Saturday, December 20, 2014

Putin, the Episcopalians, Christmas in South Philly, and more


  • Alternative Right: The failure of Putin. I'm not endorsing everything in this article, but it's worth a look for its main point. Rather than falling for the West's trap, taking the bait on the Ukraine, Putin should divide the West (the U.S. vs. Europe) using the Middle East (such as Palestine). I hope, for the Russians, he's a new Constantine. Interesting in light of Russia's recent economic crisis: a natural-gas monopoly in Europe wasn't enough to keep the ruble from crashing. The many Western russophobes are crowing; never underestimate Russia. (Funny how in the Cold War the left loved the Russians; now they hate them again.) I have nothing against the independent Ukraine; I hope they're a pro-Catholic version of Russia, conservative in that classically Slavic way, not a shill for the U.S. and NATO.
  • On the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church. My mission isn't to put down the Episcopalians. But I don't have to be spiritually gifted or psychic to predict this plan's failure. The Episcopalians never were and never will be a majority or cross-section of America. (Not the state church so no incentive to stay; I'll bet a lot left for the Methodists early on.) The closest they'll get is when the shrinking mainline merges, adopting government by bishops who claim apostolic succession. The more liberal they get and the more "diverse" they try to be, the richer and whiter they get. Traditional American Catholicism, pre-Vatican II, thanks partly to massive immigration, is a universal church (besides a universal doctrine: Christianity is both a choice and a tribe), including very ethnic enclaves but transcending them (the Orthodox claim to do that with all the new converts but I don't believe it): the Reillys and DiGuglielmos back East, the Shewczyks (including the Greek Rite) in the old Rust Belt (Deer Hunter Pennsylvania and Ohio) and Chicago, and the Gomezes in Texas and California, plus a few Schulers who've been American as long as the English and Irish have (not all Germans are Lutheran; what we think of as German culture is usually Bavarian, which is Catholic: the home of Pope Benedict!), but also the Richardsons in swaths of the Midwest, for example. (There were English Catholics in Virginia too: conservative and low-profile.) Did somebody mention blacks? Lena Horne was a lifelong Catholic, and you've got blacks in French Louisiana. If the mainliners think they can convert most of a Hispanic majority (not churchy like the Irish used to be but not inclined to leave the true church either: "Why should I bother with yours?"), they are mistaken. The Episcopalians thought they could do that with the Italians 100 years ago.
  • Interesting who's NOT Catholic (anymore); free will, you know: somebody told me Tony Soprano himself, James Gandolfini, didn't have a Catholic funeral but an Episcopal one at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. RIP.
  • In showdown with American nuns, the Vatican blinked. Unfortunate but no big deal in the long run. Even a bad Pope can't change our doctrine, which is online for all to read (only the church has fulfilled Jesus' Great Commission). And these old liberalized orders are still dying off: no vocations. Young Catholics who don't believe don't stay and complain anymore as priests and nuns; they leave. The remaining churchgoers are sound. In 50 years we'll be Cardinal Spellman's New York again, but in miniature.
  • Original Franciscan order: "We're broke." So, faddahs, how's that Vatican II "renewal" working out for youse?
  • Fr. Hunwicke on "Dear Old Mother Hilarious": A friend tells me that at the moment, the C of E, dear sweet old thing, is agonising over 'the Green Report'. It's a laugh a line. Don't miss it. It reads like a satirical spoof by Mgr R. A. Knox. Perhaps it is. Another friend tells me of an Anglican Diocese which has invented an 'Archdeacon for Generous Giving'. In other words, the pew-fodder shell out for the stipend of an archdeacon whose job it then is to screw even more money out of them! (But 'Green' is going to cost £2,000,000.) Turkeys not so much voting as paying for Christmas! Like buying tickets to gain admission to the abattoir! Magnifique!! Trebles all round! Pass another mince pie! Our corrupt churchmen who were the excuse for the "Reformation" would blush in appreciation. The "Reformation" got rid of the Mass officially in England but kept the rectors as absentee landlords, accumulating benefices (income from multiple parishes) while leaving the ministering to poorly paid curates. Patrimony?
  • Gabriel Sanchez:
    • Bishop Fellay blesses crib in EU Parliament, reports the Society of St. Pius X. Just reread that headline a few (dozen) times; then proceed. During the blessing, Bishop Fellay took a moment to quote Cardinal Pie’s words to Napoleon III: “If the time has not come for Jesus Christ to reign, then the time has not come for governments to last.” If only that quote could be put on placards to be hung in not only Brussels, but Washington, London, Paris, and even the Vatican. Let us not forget that we are awaiting the Nativity of our Lord and King, one who possesses the right to rule over all the nations of the earth. How quickly we forget that truth amidst the secular mentality we, faithful Catholics, are expected to cozy up to. Thankfully there are still priests and bishops of the Church willing to resist such madness.
    • Good old fallen human nature: Llano del Rio, a failed American commune... in the 1910s. There is nothing new under the sun.
  • Happy Hanukkah! The events of the feast, in the books of Maccabees, are in the Catholic and Orthodox Bible but not in the modern Protestant or, ironically, modern Jewish ones. The feast is minor (no synagogue services, just home devotions) and 100% in accord with Christianity; we don't celebrate it because the new covenant has replaced the old per the Book of Acts. The Jewish Bible in Jesus' time, the Septuagint (LXX), the Catholic Old Testament, has books in Greek (like the New Testament), not Hebrew, written after the other, Hebrew books; Protestants call the later books the Apocrypha. Jews had dropped them by the time of the "Reformation" and the Protestants made the mistake of thinking the contemporary Jewish Bible had never changed.
  • Roissy: Men not at work.
  • European Parliament recognizes Palestine.
  • Colorful Christmas in South Philly and elsewhere in America.

5 comments:

  1. "The Jewish Bible in Jesus' time, the Septuagint (LXX), the Catholic Old Testament, has books in Greek (like the New Testament), not Hebrew, written after the other, Hebrew books; Protestants call the later books the Apocrypha. Jews had dropped them by the time of the "Reformation" and the Protestants made the mistake of thinking the contemporary Jewish Bible had never changed."

    My understanding is, that the rabbinic "Synod of Jamnia/Javneh," which met at an unknown date in the 80s/90s AD, finalized the Jewish OT Canon, thus excluding the "deuterocanonical books." This is the same synod that added to the central prayer of the synagogue service, the Eighteen Benedictions, the Amidah or Shemoneh Ezreh, a nineteenth, which is number twelve in the sequence, and which runs:

    "For the apostates let there be no hope. And let the arrogant government be speedily uprooted in our days. Let the noẓerim and the minim be destroyed in a moment. And let them be blotted out of the Book of Life and not be inscribed together with the righteous. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who humblest the arrogant."

    "The arrogant government" is often taken to be a reference to the Roman Empire; "the notzerim" to refer to the Christians; and "the minim" to Jewish "heretics" (those who dissented from rabbinic orthodoxy); cf.:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birkat_haMinim

    These deuterocanonical books were accepted as fully canonical by a number of regional synods in both the Latin west and the Greek East between 383 and 421, and "dogmatized" for Catholics by the Council of Florence in its "Decretum pro Jacobitis" (1442), which effected an abortive reunion between the Catholic Church and the Copts, and again by the Council of Trent in its "Decretum de Canonicis Scripturis" (1546), which was directed against the Protestant rejection of the deuterocanonical books.

    As for the Orthodox, I understand that their OT Canon has never been definitively "canonized," and that different Orthodox churches include in their OT Canons not only those deuterocanonical books accepted by the Catholic Church, but other books as well, such as Psalm 151, the Prayer of Manasseh; and that non-Chalcedonian eastern churches include additional books (the Ethiopian Church a great number of them).

    The best book on the subject is Albert C. Sundberg's *The Old Testament of the Early Church* (1964); the Evangelical English Anglican scholar, Roger Beckworth, published a book, *The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church* (1986) which attempted to demonstrate that the Jews "closed" their Canon of Scripture in the 5th Century BC, and thus that the Jewish/Protestant OT Canon is the correct one, and that the Early Church erred in including the deuterocanonical books in the OT Canon.

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    1. ...different Orthodox churches include in their OT Canons not only those deuterocanonical books accepted by the Catholic Church, but other books as well, such as Psalm 151, the Prayer of Manasseh...

      Right; as I understand it, the Orthodox Old Testament is the Catholic Old Testament with a few add-ons such as that strange, seemingly out-of-place Psalm 151, which isn't used liturgically.

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  2. There are also some differences in Esdras (Ezra/Nehemiah). The Catholic Church teaches that Esdras 1 & 2 (Ezra & Nehemiah) are inspired and canonical, but in Greek bibles, Esdras 1 & 2 are 'Esdras B' while there is an additional book, Esdras A (which corresponds to the Vulgate's Esdras 3). In addition, the Vulgate also contains Esdras 3 (corresponding to Greek Esdras A) and Esdras 4 in an appendix; these are non-canonical but the Introit for the Requiem Mass is taken from the 2nd chapter of Esdras 4. In addition (and this was news to me), the Introit for the Mass of Pentecost Tuesday is also taken from Esdras 4 ch. 2.

    Fr. Z. discusses this here:
    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2011/06/a-liturgical-bliblical-treasure-hunt/

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  3. I heard about James Gandolfini having an Episcopal funeral. It broke my heart. My mom even asked me why they held his funeral in St Johns instead of a Catholic Church. I didn't even have the heart to tell her that he might have jumped ship (He was divorced and remarried so I guess that probably had something to do with it).

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