Monday, November 30, 2015

Catholic opponents of the ordinariates

My guess is most of the opposition nominally in the Catholic Church to the ordinariates for Anglo-Catholic alumni comes from the now-defensive, aging Catholic liberals. In the '80s they thought they owned the church and thus its future and even bragged about it to me when the issue came up. God had other plans. The kids take the libcaths' Modernism to its logical conclusion so they don't go to church anymore, so in America we're seeing not only more and more boomer and millennial ex-Catholics, rather than churchgoing "progressive" ones, but I guess more third etc. generation "nothings" with Irish, Italian, and Polish names. (Not the libcath dream of a church even bigger than before Vatican II only happy and clappy thanks to following the times.) The old Protestant dream of absorbing America's Catholic minority, partly fulfilled, the foreigners good Americans at last: "the nuclear family (barely; contraception canceling the next generation), light consumerism, suburban homes, sports and schools, television, and I guess transgenderism, ubiquitous pornography and cheeseburgers," as Seventh Son writes. "We're all human, therefore we can all be SWPLs. (Except toothless Appalachian White Christians. They're not human at all!)" As if everybody wanted to be one. (Quotations via Ex-Army.) Anyway, I understand that in England 20 years ago (right after the Church of England followed the Episcopalians by voting to have women priests) what Damian Thompson calls "the magic circle," the British Catholic clerical version of AmChurch, or the National Catholic Reporter and Call to Action with accents, was upfront (rare for the English, famous for making an art of not saying what they mean or meaning what they say; talking in code Americans don't understand — note; I kid because I love, as I'm mostly WASP and I've lived in the mother country) about not wanting a bunch of embarrassing conservatives (you know, people who actually buy all that dumb steerage Catholic jazz that Vatican II was supposed to wipe away, leaving the church clean and shiny for the space age) coming in, priests who dress like they're "somewhere to the right of Marcel Lefebvre" as journals such as the Tablet (commonly called the Pill; British NCR) sneered. Understandable of the annoying old bastards: nobody, even a heretic, wants to see his legacy threatened. Sidebar: the libcaths basically want to turn the church into Anglicanism and might have converted if only the Anglicans weren't so darn high-church. (Many Anglicans love my traditional Mass; they really love the church but on their terms. Libcaths of course hate that Mass.) Some libcaths I've had runins with were theologically "stuck," confused casualties of the Sixties including Vatican II: they were rightly taught in Cardinal Spellman's church that Catholicism is the true church so when they liberalized as churchmen often told them to, rather than leave, they stayed and tried to change it. The unexpected good news: the few Catholics who are staying now, vs. then, love the faith, the church, and its culture. There is a slow turnaround.

All that opposition is to be expected. But here's some insider stuff most non-Catholics don't know. After the libcaths won, not long after the Sixties captured Middle America by 1973, they soon didn't take traditionalists (the people keeping the full true faith as well as its culture before the Sixties attack including from within) seriously, and sometimes were even nice enough to be condescending after John Paul II gave his very limited permission for the traditional Mass (because it is "the Mass that would not die"; Archbishop Lefebvre, Fr. De Pauw, and others kept it going), such bishops allowing one in their dioceses. By then our worst enemies weren't the heretics but our closest rivals in ecclesiastical politics, the orthodox but low churchmen of conservative Novus Ordo. As the turnaround has gotten under way, they've been changing their minds and high-churching themselves, even changing their minds about traditionalists, but in the '80s, at the heights of both JP2's reign and local liberal power in the church, they were as militantly low-church as the liberals, thinking the Protestant-inspired charismatic renewal (JP2's No. 1 fans) was the future. Give up that artsy-fartsy old-fashioned stuff and do that instead, they told us. They went as far as calling people who "stood still" or said no to the Sixties and only wanted the faith and culture the church had given them "no longer Catholic," literally, as if all these people were Dutch Old Catholics or garage-church vagantes with their own fake Pope.

An element of that remaining low-church conservative Novus Ordo is reacting badly to the ordinariates, as Thomas Day could have predicted: "Real Catholics don't need or want all that faggy lace." Throw in ethnocentrism and reverse snobbery: "Ex-Anglicans who want this stuff are snobs who care more about escargot forks and concert classical music than the truth." There's an ignorant thinking that the church is or should be a monolith: no "bubble," "church within a church," or "Barbie's playhouse" (what the British call a Wendy house from Peter Pan) for these misfits: "What some fussy Anglicans wish the Novus Ordo looked like." Sounds like ecclesiastical Mean Girls.

There's the understandable concern that the Book of Common Prayer texts are from a rank heretic, Thomas Cranmer (I think the only Protestant heresiarch who in the beginning was a valid Catholic bishop, not just a priest; but his Bucerian heresy about the Eucharist rendered his ordinal void). "Why not a Methodist Use for converts, or even Mormon or Muslim Uses"? the naysayers ask. The church approved these texts because they're not heretical and because the other things I mentioned have no tradition of trying to celebrate Mass and otherwise believing what the church believes. Generations of good would-be Catholics have been attached to them. Why Vatican II gave a nod to Anglicans without denying the truth the Leo XIII confirmed (Cranmer dogmatized Eucharistic heresy so no real orders in Anglicanism).

No, the real issue isn't that the converts aren't really Catholic, wanting to import Protestantism. Libcaths who still buy Sixties ecumenism (let's dump our doctrine, then we and the Protestants will just kumbaya together, working for justice and peace, man) would be staunch supporters of the ordinariates if that were so. The contention is really that the converts are Catholic, trying to get away from Protestantism, which the libcaths don't want. The newcomers don't want the libcaths' secondhand Protestantism. Well-meaning or bigoted (anti-English) conservative Novus Ordo Catholics opposing the ordinariates are dupes, useful idiots. That said, from what I can tell, most conservative Novus Ordo people think the ordinariates are great, as is meet and right so to do. Along with traditionalists, the ordinariates are part of the "reform of the reform" (high-churching Roman Rite Catholicism again) that Pope Benedict XVI is identified with.
As converts die off and their children and grandchildren are nurtured in the Catholic faith, those communities will cease to serve any function and hopefully will just fade away, and the integrity and wholeness of the Latin Rite will be reaffirmed.
Another note about "bubbles" in American Catholicism and insisting on uniformity: that was the thinking of Archbishop John Ireland (an Americanist heretic too, an early version of Modernist libcath, even though he used the pre-Vatican II liturgy) and the American Catholic churchmen who pushed Orestes Chornock into schism; Ruthenians who only wanted to keep what they had as Catholics at home turned Orthodox. Bigotry (like the Orthodox' ethnocentric anti-Westernism, come to think of it). The parallel works despite the Book of Common Prayer's Protestant origin because again we're talking about a liturgical text approved by the church and people who are not heretics.

And: pre-Vatican II Catholicism is not a monolith; it's not uniform. Not only do we have the Eastern rites but within the Roman Rite you have different uses (sub-rites), different national cultures and spiritualities, different religious orders with different spiritualities, and even different schools of theological opinion that sometimes hate each other. Different customs such as lace vs. no lace. The church has both.

"So what is Anglican patrimony, Your Highness? Knowing which salad fork to use? Do you hold the chalice with your pinky up or down?"

Elevated classic English including prayers from the Prayer Book (which the church has approved, even though you don't like it, and which I mostly don't use!), Anglican chant, the unique English men and boys' choral sound, Evensong, certain hymns, and sure, things such as coffee hour (parishioners getting to know each other socially; how Protestant, snort). I'll further add a healthy "semi-congregationalism" that is a hedge against another Novus Ordo happening, something we can still learn from Anglo-Catholics. We could ordain married men as new ordinariate priests too, but the church isn't doing that for the foreseeable future, and of course it can say no.
I very much doubt that the ordinariates will be allowed married priests. And any semi-congregationalism that would thwart the Church exercising jurisdiction over those parishes would simply confirm my point about the bubble effect. The first second one of these ordinariate parishes tried to rebel in such a fashion, it should be immediately suppressed. We are not a congregational polity — that is heresy.
I put "congregationalism" in mock quotes and added "semi-" because I know the heresy and the risk. I'm not talking about congregations writing their own doctrine (which is what libcaths want) or saying the bishop has no authority, just that there are other ways of doing things than what the American Catholic Church usually has done, which are not about our doctrine. If our American churchmen hadn't acted like idiots, a lot more Ruthenians would still be Catholic. Believe me, if a lay trustee-owned and run parish defended traditional Catholicism, the libcaths would shut it down faster than you can say "we are church." Watch what they do more than listening to what they say.

"It sounds like 'Anglican patrimony' just means giving the finger to the Novus Ordo. Bad idea." It's a great idea! Don't suppress the Novus Ordo as most Latin Catholics are attached to it, but make Bernard Fellay a cardinal to make the field fair.

The anglicanized English is better; deal with it. I can say that confidently exactly because I don't secretly "like escargot" (believe in heresy) so I don't feel like I have to yell "Fakedty-fake!" or "They don't have Jesus!" every time someone mentions the Anglicans.

But not wanting the ordinariates isn't heresy. The late Msgr. Graham Leonard didn't want anything like that.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Crime reporting, black and white

Two men charged with murder in killing of pastor's wife. She was molested too. Why such killers get away with it in the media and thus public opinion: because, unlike Christianity, the left believes the end justifies the means; revenge is A-OK. (By the way, the Church of Satan actually teaches that.) They define racism as not just prejudice but prejudice plus power. So the left teaches that, because blacks used to be oppressed, blacks have an excuse to commit atrocities against whites; we deserve it. (The PG-13 version: college kids learning they can push grownups around by throwing big tantrums for the media to report; it's fun.) White liberals believe in their own supremacy though they never admit it; they think they can control this state of affairs and use it as a weapon against conservative whites (ditto importing lots of hostile Third Worlders; the left thinks they're pets and even slave labor). There is next to no white-on-black crime, and no fellow conservative Christian I know wants to incite any; rather, the left keeps pushing race in our faces, using it as a weapon. There is no white American agenda against blacks anymore; none of us believe black lives don't matter. By the way, we never hear about black-on-black crime, and there is a lot of it.

Two common media approaches to these crimes, in the event of "narrative failure" (when you can't blame whites):
  • Show pictures of the suspects when they were 12 and/or holding a puppy or something.
  • Blame guns! Liberal illogic: "Cops are racist and thus evil but I don't own a gun and want to stop you from owning one, because I trust the cops to take care of us." If Amanda Blackburn had a pistol, chances are she'd still be with us. That the police have caught suspects is cold consolation for her husband.
An impartial, speedy trial for the suspects and may this sweet woman rest in peace.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The ordinariate missal and more

  • The ordinariate missal is in print. Divine Worship — The Missal, replacing the 1979 Rite I Episcopal-based Anglican Use, improved with Pope Benedict the Great's reform of English Novus Ordo and elements of the Tridentine Mass, my Mass. (It's usually eastward-facing, a simple thing that makes a big difference.) That's fantastic. A few points.
    • The church has never approved Thomas Cranmer's Eucharistic prayer in any form, even the old-high-church (1600s-1700s; an attempt a century after the "Reformation" to sound patristic*) Scottish form in the old American Book of Common Prayer that I grew up with. Understandable as the man was a heretic; his Eucharistic theology as enshrined in the Articles of Religion is why the church took him at his word by never recognizing Anglican orders since the Edwardine ordinal, Leo XIII making it official. But the Anglican and American Missals (unofficial; banned in many Episcopal dioceses), which this new missal echoes, spliced the Prayer Book's canon, collects, and lessons into the framework of our Mass and seem to work. Here Cranmer, filtered through the old high churchmen, sounded like he still shared enough orthodoxy with Catholicism to make it so. Counterargument: Michael Davies pointed out in Cranmer's Godly Order that Protestants using realistic-sounding language about Holy Communion don't mean what the church does by it. (For them there's no making Christ's sacrifice present on the altar; it's a bare commemoration so the Mass is a blasphemous fable.) But with this new missal, as with the Anglican Use, we've officially included many of Cranmer's orthodox prayers, including collects he wrote or modified because the originals were too Catholic. And his new collects are beautiful, little lessons in English. I don't miss the old Prayer Book such that I need to hear it every week (canonically the ordinariates are for people like me; I can join if I want to), like I would the Tridentine Mass (but in much of my prayer including occasional Masses in English I quote it from memory: "And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary"), but it seems to me if you're going to go this route, let's be ecumenical with our estranged Catholic family to the east. In the beginning, in the late 1800s, the only Western canon the Orthodox allowed for their Western-rite experiment was the Roman one; much later the Antiochians brought the Anglican missals on board by slightly byzantinizing their Eucharistic prayer, and of course that catholicized it. Problem solved, for those who want this. Ours for the asking.
    • That said, why not just do that to the Anglican missals, and add the Roman Canon as an option, and issue them, rather than mixing with the Novus Ordo? (Anglo-Catholics did our legwork for us decades ago.) That, using classic American Anglo-Catholics' big no to the Sixties just like the Tridentine Mass for cradle Catholics, is something our churchmen are not yet ready or willing to do. Still toeing the line that Vatican II was good even as the parishes and schools keep closing and the dioceses and orders go broke. Benedict the Great came thisclose to publicly coming clean, then somebody got rid of him.
    • The British Anglo-Catholic alumni experience is different; they've been Novus Ordo for 45 years (because they were Anglo-Papalists, believing everything the church says and wanting a "reconciliation with honor" with it). For them, the Prayer Book only means Protestantism, not orthodoxy or the '50s. That's the British ordinariate. Let them be.
    • As the Antiochians' work is ours for the asking, so is that of classic Anglo-Papalists. It's Not About Latin™ (but Latin has its place: template and international language) so the English Missal (Tridentine in English) should be approved as an option too.
  • The ordinariates' first bishop designate is the American one's new ordinary-to-be, Msgr. Steven Lopes, a born Catholic but very familiar with the tradition he's been assigned to, as Msgr. Steenson (nice, nice man I knew when he was rector of Rosemont) takes a well-deserved rest in retirement (he's still administrator until Msgr. Lopes' consecration). Ad multos annos.
  • The ordinariates still won't train new married priests, only allowing ex-Anglican ones. The church has the authority to make that rule. I am not attacking the Latin Church's longstanding rule but, given the Slavic Greek Catholic experience in America (we caused schisms), for example, priestly celibacy is not a hill I'd die on. I understand faithful celibate priests' resentment of a change but ordaining the married in the ordinariates would give it a lot more appeal for ex-Anglicans, showing we're serious about preserving all of their patrimony that doesn't go against our doctrine. (My same answer to the Orthodox, including the American descendants of ex-Catholics: please come home; everything that's not doctrine, even parish ownership of property, is on the table.) Then again, by now, just about every Anglican who really wanted to be Catholic now is.
  • Possible Episcopal argument: "You're proselytizing with the ordinariates, so you can't complain about our Hispanic outreach." It's not a false-flag operation; the Anglo-Catholic alumni asked to come in. We're really talking about rival true-church claims (they are the direct successors of the old high churchmen with their misunderstood branch theory: they're the true church; we're a real church with real bishops and the real Eucharist but in grave error) so this is fair game. Except for the 150-year-old border skirmish because of Anglo-Catholicism, the Catholic and Episcopal churches don't really compete; the Episcopalians' real rivals are other English Reformed churches and offshoots, the United Church of Christ and the Unitarians.
*Traditional Lutheranism is a similar retrofitting. Luther's Christianity (according to Davies: I say I'm saved so I'm saved; the Eucharist isn't Christ's sacrifice pleaded on the altar) was radically new but he wasn't consistent and he was for using the trappings of the church to deceive the simple faithful (for their own good). His followers (Melanchthon most of his life) tried to reach an agreement with the church and wrote down a theology to answer us after Trent. Thus a made-up Christianity accidentally became our close cousin some time after its founding (similar line as Anglican old high church: they're the church; we're in grave error).

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Vatican II is policy, not doctrine: Catholicism and Americanism

America can work for us: by the '50s the Northeast was almost a Catholic country.

Francis is bad but this was one of our worst Popes, the vacillating one who let the Sixties in.

Paul VI: Vatican II is not binding on Catholics. Vatican II didn't define doctrine and nothing can change doctrine. The vernacular in worship, religious liberty American style, and ecumenical and interfaith studies and talks are fine, rightly understood, but we're better off ignoring this council.

Thomas Case in 1992: "A contention between American patriots and European fascists is ripping the Society [of St. Pius X] apart."

That is a difference between American and European Catholic traditionalisms but it doesn't have to split Catholics. The church doesn't define doctrine about politics or economics; the political means to the end of saving souls and human flourishing are up to us, as long as we don't buy the end justifying the means.
Religious liberty is fine?
Sure! The generosity of some American colonies and of America's founding fathers made the country a great home for Catholics.
Religious liberty American style is heresy.
So Catholics before Vatican II who were proud American citizens were in mortal sin?
Catholics before Vatican 2 who support the idea of separation of Church and State as per the secularist understanding of the liberals were and are heretics. Heresy existed long before your country was created.
It's a razor-fine distinction but on one hand there's religious freedom as a relative good for the church to flourish, or how Catholics could be Americans, and then there's indifferentism, the fashionable modern belief that all religions are really the same, like denominationalism in modern liberal American Protestantism; your choice and strictly a private matter, like what brand of motor oil you buy. John Courtney Murray went too far, being Americanized (the Americanist heresy Leo XIII condemned?): seeing Catholicism as just another denomination. That doesn't mean Catholics can't be good Americans. Pre-Vatican II American Catholics were! (Are, as arguably we are pre-Vatican II Catholics.) Vatican II rightly interpreted says the American way can work for the church, a policy change from favoring a state church (which as Catholics we still can do), not a change in our doctrine, which is impossible. I know it sounds close to what the Syllabus Errorum condemns but again it's a fine distinction. In other words we accept religious freedom as an option but without the secularist understanding of it that the church condemns (insisting that freedom's the only way: the Americanist heresy).
There can be no policy change from favouring the true religion to having the State treat religion and falsehood equally. That idea of change is condemned by Vatican I.
Policy can and does change. Doctrine doesn't. We still teach we are the church, even with the council's subsistit in (which I have no problem with; we've always recognized the Orthodox' bishops and Masses and Protestant baptisms).
It is doctrine that States have the moral obligation to support and promote only the true religion (Social Kingship of Christ). The negation thereof is absurdity and heresy.
But there are different ways of promoting and supporting the true religion. We can have a state church like Franco Spain (and I like El Caudillo) but we don't have to.

Catholic vs. classic Anglican debate

Rural vicars "drowning" amid battle to keep empty churches open.

Right, the C of E is endangered. Many well-meaning Christians and I differ on the solution, either a return to a godly evangelicalism or what I believe, the C of E becoming the C in E again, a return to the faith of the Popes. I maintain that the perhaps well-meant evangelicalism got the ball rolling on the secularism that's emptied these churches. And yes, Catholic churches in Europe are dead too, because of the "Enlightenment," or Protestantism, Part II, accelerated by Vatican II. Orthodoxy? No, thanks. Estranged Catholicism with the same anti-Westernism as ISIS; denying your own Christian heritage (rewriting your history so somehow you were part of the Greek Empire) is no answer worth taking seriously.
A return to Papism isn't the solution for the CofE, since that's inimical to her constitution and canons. It is rather a return to the faith of the Reformed Church of England and that of Holy Scripture, the BCP & Ordinal, the Articles of Religion, and the Homilies. I'm familiar with the revisionist history that claims secularism is a result of Protestantism, but that's specious.
But the Reformed Church of England (and you're right; it is a Reformed faith) is part of the same Renaissance second-guessing of tradition (in the name of casting off medievalism) that in our day has produced women priests and gay weddings, which the Reformed Church of England in fact now teaches and practices, which by the way doesn't cause the English to go back to church.
I'm not moved by the genetic fallacy injected into church history, it's a well-trod path that leads nowhere. The modern CofE, ACC, and TEC deny any sort of Reformed doctrinal connection — that's what that business about consigning the AoR to the "Historical Documents of the Episcopal Church" was about in the US, and the same could be said of the CofE. Homosexual marriage, WO, and other forms of gender confusion aren't a result of the Reformed faith, but rather an absence of it. The Carolines had just as much right to the patristic mantle as anyone, and the English could easily read the Fathers as consonant with Reformed Eucharistic doctrine. Bp Beveridge taught that “Whatsoever doctrine you find to be clearly propounded, asserted, or suggested, either in our Articles or Common-Prayer Book, you may and ought to rest fully satisfied in your minds that that is the true doctrine of the Apostles, which you ought to continue firm and steadfast in", and I've found no valid reason to deny that.
Then how do you explain the unreformed Christian faiths, us Catholics and the estranged Eastern churches, not having homosexual marriage, WO, and other forms of gender confusion in our doctrine?
Continuing Anglicans don't have homosexual marriage, either. It's only the civil religion oriented, burned-out, numerically declining mainline churches in the West that have gone antinomian on homosexuality. Making that argument would be like me pointing to the vocal "women priests" movement, or, if you will, various forms of cafeteria Catholicism as proof of the secularism of the modernists. Anglican doctrine doesn't allow for it. That there are rebellious elements in the churches that do it is another thing. Don't forget that at least in the US, WO was at the very first done illegally, unconstitutionally, and uncanonically.
But the Continuing churches are small squabbling sects. Clearly the universal church of the centuries and in just about every place can't be that. The Carolines' church was invented by them; you're right that the Anglo-Catholics' attempt to shelve the Articles was intellectually dishonest just like Modernism. That's why Newman converted.
But so what? Dogma isn't a majority vote. Surely you would agree with me on this, because if you didn't you'd see the apparent dilemma. I'd add that it's not all down to the Continuers. There are a huge number of African and Asian Anglican Provinces that do not ordain women and have very serious legal restrictions on homosexuality in their cultures, let alone in the ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons.
"Dogma isn't a majority vote." No, it's not. The thing is, the universal church does a better job of teaching those truths than a gaggle of sects with purple fever (lots of wannabe bishops; not a lot of parishioners). So I don't see the point of reinventing the wheel by starting another church! "There are a huge number of African and Asian Anglican Provinces..." Protestants: "The church got it wrong until our godly framers made it right. Jesus is sure lucky to have us." No, thanks.
Don't look now, John, but it looks like Papa Francis may be reinventing the wheel himself. I guess I'm a pretty conservative Anglican high churchman. I don't see any dilemma in that at all. I've been an Anglican since the time of Lambeth '98, and I've never received the ministrations of a priestess nor have been asked to marry two men or two women. I'm praying, ministering, and fighting for the same things the Anglican fathers were, and in their time they had to work within periods of sometimes severe moral decline. I'd be the first to admit and agree with you that the current malaise is very severe, and the Christian faith is under attack in ways it never has been before.
I was an Anglican because my dad left the Catholic Church after marrying an Episcopalian; I was baptized in '66. I was a would-be Catholic seemingly sucker-punched by Spong-ism, women's ordination, and homosexualism, then I read the Articles honestly and put 2 and 2 together. I never wanted to be a Protestant.

Ha ha; I was expecting the Pope Francis remark. No problem: papal infallibility is part of church infallibility (which your Articles deny, hence WO and same-sex marriage, for example), which limits the Pope to defending our doctrine. Pope Francis doesn't have the authority to change it.

The universal church is all the inclusivity I need.

It's Rome or the abyss, folks. By Rome I mean our doctrine, not Catholic churchmen's opinions, even the Pope's.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Latter-day tribal Christianity

Last month, interestingly from Canada: The Pier’s patriarch: Waterman enthroned to head church. African Orthodox leader “man of great compassion.”

Sincere vagantes. Vaguely high-church but either creative or ignorant about the traditions they borrow piecemeal.

And interestingly this outfit isn't the real African Orthodox Church but a more liberal splinter; I understand the original doesn't ordain women.

Mike Myers' Linda Richman of "Coffee Talk" character: "The African Orthodox Church is neither African nor Orthodox. Discuss!" It's true. The original is a 1920s black ex-Episcopal offshoot of Marcus Garvey's movement in America. An Episcopal priest got vagante episcopal orders from some ex-Old Catholic and set up his own thing, interesting-looking in America's golden era because it looked just like a small version of Cardinal Spellman's Catholic Church but it was all black. 25 years ago I met one of their bishops, a dignified old gentleman dressed in choir habit (cassock, zucchetto, mozetta, lace rochet, and chimere) just like Archbishop Lefebvre. (By the way, older black men are the only ones in Philadelphia who still dress like me; they do it on Sunday for church.)

Vagantes often call themselves Orthodox because they know it means Catholic without the Pope. They have no connection to the real Orthodox so they aren't recognized by them (actually the Orthodox don't recognize anybody outside Orthodoxy) and they usually don't follow those rules any more than they do ours.

This crew, while not Byzantine by any stretch, goes one further, though: just like the real Orthodox, they've essentially made the tribe their faith. We inculturate so the church is very local: Italian, Polish, and Melkite Catholicism are each unique, for example, even though most national Catholicisms share the Roman Rite. (For us, it actually doesn't start with the Pope; the church's basic unit is the diocese, gathered around the bishop as in apostolic times... who is in communion with the rest of the world's Catholic bishops, who of course include you-know-who in Rome, who has a unique, indispensable job in the church. There. I think I've got it covered.) But when you're worshipping Greekness or blackness (or whiteness; why Catholics aren't Nazis), you've got a problem. Franciszek Hodur did it with Polishness; his tiny church still exists in America but is on life support.

I think the real African Orthodox Church has the church named for John Coltrane, whom they canonized. That says it all.

Nearly 70 years later, troublemaker ex-Catholic priest George Stallings basically reinvented the wheel, starting his own version of this church; I think he and it are still around, but like it very small. Stallings also paralleled Hodur: troublesome but a bishop gave him a chance, sending him to seminary and ordaining him, then he bit the hand that fed him.

Reminds me too of another founding reverend father in America's vagante scene, Carmel Henry Carfora, an Italian-born ex-Franciscan priest an ex-Old Catholic, de Landas Berghes (a European nobleman who eventually came into the church), jumped up to bishop, so for decades he both imitated the church and railed against it at the same time (a lot like Hodur, a liberal wack in Catholic garb). Italian folk Catholicism and Italian anti-clericalism (we revere the office of the clergy but know priests too well to worship them) all in one go!

Religion is by nature serious but it sure can be fun sometimes.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Remembering American Anglo-Catholicism: Fr. Wetherell and All Saints, Orange

In 1876, a mission of St. Mark's Church was started in an old schoolhouse at the corner of Valley Road and Forest Street. In 1885, the name was officially changed to All Saints (Episcopal) Church. Eventually, the parish purchased land and constructed the church...
All Saints, Orange, NJ, was the first full-fledged Anglo-Catholic church I saw, as Fr. William Wetherell had it.

Walking into All Saints then was my "Russians in Hagia Sophia" experience; it felt like coming home to the church so my religious expression has reflected it ever since. (And the lesson that such semi-congregationalism can be a hedge against liberalism. Fr. Wetherell's church was the same as in 1957, intact after Vatican II.) All the mystery, reverence, and folk religion of Tridentine Catholicism enhanced by things such as the rood beam and seven hanging red lamps. Three altars (big high altar and two side ones), statues and votive-candle stands everywhere, Stations of the Cross, crucifixes, confessionals, and holy-water fonts, jammed into a charming little building originally just late-1800s Protestant Episcopal. Outside, a crucifix on a wall, a statue of Mary, and the church sign announcing Sunday Mass. I think Fr. Wetherell also promoted devotions such as the Green Scapular. It sure wasn't Protestantism, the religion of the Prayer Book, even though it used the idiom of that book; it demonstrated Catholicism in English. Outsiders usually have no idea how close parts of the Episcopal Church came to Catholicism.

Fr. Wetherell was married; maybe if the ordinariate existed in his day, he would have come in.

I saw All Saints again in the late '80s; most of this was gone and it had been Episcopalianized. It's now closed. But arguably Fr. Wetherell's work was done. I have much the same experience at my Sunday Mass, sadly rare in Catholic churches but it's there if you're looking for it. Just like the Episcopal Church in Fr. Wetherell's day.

The anniversary of JFK's death

A handsome man who in ways reflected the better era he was a part of, and sincerely anti-Communist. (He was sickly all his life and gangly as a young man. Cortisone treatment in the '50s for his Addison's disease gave him his famous chunky look. Epitomizing the era, Camelot was largely his beautiful wife's creation.) That said, I'm not part of his cultus (media promotion going back to when his father wanted to be president; the Kennedys have been part of the American imagination since the late '30s). I have a Nixon campaign souvenir on my desk, next to a Goldwater one. (As young congressmen, he and Kennedy were once friendly, fellow anti-Communists. If not for Nixon's understandable insecurity — Kennedy stole the election — which enabled the Sixties to knock him down, he would be remembered as a great statesman, governing non-ideologically.) Kennedy's nominal Catholicism didn't matter but I understand why so many of us supported him (most of us were Democrats: labor, unions, but socially conservative; the appealing notion that one of our own was coming in). He didn't fool Cardinal Spellman. Besides, knowing he had the Catholic vote, he basically disowned the church in a speech, just like Catholic Democrats now. Anyway, what a horrible way to die; such a glamorous figure doing so hurt the country very much. We'll probably never know the truth but I believe it was a conspiracy. Oswald was probably an American agent (being a lone Red nut was his cover). Could have been working for Johnson (he and Kennedy hated each other) or the CIA. The Mafia wanted Kennedy dead too (they helped get him in but his brother turned on them as attorney general); maybe one of their men fired the fatal shot from the grassy knoll. And I don't believe the boomer mythology that Kennedy's death kicked off the Sixties; that rot set in later (I saw it win by 1973). God have mercy on him.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

When Italian immigrants were "the other"

From 2012: someone trying to shame American white ethnics into buying into Sixties identity politics (political correctness: you too can be a favored victim class) to let in a hostile religion (let's ask the families of the Boston Marathon and Paris victims how that's working out): When Italian immigrants were "the other."

Right, and the Irish 50-100 years earlier faced the same problem almost to the same degree (it's been exaggerated but it happened), even though they were fellow northern Europeans, because of course they were Catholic. But these groups (don't forget the southern Germans, here since colonial times, the Poles, and the Louisiana French) didn't cry victim like Sixties identity politics (the Poles in Britain still don't; they're pillars of society); they built their own Catholic America (Catholic schools, for example) and enriched their hosts' society, 100% Catholic and proud to be American, so our Protestant hosts came to love us Catholics, by the '50s. (Every war-movie platoon had a Tony from Brooklyn, because it was true, and everybody loves Italian-American food.)

It all really comes down to whether the church and America are compatible. (America should have stayed loyal to Britain in the 1700s, but let's work with what we've got.) The Protestant nativists rightly saw that the church and their vision of America, not as truly neutral/impartial but Protestant, weren't. (They really wanted heresy to be the law of the land, and the modern liberals really still do; the church said no to heresy and indifferentism and of course still does.) I'll say that the church and true religious impartiality (neutrality, not indifferentism) at least implied by the founding fathers are compatible, which is why pre-Sixties America was such a great home for Catholics. We peaked around 1960; the American Northeast was almost a Catholic country. At least we and the Protestants had Christianity and European culture in common, so it worked. (Then we squandered that at Vatican II; the Rockefellers bought us off and so we caved to the Sixties, in practice, not in principle.)

Some say only the best Italians stayed here; those who couldn't make it here went home. (By the way, there's nothing wrong with making your fortune here, then returning. I understand the Greeks do that, or used to.) And maybe the 1925 restriction on immigration actually helped the Italians here stabilize and move up. Basic economics: a country has limited resources, which is why illegal immigration is theft, not mercy. Even too much legal immigration puts too much of a strain on a country. Citizens first.

The lefties often have a point, as they do here about "othering"; most of their ethics are stolen from Christianity and distorted, here a distortion of the ethic of universal love.

By the way the Italian immigration was overwhelmingly southern (lots of Neapolitans, Calabrese, and Sicilians), the regions that lost out in the Risorgimento that created Italy (the northern secular liberals won), so the Italian that survives here, either the whole language among the second generation (I know some of them) or food words the third etc., English-only generations still use, is southern dialects (half-)remembered phonetically (so for example mozzarella is mootzarell or, Sicilian, mootzadell).

ISIS in their own words

Cracked presents a variant of one of its strong suits, reporting news of the weird (the other being teaching little-known history that should be better known; its weakness is it's becoming as cravenly politically correct as The Onion with sermonizing): 7 things I learned reading every issue of ISIS' magazine, Dabiq.
  • In important ways they're exactly what you think and are honest about it: they're evil killers proud of their slaughter.
  • Don't invade, don't invite. Killing them doesn't deter them; they're willing to die. Their violence in the West (to Muslims here: "If you can't move here like you should, kill a Crusader there for us") makes sense because they're picking a fight, not trying to get our sympathy. They want us to invade Syria so they can fight us on their turf. Makes sense militarily plus it conveniently fulfills one of their prophecies.
  • Western politeness/lefty showing off — "It's Daesh, not ISIS" — doesn't mean anything to them.
  • They're thieves, parasites: they get most of their money from robbing banks and steal most of their weapons from us and the Russians.
  • Their worst enemy and biggest fear, the biggest threat to them: they're going broke. Like depriving a fire of oxygen, just let them burn out over there.
  • Stopped clock: drugs are bad and gold is good, common sense they believe in, which the lefties at Cracked make fun of, taking a swipe at Ron Paul and Internet libertarians for the gold part. I'll add: they realize that having lots of kids is good; contracepting and aborting yourselves into extinction is stupid.
  • The people they hate the most aren't white Westerners but heretical or lapsed Muslims, even the Taliban and al-Qaeda. They mostly kill other Muslims.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Paris: Don't invade, don't invite

There is nothing new really, I don't have much if anything original to say, and as for sharing links and memes, that's what Facebook's for, for now (until something replaces it?). Those are among the reasons I hadn't written anything here about the Paris massacre last Friday.

Obviously, there's no tricolor flag, no "La Marseillaise," and no Eiffel Tower peace sign (Sixties) from me. Many well-meaning (ignorant) people, intending to honor Catholic or at least European France, have posted such of course. But of course modern France, post-revolutionary France, secular(ist, as in anti-religious) France, partly caused the problem. (As the black militants used to say, "If you're not part of the solution...") If you want to display a flag, make it the royal fleur-de-lis and/or the Catholic (Sacred Heart) flag of the Vendée.

Prayers for the dead? Asking Our Lady, St. Genevieve, and St. Joan of Arc to defend what's left of Christendom, including "the church's (long wayward) eldest daughter"? Those go without saying.

"Kill them all"? Carpet bombing? Understandable, and a healthier reaction (love starts at home), a conservative one, than the leapfrogging loyalty (that is, disloyalty to your own community), self-hating response of the ruling left, a Christian heresy as regular readers know; defending "multicultural France," etc., an ersatz version of Christianity's universal love. (Also, showing weakness only makes a bully worse.) But, trite but true, two wrongs don't make a right. (The Catholic Church: the end doesn't justify the means. Bombing civilians on purpose is a sin.)

Just like 9/11, what's happening is partly payback for our (actually, our "progressive" politics trying to remake the world in its heretical Christian, multicultural, etc. image) "invading the world." ISIS is evil but they and their legions of sympathizers are mad at us for a reason.

Iraq and Syria weren't really Muslim governments before we butted in. Why couldn't we leave well enough alone? Neither were anything to do with 9/11. Saddam Hussein, once our ally (on our payroll?) vs. Iran (another mess we arguably created, backing the Shah, setting off a reaction), was a bad Muslim, a secular ruler, the kind of Muslim whom Osama bin Laden (another onetime ally we basically created to fight the Russians in Afghanistan) hated. Assad's Alawism is to Islam as Mormonism is to Christianity, which is why the Muslims hate him. You could be a Christian in both countries. Syria is the home of the Melkite and Antiochian Orthodox (Byzantine twins) and Jacobite churches; Iraq the Nestorians and their Chaldean Catholic offshoot, the country's biggest church.

But our mistaken foreign policy (including neocons, really just a kind of "progressive": "nation-building") has destroyed those ancient churches in their homelands. Destroyed as in these Christians are being slaughtered. (Martyrdom isn't just in history books; that long list of Roman names the priest recites in the Canon at Mass.) I understand Iraq's Christians have dwindled from at least a million to about 200,000.

ISIS: we have created a monster. They're angry, they're virulent, and they were smart enough to take advantage of Western liberals' charity (residual Christian ethics) by sneaking into our countries, "hiding in plain sight," as "refugees." (Right. Women and children stay behind while military-fit men come to Europe.)

I bring all this up because defending what's left of the Christians in those countries (who are either Catholic or estranged Catholics of the East: they have real bishops and the Mass) appeals very much. I don't have an easy answer.

A man who formed my worldview (and he's Catholic), Lew Rockwell, has reminded his readers of the teaching of one of his columnists, military analyst Bill Lind. While our military has technologically advanced in 70 years, of course, it is still really geared to refight World War II (better aircraft carriers and planes, as if we were still trying to sink the Japanese Navy), as outmoded as the Maginot Line. Let's look at our track record vs. guerrillas on their turf. Didn't work in Vietnam. A land war vs. ISIS would be another unwinnable one, and unnecessary to protect Americans at home, which is the American government's (including of course the U.S. military's) proper job.

The ruling Western liberals seem to want to replace our population (at least replace recalcitrant conservative whites, people of the wrong class), thinking the second generation will assimilate, since Western liberal values are taken to be self-evident truths, or least the newcomers will be so grateful for the welcome, multiculturalism and all that, that the ruling liberals will remain in power or least be spared. The history of dhimmitude or at least the Tsarnaev brothers blowing up the affluent lefties' little fun run in Boston (thanks, Roissy, for that turn of phrase) should have ended such notions, but the libs are either willfully ignorant or hey, to make an omelet you've got to break a few eggs.

Signs of a country and, locally, a church that have lost their nerve or are at least ignorant: I saw a picture and headline about Notre Dame Cathedral's organ playing "La Marseillaise" during a "memorial Mass" for those killed. Memorial services are for Protestants, since they don't believe in prayer for the dead so the service is just to comfort the mourners and/or pay a tribute to the dead person. We have Requiem Masses ("Grant eternal rest..."), pleading Christ's sacrifice on our altars for God to show his mercy to the departed one, saving his soul and easing purgatory.

So it seems to me the answer's still "don't invade them; don't invite them." Steve Sailer on the Paris attack: "That's what separate countries are for." Build more pipelines here so our contact with those countries is minimal, buying oil. Stop the "refugee" Trojan horse and that will stop ISIS. (Among others, Archbishop Lefebvre of blessed memory warned of this about 25 years ago: if you let lots of Muslims in, they will take over. It's the nature of their religion. The battles of Lepanto and Vienna weren't exceptions.) They can pull operations like 9/11 and Paris, but they have no big army to occupy us, no real navy to bring one here or attack us, and no planes or missiles with the range to attack. We in turn should stay out of their countries' politics.

At long last, let's leave each other alone.

Some interesting posts: P.S. And of course all of Europe should become Catholic again.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hellenes and Rhomaioi

"O heavenly King, the Comforter, Spirit of truth..." Said this prayer here yesterday. Jesus saves; Mary prays. St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church, Cherry Hill, NJ. One of their women's groups, a chapter of the Daughters of Penelope, was having an early Christmas bazaar. One thing struck me: perhaps understandably, all the banners in the church gym celebrated ancient, pagan Greece; still kind of ironic, especially at a church, from Christian Greeks, Rhomaioi, "Romans" whom British historians named Byzantines. (Their empire WAS the Roman Empire, in the exact sense Taiwan is Nationalist China. Anyway, providential that early on "Roman" and "Christian" became synonymous.) St. Demetrios Church near me is similar: the church stuff is fine, Byzantine; the undercroft is a mini-museum celebrating Hellenism, not Byzantium. Makes me think of a secularist element of Greek nationalism, rather like in the Irish kind; it's long been about Hellenism. Like with Katharevousa, the Greek government pretending people still spoke ancient Greek by pushing a version of it in the schools for a few decades.

The beauty of Byzantium is repentant gentiles, the Roman Empire, became entirely Catholic. The tragedy of Byzantium is they later got the wrong idea that if you weren't in their empire, you were outside the church.

Pan-Slavism is Byzantium redux: Russia and its satellites such as Serbia and Bulgaria. Catholic Slavs won't have it. It's another attempt at a universality opposed to the church's universality.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Phila Flea Market, Pumpkin Run car show, and Fury Jim

I'm a regular at the Phila Flea Market when it's at its winter indoor venue. Last season I saw this man filming and talked to him between shots.

Almost at the New Jersey shore, the Pumpkin Run's an amazing show and swap meet, despite the rain this year that broke it up early. At least 1,000 cars, "more than Lead East." Hey, I wore my boots and had my big umbrella.

Fury Jim's Christine "Bad 58" (actually a Belvedere) and '57 Plymouth wagon were there; met him.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Which religion?

The pagan in the jungle who understands sacrifices are necessary is closer to God than the modern materialist who says there is no God.
Right. The Aztec really believed in the sun god he cruelly offered a living man's heart to; we continue Christ's sacrifice minus cruelty with the Mass. St. Thomas Aquinas' five proofs for God the prime mover trump the atheist's nihilism (hopelessness) and lack of an answer for the universe and the way things are, so I'm a Catholic. Beats despairing and jumping off a bridge.

All the Protestant offers are excuses why he's not Catholic and an easily disprovable narrative that he alone rediscovered true Christianity ("and everybody got it wrong until our founder set things right; Jesus is sure lucky to have us"). Orthodox are obviously just an estranged, ethnic part of our family. Judaism? Tribal religion, and I'm not in the tribe; superseded by the New Covenant. Mohammedanism? Mormonism? Made up. So the church it is.
I can take the people that have good theological reasons for not being Catholic as long as the arguments are not based on historical and theological straw men. But most Christians today know nothing about Church history or they've only read the revisionist history propagated by their own denomination. And let's be honest, most people simply don't want to do the work required to honestly research any issue. But the reforms keep coming, in the way of "that's pagan" and what will supplant the liturgical year will continue to be a gross simplification and only market based. And all error comes from gross simplifications. Take every single historical heresy...they all stem from gross simplifications. Islam is a gross simplification of Christianity. Mormonism and Hinduism might be the ONLY two religions I can think of that aren't over-simplifications.
As I like to say, I respect principled high churchmen who don't quite accept Catholicism. Men like Bob Hart and Peter Robinson. As long as it's not just bigotry, culture masquerading as theology. Somebody once wrote that heresy often is an attempt to simplify some Christian doctrine. Fr. Serge Keleher once told me over dinner that in small-o orthodoxy there is tension; heresy is trying to relieve that.

A recent ex-Catholic preaches online, and my answer

From 2012: He's still outside the church.

1. "...over a year ago when I was still nominally a Roman Catholic." A new convert to anything shouldn't preach. The Orthodox agree! 2. You bring up some good points: Calvinism eventually shatters into unbelief; the Novus Ordo never should have been written. 3. You're Catholic: now you're trying to buy into a system that really believes only Byzantium is the church but your experience and your heart tell you otherwise. Basically, 20 years ago I was you (except I wasn't born Catholic). You obviously still care about traditional Western Catholicism. Good. 4. Latinization wasn't our original plan. Nine times out of 10, Eastern Catholics latinized themselves. Both the unlatinized and the latinized versions have the right to exist. 5. Although writing new services is un-Catholic, the Novus Ordo isn't heretical. Benedict XVI fixed its mistakes in English. It has grace even though the old Mass is better. (I go to the old Mass almost exclusively.) 6. We should learn a lot from the Christian East: the church should be a grassroots communion run by custom. That and the Pope aren't mutually exclusive, as Benedict XVI reminded. 7. Eastern Christian cultures are great, but to become Orthodox is to confuse culture with the essence of the church. Catholicism is one set of doctrine not tied down to any one culture. 8. We include the East. The East doesn't really include us. An Orthodox can either mirror our recognition of his church or believe we are bogus, even our baptisms. Orthodoxy has its tiny Western Rite experiment but the Orthodox obviously don't really want it. 9. I owe something to the East: my first traditional Catholic Mass 30 years ago was Ukrainian. 10. Eastern Catholicism is endangered in America due to assimilation (the main reason the Orthodox lose Americans too); unlatinized and latinized, it needs and deserves our support.