Saturday, July 30, 2016

Will the SSPX become a personal prelature?

Sounds good. Not as good as making Fellay a cardinal (great though he's unlikely to become Pope) but one step at a time. Can anybody confirm either of these?
I find it hard to believe either party can accept union. Differences on doctrine are the biggest problem; neither side will budge.
The difference with the official church is not about doctrine. As you can imagine, I am grateful to the SSPX for all the good it has done but I'm not affiliated with it; I'm in the official church. (The only religious organization I belong to is my parish.) If not for them, I wouldn't have my Mass. Their rationale is there is a state of emergency in the church that calls for what they're doing, which can happen (as can the sedevacantist scenario), but isn't. But unlike the Orthodox, the Anglicans, and the Old Catholics, they've never claimed to be a separate church. (The vagante temptation: try to start your own church by somehow trying to become a bishop.) Their bishops are only sacramental bishops, not diocesans, because only the official church can assign bishops to dioceses. Nor is the big difference really about liturgy or Latin. It's over Vatican II on religious liberty and ecumenism. Policy; Vatican II did not define doctrine. I live as though Vatican II does not exist but I have no problem with it on religious liberty and ecumenism, rightly understood. One true church, not indifferentism (such as that assumed in Anglo-American Masonic society); "subsists in" isn't new as we've always recognized the Orthodox' bishops and the Protestants' baptisms.
The Brotherhood has long had extremist members in its ranks, such as Bishop Richard Williamson, who denied the Holocaust. Did this harm the negotiations?
Bishop Williamson has questioned the magic number six million regarding the Holocaust, claiming it's too high, making me think. Irrelevant; not doctrine. Besides, the order kicked him out for disobedience (doing confirmations without its permission?) and he's excommunicated again for consecrating a bishop without Rome's permission.

Burke or Sarah for Pope; Lefebvre for saint.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Religious magazines

Magazines seem doomed in the Internet age but being old-fashioned and having a friend who reads much and passes it to me, I've caught up with two Christian ones lately.
  • Rediscovering the joy of Touchstone, "a journal of mere Christianity." A cantankerous, theologically conservative but politically leftist, on-and-off blogger hated them for some reason; I just don't see it. (I think he or she just doesn't like social conservatives, whom he or she sees as bourgeois and beneath him or her.) A natural, back-to-basics home for Mass-and-office Catholic traditionalists, our conservative Novus Ordo brethren, Robert Hart and other classic Anglicans (like C.S. Lewis was), Missouri Synod Lutherans (our close cousins), and polite Western convert Orthodox whom I think are a good nudge from becoming Catholic (again). The right kind of ecumenism, credally small-o orthodox and Christ-centered. First Things (another admirable magazine) without the political neoconservatism?
  • Sophia, the diocesan magazine of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton, Mass. A mixed bag. Hooray of course for the Byzantine Rite including in this lovingly unlatinized form, for the small-o orthodoxy (me: Catholic traditionalism without some of our baggage) inherent in it, and for the right kind of ecumenism: of course it makes sense to acknowledge most of the world's Byzantine Christians even though at the moment they're outside the church. The joy possible in "Orthodoxy without the attitude," part of the church, not opposing it. The down side: sometimes they seem like a dressed-up version of Novus Ordo liberals, sounding more like such 45 years ago than like the Orthodox. An example: an article on how "progressive" they were at Vatican II, like that's something to be proud of. (Maximos IV was right that the Eastern patriarchs should outrank cardinals; polity, not doctrine.) On their agenda then: watering down our true-church claim by encouraging communicatio in sacris and by teaching more contemporary philosophy. Reminds me of "trans men" at women's colleges majoring in "gender studies" and wanting "safe spaces"; couldn't be less manly. This stuff couldn't be less Orthodox! In contrast, when Benedict XVI repeated our true-church claim, the Russians respected him because they understood him.
The people at the hearts, the centers, of their churches are closer to God and thus to each other; Touchstone reflects that. Ecumenism really means teaching people Catholicism. The basics, but also being upfront with and about some people who don't think we have real sacraments. (We teach, not just opine, that they have bishops and the Mass.) As Fulton Sheen and more than one convert has said, there's what people think the church is and teaches, and what it really is and what it really teaches.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Timothean (Kaine-ian) creed

I'm a Catholic; Hillary is a Methodist. Her creed is the same as mine: do all the good you can.
What Christianity has been reduced to in mainstream America, outside of evangelicalism and our ghetto of real Catholicism (vs. Kaine's Protestantized Catholicism; Pence is an evangelical convert). The liberal Protestants think this was the goal of Jesus and Christianity, but that doesn't square with what Jesus said or with the church fathers such as Athanasius. (The classical Anglicans, who put much stock in the fathers, were wrong but weren't relativists or agnostics.) "Do all the good you can," like you can earn your way into heaven, but "imagine there's no heaven" as Boomer Jesus sang; just be nice, whatever that means, and IF there's a God, you've earned your ticket. Moralistic therapeutic deism; as long as you're not intolerant or something, God's Santa Claus in the sky. No. This thinking has been around since the "Enlightenment" (at least they believed in natural law over emotion) but as recently as 60 years ago the churches defended small-o orthodoxy on paper. It's a trial by fire; of course the "last man standing" is Catholicism.

The good news is few younger than boomers still think this is Christianity, or they think secular humanism is Christianity fulfilled so they drop church and don't try to pass this off as Christian. The few young believers want real religion.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Cruz's speech and Hillary's possible seizure

  • I don't hate Ted Cruz. It's nothing personal; he's just not the man of the hour for the job at hand. Besides being diametrically opposed, the only candidate I don't like is Hillary Clinton. (Trump doesn't care about the church. Hillary wants to obliterate it, maybe first subverting it à la Tim Kaine, Protestant/Masonic America's longstanding dream à la Henry VIII, in which we become a big, innocuous liberal Protestant denomination with some cute ethnic stuff.) He was brave with his convention speech and not derogatory. Counterpoint: if he wasn't going to endorse Trump, he should have stayed home as others did. Maybe this was last-minute. Thomas Cranmer also went back on his word: a weak man as well as a rank heretic (I use Anglican English in prayer but nothing he wrote), in prison/on trial he did the right thing for the wrong reason, recanting his Protestantism because of cowardice, then as he was being burned at the stake he reneged, doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, principles and courage. Anyway, this is a chance for me to show the too-good-for-Trump Christians, including some fellow conservative Catholics, that we on board his train can be mannerly and charitable when called for.
  • Did Hillary have a seizure? Again, it's not personal so I'm sorry if she did. Sure looks like it. If so, then the question here is, is she medically fit for office? Or like FDR's paralysis, is it irrelevant? Someone mentioned she seemed incoherent before it happened; she doesn't sound too out of it to me. But: It couldn't be one of those silly (to them, awkward to us) head movements that arrogant Baby Boomer women do to feign surprise (at all the reporters shoving recorders at her) or other emotions? I've seen Hillary bob her head around when making points before and it looks similar. Was it just a reaction to the iced chai as she joked?

Why we should keep classical languages

Fr. Hunwicke writes: As long ago as 1933, C S ('Patrimony') Lewis advanced the suggestion that the attacks — even then — upon the position of Latin and Greek as the basis of education, might be part of a plot devised in Hell to subvert the Faith.

Not only did the real John XXIII (not the legend) want to step up teaching Latin in seminaries but the Oxbridge don C.S. Lewis (also one of the greatest ambassadors and apologists not only for Christianity generally but for England's weird, confused Reformed church that's long been a halfway house back to the church) understood the importance of classical languages to teach new generations; evil people want you to be ignorant that way ("suppressing every kind of knowledge except mechanical knowledge"). (I don't know much Greek; I know Latin but am not fluent.) I add: classical languages (especially Latin?) were also how educated Europeans, with very different vernaculars, communicated for about 1,500 years after the fall of the Roman Empire. Reasons the church uses Latin (traditionalism is not about Latin, but...), still another being a dead language is a good template for precise understanding because its meanings don't change anymore.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Trump-Pence, Clinton-Kaine

It seems the presumptive Dem nominee for U.S. president and her masters are trying to cadge benighted boomer liberal votes with a social-justicy Catholic in name only as her running mate, like claiming an endorsement from Pope Francis. My guess is it wouldn't work as she'd like. In a sense there's no more Catholic vote; the lapsed rank and file know she's a corrupt joke and don't want her, just like other non-elite whites. White liberals wanted Sanders. The small-o orthodox Catholics, who vote, are about split between the Trump train that I, Pat Buchanan, and others are on board and "principled opposition" that unintentionally supports the other side and gets annoying with its self-righteousness, but they have a point that the church is above politics. (Theological conservatism doesn't necessarily mean political or economic conservatism.) The only people this move impresses are those few she already has. Trump's move, picking a seemingly real conservative but an iffy Catholic (he's really turned evangelical; irrelevant here?) to try to win a swing vote of suspicious social conservatives including conservative Catholics, is smarter. Anyway, in a real election Trump would blow her away (even without an effect from Pence) but it probably won't be real; the elite will force their pick on us.

The church doesn't endorse bare-ass naked capitalism or the Republican Party (not our conservative party; conservatives' refuge by default since the Sixties turned the Democrats against real Catholics and against evangelicals) but Kaine's version isn't really the faith but a ripoff of it. (A lot like mainline Protestantism, which is dying out.)

America's Masonic-bred (religious relativist) Protestant elite has long wanted the church here to commit suicide; it has wanted to absorb the huge Catholic minority that came here 100-150 years ago. The Sixties (including Vatican II, actually an effort of the Space Age midcentury, which partly fueled the Sixties) effectively did that for them; real Catholics are now a rump here. Our rulers want to reduce the church to political correctness (Christianity without Christ really) and a few ethnic trappings (green beer on St. Patrick's Day; Mexican food). Conversely, critics say the American right wants to reduce the church to blessing neo-liberal economics and rampant Protestant individualism (consumerism, etc.).

We work with what we've got. Trump.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Defending my part-time church home

An ex-Catholic pundit on the Web takes a shot at my Ukrainian Catholic part-time (monthly) parish. (I don't read this cat anymore but a friend sent this in an e-mail circle.) I'm not there to critique them or tell them what to do; just to pray and support this place. The video screens are a mistake (illogical in a rite that uses an iconostasis) but I've never seen them used. It's a beautiful Liturgy (big L, meaning Mass) with simple chant, better than the Novus Ordo; Orthodoxy minus the attitude. I'm still an Anglo-Catholic-tinged Tridentiner (forever) but it's great to use all this stuff I learned, this time using it in the church.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Garry Marshall's passing and the rise and long fall of "Happy Days"

Right when the Sixties were pummeling the old Middle America, you started to see some nostalgia, starting with some Columbia students forming Sha Na Na, about part of the '50s. Around then, veteran TV joke writer Garry Marshall wrote a pretty good sitcom pilot about being a teenage boy then, featuring Ronny Howard from "Andy Griffith." The pilot didn't sell and ended up being used as a "Love, American Style" episode. But it got Howard one of the lead roles in American Graffiti ("Where were you in '62?"), and the movie's success resurrected it, creating "Happy Days." So the show wasn't originally a ripoff of the movie but ended up one, sort of: same lead actor, lettering for the credits, and opening song ("Rock Around the Clock").

Its first year, in 1974 and set 18 years earlier, is very good: believable people (including minor character Fonzie the mechanic) and stories, and enough attention to detail to re-enact the time.

But viewers lost interest in it so Marshall sold out: "filmed before a studio audience," Fonziemania, and lazy, anachronistic 1970s style ruined it. "A loud, kid-friendly, multi-camera comedy more about gimmicks than intelligent storytelling or nuanced characters." If Bill Haley isn't singing over the opening credits, don't waste your time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Racial self-hatred: A subway performance

Just an observation I found interesting and thought you might, too. Riding the subway to work, a white woman at least my age, probably a little older, with a mannish haircut, started a cordial conversation with a young black woman. The white woman was a type usually much younger, a whigger (usually spelt wigger), speaking entirely with a heavy black accent and with black slang (I don't know how current; usually our knowledge of black slang is outdated). Like Barbara Billingsley's jive-talking old white lady in Airplane! This one sounded like she watched a lot of the Wayans brothers and Arsenio Hall on TV 25 years ago. This sort of thing has been around since at least the 1920s: American whites being fashionable by showing off a knowledge of black culture ("the white Negro"). There's nothing wrong with that per se, up to a point. Sure; learn from other cultures. Two things struck me, though: why was someone her age doing it? And why was she seeming to try so hard to pretend? She didn't look like Rachel Doležal; her appearance wasn't ambiguous but obviously white. She didn't dress "black" either. I felt sorry for her. After the white lady got off the train, another black woman said to the first, "What the f*ck was THAT?" Exactly. How can you respect someone seemingly that craven? It backfires now: white liberals used to do it to show how open-minded they were; now the left has turned against "cultural appropriation." It can be rude. There has to be a true middle way here. My guess is rather like Doležal ("too pale for her pious parents") and the rest of the white left, with this lady it's humility gone too far, becoming self-hatred. Like most whites, from what little I know of black culture, there are things I like. I'm still proud to be white.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Parish report: My monthly Byzantine Rite Sunday

Yesterday was my monthly Byzantine Rite Sunday at the nearest Ukrainian Catholic church. (I honor my commitment to my parish: I plan these trips and double up the collection envelopes the preceding Sunday.) My first Sunday (vs. Saturday evening) sung Liturgy (vs. spoken) there. Smallish congregation, maybe 30 to 45 people; a few relatively young ones and even a child or two. (A screaming baby is a sign of a future.) A cantor with a little help from another singer, not a choir. Singing rightly from the stand in back (the kliros, a piece of furniture, in some other Byzantine churches), not at a lectern waving his arms as in the Novus Ordo. (More below on the music.) One man doubling as server and reader, properly vested (sticharion; looks like a dalmatic but it's actually the alb's cousin), simply reading the epistle (traditionally it's chanted, such as recto tono, mostly on only one note, like in the traditional Roman Rite) but standing in the nave facing the altar as is called for. No other altar boys. Liturgy mostly in English but, contrary to what I'd read reported, some in Ukrainian (nice; no problem; I know Slavonic and Russian so it's intelligible and familiar; actually their traditional liturgical language is Slavonic, which some parishes still use). Incense of course from a Greek-style thurible jingling with many sleighbells. Hymn during the censing before Liturgy, just like the Ruthenians; in fact one of the same hymns. In the Liturgy itself, Ukrainian chant is new to me; it's in the same family as Ruthenian prostopinije (plainchant) but the tunes are different. Very memorizable and singable. (I'm retired from church singing.) No sermon on a hot day. The anaphora chanted recto tono, a modern liturgical fashion. (Traditionally except for the words of institution and a few other things, it's whispered just like the Roman Canon.) Ethnic and a very few immigrant (old exiles who escaped the Soviets) Ukrainians, not Internet-type converts attacking the teachings of the church (giving the term "Orthodox in communion with Rome" a bad name); "real people." The Ukrainianness literally isn't advertised but it's there; the people want it. But it's not about nationalism; it's about church, which is right of course. Coffee hour at which you can buy lunch, in the hall in back after the service. Thumbs up! Слава Богу (glory to God).

Liturgical colors among the Orthodox often parallel the traditional Roman Rite but not necessarily; such is the case here. White and/or gold, not green; also there was a special commemoration (of the first six ecumenical councils, I was told).

Going here part-time is something I think I'm called to do for my own edification, in reparation for how our churchmen have treated Byzantine Catholics historically (often pushed out of the church for no good reason), and of course to pray to bring the Orthodox back into the church. Maybe some good can come from my learning so much of this stuff.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ad-orientem ramble

So our top liturgy cop Cardinal Sarah says something nice about liturgical east (not literal east, though in the beginning it was), commonly called "having the priest's back to the people," or really the common-sense practice of priest and people facing the same direction to pray, suggesting that most of the Roman Rite go back to it, and churchmen in high places (Cardinal Nichols in England, for example) squelch it. Not surprising. The Catholic liberals are dying but of course won't go gently. Dom Hugh makes a good point, rather like G.K. Chesterton mocking atheists (nobody rails against belief in Thor like they do against God). If the old Mass is so patently ridiculous, why are they so afraid of even something that looks like it, such as dressed-up conservative Novus Ordo (déja vù for Anglo-Catholics; it's like high-churching the old Prayer Book)?

The facing-the-people craze was based on slanted, now discredited scholarship and experience with part of the liturgical movement in Germany going back to the 1930s. Not based on history so much as what some congregations liked. I can understand Catholic liberals in the '60s, not necessarily heretics, buying it: put on a happy face for the space age and the world will love us, converting in droves; the gospel of God's love and grace will be spread. All it got us were empty churches. How much now does the Catholic left believe its own bullshit? My guess is some of them really are trying to undermine the church from within.

As Thomas Day can explain, this form of iconoclasm and related heresy is just about unique to Roman Riters; the Episcopalians believe the creeds and love our traditional liturgy.

Pictured: the parish I belong to by choice; high-church for about 10 years.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Anglican vesture, the roots of the "Reformation," and Freemasonry

  • Religious non-story, not news: Church of England makes clerical vestments optional. On this they've almost 360ed to their founding, but the historically and religiously illiterate press of course doesn't care and is too lazy to research it. (In the Internet age that's inexcusable.) But I believe this is the first time vestments have been completely optional for them. When Cranmer and his friends cut loose under the regency for Edward VI, really starting Anglicanism, they reduced vestments to the old choir habit, which aren't really liturgical vestments: cassock, surplice, black scarf, academic hood, and Canterbury cap (the medieval English version of the biretta). Which the very low-church, the Puritans, fought the law about, and anyway, after the Sixties low-churched many people (even actual Catholic churchmen lost their nerve and sold out: Vatican II), Evangelical Anglicans took this to heart so they often don't use vestments. This change just ratifies longstanding practice. The Catholic vestments associated with Anglo-Catholicism (usually a rival true-church claim against us; only sometimes would-be Catholics), especially the Eucharistic vestments (the Protestants including Anglicanism's founders hated the Mass: "Christ's saving work is in the past; he is not here"), were actually illegally introduced to Anglican churches starting in the late 1800s (vicars went to jail) and I think remained technically against the law until 1964 (same process as just now, in reverse: it long was no longer enforced).
  • Book reports:
    • The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation by Alister McGrath. From an Oxford don at Wycliffe Hall, an Evangelical Anglican seminary. At lot of it goes over my head, but the points I think I've picked up are that the first Protestant leaders came out of the confusion among late medieval Catholic thinkers (one idea: maybe Luther mistook one school of speculation on justification for the teaching of the church and attacked it), and while the humanists (such as Erasmus, who as far as I know never attacked the teachings of the church) and the first Protestants were intellectually related, there were also important differences.
    • That Religion in Which All Men Agree: Freemasonry in American Culture by David G. Hackett. In "Enlightenment" England, upper-class men of letters met at each other's houses, in coffeehouses, etc., just to talk freely about ideas; nothing wrong with that. (The church says that's what the university is for, even discussing/debating our doctrine but of course we have ground rules.) They ended up taking over the old, real stonemasons' guild, turning it into their private club. (What happened to the real stonemasons?) Upper-class colonial Americans brought this over to emulate the mother country's upper crust, and the rest is history, basically the story of America and how secular humanism, liberal Christianity without Christ, became the ruling class's religion. (One change in America: after the Revolution, Freemasonry actually changed from elitist to popular.) Liberal Protestantism got started at the same time, basically all the English Reformed churches going bad, including the Anglicans (the English Masons started by attacking what doctrine the Anglicans still had and ended up taking over the Anglicans); they and Freemasonry became interchangeable. (Some things never change: Hackett mentions that Unitarianism was originally snooty New England Congregationalists looking down on George Whitefield's evangelicalism.) Hackett thinks the accusations of being in league with the Illuminati are hooey but he points out that for many 19th-century American men this goofy fraternity with made-up ritual was literally a serious substitute for church, which was seen as feminine. Reading between the lines, you see the Catholic Church's point against it, even though Hackett's unsympathetic. Even though Freemasonry banned atheists, if you take their ideas to their conclusion, man is so naturally good and perfectible that we don't need that Jesus story after all (some early-1800s Protestants got the picture; there was a backlash against the Masons). Even if there wasn't a conscious plan against the church, it does work against it. Today, both the lodges (and the knockoffs/wannabes: the Odd Fellows, the Elks, the Moose, etc.) and the denominations are shrinking, considered quaint/passé (interestingly, like the old left, Freemasonry and the Sixties didn't mix), but their work is done; America has been shot through with these ideas from the beginning.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pro-cop regarding Dallas? You bet! And more

  • Race in America today. Pro-cop regarding Dallas? You bet. Anti-war, pro-military, pro-cop, and pro-gun here. (None of that left-libertarian sassing-Daddy nonsense. Bob Wallace nails it: leftism is hatred of the Father. Fatherhood comes from God.) My impression is in America, white hostility to blacks, as in the liberal narrative of the pre-Sixties South, was just about dead before this presidency. Nice whites for decades have wanted to make things right, so you had both progress and well-meant mistakes such as affirmative action (one of two objections I have to Nixon; Watergate's not one of them). I wonder if the small uptick online in recent years was by accident or somebody's design. Race-baiting from things such as Black Lives Matter, which in Dallas showed they're terrorists.
  • Another well-meaning, self-righteous Christian commentator disparages Trump. As far as I can tell, the only semblance of a pro-life case for Trump is let's face it, the Republicans don't really care about this. Catholics and evangelicals have been played for decades, since we flocked to the GOP after the Democrats turned on us in the Sixties. Everybody knows him well; basically a peer-pressure liberal who unlike the elite still cares about the country as a country, a nationalist, which is great. (Illegal immigration is theft.) My guess is he'll do what most candidates do: assume his base is in his pocket (in his, populist conservatives) so lean left for a running mate to try to grab the swing vote in the middle, such as disaffected Sanders supporters left in the cold by Hillary getting the nomination. Why at least one prospective running mate has said he's pro-abortion. Repugnant, but I still feel this election is too important to sit out or waste with a token principled candidate. The movement is more important than the man. We might get fooled again or we just might save the country. Pat Buchanan's on board and so am I.
  • The fix is in. Next to nobody wants Hillary. The elite including the Republican one does. We'll see the biggest election fraud in America since Kennedy to force her on us.
  • Roissy: Reversing the sap-snark polarity. Contemporary society encourages snark about things that should be considered sacred, and sentimentality about things that call for hard-headed realism.
  • I don't go to a yuppie hipster farmers' market but an old one largely Amish and thus closed on Sundays. Part food market, part bazaar and flea market. It's local but like being in upstate Pennsylvania. Got bacon and spinach last time I was there.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Being unfair to Catholic charismatics

This memoir/exposé on Catholic charismatics wasn't at all what I expected. There's plenty to criticize in the movement: its recent, Protestant origin (an ecumenical version of 100-year-old Pentecostalism), its honeymoon with Catholic liberals after Vatican II, when ecumenism was cool and these neo-Protestants were a perfect way to stick it to us traditionalists, its well-meant excesses (which segues into this piece) such as the "enthusiasm" Ronald Knox described historically and the "covenant community" cults; really the same problems as the Protestantism this movement came from (putting feelings and immediate religious experience above the church). Often right after the council, for believing Catholics it was the only thing on offer. Churchmen left and right (John Paul the Overrated's fans) were telling high-church folks like me to forget all that artsy old-fashioned stuff and "be open to the Spirit" and even accusing us of being outside the church by being disobedient. Huh. Giving the impression that the Pope should change centuries of practice on a whim (historically not how we operate); makes the Orthodox and the conservative version of high-church Anglicans look good in comparison. No wonder I was ecclesiastically confused as a young man. (I adopted the young-fogey moniker 13 years ago, a milestone on my long road back to the church.)

But although the movement seems to be waning, not, it turns out, the hope of the church, it has changed for the better. For one thing, they and the libcaths broke up. Inevitable really, considering the charismatics' roots in politically incorrect conservative Protestantism. These sincere folks 360ed back to the church, in fact as well as in name. Now they love Mary, Exposition and Benediction, the miracle stories of the saints, and the Pope. The few times a year I'm at Benedict the Great's reformed Mass, I see them lifting their hands in the orans position at the Our Father. I call them the other American Catholics who still go to Sunday Mass besides us trads. As far as I'm concerned, they're welcome at our Mass, and they're far more open to it now. (Steubenville U. has had Tridentine Masses.)

This piece takes aim at the movement's emotional excesses but strikes me as another snobbish, smartass, sophomoric testimony of "enlightenment" (such as people raised evangelical turned Episcopalians or honest secular humanists; usually they're just mad at God), this time making fun of... just another form of perfectly good folk Catholicism, fine as long as you realize these pious opinions and practices aren't required. Abusus non tollit usum; the danger of superstition doesn't mean we should turn Protestant.

The Holy Spirit still works in the world and miracles can happen.

Ross Douthat on cosmopolitanism true and false

Genuine cosmopolitanism is a rare thing. It requires comfort with real difference, with forms of life that are truly exotic relative to one’s own. It takes its cue from a Roman playwright’s line that “nothing human is alien to me,” and goes outward ready to be transformed by what it finds.

The people who consider themselves “cosmopolitan” in today’s West, by contrast, are part of a meritocratic order that transforms difference into similarity, by plucking the best and brightest from everywhere and homogenizing them into the peculiar species that we call “global citizens.”

This species is racially diverse (within limits) and eager to assimilate the fun-seeming bits of foreign cultures — food, a touch of exotic spirituality. But no less than Brexit-voting Cornish villagers, our global citizens think and act as members of a tribe.

They have their own distinctive worldview (basically liberal Christianity without Christ), their own common educational experience, their own shared values and assumptions (social psychologists call these WEIRD — for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic), and of course their own outgroups (evangelicals, Little Englanders) to fear, pity and despise. And like any tribal cohort they seek comfort and familiarity: From London to Paris to New York, each Western “global city” (like each “global university”) is increasingly interchangeable, so that wherever the citizen of the world travels he already feels at home.

Indeed elite tribalism is actively encouraged by the technologies of globalization, the ease of travel and communication. Distance and separation force encounter and immersion, which is why the age of empire made cosmopolitans as well as chauvinists — sometimes out of the same people. (There is more genuine cosmopolitanism in Rudyard Kipling and T. E. Lawrence and Richard Francis Burton than in a hundred Davos sessions.)

Being a Christian reactionary on American Independence Day

My line on Independence Day: I like my country, my people, so in that spirit I participate, enjoying the parades and fireworks, but not my government. If we had done the right thing, remaining under the King, we'd still be America (we're different from British countries because America was settled so early) but with a clear conscience, loyal to our Christian sovereign. It isn't snobbery, and anglophilia is nothing to do with it. (That form of looking down on one's people is for liberals.) But my other line on this is I wouldn't have wanted us to end up burned-out anti-religious as British countries have; they're not a Burkean Tory high-Anglican ideal, far from it.

Hooray for that kind, maligned man, our King, George III.

Pictured: our lawful flag at the time.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Quotations on respectable American Catholicism and America's lost Catholic moment

The kind of thing we should ask ourselves in America every Independence Day. Of course we don't need to antagonize our Protestant neighbors all the time, but:
Here's the right question for Catholics who have made a cozy and comfortable compromise with the USA:
"It does look, to the superficial view, as though Catholicism will be able to do in America, and in the twentieth century, what has hitherto been impossible to it, and what Christ said was impossible. It looks superficially as though we Catholics could ride with the tide of Americanism, flourish and prosper, increase and multiply, and even gradually win the respect and conversion of our fellow citizens — all this without martyrdom, singularity, misunderstanding or ostracism. Indeed we seem already to have arrived at such a state. You will find Catholics prominent in almost every field now, working beside non-Catholics without discrimination, in factory, office and examination room, on wards and in laboratories. You will also find that these Catholics who have in such large numbers 'arrived' at respectability and comfort and country club membership, resent the 'radical' elements within the Church which disturb the neat compromise they have made. Are the 'radicals' really wrong? Are things going as nicely as they seem to be going?"
— Attributed to Carol Jackson Robinson, This Perverse Generation

The church established schools including colleges to educate the multitude of Catholics not just to prosper materially, but to hold fast to the faith and have that faith permeate society. Life magazine in 1960 commented that at the current rate of growth, America would be majority Catholic by 2000. Then along came Vatican II and the "respectable Catholicism" of JFK who virtually rejected his faith in order to win office.
Of course I like my country, my people, and the old American republic was serviceable for us, a relative good, not an absolute one, but we should have remained under our Christian king, the kind, maligned George III (Protestant but not our problem as colonies with different laws from England's).

It's easy to rally with the right around the sexual issues that before the 1930s were commonly Christian but now are seen as peculiar to us: objecting to abortion, contraception, and same-sex pseudo-marriage. We still share the first and third with evangelicals. To which some thinkers will add: don't forget our social teaching, or people and the common good come before making money and the individual; no to greed, materialism, and consumerism. (Response: it's not necessarily about greed; capitalism has produced the best average standard of living ever; planned economies, even Christian-intended, don't work.) We believe in an infallible church; true Christianity really is in part about community.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Integral Catholicism vs. secular humanism AND the alt-right

Regular readers know that outside of Catholic doctrine I try to do the right thing keeping an open mind. Catholics agree on the basics and on the goals; the means are provisional except of course the end never justifies the means. Why the church as such stays out of politics. So over the years I've learned a lot from movements that dare to think outside the box that our secular humanist overlords in America (including the Republicans, historically not our conservative party) have constructed: movements such libertarianism from Lew Rockwell, and the manosphere plus the rest of the alternative right, including nationalism and human biodiversity/race realism, even though these movements aren't Christian. The government is not God or the church; that's actually a modern "progressive" notion. (You can also trace it to the divine right of kings, which was modern, not the medieval idea of kings. "There are no absolutes so what the king says goes.") Where libertarians fail: there is authority, given by God (we are all under authority as was the centurion in the gospel; "render unto Caesar"); "there is no social contract" and "everything the government does is bad (so let's hate the cops and the military)" are childish, from people with daddy issues. ("Question authority, maaan!" is not a complete worldview worth taking seriously.) So eventually I stopped reading libertarians but haven't thrown out what I've learned from them. (I voted Libertarian nationally from 2004 until this year.) Manosphere writer Roissy says as a worldview it's autistic (every man for himself; monstrous Ayn Randian selfishness, or the Talmud for gullible goyim as another commentator put it) but, like the authentic Catholic attitude to religious liberty as a relative good, not an absolute (evangelize; not this "Fortnight for Freedom" nonsense, begging our overlords to tolerate us), it can provisionally work for a society. At heart it's good: non-aggression; don't start fights or otherwise harm your neighbor. (Jesus' Summary of the Law; this movement obviously comes from Christian culture.) Plenty of room for us fisheaters to live in peace and for you to do likewise alongside us. Also easy in a big country such as America: "diversity plus proximity equals war"; tensions rise in smaller countries such as Britain, now burned-out anti-religious.

Also, at least America's founding fathers believed in natural law, unlike our rulers now. We should have remained loyal to the King, though. (Timely for the Independence Day weekend here.) Oaths to Christian kings matter, and his being Protestant wasn't our problem over here. You don't even have to be an anglophile to see the point; we would have remained distinctly American.

Anyway, Opus Publicum asks rhetorically if Catholic integralism (from Franco to de Valera to Lefebvre) is inherently connected to the alt-right's nationalism and racial pride, and rightly says no. That doesn't mean we should throw out the alt-right's insights any more than we should reject the polio vaccine because a Jew invented it.

My take: secular humanism is very appealing in the West; it's now our ruling ideology because it's so familiar. It is a ripoff of Christianity. (Steve Sailer: liberals profess the church's universal love but hate their own people; "leapfrogging loyalty.") An alt-right approaching Nazism is natural: a reversion to paganism! (Also, ironically, to the Old Testament; blood and soil, wiping out your enemies. No, I'm not a Marcionist; just looking at the Old Testament through the lens of the New. There is only one covenant, the new.) Of course, Catholics shouldn't swallow either whole. "Neither the sickle nor the swastika" as the man who largely formed my worldview taught.

The alt-right's points: charity begins at home; love and protect your family, tribe, race, etc. Illegal immigration is theft. The church: those things are true but not absolute. We also have a universality. Property rights, which libertarians hold dear, are not an absolute. Thou shalt not steal from citizens, but if a Catholic sees someone on the border who needs help, we forget the border and help. We don't have to play stupid saying there are no differences on average among the races, or that certain groups on average are hostile. We can't make race a criterion pseudo-scientifically, let alone commit atrocities, like the Nazis did, nor for that matter traditionally as the Jews do, including Israel vs. Palestine. (Jewish liberalism in the West is about keeping the host gentile culture weak to try to protect themselves.) There is being proud of your race, and the white man created the greatest civilization (like air conditioning? thank a white man), and then there is making an idol out of it. Nazism was actually an offshoot of progressivism (see above about worshipping the government). Not to be confused with fascism generally, which is a legitimate option but not necessarily the best (arguably outmoded: street gangs to fight the Bolsheviks there in the '30s) nor doable in American society. (It works for small homogeneous countries with an authoritarian tradition such as Spanish ones.)

So no, we traditionalists are not Nazis.

Novusordoism in America, in practice, "Vatican II Catholicism," is secular humanism with Jesus talk tacked on, like mainline Protestantism. Retrofitting the ripoff and passing it off as the real deal. American civic virtue. Selling out the faith in order to succeed here. Vatican II didn't actually teach heresy; we can't change doctrine and it didn't even define doctrine. Ironically, I live as though it doesn't exist but at face value I have no problem with it.

I don't think the left believes its own bullshit about Mohammedan migrants. Everything the left does is to stick it to white conservative Christian men, the makers of the greatest civilization, because the left is a sort of false rival church stealing credit for that civilization; the terrorists are imported muscle for that sticking it, and yes, the white liberals know the Mohammedans want to kill them too but are willing to sacrifice their own in a few mass shootings for the cause. Hey, blame guns and Trump; they think you're that stupid.

What Catholicism wants for the Orthodox

What we Catholics want to happen: recently the Orthodox unsuccessfully tried to hold a world council of their bishops (right reverend monsignori*); most countries' bishops didn't show up, or at least the ones from a very important country, Russia, as well as the Antiochians based in Syria. It ended up just being the Greeks and their friends. (Their power struggle: these bishops actually have little to do with each other. Rich Greek-Americans vs. the old Soviet empire?) What if they'd pulled it off? We want "corporate reunion" (anti-Catholic Orthodox from ex-Catholic family: "sounds like a retirees' picnic"; well, it does): their bishops all meet and decide to come into the church. They accept the Pope and our teaching on divorce and remarriage and, again, on contraception while retaining most of their autonomy as patriarchates. (Do we really need a Congregation for the Eastern Churches with a cardinal telling Eastern patriarchs what to do? No. Curial reform: get rid of some of that.) We leave their rite alone. (You don't have to latinize like the Ukrainian Catholics to be Catholic.) Orthodox families, parishes, dioceses, and countries would be intact. Despite our historical mistakes, we are not trying to destroy their culture; we have to walk that talk.

Opus Publicum reminds its readers that the Ukrainian Catholics' great dream is to be the Patriarchate of Kiev, the country's national church, with the Orthodox back with them under the Pope (truth: there is only one church, the Catholic Church) and real autonomy (see above). That's great; we certainly can do that but let's get ecumenical. Using the Ukraine against the Russians politically (as the U.S. government is doing) and ecclesiastically is wrong and shortsighted, even though the Russians are in schism and don't like us. (As anti-Communist and pro-Ukrainian Catholic as I am, Cold War nostalgia [!] doesn't apply; it doesn't cut it.) See above. These are real bishops who have the Mass (and, great for us traditionalists, a traditional rite at that, better than the Novus Ordo), an ecumenical opportunity we don't have with Protestants (non-churches; only individual conversions are possible). We should look at the big picture: bringing the Russians and the others back in, together, not pushing the Ukraine at their expense, which only confirms their distrust of us. (My analogy: how would Americans feel if China got California to secede from the Union?) No longer Communist, the Russians aren't America's problem anymore; heck, they should be our Christian allies. They're Germany's problem as the rival for leading Europe. (Russia controls the natural-gas supply.) Anyway, except for that, I have no problem calling Metropolitan Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) a patriarch as he might like.

Pictured: the late Metropolitan Josyf (Slipyj), a giant among Catholic churchmen, going through hell on earth (the gulag) to remain Catholic, a cardinal who wanted to be patriarch of Kiev with the Orthodox justly reconciled, in truth. I've read Jaroslav Pelikan's biography of him (too bad Pelikan ended up in schism; what a waste); he proved that a grand thing about being Catholic is you don't have to hate the West in order to be truly Eastern. His training was largely Western, in Innsbruck; we're not talking about two faiths but schools of thought and spirituality, Roman and Byzantine. Catholic is Catholic but respect the integrity of the rites. In his absence the Ukrainian Catholic Church continued in Galicia, underground, unknown until Communism fell/the USSR collapsed.

I would love to see Ukrainian Catholics I've known, people who chose exile or worse to remain Catholic, tell the anti-Western converts to Byzantium (not all converts to Byzantium, which can be a calling from God; the anti-Western ones who litter the Web) where to shove their precious phronema.

*Sacramentally they're bishops, but only Catholic bishops can have authority of jurisdiction as diocesans, lawful heads of local churches. That comes from the Pope. Some perspective: they're "Monsignor" to me while they're not sure if I'm really a Christian, really because my people weren't in their empire.