Thursday, February 21, 2013

Is an American Catholic moment possible?

  • Is an American Catholic moment possible? Douthat and Dreher. I think so but not on the terms other trads and Dreher might be thinking of. With our common roots in Western civilization (which the church largely saved after the fall of the Roman Empire) and shared orthodoxy then in the creeds and morals for the most part, as a huge minority, naturalized (the second and third generations I know are Americans) but not assimilated in the sellout sense (what happened to us in the Sixties, partly outside forces, partly our own mistake; yep, the council), we had our moment in the ’50s, based on the best beliefs of our Protestant hosts in classical liberalism and fair play. (If the scale tipped and we became the majority defining the culture, as the WASPs feared and still do, that framework would ensure peace; we can all get along. Error in itself has no rights as Jim Coffey explained, but people do.) I just don’t see the later moments Douthat does. Rad trads (European ones such as Bishop Williamson) agree with Dreher: they see an accommodation with classical liberalism/individual rights as a sellout; like the fearful Protestants they see our two worldviews as incompatible. I think I understand the appeal of distributists/third-wayers (our ’30s liberals, Catholic Social Teaching, ‘Catholic economics’; holy welfare state, Batman, but peaceful, pro-life and family values; both and neither the American right or left). The church is different from and above our politics. But you know my line: the market’s like physics, non-sectarian; make a great product that sells and we’ll talk. Politics aren’t doctrine but a tool. (Our doctrine: republic, monarchy, dictatorship, it’s all good.) Work with the best of the old Protestant system as Joe Sobran suggested and you’d have a heck of a country, in which the church would flourish.
  • From Cracked: secretly badass countries. Anti-war, pro-military: hooray for Switzerland.
  • Game anecdote from The Woman and the Dragon: the witch, the broom and the neg. She and Roissy agree a smidge of game helps the world go round. Naturally, Dan is gay, but he’s an older gentleman, and is a distinguished sort of gay, not a nail polish-wearing swishy-hipped flaming sort of gay. Most of the Anglo-Catholics I liked were like that. For all their issues, it turned out, when pushed against the wall (the reality of liberal Episcopalianism), they really believed in Christ and Catholicism and are now in the church.
  • From LRC: the Judge on the Pope.
  • RIP Tony Sheridan. Obscure English rocker from the golden era who was part of the Beatles’ story.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chinese army hackers, print's still dying, decentralizing the church and more

  • From Ad Orientem:
  • From LRC:
    • Bye, bye, print: Readers’ Digest files for bankruptcy. Readers’ Digest was a hugely influential national institution, in part because, in its heyday, it was a CIA house organ. With all its international editions and offices, it was useful to the agency in more ways than just propaganda. And it provided well-paid sinecures to many war intellectuals and Republican ex-officials.
    • Ways the government’s bad for kids.
  • From
  • From Independent Country:
    • Libertarianism has nothing to do with “individualism” as a moral philosophy. Libertarianism is about the rejection of aggression and coercion — whether used by individuals or collectives. and of all people, someone whose heroes are peacemakers should appreciate it. What’s more, while Jesus may have preached “sharing the wealth,” he and his disciples never called on the government to impose it. And, in a libertarian society people can voluntarily form communities where they share the wealth.
    • Some people whine that networks like Facebook make us spend too much time online instead of engaging in real, physical communities. But that’s not my experience, or, I believe, the experience of any other Facebook user. It’s not that we’re excluding our physical, nearby neighbors for Facebook friends, but we’re broadening our horizons through online friends and/or old friends for whom pen and paper were too time-consuming. This isn’t to say Facebook is the greatest thing ever, but it’s what we have, and I appreciate it greatly. I’d rather mourn for too many lost brothers-in-law from online friends than never know they ever existed at all. Never had a use for Twitter.
    • When Republicans start worrying about America at least as much as they worry about Israel, they might start winning Presidential elections again.
    • Many citizens view the State as the expression of their values. They don’t want to live in the “kind of society” where x and y are tolerated, and the way to achieve that is to prohibit them. The principle persists in many of our laws, such as prohibition of prostitution or drugs. The economics or the justice of it matter little. Personal freedom matter little. If citizens don’t like something, they have a “right” to support politicians who would prohibit it. At least, that’s what they think.
    • Some 8-10 years ago, I was at a small party. A game called “Chick or Dude” was played. The host had a copy of a small college’s yearbook from 1979 or so. From the freshman class photos, she would point at a picture and we were to write down whether we thought the person was, well, a chick or a dude. This was an age where the hair was long and the glasses and outfits were stupendously ugly. She selected ten photos and we had to guess. I think I guessed 7 of the 10 correctly. I don’t think there is any other era of any civilization where this confusion could have happened, save America late 1970s.
  • Terry Mattingly at GetReligion: One Buddhist leader told me about a decade ago that the whole New Age phenomenon in American culture was essentially Buddhism stripped of ethics and moral content.
  • From Roissy: what happened to the Nordics?
  • From Fr Ray Blake: decentralizing the church. In many ways this is a dog-whistle issue for dissenters and needs serious unpacking. There are both conservative/sound and heretical arguments for it. Even with the papacy, lots of centralized things in the church don’t have to be, according to doctrine. For centuries by default (limited travel and communication) the church has been decentralized; it ran by immemorial custom that changed very slowly. Some have blamed the central command for the council. (The local Modernists claimed Rome switched to their side so in its name they forced changes in that direction on the people. The council was a mistake that was very usable that way.) So in theory a localized folk Catholicism is doable and hardy/resistant to bad change. Then you have the Modernists, who like their mainline cousins don’t hate the Pope for being Pope; they hate him because his office can only be Catholic. They say they object to the Pope’s power but really are complaining he doesn’t have enough power! (He can’t do the changes they want, changing doctrine like a mainline denomination.) This comes out when we’re between Popes; they tell the ignorant the next Pope can and should give them what they want.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Modestinus: Bishop Fellay on the council

The contemporary Catholic Church and the sedevacantists both hold to an undeniably true principle: the Church is infallible. From there, however, they radically diverge.
But few pronouncements are infallible. The council didn’t define doctrine. (Because the church’s infallible, nothing can change doctrine.) I’m actually a moderate to center-left Catholic by 1960 standards, but entirely in the church’s pre-conciliar big tent: the vernacular and religious liberty are fine. (The ‘liberal’ German seminary professors John Jay Hughes liked then taught exactly what I believe about the papacy: subset of church infallibility.) But based on the harm the council did, the answer’s obvious. 86 it.

Douthat on a lost political Catholic moment, and my picks for Benedict's highlights

Not sure I buy this other than his main point that mainstream American society’s now more hostile to the church; Protestant turned unitarian-universalist politically correct, it never was really friendly other than for about 100 years starting with much Catholic immigration (what American St Patrick’s Day’s really about) and ending with the council’s sellout, squandering what should have been our political moment with President Kennedy (a big nothing, other than being a sincere anti-Communist); that was ‘the Catholic moment’. By 1960 we’d changed the culture, at least in the Northeast and industrial Midwest, and were accepted. Easier to do then because the Protestants were closer to us than now.
...the Catholic vision of the good society — more egalitarian than American conservatism and more moralistic than American liberalism...
I think I know what he’s trying to say but forcing equal outcomes is unfair, not Catholic doctrine and I don’t think even Catholic Social Teaching (sanctified welfare state but against abortion). Lots of perfectly good churchmen have more opinions in common with the international left (a Christian heresy) than with classical liberalism/the old American right (John Courtney Murray was right and under the old republic we can all get along; with Joe Sobran I credit the Protestants for that). Again I don’t think American politics eight years ago was even close to friendly to that; the well-meaning bishops and union-member laity 50-75 years ago were closer to it.
Since then, the sex abuse scandals that shadowed John Paul’s last years have become the defining story of his successor’s papacy...
Not the real defining story (see below) but the secularists’ fictional version. Let me get this straight. The church teaches that homosexual acts and rape are sins, some lonely homosexual priests have their way with teenage boys, some bishops cover it up (so far, all true), and... it’s the fault of the teachings of the church (blame the Pope)? (Throw the book at the pervs and perps.) That seems to be the secular world’s bullsh*t narrative. But what do you expect from a Protestant country? (America’s been good to us but: ‘This is our country. You’re just visiting.’ Much diminished by ’60 but it never went away.) Catch the gays committing a crime and they go Maria Monk on you. But yes, of course, the coverup was another self-inflicted wound to the church’s influence.

What made Benedict great: number one, fixing the new Mass in English, affecting millions of Catholics worldwide; now even the remaining liberal parishes are orthodox in spite of themselves or else. Second, completely allowing the old Mass (which happens to be in Latin), giving trads a boost; great for me but we’re a minority. Then Regensburg: the right understanding of reason vs. the irrationality of a false religion. Last, Anglicanorum Coetibus; another reinforcement for trads and an implicit rejection of false ecumenism (the Anglicans don’t want to come in so let them be; dump the union talks; bring in the would-be Catholics who’ve asked to join), but we’re talking about only a couple thousand people and it’s a continuation of JP2’s Pastoral Provision (or, hey, Protestants et al., priestly celibacy’s just a rule).
His predecessor was buried amid reverent coverage from secular outlets, but the current pope can expect a send-off marked by sourness and shrugs.
John Paul the Overrated wasn’t as much of a threat so they patronized him; they hate Benedict. When you’re on target, there’s lots of flak.

Mainstream American politics are going to hell; nothing I can do about that. Ron Paul was probably our last chance.

Here’s hoping for a Benedict XVII or ‘Pius XIII’ who’ll make Fellay a cardinal.

History lessons

  • From Cracked:
    • Firsts that really weren’t. Knew most of these; the most interesting I learned here is Meucci and Gray invented the telephone. Not sure about the space claim. Everybody knows about von Braun and the space program but does a V-2 going 28½ miles up count as the first shot into space? Googled the space boundary again and learned the experts now think it’s 76 miles up. The international standard is 62; the US government’s is 50 so X-15 pilots got astronaut wings. All those fun do-it-yourself projects with model rockets and digital video, and Felix Baumgartner’s skydiving record, are impressive; the blackness and seeing the earth’s curve look like space but it’s not even close. I don’t think Baumgartner could have done it without air to fall through. He did freefall supersonically, but I think an Air Force pilot did it first.
    • Proverbs that don’t mean what you think.
  • How Shakespeare’s English might have sounded. Making the rounds now and already familiar to many. There’s long been a school of Shakespearean drama that tries to do this instead of modern upper-class British or mid-Atlantic sounds. As you can hear, English about 400 years ago sounded different, when the English settled in North America, which is why its accents sound so different from most of the modern British family of accents.
  • Clip: Yeager breaks the sound barrier.

Dominica I in Quadragesima

The temptation of Christ.
  • Mass: Invocabit me, et ego exaudiam eum. Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam annua quadragesimali observatione purificas: præsta familiæ tuæ, ut quod a te obtinere abstinendo nititur, hoc bonis operibus exsequatur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
  • Robert Hart sermon. Some of the right kind of ecumenism, possible because Cranmer kept our readings for today. O Lord, who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights; Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen. Different, and the Protestant intent is clear, but beautiful and sound. (Nice about Winfred Douglas’s diurnal: you can read the Prayer Book collects devotionally in addition to the Benedictine Roman Rite offices.) Faith vs. works is the big non-issue of/excuse for the ‘Reformation’. I think Cardinal Pole said it best: believe you are saved by faith; act as if you are saved by works. James 2:14-26. Interestingly the Knott or English Missal does an American Missal-like compromise, using Cranmer’s collect but having the Catholic one in the supplement in back for those who do the translated Mass exactly.
  • The Novus Ordo compromises here, without compromising doctrine of course: Concede nobis, omnipotens Deus, ut, per annua quadragesimalis exercitia sacramenti, et ad intellegendum Christi proficiamus arcanum, et effectus eius digna conversatione sectemur. Per... Like with Cranmer, hard to take when you know the bad intent behind the change but at face value, no problem.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The art of being free

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday

  • Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.
  • Lent in a ‘sinless’ age.
  • From Hilary:
    • What she said: I freely admit to being a lousy Catholic. I know all the stuff, but it just sort of sits all the time on the surface while all The Bad bubbles away underneath. Can’t help it.
    • The Pope retiring: not good. Our doctrine remains, no matter the Pope, so the worst we can get is another Paul VI, the man who really brought you the council, a weak appeaser or private heretic (the papacy’s a subset of church infallibility, but that power belongs to his office, not the man), so locally in America for example you’d get a rollback of Benedict’s reforms, a reversion to a low-church version of mainline. If his improved English Novus stays, not too bad; if not, well, trads and the gutsier of the Novus conservatives know how to get by (the SSPX, Greek Catholic parishes or Sunday’s earliest, lowest Novus to just get it over with).
    • After Benedict, the wolves.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Stormchaser tornado video and more

  • Hattiesburg, Miss. tornado. On a Sunday afternoon out of season. EF3 scary wedge tornado, a weaker lookalike of the killer Joplin, Mo. one. 63 hurt but none killed.
  • From Cracked: famous things from history that didn’t exist.
  • From LRC: currency wars will succeed in destroying paper money.
  • From RR: so you want to cut spending.
  • From Ad Orientem: the Norks’ nukes. Horrible little state but nukes are a necessary evil, an equalizer in world politics. Unlike people’s other equalizer, guns, a doomsday one you can’t use. Still I wish the Rosenbergs hadn’t given them to the Reds and that we hadn’t nuked cities (targeting civilians is a crime). (The Catholic reaction. Cardinal Ottaviani wanted the church to condemn nukes.)
  • Ron Paul’s still a voice crying out in the wilderness: beware the consequences of pre-emptive war.
  • From TAC:
  • From the Anti-Gnostic: human biodiversity.
  • From Karen De Coster: Defense contractor Raytheon has developed software that tracks people online through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. The Rapid Information Overlay Technology (RIOT) software uses location data embedded in photographs and other Internet postings to track users’ movements and personal activities, according to Brian Urch, Raytheon’s principal investigator.
  • One of Steve Sailer’s and the Anti-Gnostic’s themes is that under the guise of the values of justice and charity (tolerance, diversity, etc., the Christian heresy of PC), actually a class war between whites, things are really now more unequal and unfair as the top classes pull away from and shut out the proles. I don’t follow mainstream pop (but there are songs I like now and then) but Sailer notices that the British version isn’t dominated by working-class heroes anymore (Adele’s the exception) but the well-off and privately schooled. There was always Cliff Richard, who never made it here. Back in the day, a lot like here, the working-class boys went to clubs in suits; the hippies were slumming rich kids. More.
  • Thought of another Sailerian theme, ‘diversity before diversity’ or the golden era was actually more so than now, when I saw a double feature of Bill Haley and other stars, Rock Around the Clock and Don’t Knock the Rock. A musical sweet spot of mine, a continuation of swing and boogie-woogie. Basically the movies were selling records by promoting this wholesome fun as sexy and dangerous. (‘Buy this, kids; your parents hate it!’ Really only a jump removed from what people were already jitterbugging to for 10-15 years.) Anyway, one of the acts I like in the first is a classic ‘Latin’ one, Tony Martinez and his combo, bongos, lyrics in Spanish and all.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Benedict the Great to step down

  • Pope Benedict is resigning. Say it isn’t so! Don’t go! The church of course is much more than the reigning Pope but this one’s done so much good. (Fixing English Novus. On paper freeing the traditional Mass. Otherwise promoting high churchmanship.) If it’s true, happy retirement and praying the next Pope does all he did and and more. (Let’s shoot for the moon: Cardinal Fellay.) Another priest from before the council would be good because he would be part of that as a living tradition, but many of these pushed the changes. Plus there’s age, the reason given for this. A man in his 50s or 60s might be even more conservative than Benedict, but you want that living continuity. Still, the changeover to the generation with little memory of before is bound to happen. By the way, Popes have resigned before: for example St Peter Celestine (Celestine V), holy monk, incompetent Pope; the last one, Gregory XII, was in 1415. Maybe Benedict will go back to Bavaria to have fun with his books, piano and cats.
  • Que soy era Immaculada Councepciou. The song of Bernadette. My parish’s feast of title, why in one of yesterday’s posts you can see the Lady altar with all the lighted candles. Private revelation has a funny place in the church. All approval means is it’s not heretical and can’t be proved a fake. It has a Mass and office, and you can name churches after it, but you don’t have to believe in it/it’s not part of the faith! That said, ‘Immaculate Mary, thy praises we sing...’ Also, what looks like scrambled Spanish is what St B spoke, not French. Provençal’s like Catalan in Spain but I understand it’s about extinct in southern France.
  • From What’s Wrong With the World: custom and law. One of the constant refrains of conservatives is “tradition.” (In the hands of Catholics, that even turns into “Tradition” sometimes). But either way, it is regularly a bone of contention between conservatives and liberals, or what might be more precise for this discussion, between conservatives and progressives.
  • Locally the church’s institutional rollback continues, partly due to outside forces (in our country, from the Christian heresy of Protestantism to that of the Western secular left), partly the self-inflicted wound of the council. The archdiocese has merged two parishes with us, and I understand it’s selling some of the seminary’s grounds including some magnificent baroque buildings. The epitaph of the so-called ‘renewal’ and a sign of Pope Benedict’s and the next one’s lean, mean fighting-machine church vs. things like the Obama administration. It’s a tradeoff; a little, fighting, zealous church (like the SSPX) or big, comfortable cultural Catholicism (family, the big tent, not a cult), which partly created American culture in places like Chicago and the Northeast; each has its pros and cons.
  • Modestinus on the papacy.
  • From Ethan Jewett: actually, young people do like traditional liturgy. An appreciation from our cousins, liberal high church. Credally orthodox but not on the church’s terms; everything’s up for a vote. (Claiming more power than the Pope.) That said, like the not liberal Orthodox convert boomlet you can see it as a trend parallelling Benedict and the church.
  • From Takimag: unearthing Richard III. Sic transit: the king ended up under what’s now a carpark in Leicester. Turns out Shakespeare was writing fiction/propaganda. Of course give Richard III a Catholic service.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Today's links

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Today's links

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Today's links

Monday, February 04, 2013

Today's links

  • From RR:
  • From Cracked: 33 facts about famous people.
  • Socialized medicine: UK: thousands of NHS staff admit they wouldn’t want their families treated in their own hospitals because care is so poor.
  • Libertarianism 101: 10 things.
  • From LRC: Stalin’s secret agents in Roosevelt’s government.
  • From Takimag: myth of the effeminate poet.
  • From Daniel Nichols: peace martyrs (sort of an American Indian version of Shenandoah) and: Life is full of surprises, and so is grace. We must, it seems, be slow to conclude anything about anyone based upon what we can see, for only God knows the heart. The inner life is a great mystery; today's sinner may well be tomorrow's martyr, while the righteous may be heading for a fall.
  • From Rod Dreher: ecumenism. Answering this.

    Of course I see the bitter irony that well could be due to Modernists in the official church. That said, born non-Catholics justly get the benefit of the doubt; the SSPX hasn’t been re-regularized (yet; yes, it was founded in the official church). So this predicament is exactly because the SSPX are Catholics being censured. The non-Catholics go scot-free. And yes, sharing churches looks like indifferentism. And a kind of ecumenism 40-50 years out of date, from when many Catholics and mainliners thought union was about to happen.

    Orthodoxy and Catholicism are on parallel tracks; two one-true-church claims. (Catholics should dump the Vatican II liturgical changes and learn from Orthodoxy’s folk traditionalism.) Union means one side would have to give in. The much larger Catholic Church won’t; at most from the Orthodox you’d get another split/more Greek Catholics and a smaller Orthodox Church. Forget the mainliners: fallible, fungible church (they can vote themselves Unitarian, out of Christianity) that doesn’t really want to come back. (Their excuse for leaving Catholicism was they claimed the Pope claimed too much power; now they claim more power than the Pope, by ordaining women and being homosexualist… their version of a one-true-church claim?) We’ve gone as far as we can with ecumenism: the sides pretty much know what the others really teach and are no longer trying to kill each other.

    The Episcopalians have the right to govern themselves, including defending and selling their property, so they had the legal right to do what they did in Binghamton, selling a church to Muslims instead of to former members. But they were jerks there.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Today's links

Friday, February 01, 2013

Today's links and announcement

  • From Mark in Spokane:
  • From Ethics Forum: scientism’s irrational attack on religion.
  • From RR: Obama’s not interested in civil liberties. He’s interested in being president and the left’s about power over you and me.
  • Candlemas in South Philly. John Boyden announces:
    St. Paul's parish at 10th and Christian Streets in Philadelphia will be celebrating the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas) with a Solemn Mass in the Extraordinary Form on Saturday, February 2nd at 12 noon. The traditional blessing and distribution of candles and procession will take place during the Mass.

    St. Paul's choir will perform the Missa de Beata Virgine by Renaissance composer Cristóbal de Morales (1500-1553). The proper of the Mass will be in Gregorian chant.

    Following the Mass all are invited to attend a buffet lunch sponsored by the parish in the rectory.

    Free parking is available in the lot directly across the street from the church.

    The traditional Latin Mass is offered at St. Paul's every Sunday at noon.