Thursday, November 17, 2011

Church
  • ‘Orthodoxy is closer to Islam than Western Catholicism.’ Putin, appealing to multiculturalism like an American classical liberal (the founding fathers to their credit weren’t out to get the ‘Mahometans’ and pointed out America is not an officially Christian country, good because its official non-Protestantism means freedom for Catholics) or neocon, tries to make peace between Christian Russians and Muslim Middle Eastern citizens by cutting down Western Catholicism. Not good. When I saw the headline, I thought I’d agree. They’re both Eastern, and as Brendan Ross pointed out to me years ago, although the first Muslims weren’t apostate Christians, Muhammad borrowed from Eastern Christianity as well as Judaism so in a sense Islam is Orthodoxy’s bastard, its Mormonism. The mosque is an Orthodox church stripped of its altar and icons. Re: caesaropapism, come on. Sounds like Vatican II RCs (basically what RISU is) getting in a cheap shot at Orthodoxy, forgetting their own history (not heretical but as a libertarian I disagree) of state churches, from Austria-Hungary to Franco, or the heart of the SSPX’s case against modern Rome (It’s Not About Latin™ but objections to religious liberty and ecumenism, which rightly understood, not relativistically, I have no problem with).
  • The Barna Group on why young people quit church. I think it’s simple: the ‘Reformation’ (which was evil) and, dominoing from that, the ‘Enlightenment’ gutted Western Christianity in practice (but of course Catholic doctrine held: the gates of hell will not prevail) so you had a hollow shell that ‘the (late) ’60s’ kicked over fairly easily. So the boomers grew up in the ’50s good times going to church but started to drop it; their kids and their kids’ kids aren’t in the habit. A recent survey of (suburban, mostly rich) teens in my beat at work says fewer than half go to church or shul. (Sidebar: Chris’s right. Despite the media pushing its message, the mainline, now mostly boomers and older, is still losing people like crazy and it’s not because of the big bad religious right. Progressives don’t need church at all; they have better social venues than yours.) Of course it’s great that the religions aren’t trying to kill each other here but we’re turning into irreligious Europe. Only the religion that’s left is, rather than atheism, American Puritanism gone bad or Moralistic Therapeutic Deism or ‘I’m spiritual not religious’. Fundamentalism (dating back to the ’20s?) is an understandable, thoroughly modern reaction and arguably just part of the same problem as Modernism. The ‘emergent’ thing: the dopey priest or minister 40 years ago growing his hair long, buying a denim jacket and saying ‘Hey, man, let’s rap’.
  • Venuleius: Eastern vs Western approaches to traditional liturgy.
  • A good word for the Little Office and Diurnal; I use the latter (simplified 1960-style rubrics but Winfred Douglas’ old-BCP translations).
  • Also, I don’t have any real beefs with the SSPX per se and my experiences with SSPX faithful – priests and laity – have been, by and large, positive.

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