Monday, December 06, 2004

Follow-up to The Church Confronts Modernity
Thomas Woods Jnr has nailed it — these Roman Catholic thinkers, behind the Catholic Action of Dorothy Day and Catherine de Hueck among others (including at one remove Anglo-Catholics like Trevor Huddleston, Desmond Tutu’s mentor), in their defence of the Catholic faith and their stance towards modernity, had the answer — not the Modernists from the period, not the Protestant religious right today, not the Novus Ordo neocons, not the fringe ex-Orthodox. And Vatican II at least functionally squandered it. (The legitimate liturgical movement was another component of the same thing and, like real lay apostolates, V2 betrayed and killed that too.)

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Following up on my friend Jeff Culbreath’s ideas about Catholic separatism, given the caveat that such projects rarely survive, I think an ideal, which would work with the traditional Roman or the Russian or other Orthodox rite, would be something like the best of St Marys, Kansas mixed with the best of Robert Waldrop — a concern for social justice as part of an engagement with the world, not a capitulation to it à la V2, that’s often missing from the traditionalist scene (easily parodied on the Roman side as puritanical killjoys who wish it were the nifty ’50s and on the Orthodox side as cults made up of similar but more colourful historical re-enactor wannabes*). In short, not a caricature but simply normal village life** with a town divided into parishes and dotted with their churches and shrines (per Paul Goings this can also work in a city setting by dedicating a neighbourhood to this project).

*Who seem to re-create the mistakes of the Russian Old Believers.

**Like the organic mediæval layout of York, England, which still has a parish church on nearly every corner, or what the bankrupt and now officially dead Society of St John was claiming to try to build.

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