Thursday, November 28, 2013

The mainline, Pope Francis, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah

The mainstream has outgrown the mainline (like Europeans, SWPLs don’t go to church); the mainline says it’s because they’re not yet liberal enough! (From MCJ.) They’ll keep shrinking and will eventually merge, essentially becoming Episcopalians (claiming apostolic bishops but denying they’re necessary) if not doing business under that name. American Catholicism shot itself in the foot with Vatican II, plus the (recent, 1900s) Protestant and elite promotion of birth control neutralized Catholics as a force in America. Not that it’s right, but evangelicalism has a shot at keeping America at least culturally Christian.

I wondered if Mr. Dalgarno is an ex-Catholic. Such switches are actually rare (most Bad Catholics just drop out) so my guess was no. A melting-pot American with some Italian heritage a few generations back? Looked it up and no, the name is, fittingly, Scottish.

Of course Pope Francis has points preaching against greed and about God’s love and mercy, but his mainstreamish approach is annoying. (See above about shooting yourself in the foot.) The wrong people like him. No problem. The Pope is actually less important in Catholicism than most think; unlike a royal schism or denominational vote, he can’t change the teachings of the church even if he wants to or doesn’t talk about them. He leaves me alone, I leave him alone, and in a pinch I can go to the Greek Catholics and the SSPX. (Fellay for cardinal.)

Happy Thanksgiving. Eὐχαριστία. ‘We Gather Together.’ Donna and I are doing Italian-American again, with antipasto and then the American food. It’s the official start of secular Christmas, Holiday, or whatever (let’s cheer ourselves up in the dead of winter, and why not have the church appropriate it for Jesus’ birthday celebration?), but the run-up now starts around Halloween with radio stations phasing in Christmas music to prime the pump for shopping. It’s not cool to like it but so what? Still, I remember a line from Arturo Vasquez one year: hearing ‘All I Want for Christmas Is Youuuuuu...’ ... piped in at the mall.

Hanukkah: the story’s in the Septuagint and thus the Catholic Bible but not the Protestant one. The holiday’s superseded (judaizing was rejected in the Book of Acts) but still celebrates the same God. It’s not Jewish Christmas; it’s the equivalent of the feast of SS. Peter and Paul for example. Competing with Christmas is a recent, understandable reaction to living in Christian countries.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The great college swindle, Silicon Valley and the end of the American Dream, and Modestinus reads Pope Francis’ latest

Monday, November 25, 2013

The orthodox Bad Catholics

The stereotype of traditionalist or just orthodox Catholics as “pharisees” and “Pelagians” – that is, obsessed with rules and puffed up with pride over their supposed spiritual superiority to average sinners, whom they despise as reprobates – does not match my experience at all. I’ve known several families of very religious Catholics and never encountered such a thing. What’s more, it ignores what has historically been the most common type of orthodox Catholic. I mean the half-practicing, openly sinning, “give me chastity, but not yet” kind. A religion as big as Catholicism could never have survived so long if it were only made of pharisees and dissidents.
From Joshua.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

President Kennedy epilogue, and another site on Wildwood’s golden-era architecture

  • From Ex-Army: If he had survived. Another alternative history. I’ve long believed the one where he would have been re-elected in ’64 (Goldwater was good at the time; he should have been president) but his getting us into Vietnam would have turned the mob majority against this hood ornament of the golden era (as the Sixties generally would have?), so the next Democratic candidate would have lost in ’68 to Nixon, and the real timeline would have resumed.
  • From Steve Sailer:
    • Entertaining speculation from National Lampoon’s heyday: The overarching gag is that if Jackie Kennedy had been the one martyred in Dallas, Jack would have settled into the Irish politician's pattern of staying in power for roughly ever (e.g., Eamon de Valera, Richard J. Daley in Chicago, or James Curley, who was mayor of Boston on and off from 1914 to 1950); but JFK would have pulled this off by mobilizing the puerile energies of white baby boomers, rather like Chairman Mao's cult of personality did during his Cultural Revolution. The Lampoon issue takes on the difficult challenge of imagining how an Irish wardheeler with a veneer of media sophistication, an intuitive understanding of which way the wind was blowing, would have dealt with The Sixties. What has The Onion contributed at all to understanding the Obama Phenomenon? Cracked is disappointingly PC preachy sometimes (news flash from Roissy and his friends: not only is this not how reality works, but that article won’t get you a date, buddy) but overall pretty good: news and history of the weird and non-putdown humor. The Onion is a bunch of smug SWPLs I stopped reading a long time ago.
    • From the comboxes: Alan Ehrenhalt had a nice line about the retrospective sentimentalization of the Kennedy assassination: “The only teenage males I know who were emotionally shattered by the Kennedy assassination are the ones I read about in books or see in movies.”
    • Getting to the heart of the matter, a sensible answer neither the lone Commie nut (though it seems a conservative favorite) nor All Society’s Fault™ (then-conservative Dallas, the military-industrial complex, etc.): A lot of conspiracy theorists seem to lose themselves in the who-dun-it scenario. It's true that many people hated Kennedy and wouldn't have minded seeing him dead. But that doesn't mean they were involved in the killing. It's like lots of people hated Reagan, but it was Hinckley who nearly killed him. The opposite of the IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT scenario is THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE scenario where the conspiracy turns out to be much larger than anyone can possibly imagine. I guess something in between is the CHINATOWN scenario. The mystery is bigger than one thought but it's still about a handful of corrupt men doing something sordid, not a mega-conspiracy. I don’t know who (but it wasn’t then-conservative Dallas) or why but yes.
    • Not about JFK but true: Have you ever noticed that basically everything you are supposed to believe in these days -- feminism, diversity, etc. -- turns out in practice to just be another way for hot babes, rich guys, super salesmen, cunning financiers, telegenic self-promoters, and charismatic politicians to get even more money and power?
  • From Bob Wallace:
  • Wildwood Doo Wop. A list of all the Wildwoods’ (one New Jersey shore island, three towns) remaining golden-era buildings and neo-doo wop ones.
  • And on that note — the Sixties never happened — happy last Sunday after Pentecost. Mass: Dicit Dominus with an apocalyptic gospel. Next week, Advent I and the great switch in the office from Salve, Regina to Alma Redemptoris Mater.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Retro style, stupid wars, and more

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Gettysburg, JFK, the sexes, the military, WWII, and Pope Francis again

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday links

Sunday, November 03, 2013


  • Went to the second earliest Novus Ordo Mass at my parish for All Saints’. Not too bad. We’ve all known somebody holy but not a church celebrity and thus unlikely to be canonized. An unsung hero. All Saints’ is the closest the church comes to canonizing them. A few years ago I went to a funeral at which I really was asking the departed to pray for me. That kind of thing. Privately you may venerate anyone.
  • Catafalque from All Souls’ Day; on that note, Fr Franklin Joiner on purgatory.
  • It’s autumn in Pennsylvania.
  • Somerville Center Antiques. A new favorite, and while you’re in Somerville, don’t miss Incogneeto. Got four ties there.
  • Derb on faking sincerity.
  • Modestinus on Orthodox criticism of Catholic liturgy.
  • RIP Bishop John-David Schofield. From what I can tell, a fine person. I don’t know why, for all his Catholic beliefs, he remained outside the church, instead opting for a slightly less liberal Protestant denomination. My guess is it was because American Anglican high churchmen believe in what they think is Anglicanism, objecting to the papacy, as it has evolved, as a dangerous innovation. (As opposed to Episcopalianism?) Anyway, I’m grateful that Anglican churchmen somewhat like him kept something like pre-conciliar Catholic belief and practice around for me to learn, back when the official church wanted nothing to do with it. (American conservative Anglo-Catholicism tends to be pre-conciliar; British went Novus Ordo many years before it became Catholic.)