Friday, February 28, 2014

The Ukrainian revolution

So a mob has overthrown the elected government in the Ukraine, a move at least passively supported by the U.S., whose media talking heads are cheering for the rebels. The U.S. wants to weaken Russia by taking the Ukraine away from it and putting it in the EU. As LRC's Michael Rozeff says, neither Russia nor the Ukraine are threats to America; they're not Communist anymore, remember? Anyway, as happens with American-driven coups, the results might not be what the U.S. government wants. Good. It seems these are anti-Soviet right-wing nationalists, culturally conservative Slavs like the Russians.

American opinion from those who care seems to be that liberals, neocons, and well-meaning conservative Catholics support the rebels, remembering the Cold War and the heroic Ukrainian Catholic Church surviving underground for 40 years. Real conservatives like Putin's Russia, non-Communist and anti-liberal. I like Russia too for those reasons, but really this calls for common sense. The eastern and southern Ukraine are historic parts of the Russian heartland; let them go back. I would have counted Kiev as Russian too but apparently they want independence. That's their business. I fear for the Ukrainian Catholic Church, whose home is the far west that Stalin stole during World War II, as they're outnumbered in a secular country with a big Orthodox minority; not sure if they'd fare best in one independent Ukraine or in their own country with Lvov as the capital.

Also, there's the Catholic big picture of corporate reunion with Russian Orthodoxy, even though they want next to nothing to do with us for the foreseeable future. They are obviously an estranged part of us. Going after Russia to try to help the Ukrainian Catholics works against that.

I'm a legitimist — Putin and Yanukovych are the authorities — and born Orthodox get the benefit of the doubt, so for the Russian homeland, Orthodoxy.

The Kyiv Patriarchate schism from Orthodoxy is jockeying to be the state or at least the national church. They're friendly with the Ukrainian Catholic Church for their nationalism vs. Russia but I wonder if that would last if they got their way. They might not; most of the Ukraine, like Russia, is secular with a lot of very nominal Orthodox. The U.S.-backed former president Yushchenko belongs to the KP. The legitimate Orthodox church there is Russian.

And if a mob can take over the government in Kiev, reason the Russian majority in the Crimea who never wanted to be in the Ukraine, why can’t they in Simferopol? There's a patriotic song in Russia about the Black Sea fleet choosing to remain Russian after Ukrainian independence: that day the ships flew the Russian navy flag with St. Andrew's cross. Let them go back.

Dreher writes that, considering all the pipelines running through the Ukraine, Putin is a rational actor. (Right. He’s not stupid.)

Anyway, not our fight. Pat Buchanan, a historic American conservative for peace since the Cold War ended, is right: we should cut it out.

On making English the U.S.’s official language

Undecided. America at its best doesn't legislate those things, letting them take care of themselves, which is how we've used English for all of our history, but no problem if it is the official language. (I mean, nobody's surprised that the official language of France is French.) Relates to immigration: individual freedom to travel but a country has limited resources and an obligation to its citizens first. Why not tests to let in only the best and brightest? Also, no to social engineering: putting Islamists in the middle of Kentucky to defeat conservative whites. I love languages, knowing four of them (not fluent in the foreign ones), and an immigrant language can be a good hedge against the worst of American culture. Usually the language doesn't get passed down beyond the second generation. The second generation is perfectly bilingual, with the home language and then perfect American English learned in school (the schools did them a favor teaching them English) and from friends. Also, in Europe, multilingualism is normal. So have English at least quasi-official, teaching it in school, but leave other languages in peace.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Novus Ordo doesn’t work

From an e-mail group:
The NLM article is very interesting, summing up very recent writings on the liturgy. I must say, I am surprised at all of this erupting just now. It's like watching a geyser insistently spouting; you've got to acknowledge the pressure that has been there all along.

I heartily agree, and have always agreed, that the
Novus Ordo doesn't work. The whole premise -- that you can take a rite older than Gregory the Great, submit it to the tender mercies of an editorial board and publish the new product with great fanfare as Our Daily Bread from now on -- is dopey beyond belief.

What's truly revealing is the institutional psychosis. We enter the Conciliar period having been prepared by the Liturgical Movement of the 1940s-50s to expect that the Church will be renewed once we have, well renewed the Liturgy. We proceed to completely ignore the sonorous document produced by the Council Fathers on the subject (the stuff about tambourines and mood synthesizers was in a footnote). We lose
sixty percent of our worshipping congregation over the next thirty years, all the while prattling on complacently about Renewal. It took FORTY YEARS before the liturgical establishment started to mumble, "Hmmm... didn't quite go as we had hoped..." And there are still people who insist that it was all to be expected, society went mad in the 1960s, you can't blame it all on liturgical reform.

Grrr. Ours is a sacramental faith. That means that signs and symbols affect us profoundly, more than we realize. Once there was a central symbol, one that affected virtually every Catholic -- the Sacred Liturgy. It was celebrated as something which we had received and should treasure. When violent hands were laid on that (the "winged monkey treatment" -- "Well, they took my stomach and threw it HERE, and my legs are over THERE..."), even that most sacred thing... everything was up for grabs. If you could do what you wished with the Liturgy, convert it into a vehicle for self-expression, then you could do what you wished with anything -- Religious Life, seminary formation, marriage, sexual morality, medical ethics, you name it.

It is all of a piece. And then we blame "The World." How could we expect that we wouldn't be affected by The World? Well, within living memory we took it for granted that the Church was supposed to be the salt of the earth, a leaven for the world, that the Church should affect the world. It's highly convenient as well as significant that we seem to have forgotten that.

Father Kocik and these other authors are attacking a forty-five-year-old logjam.
What I call the legitimate liturgical movement worked with the traditional Mass, teaching people about it, and wanted more of what is technically the norm in the rite, High Mass. Their ideal was a congregationally chanted High Mass, maybe with parts in the vernacular. You ended up getting the opposite. The low-church Irish-Americans described by Thomas Day were happy to have an even lower Low Mass and junked it up with a different kind of devotional hymns (pseudo-folk instead of 1890s pop), and the High Mass disappeared.

Without the council, the church still would have taken a hit from the Sixties but it would have been smaller. We had the clout to ride it out. My guess is eventually — in the ’70s? — we would have had a vernacular version of the traditional Mass, just like what the OCA, some other American Orthodox, and some American Eastern Catholics did. Pope Benedict the Great’s correction of English Novus was a big step in that direction.

Meanwhile, low-church Pope Francis gets on the cover of Rolling Stone and the UN tries to tell the church what to do. Let’s see; did he get that honor because of the teachings of the church and will it promote them? No?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The last of the original von Trapps

Maria von Trapp, who happened to have the same name as her stepmother on whose life The Sound of Music was based, has passed away at her home on Trapp Mountain in Vermont. She was 99.
Known as Mitzi, Maria was the youngest of the original seven von Trapp Family Singers, who emigrated with their parents to America.

Von Trapp was the last surviving member of the Austrian family of seven brothers and sisters and died in her sleep at her Vermont home. "It was a surprise that she was the one in the family to live the longest because ever since she was a child she suffered from a weak heart," family friend Marianne Dorfer told the
Austrian Times.

"It was the fact that she suffered from this that her father decided to hire Maria von Trapp to teach her and her brothers and sisters," she continued. "That of course then led to one of the most remarkable musical partnerships of the last century." Von Trapp's first visit back to Austria after escaping was in 2008.
Much to say both about the history and the musical.

The history I’ve learned over the years:
  • The world would have been better off if the Central Powers had won World War I. Capt. Georg von Trapp was made a nobleman because of his wartime service to Catholic Austria-Hungary as a submarine captain.
  • He wasn’t like the character in the show. Always was nice. He used a bosun’s whistle (smart!) to call the children when they were far away on the grounds.
  • The elder Maria wasn’t sent out of the abbey for being a lovable troublemaker. She was sent to work at the von Trapps’ because of her health; she was sick from moving to a lower altitude from the mountains she was used to.
  • She was hired at first just to be the younger Maria’s tutor, not the children’s governess.
  • She wasn’t in love with Georg von Trapp but he apparently was with her so she married him for the children’s sake.
  • They started singing because he lost his fortune in the Depression.
  • The one who encouraged them to sing was actually the family’s priest. Max Detweiler the agent was fictitious.
  • Maria wasn’t nice but she was sincere, very devout.
  • The family was profoundly Catholic. Not only did they perform but up at their ski lodge in Vermont they had a liturgical life, being a schola cantorum.
  • Because of that, it’s true than von Trapp was anti-Nazi. But because he needed the money, he considered the German government’s job offer to serve as a U-boat expert in their navy. The Germans were nice about it; they didn’t try to force him.
  • Because von Trapp was born on part of the Adriatic coast then Austrian (why they used to have a navy!) but part of Italy after World War I, he was an Italian citizen.
  • The show’s timeline is wrong. The von Trapps married in the 1920s.
  • So is the geography. Salzburg isn’t on the border with Switzerland but with Germany.
  • Anyway, that part of the show is made up. The von Trapps didn’t have to sneak out. They just moved, leaving Salzburg by train.
  • Von Trapp died early on in Vermont, I think in the late ’40s.
The show and movie:
  • Beautiful depiction of Catholic Europe, specifically real nuns, probably Benedictines. (Whose communities are “abbeys.”) The early scene of them chanting the office? Those are choir nuns, full-fledged women monks. Most nuns aren’t really nuns; they’re “sisters,” who were given the privilege of dressing like nuns.
  • The names of the children are fictitious.
  • Julie Andrews starred in a rival Broadway show, My Fair Lady (losing the movie role to the better-known Audrey Hepburn; no hard feelings, she says), and once was in a stage spoof of The Sound of Music before she landed the movie role. (Andrews didn’t appear in films until Mary Poppins in ’64.)
  • Because of the heavy fictionalization, the movie’s not much known or liked in German-speaking countries. A more accurate movie in German is.
  • The show has a couple of songs that were cut from the movie, with “An Ordinary Couple” replaced by the much better “Something Good.” I’ve seen a stage production.
  • Christopher Plummer hated the movie, thinking it too sentimental. He called it The Sound of Mucus.
  • The movie was the No. 1 box-office hit of 1965. What mainstream society liked, right before it went to hell.

Sexagesima: Common decency from Gene Simmons, let’s phase out the Novus Ordo, and more

  • Common decency from Gene Simmons. On Tim Tebow and freedom of religion. Reminds me of what Steve Sailer calls diversity before “diversity,” 50 years ago. Before identity politics and the mainstream’s (new left’s) war on white Christian America, this is how Americans got along. Libertarianism at its best (when it’s not knee-jerk anti-authority and selfish: left-libertarianism is mental 12-year-olds who don’t like being told what to do) comes up with answers like his.
  • Mass: Exsurge; quare obdormis, Domine?
  • From NLM, which for all its good intentions I rarely read, probably because I can go to my Mass so I don’t have to read about it: The growing realization of the irreparable failure of the liturgical reform. Good; a somewhat mainstream conservative Catholic blog admitted it. Our holy mother, the church, is indefectible. (Also why low-church Pope Francis doesn’t scare me much; I don’t feel compelled to make excuses for him every time he says something the mainstream media want to hear.) The Novus Ordo was a mistake. Liturgies evolve. Writing new ones from scratch is un-Catholic. There is heretical intent behind the change. That said, because the church is the church, the Latin text isn’t heretical, and now, thanks to to now-Pope Emeritus Benedict the Great, clearly neither is the English. (His greatest accomplishment was ordering that change.) I have no conscience problem with the new Mass’s text. (Two years ago I got to put that to the test, visiting a liberal parish for a First Communion. Sure, I didn’t like the low-church ceremonial, the Eucharistic ministers, or the music, but thanks to Benedict it was Catholic in spite of themselves.) That said, Novus isn’t as good, it has harmed the church, and should be phased out. Modestinus is right of course: do that and issue a new edition of... the Tridentine Mass. I say most Catholics would go along with that, as long as it doesn’t have to be in Latin.
  • Is the St. Benedict option some conservative Christians talk about even real? Some ghettoization is necessary for survival, but I like the idea better of starting over challenging the culture like immigrant Catholics in America 100 years ago did. Don’t like de facto Protestant government schools? (Political correctness/SWPL/the Cathedral, as it is a false religion/Common Core = decayed Yankee Protestantism.) Start our own schools! (Replacing the Catholic schools that the council ruined.) Etc.
  • Christian theatrics.
  • For yesterday’s traditional American former civil holiday, Washington’s Farewell Address. Stay out of it in the Ukraine. By the way, I don’t have many fears about a remaining independent Ukraine made up of what’s now the Greek Catholic far west. These are Eastern European conservative Catholics. As the Anti-Gnostic says, the revolution probably won’t turn out the way the mainstream West wants.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Friday, February 07, 2014

The American Catholic showdown, and more

  • The American Catholic showdown. Liberal Catholicism will die, and the indifferent masses will drift off to secular humanism. So this is a fight brewing among the Catholics who still go to Mass. American Catholicism won't disappear, because it used to be so big. But it will be a lot smaller, and sounder and higher-church along Pope Benedict's lines. (Francis is a flash in the pan for the libs.) It looks like the only choices American Catholic intellectuals are offering me are to be a neocon supporting the economic liberalism I believe in but reformed religion and the mainstream Republican Party, or to have my Tridentine religion along with fascism (just a description, not a dirty word) or monarchism, with well-meant leftism or third-wayism economically that just doesn't work. Zmirak really doesn't like trads. I have nothing against the man and agree with some of his points, as I am a well-meaning Catholic libertarian, but this line of writing reminds me of that tool who wrote how uncool and crazy Ron Paul supporters are so now he's on board with the people at Salon. Valid discussion point: was the golden era of American Catholicism around the '50s just a fluke - is America inherently anti-Catholic? I don't want to think so but it makes me think. Catholic Social Teaching seems to be a well-meant welfare state but anti-abortion and anti-unjust wars.
  • From Theden: How we helped the USSR win WWII. By betraying our mother country: Protestant but still our people (why America defending Australia made sense).
  • A reprint of William S. Lind’s 1995 article, “Militant Musings: From Nightmare 1995 to My Utopian 2050.”
  • Culture-wars shows:
    • Sochi-bashing. Russia has lots of embarrassing problems but of course our mainstream media are going after them with a vengeance for thoughtcrime; Google’s in on the rainbow-flag waving. Reminds me of Henny Youngman inventing Polack jokes.
    • That mild multiculti Coke commercial. I don’t watch the Super Bowl but don't write about it because it seems to bring out the kind of lefties who were envious of the jocks and try to tear them down. (Like the Episcopalian crusade against alleged sex trafficking at it.) So I saw this after the fact. Perfect bait for the understandable nativist backlash, a set-up for the SWPLs to make fun of it (idiots can't even write English, don't know the song isn't our anthem, etc.). I love foreign languages but Roissy's right. This lefty business isn't about helping the poor but sticking it to their own white kin whom they hate. Importing Islamists and dropping them in Kentucky. Social engineering, or trying to replace the white proles.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Snark, the sexes, and more

  • From Steve Sailer:
    • Fisking an anti-HBD article.
    • The World War III that wasn’t. Not the “Reagan will blow up the world” lie from the left at the time (the now-forgotten nuclear-freeze movement), which come to think of it was a rehash of the liberals’ (Bill Moyers) slander in ’64 of the man who deserved to be president (one of whose campaign pins is in front of me as I write). But to give the freezeniks credit, they made me think: questioning the military-industrial complex like Eisenhower did, and warmongering in general (Gen. Smedley Butler: war is a racket). By the way, a Democrat with the best intentions (’60s liberals as in The Quiet American; good Cold Warriors) got us into Vietnam. A non-ideological Republican got us out (and then got busted essentially for not looking like President Kennedy). Peace through strength and the USSR’s internal contradictions (Marxism flouts economics) took it down as predicted by the smart.
  • From Charles Coulombe: A paean to Anglo-Catholics. Their semi-congregationalism meant, after the council, they were able to teach this then-Episcopalian kid pre-conciliar Catholic practice when the American Catholic Church wanted nothing to do with it anymore, so thanks.
  • From Sunshine Mary:
  • From Roissy: Why women are more liberal. More because of self-interest (marry the state) than well-meant nurturing.
  • From TAC: Corporatism loves gay marriage. Also, as Face to Face has noted, the anti-Establishment pose of the left has been gone for at least 20 years, so their merger with corporatism isn’t surprising.
  • Also, as I understand it, fascism is corporatism plus statism, not belief in HBD as critics of the Dark Enlightenment claim. You can welcome a king or a Franco, or be laissez-faire, and believe in HBD.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

A good word for the Dark Enlightenment, and more

  • From Takimag:
  • New to me: Theden. Neoreaction.
  • From LRC: Stuff like this convinces me the Beatles were an instrument of evil. “Imagine” is a beautiful song that sure is. (Here’s a good Lennon spoof.)
  • From the Anti-Gnostic: bleak Christianity. Thing is, traditionalism isn’t quite the ghetto he makes it out to be. It’s a minority, but my parish is a magnet for young families with their four or more kids.
  • While married priests wouldn’t solve the vocations shortage (all the churches are hurting as secular humanism, the son of Protestantism, replaces them), the ex-Anglican ordinariates and the Greek Catholics, if free to practice their traditions, would be a good witness, since nobody expects conservative Catholics to have them. Celibacy’s just a rule, and one I and other Catholics don’t think much about. Enforcing it caused two schisms in this country (Toth and Chornock) for no good reason. But the wrong people in the Roman Rite, old liberals, want to change, and they don’t care about the Orthodox/Greek Catholic custom. They just want to be like mainline Protestants.
  • Another potential good from both: vernacular traditional liturgy. Most Catholics would be fine with my Mass as long as they don’t have to hear it in Latin. The English Missal is ready to be used!
  • Forgotten history from Cracked (I hope it stops being PC preachy but it probably won’t): as a young Navy officer on a Pacific island during the war, Nixon was a fun guy. He ran a casino bar.