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 The holiday’s superseded (judaizing was rejected in the Book of Acts) but still celebrates the same God.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.

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