Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Charles Rice, Theodore Hesburgh, and more


  • Chicago: the Cantius success story. "Rebuild my church." And they — the "neo-traditionalists" the Catholic liberals humph at — will come to it. Been once and of course love it; never been to Mass there. My parish by choice, another city church, is a miracle compared to the rest of American Catholicism the past 40 years, high-church (my Sunday-morning Mass is Tridentine) with the best of the Episcopal hymnal along with plainchant and old Catholic hymns; amazingly, ex-Episcopalians didn’t start that, just a Catholic priest with small-o orthodoxy, good sense, and good taste, about 10 years ago. A number of us are from Good Shepherd, Rosemont (much of the rest of which, including David Moyer, is now Catholic too: Blessed John Henry Newman Community).
  • Two passings related to Notre Dame University. Contrasts who died a day apart, a conservative lay hero and a priest who personified American Catholicism's sellout assimilation 45 years ago (so much for the Fighting Irish). I don't follow sports; that and Fr. Hesburgh's effect mean I normally don't give Notre Dame a second thought. But I hear it's so big that, unlike Villanova University for example, it is a microcosm of the American church, including young conservatives. I understand it even has a Tridentine Mass, as does '70s-bred charismatic Steubenville U., unthinkable at American Catholic colleges 30 years ago. ("Kids relate to us," said the old boomer.) As the church recovers, so will ND, but maybe the Holy Cross Fathers, liberalized, will disappear. Locally, LaSalle U. has its first lay president (Slavic-Canadian lady; Ukrainian?); not enough Christian Brothers anymore. The Fr. Hesburghs hijacked the American church at the end of the ’60s (yes, Vatican II, a policy mistake, not doctrine, made that possible) but they’re dying out. Millennials, for all their sociopathy, have enough sense to just leave rather than try to change the church. That means our churchgoers are on average becoming conservative. The mainline denominations will all but die out as they have in British countries. Mainliners and sellout Catholics see the mainstream leaving the churches and conclude the churches aren’t liberal enough. From a group that's "raised my awareness" for 30 years, the John Birch Society.
  • Preparing for the catacombs. The sedevacantist scenario can happen. It hasn't. As I like to say, study the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the 20th century to learn how to survive as a church.
  • Regular readers already know this, but Patricia Arquette at the Oscars was wrong. The gender-gap fraud. Innumerable studies, going back for decades, have shown that women do not average as many hours of work per year as men, do not have as many consecutive years of full-time employment as men, do not work in the same mix of occupations as men and do not specialize in the same mix of subjects in college as men. So of course women on average make less.
  • The history of Jews and country clubs. As with the story of Jews in the South, it's not what you think. What you think you know is actually retconned social "history."
  • A maligned music maker. "Had circumstances been more favorable, my wife might have bought tickets to tonight’s Barry Manilow concert. And I would have been expected to come along." I like Barry Manilow for a few reasons. His achy, breaky beta voice (not a putdown; it takes all kinds) is perfectly suited for certain heartfelt songs (including hits he happened not to write, such as “Mandy”), and he’ll tell you he’s not the best singer; the man went to Juilliard so he knows how to use the basics of Western music to touch people’s hearts (the Chopin prelude that’s the base of “Could It Be Magic?”; I like the “Midnight Special” clip of him playing the whole Chopin piece, then segueing in and out of “Magic”); and he loves golden-era American music. One of my favorite albums is his fave among his works, the unusual-for-him 2:00 AM Paradise Café, from 1984 if I recall rightly. ’50s-style jazz pop, “smoky,” featuring Mel Tormé and Sarah Vaughan. (Manilow’s voice is the weakest part of the album, but hey.) Johnny Mercer’s widow gave him permission to write music for Mercer’s unused lyrics (one of the songs on the album, "When October Goes"), the album “came to me in a dream,” and he and the band recorded it in one take. He makes millions of people happy. Good for him. Anybody hipsters hate, not even ironically adopting him to make fun of him, has something going for him.

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