Friday, March 31, 2023

Thanks, Father Sam. RIP.

Online Roman Catholic apologists still remind me of rude college kids I knew 35 years ago who, after coming to my Catholic Anglican parish to join me for Evening Prayer and Benediction, made a show of ignoring me, leaning one to another and asking if that was really the sacrament.

In contrast...

I recently looked up someone formative for me in my teens, at the town's most beautiful church, a try at English Gothic. He was from the WASP old school, going back to before World War II. His father was an Episcopal priest too and if I recall rightly he was a boy chorister at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, in the glory days of Canon West. Interestingly he left no Internet presence; there is next to nothing about him online, just an obituary saying little. Not a single picture. In a way fitting, as he was self-effacing in his secondhand English (anglophile American, from Massachusetts) way. A bit like C.S. Lewis, not a Catholic Anglican himself but pointing the way; my first high-ish rector. A "gentle man," manifestly holy, quietly so in his blue cassock and his traditional Eucharistic vestments. Sacramental; I dare say a bit mystical. He knew everybody in his little congregation, very Anglican, and many in the wider town. Not right all the time; holy. The opposite of self-righteous apologists. Truth matters, but. People like him, obviously acting in good faith, show how Anglicanism, in its little conservative parish holdouts that formed me, could work, despite its problems. (Full parishes, financially independent, are very autonomous.) I didn't appreciate him enough at the time; the older I get, the more I do.

"Thanks, Father Sam. You mattered." RIP.

Although he sometimes criticized old-school Roman Catholicism, remembering it well, his sacristy included part of my introduction to the traditional Latin Mass; namely, the old manual for the Order of St. Vincent for Episcopal altar boys, the American Missal order of Mass, the first time I read parts of the TLM in translation. I have a copy.

He was the first priest I heard Gregorian-chant the preface at the Eucharist.

I read my psalms and canticles from the old Book of Common Prayer. Before Father Sam, I came from a church that kept it.

I first saw full-fledged "pre-Vatican II" Catholic Anglicanism, birettas and all, when I was 17, at a now-gone New Jersey church; life-changing. Catholic Anglicanism made me.

The Rev. Samuel Edwin Purdy

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Are zoomer trad Christians a myth?

I like ACNA and its journal, The North American Anglican, a lot. Part of the sound high-church minority, in the very center of Christianity's historic mainstream, and with a healthy emphasis on the essentials, gospel, creed, council, crosier, and sacraments. "... discovered liturgy, and turned their lives around by dedicating themselves to confession, fasting, and practicing daily offices." Most important, celebrating and receiving the Eucharist, Christ sacrificing himself to the Father for the quick and the dead, accompanied by Gregorian, Anglican, Byzantine, or Russian chant, incense, chasubles, and all. High ecumenism, like Touchstone or First Things. I dare say I'm more ecumenical than liberal Christians; Catholic liberals are provincial. Echoing a real lost hope from the 1960s, that maybe the differences were just misunderstandings (what Chalcedonians now think of non-Chalcedonians) so just maybe the high churches would reconcile. What great men like Michael Ramsey were aiming for. That said, ACNA are Protestants and in ways the Episcopal Church 2.0, whence they came, without the rainbow issues.

I can accept that certainly in low-church America - except a formerly huge immigrant Catholic community that hasn't really existed since the 1960s; it blew itself up, assimilating and trading the faith once delivered, Christianity, for Rahnerian Modernism, and Pope Francis is trying to finish the job - a country in a moral/spiritual death spiral, most of the few zoomer Christians are going to Hillsong and suchlike, megachurches with praise bands and all, often part of the Southern Baptist Convention, the last big American church worth taking seriously, and liberalism (Christianity's daughter) has got its nose under the tent flap there. Anyway, high churchmen are still considered oddballs. America's real founding by the Anglicans in Virginia is largely forgotten.
Nationwide, only about 4% of parishes offer the Latin Mass, and many do not publicize it.
Ouch. I believe it.

The Orthodox convert boomlet. They're less exclusively ethnic now but:
...the majority of American states are less than 1% Orthodox. The 2020 census found 1% of all Americans are Orthodox. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese even reports a 22% membership decline in the decade from 2010 to 2020.
Assimilation is their death spiral. They're also wrong on remarriage after divorce and on contraception, like Protestants.
The Roman Catholic Church’s decline began as it hemorrhaged parishioners starting in the late 1950s before the introduction of vernacular mass headed off the decline, mostly stabilizing until the past 20 years when attendance dropped again following the 2001 sex abuse scandal.
I don't have numbers but that sounds wrong. The steep decline didn't begin in the '50s. Vatican II didn't save the Roman community; quite the opposite.

The writer seems to retain modern Episcopalians' disdain for "conservatives." You see, Pope Francis had to save his church from all those icky GOPers in the Latin Mass crowd. Actually, the normie Republicans aren't conservative enough! And knowledgeable Catholics already know that Christian social teaching isn't the Republican platform; that teaching is both and neither the secular left and right.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

In the Catholic system, can the Pope change and abolish worship services?

"Can the Pope change and abolish worship services?" The Modernists' and Novus Ordo neocons' trump card against traditionalists now that Jorge Bergoglio is trying to destroy the Catholic Church from within - Communion for the remarried after divorce, for example - and hates the traditional Latin Mass and its (young) people as obstacles.

He can - it's rules, not doctrine - but most of the time the Catholic Church hasn't acted like that. For the most part, unlike Protestant groups with their fanciful and conflicting notions about the early Christians, Catholics knew what they didn't know so they changed the services from the Middle Ages very little, lest they lose the episcopate and the Eucharist.

He's done it before. There was the old Roman (terse collects from antiquity)/Gallican Rite mashup essentially creating the TLM a millennium ago. There was the Quignonez breviary, the basis for the Coverdale psalter in the Book of Common Prayer, part of my daily "office": allowed and then rescinded, now you see it, now you don't. St. Pius V banned all missals newer than 200 years except his slight edit of the TLM: Quo Primum Tempore. St. Pius X radically simplified the breviary (by the way, the easy 1960 version is my favorite Roman Breviary). There was the Pius XII Latin psalter replacing the Vulgate; nobody liked it and I think it disappeared. (If it's not broken, don't fix it.) And the 1955 Holy Week ceremonies, Bugnini's first big experiment.

But it's obvious that Bugnini's Novus Ordo is different, though I can't prove it. St. Pius V wasn't trying to sell out the church to an enemy. By the way, before Traditionis Custodes, I wasn't an extremist, fine with Benedict XVI's English Novus Ordo as an option such as on holy days of obligation. You weaponize the N.O., you radicalize me. And... the N.O.'s main problem isn't what it says - and the Latin original is fine, as is Benedict XVI's English - but what it no longer says; tacit but deliberate denials of teachings. Bergoglianism is trying to turn the Catholic Church into a mainline Protestant denomination, and the push for only one form of worship is a part of that.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Orthodoxy vs. Eucharistic adoration

Always happy to explain Orthodox beliefs and practices.

What do Orthodox Christians think about the Western practice of Eucharistic adoration—as in giving latria to the Eucharist?

Timothy (Metropolitan Kallistos) Ware covered this in his popular book The Orthodox Church. There is no FORMAL, defined doctrine about the Eucharist in the Orthodox communion, unlike the Catholic Church, but that doesn't mean the Orthodox deny the Catholic teaching about the Eucharist as Christ's sacrifice with a complete change to the elements.

Long story short: Eucharistic devotion never developed in Orthodoxy because the Orthodox didn't need it. No Berengarius denied the nature of Holy Communion so no Aristotle-using scholastic theologians defended it.

Sooo... pleasing good Protestant Anglicans in this regard, in Orthodoxy the Eucharist isn't gazed upon outside of the worship service but is duly used, eaten, most of the time during the service for it. But Orthodoxy does reserve the sacrament for visits to the sick and in Lent for a Communion service from the reserved sacrament, the Liturgy (not really a Liturgy/Mass) of the Presanctified Gifts. So the services in the Orthodox rite retain an earlier "shape" (as Gregory Dix might have said), more like the church fathers, pre-dating Western Eucharistic devotion.

All that said, back to Ware. There is no historical and thus liturgical reason in the Orthodox rite for Eucharistic devotion but he allows that there is no theological reason in Orthodoxy not to have it. So "making a visit" to the church specifically to pray in front of the reserved sacrament or to be blessed with it (the Latin Catholic service of Benediction) is a Latinism - thou shalt not mix rites - but in theory allowable in Orthodoxy.

Adoration of the sacrament as God? Yes, remembering that it's not an idol, a god in itself, or representing another god*, but like the body of Christ when he walked among us.

And it's true that the Eucharist's main focus is pleading Christ's sacrifice, offering it to the Father, not the adoration of the elements, though that's part of it.

*I'm with the late Fr. Andrew Lawrence James: next to nobody literally worships the images of their gods.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Religious ed: what the Eucharist is

Recently was antiques/vintage/junque browsing, one of my favorite activities. Treasures of history, even if you don't buy anything; like a museum without the attitude. Anyway, this artifact got my attention, a Silver Burdett 1970s-ish Catholic children's book on the Eucharist. I skimmed it. I've seen suchlike before. Lots and lots about community, family, fellowship, hugs all around, good as far as it goes. But nothing about the Eucharist being Christ's one sacrifice, a deep love, being pleaded to God the Father at the altar by the priest! Without that it's meaningless. Ever run across a bigmouth who challenges your attempt to share the faith, shutting you down by saying "Don't tell me what to believe; I went to Catholic school for 12 years"? In the pre-Benedict XVI Novus Ordo it was possible to go through the Catholic system and not learn what the Eucharist is. More than one Gallup poll confirms it: 70% of Catholics, nominal and other, don't. I happened to learn, partly by providence and partly seeking, how to examine my conscience and go to confession, the good old Roman manuals' way; part of worthily going to Communion for Catholics, which I also learnt by happenstance. I learnt what the Mass really is the same way I started to learn good-old-fashioned liturgics, from somebody in the Episcopal Church, which I was born into! (Catholic Anglicans: wonderful people and churches descended from 16th-century heretics, which seems almost not to matter.) In this case a then-Episcopal priest. We're not in touch but he's a happy-convert story, long a Catholic priest. But this encounter in a junque store reminded me of what's recently long been passed off as Catholicism, which the Bergoglians/Synodalists (guten Tag) are trying to bring back. A spiritual counterfeit.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Infrequent Communion in old-country Orthodoxy

A highlight this weekend besides an important and scriptural feast, yesterday according to the new calendar, the Annunciation (Little Christmas, the true feast of the Incarnation): informing two Orthodox keyboard jocks that the practice they know at St. Convert's of weekly reception of Communion thus confession at least monthly, which they insisted is traditional, comes from... imitating modern (not Modernist) Catholicism. You can do it but give due credit. It makes sense if you have a distinction between mortal and venial sin, a Latinism that the Orthodox in pure form don't have: if the sin isn't grave, you can receive. What's traditional East and West, not ideal, don't get me wrong, is reflected in the Catholic requirement to receive once a year, at Eastertime, because medieval people only dared receive once a year, if at all. Old-country Orthodoxy, yiayia/baba (granny) piety, is just like that. In order for it to work, you approach the chalice infrequently and are sure to confess everything since your last confession, just to be safe, before each time you receive. Maybe it's not the best but it does work.

The Protestants tried to get people to go to Communion every week by downgrading the sacrament from Christ's one sacrifice and presence to a mere symbol, a commemoration; not right and it didn't work - for example, the English still only received the Protestant Communion once a quarter, so the ministers only had it once a quarter for many years, because they thought that having the service with no communicants besides the minister was superstitious.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Political canonizations

Insight I got at a recent Sunday-morning after-service church coffee time (often my breakfast) from one of the few parishioners on the same page as me on matters ecclesiastical (we have our differences but mad respect): both the canonizations of Josaphat (Kuntsevich) of Polotsk on the Catholic side and of Alexis Toth on the Orthodox one were politically motivated nasty statements about a rival church (people who switched churches and/or took people with them), not about figures the people were devoted to. In what I call the "infallible Sportsmen's Club" (the bar in the church basement or hall), my view of the church in down-home Pennsylvania and Ohio, the aging Slavic parishioners are devoted to St. Nicholas and St. Panteleimon, etc., not to these.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

What's so great about the traditional Mass?

Suscipe, Sancte Pater...

Fr. Stravinskas clearly didn't really want the traditonal Latin Mass but high-church Novus Ordo, which Interwebs Catholics have dubbed reverent Novus Ordo. Catholic Anglicanism made me so "high-church" it is. Beware official churchmen who talk about "enriching" or "accompanying" you. Meaning "we're going to enrich the f*ck out of you." Anyway:

Why besides preference and nostalgia does the TLM matter? There are sincere Catholics who think: we have the teachings and the sacraments so what's your problem? Why is this old Roman/Gallican mashup missal better?
  • The Mass is both a gathering of the faithful to pray together and learn the Bible and the continuation and fulfillment of the Jewish temple, Christ's one sacrifice being pleaded on our altars. The TLM's generations of evolved ceremonial — a form of Christian community too — drive that point home, that this is a solemn place where sacrifice is offered.
  • 2- and 3-year reading cycles don't work. People retain what they hear and read in the course of one year. They forget things they read and hear only every two or three years.
  • Often it's not so much what the Novus Ordo says but what it doesn't say. So much was edited out, including from the readings. Because like Cranmer, Bugnini didn't believe in much Catholic teaching anymore.
  • It's strong Christian community; people have prayed this way for literally many generations. Similarly, the rosary.
The new service is a Mass, because the church's teachings can't change so that authority is implicitly behind it. But the old is better. Latin is nice — international, precise, unchanging in meaning, a gateway to the classical world, and pretty — but this is not about Latin.

Can the TLM be enriched? Yes, without a rewrite. The goal of the old liturgical movement, which many young trads have reached, yes, thanks to the example of the Novus Ordo: active participation. Congregations Gregorian-chanting: goals. Just as I like to say, there was room for Catholic reform but the 1960s weren't it.

It's also what Western Rite Orthodoxy usually resembles and would be more like if it were honest, living up to the words of John of Shanghai and San Francisco: Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must be Eastern. The West was fully Orthodox for a thousand years, and her venerable liturgy is far older than any of her heresies.

In Lucca, Italy: Et introibo ad altare Dei.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Real Catholic renewal, false religion, cultural sellout in the Ukraine war, and more

  • True reform: Cavadini, Healy, and Weinandy admit that many traditional Latin Massers are fulfilling Vatican II's objective of "active participation," thinking it's a victory for them (C, H, & W) and trying to rub it in. Trying to call TLMers hypocrites. Rather, I say: wonderful! Mission accomplished. Renewal! It is the Novus Ordo being a good influence on the TLM, but these writers do describe the legitimate liturgical movement before the council, which did the same thing; this has fulfilled its goal, to teach Roman Catholic laity to know, love, and use the traditional services to the fullest. In other words, to have Catholic renewal, you didn't have to rewrite the worship services. So Vatican II was unnecessary. The TLM I used to go to on Sundays is a dialogue Sung Mass. So, according to C, H, & W, if you actively participate at the TLM you're just a "self-selected" snob (Cardinal Roche: those damned kids and their computer web!); you must use the worship service "intentionally structured to elicit and emphasize active participation." The venerable Thomas Day, the great explainer of the American Romish Church, good, bad, old, and new, has mentioned what I've seen, that many rank-and-file Romans don't make a sound in church, barely putting up with C, H, & W's Spirit-filled worship. And NOW who's worshipping religious form?
    • C, H, & W go charismatic on us, like the protestantizing ones in the 1970s: use the new Mass exclusively or you're blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. "The Spirit’s work of renewing the liturgy ... a defiant denial of the Spirit’s activity," etc. Here's a rebuttal from Peter Kwasniewski at 1 Peter 5: Games people play with the Holy Spirit.
    • When that doesn't work, the C, H, & W types can always fall back on a good-old-fashioned threat: obey! Do it or you're out of the church, not Catholic anymore. Implied: you're going to hell! Nothing on the ground has changed for me ecclesiastically, such as the Orthodox rite I live in, which I guess isn't really Spirit-filled because it's old, or maybe it's part-time Spirit-filled when the Romans are trying to be ecumenical or something, but, because I won't help suppress the TLM, if Bergoglio or a successor and his crew bother to kick me off the team, so be it.
  • Bergoglio appointee Robert McElroy's piece is a perfect example of present-day counterfeit Christianity. No more "sin no more, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me"; edited out. Stop harping on sexual sin: pretty convenient when your priests are infamous for chasing teenage boys. Then he thinks throwing one reference to the Trinity on it will fool Christians. The rest of it often does because it still rips off Christian ethics. And this gets rewarded with a red hat. Bergoglio and his wrecking crew are trying to destroy the church. This is no drill.
    • From the good Fr. Z(uhlsdorf): Just the facts, ma'am: how to make a short good old-fashioned confession. Kind and number of sins. Deep dives, conversations, are spiritual direction, eldership and spiritual fathers in Orthodox lingo, where it's really a monastic thing; something like most people "living in the world" I don't do. Confessors and queues don't have time to do that; make an appointment for it. I've found that keeping my distance from priests works best for me, certainly in the Catholic Church. Anyway, yes, examining your conscience to sincerely confess all grave matter in thought, word, and deed (yes, I just quoted Cranmer's Prayer Book), even if you fail but are sincere about sinning no more, is the golden way, the King's Highway, classic Catholicism; Orthodoxy too though they don't have the helpful distinction between mortal and venial sin. Their old school is to confess everything about once a year to receive Communion once a year or hardly more. Anyway, this is a staple of Catholicism that the Cardinal McElroys want to get rid of, leaving you with... mainline Protestantism, churches people don't go to anymore. Christianity's daughter religion among the elite and social climbers, wokeness, uses Christian ethics (so it sounds and feels right) but doesn't need churches. The schools and mass media will do.
  • Yep, Christianity's numbers are falling, especially mainline Protestantism. Normie Catholics are assimilating into extinction, Spirit-filled Novus Ordo services notwithstanding. Shane Schaetzel brings up two other interesting things. One, mainline Protestants are nicer than most Catholics about keeping old-fashioned worship services for people who want them; none of Bergoglio's or C, H, & W's "Obey the Spirit or go to hell!" vicious nonsense. (Fr. Feeney with crappy guitar hymns!) I'd like to hear them turn parochial and bigoted on a dime: "Oh, yeah? Well, I don't care! They're not Catholic and neither will you be." As Thomas Day has mentioned, Episcopalians know this worship option as Rite I, the services that still have thous and thees (ad orientem is okay too), on which the Anglican Use ordinariate Mass (looks and feels like the TLM) is based. Romans such as C, H, & W, and their Pope for that matter (but not all Roman bishops), are foaming-at-the-mouth anti-Rite I options: TLM and "reverent Novus Ordo." Second, Schaetzel's plan to keep the kids, sound doctrine, a traditional worship option, and relevance to the kids without compromise/pandering, sounds exactly like Benedict XVI's hermeneutic of continuity and my understanding of what Catholicism is until Bergoglio started tearing it down. "Hey, man; kids are turned off by your dogmatism." Okay, boomer. They don't take your church seriously either.
  • From NLM: no, Africa's not a Vatican II success story so no, contra Professor Biggest Beans at Villa-No-No University, you're not a racist for seeing that the traditional Mass is better. Inculturation is fine but anyway.
  • Temperamentally conservative churches are nice — not cults — but not enough. Rod Dreher: I can imagine that at least some of the conservatives are not at all ideological. When I was growing up in a Methodist church in the 1970s and early 1980s, you could call it conservative, but its conservatism had almost nothing to do with doctrine or politics, and everything to do with the fact that the congregation cherished stability, and wanted things to stay the same. I went through a brief period of Evangelical intensity when I was twelve and thirteen, and asked my mom to take me to worship at the local Baptist church, which I believed took doctrine more seriously. It wasn't that our family's Methodist parish was liberal, but rather that it avoided taking stands on anything, and folks seemed to like it that way. Its conservatism, at least during my childhood, was entirely temperamental. Point is, the term "conservative" can mean different things. The Episcopal parish I grew up with was like that as are the old ethnic Orthodox churches, the "Sportsmen's Clubs" (bar in the hall) I like. Sitting ducks for liberals to take over, as has happened to mainline Protestantism.
  • Meanwhile, in the Ukraine, the global American empire and its NATO vassals' proxy war on Russia has an ecclesiastical/cultural component. Both the Patriarchate of Constantinople's fake Orthodox church there — the real one's under Moscow — and the Uniates of Galicia, the Ukrainian Catholic Church (in the name of Vatican II on religious liberty and, related, American democracy), are spiting Russia and turning their backs on the country's culture by adopting the "Revised Julian Calendar," functionally the same as the Gregorian one, so Christmas is moving to Dec. 25, etc. I think they're keeping the Orthodox date for Easter, as most new-calendar Orthodox do. (The articles are in Ukrainian; shouldn't be a problem for your browser to translate.) Calendars are rules, not doctrine. This move is reminiscent of the Novus Ordo. Apparently "I stand with Ukraine" is really more Coca-colonialism; "let's remake the Ukraine in America's image." Today church allegiance and the church calendar, tomorrow the flag of many colors over the Kremlin. Reminds me of that Pizza Hut commercial with Gorbachev in it: in the Western narrative, East Slavs are dumb drunks running a gas station, willing to sell out their culture for some American trinkets. I wonder if the Ukraine's American puppet government (since 2014) will switch the country to the Latin alphabet. That'll show 'em. I used to like to say that most don't know that the Catholic Church has at least two Christmases. Not in Bergoglio's dream world of a "unitary" rite.
  • From Pastor Peters, one of the good guys, in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod: know what your church teaches.
  • Video: The FBI et al. are blacklisting traditional Catholics as a "hate group." Like that article in The Atlantic about their scary assault rosaries. New England Yankee Puritanism lives on in wokeness. More from the National Review (yeah, I know; don't trust normie Republicans).

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


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.