Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mises on the Greek Church
A conservative and convert-boomlet person posted this on Facebook to tsk-tsk. He has a point: Mises was an economist not a theologian so in a way his thoughts on this are about as important as Pope Benedict’s on how to remodel your kitchen. Mises didn’t like Christianity. But: pathetic fallacy so the really open-minded Catholic, whose mind is closed on something solid, the faith, doctrine, as Chesterton quipped, will give all ideas a listen. The good ones stick. That’s the authentically Catholic position. There’s little uniquely libertarian in Mises here; it reads like an ‘Enlightenment’ liberal rant against Catholicism in general like you’d hear from the mainstream today. (Weirdos like Tolstoy and Rasputin were not heroes, although R. was right about staying out of WWI; the tsar’s ignoring that got him – personally good – and his family killed.) But this jumped out at me – These dead churches lack any special ethics – and immediately I thought ‘contraception’. They sound just like Protestants.

Orthodoxy’s selling point, it seems to me, is its grassroots traditionalism (laid-back, ethnic yiayia folk religion not made-up Novus Ordo nor a militaristic cult; also historically how Western Catholicism was in families and villages) so a Vatican II is impossible there, thank God. (In a communion of ethnic churches next to nothing to do with each other.) None of its very little defined doctrine – Trinity (Jesus is God), hypostatic union and Mother of God (Jesus is true God and true man), and pictures of God and the saints aren’t idols – is heresy. It’s not Protestantism, a formal denial of doctrine, but Catholicism 1.0. But no Aquinas either for example so they’re vulnerable to attacks like the contraceptive mentality.

One of Mises’ points, returning to libertarianism: the faith says the church can be the state religion. He suggests why it shouldn’t, also OK with mother church, or as much as I hate Vatican II, it and John Courtney Murray were right about that. (Remember what I wrote about being open-minded?) Accept the state’s support and soon you’re farming out moral instruction to the state and guess what? The state’s now calling the shots. That and you get the poor service of a monopoly (‘if you want religion you’re stuck with us’, like the post office and phone company were with communications before e-mail etc., and how many public schools still are) so you end up with irreligious countries that had or have state churches like Britain and Sweden.

Don’t bastardize the Byzantine Rite but...

If you want moral theology, all roads lead to Rome.

Jesus saves; Mary prays; Ratz is Pope. Carry on!

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