Monday, January 09, 2023

Sharing Catholicism in 1989: one old priest and five kids, under the radar

I've mentioned a holy Catholic priest from "the old church" who soldiered on faithfully in the "new," keeping a low profile, doing what he was told liturgically but teaching the old faith, logically the only faith; ministering to people. A living example of Benedict XVI's hermeneutic of continuity. Here's another true story like that.

It's 1989 at an American Catholic college, one of the many that fell faithwise in the Sixties social revolution including Vatican II, intentionally or not, blowing up the European immigrant (Irish, Italian, Polish, and others) Catholic community in that country. The bishops were no great shakes, participating in that self-destruction, but anyway these colleges essentially disowned the church in 1967 in order to get government funding; not really Catholic colleges anymore, fortresses to defend the true faith, a different worldview and script from the rest of the country even though the rest was still mostly Christian, but colleges that only said they were Catholic.

This sports, frats, and business-school-minded place had really adopted the faith of "arriving" in Protestant American society, like the Kennedys: you can have it all including heaven as long as you're nice and PC, a get-along guy or girl, er, woman, with a nice beige accessory religion if you like as long as you don't make waves and it doesn't interfere with your real life... including making lots of money so you can give back to your alma mater! Basically, at the time this place, the recent winner of one sportsball championship, wanted to emulate America's powerhouse model of such schools (not really "universities"?), Noter Dayme in Indiana. I hear that now it wants to be more like the bigger, secular schools.

The school, started by a now-dying European religious order, as so many others, offered two in-house prayer and worship options that worked together, the theological Modernism (talking about truth is icky and prideful; just play nice - don't make waves, remember?) and unliturgical gimmickry of the school Masses ("THE church here at ABC U.," a perhaps well-meant but misguided notion of dumping traditional liturgics - a Catholic or Orthodox church is a temple as well as a fellowship gathering place - for a skit of the congregants ministering to each other) and wannabe evangelicalism, charismatics.

So you get the picture: not really interested in the Catholic faith anymore except, sort of, as a tribal/ethnic identity so the alumni keep giving and sending their kids and grandkids there.

In the midst of this were a few good souls like the parish priest I wrote about, not trying to have the banned traditional Latin Mass - being banned again as I type, the Catholic community now further breaking up, with a heretical Pope - but trying their best with the worship they were told to do.

In the middle of campus was "the monastery," really an old-folks home, largely retired priest teachers taken care of and kept out of view.

Thanks to one of these good souls, actually a sharp physics teacher who still had a course or two, trying to start a branch of the Irish 1920s lay apostolate the Legion of Mary at the school, another priest, born in 1899 (the only person born in the 1800s I know I've met), a retired sociologist (one of my favorite subjects by the way), and five kids, in their late teens and early 20s, met and started having weekly meetings in the parlor of "the monastery" so he could teach them the true faith in Jesus, true God and true man, right out of the old Roman catechisms and Radio Replies.

He even taught one of them to play a piece by Liszt on the piano. Christian civilization.

Also in "the monastery," in its little chapel not open to the public, these blessed five boys and girls and I got to see this priest make the best he could of the only worship he was allowed, the Novus Ordo in the bad English paraphrase a Pope would correct about 20 years later ("and with your spirit," not "and also with you"; important, "for you and for many," not "for you and for all" - fudging scripture was, to say the least, not cool), and "facing the people." He even got away with wearing a fine silk brocade Gothic chasuble with gold-threaded orphreys forming a cross, maybe something left over from before Vatican II (again, a Catholic church is a temple of sacrifice)... because it wasn't a public Mass. So it wasn't introibo ad altare Dei (the traditional Mass) or ad orientem ("his back to the people"), but the first time I'd seen any Catholic try to do high-church, "reverent" Novus Ordo. Something that I later saw you could find in England if you were looking for it (even though the country is very irreligious, much more than America - lots of little centuries-old reminders of Christian, even Catholic tradition in the culture). But here, the true faith was literally hidden behind a locked door out of shame.

I'm not saying worship services don't matter - the history of Catholic practice says they do - but rather that limitations on them need not stop you.

As I write it seems the authentic Catholic Church, which actually follows its teachings, is heading back into a shadowy, underground-like existence.

Good can come of it.

Thanks, Fr. Richard M. Plunkett. RIP.

Saturday, December 31, 2022

RIP Pope Benedict XVI

RIP Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger, one of the world's last voices of truth and reason (which means conforming to truth, to reality). Regarding Vatican II: "Not every valid council in the history of the church has been a fruitful one." Hooray for the hermeneutic of continuity. He did so much good as John Paul II's doctrine chief and of course especially as Pope. As I've been saying in this week's long goodbye as he died, thanks to him, for the first time in my life, for 10 years, 2011 to 2021, the Catholic Church worked. I came back to it under his watch. Not even particularly conservative - he didn't have to be - as Pope he set an example to support the high-church liturgical revival using the new Mass, making it look and feel like the old one, "reform of the reform." That culminated in his greatest accomplishment, cleaning up the English text of the new Mass so that it more closely followed the Latin original; no more serious theological problems with it, even without high ceremonial. Some say John Paul II ordered this but Benedict delivered. This kept people in line - even liberal parishes had to teach the faith using the right text; I've actually seen this - the way the traditional Mass used to worldwide. Speaking of which, his second greatest accomplishment was unbanning the traditional Mass in 2007, being fair to it and its young-family followers for a change. His Modernist successor, Jorge "Pope Francis" Bergoglio, didn't wait for Benedict to die to undo this reform; maybe even deliberately hurtful. Oddly enough, although his stepping down did harm, I'm not really angry about that. I'll bet he was pushed into resigning. The only reason I don't call Benedict "the Great" is his mishandling of sex-abuser priests when he was Archbishop of Munich. For all the good he did, he's accountable just like anyone else. Prayers for God's mercy and for his soul's repose - my usual, one Our Father slowly with feeling. And with gratitude.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Catholic vs. Catholic: thou shalt not mix rites

I'm not interested in "enriching" the Eastern rites with latinizations any more than I am in "enriching" the hell out of Latin Catholics by throwing away the medieval Mass. Latinizing a rite means you don't really believe in it.
  • First, the good, an article on Demandatam Coelitus Humilitati Nostrae from Pope Benedict XIV in 1743. Not Catholic doctrine but good all the same. In the first part of the 18th century, many liturgical latinisations were introduced in some communities of the Melkite Catholic Church, mainly by Euthymios Saifi and Cyril VI Tanas, and supported by many Latin missionaries (mainly Franciscans) against the wishes of the papacy. These changes led to a division in the Melkite Catholic Church between those who went on following the pure Byzantine Rite (as the Basilian Chouerite monks) and those who, named "Latinisers" in the apostolic constitution, mixed the Byzantine Rite with the Latin Rite. Rome had already taken measures against the uses of the "Latinisers" (e.g., the letters to Saifi in 1723 or the decree of July 8, 1729). However these measures did not resolve the issue, and in 1743, before granting the pallium to Cyril VI Tanas, Pope Benedict XIV issued the Demandatam apostolic constitution to put an end to the mixture of liturgical rites... It is forbidden to any one, including the patriarch, to change, to add or to remove anything from the Byzantine Rite and uses (para. 3).
  • Now the bad, this latinizing nonsense from Bishop Gregory (Khomyshyn) in Polish Galicia, now part of the Ukraine, in 1931. Not only ignoring the Pope from centuries ago; dead against him. The Uniates often still are, out of spite as much as ignorance; anti-Russianness in Galicia for example.
Respect the integrity of rites, which are not costumes or styles of church services but whole schools of Christian thought and living.

Byzantine? (Actually those people were the Roman Empire; 1800s Western historians renamed them.) Then your patrimony, from church services to monastic life to prayer at home, is... Orthodox.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Larry Chapp: "The Bourgeois Church of Spectators and the Crisis of Morale in the Priesthood"

The Church in the West has, over the past century, doubled-down on the bourgeois modernity he [Berdyaev] speaks of and has turned itself into a Bed and Breakfast for traveling Laodiceans.
When religion is reduced to social convention and routine.

Professor Chapp's a bit snide to the liturgically high-church, though he says he goes to the Anglican Use ordinariate and in fact likes the traditional Latin Mass, so under Benedict XVI's peace that Jorge Bergoglio took away, we could at least coexist. I in turn have no problem respecting people acting in good faith including making the most of the religion they've received, such as at a college Catholic chaplaincy in the late 1970s. All that said, this blog post/essay is one of the best things I've read. The founder of a Catholic Worker farm, he writes like Catholic Action of yore, getting to the cause of a problem to try to heal it and NOT settling for the comfortable status quo when real renewal is needed. This is what Carol Robinson of Integrity magazine would sound like today.

So long for now, from me, just another fervently moderate, semi-traditionalist, rather perennialist (like the King, Charles III), relatively conservative high churchman.

Chaotic Orthodox history, the Ukraine war, and more

Besides being wrong about remarriage after divorce and now on contraception, the Orthodox communion of churches is in bad shape, at the same time the Catholic one is breaking up. For one thing now it's at least two communions, two THE Orthodox Churches, with two big autocephalous (self-headed, independent) churches, Constantinople and Moscow, no longer in communion for the past few years because the liberal pro-Western patriarch of Constantinople has hitched his wagon to the global American empire, political correctness and all, and barged into the Ukraine, Moscow's church turf, to set up a literal schism, bishop against bishop in the same territory. By the way, most Orthodox in America are Greeks under Constantinople. Anyway, the Orthodox handle these rifts by still absolving and communing laity on both sides; the other independent churches are trying to stay in communion with both churches.
  • The patriarchate of Constantinople, "the Second Rome," was even more chaotic around the 1890s, when the Turkey that ran it was still the Ottoman Empire. Bulgarian Orthodox had declared their political and ecclesiastical independence some time ago and, according to their old patriarchate, Constantinople, were outside the Orthodox communion. Usually a mother church grants independence (autocephaly).
  • Abusing religion to spite: during America's proxy war with Russia, Moscow, "the Third Rome," the Constantinopolitan/American puppet church is encouraging the Ukrainians in its dioceses to celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25, switching to the Western calendar, for a wrong reason. This war is really the first armed crusade of Christianity's elite daughter, wokism, to destroy Orthodox Russia, Eurasia, simply for existing, raising the flag of many colors over the Kremlin. Kiev today, Moscow tomorrow, then the world. But the American puppet Ukrainian government (since 2014) will lose. Russia, an invincible land empire, will have the Russian eastern and southern Ukraine back. That and the Western aggression of militarizing a country on the border ("Ukraine" means "at the border") are why Russia has been doing this "special military operation," not to take the whole Ukraine back. The Uniates, in old Polish Galicia in the far western Ukraine, latinized sons of Bergoglio, are on board the American train too, referring to Vatican II on religious liberty and enthused about "democracy," full of Cold War anti-Russian nostalgia, a big part of Ukrainian nationalism. The West's muddled message: "Let's consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary so we can help Jews and Nazis work together for trans rights." What? Finland and Sweden aren't neutral anymore, joining NATO?! Switzerland is no longer neutral?! Weird. There is something wicked worldwide including ecclesiastically, what with a heretical Pope. But as I say, chances are the Ukrainian army will lose, the Americans will end up at the negotiating table with Putin, Europe, America's dependencies since World War II, might revolt when they don't have heating oil or natural gas this winter, and a new set of powers — Russia, economic powerhouse China, India, Brazil, and some Near Eastern countries — end over 75 years of American hegemony. You don't keep an empire spanning 11 time zones for centuries by being, as the Z-Man describes the American narrative about Russia, dumb drunks running a gas station. Putin is popular in Russia: when the country was in freefall, ruled by gangsters after Communism fell, he saved the people.
  • Further, there is a bill in the Ukrainian government to ban the Russian Orthodox Church in the Ukraine.
Finally, if you're a frustrated traditional Catholic considering converting to Russian Orthodoxy, thinking "Orthodoxy is an alternative to Catholicism" with "valid orders," don't convert. Because you wouldn't really be converting, just using the Orthodox while keeping a Catholic point of view. Every ancient high church including the Catholics and the Orthodox claims it's the true one. Orthodoxy believes only it has sacraments. So it reserves the right to receive you by baptism and believes the traditional Latin Mass has been fake for 1,000 years. Respect all that.

No matter how strict you are otherwise, if you get remarriage after divorce and contraception wrong, your church is still part of the modern problem in Christianity.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Karl Rahner, the man who turned Catholicism upside down

I've referred to an eye-opening recent article by Peter Kwasniewski on the late Karl Rahner, a big name in the Catholic community's autodestruction in the 1960s. He finished what the Modernists in his Jesuit Order and others started about 50 years earlier. (Modernism: no truth or truth is unknowable; doctrine's temporary.) Do read it but here are important points if you're pressed for time.

This is Christianity, shared by the ancient high churches such as Orthodox and Catholic and by classical Protestantism:
God, Who is three Persons in one nature, created man in order to bring him to eternal happiness in union with Himself. The first man, Adam, was entrusted with the supernatural gifts necessary for arriving at this union, and he was supposed to pass them on to all his descendants. By sinning against God, Adam lost these supernatural gifts, and passed down his sin to his descendants instead, so that each of us is born with a real guilt, although not a personal guilt. Since we could not save ourselves, the second Person of the Trinity took on a human nature and became a man, known as Jesus Christ, and offered His life as a sacrifice for all men. Anyone who puts faith in this sacrifice and follows Christ’s directions on how to incorporate himself into that sacrifice can be saved from Adam’s sin and from his own sins, and can arrive at eternal happiness in union with God.
This is Rahner:
Rahner takes one new idea and places it at the very center of Christianity. This is the idea of the “transcendental experience.” It is hard to grasp exactly what he means by this, but one can give some impression of it at least. While all creatures are limited and finite, man is the only creature who can reflect on his limitations and finitude; in so reflecting on them, he transcends them, reaching out beyond his limitations to the “transcendent,” to the Unknown Beyond which calls him and urges him to move beyond his limitations. The Unknown Beyond, the “term of transcendence,” is what Christians call God. And since a man operates within his limitations in every action he does, then every action of a man has the transcendental implicitly within it, simply waiting for the man to reflect and make it explicit; hence God (Who is that Unknown Beyond discovered in a transcendental experience) is the implicit horizon of every human action.

Although a man may not fully understand what the Unknown Beyond is calling and urging him to, it is in fact God’s call to the beatific vision. So a man’s fundamental duty in life is to respond to the call to transcendence, and seek union with the Beyond which is at the same time utterly Beyond and intimately close as the horizon of his every action.
If a man does this, he is saved.
The war in the Catholic Church is ultimately between those who still believe the first and those who don't anymore.

More from Gordon Anderson:
The Pontificator says on one of the comments that readers of his blog would most likely not agree with the theology of Karl Rahner, or his contemporaries, such as Schillebeeckx, Lonergan, David Tracy, and (obviously) Küng. And I imagine that he is probably right! And yet Rahner is taught in all of the Catholic seminaries, and has been for a long, long time. How very interesting.

We were force-fed all those guys mentioned above, and especially Rahner, in seminary. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard the Rahnerian phrase "transcendental openness" in my classes! His thought permeated every single class — from fundamental theology, to liturgy, to moral theology. For those of you who do not know, Rahner was a student of the philosopher Martin Heidegger, so he builds his theology on those categories, much like the Anglican John MacQuarrie (who translated "Being and Time"). Many traditionalists believe those ontological categories are unsuitable to serve as a basis for Christian theology.

Honestly, I don't think Rahner is going anywhere in the Catholic Church. He has been taught in the seminaries for so long already, and was a major influence during Vatican II (indeed he was peritus — the theological expert — for almost all of the German bishops during that time). And insofar as the Catholic seminary system is built around the documents of Vatican II, he is going to be around for a long time. So in a word, if one is Catholic and does not like Rahner, he must simply learn to deal with it, and accept the fact that his priest and bishop are probably ardent disciples of Rahner — preferring him over St. Thomas Aquinas.

In the Catholic split, what might happen next?

Suppose Jorge Bergoglio appoints Heiner Wilmer the Catholic Church's doctrine boss. (By the way, nobody can really change Catholic doctrine, not even the Pope.) And/or makes James Martin a cardinal. What next in that church's rebranding and attempted remaking?

My guesses: you'll see same-sex union blessings, coyly not called matrimony, like that fools anyone, and women deacons to get people used to women doing priestly things, same game as with Eucharistic ministers. Same playbook as the mainstream Anglicans — the Church of England does the blessings-not-weddings bit. There'll be explanations that, see, it's not matrimony, and no, they're not priests, it's a completely different ministry, and we pinky-swear we won't have women priests, so it's all okay, and the neocon Bergoglians will buy it, telling traditionalists they've forfeited their identity, they're not Catholic anymore, for not obeying.

Roman Catholic schism watch: conservative vs. conservative

Something spiritually very weird and wicked is going on, bigger than anyone. Not only the breakup of the Catholic community as conservative vs. liberal, the Pope a heretic — I understand conservative Catholics' shock at what they consider unthinkable, but conservatives splitting from each other. People I didn't expect are against Frank Pavone, for example. For this and other reasons there are conservative Catholics I can't talk to anymore, at least about their particular hot-button issues. Safer simply not to talk. The devil doesn't want believers to unite online, a strength of the traditionalist movement besides its youth and fertility, for example.

As far as I know, the only "wrong" Pavone did wasn't: he doesn't buy into the Bergoglians' politics and has said so in salty Noo Yawk language; "blasphemy."

Through the years my only complaint about Pavone was I thought he was a Johnny-one-note on abortion, toeing the GOP line otherwise such as about foreign wars not actually for national defense, for example in Iraq. This is an obvious persecution and purge. Bergoglio is trying not only to rebrand Catholicism but really remake it; don't be surprised if he makes James Martin a cardinal. "Backward, rigid" youth — 80-year-olds are telling kids what's hip — and "embarrassing" pro-life crusaders are being thrown under the bus.

By the way there's a fake seamless garment, much like the woke faith is fake Christianity; one that tries to hide the embarrassing teaching against abortion behind socially acceptable causes such as appearing to care about the poor, Cardinal Bernardin's game. But there's a true one. For example, Fr. Feeney's reaction to bombing Nagasaki, not a flag-waving pro-war one.

Some of my sayings about religion and some other stuff

This is a good tl;dr of the blog if you're pressed for time or just aren't that interested. Have fun.

  • The flashpoint of all rebellion against God is to do with where spirit meets matter, in three areas, who Jesus is, what the Eucharist is, and sex.
  • The universe is hierarchical.
  • A king is a father to his country in a way no politician can be.
  • Respect the integrity of rites. A rite is not a costume. It's not like a coat you can put on and take off. It's more than a style of worship services. It's a package deal, a complete school of Christian thought and living.
  • Thou shalt not mix rites.
  • That said, home devotion can be anything you want, even a free-for-all, but I think the experts recommend following a rite.
  • You can really know only two rites well and live in only one.
  • Catholic ghetto is Christian community that liberals don't like.
  • The rosary is an okay prayer aid, by and for the Latin Church, originally a substitute for the psalms and hours/office for the illiterate, that can work for some people. Don't introduce or promote it in the Eastern rites. They have their own practices.
  • If somebody claims his prayer rule has magic powers, run.
  • If a priest you meet starts trying to prove his "lines of succession," run.
  • "The Pope has overstepped and is unbiblical!" said the Anglican bishop, harkening to the "Reformation," as she was about to officiate at a same-sex wedding.
  • Catholic liberals are provincial and un-ecumenical.
  • The English language has a Christian tradition: Anglican English, the English of the old Book of Common Prayer and King James Bible.
  • The only English most Catholics care about is the only English they have a generations-old tradition of praying in, the prayers of the rosary, so the missal and the most liberal parish revert to "Our Father, who art in heaven," etc.
  • Latin is international, precise, unchanging in meaning — a plus of a dead language, a gateway to the classical world, and pretty, Italian's mother.
  • Catholic traditionalism is not about Latin. It's more about being against religious liberty and ecumenism.
  • Is integralism the true seamless garment?
  • Want to learn a Slavic language? Learn lots of vocabulary first because there are few words in common with English.
  • Slavic grammar is like other European languages once you have the vocab down.
  • Learning the Cyrillic alphabet is just an adjustment.
  • Inflections, cases as well as conjugations, your changing word endings telling your story so word order's almost irrelevant, is an elegant way to set up a language.
  • The glory of Byzantium (really the Eastern Roman Empire; 1800s historians renamed it), of Orthodoxy, was the whole Roman Empire became Catholic. The tragedy of it was it mistook the empire for the church. The Pope was no longer in the empire, so he was no longer considered in the church.
  • Western Rite Orthodoxy is a byzantinized joke (but it doesn't have to be).
  • What needs to be done with the Orthodox is to rewrite Catholicism all in Orthodox terms. That needs experts.
  • Catholicism and Orthodox share a rite and the first seven great church councils.
  • All of Orthodox doctrine, the first seven great church councils, is true.
  • Orthodox doctrine is Catholicism in first-millennium Greek form.
  • Eastern churches in Western countries lose their people to assimilation by the third generation.
  • Catholicism is not the cult of the Pope's person.
  • With the Vincentian canon, what has been believed always, everywhere, and by all, you pretty much get Catholicism.
  • Modernity wants to turn us all into lonely, horny cogs and consumers, only skilled enough to do our jobs.
  • Reboot society. If people can't marry and have kids at 19 in your society, something's wrong with it.
  • There is no such thing as American conservatism, just quaint liberalism.
  • The recent revival of the traditional Latin Mass in the official Catholic Church was a bait-and-switch. The ordinariates are probably on the hit list too.
  • Many good Catholics' mainstay since the late 1960s has been the earliest, quietest Sunday Novus Ordo Mass. No attempt at music; no funny business. By the book. Better still with the accurate English from Benedict XVI.
  • The "Reformation" drove the mother country from the church literally by force. The English are still sad and confused by that even though they no longer remember why.
  • The Anglicans denying church infallibility in their Articles XIX and XXI gave away their ending.
  • The English Reformed churches including the Anglicans lost their shit at the "Enlightenment."
  • The disgruntled Anglican convert pond is fished out.
  • A great lost hope of the '60s is that the high churches almost got back together. Maybe the divisions were just misunderstandings as is believed about the Assyrians and Miaphysites now.
  • Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Unitarians, and Oneness Pentecostals are not Christians.
  • Justification by faith vs. by works is a non-issue. (The Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation agree.)
  • If you're as Christ-centered as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and ACNA, you're doing Christianity right.
  • Liberalism, secular humanism, etc. is a close copy of Christianity, a daughter religion of it that uses Christian ethics. It sees itself as Christianity's fulfillment. It is a religion but it doesn't need churches.
  • If it's not doctrine, it's on the table.
  • Strict decorum in the sanctuary; come as you are for the laity.
  • Traditional laity have a lot of freedom. Mill in and out of the church at will. Follow the service in a book. Wander from shrine to shrine lighting candles and saying your own devotional prayers. Fall asleep. Some things are more edifying than others.
  • If it wouldn't disrupt a traditional Latin Mass or an Orthodox service, it's welcome.
  • Traditional worship often becomes a form of a dialogue between the priest and the clerk.
  • I'm more conservative than the Novus Ordo and more liberal than the SSPX.

Monday, December 19, 2022

No clericalism here

I just wanted to add in the midst of the Bergoglian schism and accompanying resumed ban on the traditional Latin Mass, which many bishops are NOT vigorouly implementing but Bergoglio clearly wants that Mass gone, that in my 11 years so far back in the Catholic Church my expectations of priests have been realistically low and I've kept my distance from them. As Fr. George Rutler says, we're sacerdotalists, sacramentalists; clericalism is a caricature of the church. And on the ground, in real life, the priests I've dealt with as a communicant and penitent, all in the official church, have been and still are fine. With the only one I have disagreements with, it's "nothing personal"; cordial. I'm not a malcontent, just outraged by the ugly ecclesiastical situation as reported online.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Roman Catholic schism watch: Fr. Pavone, Bishop Wilmer, and more "Christianity must change or die"

The only truly multi-ritual communion


Got this insight from Samer al-Batal: the Miaphysites — Copts, Ethiopians, Armenians, and Syriacs including in India — are the only fully multi-ritual communion, barely a communion as these are churches each with their own respective rites and little to do with each other. They don't normally operate on the same turf — only overlapping in diaspora, in the West, particularly America?

The Catholics come close but:

An Armenian priest doesn't adopt Coptic practices for example in the name of the universal church and being closer to same.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

My prayer life

I'm not screwball or extreme in religion, certainly not ostentatious for its own sake. 99% of my prayer life is directed to the Trinity including the Persons in it, little about Mary ("Through the Mother of God, have mercy upon us," "More honorable than the cherubim," etc.) because of her role in the Incarnation, as in the gospel and the creed, and very little about the other saints though many of their icons, including a few post-schism Orthodox, share my wall space with God; I accept the belief behind asking for their intercession. I use troparia (like collects but written very differently) that address them, such as the angels on Monday, St. John the Baptist on Tuesday, etc. The psalms, the little Bible, from the old Book of Common Prayer, surrounded by many standard Orthodox forms ("O heavenly King, the Comforter," the trisagion, etc.) as I've described them. Icons, a three-bar Russian crucifix, a lamp, many signs of the cross and bows, a few prostrations, and Jesus Prayer beads. Sometimes I use Slavonic to stay in practice. But the words are mostly things a Missouri Synod Lutheran or an ACNA Anglican would have no problem with. Christ-centered! Still, when I was in a relationship with an ELCA Lutheran, my religion was a big culture shock at first, which I didn't expect.

My answer to prayer requests is one Our Father slowly with feeling.

I don't fast much because I can't handle it. Meatless Fridays, that Catholic classic also an Orthodox one as much a team identity marker, the Christian community, as a penance for Latin Catholics paying back temporal guilt and ascesis/training in self-control for Orthodox. That and the midnight Communion fast. Sacramentally? Cathodox classic, confession and Communion over and over. Sunday church attendance.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Loyalist truth from Quora

Don't believe the narrative about the American Revolution. God save the King. Excerpts:
Scene: a country pub in an English village, circa 1774. William buys two pints at the bar, then walks over and puts them down on a table where Tom is seated, and sits down beside him.

Hey Tom, have you heard the news?
No, what news, William?
The authorities are planning to treat us as harshly as they treat the American colonists!
Those bastards! What are they going to do exactly?
Well, first they're going to cut our taxes by 90%.
How dare th- wait, what?
Yes! The Americans only pay one tenth as much tax as us, and the Government are going to cut our taxes down to the same level!
Um, well, that doesn't sound so bad...
It gets worse! They plan to stop us stealing land from the natives! ... But that's not all. They plan to tax us without representation!
What does that even mean? They've always taxed us.
Yes, but they won't allow us to vote for Parliament.
But we don't vote for Parliament now. I don't own forty shillings of freehold property, and neither do you. But we still pay taxes.
Yes but... um... they're going to let the French carry on being Catholics! ... There are French people in Canada too, you know. They're the ones the Americans are bothered by.
Anything else?
Er, there's talk of abolishing slavery?

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Protestantism

How do you define "Protestant"? It seems to me that it would need to mean something beyond simply "not Catholic or Orthodox". Often I think modern evangelicals, nondenoms, charismatics, and Pentecostals are lumped in as Protestants when they really are not. By and large they have no real historical ties to the Reformation and no actual protest against the Catholic Church.
Protestant is Chalcedonian Christian (Jesus is true God and true man united in his person, his hypostasis) but not in one of the ancient high churches — Catholic (Chalcedonian — whence Protestants came), Orthodox (Chalcedonian), Assyrian (not all Eastern churches are Orthodox), or Miaphysite (ditto) — or one of those churches' rare relatively intact splinters such as the Polish National Catholic Church, or internal splits such as Constantinople vs. Russian Orthodox and SSPX vs. regular Catholic. So "Chalcedonian Christian but not Catholic or Orthodox" covers it.

With one modification acknowledging that many Anglicans say they're not Protestant.

I hear you but Restorationists, modern evangelicals, nondenoms, and Pentecostals (except Oneness Pentecostals) are Protestants.

Unitarians, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Oneness Pentecostals — groups that deny the Trinity — are from Protestant culture but no longer Christian.
Why do you think the Protestant Reformation happened?
Mine is the standard modern conservative Catholic view: there was and is room for reform — being more Christ-centered, reading the Bible more, not taking a mechanical approach making religion a game — but the Protestants went too far, dumping the church's teachings.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Bait-and-switch, the end of the Peace of Benedict XVI, and why I won't go to the Novus Ordo

Something I hate about the Catholic Church is the big bait-and-switch that's on now. They create the old religion in all its power and beauty, over generations, take it away for 40 years, then give it back to you, and THEN the current management takes it away from you AGAIN and tells you how stupid and sinful you are for liking it, let alone liking it better than the now-mandatory new worship service.

During what I've dubbed the Peace of Benedict XVI I had ZERO problem co-existing with the Novus Ordo in the accurate English he ordered. Now that Jorge Bergoglio has ended that peace, weaponizing the N.O. against the traditional Latin Mass, stating the intent to eventually abolish the TLM, I won't go to the Novus Ordo. It's still a Mass but hostile.

As the Z-Man wrote earlier this week on "professional Christians," churchians, trying to please their "progressive" masters in the larger Western society, "Their Christianity is just part of the sales pitch they use to convince Christian people to embrace secular morality." The Bergoglians' supposed Catholicism is just part of the sales pitch — re-education classes by the Novus Ordo — they use to convince traditional Catholics, like other conservative Christians still believers in the gospel and the creeds, not in Rahner, to embrace secular morality, wokeness, Christianity's daughter religion and replacement among the Western elite, Christian ethics minus Christian faith.

Ever notice that the Novus Ordo uses icons when it's trying to look serious?

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

My first visit to an Anglican Use ordinariate church


I've been to the Anglican Use ordinariate Mass three times and like it very much. This is my account of my first visit, in May 2021.

Already went to my own church this weekend but because I was free this morning I did something I've been meaning to. For the first time I went to an ordinariate Mass, at St. John the Baptist, Bridgeport, Pa., their sole (how Orthodox), High/Solemn Mass (ditto). Thumbs up. I was born Anglican, though not Catholic Anglican, better known as Anglo-Catholic — many such weren't, but Catholic Anglicanism formed me when I was young, in my teens and 20s — among other things, long-gone All Saints, Orange, N.J. hooked me. Then many years later, Catholic Anglicanism, at an Anglo-Papalist church, was my spiritual and social center again in my 40s during the 2000s or nought(ie)s, my highway back to the Catholic Church. Why I am not Novus Ordo.

Nomenclature note: Anglo-Catholic always meant making a claim for Anglicanism, at least what the speaker or writer thought was Anglicanism, against both Rome and extreme Protestantism. Sacramental, ceremonial, episcopal, but not papal. Anglo-Papalism was different: they really wanted union with Rome, what people outside of Catholic Anglicanism thought it was; really the opposite of it? They used to have Mass in Latin. Since with the ordinariate, some Roman Catholics are also Anglo-Catholics, I use a more recent term, Catholic Anglican, to describe today's version of the original thing, Anglicans — Church of England, Episcopal, ACNA, G3/Continuing Churches, etc. — who insist that their churches have a Catholic character despite the "Reformation" and started emulating the Roman Catholic Church in the 19th century.

Mass at St. John's is not exactly the traditional Latin Mass (TLM) but close. Same ethos. A mix of conservative thou-and-thee Rite I from the 1979 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, like 1662 and American 1928 — Anglican English, and the Novus Ordo in English as reformed by Pope Benedict. Three readings following the modern three-year Sunday cycle (one year works better: people learn them). It uses the Roman Canon said aloud in English, the Novus Ordo version but in Anglican English. Gregorian chant in English and the Healey Willan I grew up with, that is, real liturgical music, with a few fine Anglican hymns from the old Episcopal hymnal. Today, not a word of Latin; that's okay. Communion in the hand and from the chalice, done the right way, as an option, before adopting covid precautions. Wonderful, long, thoughtful sermon from Fr. Ousley, the rector: the best of Protestantism but not Protestant; simple Christianity for your walk with the Lord. As you can see from the look and feel of the service, we in Catholic Anglicanism didn't want to be Protestant even when technically we were. This was my second time meeting Fr. O in 35 years. He is retiring this year. Another former Episcopal priest, a Fr. Cantrell, a retired U.S. Navy chaplain, is coming on board.

A charming smallish church, very Anglican that way, but a good-sized congregation, considering.

My first time at Anglo-Catholic worship in person in 11 years. Moving. I said all the Book of Common Prayer text for the congregation by heart. Anglican English is my religious English and how the language does Christianity. At home I read its psalms. It was some Episcopalians' big no to the '60s revolution just like Latin was for some Catholics.

St. John's is the remnants of the Episcopal parishes of St. James the Less, where Fr. O came from, and Good Shepherd, Rosemont, which I visited from 1985 until 2010 — the Episcopalians liberalized all my old local Catholic Anglican stomping grounds; after all, they own the buildings. Plus, here, some good conservative born Romans, discovering the Christian tradition of the English language after centuries of separation and loving it. Outside of churches such as this, the only English most Catholics care about is the only English they have prayed in for generations, the prayers of the rosary, why the missal and even the most liberal parish reverts to "Our Father, who art in heaven," etc. Anyway, of course I love it — an Irish-American woman whose family are big in the Legion of Mary and her likewise born-Roman husband go here, praying the Anglican prayers I grew up with. Who'd have thought? With God all things really are possible.

As this is Rogation Sunday there was a procession around the church grounds, as it is not a territorial parish with borders to "beat." I think this was my first Rogation procession! Chanting the Litany from the Book of Common Prayer, which I first heard in Kansas City's Episcopal cathedral when I was 12. "We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord." I went to coffee hour (another Anglican and Protestant institution — but my old TLM church did/does it too, as does my Byzantine Catholic church!) and met or got reacquainted with some wonderful people, some of whom I hadn't seen in two decades. Ended up closing down the place for the day.

Bridgeport is a gritty little formerly industrial town that used to have five lively Catholic communities, the Irish territorial parish, three national (officially ethnic) parishes, and a Ukrainian Catholic one. St. John's used to be the Italian national parish, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, built in the 1920s and finished after the war in the 1940s. I like to think this church still honors them, and other Italians such as my significant other and her family, and the Anglican Use Catholics there now. The stained-glass window memorial dedications are all Italian. But I will say that the tasteful, elegant art on the walls is better than the plaster statues that were all over the place in its Mount Carmel years. Alas, the Slovak parish church and school have been torn down; went to a festival there about 15 years ago. Amazingly, the Irish territorial parish church was closed and folded into the Polish parish, Sacred Heart, Swedesburg, which is no longer Polish, as were the other Roman Rite churches, because Sacred Heart's property was in better shape. A lot of older locals resented having their church buildings taken away — understandable for Our Lady of Mount Carmel as its building was in good shape, which is why the ordinariate has it — and have lapsed. At least Sacred Heart got to keep its name. In many such mergers, the name of the surviving church building is changed so people don't feel like winners or losers. Sacred Heart at least used to have the TLM.

By the way, in town I recommend Bridgeport Pizza, a hole in the wall with no advertising but owned by a man from Italy who makes excellent food. Come on over and make a new friend. Tell him John and Jeff sent you.

The Catholic Anglican thing of dressing up Cranmer's prose in the beliefs and ceremonial of the TLM works because while Cranmer was a Protestant, he wasn't a modern; he believed the creed. He retained Catholicism's 16th-century Godward worldview. By the way, I like his collects. He wrote new ones because he didn't like some of the Catholic ones, on saints' merits and asking their prayers, but the new content is more than fine; they're sermonettes on the Christian life in good, renowned prose.

Communication: clarity and saying what you mean. Yes, say "ANGLICAN" when describing these places but make it known they're not Anglican churches. "Anglican Use," no longer an official term, works. "The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter" doesn't communicate; it obfuscates, NOT telling Joe and Siobhan Inquirer or Bob and Bootsie Convert why they might want to try Mass here rather than go to St. Novus. It doesn't mean anything to the reader.

Monday, December 12, 2022

The Roman Church and the almighty dollar: unmitigated gall and spiritual abuse in New Mexico


Earlier I went over the Roman Catholic gaslighting game. My faith has never been about the Pope's person. I thought Catholicism was beliefs about God, his revelation of himself, namely Jesus, confirmed by councils of bishops, the Pope's office only being part of that package — church infallibility, which the Anglicans and other Protestants got wrong by denying. And rites, such as the Latin Church's traditional Roman one, beautiful services and customs that gradually developed over generations, mostly in the Middle Ages but some going back to antiquity, some even immemorial. Sonorous chant in Latin, the old international language of unity. Flickering candle flames. Puffs of incense smoke from a thurible on clanking chains. The rustle of rich vestments as the priests on earth plead the God-man's self-sacrifice for the quick and the dead. The mystery of transubstantiation and suchlike, marked by the dramatic shaking of bells in sanctuaries that were serious, grown-up, "hard" places where men offer sacrifice. The image of Christ's body on the cross, in churches that teach he is really present in Communion. The religion that some 19th-century Anglicans fell in love with all over again. Yes, the old liturgical movement's ideal more than most parishes' practice, but even the short Low Mass, popular because many don't like any church service, has got the goods. In addition to all that, but optional, the lives and legends of the saints and mystical private spiritual messages to some holy people. That community burned itself down starting in the mid-1960s. Now, in the service of the New World Order, its own Pope and bishops SHAME you for falling for that popish, Romish nonsense, detestable enormities. Grow up and get with the program, people!

We are living through a schism. Dan Brown on a roll couldn't make this stuff up.

Now this:
Here in the Archdiocese of New Mexico [Santa Fe, ironically, meaning Holy Faith]... we who love the old mass are invisible. Our mass is invisible. Our celebrant is invisible. Our servers are invisible. Our worshippers are invisible. We were kicked out of our first church to a much more out-of-the-way mission. In Archbishop Wester’s diocese, we are personae non gratae, but still come to mass and donate substantial fungible dollars. Only those are visible to the Archbishop, who never stops clamoring for more of them to pay the legal bills and awards for the sinful behavior of clerics under his watch.
That's right. A church, bishops, who otherwise want to deny you exist, for the high crime of falling in love with their own old/former beliefs and former culture, people who otherwise wish you were dead if they can't guilt/"convert" you, and are literally bankrupt, are daring to ask you for money.

In a way that's always been part of their game: "We're your FAMILY — give money to your family." Yes, I know a church needs money to run it; it's even in scripture. Anyway, for this purpose, that pesky, embarrassing one-true-church claim sure comes in handy. No matter how much you abuse the people, ideally they'll keep coming to church for more, and most important, keep on giving.

Anyway, as if that weren't bad enough, it's to pay for the costs rung up by this church's now-infamous molester priests.

I don't think I need to tell you what to think or do about that; it's fairly self-evident.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Orthodox deconversions

Eastern Orthodoxy has a lot going for it. We share a rite and the first seven great church councils. But it's not perfect; I'm fair. And no; I'm not trying to sell you on the Uniates. Nor do I necessarily believe everything in the linked posts (West good, East bad). From a Protestant Anglican message board.
  • Most people who don't know much about EO think it's just like the Western Church, just a bit cleaner from modernism. Well let me tell you, it is very different from the Western Church; in some ways cleaner, but in other ways far more alien; much more toxic, and very, very hopeless. Reason, human thinking, on a fundamental level is dead in Eastern Orthodoxy... You are never allowed to ask questions; and nothing ultimately has any reasons; those who ask for reasons, or try to use their minds are inspected suspiciously: 'are you one of those dirty western christians? Don't you know that thinking and reason leads to gay marriage and apostacy? Better to not ask any questions and do as you're told.'”
  • “Orthodoxy has no soteriology, theory of atonement, or systematics of any kind.”
  • One peculiar modern Orthodox error (which has been driven almost entirely by just plain bad scholarship repackaged for popular consumption) is that many EO now reject the traditional doctrine of original sin outright, which makes the formulation of an adequate Orthodox understanding of the Atonement radically more difficult if not impossible.”
  • “It seems there’s a pretty big exodus of tradition-minded Westerners out of Orthodoxy.”
  • I suspect that in some mixed marriages you’ll even see the cradle ultimately leave the Church while the convert who was originally forced into it opts to stay. Another thing that is sometimes overlooked is that converts to Orthodoxy are overwhelmingly male. So this creates a huge disparity when those raised in the Church come of age. A lot of the men just leave.”
  • "On the positive side, the liturgy is incomparable and the overall ethos of Orthodox spirituality and the balance between public and private devotion is unique. However, what you see in Orthodoxy is not the liturgy in its fullness but rather an abbreviated version of it. Orthodoxy never reformed its medieval elements, so the solution for parish use was to simply cut out the lengthiest parts of the liturgy - the Psalms - so that the bulk of what the average parishioner is actually exposed to is 2nd millennium hymnody. Pretty, yes; ancient, no. Orthodoxy's own "prayer book" tradition is only about 150 years old and based on Western models; prior to that, daily prayer for the laity was just based on oral tradition, whatever quality that was. Knowledge of the Scriptures was practically nonexistent in most places (and still is). Institutionally, education is not a priority, and Orthodoxy has not produced any systematic theologians or biblical scholars of note. There is only one Orthodox college in the U.S. At neither the parish level nor in seminary is biblical instruction a central focus. Basically once you go through a few liturgical cycles and you're done being overwhelmed by the beauty of the worship and the rigor of the fasting rules, you realize there's nothing lying beneath all of that except bare obedience. Nothing is questioned, goofy scholarship is presented as learning, and there are no solid intellectual resources for apologetics, evangelism, etc. Retention among both cradles and converts is abysmal, so parish membership is often a revolving door. The hierarchy is also highly dysfunctional." 1. I think that lone Orthodox college, a convert project, failed. 2. What about typology, I believe the traditional - patristic? - way of looking at the Bible?
  • "There's all kinds of mythologies spread around in Orthodox circles, I mean incredibly ludicrous ones, such as that St. Luke was an icon painter, and the EO icon tradition is actually the style originated by St. Luke in the 1st century AD."
And now, something positive: "The Priesthood Is." Orthodox priests in their own words.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Cupich on taking away the traditional Latin Mass


That gift's going right in the garbage, Your Eminence, because I sure don't want it. Even though I haven't been to a traditional Latin Mass (TLM) in three years. With lots of background in it from the mid-1980s to early 1990s, I went to an approved diocesan one nearly every Sunday for most of the 2010s, perfectly fine co-existing with the Novus Ordo in Benedict XVI's accurate English. You can even like more than one kind of church service, you know.

Blase Cardinal Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, drove out the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, known for doing the TLM in a showy baroque Counter-Reformation style, by ordering them to use the Novus Ordo. A Bergoglian through and through, "standing above the word of God or, as a source of revelation, right next to it."

tl;dr: The present-day revival of the traditional Latin Mass in the Roman Catholic Church has been a BAIT-AND-SWITCH all along. Cupich says so.

For our argument right now, let's call it a rite, which is a whole culture, a school of Christian thought and living, the style of worship services reflecting that. So according to the cardinal himself, this recent Roman game has been to give you back this rite, beautiful services and customs that Catholicism gradually developed over generations, mostly in the Middle Ages but going back to antiquity, then when you're happy with it, even liking it better than others, it pulls out the rug from under you, gaslighting/shaming you as stupid and sinful for liking it, all to get you with the program, which is, the word that comes to my mind, a fascistic and un-historical uniformity of rite. Which by the way is exactly how Latin bishops in America like him treated people of Eastern rites around 1900. John Ireland vs. Alexis Toth.

The plan was and still is to take your (sub-) rite away and funnel you into the Novus Ordo. I'm talking to you, Anglican Use ordinariates, the TLM's half-siblings since Catholic Anglicans started mimicking the Roman Catholic Church in the 1800s. Hint: you can't have married priests after the converts.

The word to watch out for is unity, unity, unity in the church. Do it or you're not Catholic.

I'm willing to be kicked off the team for this Mass.

I didn't start this schism.

The implied false narrative: there was one form of the Roman Rite, then there was this abuse having two forms, which thank God the Pope is clearing up. Actually there have been many local traditional missals and breviaries all at the same time.

Like the mainline Protestants nobody takes seriously, the Novus Ordo is more pliable for Clown World, the global American empire. The churchmen pushing it hate and FEAR the old Mass, a powerful backhanded witness. They're patronizing to the Eastern rites because they don't take them seriously and they half-remember ecumenism being cool; actually they're very provincial. Anyway, the rulers of Clown World don't care about liberal churches. They don't need them.
A third principle is the role of the bishop as the sole moderator, promoter and guardian of all liturgical life in his diocese.
Nice try at sounding patristic high-church. But provably a lie. "The sole moderator, promoter, and guardian of all liturgical life in his diocese" if he does what the Roman Dicastery of Divine Worship etc. tells him to.

By the way, "high church" originally referred to church authority, not ceremonial. The Anglican Oxford Movement dons didn't bring back Mass vestments and the "eastward position" Catholic liberals hate — "the priest has his back turned" — until very late.

Regarding Lumen Gentium at Vatican II, I don't see how acknowedging goodness in non-Catholics acting in good faith or promoting lay apostolates necessitates rewriting worship services and reordering sanctuaries. More a cultural malady as described by Thomas Day, the great explainer of the Roman Church in the English-speaking world, good and bad, old and new. Teach people to chant the old services!
Pastorally fulfilling the aims of TC will require that we as pastors accompany people in coming to an understanding of the link between the way we worship and what we believe,keeping in mind the Holy Father’s desire that pastors are to lead the faithful to the sole use of the reformed liturgical books.
They'll accompany the f*ck out of you.
Accompaniment may take the form of visiting with the faithful who have regularly attended Mass and celebrated sacraments with the earlier rituals to help them understand the essential principles of renewal called for in the Second Vatican Council.
Re-education classes. Not for Fr. James Martin; for YOU, freakshow.
It must also involve helping people appreciate how the reformed Mass introduces them to a greater use of scripture.
Rubbish. The TLM is chock full of scripture, the minor propers tying into the lessons and the Sunday or kind of feast. More important, people don't remember a lesson they only read or hear once every two or three years. Traditional cycles of readings — such as classic Roman, Orthodox, and classic Anglican — are for one year because it works; people learn better that way. Nowadays, if the service is in the old international language, Latin, they can follow along in a book, and many/most traditional priests repeat the lessons in the vernacular from the pulpit before the sermon.
Accompaniment may also mean creatively including in the Mass reformed by the Council elements which people have found nourishing in celebrating the earlier form of the Mass, which has already been an option, e.g., reverent movement and gestures, use of Gregorian chant, Latin and incense, and extended periods of silence within the liturgy.
Condescension. Nobody will be taught to do high-church Novus Ordo. Quite the opposite. You've baited-and-switched these people once; what's stopping you doing it again? Because of the convenient one-true-church claim you have no use for otherwise, you've got these people over a barrel. The rule is they have to keep coming to you for church no matter how you treat them.

I once wrote of the sunset of Catholic Anglicanism, "well, chaps, we had a good run."

The traditional Latin Mass famously won't die — now it's mostly young people. But, mackerel snappers, we've been had.

P.S. The blog WPI, where I found the link to this piece: "Where Pachamama Is." (I didn't come up with that.)

Friday, December 09, 2022

We are living through a schism


We are living through a schism. Two schisms, as both the Catholic and the Orthodox communions are breaking up as I type. I live in one communion but on the frontier with the other.

In Orthodoxy it's rival patriarchs, Constantinople vs. Moscow, over the Ukraine, long Russian ecclesiastical turf, thus the region's lawful bishops are Moscow's. Constantinople has set up a rival church there and hitched its wagon to the liberal global American empire vs. the Russians, from the 2014 U.S.-created coup in the Ukraine to the present war there, Russia defending itself from the first armed crusade for the woke faith. Constantinople and Moscow are officially not in communion, so there are two THE Orthodox Churches, not just one. Two things to note: the church split doesn't involve the laity, only the clergy not serving together, and the other national/autocephalous churches are handling this in a very Orthodox way of trying to remain in communion with both churches. Other than, by association, American liberalism, this doesn't involve heresy nor, for now, liturgical revision. By the way, most Orthodox in America - altogether nearly microscopic - are Greeks under Constantinople.

In the Roman Church it's not the schism that conservative Catholics were prepared for. For decades since that church community burned itself down in the 1960s, conservatives, the good long-suffering folk who read The Wanderer, were expecting the schism to be between the "Roman Catholics," the Pope such as John Paul II and them on one side, the magisterium, vs. the heretical "American Catholics," "AmChurch," now-old folks such as the publishers and readers of the National Catholic Reporter.

Percolating under JP2, the few remaining younger Catholics were becoming interested in sound doctrine again and even, tentatively, old-fashioned liturgics, both high-churching the Novus Ordo, the main Roman Mass since 1970, and even learning how to use the still-restricted older Mass, the traditional Latin Mass (TLM). You saw homegrown back-to-basics orders of nuns start to fill the void left when the big orders from before Vatican II blew themselves up. Conservative young priests. And the young marrieds had lots of kids.

This came to fruition under Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI, from 2005 until his resignation in 2013, who's not even that conservative. He didn't have to be. Anyway, foremost, he gave high-church Novus Ordo a huge boost by, in 2011, issuing a much-improved English missal to keep most of the Latin Church, outside the TLM, in line: close to the Latin (pro multis, "for many," for example, returning to the plain words of scripture) and thus having the same cadence as the Christian tradition of the English language, the Anglican tradition. And... with the document Summorum Pontificum in 2007, he lifted all restrictions on the TLM. Sure, there was church-politicky, face-saving rhetoric dubbing the TLM an "extraordinary form" but the bans were gone. The TLM became a magnet for a young, robust minority of Catholics, still a living tradition being passed on from those who were adults before Vatican II, to families with, again, lots of kids being raised in this religion.

Which since the late 1960s is exactly what the ranking Roman clergy including Popes didn't want.

Ratzinger mysteriously resigned from the papacy and a then-unknown Argentine cardinal, Jorge Bergoglio, a Jesuit, was elected his successor, taking the name Francis. Jesuits have a long reputation as intellectually prideful, using sophistry to make excuses for sins, the word "jesuitical." They were among the first Modernists, and the most successful at Vatican II: Karl Rahner, the man who turned Christianity inside out (more). And "let's build a whole new Catholic Church for a new era, no more cloister or office together and the altar close to the people" didn't start at Vatican II but with them at their founding in the 1500s.

By the way, in Modernism, which Bergoglio is trying to change Catholicism into, either there's no truth or the truth is unknowable so doctrine is up for grabs.

Bergoglio has:
  • Betrayed Chinese Catholics to the government-run puppet church.
  • Tried to set aside church teaching on giving Communion to those remarried, outside the church, after divorce.
  • Tried to set aside church teaching on the death penalty.
  • Ridiculed high-church Novus Ordo: priests "wearing your grandmother's lace" and "backwardism."
  • Gutted pontifical pro-life and anti-contraception institutions, "marriage and the family" hitherto being Catholicism's only remaining "brand" since Vatican II — the other stuff is insider that nobody else cares about.
  • Harassed conservative priests and nuns while encouraging dissenters such as fellow Jesuit Fr. James Martin and even pro-abortion folk.
  • Lashed out at the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), saying: “They are the work of the devil.” See, he even hates normie conservative Novus Ordo Catholics. I watch/listen to the network, thankful for the moral support and I learn a thing or two.
  • Hosted non-Christian worship, of the goddess Pachamama, on Vatican grounds and even in St. Peter's Basilica.
  • Rescinded Summorum Pontificum, largely re-banning the TLM, with the goal of moving the entire Latin Church into the Novus Ordo.

More.

So the Catholic schism we have is what we were taught was unthinkable: the heretics have hijacked the Vatican.

Now there's the silly-named "Synod on Synodality," some of whose Vatican-approved online art is below, a dig at church teachings.

What's all this then?

Bergoglio and his bishops know they can't change the teachings of the Catholic Church - right; not even the Pope can - so they're working on no longer enforcing them, ignoring them. They want to change Catholicism's brand. I used to be a marketing copywriter, so I know how that goes. Your brand is how the public remembers you. Here's how rebranding works. An example from the TV show "Mad Men": Menken's department store was a dumpy third-rate one popular with bargain hunters. The owner didn't want that. She wanted to be Lord & Taylor. So: rebrand. Kick out the low-income customers you don't want and attract the people with disposable income whom you DO want. Like how "quality television," really snob TV, doesn't go for brute or mass ratings but rather the rich and hip, "influencers" in the culture who buy lots of stuff from the show's sponsors.

So here's Bergoglio's plan: either make those throwback Catholic kids conform or throw them the hell out. "Do it or you're not Catholic anymore!" Implied: "The Holy Father says you're going to HELL!" (The beatings will continue until morale improves.) Nice liberal ministers don't talk like that so it's all icky and passive-aggressive instead, though Bergoglio himself can be pretty rude. Anyway, once that's done, they think, Catholicism will be the chaplain to the New World Order, the global American empire, Clown World, or whatever else you want to call it. The church would become a global NGO as many are saying. The world now calls the shots. Exactly what the mainline Protestants tried to do and look where they ended up, cratering just like Catholicism after it burned itself down at Vatican II. All this liberalization does is drive away believers/members/customers. Unbelievers simply don't care what churches do anymore. (I know. I've dated a Bryn Mawr grad.) Among the Western elite, the woke religion, which uses Christian ethics, has completely replaced the churches. It is Christianity's daughter, would not have been possible without Christianity (parasitic), and, its believers hold, is Christianity's fulfillment as the Christian new covenant fulfilled and replaced the old. "What about church growth in Africa, you racist?" say the white liberals. Roman and Anglican church growth there is simply due to population growth, high birth rates. Nice try. Bergoglio and his bishops will end up with nothing. Empty churches in Europe (already happening) and the U.S. (same but a little slower).

It's become so chaotic with Bergoglio that there are conservative Catholics I can't talk to.

Bergoglio may well not be Pope but I don't have proof. My predictions are the next Pope will be as bad as he. We may see a formal split, with two rival Popes. Then the Silent (Bergoglio's, 1930s) and Boomer generations will die, and the young Catholic remnant, staying in touch with each other and teaching each other online, will be what's left of the Catholic Church. The TLM won't die. I certainly won't try to kill it.

Although there are believers working with and for Bergoglio right now, such as Cavadini, Healy, and Weinandy (Dr. W actually speaks my lingo theologically), ultimately this split is between those who still believe the creed and those who don't anymore. Do read the summary of faith Dr. Kwasniewski gives in the first article on Rahner linked above; contrast that with Rahner's "transcendental openness."

When the Pope is trying to join the enemy, how is integralism supposed to work?

This clip from The Caine Mutiny is where we are. Except the captain is actually sabotaging the ship.



Picture: Online art with a literal Vatican stamp of approval, the watermark at top left. Somebody's idea of hip, happening young people, stoked about ... being on the church council?! "How do you do, fellow kids?"

Thursday, December 08, 2022

SSPX head Fr. Pagliarani about “Traditionis Custodes”


The first two paragraphs are really about the Eucharist generally, not just the traditional Latin Mass (TLM).
"After fifty years, the various elements that confirm the answer have become obvious to all well informed Catholics: the Tridentine Mass expresses and conveys a conception of Christian life – and consequently, a conception of the Catholic Church – that is absolutely incompatible with the ecclesiology that emerged from the Second Vatican Council."
I am from an Anglican background, which is why I know and love classic liturgical worship. Catholic Anglicanism, better known as Anglo-Catholicism, fell in love with and imitated the traditional Latin Mass (TLM). So I don't understand this. Why are so many Romans, from the church that invented traditional Western worship services, saying that my love of traditional worship is incompatible with saying that ***because the true church "subsists in" the Catholic Church, non-Catholics acting in good faith can be saved***, and with ***devolving some authority from the Pope back to the bishops***, the apostles of their local churches, the dioceses? How do putting a table in front of the altar for the priest to "face the people" and having hymns with guitars promote those things? Especially as it's the Pope who's ramming these latest changes down some people's throats. It's as barmy as saying to someone "you were born in July so you're not allowed to celebrate Christmas." What?
"The problem is not simply liturgical, aesthetic or purely technical. The problem is simultaneously doctrinal, moral, spiritual, ecclesiological and liturgical. In a nutshell, it is a problem that affects all aspects of the Church’s life, without exception. It is a question of faith."
This seems as nutty as Cavadini, Healy, and Weinandy claiming that "active participation" of the laity in worship is doctrine so TLMers are heretics: that Mass is "doctrinally unacceptable." But they also admitted that one can actively participate in the TLM as many now do - nobody needed the changes in the text and ceremonial.
"On one side is the Mass of All Times. It is the standard of a Church that defies the world and is certain of victory, for its battle is nothing less that the continuation of the battle that Our Blessed Lord waged to destroy sin and to destroy the kingdom of Satan. ... On the other side stands the Mass of Paul VI. It is an authentic expression of a Church that wants to live in harmony with the world and that lends an ear to the world’s demands..."
Okay; now we're talking. That's why Modernists hate this Mass; they want the beige church of "play nice" and "don't make waves," mistaken for Christian humility and charity. I agree that's why, except this Mass isn't the only one "of all times." I go to an Eastern one. By the way, Modernism is believing that there is no truth or the truth is unknowable so doctrine is only provisional thus changeable.

Then again there's Cardinal Zuppi of Bologna, a liberal who doesn't hate traditional worship, very modern Anglican of him. As rare in the Roman Church as public singing of the office.

P.S. I don't call it the Tridentine Mass because it fuels the Modernists' claim that this Mass is only 400 years old. Peter Kwasniewski in Rorate Caeli: "They can’t even get right a basic fact like how old the content of the 1962 Missal actually is. They say '400 years,' when it is easily 800, 1200, or 1600, depending on which layer you are speaking of. And again, this is readily available information." Besides, if you're pronouncing it the American way, "TRID-in-teen," people think you're saying "Trinitarian."

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

The church and the Eucharist: both/and

In a monstrous ramble of a posting early today, as I came out of blog retirement, for what that's worth, to start remarking on some of the tumultuous church news over the past year and a half — there will be a few more entries before I likely go quiet again — I forgot to mention a few things often set falsely in opposition.
  • A Catholic or Orthodox church is all of the following: a gathering (synaxis) for the local Christian community to pray, a classroom in which to hear the Word in the lessons, "broken open" and learnt in a homily, and, unique compared to Protestants, a temple in which Christ the priest, through the hands of our bishops and priests, pleads his once-for-many sacrifice of himself on the cross, now at our altars, for the quick and the dead.
  • I am hip to modes of presence. The Eucharist is Christ himself, his once-for-many sacrifice of himself pleaded on the altar, the people's sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving (what "Eucharist" means), and a meal (which had a clearer connection to sacrifice in ancient times; animal sacrifices were cooked and eaten), the body of Christ uniting the members of the body of Christ, the Christian community, in Communion. The altar is a table but not just a table.
Traditional Christian worship has all of this!

Bergoglio's ban: I will not help suppress the traditional Mass

In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors, all our ancient bishops. — St. Edmund Campion

From Jorge Bergoglio, a.k.a. Pope Francis:
  • Traditionis Custodes, July 16, 2021: The liturgical books promulgated by Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, are the unique [ONLY] expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.
  • Accompanying letter: Return to a unitary form of celebration... those who are rooted in the previous form of celebration ... need to return in due time to the Roman Rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II.
From Archbishop Roche at the Vatican:
No. I will not help suppress this Mass.



Well, Bergoglio did it. He junked Summorum Pontificum. I can't say I didn't see it coming but I hoped otherwise.

I respect all who are acting in good faith, loving and trying to serve God, and believe they can be saved. I'm not condemning Catholics going to the Novus Ordo, the new service that's largely replaced the traditional Latin Mass (TLM). I respect people whose faith can "fly on instruments" without outward consolations, and those who make the best of the religion they've received, out of obedience, for example. Some of us have a different calling, like Archbishop Lefebvre, fighting for the externals too. But he was about more, as I'll mention.

I've been back in the Catholic Church for 11 years, spending most of the 2010s at the TLM, the old Mass, on Sundays (pictured above), perfectly fine co-existing with the Novus Ordo as reformed by Pope Benedict XVI (for example, pro multis is "for MANY"! — Benedict fixed that; don't fudge scripture), the new service as only an option. I've rarely been to it in that time. That service worked to keep most of the Latin Church in line, outside the TLM. Benedict seemed to show that Vatican II and being classically high liturgically aren't mutually exclusive. The hermeneutic of continuity, not a meta council changing everything. The Zeitgeist of the council was of the early 1960s: let's tear down and rebuild anew for the jet and atomic age; low-class. Ironically, as I come from an Anglican background, on paper the council, its neo-conservative defenders, and I aren't that different. Scripture. Creed. Sacraments. Councils. Church fathers. Devotions in their proper place. You don't have to believe the Holy Spirit commanded the liturgical changes over 50 years ago — now shrill Roman voices, though only opinion as far as I know, are claiming otherwise. I could co-exist with the Novus Ordo, but the old Mass is better. Not only a worship service — one of several ways at the altar to plead Christ's one sacrifice; I haven't used expressions such as "the true Mass" and still don't — but as non-Roman Catholics Agatha Christie, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and others pointed out in the 1970s, a treasure of Western civilization. I thought as long as Bergoglio doesn't touch the services, fine.

Now this. Traditiones Custodes, "the Jailer of Tradition," its title a cruel twist on Fr. Hunwicke's explanation that the Pope is just a caretaker of tradition, a basis for me to be Catholic. My faith has never been about the Pope's person. His office as part of the church has limited powers: Fr. Hunwicke's teaching in a nutshell.

The ICKSP driven out of Chicago. The TLM kicked out of all D.C. parishes including Old St. Mary's, a place I knew.

Catholic turned Hare Krishna Arturo Vasquez points out the cruel irony of high church authority, the basics I learnt from Catholic Anglicanism about bishops, being used against this Mass. Taking your faith and throwing it in your face; part of Satan's act.

In Summorum Pontificum, the man I've called Benedict the Great did make things fair for the TLM for a change, lifting all restrictions so bishops couldn't ban it. I hoped that the "extraordinary form" label was just face-saving church politics. The traditional Mass has never been abrogated officially but it seems in context Paul VI and the council intended to replace it. With John Paul II the TLM in the official church was a bait-and-switch to try to stop Archbishop Lefebvre: priests and congregations retaining the traditional Mass were a "problem" (Quattuor Abhinc Annos, the first, stingy indult in 1984 barely allowing the TLM, which didn't change anything). And I suspect Anglican friends are right that the ordinariate's one too, not because of the people in it but because of the Vatican. Catholic liberals are provincial and un-ecumenical.

On the ground this hasn't affected me — yet? Gradually since 2016 and full-time since 2019 I've been living in the Byzantine Rite, a calling to use what I learnt from the Orthodox, and yes, when traveling I go to the Orthodox on Sunday, because a rite is a whole culture you live in. I haven't been to a TLM in three years. But the Roman diocese isn't one of the anti-TLM ones. Many bishops aren't hostile. My old TLM church — actually a high-churchified Novus Ordo one with one Sunday TLM — is intact. The only Bergoglian restriction for now is no new TLMs. Again, for me, for now, everything's the same.

Given the Bergoglian crackdown on this Mass, part of his larger attack on the faith trying to finally redo and rebrand Catholicism, and the fact that Byzantine Catholic churches are aging and dying as the young assimilate into the larger culture and leave — they're usually gone by the third generation in the West, all of this might hit me in a few years.

"The Mass that would not die": The TLM will survive this persecution, outliving its persecutors, and maybe even benefit from the publicity from that. First, it's not a movement of nostalgic old people anymore. Famously, and the Bergoglian churchmen hate this, it's a movement of young people, typically married couples in their 30s or so with several kids, and of course young religious vocations, priests and nuns. Crucially, thanks to Archbishop Lefebvre and the official church's attempts to stop him, the TLM has remained a living tradition, passed down from those who were adults before Vatican II to the grandchildren. Second, related to the first, this generation knows how to use the Internet, both to communicate worldwide and for instructional materials including study. The aging Bergoglian bishops such as Roche, Cupich, and Gregory come off as out of touch, as if it were 1970 so kicking the traditional Mass out of the parishes will kill it.

This youthful movement, a robust minority, is the work of the Holy Spirit among the People of God.

In the end all the Bergoglians have is a threat: "Do it or you're not Catholic anymore. You're not in the church." Implied: "You're going to hell." "That's SAINT Paul VI, you, you apostate! You... Protestant!" Trying to take your identity away.


Protestant like Solemn Mass at St. John's Episcopal Church in Detroit, Catholic Anglicans? Thank you! The Roman Catholic community burned itself down 55 years ago. It's hard to shun me — as in the Amish — when your social group no longer exists.

If your service was really so "Spirit-filled" and "vibrant" (Cavadini, Healy, and Weinandy) you wouldn't have to threaten me.

Bergoglio has weaponized the Novus Ordo against the TLM.

I'm an odd duck stuck in the middle, a bit like Newman was; he was too conservative intellectually for the Church of England but too liberal for many Catholics' tastes in his day. I'm more conservative than the Novus Ordo and more liberal than the SSPX, the group Archbishop Lefebvre founded, but as the state of emergency in the church that the Society claims as their reason to be is happening, and although a rite is a complete culture you don't put on and take off like a coat, the SSPX is an option for me. They're not perfect but they are trying to live and teach an entirely Christian worldview, not just a Sunday religion; old worship services actually aren't their main reason to be. And they're not owned by the New World Order, the global American empire, Clown World, the Cathedral, whatever you want to call it. I've worked for them and would again if asked, and I buy my coffee from one of their affiliated monasteries.

Rejoin the Orthodox? I've been over and over this online: I don't want to be a latinizer, but Latin moral theology is true, so no to contraception and adulterous second marriages — economy is for rules, not morals — and no; the TLM hasn't been fake for 1,000 years, Orthodoxy's Cyprianic ecclesiology and sacramentology. I know it and respect it but can't accept it. The experts need to reword that Latin theology all in Orthodox terms, out of respect, but I can't replace it ... with nothing. By the way, Western Rite Orthodoxy is a byzantinized joke.

Anglicanism? No; they gave me a lot but underneath today's traditional services its roots are Reformed Protestant. And to buy that is historically to swallow liturgical changes far more radical than the Novus Ordo.

Tradition and immemorial custom trump Popes.

So in five to 10 years things may remain the same for me ecclesiastically or you'll see me at the traditionalist chapel or "undisclosed location" house TLM, or at the Orthodox not going to Communion.


A few more points:
  • Having only one version (use, recension) of the Roman Rite isn't doctrinally necessary nor historical. In the Middle Ages there were many local Latin missals and breviaries. The versions of various religious orders remained until the Novus Ordo.
  • This "one church, one rite" business is what John Ireland said to Alexis Toth. As Michael Davies wrote, the Novus Ordo is a harsh and even offensive condemnation of the practices of the Eastern rites.
  • The neocons and liberals/Modernists claim that the success of the Roman Church in Africa proves that the Novus Ordo is successful and the Holy Spirit commands the changes, even though Catholics in the West have cratered since the "renewal." Also a sly way to call most American and European TLMers racists. Actually, Roman and Anglican growth in Africa is thanks to high birth rates and the collapse of native religions. Source: Damian Thompson at The Spectator.
  • It's not the "Tridentine Mass"; I don't use that term. It's not just 400 years old. Much of it is medieval with some even going back to antiquity. The Roman Canon is the second oldest Eucharistic prayer still in use.
  • The new lectionary's a humbug because if you only read/hear a lesson every two or three years you won't learn it. One-year cycles of readings work best, and the minor propers at the traditional Mass tie into those lessons. The TLM is chock full of scripture!
  • Much of traditional liturgical worship works without literacy required. The church building as a big picture Bible, the repetitions, and of course the music. Incense to engage the sense of smell.
  • Traditional laity have a lot of freedom. Come for 20 minutes. Or stay for the whole thing. Follow the service in a book. Walk from shrine to shrine, lighting candles and saying your own devotional prayers. Fall asleep. Some things are more edifying than others.
  • You probably won't get high-church Novus Ordo as a substitute. Some bishops are cracking down on that too. Not even nice enough to be patronizing.
  • The council actually didn't order most of the changes, such as "facing the people."
  • "Active participation" is nice, not necessary. It's an option at traditional services. Some of Bergoglio's defenders, such as Cavadini, Healy, and Weinandy (rebuttal), have elevated it to doctrine, calling the TLM "doctrinally unacceptable," TLMers heretics. That undermines belief in the church, for "getting it wrong" all those centuries!
  • On that note, from Dr. Kwasniewski: "Offspring of Arius in the Holy of Holies: Recent False Claims about the Roman Rite." The new Mass is more trinitarian than the old? You've got to be kidding.
  • Note that all this has little to do with Latin. A vernacular option for the traditional Mass, such as in Anglican English, the language's Christian tradition, would be fine. But the Modernists do hate Latin so.
  • In Catholic Anglicanism it's hard to tell where that ends and the TLM begins because it uses so much from traditional Roman Catholicism. Missale Romanum use, the literal TLM. Msgr. Steenson was right to keep that out of the ordinariate even though it's related. That would be mission creep.
  • One of my sayings: Catholic ghetto, such as old-fashioned ceremonial, is Christian community that liberals are ashamed of.
  • The problem often isn't what the Novus Ordo says but what it doesn't say. Annibale Bugnini didn't believe in a lot of things so he edited them out.

I'm not breaking communion. Nor are the folk in the Novus Ordo, from high-church to no-frills, using the good English, close to the Latin so with the same cadence as the Book of Common Prayer, ordered by Benedict XVI. Bergoglio is.

P.S. In a new letter, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI characterizes the Second Vatican Council as “not only meaningful, but necessary.” Maybe he wasn't great.