, but an unconditional surrender, in which conservatives are expected to wave the white flag.
As true, regrettably, in politics as in Protestantism where faith and morals are decided upon by vote.

This libertarian corner of the political universe, Catholic but part of the secular right and a non-combatant politically in the Most Important Moral Issue in the History of the World as Chris Johnson characterises the upper-middle-class Protestant left’s take on it, offers as its ‘new, warm embrace’ radical freedom for both sides getting the state out of it but neither side is buying.

To answer a recent anonymous comment, civil unions for all sound just but they force conservatives to go against their consciences; it’s really the state making you say there’s such a thing as gay marriage, which Catholics and most of the rest of mankind have always believed is impossible. So no.

From Taki.
On Kwanzaa and romantic nationalism
From John Zmirak at Taki
What kind of holiday is “developed” as a “concept”? I’ll tell you what kind: Administrative Assistants’ Day.

Their ancestors were here, speaking English and picking cotton, while mine were planting potatoes and fishing the Adriatic.
He’s Croatian?*

On American black history:
We dragged them here, kicking and screaming. We didn’t set them entirely free until the ’60s — inviting them into the “mainstream” at the same time we filled it with cultural poison.
I’m not anti-immigration.

The heresy of historicism
Every generation of church reformers from the thirteenth century to the eighteenth seized on Joachim of Fiore’s ideas and claimed that their own arrival marked the coming of the age of Liberty; every generation of church conservatives stood Joachim on his head, insisted that the three ages marked the progressive loss of divine guidance, and portrayed the arrival of the latest crop of reformers as Satan’s final offensive. As secular thought elbowed theology aside, in turn, Joachim’s notion of history as the working out of a divine plan got reworked into secular theories of humanity’s grand destiny.
From Joshua.
The higher-ed bubble
The great college swindle again. From LRC.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The 10 lies of Cheney
From Hilary
Kwanzaa is kraap
As loth as I am to credit Ann Coulter with anything this is true. From VDARE (whom I also keep at a distance), where I learnt Mr Bush did issue a Kwanzaa message.
A nutty blend of schmaltzy ’60s rhetoric, black racism and Marxism. A ’60s psychosis grafted onto the black community.

This is a holiday for white liberals. Meanwhile, most blacks celebrate Christmas.

Christmas photos
Click to enlarge: Canon Reid celebrating midnight Mass at S. Clement’s, heading out that morning to Our Lady of Lourdes, biker Santas and the Grinch, Fr Brannan at Our Lady of Lourdes, Donna and her parents’ tree

Ritual notes on OL of Lourdes this year: no maniple and why no wearing of the hat (Fr B’s pompom-less Jesuit one, which he wore in procession) when sitting in the chair?
Mistresses and misplaced outrage
When SWPLness replaces Christian teachings. From Taki.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas @ Clem’s and Our Lady of Lourdes 2008
Went to the first (midnight) Mass of the day at the former and to the third at the latter, respectively High/Tridentine in English Missal translation/Haydn and Missa Cantata/Novus Ordo/Missa de Angelis with the fine old-school Jesuit Fr Brannan soldiering on and helping Pope Benedict’s Catholic revival at that wonderful church. Saw the Ermines, the Wallacavages and a few other stalwarts of the local conservative RC scene. Brother Stephen and Ernst report that this year the midnight Mass at OL of Lourdes was Tridentine and High. Details from last year are here.

Update: Readers in the know can correctly guess in which church each was said.
And so in the Christmas pageant the kind little boy playing the innkeeper said his line, ‘There is no room in the inn’, but hastened to add ‘but do come in and have a drink’.

‘You can find me online at A Conservative Blog for Peace.’
‘Well, if
I had a blog I’d call it A Conservative Blog for Blowing ’Em All Away and Letting God Sort ’Em Out’!

Happy Christmas from ACBfP
The images above are from Tea at Trianon

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

From the LRC blog

The Onion explains ‘carbon-footprint offsetting’
When SWPL try to be charitable. From Precision Image Calculation.
Slav Christmas customs
Which many Slav Orthodox will do 13 days from now. From man with black hat.
From Taki
  • Europe’s double-barrelled war on Christmas. For readers who don’t know, Europe is secularist (anti-religious); America, in theory with a secular (impartial) government, is not. In Europe, the war against Christmas is being waged on all fronts, with the institution under attack from two sides: from secularist fundamentalists, who turn it into a mockery with two Josephs (or two Marys) amidst pink Christmas trees, and from Muslim fundamentalists who tolerate no nativity scenes and no Christmas trees at all. In Oxford, England, the city council has decided to ban the C-word and replace it with the term “Winter Light Festival.” This is done in order “to include all religious denominations.”
  • Consumer kids and their plastic lives.
  • Walter Block.
  • Ron Paul and the left-libertarians.
From Rod Dreher
Falwell’s epitaph
In a com-box to a story on RC converts and reverts at his school. From Fr Longenecker.
From RR
The situation is dire
“Yes...we’ve got to cut back on our expenses. Plan A is where we go along as we have been. Plan B is where you have to get rid of some of your horses. And then, there’s Plan C....”

“Plan C?”

“Yes, in Plan C we eat the horses.”

When next it is sunny and warm outside in Paris and New York, the financial crisis will still be with us. You don’t think that such a huge, generational bull market will be corrected in a single year, do you? You don’t think that the correction will only take the Dow down about 45%, do you? You don’t think people will be able to stick with Plan A, do you?

The worst is still ahead. Here’s why...
From LRC.

The way it was at the small-town newspaper
Click to enlarge and for the first three read more

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

From Joshua
Back in the ’80s, when I ran with the Left, I could never understand why so many who were professed nature-lovers saw nothing perverse in contravening nature with homosexuality, contraception, sterilization, mutilation, abortion, and other abominations. What could possibly be organic about any of these? The Catholic Faith is the most organic thing going.
From Huw
From RR
E.M. Vidal watches The Bells of St Mary’s
Such films were 1940s Hollywood’s public-relations gift to the Roman Catholic Church, signalling the larger, Protestant American society’s (more) acceptance (rather like in the same period every war movie had its Tony from Brooklyn in the platoon, and outside the cinema Notre Dame winning at football and the unworthy big nothing JFK’s win 15 years later) and managing to be entertaining without preaching or even saying much if anything about the Catholic faith and the church themselves. (IIRC you never see Fr O’Malley celebrate Mass or hear confessions like you do Robert DeNiro as a 1940s priest in True Confessions, one of my favourites.) The Trouble with Angels with Hayley Mills 20 years later is very similar that way (actually that was made because director Ida Lupino was fascinated by the dynamics of an all-female community, both in the convent and the boarding school) as of course is the monster hit The Sound of Music.

At the same time though there were actually religious Christian films made by mainstream studios (owned by Jewish families but making products that appealed to everybody because they sold well) from biblical extravaganzas to the overtly Roman Catholic like The Miracle of Our Lady of Fátima (which I like except for the Hollywood comic relief trying to ‘sweeten’ it).

Yes, Fr O’Malley and Sister Benedict are favourite targets.

As for ‘that church’ and things today (when it comes to denying the severity of the problems today I’m with Arturo and Hilary... in real life a lot of Fr O’Malleys and Sister Benedicts slinked off and joined the enemy in mainstream society, often while remaining at their posts... now they’re dying off and the few kids left are teaching themselves how to chant in Latin, Deo gratias), my parish priest and father confessor of nearly 13 years grew up with it all and loved every minute of it (except diocesan high school), and as a member of a religious order went through clinical depression after having it taken away from him 40 years ago. (Owing to my roots in Anglo-Catholicism, which has had the floor drop out from under it even more thoroughly, we understand each other.) He continues to pass the essence of it on to me and others. Benedicamus Domino.
From Damian Thompson
  • Pope revealed to be Catholic; shock horror.
  • Disestablishment. If the Tractarians ever were right about the established church, certainly now they’ve lost. American Christianity is more robust than its British equivalent. There can be little doubt that this vigour owes much to the emergence of a “free market” in churches at a time when nearly everyone was a Christian. Perhaps if the C of E had been disestablished in the 17th or 18th centuries we would be as religious as the Americans. But I doubt it. The C of E, which — like it or not — is central to what remains of our identity as a Christian culture, relies on its “unfair” established status to survive. Take that away, and it will implode. As it is, worldwide Anglicanism is...
The story of Christmas lights
Erat Lux vera quæ illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum.
From The Six Bells.

AP entertainer of the year
Because she’s attractive and SWPL don’t like admittedly easy target Sarah Palin
From a friend of a friend of the blog:
I care nothing for modern apologetics for any stripe of religion. Generally, it’s just a verbose form of marketing — and unlike ordinary marketing, it lacks fancy cars, pretty girls, and inane but catchy jingles.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Lusitania was a munitions ship
From LRC
Barack Obama and Rick Warren
My first thought was it is posturing from Obama but this is spot-on about left-liberals and on the state and gay weddings as well. From Joshua.
From Jeff Culbreath
  • In defence of Christmas against the left, the right, well-meaning Christians (yes, I know it’s really Advent now) and so on.
  • Wendell Berry on the depreciation of work: With industrialization has come a general depreciation of work. As the price of work has gone up, the value of it has gone down, until it is now so depressed that people simply do not want to do it anymore. We can say without exaggeration that the present national ambition of the United States is unemployment. People live for quitting time, for weekends, for vacations, and for retirement; moreover, this ambition seems to be classless, as true in the executive suites as on the assembly line. One works, not because work is necessary, valuable, useful to a desirable end, or because one loves to do it, but only to be able to quit-a condition that a saner time would regard as infernal, a condemnation. This is explained, of course, by the dullness of the work, by the loss of responsibility for, or credit for, or knowledge of the thing made. What can be the status of the working small farmer in a nation whose motto is a sigh of relief: ‘Thank God it’s Friday’?
  • 12 bits of common knowledge every Catholic should be able to refute.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fr Hunwicke on Communion in the hand
Exactly. Extra credit: on which church father’s writings did the Tractarians base the reverent Anglican way of doing this?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

From League of the Scarlet Pimpernel
  • What would Ron Paul do? Real conservatism in the US as a viable alternative died in the 1930s. Not a single-party event, both moved left of center and just redefined in their own minds at least where center was. Imagine then if you will if Ron Paul were younger, more handsome and capable of talking in 10-second sound bites. Imagine that by the same media/Hollywood tricks all politicians use he were able to win the 2008 presidential election. What on Earth would such a “victory” have done to the infant conservative movement, particularly now? Ron Paul did us all a service — akin to John in the desert.
  • The US Marines have landed... in America. Hmmmm... military observers. Isn’t that how it all starts?
  • Prepare to defend thyself. Advice on guns and: I see no point in taking up a martial art as an adult. Work on your fitness level and if you are ever forced to “scuffle” simply be aggressive about it.
RIP ‘Deep Throat’
Traitor or hero? I tend to think the latter and view his role in Watergate as reminding us all that nobody is above the law, not even the President of the United States — maybe most especially the President. Otherwise we just might get eight years of ... oh, wait, been there, done that.
Revd Ref

Yes but I don’t think it’s over, Father.
Can Roman Catholics contribute to American conservatism?
Taki’s John Zmirak gives his opinion. They really don’t, at least not to a conservatism I can believe in: most of the self-consciously orthodox are thrown a bone on abortion and so are bought along with the Protestant right; the rank and file with mainstream Oprahfied views don’t watch the GOP’s EWTN talking heads and vote labour/Democratic like they always do. Then again as part of the secular right (not secularist) arguably I’m not a conservative but gladly a libertarian, but I still use both names. (Changing the name of the blog would lose traffic.) And you can still argue that classical liberalism is conservatism. Another way of putting it is unlike many of the social conservatives who voted for Prop 8 in sunny California I have no problem with giving left-liberals the same freedom as anybody else (golden-rule politics) but do oppose giving them the power to take away the freedom of social conservatives, which they seem to want.
From Joshua
  • Human rights, a gift to the world from the Catholic Church.
  • Fr Protodeacon Paul Weyrich. Our conservatisms may have differed significantly but his faith was sound as a pound; apparently he was one of more than a few refugees from the Novus Ordo (along with traddies and people who opted out by simply dropping out) who dropped anchor at Byzantium and stayed. (I never met Father but have been to his metro-DC Melkite church for Liturgy where I heard an excellent sermon on the right, balanced approach to fasting.) Eternal memory.
  • Another old song as Catholic code: I’m a bit wary of these stories (like ‘Shakespeare was one of us’) but have a look, and hooray for King Francis.
  • On Obama: Why is America getting seamless continuity when it voted for significant change?
  • Again, don’t blame the free market. Gigantism was not inevitable. This is the standard tactic used on twentieth-century Jeffersonians: to admit to the emotional appeal of their vision but to scoff at its hopelessly backward-looking romanticism. In fact there was never anything inevitable about gigantism; as economic historians ranging from Marxist Gabriel Kolko to free marketeer Murray N. Rothbard have shown, the largest corporations grew fat precisely because the level playing field... had been tilted by the array of subsidies, licensing arrangements, tariffs, import quotas, and tax advantages that stock the monopolists’ armory.
From LRC
  • My industry, it’s a-changin’. And sometimes change is good. Hooray for the market. My company’s cuts were long-overdue corrections: clearing out the deadwood on the shop floor, barely out of school, hired on the cheap and acting like they were still in college; the grownups who give a damn are back in charge. (The best of both worlds, old-school ‘Lou Grant’-like newsmen — ties, weekly planning meetings and suchlike — who ‘get’ the Internet.) There will always be demand for our product in some form: coverage of town politics, high-school sport and, in those tony neighbourhoods, kids in the schools (education is valued) and society parties, things other media don’t do, and here a transition online would be fairly easy. Everything I do now I can do on the Web. Speaking of slide rules I think I’ll save one of the proportion wheels from my old office before it closes and put it on my wall; it’ll only be thrown away otherwise. (Nearly 14 years ago I used to use one! And did literal paste-ups with hot wax as well.)
  • The bubble of empire from Justin Raimondo.
On that silly ‘Adolf Hitler Campbell’ cake controversy
Which happened near here
Wal-Mart was not selling a line of “Adolf Hitler” cakes, but was only doing what it is in business to do: respond to customer preferences.
From the LRC blog.
Is Messiaen’s music timeless... or does it just seem to go on a long time?
Damian Thompson asked this on the centenary of Messiaen’s birth a week ago Wednesday. To answer the question, last night I went to Redeemer, Bryn Mawr and heard the sometime sub-organist of St Paul’s Cathedral perform La Nativité de Seigneur.

I say... timeless.

So dissonant, so loud, so avant-garde, so... Catholic.

I understand the Lefebvrists in France rock out to this in church after Mass.

Redeemer BTW is a marvellous Victorian Gothic building, rood screen, reredos and all, obviously suited for Catholic worship even though the place has never been Anglo-Catholic.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Prostitution vs war crimes: the real offence
Some of the same Christians who are so outraged that Eliot Spitzer used the services of a prostitute have no problem whatsoever with American soldiers killing Iraqis in the bogus war on terror. Speaking as a conservative Christian who tries to follow the morality of the New Testament, I say that these Christians are absolutely nuts. They would want Spitzer locked up as a criminal while the real criminals, Bush and Cheney, roam free.

It is just like Christians who claim to be pro-life — but only when it comes to American babies still in the womb.
From the LRC blog.
No special deal from Rome for ex-Anglicans?
The friend who sent this to me writes:
People on T19 (more) are posturing all over the place about this, particularly papal loyalists going on about how you shouldn’t join the RC Church if you aren’t in total agreement with it. If one takes it seriously, however, it means that AC refugees aren’t going to get more than being able to do nice liturgy if they are priests, and nothing at all if they aren’t.
From a message board:
It’s an opinion by Jesuits, not a statement by the Roman see. I agree with the commenter that, therefore, there is not much reason to listen to it.
How to protect yourself from martial law
From Wendy McElroy
Job cutbacks: reprieved
My company’s wave of them was yesterday. (Not the worst scare of my life but in the bottom five.) I made the cut thanks to not being normal by today’s standards (longevity/loyalty, staying at the same job for more than 10 years)! Not only that but other prayers seem answered. The neglect and unprofessionalism (not my doing!) that drove my small-town newspaper into the ground are over. For too long, to run the place cheaply, non-journalists, nay, people who can’t write a sentence (glorified paginators) were hired as editors and there was a generally cliquey environment with people barely out of their teens working unsupervised. (A reporter who’d been on board since 1963 quit in disgust.) Goodbye to all that. The place is being shut down and merged with another paper. For the first time in ages I’ll get to work in a grown-up newsroom for a real editor who cares about the paper. The same pay but more responsibility and a nice title as well.

I’ll miss most of the people who were let go, such as the retired teachers, the young photographer and our wonderful Leicester-born society-pages editor, but God willing they’ll be fine (the former society editor is married to a doctor and the others have family).

Our paper, about a century old, had a fine tradition. It was long a family business: an authentically Catholic conservative German-American one. When I started the former owner still picked up his free copy every week and we got Good Friday off. In a more literate age his product was much bigger/thicker; his long 1960s editorials warning of the global Red menace are of historical value!

Our building, also about 100 (at one time part of it was the town jail!), was very home-like to me but, like the quality of the newsroom, has been falling apart.

A story of death and resurrection? In any event I’m happy to be a part of it.

So... starting in a fortnight, a new job at another home-town institution in a marvellous office much closer to home.
Te Deum laudamus,
Te Dominum confitemur...
‘Lost Christianity’ or simply ignored?
A Western academic’s ignorance of the Christian East. From Notes from a Common Place-Book.
From Taki
  • The invention of Christmas. Dickens and the Germans changed Victorian England. No, I don’t agree with all of Taki’s outrageous quips. Oh, yes, A Christmas Carol was an exercise in vanity publishing, as Dickens’s publishers, Chapman & Hall, expressed so little enthusiasm for it the author put up his own moolah. A smart move. One hundred and sixty-five years later, a fat and jolly St. Nick makes the rounds in Christian countries, bringing presents and happiness to children the world over, my own country being an exception. St. Basil brings gifts to Greek children on 31 December, instead. When Dickens published his short novel, Christmas was very different to the present holiday.
  • The grinch who stole Festivus. RIP Paul Weyrich, IIRC a Melkite deacon.
  • WASPy conservative non-WASPs. The ethnic whites who founded the conservative movement defended and tried to emulate the values of that the Northeastern WASP establishment abandoned. No, I don’t believe in George Wallace’s race-baiting.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

On religion and the church today
Anonymous contributions from two friends of the blog
Cardinal Newman wrote that to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant. This Newman aphorism is of course the favorite of Catholic apologetics culture in this country, one that feels continually besieged by the predominant crypto-Protestant agnosticism around it. Long ago, however, I have concluded that the only thing worse than an attack on your cause is an inadequate defense.

To cut to the chase, I will just put up some rather obvious examples:

If we took St. John Bosco and put him in a contemporary
[Roman] Catholic church down the road from where I am typing this, would he recognize it as the same church? While we Catholics like to believe in continuity, such naive beliefs are often accompanied by amnesia regarding the changes of the last two generations. All of the appeals to the fourth century will not make up for the fundamental changes of the RC ethos in the twentieth. Indeed, it is more likely that the rural peasant of the 1950s would be more familiar or closer to the faith of Hippolytus than the priest uttering his supposed words in the concocted Eucharistic prayer of the contemporary Mass.

Protestants, of course, will probably share this characteristic. Take Calvin and Zwingli and put them in a contemporary church today, and they would be equally alienated. There is a deep loss of any real sense of the “beyond” within the contemporary soul. When discussing this with
[my fiancée], it becomes clear that our grandparents’ generation saw the Faith in very different terms. For them, wearing a psalm on your person to stop a bullet or using roots and leaves to cure an illness were just part of reality, and it was just as much a doctrine of the Faith as the Nicene Creed.

For these reasons, I have reached the point in my life where I have concluded that communion is a very lonely thing. I have the feeling that I belong to a church... scratch that, a religion... that is given to talking only to itself; its voice is mute to the rest of the world. And in relation to the past, it seems that we are uttering a sonnet with all of the consonants taken out of it: it may sound like the same poem in a muffled, distorted way, but the obsessions of all of us, including the orthodox, have little to do with our lived reality.

Does this mean that I am finally to become a Rosicrucian, or start my own cult? The thought has crossed my mind, and of course it could be a means to stabilize my shaky future employment prospects. But the only problem with that is that it wouldn’t be the truth, and even I am not that much of a shameless bastard. If I still have one dream for Catholicism, it is the dream that de Lubac outlines on its universality. It doesn’t help that the neo-Caths and traditionalists
[and the online Orthodicks] seem to be waging a war against this universality in the name of unity, and the liberals (agnostics with the “Catholic” label) use it to do whatever the hell they want.

What is to be done?

All I know that people need to spare me the rhetoric of the
[Roman] Catholic Church being the church of tradition. One hundred years ago, the thought of an old woman in a track suit handing out Communion in church would have been enough in the Catholic mind to blow up the universe.
The second person writes:
Just keep on keepin’ on. Find some sane little corner of Christendom where you’re least likely to go crazy, say your prayers, try not to sin too much, and hopefully get into purgatory (or whatever one wants to call it). That’s pretty much the extent of my life plan. Now, if only I can practice what I preach ...
My plan too.
From RR
From Christine at Laudem Gloriæ

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A history of music torture in the ‘war on terror’
Reminds me of what Donald Clarke wrote about the usual consumers of heavy metal, a genre written to appeal to the lowest common denominator: ‘the ultimate in phoney rebellion’ whose audiences at concerts are ‘strangely well-behaved’ and who one day will find their hearing has been damaged. From
Saying no to war
From LRC
For those who think ‘planned economies’ and government intervention in markets are the best solution recall...

Deacon Jim’s history lesson: Poland 27 years ago

Monday, December 15, 2008

One’s own worst enemy
Like the Libertarian Party in the US, England’s Latin Mass Society seems bent on self-destruction
The chippy “Low Mass” brigade, who think High Mass celebrations in a medieval Oxford College are “elitist”, have sabotaged the best and brightest initiative to come out of English [Roman] Catholicism for decades.
This and this revisited.

From Damian Thompson.
Anglican stuff
  • On Apostolicæ Curæ and the Dutch touch from the Anglo-Papalist priest who named the latter, Fr Hunwicke. This has started a lively e-mail exchange that Dr Tighe has forwarded to me. Filtering out the rudeness (‘the make-believe priest wrote...’), the short version is even though Pope Leo is right, Anglo-Catholicism especially Anglo-Papalism were possible thanks to imported Old Catholic orders (before the OCs turned more liberal like the Anglicans); the counter-answer from the Catholic churches is that even with the Dutch thing ex-Anglicans are never received in their orders. As much as I don’t like online apologetics (whence come nasty remarks like that quotation), point taken.
  • Common sense about church-property rows. Well done!
Dire predictions for 2009
After about six months buoyed by hope in the new presidency it will the year nearly everything collapses, says Sharon Astyk. From Rod Dreher.

RIP Van Johnson
From First Things
  • Burke on the dangers of idealism and why Communists get a free pass even today although they murdered more than the Nazis. FT and I differ on using the state to control vice (for newcomers to this blog I’m a libertarian). Economic progressives are not terribly influential, as Obama’s cabinet appointments demonstrate. But the cultural progressives are very much in ascendancy. A crucial fact about progressive politics: Our social world needs to be destroyed in order for moral and political ideals to be realized, unsullied by the past. Because conservatism is based in traditional realities rather than progressive ideals, it need not revolutionize culture and suppress dissent.
  • Christ without culture, or the conclusion of Protestantism, a religion of self that’s entirely subjective. The question is can one support religious liberty including a secular (fair to all, not secularist which is anti-religious) state without falling into these errors? What a friend describes as ‘drawbridge’ Catholics (historical fantasists) including SSPXers say no; I disagree even though I have’t entirely worked out an answer. (I’m part of the secular right.)

From the LRC blog
US: Happy Bill of Rights Day!
I was going to watch the Rankin-Bass television special (pixillated puppetry with Ron Paul voicing the narrator, Purvis the Penguin) but I think Homeland Security pulled it. From RR.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

More churchy bibs and bobs
  • A blog on mere Catholicism that like me quotes N.P. Williams.
  • Like Thomas Day, Damian Thompson’s got the remaining mess in the English-speaking RC world (in a diocese very near me!) sussed. My pennorth as highchurchnomad is here.
  • Beyond the pale: Bad Catholics’ excuses for abortion. From Hilary White.

  • Good stuff!
    Surreal and romantic with Kate Winslet’s beauty and Jim Carrey proving if you can do comedy you can do drama

    Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
    • From Fr Hunwicke: A difference of opinion. You can have those in the Catholic faith! Father and I agree that Cranmer was a master of the art form of the collect but disagree on this one for Gaudete Sunday/Advent III. I like Cosin’s verbosity better than the Roman Rite’s terseness. That could come from my being around the wonderfully wordy Byzantine Rite for 15 years.
    • On ‘despising the things of this earth’.
    • I find a lot of comfort in comparing the underlying logic of the Immaculate Conception with that of our Lady’s Presentation in the Temple. As I was saying. Those who deny the Presentation fall under the anathemas of the fourteenth century ‘Palamite’ Councils, damning those who say that ‘the Immaculate One, the Theometer ... did not enter into the Holy of Holies’. Oh, dear. IIRC those councils together form what anti-Western hardline Orthodox (the kind you mostly meet online) consider their church’s ninth dogmatic council (the eighth, also mediæval, condemned the filioque) on top of the seven shared with Rome. I’d rather spend time with Hopko and Reardon who agree with me and St Pius V on that Marian matter.
    • On a Calvinist sermon: It was as if his Jesus was the fairy on top of the Christmas tree but not the root and fount of all good and the One who sets all his people free from Adam’s transgression. There is always the risk that people who do not explicitly believe in the Immaculate Conception will fall into this mistake.
    • Worth noting about Orthodoxy: its right (the Russians at Jordanville for example) and left (the Parisian/St Vladimir’s Seminary school of Russian theology) are actually rather friendly with each other and look more or less the same to an outsider (the worship wars are so much smaller), and both are far to the right of the mainline, well within small-o orthodoxy. Not so of the Roman Church in practice, where a bunch of old liberal nuns and the Fraternity of St Peter look like they belong to separate churches! A division as extreme as the churchmanships in Anglicanism even though Rome has one clear set of doctrines on paper.
    • Pope Benedict: Incarnation/Redemption too, although it took place at a specific historical moment, the period of Jesus’ time on earth, nonetheless extends its range of action to all time that preceded and followed. And, in their turn, the Second Coming and Final Judgement, decisively anticipated in the Cross of Christ, exercise their influence on the behaviour of mankind in all ages. Don’t miss Fr H’s three comments.
    • John Zmirak on the misunderstood virtue of humility. Refusing to take any credit for good deeds we’ve done, to gratefully acknowledge our natural gifts, or to graciously accept a compliment can turn someone who misunderstands humility into a cringing, obsequious toady — the sort of Christian one would gladly feed to the lions, except he might make the lions sick.
    • Speaking of the range of opinions in Catholicism there’s the 10th top religion story of the year according to Time: speculation on extra-terrestrials. Why not?