Friday, June 14, 2019

Opus Dei doesn't work

I don't intend to trash Opus Dei. In years (blog posts) past I'd been less than kind; mea culpa. Today I think they're fascinating; an example of a true lay apostolate that doesn't try to clericalize the laity or live in a fantasy world. That said, to give due credit, blogger John Bruce (tl;dr: he hates ex-Anglican priests in the ordinariates; I don't) made me realize that despite its cool concept, recruiting and catholicizing the elite while keeping a low profile, "the Work" doesn't. From this post:
My own view of Opus Dei continues to be a version of "by their fruits": the movement became active and increasingly influential in the Vatican, as well as in the US, from the late 1940s onward. That period can hardly have been more disastrous for the practice of Christian morality, whatever the influence Opus Dei has been able to exert in the Church or the world. This discussion [from an anti-Opus Dei site] refers to Opus Dei's influence in Spain, where the movement started, and where it has continued to wield political and economic influence:
Things did not go well [in the 1950s] for the network of interests and enterprises woven around the "Work", as they internally called the institution. Mostly led by people without experience, the group ventures into the realms of finance, publishing, and international trade, ended in internal and external conflicts, spectacular failures...
It's like a horse race or the NFL draft. You don't know how things will turn out. That whiz kid from Oxford or Stanford might underperform.

That St. Josemaría Escrivá's good idea didn't work doesn't mean he was bad.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Christian manosphere

I'm late for the party but here are the two most important lessons I've learnt in four months so far reading the evangelical manosphere, particularly Dalrock:
  • Courtly love isn't Christian; it's medieval porn glorifying adultery.
  • Too many people think marriage is a "capstone" rather than a "cornerstone." So too many women put off marriage. Russian proverb: if you want to be a general's wife, marry a lieutenant. One with potential whom you obey and give all your love and support. The bad stuff, the dating and hookup cesspools, has made inroads in evangelicalism (a bit of evo lingo: "churchianity" for bad Christianity): again, treating marriage as a capstone. It follows the same script as middle-class America: go to college, get a career, "find yourself," go through "a season of singleness," then marry Mr. Perfect (the badboy hunky handyman off a romance-novel cover who's a secret billionaire), or more likely, settle for someone you don't love, when you're rich and successful. Or likely not marry and end up alone. It's a tacit endorsement of promiscuity, the c*ck carousel.
Also learnt: look at the parable of the wise vs. foolish virgins and the bridegroom arriving for the wedding feast. Biblical marriage is the opposite of modern America's queen-for-a-day festivals. It's about the GROOM showing off his alphaness. And: male headship, yes; complementarity, no.

Related: No surprise: I'm using the Web but it's 1960 here. I don't date. I court. No hookups, no “friends” (when it's not just a blowoff, which 99% of the time it is, it's hopeless beta orbiting; see above on weak men). "Sorry my friendship is a crappy consolation prize!” It isn’t a “crappy consolation prize.” It simply isn’t a prize at all. And Mike Pence is right.

For this sort of thing, the Web does work at least as an introduction service. Earlier this year I was on average meeting someone once a month.

Rudeness, flakiness, is very common: ghosting or fading away online. The manosphere secular and Christian says you've got to have "hand" (authority). You've got to "put on your gorilla suit" with flaky female behavior. Hard because courting is supposed to be about getting close to someone, and Don Draper's a psychopath (think about this: killers on death row get propositions and proposals), but what would HE do? First sign of flaking/fading out, cut bait and walk away. Nuke the friends speech before it even leaves the launch pad. Block online.

The secular world was sort of okay with the manosphere when it promoted casual sex. "That scuzzy pickup artist" will teach you more conservative home truths about the sexes than the pozzed mainstream churches, mainline Protestantism and Novus Ordo Catholicism, will; they've bought into feminism since before it was feminism: pedestalization. The best of the manosphere isn't about picking up girls anymore; they're fighting the culture wars to defend what's left of Christian society. Because of that, Roissy/Heartiste's been deplatformed. I understand that Roosh, a born Armenian Christian who has unpublished his books promoting fornication, has converted to Orthodoxy.

Everything in secular society is working against churches being real communities, so no, the 30-40-year-old married couples at your traditional Latin Mass won't help you find a wife. Suburban marrieds really only want anything to do with other suburban marrieds. Church has become an odd hobby you do among strangers Sunday mornings, "a private matter" not influencing public life.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Fasting and long services

Orthodox Lent and other fasts make sense when you come from a culture that knows how to do them without killing yourself. Sister Vassa (Larin), a ROCOR ryassophore nun living in the world (like a Western Catholic oblate) and of Internet fame, gives helpful cooking advice during fasts. I can't do that. Many can't. So there's economy, no problem; they're just rules, not doctrine or morals. Many born Orthodox don't "do everything" and never did. Convert try-hards do (me: people trying to put on another identity; self-hating Westerners). That can be a whole other discussion: the authentic Orthodox experience of just popping in to partake a little of services and fasts that go on and on, not pretending to be perfect yourself, versus the Western expectation of staying for the whole service and "doing all the stuff" to tick off a list; very self-satisfying, as if God were that easy.

Church papists

Reading: Church Papists by Alexandra Walsham, another gift from William Tighe at Muhlenberg. Part of the sad late-1500s story of ordinary English people trying to remain Catholic under a Queen who'd turned against the church. Walsham notes early on that this segues into Christopher Haigh's description of "parish Anglicanism" circa 1600, people resigned to the new church but treating it reverently as they did the old. Crypto-Catholics and conservative Anglicans were still largely the same in the late 1500s. Many English people surreptitiously remained Catholic through the 1580s, 30 years after the re-imposition of Anglicanism. People still said their rosaries at home; priests secretly celebrated Mass; both outwardly conformed to the Church of England, and the parish churches in the provinces and countryside often remained very Catholic. So you had "church papists" still believing in the Catholic Church but obeying the law. Anyway, the church didn't approve, banning attendance at Anglican services. Interesting: the older English habit of referring to the C of E as simply "the church" is a carryover from us. "The church" vs. "the chapel" of various Protestant dissenters. There is something to the mother country: a consecrated Catholic land defiled.

Why I live on the church's Orthodoxward frontier

An interesting comment thread on Dalrock, the original post repeating his opposition to what we call courtly love, a lesson I've learnt in my recent discovery of the evangelical manosphere; he calls it chivalry. Courtly love is adultery; chivalry is being strong enough to steal and rape but choosing not to.

Anyway, Orthodox converts leave comments. Fascinating. They agree the Catholic Church IS Western civilization, so to Westerners Catholicism "feels right," but then they basically say they're turning their backs on that civilization because Orthodoxy is completely different at heart, never really a part of the West, even though it resembles Catholicism. I first read a challenge like that in Timothy/Kallistos (Ware) in his ever-edited "The Orthodox Church." Impressive... until you read more of the stuff and realize it doesn't have answers that make sense, unlike Catholicism. Divorce and remarriage. The intermediate state after death. Contraception. I asked Peter Gillquist to his face about contraception and he changed the subject. I'm hip to a rite being more than a style of worship. Byzantine Catholics are supposed to be something more than Latin Catholics with a different Mass. A rite is a school of spirituality and theological method and opinion. And I've found that among some of our people who in no way distance themselves from the church: for example, "why define the Marian beliefs"? Not denying the definitions. Like a good classical Anglican I wouldn't have minded if they'd remained undefined. I believe in the Mother of God but am not a co-redemptrix, Fatima-consecration kind of guy. I'm hip to everything from a loose communion run largely by custom to long services that you participate in only as much as you can handle to economy about rules. So I think I get and agree with "the Orthodox thing" essentially. But if you tell the Orthodox they don't make sense, from their opposing incidental Western cultural things as though they were doctrine (watch the Western Rite Orthodox byzantinize) to divorce and remarriage to now contraception, you're told your Western phronema (mindset) is getting in the way; expecting religion to make sense is "Western rationalism." I'll say it: that sounds like something a cult would say. Them: if you're not in their empire, you're not in the church anymore. I'm not trying to leave the church or assume a more exotic identity so no sale. Disprove Catholicism and I would no longer be Christian. Maybe Buddhist, or Germanic neo-pagan trying to follow nature.

I'm all for mystery but St. Thomas Aquinas was the greatest theologian so far. In Catholicism these aren't mutually exclusive.

Predictable. Our people (not church teaching) are stupid siding with Constantinople's incursion in the Ukraine, our people trying to divide the Orthodox rather than reconciling them to us together, and being tools for the Western liberals getting back at Russia for reverting to autocracy (up with autocracy) and Orthodoxy, and we get this anti-Catholic rant from the Russians. Smooth move. That's known in soccer as an own goal. Only the Catholic Church has canonical authority per se but the Russians are right about the Orthodox in the Ukraine.

You have made reconciling the Orthodox to us (in which case we'd keep our word and leave the rite alone) that much harder.

One of my sayings: The glory of Byzantium is that the Roman Empire became entirely Catholic. Its tragedy is it mistook the empire for the church, so when the Pope was no longer in the empire, they thought he was no longer in the church.

People from Russia I've known don't obsess about us. They're just proud of being Russian! But the "anti" spirit, the spirit of schism, is a problem.
Reunification efforts for the Orthodox would result in small "Russian use" parishes, they wouldn't practically be more successful than the Anglican Ordinariate.
I know reconciling Russia alone, let alone all the Orthodox together, is extremely unlikely. But if we aim for anything less than the latter, we would only cause more harm. We already have Russian Byzantine Catholic parishes, an attempt to convert the Orthodox that failed. Now it's people like me, non-Russians who love Russian Orthodoxy but have the sense not to leave the church. The Russians resent it and really resent the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which I attend. Of course we can't and I wouldn't try to sell out the Ukrainian Catholics, but I remain pro-Russian and committed to bringing back all the Orthodox together, and leaving the rite alone.
You should become a Greek Catholic priest and write a blog propagating union if you are sincere. What can a man in Pennsylvania do to bring about the return of Russia to the fold?
Thank you but I know it will take the Holy Spirit speaking to each Orthodox church's ruling synod; a miracle. They're all independent and as we see in the Ukraine, Constantinople invading Moscow's turf, they don't necessarily get along. They MIGHT listen to one Catholic layman in Pennsylvania or even a Greek Catholic priest with a blog (but Russian churchmen hate the "Uniates" so probably not) but again, extremely unlikely. As I wrote when I left orthodox christianity dot net a few years ago, after trying to talk Catholics out of leaving the church and being suspended for it, I realize that fighting online with Orthodox doesn't promote the cause I believe in so I stopped.

What can a man in Pennsylvania do? Sounds like pious rhetoric but: pray. Not just pray, but in their own rite, with their icons and prayer books, and even in their language. For the Holy Spirit to work that miracle to get them all to come back together, and in reparation for our mistakes, such as causing two schisms in America over clerical marriage.

Господи, помилуй.

Pictured: St. Andrew's Russian Orthodox (Pro-) Cathedral, Philadelphia, where I go to Vigil a few times a year, to prepare for the few times a year I receive absolution and Communion in the Catholic Church.