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.


  1. The Anglican hymns should help. I wonder if the Ordinariate will have their own liturgy soon or is the AU RC mass the "permanent" solution for them? Ahem . . . ahem . . . !

    Let's hope St. Callistus' Church doesn't someday morph into a mosque. :-(

    1. My guess is under low-church Pope Francis this will go on the back burner. Better to be left alone than suppressed. So for the time being, the ordinariates officially will be (remain?) AU, but with conservative high-church ceremonial and Pope Benedict's reformed text. Of course I hope there will be, at least unofficially, what I understand Mount Calvary, Baltimore's like: essentially like one of the old unofficial Anglo-Catholic missals, a Tridentine/Prayer Book hybrid.

  2. Rome and various "highly placed" folks in the new Ordinariates are working on a unified liturgy for all the Ordinariates. Not sure yet what it will look like but, based on what has been publicly disclosed, Rome is looking to the Prayer Book tradition, Coverdale Psalter, and the good hieratic English renderings of the so-called Tridentine Missal for their base.

    There was an Anglican Use/Ordinariate conference in Houston, TX back in early February 2013. The interventions from Cdl. Mueller and others are very promising.

    1. I don't want to see one new hybrid Prayer Booky use — missal, office and ritual — foisted on the ordinariates. I think the English ordinariate's been Novus since they were Anglo-Catholics, because they were serious would-be Catholics. With Brompton Oratary high churchmanship (you could always find Catholic high church in England if you were looking for it) and Pope Benedict's text reform, no problem. I've been saying, have several options: Rite I Anglican Use (seriously, who uses Rite II? What Catholic convert wants to be reminded of modern Episcopalianism?), with Benedict's reform (this whole option's natural for the ceremonially semi-traditionalist Americans), the old Tridentine/Prayer Book hybrid unofficial Anglican or American Missals (again, natural for the Americans; I can see some AU parishes either switching to this or doing some Masses with it), Tridentine with a choice of Latin or the Knott Missal English version* (a few holdouts in several countries, maybe more in America), and conservative high-church Novus (the Brits, for the reason I described). Hieratic Prayer Book English, but not the Prayer Book.

      *A benefit for trads: we show the world It's Not About Latin™. I like worshipping in Latin but traditionalism is not about the language.

  3. RE: Nixon. He also stabbed Earl Warren in back on the trip to the 1952 GOP convention in which Warren was hoping to become the compromise candidate. Eisenhower had Nixon get the California delegates to abandon Warren in exchange for the VP. I agree he governed non-ideologically but he made his bed and ultimately got what he deserved.

    1. I didn't know that. Thanks. In the Facebook comment thread about these Nixon-campaign pictures, I mentioned that the convention stole the nomination from my choice for president, Robert Taft, 'drafting' Ike out of the Army instead. (Incidentally, as far as I know, shafting black delegates who were for Taft.)

      Also, although Nationalist China and South Vietnam were betrayed, regular commenter Disgusted in DC reminded me why Nixon's making peace with Red China was master statesmanship. (He had the anti-Communist reputation making him a perfect man to pull it off.) He knew we were going to lose the Vietnam War; the dominoes were going to fall. The best way to neutralize a global Communist threat to us from that was to exploit the Sino-Soviet split. So he did. We lost the war — Indochina went Communist — but there was no strategic threat to us from that, and Taiwan's doing just fine. All that is what Nixon ought to be remembered for.

      Kennedy got away with dirty politics because he was rich and attractive. Nixon wasn't attractive and was caught in the culture-war crossfire, so he didn't get away with imitating Kennedy in that.

      At heart Nixon was a decent fellow who wanted to help the average American, make things right with blacks, and help the environment. The story of his sneaking out one night to talk to Vietnam War protesters at the Lincoln Memorial is touching.

  4. Re: "The story of his sneaking out one night to talk to Vietnam War protesters at the Lincoln Memorial is touching."

    I remember that! IIRC it was one of the very few times that the liberal press cut Nixon some slack.


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