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.

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