Tuesday, April 30, 2013


  • Not much to report this week from the show. Last episode was one of the rare ‘overshadowed by a big historical event’ ones, in which we learn Pete’s a decent fellow about race if not much else. But Harry has a point too: that’s what happened, or the degeneration of the culture (which started at the top — the hippies were slumming rich kids) hit the lower classes harder. So not much soap-opera action. Finally, Bobby Draper gets a little story line; he’s been little more than a prop all these years. Because of him we learn a little more about the mysterious Don. I’d long said one of his saving graces is he loves his kids. Turns out he was mostly faking that. A sociopath the ladies lust for (the real reason SWPLs watch); the only thing keeping him and his friends from ruin is the better culture (including the duty to take care of your kids first, not ’70s narcissism) that’s by now slipping away. There’s a war on now, Don; put your hat back on and fight! (Would enough silent-majority/conservative pushback have stopped the Sixties?)
  • The moral hollowness of the elites. Cultural Marxism. In the 1960s the New Left took over Liberalism. They kept the name but changed the content. For example, and this is profoundly important, individual rights were changed to group rights, which introduced totalitarian thinking.
  • From RR: is there any real liberaltarianism? Of course not, because the left isn’t about individual rights anymore. If liberals were becoming liberaltarians, denouncing coercive statist groupism in favor of voluntary individual association, libertarians would welcome them. Unfortunately, nothing of the sort appears to be happening.
  • More from Modestinus on Catholicism vs. the classical liberal AND modern liberal state. There are trads who think I’m as much a part of the problem as the mainline. My defense: the modus we had in ’50s America — the true church and the Constitution; living with our Protestant hosts by following the golden rule — was not a sellout. Still, he makes me think. By accepting the liberal conception of the separation of Church and State, coupled with its teachings on religious liberty and the attendant implicit rejection of the Social Kingship of Christ, the Council gave unprecedented credence to the dubious claim of the modern state to have total (or near-total) claim to the souls of its citizenry. The same claim that Henry VIII and Red China made.
  • Fr C on low-church Pope Francis. Again, if he just leaves us alone I’ll be fine. If not, if Francis turns out to be Paul VII, laymen have several options: go back to hunkering down at the lowest Sunday Novus, as for the past 40 years; Greek Catholic; or the SSPX or other irregular trads, as long as they’re not a separate church in principle. We will have the Mass. I know: what about sacraments that depend on jurisdiction? State of emergency in the church: if the local putative Catholics are really liberal Protestants, you do what you have to. Archbishop Lefebvre’s eternal Rome, not local usurpers.
  • Some of the ‘office’ in ‘Mass-and-office’, pre-conciliar Catholicism’s version of high-and-dry churchmanship: the Anglican Breviary blog. 99% Tridentine, in classic-liturgical-English translation (the English of the Prayer Book but not the Prayer Book; never an official Anglican book). Fr Daniel Oppenheimer, a trad priest in the official church and a former Episcopalian, recommends it to his parishioners. An educated churchman knows what and what not to use (leave out the Episcopal Church-related feasts). The breviary’s a treasure but a reason it never caught on with Catholic laity, besides literacy being historically uncommon, is it’s hard to use. Winfred Douglas’ Monastic Diurnal, an adapted Benedictine office he wrote in the ’30s, in the same style, is much easier to use, and for something simpler still, there’s always the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary (mimicking the breviary but the same psalms every day).
  • Chris Broussard. I don’t follow sports. Sure, this is culture-wars bait but when I first saw this blurb, I thought ESPN might be right, because his job, like mine, doesn’t include preaching. So is he a martyr? Having read the story, I say maybe. ESPN’s obviously siding with the secularist left; they’re preaching. Why dedicate a whole show to Jason Collins’ private business? Why put a conservative Christian on it, then muzzle him? So Broussard may have spoken out of turn, in context, but I wonder if he was set up.

Monday, April 29, 2013

'That's SAINT John Paul the Overrated to you!'

Happy news for Novus neocons: JP2 might be canonized in October. Know what? So what? Personally holy, theologically sound (the nature of the papal office renders that moot anyway; it can never err, no matter who holds it), and with a partial credit for the moral authority helping cause the fall of Communism/end of the Cold War (really the end of the war last century, which we dumb Americans helped the Reds win*). That doesn’t mean his reign was sweetness and light for trads or even conservative Novus. Heretical bishops being appointed and promoted. (Roger Mahony, of sex-scandal coverup infamy, got to be Archbishop of LA and a cardinal; please. By the way, Your Eminence, shut up.) The long coverup of the priestly underage gay sex scandal**, another self-inflicted wound along with the council that well may put the kibosh on the church as a moral force in the Anglosphere (in 1960, as a huge minority in a country already Christian that vaguely remembered Protestants were originally Catholic, we had that clout in America; we lost it; our own damn fault). False ecumenism at Assisi and the Koran incident (even to be polite, you can’t kiss that book; close to apostasy). Altar girls. As for the saintly Archbishop Lefebvre, he understandably thought there was a state of emergency in the church; I want to say he was screwed over but can’t. (Saintly doesn’t mean perfect.) JP2 didn’t fix the awful English Novus text of the time and only halfheartedly allowed our Mass (reacting to Lefebvre’s great work), slapping on stupid restrictions. Benedict the Great was what we hoped JP2 would be.

(In 1978 under Paul VI, half the parish churches in the Diocese of Rome had eastward-facing Mass; all gone under this guy. Some ‘conservative’. I don’t do his Luminous Mysteries of the rosary either.)

Anyway, all canonization means is he was personally holy and theologically fine, so we can’t object to other Catholics venerating him in church. Still overrated in my book; if you don’t like him, don’t venerate him. (And a lot of saints weren’t ‘nice’.)

*The initial reason given for the war was to free JP2’s country, which Roosevelt handed to the Reds.

**Our Protestant-turned-secular humanist host culture’s twisted thinking: priests buy into our hosts’ liberal ideas so they do something the church teaches is a sin, and it’s the church’s fault. (Public-school teachers, a liberal profession with a worse track record of molestation and coverups, get a free pass on that.) As the kids say, whatever. The Calvinists who bought Maria Monk (lurid fiction sold as fact about priests and nuns having sex with each other) and burned down our churches in the 1800s are now pushing abortion and gay marriage, and still smear our priests as pervs.

Talking to two conservative Novus Ordo Catholics

Nice people, very JP2 and EWTN. He’s part of a lay apostolate a lot like Frank Sheed and the Catholic Evidence Guild at Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park in the good old days; she’s a sweet recent convert from Lutheranism.

My opener: A sign of the disaster of the council is nuns’ virtual disappearance from American Catholic life. The big orders destroyed themselves with liberalism; there are small, local conservative orders doing well but the damage to Catholic life is done.

He: The council documents are sound. It is the bad Catholics who tried to run a progressive agenda. Thankfully that is being undone bishop by bishop.

The church can’t change its doctrine so of course the council isn’t heretical but that doesn’t mean it wasn't a mistake. By its fruits you know it.

She: The Church did not err. The documents are beautiful and true and when you actually read them you see just how grossly misinterpreted they were by dissidents.

He: Brother Beeler, I think you would agree that the Fat Lady hasn't sung the last song just yet.

She: Amen.

He: 50 years is a blink of an eye in the course of things. It has been pointed out that such turbulence followed many councils. Let us have faith and not lose hope. Let us stay on the Barque of Peter.

In essentials of course the church can’t err. The council was policy, not doctrine; buying into the besetting sin of what was otherwise a golden era culturally: the liberal faith in progress. We ended up with a wrecked church and a larger society still hostile if not more so.

She: The Church is not wrecked. Far from it. As a convert perhaps I appreciate it more than some others.

If people start thinking they constitute a small group of faithful that is holier than the Church then they are as Protestant as those who would twist the Council's documents to suit an overly liberal agenda. Left or right you are off the boat.

Not exactly. Groups with credal orthodoxy, real bishops and a real Mass may be outside the church but are not Protestants: the Orthodox and the tiny Polish National Catholic Church in America (century-old immigrant schism), for example. We never defined false doctrine in order to become a separate church in principle, so ‘trads are outside the church; they’re Protestants’ is false.

You don't know what the council destroyed. In the ’50s, the American Northeast was ours. The Sixties and the council basically neutralized and assimilated America’s big Catholic minority just like many Protestant Americans long wanted. I used to know someone who was a seminarian then and ended up in a mental hospital getting electroshocked for depression because of that council: it destroyed his world. I’m not trying to take away your faith or your joy being in the church, but what happened, happened.

She: That doesn't mean the gates of hell prevailed against The Church. That will never happen and has not happened.

You’re preaching to the proverbial choir. True of the church per se. That doesn’t mean people in the church can't make big mistakes or that the church in one part of the world can’t diminish or disappear.

She: People can err, yes. The Church cannot teach error and has not.

Right; the council didn’t teach heresy because, thanks to the church by its nature, it couldn’t. That doesn’t mean the council wasn’t a case of bad judgement.

He: We have work to do, in faith hope and love to build up the Body of Christ. Blaming the Council isn't going to bear good fruit.

She: I respectfully disagree having read the documents.

Confession is good for the soul, and we won’t move forward until we own up to this blunder.

She (to him): Of course not.

I'm sorry I cannot say words I don't believe. I do not believe the Council was error, bad judgment, mistake, or blunder.

Whatever good the council tried to do could have been done with little or no damage by about three papal pronouncements: let’s translate the services, and religious liberty and ecumenism rightly understood are fine, so America’s got the right idea and sure, let’s try having talks with Protestants (to teach them the truth). The neighborhoods around my parish just lost their parishes; closed and merged. So how’s that ‘renewal’ of the council working out?

He: I for one am not going to question the Holy Spirit in what he chose to do with the Council. I think we have our work cut out for us with the New Evangelization — talking with Protestants and fallen-away Catholics.

Those were decisions of prudential judgement nothing to do with the Holy Spirit and the church’s charism of infallibility. If you want to evangelize, resume what the liturgical movement tried to do, teaching Catholics the traditional Mass and office (don’t forget the office), and bring back the old catechisms, made to reach as wide a readership as possible (both the smart and the dumb kids in the class). Sure, the Holy Spirit is still in the church; even Paul VI held the line on contraception because he could not do otherwise.

She: Oh John please don't tell me this is an anti-Novus Ordo thing. Yikes.

He: I think we'll do great if we can get Catholics back to Mass, whatever form it is in. John I am not sure what your beef is, but it sounds like you're alienated from the Church in some way. All I can do is offer my prayers, since I haven't walked in your shoes. Peace be with you.

If believing the traditional Mass is better is anti-Novus and being ‘alienated from the church’, then yes. Thanks to Pope Benedict’s reform I have no conscience problem with the new Mass in English. But the old is still better (and it doesn't have to be in Latin).

He: There is no problem with anyone preferring the traditional Latin Mass. In fact I hope to attend one myself one day. The problem comes when it becomes a position from which rocks are thrown at the Ordinary Form of the Mass and the practices of the Church. We must remain united in Christ, whether the form is Ordinary, Extraordinary/Traditional Latin, Byzantine, Carmelite, or whatever. The same Eucharist — the same Heavenly Liturgy to which we connect.

She: I think I understand you better now, John. I hope you can find a way to fall in love with the whole of Church teaching again. Again, as a convert I am just so grateful to be in the one true Church that I can't pause to swat at gnats.

Thanks but maybe you can’t really understand unless/until you experience pre-/non-conciliar Catholicism at the traditional Mass. That the new Mass in itself is not heretical doesn't mean it’s above criticism. Regarding being united on essentials, I get it. Again, criticizing the council is not rejecting the teachings of the church. Because the council didn’t define any doctrine. Great to have you in the church. Not everybody is called to post your kind of posts but spreading your joy seems to be your calling.

He: Pre-conciliar and post-conciliar Catholicism is the same Catholicism just as much as Catholicism in 33 AD is the same Church as the Church in 1534. I understand the sense of a loss of such a beautiful form. However it isn't lost is it? The council is infallible, whether or not it is doctrinal. It is a work of the Holy Spirit promulgated by a valid Pope. I think your criticism is more accurately placed with those who implemented the council, rather than the council. And really the point of that is quite moot since the water is under the bridge. We have to consider the effect that this discussion has on converts and on those who look at us from the outside. Seriously our time is better spent building up the church from where we are now.

I am 43 and all I have ever known is the Church since 1969. My daughter has only known it since 2005. Let us keep that in mind that an entire generation or two is in play here.

It’s the Mass that would not die, thanks to the saintly Archbishop Lefebvre (fact: we have this Mass in the official church because of him), the silent-majority generation of Catholics who kept the memory of it for 40+ years (part of my parish along with Anglo-Catholic alumni, young trad families, and of course West Philly locals), and the young trads discovering it. I appreciate the strict-constructionist argument about the council ( ‘it’s not the council but the implementation that’s the problem’), and again actually I don’t have a problem with its main points (the vernacular, religious liberty and ecumenism). But to deny the harm it did to the church is foolish. Again, churchmen should man up and admit it, and move on. ‘The council is infallible, whether or not it is doctrinal.’ That doesn't make sense. I’m hopeful about the next generations. Because trads have kids and liberals don’t, or the kids liberals have tend to drop out rather than do liberal religion. So of course, build up the church, but to do so, we have to admit we goofed.

(To her:) I remembered you’ve only been in the church since 2010. As a Catholic you’ve only known Benedict the Great and his church recovering from Modernism. Which is great, but again it’s hard for someone in your shoes to understand what pre-conciliar and other trad Catholics have gone through. I mentioned my old friend who was in seminary during and right after the council and had his mind and heart broken by it. He never really recovered; he still has depression. You didn’t have your Mass taken away; you didn’t show up on Sunday expecting our Mass and finding a hootenanny or Woodstock in the sanctuary, and relativist garbage from the pulpit. You didn’t have a priest, a pastor, shouting in your face 25 years ago about your wanting a church that no longer exists, his words to me exactly. Again, your joy at joining us is great and I’m glad you’re sharing it. But that conflict’s part of our story along with the joy of being able to bring the old religion back in some places in the official church. By the way, which brand of Lutheran were you? Mainline ELCA or the very different LCMS or WELS?

She: I attended both ELCA and MS. I also dabbled in both Episcopal churches and evangelical ones. You know it's funny; every Catholic I've met who is far left of the Magisterium says the same thing you just said, that I'm only adherent because I haven't been in The Church long enough to know better. So you may be more alike than you think.

Thanks. Not surprising you were both ELCA and LCMS since there’s a spectrum in ELCA including relative conservatives. As you know, Episcopal is ethnic-English ELCA basically, only more liberal. I was born Episcopal because of a marriage conversion in my family. Ironically, they taught me pre-conciliar liturgy back when the official church wanted nothing to do with it anymore. They’re semi-congregational, which is why they had relative conservatives including would-be Catholics (Anglo-Catholics). Here’s my defense against being lumped with liberal dissenters: unlike them I don’t dissent from doctrine (again, we’re talking about policy, not doctrine; doctrine can’t change but policy can), and I've never said you’d do so if you knew better/were in the church longer. Quite the opposite; I hope your joy from being here lasts forever! That joy and knowing our story, the trad odyssey, aren’t mutually exclusive.

She: It has looked like a pretty sour population to me thus far. That's why I was surprised to hear you identify with that mindset.

I freely confess: some of us are jerks! The sourness is understandable based on what we’ve been through, if not excusable. But like all Novus Ordo Catholics aren’t alike, neither are we. For example, some people are big on apparitions and/or conspiracy theories, or extreme right-wing politics (fascism, monarchism), or are huge on Marian devotion or folk piety (novenas to your favorite saint, etc.). From my Anglo-Catholic background (I’m also a quarter Hispanic), I’m a ‘Mass-and-office’ Catholic, the ‘high and dry’ churchmanship in the spectrum of pre-conciliar Catholicism. Big on the liturgy and on theology (Christ-centered, Eucharist-centered) but devotionally moderate so devotions to saints and apparitions don’t crowd out the essentials. Actually a lot like conservative Novus but with a more formal, theologically tighter liturgy. I’m politically moderate too, a classic American, republican and libertarian, believing in our freedom of religion without giving up our one-true-church claim. Just like American Catholics in 1963. We didn’t need the council. We had arrived in American society, then we had to go and squander that. The liberal dissenters want to change the church essentially, to go along with secular American culture; we don’t.

She: Well we have much in common and you'd probably love my Novus Ordo parish. Maybe. ; )

Yeah, maybe. :) My parish has only one traditional Mass (I think the archdiocese made that rule even though Pope Benedict said no more restrictions) but the parish is high-church, so the Novus Ordo there has nice music (organ, chant, Anglican hymns and old Catholic devotional hymns) and mostly traditional vestments, and always uses the altar rail. (The parish is a West Philly neighborhood one but also a trad and conservative magnet.) I only wish the Novus Ordo there was eastward-facing (‘priest’s back to the people’). Again, thanks to Benedict’s reform, I have no conscience problem with that Mass, so on holy days and on Sundays when there are summer flea markets, I do what conservative Catholics have done in the official church for over 40 years: go to the lowest Novus Ordo being offered. No attempt at music, please; Father, just read it out of the book and get it over with; no funny business. I’m not a charismatic but I like seeing them at those Masses holding up their hands during the Our Father. It’s not disruptive; perfectly welcome at our Mass, in my opinion.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Thumbs up for 'Gangster Squad'; first car show of the year

  • Gangster Squad. Tough guys in the golden era, based somewhat on a true story. Fights; the redhead in a triangle with the second-in-command and the villain; and great big-band music, art-deco architecture (LA right after the war, just like another good one, LA Confidential), cars, suits and hats. Not only is it a lot like ‘Crime Story’ (more; the unit of ruthless cops barely on the side of the law; the hero who risks everything in his life; a smart, charismatic villain); it even shares a similar character played by the same actor! (The scene outside LA’s City Hall looks like it’s copying the one outside Chicago’s Superdawg.) Time flies: Sean Penn’s grown up and a fine actor. (I like him in the early-’80s Bad Boys; the character Barry Horowitz almost steals that show.) By the way, Jackie Chan describes movie/TV violence as ballet: blanks, controlled explosions and choreography so the actors don’t really get hurt. The real John O’Mara used smarts more than brawn to take down mobster Mickey Cohen. Guess that’s not good box office, and the movie industry’s dying, an Internet casualty.
  • Showin’ Off with the Vairs. South Jersey car show in a big Protestant church’s lot. (‘Big’ + ‘Protestant’ = conservative/evangelical. Worthy opponent.) Looking at the engine, the Christine-like model looks like a ’57 Plymouth Belvedere. Christine’s supposed to be a ’58 Fury; the lookalike Belvedere and the little Savoy came in red like her but the name Fury sounds cooler; the Fury came only in cream with gold trim. The ’62 Olds is for sale but I’ll hold out for a ’60 Chevy Impala or Biscayne.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Two to chew on

  • Modestinus on trads and Radical Orthodoxy/post-modern Protestants. He and other brother trads think classical liberals like me are part of the problem but this makes me think. I think CST’s politically and economically naïve and I don’t think the post-Protestant leftist American culture would deign to listen, but who knows? Some of the post-modern Prots may be high-church (our liberal high-church cousins; more or less orthodox on many things but on their own terms) but without an infallible church they’re self-limiting/part of the problem they’re trying to fix.
  • Roissy on the dark triad. I thought of the show. From elsewhere: Profile of the sociopath: pathological lying, shallow emotions, grandiose sense of self, incapacity for love, irresponsibility/unreliability, glibness and superficial charm, manipulative and cunning, callousness/lack of empathy, need for stimulation, lack of remorse/shame/guilt, and promiscuous sexual behaviour/infidelity. With a few exceptions (he panics when caught in his big lie, he feels some remorse, and he loves his kids), that’s the Don. And women can’t get enough of him (besides his being good-looking); that’s why they watch (the leftoids tell their friends they want to be Peggy but really want to be Megan or Sylvia in Don’s hands; doesn’t matter which). The lesson is a bit of game, calibrated, is great; a tool. Without golden-era values (such as the teachings of the church), you get personal harm/suffering and social evil (broken homes, for example; old-school adulterers kept up appearances for the kids’ sake rather than ‘do your own thing, man’ self-centeredness on principle). (The sexual revolution: feminism messing up women, and happy hunting, unchecked, for alphas like Don. The rest of men end up alone or cuckolded and divorce-robbed.) The better culture’s the only thing keeping Don and his friends from a world of hurt, and that culture’s starting to go away there. Caveat: this scary-sounding jargon about narcissism and other pathology is, I understand, long part of standard psychology explaining how the minds of normal people work. Again Roissy’s point: some of the triad, without going off the deep end (state control, an alpha virtue), is healthy and works for you.

Friday, April 26, 2013


  • Buon compleanno, Roberto Ridarelli. Happy birthday, Philly’s own Bobby Rydell. I’ve seen him on stage. Grazie per tutto. Bonus: the original ‘Volare’ by Domenico Modugno.
  • Lodato sempre sia il bel Nome di Gesù e di Maria. I don’t know where exactly I fit on a churchmanship map other than being trad but with a difference. Pre-/non-conciliar liturgically, Latin with Counter-Reformation finery... but with organ and Anglican hymns. Looks like the church before the council; sounds partly like an Episcopal service then, only without the sound of congregational recitation, that deep muffled drone. Devotionally I’m very moderate. Christ- and Eucharist-centered, Mass and office (and it doesn’t have to be in Latin), with hardly anything that would give an old high Anglican or conservative high Lutheran hives, if you don’t mind a statue of Mary in my bedroom and the daily rosary. (Besides the stuff about the Pope, they wouldn’t like my occasionally making it to Benediction.)
  • Just finished a year-long project indirectly for the church, making pages for and proofreading an 80-page pro-life (and pro-heterosexuality) book a private foundation will be giving out a couple of million copies of at World Youth Day in Rio this summer. (The Holy See unofficially supervised the project.) Guess they hired me since I look like the World Youth Day type.
  • Which is better: clannish low-trust culture or liberal universal individualism? Steve Sailer’s brought this up again, unsurprisingly, since the Boston Marathon bombing suspects are from a Mediterranean-/Middle Eastern-like culture. (Roissy: alpha is alpha in any culture. Women love dominant men.) He and his friends write about that culture with a mix of fear and envy (they don’t like the foreigners but wish whites were more race-conscious like the foreigners are). I believe in individual rights, not white power, black power, gay power, etc. (remember, this freedom protects conservative Christians from a hostile mob, in theory), but no man is an island. It’s related to the debate of opinion in the church on religious liberty, which I believe in. The true church, like an ethnic family writ large, vis-à-vis individual rights. Brother trads to my right think the latter’s Protestant. Like Sailer I like the 19th-century British liberals but I remember that this fine Anglosphere culture, confident because it was aware of its strengths, has degenerated starting with Protestantism into today’s secular humanism/political correctness (including using hostile minorities as pawns in a class war with conservative whites). Reason to like Italian-Americans: as one of Sailer’s commenters wrote, they never really bought into Sixties crap (slumming WASP kids with notions from 19th-century Germany). Witness the bar brawl in A Bronx Tale; go, mob. (P.S. César Chavez, a born American, was against illegal immigration.)
  • Modestinus on looking East. He says one of my points: a great thing about the church is they don’t teach you to hate the Orthodox and other Easterners. (Quite the opposite: educated trads see the natural affinity.) So why not be Greek Catholic? Believe me, if life in the Roman Rite goes bad again under modern low-church Pope Francis (I’m not EWTN: under John Paul the Overrated, it stunk), that’s an option (if he rolls back Benedict’s reforms, taking my Mass away in the official church). But the Orthodox’ anti-Westernism, both the occasional rant from the old country and the convert-boomlet cult’s continued evangelical anti-popery, along with the super-strictness in theory (starving yourself four times a year), sours me on the rite as a first choice. 19th-century Russian culture’s great (so’s Russia now with a badass like Putin in charge) but I don’t like being told my own heritage is evil. Greek Catholics have a different problem: half-Novus latinization. I’m sort of a purist (which is exactly what Rome tells the Greek Catholics to be, liturgically: just like the Orthodox) but don’t mind latinizations at all when they’re old/Tridentine.
  • Daniel Nichols sums up George W. Bush. This man left a trail of carnage and chaos. If there were any justice he and his cronies — or should I say “handlers” — would be in jail. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rowe, Wolfowitz, Pearle, and the rest of them set out to establish a Pax Americana and left two broken countries and a nation in economic collapse. The pundits who foresaw Iraqis greeting American troops with flowers, who told us the war would be a “cakewalk” still rake in the big bucks for their opinions. I wonder if it ever occurs to him that he is responsible for the deaths of God knows how many grandchildren of Afghans and Iraqis. In 2000, before 9/11 Changed Everything (the powers that be’s Reichstag fire?), when he sang a different, non-interventionist tune, so he seemed a serviceable alternative to the culture wars’ Great Satan who was then bombing Serbia for no good reason (hindsight: by dumb luck, being boxed in by a hostile Congress, he was functionally, unwillingly, the best conservative president in recent history, presiding over a boom; he was entertaining, too), I voted for him. I wonder how much of that old conservatism was sincere (over 20 years ago, Dick Cheney talked sense about these matters) or if it was a pose all along, from a family of Rockefeller Republicans (neocons are Wilsonian liberals who migrated to the GOP). The Project for a New American Century had the real plan up their sleeve. You can fool me only once. I never voted for a mainstream Republican again. (Like Murray Rothbard voting for Stevenson, in ’06 I was functionally a Democrat!) I’m a libertarian who votes for people like Ron Paul in Pennsylvania’s GOP primaries, the only reason besides abortion I’m a Republican on paper.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


The blog’s on the back burner while I happily make my new life as an online ad copywriter, but I’m still here.
  • Libertarian Julie Borowski on the Boston bombing and civil-liberties violations. Innocent until proven guilty is how it’s supposed to work.
  • Cartoon via Daniel Nichols.
  • Modestinus criticizes Catholic libertarians. We’re not above criticism. Trads to my right such as the SSPX think we’re part of the problem, just like neocons and mainliners. As I wrote recently to Tripp Hudgins, does the economic liberalism (capitalism, the free market, laissez-faire, libertarianism) I believe in cause a consumeristic, cafeteria approach to religion, undermining pre-modern faith? (Or as some say, there’s the American religion, and all Americans are Protestants, even the Catholics.) I’m still trying to answer that. Again, my default answer is all politics are provisional; this isn’t doctrine; laymen are free.
  • How the mainline thinks. Mainline minister Tripp, a Southerner who’s a happy Northern Baptist, brought this up on Facebook with another ‘Christianity must change or die’ article. Or as a commenter seemed to say, ‘Hooray for me; I’ve thought and prayed long and hard in order to agree with secular culture.’ Hardly rebellious or daring. Denominations changing their teachings by vote in order to please the Dannika Nashes are hemorrhaging people. Catholics tried Dannika’s way, with the council, and lost a lot of people as a result too. Spong’s ‘Christianity must change or die’ is dead wrong. Kids don’t bother with a churchy middleman of liberal religion. Most like Dannika drop out and are politically correct (a Christian heresy, Christian ethics without Christ, Protestantism’s endgame) on their own time. The few religious kids tend to be conservative Catholics (my semi-traditionalist parish has couples in their 30s with four or more children) or evangelicals. But here’s how mainliners think. They know they’re passé: that the mainstream doesn’t need them anymore. They seem quaint to PC SWPL kids. They’re just left over from old white ethnic ties as Tripp observed (English Episcopalian, Scottish Presbyterian, Swedish Lutheran, etc. Just like many Italians aren’t Catholic because of the theology but because they’re Italian). So they think the answer is... their denominations are still too conservative! I think I understand the logic. But it still doesn’t work. Also, the mainline’s rather parasitic; it exists as an alternative in Christendom, leeching some dissenters from livelier, conservative churches. (Boomers are the last generation to habitually go to church or actively belong to a denomination, so a few liberals quit the Catholics and the evangelicals for the Episcopalians.) Where Christianity is really under siege and needs to evangelize, not so much. Because again, such societies, Britain, for example, cut out the middleman and watered-down Jesus talk, and just stay home.
  • The Wall Street Journal list of jobs from best to worst. Dead last is newspaper reporter.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Not retro, old: living with the past

Flea-market Sunday, so early low Novus with organ and Anglican hymns, at my semi-traditionalist parish. As the World’s Most Interesting Man might say while drinking a Dos Equis and surrounded by beautiful women, I don’t go to Novus often, but when I do, I do another Anglo-Catholic alumni thing (besides bowing as the processional crucifix passes, and crossing myself at the elevations). Because Pope Benedict’s reform has brought the English text so close, and because, other than the prayers of the rosary, with centuries of use, American Catholics aren’t attached to any English translation (because there’s no long Catholic liturgical tradition in English, a reason why some critics say Benedict the Great’s text isn’t artistic) so why bother learning it, I say the creed from the old Book of Common Prayer/English Missal/Anglican Missal/American Missal from memory: and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man (genuflect).

Condolences to the former St Callistus Church, whose last Mass was yesterday; they’ve been closed and merged with us. I think St Donato’s, an Italian church, is staying open as a ‘worship site’ but again the parish no longer exists; they’re merged with us.

In working order.

Nixon in ’60. He would have got my vote as he probably did Cardinal Spellman’s. President Kennedy stole the election and was a glorified hood ornament. Eminently qualified for the job (acting president when President Eisenhower had a heart attack, the kitchen debate), Nixon was a well-meaning, tragic figure. He wasn’t stupid. Not really a conservative, he governed non-ideologically, trying to do what he thought was right. (Like the silent majority who believed in him.) He made serious mistakes, however well-meant (making the dollar pure fiat money, affirmative action, wage and price controls, betraying Nationalist China). He did what the people wanted by pulling out of Vietnam and ending the draft. But he tried to apply the lesson in dirty politics he learned the hard way from Kennedy and got caught, when he would have won anyway. The matchbook is on the same shelf as my big Goldwater campaign pin (someone who really should have been president). May he rest in peace.

The show: Har-RY! Being a man for a change, telling off Joan publicly even though technically she was right. (‘My accomplishments for the company were in broad daylight.’ Damn straight.) I still like and like Sylvia, again the archetypal Bad Catholic, not living up to the faith but praying for tortured soul Don. I knew it was coming but it’s still sad: Don’s stopped wearing fedoras. I don’t mind his toking with a copywriter: of course marijuana’s nothing new. Now we know he’s against the war in Vietnam; that was pretty mainstream. Interesting contrasting views of sex, from Don’s and Sylvia’s old-school hidden infidelity (hypocrisy is vice’s tribute to virtue, or private sins don’t harm society) to the swingers, both the outwardly conservative (the tempting Arlene and her husband) and the counterculture (Joan and her friend at the trendy club). As Murray Rothbard wrote, the gospel of no-strings sex lasted in popular culture a couple of months, to be replaced by a substitute for Christian ethics, at least for non-alphas (the sexual revolution: happy hunting ground for alphas): political correctness (Christian ethics minus Christ; a Christian heresy; Protestantism’s endgame), namely its draconian speech and behaviour codes.

It’s a soap opera, but Madison Avenue then really was crazy. Everybody on the show’s amoral except Megan, Trudy and maybe Ken Cosgrove, who are really good people. Peggy is Plausible Deniability, someone the feminist viewers can pretend to like while really wanting to be Megan or Sylvia.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Catching up on the week’s news

  • Hooray for the Second Amendment. Defeat for misguided gun control.
  • The Boston Marathon bombing suspect is only that, a suspect. Sure, it looks very incriminating, but not only is the bombing not my tragedy (I wasn’t hurt there nor did I know anyone hurt or killed there) but this comes down to boring old due process and being presumed innocent until proven guilty, in the great system America’s founding fathers came up with to protect every person’s rights, even the despicable and/or circumstantially guilty. I still feel this was a random act and not a threat to the country; a crime, not terrorism.
  • Daniel Nichols: maybe we’ll learn from this how people feel in Third World countries we terrorize. President Obama said “Any time bombs are used to target civilians it is an act of terror.” Ahem, Mr President. Ahem. But of course the government doesn’t care about them.
  • The Pope’s Catholic. The remaining old liberal nuns aren’t. The church has two options: go after these heretics or just let them keep dying off. (One of the measures of the conciliar disaster is the disappearance of nuns from American Catholic life.) There are lots of Bad Catholics with wrong views. The church doesn’t and shouldn’t go after them. But a heretic 1) has the education to know better, 2) is in a position of authority and trust (which these ladies were), and 3) has been warned. Funny if they thought low-church, social-justice Pope Francis was their buddy. (Economically naïve third-wayer; typical European churchman.) The occupant of the Chair of Peter almost doesn’t matter (but we lost a friend and protector in Benedict the Great). The office’s power is limited to what the church infallibly teaches; the gates of hell will not prevail against Rome.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Smart arguments against pure libertarianism: the case for ordered liberty

I’m libertarian but minarchist (little government) or ‘weak libertarian’ as Modestinus says. All politics is provisional, unlike Catholic doctrine; according to most American criteria, I happen to be right-wing but Catholics don’t have to be. In fact we’re often not. Well-meant economically left but socially right (but for peace) seems to summarize Catholic social-political opinion through the decades, from the union workers in America’s golden era last century to the social-democrat culturally European clergy such as the reigning Pope, to the views at Cælum et Terra. That said, monarchy, dictatorship (Franco, Sálazar), republic (Switzerland, the old America); to the church it’s all good.

Is freedom an absolute? Ideally people freely choose the truth, we have free will, our doctrine says, but there’s still objective truth, or a mob/majority vote’s not automatically right. (It’s like the church’s view on conscience: we’re free; you can sincerely choose wrong and still be right with God, but ideally your conscience is ‘well-formed’ by knowing objective reality and conforming to it, the classical definition of reason.) So it seems safe to say freedom is a relative good. Ordered liberty 1, pure libertarianism nil.

Yes, individual rights (not white power, black power, gay rights, etc. — no to collectivism left or right as Ron Paul says), but absolute individualism, ‘question authority, man’ (which really means ‘we want your power’), is childish; selfish. (Even from my main news and commentary sources, LRC and RR, this — ‘state, cops, soldiers bad’ — gets tiresome. Ordered liberty’s against the abuses of these, not against them in themselves. I’m thankful an ex-soldier cop, probably a fellow cultural conservative Catholic, is in his squad car at 1 in the morning literally guarding the entry roads into my town.) As Daniel Nichols and Rod Dreher have observed, the story of the past 40 or so years, of the cultural revolution of the Sixties, is ‘do your own thing = every man for himself’. (50 years ago, when ordered liberty was American culture: rather less government and less of a gap between the richest and poorest and more of a chance to move up.)

Mark in Spokane:
  • Why he thinks social conservatives can’t be libertarians. Again, opposing all authority is wrong.
  • Kirk’s approach was definitely non-statist, and in that sense he shared a similar vantage point with most modern libertarians, but Kirk eschewed the label of "libertarian" and considered libertarianism to be an erroneous approach to political order -- one that was ideological at its core, and like all ideologies was an attempt to make up for an abandoned religious perspective on life. It is one of the intellectual problems of our time that any attempt to formulate a non-statist approach to politics is immediately labeled "libertarian." There are a variety of non-statist approaches to political order, libertarianism being only one of them (and not, in the opinion of this humble writer, the best of the lot).
  • I now place less emphasis on “human freedom” and much more on “fidelity to God’s Law” in the course of my postings. Of course there has been a transition, though I want to say it’s a wee bit more subtle than what he gives me credit for. With respect to libertarianism, I always called myself, at most, a “weak libertarian” or, at other times, a “half-hearted libertarian.” In libertarianism I saw some avenues of pragmatic negotiation with a socio-political ordo that had long abandoned the concept of Christendom (if it ever held it). “Religious liberty,” for instance, provided a shield to those believers who wanted to live their Christian lives in peace. But of course “religious liberty” has come under radical assault in the last two years and so I am less enthused about the concept now than I was, say, two to three years ago. Moreover, I am now far less convinced that the libertarian emphasis—in the United States—on state’s rights and federalism has any purchase in the modern administrative state. The Constitution will never again be “rightly understood” to recommend any ordering in this country that in any way, shape, or form resembles the principles of subsidiary that are, to an extent, at the heart of the political teachings of the Catholic Church. This doesn’t mean that I am necessarily giving up the (intellectual and moral) fight for these principles; rather, I no longer see the need to try and “translate” what the Church teaches into a thoroughly modern, thoroughly liberal idiom. There are more opportunities for obscuring the obvious by going in such directions and, I would even say, an inherent danger in misleading oneself to accept principles that are fundamentally at odds with the teachings of the Church. To offer just one example, I do not see how one can adopt the libertarian emphasis on federalism without packing in the libertarian emphasis upon unbridled economic freedom. Even if libertarian economic theory were waterproof (and it isn’t), that type of economic ordering could only work in a “first-best world,” that is, a world that fully embraced a high-octane libertarian theory of economics without qualifiers or caveats. Since that world is unlikely to ever come into existence (for reasons I won’t bother to rehearse here), the safer alternative, the more integral alternative, is to dispatch with utopianism and look at matters through a “second-best perspective.” And no, that is not the same as giving up the fight for the right political order; it’s merely a matter of working through what we have rather than clinging on to false hopes of what could come—particularly hopes that are radically divorced from the mind of the Catholic Church. Regular readers know I believe in economic freedom; there’s no such thing as ‘Catholic science’ so church leftists and church third-wayers are wrong, but anyway.
  • Integralism and theonomy.
Ed West on Margaret Thatcher, from Steve Sailer:
Libertarians think they can get a Victorian-sized state without Victorian attitudes, but they’re deluded. If you really want a small state that doesn’t tell you what to do and gobble up half your income then start going to church, get involved in voluntary activities, tell the vicar or priest to stop droning on about the cuts and climate change and tell him to start shouting about sin and fornication. Repress yourself, you’ll find it’s good for your wallet.
Maybe that was tongue in cheek but good point.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Quick four

  • Obligatory post about the Boston Marathon bombing. My guess is it was a random attack, not the terrorism supposedly threatening the country like 9/11 (solution: don’t station our soldiers in their country, which angered the mostly Saudi hijackers, and stop propping up Israel). LRC of course notes that despite all the the national-security theatre taking our rights away, being groped at airports, etc., it happened. May they rest in peace or speedy recovery.
  • The show. Took me two episodes to recognize Don’s appealing new mistress: she’s played by the cute, pretty Linda Cardellini. Sylvia seems to represent Bad Catholics (while Peggy’s lapsed). I’m assuming the show’s producer and writers are 2013 pro-death so they’re looking down on her in the miscarriage/abortion talk scene (Megan tempted to kill her baby and Sylvia nicely telling her that’s wrong; this is largely a soap opera). I think many of the Roman martyrs were like Sylvia. Not goody-two-shoes (hey, it’s the Don; the girl’s only human) but at heart she believes and likely would die for the faith. (Waugh wrote about that in Brideshead Revisited: he has Cordelia explain to Charles and us that Bridey’s good but Sebastian’s holy.) Style watch: insecure Harry’s (the Hollywood wannabe in TV advertising) trendy; Don and Roger aren’t.
  • Game on ‘The Simpsons’. That show seems to be getting worse and more SWPL pretentious but interesting to see the lefty writers acknowledge the truth Roissy teaches (Milhouse learns game from watching Brando) and that people are reading up on it. Just enough game makes everybody happier.
  • Tax advice for next year. If your finances are complicated by more than one job and you were or are an independent contractor for several, find a friendly accountant in your town to sort it out like I did. It’s worth it.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Good Shepherd Sunday

  • Misericordia Domini plena est terra, alleluia. Here, Low Mass with organ and Anglican hymns, with Fr Brannan, our living link to the golden era. He was ordained a priest during the council, 50 years ago. That still counts as before the council, rather like it counts as part of the ’50s. The garbage didn’t really start until about five years later. The only differences between here and ’63 are the Anglican music and he would have been the 30-year-old new priest! (It takes about 10 years to become a Jesuit priest.)
  • Trads have kids. The unruly little boy behind me crawling into my pew will either be a dad or the next Fr Brannan. We’re a minority in the church for the forseeable future. But the liberals in it are dying. Kids don’t bother with liberal religion; either they’re with us or they drop out. If the Second Coming (dies iræ) doesn’t happen yet, the church in 50-100 years will be much smaller, but might be trad.
  • Ego sum pastor bonus: et cognósco meas et cognóscunt me meæ. Thanks to location, our Anglo-Catholic alumni minority are from Good Shepherd, Rosemont, part of the old biretta belt misplaced on the low-church, agnostic WASP Main Line. Gothic and Prayer Booky but with our ceremonial. Met them 25 years ago; one of those fine places that taught me high church when, pre-Benedict, the official church wanted nothing to do with it anymore. Possible due to Episcopalianism’s semi-congregationalism; you could have conservative would-be Catholics in the middle of mainline Protestantism. The priest at the time was smart and saw the handwriting on the wall; he’s long been in the church as a Dominican priest. As for Rosemont, the Episcopal Church has the right to govern itself; it’s theirs and nothing to do with me. Most of the old parish is with Bishop Moyer in a holding pattern waiting to land in the church, as their new name, Blessed John Henry Newman, shows. We have an ordinariate parish, I think in Northeast Philly: St Michael’s, formerly the Episcopal Church of St James the Less, meeting at another Catholic parish church. (Fr Brannan took care of them before Fr Ousley was Fr Ousley again.) I have no jones for the Prayer Book and am not a married ex-Anglican priest applying for ordination, so I’m a trad.
  • Et alias oves hábeo, quæ non sunt ex hoc ovili: et illas opórtet me addúcere, et vocem meam áudient, et fiet unum ovíle et unus pastor. Our attenuated branch theory upholds the one-true-church claim (Catholic ecumenism is you-come-in-ism) but includes the East (a great thing about being Catholic is on principle they don’t hate the Orthodox) and anybody else meeting the criteria for valid orders: credal orthodoxy so basic the Nestorians pass, an unbroken claim to apostolic succession, and, the deal-breaker for Anglicans, unbroken true teaching about the Eucharist as sacrifice and complete real presence.
  • Pastor æternus. Many Catholics and others don’t understand we’re not the cult of the Pope. He’s an indispensable part of the church (consider his track record: even with his mistakes, the council and all that, he upheld the true faith on contraception while most of the rest of Christianity has caved; the Holy Spirit at work) but still only part of the church. Pope Francis and I probably don’t have much in common. It shouldn’t matter, any more than my archbishop probably isn’t high-church either. As Jeff Culbreath says, we trads are papal minimalists; the Orthodox, Union of Scranton and old-school AC laissez-faire approach of letting immemorial custom run itself, and submitting to it, is great. We agree with it up to a point.
  • Out and about: fleatiquing. As much social and a way to enjoy the weather as it is a chance to get more vintage stuff.
  • The living-room die-cast all-stars, parked together after I cleaned them. The yellow one’s my dream car, usually on the shelf in front of me as I type; like Stephen King’s Christine, a ’50s-era car without a cult around it like the ’57 Chevy has (boxy; my dad thought they were ugly at the time; of that run I like the ’56 best).

Friday, April 12, 2013

The ‘Reformation’ story needs reforming, of course

Protestant decline is a remote chance for Britain to relearn its true story. The Anglosphere’s narrative probably won’t change. Because the mainline’s decay hasn’t reopened the field — people’s minds and hearts — to the church, but rather is a rotting into something no longer Christian but just as hostile to the church. It isn’t even paganism but political correctness, Protestantism’s endgame, a Christian heresy that’s our ethics minus the faith, the creed, or common sense (totalitarianism; the left’s about power). Britain is far more hostile, officially and popularly, to Christianity than America, which has its evangelicals. (Creepy about Britain: its ruling class knows the Catholic history all around it and says, ‘I will not serve’.) Our mainliners and out-and-out secularists are a little less nasty (moralistic therapeutic deism, Jesus of Narcissists, God as your genie, ‘spiritual but not religious’); we Catholics had our moment, in America’s golden era mid-last century, when we were a huge minority, by then almost completely accepted (people loved Irish cops and Italian food and star athletes) but still unassimilated into the Protestant host culture (which, while against the church on principle, still happened to keep more in common with us, such as all the teaching on sexual matters; they still have a dim memory that they came from us). In other words, the immigrants’ sons and daughters were 100% American (when America told us to fight the war, we went; Italians were the No. 1 ethnic group in the services*) but still entirely Catholic. (Third-wayers say American Catholics are Protestantized for not buying into the benevolently meant socialism of Catholic Social Teaching™; ‘whatever’ as the kids say. It’s great being free, as a layman.) President Kennedy was elected; a hood ornament (Cardinal Spellman knew) but symbolically we’d just about won. Then we shot ourselves in the foot with the council.

As far as I can tell, not having been in Britain for 20 years, the church there is now a small but lively Polish immigrant one.

Never say never, but spiritually that’s probably a lost cause. The Anglosphere will not recover.

Cardinal Spellman’s Powerhouse is no more but we’ll still be around, as a minority. (Many trads have kids.)

My guess is the American church’s future won’t be Hispanic. If that was going to happen, it would have happened by now.

From the Anti-Gnostic:
What if, what if ... Orthodox ecclesiology: every nation gets its own Church. But Rome clings to empire and Henry really was just making it up as he went along.
And Byzantium and Tsarist Russia were what? Medieval Western Europe wasn’t an empire but many more countries than now. Henry’s schism was like the creepy puppet Catholic church in Red China; Erastian. Anyway, traditionally the church united Western Europe, the res publica Christiana, but it wasn’t as centralized as many think; impossible with the travel and communication at the time. We trads are really papal minimalists (as Jeff Culbreath says). Up to a point I’m fine with a laissez-faire governance, like the Orthodox and, at its best, the little Union of Scranton (Old Catholics who are still more or less sound), in which the Catholic religion largely runs itself. Grassroots traditionalism. But witness the Anglicans and the main body of Old Catholics: mainliners. The secularists and their mainline campfollowers want a weak church they can push around. The Pope, because of the limit of his office’s power, can’t change the faith to suit them. (Why do they even care about the church? Backhanded testimony.) So they hate the Pope (like their Protestant forbears did in the 1500s) and call for things like ‘every nation gets its own church’. So... no sale, my friend (that’s not sarcastic). (American Orthodoxy: great ethnic folk Catholicism but compromised on contraception and too small to influence America; the convert cult was a flash in the pan.)

*Donna’s family has home movies of their Brooklyn street celebrating the end of the war, with store signs in Italian and soldiers and sailors crowding around.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

In the non-news: even Obama can’t get away with saying some women are beautiful

I don’t think much about the man but about the real issues at hand. That said, a alpha feather in his cap is, as Steve Sailer notes, when he talks to women he’s normally not that influenced by feminism. Of course he gets a free pass while betas and prole whites don’t. Be that as it may, Kamala Harris is beautiful. It’s like that non-story of the college basketball game where the (beta?) TV cameraman understandably was taken with a player’s pretty girlfriend, so Brent Musburger filled the awkward air time by complimenting the lady. ESPN apologized, as the president did. (Musburger, as far as I know, to his credit, didn’t and even signed a poster of her.)

It’s a mad world in both the British and American senses. All kinds of perversion is pushed as normal while healthy, especially masculine, sexuality is pilloried (like the SWPLs’ Calvinist forbears?). (Unless the man’s an alpha so the SWPL chick wants him.) Rather like the hatred of Sarah Palin (as far as I know, nobody’s made a porno about a fictionalized Joe Biden), I wonder how much of the (artificial) outrage is envy.

Anyway, a conservative site’s having fun with this. As you can see, Miss Harris has competition. From the picture I think Ellen Rosenblum’s attractive.

Heard at a bar this week, and I don’t think these girls were putting on a show/patronizing me: (I literally wear my conservatism and, a libertarian, don’t campaign or preach.) A strong woman from the school of hard knocks, who is a friend, and a pretty, modernly stylish, very young one, an acquaintance, agreed they want what the evangelicals call headship (hat tip to Sunshine Mary, Roissy’s sexy, married, female counterpart whose common-sense blog alas is gone): they want their men to be men, benevolent rulers of the relationship and household who can and will protect them, and not weak ‘sensitive’ criers (they’ve had that and of course found it wanting). The young woman: [I believe in equal opportunity/fair play but] ‘feminists who go around saying they’re feminists are a little messed up’. There’s hope for our society.

Spring here

Low Sunday as winter faded away. Went to the early Low Novus, at my parish so as you can see it’s not so bad (if only it were eastward-facing like the former Novus Sung Mass before ours moved up to that slot from early Sunday Low). No, the church wasn’t robbed at gunpoint in the middle picture. This is the other group besides us trads who still go to Mass: charismatics, doing the orans position during the Our Father. That’s fine. I went because:

Big outdoor flea-market season is under way. By the way I’m ecumenical about church sales; if mainliners are selling ’50s stuff I’ll buy it.

Clifton Heights, Pa. Cal’s has had this ’54 Buick outside for about a year; of course I hope somebody’s saving it. Except for the ‘frown’ grille I love it.

Walt’s front has been redone with a modern metal door (for the fire code?) but from what I can tell they’re keeping the little original room’s walls where they were. But they added a side window. Plus they’re adding a big room behind the old building. We’ll see, when they reopen. But I’m still worried. The real ’50s luncheonette I’d walk to (not retro; real), with pretty good burgers, destroyed?

The original Walt’s as recently as a year ago.

Of course extreme temperature changes mean thunderstorms. The lightning last night was the creepy kind flashing almost constantly but too far away to hear. Lots of dangerous cloud-to-ground though.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013


  • Annette Funicello. Another part of the golden era gone, from Mouseketeer to sexy beach-movie star with Philly’s Frankie Avalon. She was well known to have suffered from multiple sclerosis the last 20 or so years. Probably a nice Italian Catholic girl. Requiem æternam.
  • Margaret Thatcher. As far as I know, the British version of a Cold War neocon, good and bad; their Reagan, from a similar non-aristocratic background (a harder hurdle in British society; we have social classes too but at least it used to be easier to move up). Neither old Tory (Burke’s, Kirk’s and Mark in Spokane’s ordered liberty) nor libertarian (it has roots in English culture but to the English it’s like Beowulf, foreign and barbaric; British politics like in the rest of Europe are centered well to the left of ours, including among conservative Christians, which partly explains Catholic Social Teaching™; socialism was what many well-intentioned British thought they were fighting for in the war, vs. then-Dickensian conditions). All I can think of right now are anybody the liberals hated so much had something on the ball, and the Falklands was a just war. Sure, she could have evacuated the Falklanders but why? No Argentines live there. It’s not like Northern Ireland’s dispossessed minority. They’re all British. Not our fight but she was defending her own people. Well done, ma’am.

Monday, April 08, 2013

The show goes on

The obvious reason I love ‘Mad Men’ is it’s about the ’60s (Part Two of the ’50s) more than the Sixties, which are creeping in like smog, just like what really happened. The interaction between the two cultures is realistic, too. For most people, certainly in Don’s circle, the ’60s weren’t the Sixties; that didn’t set in until the early ’70s. (As someone observed, compare a yearbook from 1968 to one from 1973.) Thanks, Matthew Weiner, for not romanticizing the hippies in this episode, as you didn’t the beatniks. (Slumming rich kids, part of the left’s class war against prole whites, which continues.) It was Skid Row with rude kids. (Love the classic cars on the slum street.)

Marijuana of course wasn’t new (look when Reefer Madness was made). ’40s jazzmen smoked it. Robert Mitchum was wrongly busted for possession. (Regular readers know: libertarian here. Don’t use it, but legalize it.) You can also blame those big-band sidemen for the misuse of ‘like’, as in ‘I was like, what?’ instead of ‘I thought/said, “What?”’ I think I was born into the last generation that didn’t/doesn’t normally do that.

Weiner doesn’t patronize his smart SWPL audience. No dumb expository dialogue telling you what year it is, because people don’t talk like that. Fun to figure out; I researched hints as I watched and got it right. Funny, I thought they ended last season about six months ahead of where they are. Slowly changing to the part of the period whose tail end I remember (I remember cigarette commercials on TV and ’60s cars as normal cars).

I don’t have a blonde fetish. Betty’s still beautiful. I was afraid from the advance reviews, which said she ‘becomes an activist’ and makes a big change to her look, she’d change from ’50s-’60s to Sixties (’70s ugly).

On this well-written, well-acted, well-researched soap opera for people who think they don’t watch soap operas, I’m not surprised Don’s still an anti-hero. As despicable as his latest escapade is (breaking an old-school manly code as well as the commandments), it’s in character (most people on the show are amoral) and makes Roissyan sense. (His friend the herb didn’t have a chance. Yes, she’s pretty.) Keeps people watching (though interestingly, like ‘Star Trek’ it seems to influence the culture more than it’s watched). I forget who first wrote this but it’s not a satire of the golden era; it’s partly women’s fantasy.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Our other cousins, liberal high church

Earlier I wrote about our fellow conservative liturgical Christians, the Orthodox, Continuing Anglicans and (a mention) Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod; our cousins. Now...

They’re well-educated, have great taste and, more important, believe the creeds, more or less agree with us on the sacraments, and love us trads’ liturgies. So why aren’t they in the church?

Liberal high churchmanship is largely unknown to Catholics, at least to American ones. Logically it’s contradictory (so’s Catholic low church but it exists). The Modernists among us are anti-high church! So liberal high church is mainline Protestantism with Catholic stuff on top. It’s the unintended effect Anglo-Catholicism had on its denomination, the Episcopal Church, at least on the clergy. (I think most remaining lay Episcopalians are still happy being indifferent Protestants, nice guys like George H.W. Bush who used to vote for good secular conservatives like Barry Goldwater. I read somewhere that most of their laity still identify as Protestants but most of their priests now don’t.) Rather than turning Episcopalians into Catholics, you got liberal high church: creed, liturgy and sacrament, but not on the church’s terms; on the Episcopalians’ own terms. (There are liberal high-church Lutherans too, among the Episcopalians’ Scandinavian cousins in ELCA.) Everything’s changeable by vote. Which reduces the church’s trappings to props, having the form of religion but denying the power thereof, but there are sincere liberal high churchmen. And unlike 16th-century England, it’s a free country; they have the right to govern themselves. Regular readers know where I’m going: church infallibility, not fungibility.

Why they’re not Catholic: ‘we hold these PC/SWPL truths to be self-evident...’ (Hard to remember that until mid-last century the mainline agreed with the church on all sexual matters.) The liberal high churchman’s on board with the mainline’s program, which follows what the secularists want. Western secularism is Protestantism’s endgame. Political correctness (SWPL), the liberal high churchman’s magisterium for morals, is a Christian heresy, well meant; Christian morals distorted, minus Christ or often common sense.

Huw Richardson once explained it’s like the difference between Orthodox Judaism and Conservative Judaism. They look similar but are really not.

Interestingly even though the secular world calls their shots, though the mainline including its liturgical denominations tries to follow (women clergy and now gay marriage), they keep losing people. Because the secular mainstream doesn’t need them anymore. (The kids cut out the churchy middleman, the Jesus talk, and are PC on their own time.) Harsh but what is, is.

P.S. Pius IX on Pusey: he was like the bell tower calling people into the church but staying outside.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Who needs Rome? Answering Continuing Anglicans

My recent conversation with Fr J. Gordon Anderson, a Continuing Anglican, got me thinking of how such high churchmen (whom I sometimes call Bob Hart Anglicans after one of the priests at the Continuum blog) think of the Catholic Church. Since mid-last century, when the Anglo-Catholic movement in the Episcopal Church moved Episcopal churchmanship up, in many places approaching my traditional Catholic worship (high parishes had Prayer Book text and modified Tridentine ceremonial), these high churchmen have been so close to us, yet believe on plausible conservative principle, like the classical Anglican divines, Carolines and Tractarians, that the papal claims overstep the bounds of scripture and the church fathers (with a strange cutoff date for true doctrine, of the church’s first five centuries, per Andrewes; why?). ‘We have those, our godly reformed Catholic doctrine, our classical divines, and our Prayer Book. We don’t need Rome.’ None of Newman’s development of doctrine for them.

It seems well and good but it’s self-refuting because it’s man-made. That the Continuers had to leave the Episcopal Church on principle points that out, as the late Archimandrite Serge (Keleher), a Catholic, said: ‘The Protestant Episcopal Church failed, so let’s re-create it as it was’ (so it can fall apart again). That failure as traditional Christians see it, though, is a feature of Episcopalianism, not a bug. Check out Article XXI: a fallible church is fungible. The mainline Protestants get that, and take it to its logical Unitarian conclusion. ‘Oh, no,’ say the Continuers. ‘We’ll never do that. We obey scripture.’ Well and good. But on whose authority?

Ditto for the fine folk of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, some of whom are high-church and very close to us. That many/most Lutherans are liberal mainliners (witness Scandinavia, Europe’s most irreligious people) shows they have the same Achilles’ heel. Scripture is the church’s book; before there was complete scripture, there was the church. It’s not self-interpreting; once you go that route, even if you’re conservative, you’re unwittingly on the same track as the mainline.

By the way, the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Free Church of England, conservative denominations that opposed Anglo-Catholicism so they left the Episcopalians and the Church of England, have recently reinvented themselves as mid-last-century high churchmen like the Continuers, contradicting their original reason to exist. So who says that can’t happen to the Continuers? It also reminds me of the newer Anglican and Lutheran denominations that left the Episcopalians and ELCA because of changing teaching about homosexuality, but still ordain women: slightly less liberal but still mainline Protestants, or as Hilary says of some Catholic pro-lifers:
The Experiment requires that there be no lines at all, no restrictions or boundaries on human sexual proclivities. Could it be because they, like the “Overturn Roe” pro-lifers really want the entire Big Picture to stay the same? They like the Newfangled World just fine, thanks, but just can’t stomach the “ick factor” of seeing two men kissing on the balcony. Like the previous generation of dilettante pro-lifer, they are fine with the “gains” of the Revolution...
So what about development of doctrine? Isn’t that a slippery slope too? After all, the mainline says the ordination of women and gay marriage are development of doctrine. It seems to me the Tractarians were afraid the Catholic Church in 150 years would turn into what the Episcopal Church became: throwing scripture out the window. (The Orthodox have the same fear.) But of course the opposite happened. The church is what it was, while the conservative Anglicans like Fr Anderson were pushed out. Because development of doctrine can’t overrule past definitions of doctrine, including scripture. Even the Pope can’t do that. That’s what church infallibility means. We can’t change the faith by vote.

High churchmen at least since the start of Anglo-Catholicism have claimed an affinity for Orthodoxy, an estranged traditional folk Catholicism, seeing them as fellow non-papal Catholics bolstering their claim to be such. One word: contraception. Before mid-last century, hot-topic sexual issues now thought of as ‘Catholic things’ were generally Christian things. Not only Orthodox but Protestants agreed with the church on contraception. Widespread Orthodox opinion has changed with the Protestants on that. (Orthodox now = evangelical now = 1950s mainline = plausible conservative argument allowing married couples to use it after consulting their clergyman.) Rome, even right after the non-doctrinal stupidity of Vatican II, held the line. (We believe that the papacy, guided by the Holy Spirit, can do no less, no matter who’s in office.)

(The eternal Rome the saintly Archbishop Lefebvre referred to... Catholic doctrine, not the reigning Pope’s opinions.)

It’s Rome or the abyss.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Media coverage of vagante women priests

From Chris Johnson. The headline and first paragraph’s info if these reporters were honest: ‘Small sect ordains ex-Catholic women.’

I’ve called them on this continually repeating ‘news’ story as has Terry Mattingly at GetReligion. These stories really mean ‘the secularist powers that be who control the media hate the Catholic Church’, the way this country’s Protestant majority always has. They think they’re being funny and smart by manufacturing a fight about this issue in the church, where there really isn’t one. Only a minority of Catholics, older, assimilated folks in Protestant countries, are even interested in this. (These women have taken all the bad religious instruction they’ve been fed since the council, by troublemakers in the official church, to a logical dead end.) The church can’t change the matter of the sacraments.

These aren’t Catholics anymore but tiny ‘churches’ sometimes called vagantes (from the Latin for ‘wandering bishops’, censured medieval clerics who made trouble by moving from place to place ordaining without the church’s permission*), around for about 150 years, priest wannabes with no congregations/real ministry. They’re clericalists; they want the power and respect.

Mattingly touched on this biased coverage in one of his posts, on why the media pay attention to the Episcopal Church when neither they nor mainstream society takes it seriously (it does what mainstream society wants but mainstream society doesn’t need it anymore): it’s about spiting the church with something superficially similar (thanks, ironically, to the Anglo-Catholic movement, which wanted to be really Catholic but turned Episcopalianism into New Age Catholic lite).

Most Bad Catholics just drop out. (‘I left the true church. Why should I bother with yours?’) Modernists are more likely to stay and cause trouble or, rarer, do this and lie to themselves that they’re still in the church than go mainline. A reason Catholic liberals don’t turn Episcopal (besides ethnic ties and the Thomas Day anti-high church factor) is when they’re not fighting the church anymore, they don’t get nearly the attention. Heard anything from Matthew Fox or Alberto Cutié lately? Exactly.

So on a slow news day, this old religious sideshow gets some attention.

Because as a State Farm commercial says, you can’t put anything on the Internet that isn’t true; #Bonjour.

*Which is sort of how the official church sees the SSPX but the SSPX has a reason: state of emergency in the church.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Anglicans and Orthodox

  • The conflicted and contradictory classic Anglican view of Catholicism. I was reminded of this after Pope Benedict announced he was stepping down and Fr J. Gordon Anderson wrote this positive take on his theology’s view of England’s mother church: While it may seem strange to read an Anglican singing the praises of Pope Benedict XVI, those who have read Richard Hooker (see Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Book III. Ch. i. 10-11) know that the Anglican perspective has always been that the Roman Catholic Church, despite having some doctrinal errors, is a true branch of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic, Church, and that the pope is a true bishop of the Church and the historical patriarch of the west. As such he is worthy of honor and praise... but in Benedict XVI’s case, not only because of his office but because of his obvious godliness and commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. On Catholicism’s behalf, thanks, Father. But the Articles of Religion in the back of the Prayer Book are nowhere near as kind! (Miles away from the nice high-church ‘“some doctrinal errors” so regrettably we must part for now’ and beyond WASP snobbery to Catholics.) The conflict reflects Anglicanism’s confused origin as a government schism (much like the one in Red China putting the country’s Catholics under state control) that turned heretical because it happened at the same time as the ‘Reformation’. (Their remaining Catholic titles, such as ‘Archbishop of Canterbury’ and saints’ names on churches, are a reminder the English were pulled away from the church literally by force. Omnes sancti martyres Anglorum, orate pro nobis.) So the Articles curse the church but the Anglicans also claim apostolic succession (true bishops); they acknowledge the church as English Christianity’s founder/original church and thus the source of their claim to legitimacy (besides the king simply saying so): yes to the creeds, baptismal regeneration and the succession of bishops, a loud no to almost everything else! As most readers know, that claim to the episcopate later gave Anglican would-be Catholics (the people now in the ordinariates) a case of wishful thinking. (The Anglicans’ Evangelicals and liberal mainliners, such as the Episcopalians, don’t care much about the claim. The latter, like Swedish Lutherans, think it’s neat but not essential.) The church never recognized the claim and famously ruled against it in 1896. Because apostolic succession isn’t magic. It has to be in the context of true doctrine taught in unbroken succession too. (Regarding women priests, the church can’t change the matter of the sacraments, by vote or any other means.) Anyway, thanks again, Father: you’re like an Episcopal high churchman last century (that’s a compliment), Caroline non-papal doctrinally and Prayer Book liturgically, but looking like my idea of a recruiting-poster priest: biretta, fiddleback and lace alb right out of Cardinal Spellman’s New York.
  • Why on earth are Orthodox churches in the World and National Councils of Churches? Last century when the Orthodox still didn’t know the Protestants well, and the mainline Protestants were closer to them (and thus to Catholicism), polite theological talks with the goal of teaching the Protestants about Orthodoxy so they’d convert made sense. That obviously won’t happen. So why stick around? Because as a small church in the West, they’d rather hang out with libprots who don’t take them seriously than admit they’re really Catholic. (Likewise the high libprots such as the Western mainstream/official Anglicans, whom Fr Anderson’s group’s a conservative breakaway from, like having the Orthodox around to prop up their fantasy of being a cool version of Catholicism.) Prejudice trumps common sense. (By the way, from me to the Holy See: 86 whatever ARCIC is now. Waste. Of. Time. We each know what the other teaches and the Anglicans obviously don’t want to come back.)