Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The people powering the Ron Paul phenomenon
Students, old-line conservatives, anti-globalists back contender

From Paul Goings.

Dr Paul on ‘The Tonight Show’ with Jay Leno
From the LRC blog
People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw bombs

Have we lost the consciousness of freedom?
A theologian from the old right

Waterboarding is a euphemism for pure evil
Brought to you by the values party

From LRC.
GI Joe’s makeover
More on this from the LRC blog
His name will become an acronym, and stand for "Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity, an international co-ed force of operatives who use hi-tech equipment to battle Cobra, an evil organization headed by a double-crossing Scottish arms dealer."
First a sensible thought from El Cid on war toys:
There is nothing wrong with children playing at war, so long as someone within the family explains that war is not simply a game. Playing with heroes and villains is an important part of a child developing into a man - so long, as I said, as they eventually come to see that the world is not so simple as all that.
The makeover is the sort of thing that would have had establishment ‘conservatives’ having kittens about 10 years ago.

(Remember US Army Specialist Michael New’s ‘sir, no, sir’ to wearing a UN patch on his uniform, saying he swore to defend the US Constitution not serve under foreign command?)

It’s still disturbing: the statist globalist dream.

That said, real conservatives like Ron Paul point that the real bad-guy ‘isolationists’ are Mr Bush and his minders flipping off the UN and world opinion to do things like invade Iraq, breaking their 2000 campaign promises (‘See, we’re not like that pro-abortion, queer-lovin’, intern-diddlin’ globalist Bill Clinton, no, sir — no intervention or nation-buildin’, we promise’... before 9/11 Changed Everything™, well, not really).

Arguably there’s a place for a real UN peacekeeping force to try and clean up the mess the US made there. On the other hand the ’90s conservative talking heads had a point about all that: in ex-Yugoslavia they just got shot at; both sides in a civil war just want them out of the way like they’d like to get rid of the American occupiers in Iraq. So be it.

Of course the neocons really have no problem with New Joe: not only in principle but it’s convenient propaganda for the Coalition of the Willing and all that rot.

Funny that the villain is a Scot. Might be a back-handed compliment really. The Scots have been screwed over by empire since Bonnie Prince Charlie lost, becoming human fodder in both the British and successor American empires’ overseas armies, and from the gritty Lowlands to the mountains of the American South (where they invented country music) they have a healthy distrust of it. The original James Bond, like his creator and the first famous actor who played him, was a Scotsman. What made him cool? He was a bit of a maverick. I’ve read in LRC that officers from VMI, in the South, are different from West Pointers because they’re taught to be independent thinkers.
Catholic versus ‘Catholic’
A real Catholic writes:
I got into a bit of a tussle with the Director of Campus Ministry at the [Roman Catholic] parochial high school where I teach. He was working on large bulletin board in the main corridor of the school. A large chalice with a host was cut out of oak tag and tacked up on the board. He was in the process of putting the words around it "Do this in remembrance of me". I remarked to him that maybe the phase "Behold the Lamb of God" might be more appropriate. He remarked quite sharply, I might add, that the phase he was using was more appropriate within the context of ministry. He seemed offended and annoyed. Almost dismissing the comment as trite and cliched. Apparently, he was more concerned with provoking a moralistic response than engendering a sense of adoration. I've seen this statement,that is; "Do this in remembrance" carved into every protestant communion table in just about every church I've walked into. It is used as a stick in your eye reminder that the Lord's supper is a memorial feast. I just thought the irony was stunning. A protestant, in their eyes, is upholding the reality of the objective presence of Christ in the Eucharist and a Roman Catholic extolling the virtues of pietistic sacramental subjectivism.
— Fr Anthony Ferraro, a Continuing anglican*

Apparently the heretical ageing boomers are still calling the shots in those places.

I’m not surprised.

A Gallup poll a few years ago showed only about 30 per cent of American RCs understand what the Eucharist is.

I almost don’t care any more.


Do I want Catholic reunion? Would there still be a Pope in some recognisable form? Yes and yes. But I’d never tell somebody to commit spiritual suicide by giving up the habitual practice of the traditional Catholic religion to join one of these places — mainline Protestantism without its charm (from nice architecture, prose and hymns to coffee hour after the service).

Happy vigil of All Saints.

P.S. In Protestant churches you often see that quotation in their liturgical language, the idiom of the King James Bible got from Anglicanism, ‘This do in remembrance of me’, imitating the word order of the original Greek.

*No offence but I make a distinction between these fine little churches and Anglicans, who are in the Anglican Communion.
Don’t get played in 2008 on abortion
Vote for Ron Paul. From AnarchoCatholic.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thomas Day revisited
Day's theory about why American Roman Catholicism took the shape that it had by, say, 1950 is entirely spot-on. However, I would contend that, in the wake of fifty years of continuous social upheaval, the reason that it still looks the same (although the idiom has changed, the ethos hasn't) is not ongoing Irish class hatred and anti-English sentiment, but rather simple inertia. Thanks to decades of cultural miscegenation, and the physical and intellectual mobility provided by the invention of the automobile and the radio, the interstate highway system and the television, and finally the personal computer and the internet, most Americans today are not in any real way influenced by the prejudices and preferences of their immigrant ancestors. They decide for themselves what to believe in and do, or not, as the case may be. This is the "Post-Postmodernism" that I refer to at times. I can't prove this, by any stretch of the imagination, but since manifestations of Irish identity in the U.S. are now largely confined to the first two weeks of March each year, it seems reasonable.
Paul Goings
Various and sundry
From Chronicles’ curmudgeon Clyde Wilson

On a kind of blowback: the ends don’t justify the means (bad legal precedent and statism), or actions have consequences:
That much-acclaimed American achievement, the Civil Rights Revolution of the 1960s, would not have got far if it had not been widely believed when it started that it would affect only the South.
Dr King meant to help all but what really happened as has been explained to me was it opened up competition in white society to top-class blacks like him (not all blacks were poor; upper-class ministers like him went on holiday to Jamaica to unwind), where they’ve made it, leaving most other blacks behind.
Even if someone were to prove conclusively that 9/11 was a Bush false flag operation, there would still be millions of people who would think “our President” could do no wrong.
America’s Reichstag fire setting in motion the plans the PNAC had since the 1990s? (Imperium Americanum, the goal of both the mainstream left and right.)

I wouldn’t rule it out.
Looking at the U.S. government, maybe there is something to be said for “balkanization” after all.

If multinationals and other large corporations actually decreased the power of governments—if they dispersed some government power into private hands—there might be something good about them. But they don’t. They just collaborate with government to add another layer of irresponsible power over the citizens.

Many commentators are worried that Bush’s arrogant incompetence has destroyed the future election chances of the Republican Party. But that is a good thing—the most positive contribution the Boy Decider could make to America would be to put a stake through the heart of the GOP.

Those we know as Liberals do not really believe in majority rule and never have. They don’t really object to the power of corporations either, though Liberals and corporations sometimes disagree on the agenda.

My money is on Obama for the next President. The mainstream politicians and media will never dare to criticize him severely and millions will vote for him out of guilt.

Contrary to popular belief, the “Great Society” and the “War on Poverty” were not primarily designed to help the poor and unfortunate. The purpose was to provide payola for political operatives and white collar jobs for liberal pseudo-intellectuals who think themselves too good for real work.

The U.S. government loses millions of dollars every day to fraud and waste. This has been going on at a high rate for close to half a century and no political “leader” has tried to do anything about. The last time anyone even promised to try to do something about it was Reagan in 1980. But I notice Rudy’s ad men have calculated that it still makes a good sound bite.
Reagan was nice but a big nothing. Government got bigger and the debt deeper all with the charmingly pronounced imprimatur (IIRC quoting the truly great Chesterton and all that faffing about with people like Malcolm Muggeridge; all window dressing) of National Review. (Had to fight those commies, doncha know.)

The guy who came closest to that goal in recent history AFAIK was... second-term Bill Clinton. Box in a harmless, entertaining liberal with a hostile legislature and Bob’s your uncle! Gridlock is our friend.

I think the ‘Simpsons’ version of Ricky Gervais looks more like me than this jawless creation

Lengthen the nose, add specs and Bob’s your uncle
Massage enthusiasts risk nerve injury
It’s great but beware of literally heavy-handed practitioners! Not the thing for my partially paralysed shoulder (one nerve is damaged).

RIP Ming the clam
Aged 405, the oldest animal ever found
...born when Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne and William Shakespeare was writing The Merry Wives of Windsor.
An age commoner among trees?

I don’t think living at the bottom of the sea is an option for most of us.
The bureaucracy, the march and the war
I wrote in advance why I wasn’t marching. (More.) As anti-state as I am I remember the state, the nation, is not the same as the country (the sense of people and place, yes, ‘blood and soil’, that Rod Dreher sometimes writes about), and I’m struck and disturbed by the self-centredness Tom Engelhardt finds among the young that’s replaced the politically and economically muddled idealism of about 45 years ago. (Even though that idealism is dangerous as a good Burkean knows and begat the statism that’s a sin of both the religious left and religious right.) I’m a real believer in states’ rights (not the common knowledge that it’s a cover for racism) and in freedom of association — interesting how the races self-segregate anyway — and I admire what the freedom riders were trying to do, like Trevor Huddleston and the Catholic anti-apartheid movement were doing in South Africa. Government persecution of races is definitely against the harm principle! The early civil-rights movement had a Christian element to it: Dr King and Archbishop Iakovos for example. The later hippy thing had a point — a romantic reaction to the sterile secularism of their elders — but was rootless, destructive and very selfish. Spoilt middle-class teens from 1968 to 1972 looking for a good time. It wasn’t productive like the 1950s and ‘other ’60s’ wrongly identified with JFK were.

It’s good that the young man he talked to sees the state for what it is, a self-serving bureaucracy not ‘serving your country’.

More to the point the American upper and upper-middle classes don’t care about wars in Iraq and Iran because they are not at war. The World War II generation in the US thought it was, whipped into so thinking by British (who were defending their home*) and US state propaganda and Roosevelt’s goading of the Japanese. And unlike World War II and Vietnam there’s not much interest either way because there’s no conscription. Bringing back the draft would be objectively wrong but the results — Vietnam-like massive popular outcry against the war? — interesting to watch.

Again the authentic right was against intervention in Vietnam. Forget dominoes — Communism collapsed under its own weight.

Don’t miss the other good stuff in today’s issue of LRC.

Speaking of Dreher
His answers to the three-question anti-Modernist Christian quiz are the same as mine and yes, that flag-waving church service was blasphemous

*So were the Russians and Ukrainians on the German side fighting the American state’s ally, the militantly atheist USSR. (Of course there were Communists in the American government back then.) Knowing old soldiers on both sides has helped me form my peace views.

Monday, October 29, 2007

England today
Or the Blighty I remember 20 years ago has got worse. Actually in the one I remember I rather lived in my own little world — some things don’t change! — and found one can find the Catholic religion there if one is looking for it. The Revd Richard Kew writes:
In Britain there is now this huge sense that the Christian perspective on things is very much a minority taste that should be neither seen nor heard. Regarding the tussle to shape postmodern culture, a relativistic utilitarian approach to living and decision-making prevails, and attitudes which are rooted in an omnipotent God who has revealed himself are often condemned as irrelevant, intolerant, or both.
He’s not talking about blue-state America with different weather and different accents — nominal mainline membership for baby-naming parties baptisms (‘getting my kid done’ as I’ve heard it called in some circles there), weddings and funerals with an underlying theology of ‘God’s OK but I’m spiritual not religious’ (I really call the shots; he’s just a jolly old dodderer in the sky) — but real secular humanism:
Last Sunday evening I attended the village church to which I have chosen to attach myself and delighted in the office of Evening Prayer, together with eleven others. As one who has spent his whole adult life hanging around the church and soaking up the liturgy, it was a joy to be part of that act of worship, however, what we were doing in that ancient building would not have made much sense to the vast majority in the homes that cluster around St. Andrew's Church. To them this was about as relevant to daily life as the strange secret ceremonies of the Freemasons.

...folks who are three, four, five, or more generations removed from any kind of faith expression or church involvement. There are now folks in my own extended family who are four or five generations removed from any kind of Christian profession or church membership. What the Christian gospel is about is a mystery to the vast majority of the British (and I would have to add broader European) native population.
Among the educated this is or at least used to be mixed with a creepy self-awareness of what the Catholic shell of the culture means, the names of the Oxbridge colleges and those old village churches, but with the firm answer of ‘non serviam’.

I know the problem with ‘O tempora!’ culture-wars writing and realise the underclass in England has been irreligious at least since the Industrial Revolution when people were uprooted from the villages (some among us blame the ‘Reformation’: replacing a Mass with symbolism and devotions they can relate to with a university man talking at them on his level, which the lower classes here would resent too). Something the second generation of Anglo-Catholics, the ritualist slum priests, among others (the Methodists, the Salvation Army) were trying to fix. But Mr Kew better remembers the way it was and is in a better position to comment.
I suspect that what people like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are doing in their best-selling frontal attacks on belief in God is both shaping public attitudes as well as amplifying the prevailing popular mindset. One American Christian visiting here that I was talking to the other day was describing a very interesting conversation with a taxi driver in which he expressed many of the same opinions as Professor Dawkins, although he had probably never heard of him. The general drift of his argument was that "no one believes that stuff any longer," something that is eagerly reflected back to folks through the media.
The evangelical political crack-up
Rod Dreher on the mainstream media not getting it

Jeff Sharlet offers this ray of hope:
The two [main] parties... don’t represent the full left/right spectrum that the establishment media suggests.
But the evos still don’t get it either.
...that evangelicals are reviving that Democratic tradition -- mildly populist economics combined with social conservatism and a fundamental belief in the export of American power.
Sharlet points out they were New Dealers anyway.
Patristic Eucharistic quotations
From The Byzantine Anglo-Catholic
On auricular confession (more here and here), forgiveness... and religious courtesy titles
Building ecumenical bridges with Bishop Laura Grimes and others including across the ravages of Anglican history

Blogging ecumenism rocks.


What do we owe the Iraqis?
An article from the venerable Andrew Bacevich. I’m non-interventionist without apology but this is fuel for discussion.
There’s no such thing as the wicked witch of the west, or we are all the wicked witch of the west, etc.
Owen White the Ochlophobist’s long, enjoyable, impressive Orthodox essay on ecumenism (the real thing not the slur/swear-word of anti-Western ‘ugly Orthodox’ as Drake Adams once called them) and religious consumerism (‘spirituality’, or God is fun but I call the shots, opposed to real religion). Owen is not a knee-jerk anti-Western person.
For reunion to take place, the Holy Spirit must weave paths of the recognition of common life and unity of faith.
Or if we’re so close why aren’t we really?
This phenomenon reminds me of a RCC church were I took RCIA classes years ago. It was modernist in virtually every respect, architecture, singing, liturgy, preaching, etc., but in one of the side "chapels" there was a beautiful hand written icon of the Theotokos, true to Byzantine iconographic Tradition. The icon was so out of place, however, that it begged questions concerning fetish or religious consumerism. The icon stood in stark contrast to the rest of the church, and having seen Orthodox icons of the Theotokos in Orthodox settings, that starkness spoke worlds to me. Needless to say, I don't think any Presbyterian groups embraced an Orthodox theology of Baptism, they probably simply liked a phrase here and a phrase there from Schmemann. There is flirtation, and there is consummation.

In recent decades we have seen the comings and goings of cyclical fashions with regard to "engaging" and quoting Orthodox theologians by academic theologians who are not Orthodox. Thus Zizioulas might be picked up by a feminist theologian here and Schmemann by an ELCA liturgical theologian there, language and arguments borrowed for uses having to do with quite variant theological agendas. This is all part of the cheap cafe of ideas found in the Western world today (which is consuming the last of traditional cultures as we speak), and is a reminder that the values of pop culture have overtaken all culture, broadly speaking.
How often we hear that Orthodox is foreign, ethnic, navel gazing, and anti-Western. No. Orthodoxy offers the table in the wilderness, where those tossed about from every corner commune together. This table is at the heart of the vague myth of America; it is for Orthodoxy to take that vagueness and write over it a clear icon of salvation. Priests bless common things and they are made sacred. No matter where we are from, we are here to bless this place.
The Episcopal row as seen by the left
Borrowing MCJ’s tone for a moment as it fits: Whoa, m’lord. Deep breaths.

The sometime Bishop of California:
"They intend to become the sole authorized Anglican presence in America. The other side of that coin is that they intend for [TEC] to be cut off from the Anglican Communion,” he said, again not addressing what role TEC’s liberal leaders would have in effecting such an outcome.
All true. Which wouldn’t affect at least 90 per cent of TEC in any way.
In a brief time, they want to undo what it has taken many generations of Americans to build.
And how in a free society would a change of affiliation — being dropped from Anglicanism — ‘undo’ your church, m’lord?

Legally the conservative minority can’t close you down (which is as it should be in a free society) as you are trying to do to them.
The two villains in Swing's story are not restorers, but have a far-reaching strategy to "take away our birthright, our heritage, our Anglican connection, our ministries to the poor, our official prayer book tradition, our schools, churches, agencies and our resources."
How would a change of affiliation ‘shut down’ your putative ministries to the poor, Bishop? (Or for that matter your catering to the gay? Which as a citizen but not as a churchman I and Ron Paul defend BTW.) AFAIK Episcopalians stopped being subsidised by overseas Anglicans in the late 1700s owing to some political unpleasantness (in which HM the King was slandered over the misdoings of Parliament).

As for your Prayer Book tradition in addition to the 1662 book whose psalter I use every day I’ve got on my shelves three copies of the American 1928 book that literally were thrown out of your churches. It’s been a while since I’ve opened a 1979 book but AFAIK there are no provisions in it for communing the unbaptised or trying to marry same-sex couples.

And what of this claimed Anglican identity now that you’re in Eucharistic communion with the Methodists, turning the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral into toilet paper?

From old magazine and new blogroll link The Christian Challenge (Lee Penn is a contributor).

P.S. One more time. If unity matters above all else including disagreement about doctrine, with whom would you have stood in November 1534, Thomas Cranmer or St John Fisher? Never mind the disagreement about him: the Pope is England’s lawful patriarch.
Giuliani: bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Iran
How about if we drop you on Iran?
A Giuliani presidency would represent the return and final triumph of the Republicanism that conservatives went into politics to purge from power. A Giuliani presidency would represent repudiation by the party of the moral, social and cultural content that, with anti-communism, once separated it from liberal Democrats and defined it as an institution.

Rudy offers the right the ultimate Faustian bargain: retention of power at the price of one’s soul.
But, contra Pat, the ’50s anti-commie crusade wasn’t all that either. Real conservatism is about the freedom that enables moral content to flourish not trying to embody that moral content in government (or ‘the state knows what’s good for you’, the sin of the religious left and right).

The real GI Joe
Writer ‘El Cid’ shares some of my feelings (not necessarily principles) on World War II and its generation. My old rector who died five years ago this month defended his home as a fire-watcher atop St Paul’s in the Blitz and later as a sailor. On the US marine who was the model for the doll action figure (it really was a cleverly marketed doll):
I am not a warmonger, but wars happen and a free people, if they are to remain free, occasionally need heroes. Mitchell Paige was just such a hero, among thousands but because of his own character and the cruel combination of fate that placed him on that hill he showed that he was just such a hero — he through the image of GI Joe has represented the sort of hero free people require at times.
Compassionate Edwards
Or the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend.
If you are so compassionate, why don't you donate your own fortune to the poor and needy? But alas, he wants to demonstrate his compassion by forcing everyone else to pay for all of this crap.
Ron Paul’s platform
Opposed to Mitt Romney’s, which seems cobbled together by a committee and focus groups (‘abortion is objectively wrong except one has the right to kill you because of what your father did’)
"Why does Ron Paul have so much grassroots support? [On the screen, tick off the Internet statistics, superimposed over images of Ron Paul rallies: First place, Ron Paul, with 1,082 Meetup groups; second place, Barack Obama, with 62, etc.]

"Because when Americans finally have an honest man who doesn't speak to them in slogans, they respond.

"Ron Paul wants to restore our Constitution: no more unnecessary, undeclared wars, no more violations of our liberties, and no more Internal Revenue Service.

"Finally, an election with a real choice. Vote Ron Paul, Republican for President."
— TV-ad idea from Thomas Woods of the LRC blog

A man (in the fullest sense) both sides of the culture war (including the Episcopal row!) can agree on if you look at things logically.

Brits 4 Ron Paul

From new blogroll link League of the Scarlet Pimpernel.
Why not drugs in sport?
I’m utterly indifferent to these games (must mainstream society pre-empt ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Family Guy’?) but the harm principle says you have the right to do risky things to yourself. The purists are free to start drugs-free leagues. (Years ago HBO’s marvellous ‘Not Necessarily the News’* joked about an all-drugs Olympics. Why not?) Rôle models? Codswallop. NBA superstar Charles Barkley was honest: by his own admission not a nice guy, he told parents to tell their kids not to idolise him because he can dunk a ball. It’s a cynical business that doesn’t care about the towns they set up shop in (as Brooklyn learnt in 1957). From LRC.

*Correction: It was ‘SNL’. Thanks, ASimpleSinner.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

‘Victory’ in Iraq
...the spike in violence was associated with competing sectarian efforts at ethnic cleansing, and the decline in violence represents the success of those efforts...

This is the basically fraudulent nature of the American enterprise in Iraq. We're told we can't leave because of the civil war that would break out or intensify or whatever if we do. But our troops aren't really capable of meaningfully impacting the result of the sectarian conflict anyway. Instead, they're just being plopped into the middle of it and exposed to harm, so that when the conflict eventually ends (as conflicts tend to) we can call the results 'victory' and stay in Iraq forever. If the violence waxes, that shows the war needs to continue. If it wanes, that shows that we're winning and need to keep on keeping on. Meanwhile, in the real world, the civil war and ethnic cleansing we're supposed to be preventing are things that have already happened.
Crime and punishment
IIRC the US has the most prisoners of any developed nation
From Dappled Reads and Out of Ergyng.
How might future generations view abortion?
From Intimations

Abortion in the UK 40 years on (more)
‘Slippage’ (++Cantuar) = slippery slope. From Out of Ergyng.
An issue on which the Episcopal left and I sing from the same hymnal
And MCJ is dead wrong. Hooray for Boston’s Old South Church and Sabeel — I’ve heard Dr Ateek in person and have linked to his site before.
The racism of the Israeli government has become more obviously clear.
Treat’s been there.

Viva Cristo Rey.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Blessed Francis Jägerstätter
The Austrian conscientious objector who was beheaded for refusing to serve Hitler’s war machine

An incomplete list of Ron Paul blogs

From Joshua Snyder.
US signs shipboarding treaty with... Mongolia
The state is ever looking out for you in the war on terror! From John Boyden.
There’s no such thing as a Catholic judge
Any more than there’s sectarian physics. As much as I disagree with neoconnish First Things (Fr Neuhaus holds his nose at a really Catholic right and doesn’t like ecumenism, interfaith and bridge-building to the left when it goes against the ex catheter defined doctrine ‘just shut up and vote mainstream Republican’ — like the religious left he used to belong to he knows what’s good for you) and I don’t like Villanova (where ‘Cat’lic’ means ‘be PC but give lip service about abortion, follow our sports and most important give us money’) I see the point! The judge’s job in the American system is simply to interpret laws as handed down. Hooray for strict constructionism.
Big-game hunting in Iraq
From LRC
On Protestants who’d start their own theocracy if they could backing a non-Christian
A variation of ‘just shut up and vote Republican’ like the hypocritical Fr Frank Pavone told that other GOP target market, Roman Catholic values voters?

As you know until the news of it broke I was proud I didn’t know which if any church my candidate Ron Paul belongs to. It is irrelevant — he’d get my vote if he or his running mate were partnered gay atheists. He is a born Lutheran — older brother David is an ELCA minister — who later went to church with his Episcopalian wife and had their kids baptised there; now they informally and occasionally go to a Baptist church where one of their children is a member. Rather theologically promiscuous to a Catholic. :)

(One of my political influences, the late Murray Rothbard, was a Jew by birth and an atheist. I would have voted for Robert Taft in 1952 and Barry Goldwater in 1964, neither of whom had any use for religion personally.)

Regarding Romney (AFAIK an empty suit or neocon shill who’ll say nearly anything the commonly understood right wants to hear — 180ing on abortion for example — just to get elected) in theory of course you’re right but it all hangs on whether Mormonism is or is not what American Protestants historically accused Rome of (around the time of both Al Smith and the unworthy, nominal RC JFK — Cardinal Spellman saw through him, saw through the Camelot PR rubbish from the elder Kennedy’s PR machine, and rooted for Nixon): does it really want to overthrow the Constitution and set up a theocracy?

I had in-laws who were Church of Christ living in Utah and from what I remember from them the LDSers would if they could. Before the controversial 1963 Supreme Court ruling on school prayer, these were Mormon prayers in Utah. One of these in-laws, a kid at the time, came home and said ‘Good! We don’t have to pray for the Mormons any more!’

Then there’s the matter, irrelevant politically but interesting to theology and history boffins like me, of what exactly Mormons really are. One complication is Christian categories of dissent have gone by different names over the years (rather like ‘High Church’ doesn’t really mean today what it meant in 1700).

In today’s Christian terms Mormons are not Christians: they’re (here’s a cool word) henotheists, believers in many gods but like monotheists worshipping only one, the one they believe is in charge of this world. Who with his wife begets spirit children to populate it and worship him — every good Mormon couple whose marriage is sealed in the temple is promised that in the hereafter, godhood and a planet to populate with worshippers. (The man becomes a god.)

There’s God, the shadowy character of Mrs God... and their children... Jesus and Satan are brothers. Hey, this doesn’t sound like Sunday school!

If this weren’t barking enough I think the Mormons’ Achilles’ heel is their God is an evolved man so he’s not the prime mover.

LDS: essentially 19th-century Presbyterianism on LSD.
No offence... but when God was handing out religions you must have been out taking a whiz.
— Homer Simpson

BTW Mormon liturgy is pinched from the Freemasons; Joseph Smith was an ex-Mason.

Smith began Mormonism as Christian but changed his mind by the time he died in a gunfight. If you believe he was a prophet his later writings teach polygamy and the breakaway fundamentalist Mormons are right — LDS banned it to get statehood for Utah but the cops look the other way. But in a really free, religiously neutral society why outlaw it? Get the state out of the marriage business.

Because Mormons came out of American Protestant culture and use that theological vocabulary (‘Church of Jesus Christ’, the names of the Persons of the Trinity etc.) many people, like me as a kid, think they’re just another conservative Protestant church and I think the Mormons encourage that, sort of lying by omission. I’ve been told that low-level converts sometimes don’t know all the wacko theology they’ve signed onto. They just want to be family-values Protestants but got more than they bargained for.

Anyway, back to early Christian history: I’ve read that in patristic times Catholics used the word ‘heretic’ to describe groups (Marcionists, Manichæans, Arians) we wouldn’t call Christian.

Which may be why Islam has been described as a Christian heresy. Smith could have taken some of his cues from Mohammed. It’s been described to me as partly a ripoff of Eastern Christianity, particulary the Nestorian ‘off’ version that Mohammed’s neighbours practised which may partly explain his goofy ideas about Jesus: the Mormonism of Orthodoxy. (And LDS is the Islam of Protestantism!) The mosque is an Eastern Christian church stripped of its icons for example. (Nestorians, the native Christians of what’s now Iraq, tend not to have images in their churches but are not opposed to them on principle — their tradition is older than the use of icons. They use lots of plain crosses though and the liturgy is recognisably Eastern with vestments etc.)

In today’s terms I say it like LDS is non-Christian of course.


You can spin religious liberty/pluralism to make it compatible with Catholicism (a foundation of my politics and one of Vatican II’s valid points).

I could be ignorant but I’m not sure you can do that with Islam or Mormonism.

(Saddam Hussein was a ‘bad Muslim’, the kind Osama bin Laden hates, running a secular country. Like the ‘jack Mormons’ in Utah.)

If an RC real conservative, a Roman Ron Paul, stood for election to high office and had a chance, yes, you’d see the GOP and/or Democrats send out subtle (or not?) anti-popery messages appealing to both liberals (pro-abortion for example) and the fundygelicals, messages with deep roots in American history. (Americans United, the Klan, the Know-Nothings.) Not to be confused with a fake conservative like Rick Santorum, or Rudy Giuliani taking his cue from JFK and distancing himself from his church except maybe fudging a bit on abortion to hedge his bets. The concept of a ‘Catholic vote’ is outdated in American politics; the Romans are as divided between values voters and the indifferent secular people following the mainstream as Protestants. (Clinton got that vote in the 1990s, which may also have been because of a residual RC-Democratic-labour connexion, including even social conservatives who didn’t switch to the Republicans for Reagan.)

From Tripp.

Dr Paul’s religious biography
Ron Paul was raised on a dairy farm outside of Pittsburgh. His parents were "pretty devout" Lutherans, according to campaign spokesman Jesse Benton, and as a child, Paul regularly attended St. John’s Lutheran Church in Carnegie, Pa. One of five sons, Paul briefly considered becoming a Lutheran minister like two of his brothers but chose to pursue medicine instead. In 1957, during his senior year at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pa., Paul married Carol Wells at her neighborhood Episcopal church.

All five of the couple’s children were baptized as Episcopalians, but Paul told a reporter at the
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he and his wife "became less comfortable with the Episcopal Church as time went on." They now attend services "several times each year" at the First Baptist Church of Lake Jackson, Texas, according to a pastor at the church, where Paul’s eldest daughter and her family are members.

According to Benton, Paul feels the "greatest affinity right now" with the Baptist denomination and identifies himself as a Baptist, though he is not a formal member of a local church. In the past, Paul has identified himself simply as "Protestant" but is now saying "as a matter of clarification" that he is a Baptist, according to Benton.

If elected president, Paul would be the fifth Baptist to hold the office.
There are pockets of Lutheranism where I feel at home. (As I might in this this fringe group.) Here again is Zion LCMS, Detroit.
I have never been one who is comfortable talking about my faith in the political arena. In fact, the pandering that typically occurs in the election season I find to be distasteful. But for those who have asked, I freely confess that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior, and that I seek His guidance in all that I do.
— Dr Paul on the matter
Avenging bloodshed
Washington’s deeply held belief that bullying is the solution to making America the world's greatest country is a prime cause of widespread resentment and loathing.
From CounterPunch.
How New Skete does Vespers and Matins
Compared to the usual way

It’s autumn in Pennsylvania!
The leaves around here are starting to turn these colours

The squirrels have gnawed through the lids of the bins outside.

The heat is on, literally, as the radiators clanged on in my place yesterday.

Bring it on. Я готов для зимы. I’m ready for winter.

Not the ‘fear the druids/Samhain’ bit

But this person makes a good point:
There was a time when people actually experienced dead and mangled bodies, when they actually went out onto the battlefield and picked them up. (Still happening in other parts of the world.) No one would have wanted to display them as part of a decorative scheme. It just shows how insulated we are from that kind of thing nowadays.

Friday, October 26, 2007

For God, country, king, subsidiarity
Ernst on European history, specifically the Spanish Civil War
Russian Orthodox Mass for the White Russian RequetésСпаси, Господи, люди твоя, и благослови достоянiе твое... O Lord, save thy people and bless thine inheritance...
— Troparion, tone 1, the melody at the beginning of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture

My addition.
The Russian Civil War lasted from February 1917 until the fall of Vladivostok in the Far East in 1922...

If I were a Russian in February 1917 I would have supported that first part of the revolution for survival and to get the country out of World War I...

The mainstream media get positively weepy about the bolshies in 1930s Spain and even about the October Revolution...

A better firsthand account comes from the Roman Catholic (Russian ex-Orthodox) Catherine de Hueck (later Doherty) who ... quoted one of the Spanish bishops (the press didn’t run it) saying in all humility that the poor churches and religious houses were sometimes spared and if he and other churchmen had obeyed the Popes on social justice instead of acting like arrogant aristocrats these horrors
[atrocities against the church] wouldn’t have happened.
My disclaimer on anti-Semitism.
A treasury of Western Catholic images
For desktop publishing or the Web. From TNLM.
Revenge of the skanks
O tempora from the Centre for the Study of the Fecking Obvious via the WSJ: spoilt teen-age girls (of both sexes and all ages and orientations BTW) aren’t very nice

From man with black hat.
March tomorrow to end the war and impeach Bush and Cheney
If I thought it’d do any good I’d be there. Been there, done that.

Cindy Sheehan, the Revd Lennox Yearwood and other leading impeachment activists. Good folk.
Ron Paul to launch major media push

That pen’s almost like mine: I’ve got a blue Waterman Philéas

From Paul Goings.
On feeling out of communion

Dear Jorge,

Rather proves something I believe in theory: that this issue like the many others separating Protestants from Catholics (not to single anybody out) is a deal-breaker as far as communion goes. Instinctively you feel it as do Catholics.

In other words in principle if you (rhetorical you) are in communion with people officially doing un-Catholic things you’re doing them.

It really is a battle of the absolutes and although I think that parish sounds heroic I agree with the Bishop of Fort Worth (and on the flip side some liberals happily concur) that this kind of religion has no future in the Episcopal Church in the long run.

That said I think I’m ‘pastoral’ and prudent (something my English heritage taught me): I rarely tell people to uproot themselves and convert, only when asked and as a last resort. Which is also why, besides respect, I never try to tell you what to do.

Thanks for making clear that the conservatives you feel out of communion with are not hateful. So I trust they’re authentically Christian about the matter: against the practice but not the people.

All are welcome to come and pray in a Catholic church.

Is the parish St Paul’s-by-the-Lake?

From what I’ve seen online it’s a good place for an Anglican Catholic to drop anchor in Chicago. The congregation is very East African.

In advance, to you, Dr Perry and all at All Saints’, Chicago, happy All Saints’ Day especially on your feast of title. (What the Russian Orthodox call the church’s престольный праздникъ: the holy day commemorating the dedication of the altar.)
I believe in... the communion of saints...

Omnes sancti et sanctæ Dei, orate pro nobis.
Tried to leave this in your com-box but it didn’t seem to go through.
In terms of philosophy, the actual practice of religion is its own good, and not an added bonus for the lucky few. In my opinion, good ecclesiology and poor praxis is no better than good praxis and poor ecclesiology, so why upset the apple cart if you don’t need to or want to? Ideally one would have both.
— Good friend and this blog’s unofficial theological adviser Paul Goings
Poem: ‘Termination for Cause’
From Hugo Schwyzer via the Revd Beth


Non serviam in lyrical form.

As a friend sharing my theology and churchmanship who’s also very cultured and well-read has explained the pagan approach to these things is a perennial temptation: a contract or bargain in which you do the prescribed ritual to get what you want, good or bad, and the gods owe you one.

Like Salieri in the work of fiction Amadeus.
From the usual cast of chickenhawks (whose kids won’t be going ‘over there’). Tripp notes:
...what do you know about what's happening in Iran? I keep hearing things online and in the news that sounds remarkably like the rhetoric just before we jumped all over Iraq. I'm pretty sure that it's a bad thing to invade...Can we do that? I mean, logistically? Someone tell me what's what.
Read all about it every day here and here.
10-20-30 meme
My answers are nowhere near as interesting or detailed (down to the day) as Fr Methodius’s

10 years ago: I’d been at the small-town newspaper job I have now for seven months and was still enjoying the novelty and convenience of driving again after eight years.

20 years ago: At uni, a neurodiverse kid who’d never had the condition explained to me so I was flying blind. (I wouldn’t understand it until 13 years later.) Reading English literature as I didn’t know what else to do. (I don’t claim to be well-read.) Getting spiritual, social and cultural uplift from the local Anglo-Catholics. Had in the back of my mind my great escape from a horrible home, which a year and a half later I did!

30 years ago: At school. Some things never change: liked reading but didn’t get maths. My hobbies included building model cars and planes, the local roller disco (it was like Travolta’s scene for an 11-year-old) and pinball. I’d got a radio in my room a year earlier so I was discovering popular music, and a sister’s boyfriend had introduced me to Beatles records a few months earlier. Liberating in a house that listened to... Muzak.
Godwardness in words
We pray to you, O Lord, who are the supreme Truth, and all truth is from you. We beseech you, O Lord, who are the highest Wisdom, and all the wise depend on you for their wisdom. You are the supreme Joy, and all who are happy owe it to you. You are the highest Good, and all goodness comes from you. You are the Light of minds, and all receive their understanding from you. We love you—indeed we love you above all things. We seek you, follow you, and are prepared to serve you. We desire to dwell under your power, for you are the King of all. Amen.
Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons, 849-899

From Episcopal Café.

Something Catholic
When prayers begin, lay aside thy own private meditations, and let thy heart join with the minister and the whole Church, as being one body of Christ, and because that God is the God of order, he will have all things done in the Church with one heart and accord, and the execises of the Church are common and public. It is therefore an ignorant pride, for a man to think his own private prayers more effectual than the public prayers of the whole Church. Solomon therefore advises a man not to be rash to utter a thing in the Church before God. Pray, therefore, when the Church prayeth, sing when they sing; and in the action of kneeling, standing, sitting, and such indifferent ceremonies (for the avoiding of scandal, the continuance of charity, and in testimony of thine obedience), conform thyself to the manner of the Church wherein thou livest.

Whilst the preacher is expounding and applying the word of the Lord, look upon him; for it is a great help to stir up thing attention, and to keep thee from wandering thoughts; so the eyes of all that were in the synagogue are said to have been fastened on Christ whilst he preached, and that all the people hanged upon him when they heard him. Remember that thou art there as one of Christ’s disciples, to learn the knowledge of salvation, by the remission of sins, through the tender mercy of God.
Lewis Bayley, sometime vicar of Evesham and Bishop of Bangor, from The Practice of Piety, 1611

More on TAC’s overtures to Rome
Or ‘Hepworth’s pipe-dream’ as a former Anglican Church in America (ACA, anglican not Anglican) member calls it. (Archbishop Hepworth is a married former Roman Catholic priest. I think all that needs is a dispensation from Rome.) From Dr William Tighe, a Ukrainian Catholic in Pennsylvania.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The forty martyrs of England and Wales

Much of this was the work of that great prophet of tolerance and full inclusion, Elizabeth I. I’ve seen St Margaret Clitherow’s shrine, her house and Anglican husband’s butcher shop in the Shambles in York. defence of the rights of conscience against State usurpation
From Tea at Trianon.
Turkey invades Iraq again
Here’s an idea: why doesn’t the US stay out of it and let the two sides fight it out? Kurdistan for the Kurds. From Rational Review.
The Whapster kids diss RC traditionalists
The conversation at TNLM. Trads have their failings as Arturo points out here (that picture looks like a perfect parody of neocon Tartuffery or ‘just shut up and vote Republican’; say a Rosary in public about abortion but support Mr Bush on torture and war: with its anti-Latin people ‘Black Legend’ false view of the Inquisition is the picture for real?) and here (gotta love the unromantic description of the seminary at La Reja) but I tend to agree with Shawn Tribe and friends that this isn’t on.

I have a different idea of what conservatism really is. I think of Russell Kirk and Edmund Burke rather than George Bush when I think of conservatism. I guess I think of Marx and Hegel rather than Stalin when I think of Communism. Conservatism really isn't an ideology. It is the negation of ideology.
— Fr Ethan

Also from him:

The motu one month on

I am not anywhere near the experiences of the reform of the reform or the extraordinary Mass. Things are very ordinary and still very much in English and polyester. I went from parochial vicar to hospital chaplain. It is still the same. Most [Roman] Catholics are nowhere near the "flagship" parishes.
Predictable. At best without interference from the local liberals including the ones in mitres it will become the usage of a robust minority (perhaps like ‘London, Brighton and the South Coast’ and the Episcopalian biretta belt half a century ago) simply because most RCs are frightened away by Latin (the 1962 books still have to be in it).

But a sign that the kids are driving this go at restoration (if it were only about nostalgic old people the Pope wouldn’t have bothered) is this Mass is now offered again at the symbol of the RCs in America*, the University of Notre Dame (pronounced ‘noter dayme’ though a French Holy Cross Father founded it), home of ‘the Fighting Irish’. I’m sure ageing hippies infesting campus ministries all over the continent are having kittens... goody. BTW... I like Touchdown Jesus.

*More so than the marvellous Georgianish old cathedral in Baltimore, which should be and I think technically is America’s primatial RC see, or the garish — Nordic Jesus as Zeus in the apsidal mosaic — National Shrine in D.C., and about even with St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Pat Buchanan writes that in the 1940s to be RC in America was to cheer for the Fighting Irish.
The passion of the Iraqi Christians
From Miguel José Ernst-Sandoval
On the history of Anglicans seeking Catholic reunion
...everything with both Rome and Orthodoxy [which is essentially the non-papal Catholicism many Anglican Catholics have sought, neither ‘as long as it’s a Wal-Mart’/‘we’ve got the Pope and that’s what matters’ nor Protestant licence] is frozen, despite meaningless chatter that still goes on ... strong ties with certain mainline Protestant churches are based on a shared commitment to non-commitment, and a shared dogma that dogma is unimportant.

... [Since 1976] discussion between the Cantuarian crowd with both Rome and Orthodoxy has continued as pointless, albeit polite, chats. I could have added that the about face from both of these ancient communions (still divided from one another as the two One True Churches), westward to Porvoo, or, as is the case in the Untied States, toward the ELCA, has served to give the Canterbury Club a self-satisfied delusion that making nice with Protestantism is just as good as helping to heal the Great Schism in Catholic Christianity. ... it is because their new version of Sola Scriptura "as of any private interpretation (II Peter 1:20)," gives more wiggle room for claiming that one's wild ideas are based on the "sure foundation of God's word" than does a right interpretation informed by our Catholic Tradition, in which the Bible is the highest authority as it has been understood, always, everywhere and by all of the Church - "the pillar and ground of the truth (I Timothy 3:15)."

In 1978 Orthodox Archbishop Athenagoras remarked: “…the theological dialogue [between the Orthodox and the Anglicans] will continue, although now simply as an academic and informative exercise, and no longer as an ecclesial endeavor aiming at the union of the two churches."

To begin with, both of the two One True Churches teach that no schism can exist within the Church, but only schism from the Church. In a pure and perfected sense this is true, not as the ideal versus present experience that we find in Plato, but according to eschatology.

...the Coptic Churches were separated from the rest of the Body of Christ because of the perception of a heresy that never, in fact, existed: Monophysitism. If the doctrine had been taught, it would have been heresy; but, it was never taught. Here, as recognized by Rome in recent years, was something that, we most certainly have to point out, was schism.
Another more recent example is within the Roman Church: the row with the Society of St Pius X traditionalists, who are neither really under Rome nor in principle a separate church like the Old Catholics.

In the Middle East intercommunion between Melkites and Orthodox is a fact of life. The only division is the clergy don’t concelebrate.

I should add that the statements recognising Anglican orders were on one condition (nearly inconceivable considering not only Broad but Low Churchmen): if all of Anglicanism joined the Orthodox Church!
Because of the carnality of the old man of sin, our experience of the Church in this life (the Plato thing again) is less than ideal.

The One True Church has schism in it, some doctrinal, but more often matters of polity. The doctrinal differences, often misdiagnosed and exaggerated by young western converts to Orthodoxy, never really amount to a anything major; nothing like Monophysitism. Neither the Church of Rome, nor the Orthodox nor Traditional Anglicans are denying the dogmatic definitions of the Ecumenical Councils. Frankly, the biggest dividing issue is the whole matter of the Petrine See and the shifting dogmatic pronouncements about it, as well as the critique of those pronouncements. It really has never been about
filioque, or about theosis versus Anselmian atonement, or any other false and distracting non-issue. If it were, a few good theological discussions would have cleared it up by now, since men of goodwill are ready to learn together and from each other.

Sorry, but it is about that old man, in fact that old rascal, Adam.

There are no more half-Catholics than there are half-virgins.

Godwardness: Divine Liturgy (Mass), Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Visoki Decani (High Decani), western Kosovo
Sadly, as the result of the ethnic conflict in Kosovo [the Western-backed Albanian rebels trying to take the cradle of Serb civilisation], the monastery has become isolated, and is protected by Italian troops of the UN peacekeeping force. From what I understand, the only safe way in and out, at least for the monks, is in one of those armoured cars.
From Anglican Continuum, now in my blogroll. Don’t miss the side-by-side comparisons, translations and commentaries on each Sunday’s collect.

Larry (thanks for the mention) like other Catholic-minded born Protestants who know history points out that: parents were and are orthodox enough to be wary of those Protestants who tended towards the exclusive and a-historical end of the spectrum. Luther I was told frequently growing up did not intend to break from Rome (though not in those exact words).
P.S. Russian choral church music sounds a lot like Choral Matins when I was a kid.
Dumber than dirt
This columnist is a bit like Camille Paglia, a liberal on the wrong side of some issues but intelligent and not without common sense

Mr Morford recognises the limitations of ‘O tempora!’ perennial generation-gap commentary. (‘Damn kids!’)
He cites studies, reports, hard data, from the appalling effects of television on child brain development (i.e.; any TV exposure before 6 years old and your kid's basic cognitive wiring and spatial perceptions are pretty much scrambled for life), to the fact that, because of all the insidious mandatory testing teachers are now forced to incorporate into the curriculum, of the 182 school days in a year, there are 110 when such testing is going on somewhere at Oakland High. As one of his colleagues put it, "It's like weighing a calf twice a day, but never feeding it."
It seems that neurodiverse kids (especially those who grew up before those conditions were understood) who are corrupted by TV are doubly screwed.
It gets worse. My friend cites the fact that, of the 6,000 high school students he estimates he's taught over the span of his career, only a small fraction now make it to his grade with a functioning understanding of written English. They do not know how to form a sentence. They cannot write an intelligible paragraph.
Twelve years in the newspaper business have shown this to me. In a way it’s a gold mine as it gives me lots to do! (Rewriting stuff, a creative outlet for me and a reason I like my work.) But at the same time I share this teacher’s frustration and wonderment at the stupidity of the situation. I’ve worked with real news people out of central casting; the woman who gave me my break in the business was a national reporter in the ’60s on a first-name basis with the Mercury astronauts. One paper I’ve worked for was run on the cheap; I’ve compared it to reality TV (game shows made with and for little, the lasting result of a threatened screenwriters’ strike) opposed to an ’80s miniseries (which required historical research, writing, costumes, sets and real actors). An uncouth girl in her 20s right out of school (a parochial type who acted like she was still in high school — unprofessional in a cliquey way), a competent computer paginator who had no training or experience in journalism and indeed could not write a sentence, became the managing editor by default for years.
A repentant Bush voter tells the truth
From Antes de la caída

Photos of St Mary’s, Centralia

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ewan McGregor: stuff the nanny state
...which he said might force him to quit the country
From Novæ Militiæ.
Lies behind the war on terror
What’s next, the war on ennui?

Who restarted the Cold War?
At the Cold War’s end, the United States was given one of the great opportunities of history: to embrace Russia, largest nation on earth, as partner, friend, ally. Our mutual interests meshed almost perfectly. There was no ideological, territorial, historic or economic quarrel between us, once communist ideology was interred.

We blew it.
Stone Age sex
Welcome to the jungle. In the secular world today it’s no different really. A few big and strong men have sex with many women; most men lose out which explains the massive porn and prostitution businesses.

I’ll ’fess up: last night I saw the TV show based on the Geico cavemen and liked it.

Tales of failing businesses
Then there are businesses that deserve to go down:
  • AOL, or ‘you can check out any time you like but you can never leave (we’ll keep billing you)’
  • Aamco/Cottman transmission shops: If you drove up with a new car and said it didn’t feel right they’d try to sell you a new transmission and BTW patronise you by using your first name every five seconds.
From LRC.

In better days in some ways
Dispensing with the corsets and frumpy hats is fine with me. From ‘Surpliced Choirs in New York’, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 77:457 (June 1888), 65-75. The drawing is of St Ignatius Church. Click it to get a better view.

An orthodox answer to social-gospellers
From Derek Olsen and friends. My comment.

The Universal Church is today, it seems to me, more definitely set against the World than at any time since Pagan Rome. I do not mean that our times are particularly corrupt; all times are corrupt. In spite of certain local appearances, Christianity is not and cannot be within measurable time, 'official'. The World is trying the experiment of attempting to form a civilized but non-Christian mentality. The experiment will fail; but we must be very patient in awaiting its collapse; meanwhile redeeming the time: so that the Faith may be preserved alive through the dark ages before us; to renew and rebuild civilization, and save the World from suicide.
— T.S. Eliot, Thoughts After Lambeth (1931)

From English Christianity.
Theology and church history according to the upper middle class
...the work of the Prophet Elizabeth who foresaw, back in the 1500s, the day when what Susan Russell likes to do in her off-hours* would no longer be a sin and thus crafted the Elizabethan Settlement strictly to accommodate homosexuals and for no other reason so don’t even think about asking. Have you got that?!!
— the Episcopalians’ Oppressed Minority™ du jour as depicted by MCJ (right about the Episcopal row, wrong about everything else)

On ‘schism is the worst ecclesiastical sin’, a new favourite line of Broad Churchmen pretending to be Catholic (not only dressing up but adopting a high ecclesiology when it suits them, that is, to push gay weddings):
Have you got that, Roman Catholics? Orthodox? See what you did when you split from Anglicanism?
Seriously, with which Thomas would they have stood in November 1534, Cranmer or More? (Regardless of the controversy about the origin and scope of his office the Pope is England’s lawful patriarch.)

These elderly hippies are right about Iraq but so what?
MCJ aims its Nasty Remarks™ at David Crosby (according to these Bushite Protestants only a ‘lard-bucket’ would oppose torturing people or attacking a country that didn’t attack yours) but boomer spirituality — mixing various faiths because ultimately they’re worshipping themselves as opposed to religion, serving somebody above you — is fair game and obviously these protests don’t work. Again if I were Karl Rove a couple of years ago and took these people seriously I’d have shut them up right quick by calling for an invasion of the Sudan.

(Don’t get me wrong: Buddhism has a lot going for it. But Christianity like the other two Abrahamic faiths has an exclusive truth claim.)

+Fort Worth is right (audio)
The three Catholic dioceses in the Episcopal Church have no future in that church in the long run. (As for how long Catholic parishes flying under the radar in non-Catholic dioceses will last I’m not a betting man. But ultimately they have no future there either.) But a valid question is have they got one in the Protestant Global South? Of course the Episcopalian spin is everybody knows Catholics hate women’ so Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa must have belonged to the transgender community.

A celebrity example of why any of this matters
Anglican cultural expressions of the Catholic faith are worth saving. That includes tolerant conservatism: don’t ask, don’t tell, we give you your space and God forgives but we don’t teach that it’s not a sin.

It is largely an intra-Protestant row but the conservative side happens to agree with Catholics on the Controversial Issue™ at hand; I don’t think the latter — the Pope, the Patriarch of Moscow and others — can be dismissed as Puritans, Bibliolaters or fundamentalists.

*As that writer sometimes does, this is pushing it but fair game as she has made it very public: she is the head of Integrity, a gay group.

Lessons to be learnt from Ellen DeGeneres’ dog drama
From Dymphna’s Well

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How Bush wrecked conservatism
He didn’t — as Murray Rothbard explains the rot set in long before him — but it seems that way when you compare Republican rhetoric today to 10 or even seven years ago. 9/11, the neocons’ Reichstag fire, changed everything.™
But the real issue isn’t the loyalty of the hardcore religious right, who may never find another candidate so congenial as Bush to their fundamentalist beliefs and reactionary agenda.
Which wasn’t true. (As Charley pointed out here.) Karl Rove played them.

I’ll guess I’m somewhere between Rothbard’s radical individualism — to give the awful Ayn Rand her due his metaphysical problems, whatever they were, are irrelevant; politically I can live with Rothbardian libertarianism or vintage Goldwater secular conservatism — and the Burkean Toryism he didn’t like (and which Buckley only affected using his ineffectual monarchist friends — and Buckley took God’s name in vain with his Catholic veneer).
The missing-papers caper
At work at the small-town newspaper there was a mystery last week as about 2,000 copies mysteriously disappeared so many people didn’t get their weekly update of township politics, high-school sports and impromptu group shots at society balls. It turned out the culprit was a man caught drink-driving — as we run a police blotter he didn’t want to be found out. Of course the irony is by doing what he did (he bought up most copies but stole some bundles) he called more attention to it!

(It’s like the modern version of the pillories and stocks as a shame-based deterrent: if you’re over 18 and get caught committing a crime your name is printed.)

I spend much time on the computer translating bad officious cop-talk (think of an insecure dumb kid trying to sound smart, the sort of thing Paul Fussell described in Class) into English: changing ‘a strong odour of alcoholic beverage emanated from the actor’s person’ to ‘the man smelled strongly of alcohol’ for example; ‘unknown actor(s)’ become ‘someone’.