Sunday, August 28, 2005

From Fr Anthony Chadwick
Among many good entries (such as the one dated yesterday: we are more than animals!), read the one dated today:

The real enemy
Refuting stock arguments against religion, like the ones popularised in John Lennon’s beautiful anthem of evil*, ‘Imagine’: ‘just chuck out all that God stuff and we’ll live in peace’. (You mean like Stalin and Hitler — named in descending order of importance — did as young men and for the rest of their lives?) As Fr Chadwick suggests, the history of the 20th century — in which the worst wars in human history are attributable to anti- or non-Christian idealists — proved exactly the opposite.

Though ‘what unites us is important’ doesn’t sound bad and, I think, on the surface is true. I think that what Fr C is criticising are relativism and indifferentism.

Sinéad O’Connor was wrong.

An English altar
Essentially my first experience of liturgical worship when I was a kid: as Fr Peter Robinson says, the Pius XII Vatican compared to most of what’s out there now!

We... find the European influence in the Russian Church, and they made the most of it...
From baroque architecture to good Tridentine methods like catechisms. The kind of thing that seemingly friendly liberal Orthodox chuck out in the name of being Eastern: the old defensive xenophobia meets Modernism.

Anglo-Catholicism produced a peculiarly English spirituality, an art of "tolerant conservatism" - a sense of discretion and being a gentleman about other people's faults. It was the spirituality of the Oxford Movement that took Newman and Faber to the Oratory of St. Philip Neri rather than to a local diocese or the Jesuits, for example.
The kind of thing I learnt by example from this fellow.

Father also has a lot to say about the problems of the Society of St Pius X (while neither of us are ungrateful for the good that they do): in short they don’t represent the breadth/diversity of the real pre-conciliar church (which had everybody from Dorothy Day and Charles de Foucauld to Francisco Franco and Fulgencio Batista**) but rather are only one form of clerical culture and perhaps a caricatured form at that. Men who should have been English Oratorians or happy diocesan priests are forced to act like Jesuits (the SSPX are a Counter-Reformation religious order, a specific vocation not for everybody) and it sometimes (often?) doesn’t work. As for the laity, it often represents essentially one kind as well: in France a certain bourgeois middle-classness as Fr C describes, which is also true in the States, where it’s a kind of Jansenist-tinged nostalgia for Irish-American arrival in the American suburban middle class in the 1950s.

On St Augustine

*Like both the Soviet (‘Союз нерушимий’, that is, ‘Unbreakable Union’) and Nazi (‘The Horst Wessel Song’) anthems: all beautiful songs!

**‘The Catholic Church: here comes everybody.’

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