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.


  1. . . . on the Pope:

    "One becomes the pope not as one becomes the president, but as one becomes a Catholic priest or the father of a child."--Tell that to CBS News, et. al.!!!! The problem with the Papal resignation, the Office of the Papacy will be viewed as just that, an office in which the individual is easily replaceable. Thus, retirement will be looked on as an antidote to homesteading. This is one reason why I wished Pope Benedict XVI did not resign. Yes, it's his call and not mine. I do not think the less of him for it. Nonetheless, my opinion, unauthoritative as it is, is my opinion. A hugely dangerous precedent. How does one resign from a Divine Office in the absence of a very serious crisis in the Church (e.g., three Popes or three claimants to the Chair of Peter)???? A strong hand needed to govern the Church? I don't buy it. The Pope has plenty of lap dogs--OK, I mean assistants--to do the routine drudge work of administering the CC. And he has speech & encyclical writers if he so wishes.

    1. I don't want him to go either. But it's a chance to teach what the papacy really is, a subset of church infallibility that belongs to the office, not the man. For its holder it's not by nature permanent like ordination or fatherhood.

    2. But now unprecedented circumstances exist, particularly the issue of physical longevity surpassing mental competence. This was not an easy call for His Holiness. Lord knows we will all miss him.

  2. Re: A Catholic moment

    Not possible IMHO

    1. Even without the disruptions of V-II, this nation/society is/was nominally Protestant--i.e., Judeo-Christian ethics--despite what current agnostics/atheists proclaim is NOT the foundation of our country. They claim it is Deism which they conveniently forget was informed by the Natural Law AND Judeo-Christian ethics. I don't think the majority of our Founding Fathers were deists. YF is correct. The CC can exist (other religions too) comfortably in a traditionally Protestant & historic understanding of Freedom of Religion.

    2. In my perception (OK, not just mine), V-II believed that having the CC shuffle off its medieval methods and outlook would allow the CC to speak to the modern world with credibility. Unfortunately, the modern world is post-religious and is not listening. Just ask the likes of the late Carl Sagan, the late Christopher Hichens, and the current & egregious Richard Dawkins if they listen to the CC. These three people are examples of influential opinion-makers in the modern world; they are not outliers IMHO. To be fair, Sagan, didn't engage in the nasty, atheistic polemics of the later two. BTW, Carl Sagan was an agnostic, not an atheist by his own admission. Most people, I perceive, believe that he was an atheist.

    V-II was a huge mistake in naivete. This is the most benign opinion I can hold re: V-II. Usually my POV is much more sinister, although not as sensationalistically sinister as so many other traditionalists and traditionalist organizations. For example, I am not into the Bugnini as closet Mason intentionally out to destroy the CC, even though I have no use for his POV and what he managed to do--wreck the Catholic liturgy.


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