Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Post-Puritanville and more

  • Post-Puritanville. Steve Sailer contrasts conservative post-Puritan Englishmen with liberal American ones (SWPL culture with its roots in New England). Interesting inversion since as a whole, the mother country is more liberal and less religious than here. (Lots of non-Puritans so they're not post-Puritans?) Essentially, most English Calvinists lost their faith at the "Enlightenment," the Unitarians being about 150 years ahead of the mainline in apostasy.
  • Study shows millennials turned off by trendy church buildings; prefer a classic sanctuary. That's great. Interesting counter-trend, though, in our low-church Protestant culture, where the country's biggest church is Joel Osteen's former sports arena, which in Baptist tradition doesn't even have a plain cross. Maybe that's a passing "boomer" phenomenon like liberal Catholicism. Also, many "millennials" are secular. Unlike the boomers and older people, if they don't believe, and again a lot of them don't, they just stop going to church when they're grown, or sooner. But yes, I can see young believers wanting this tradition back. Been seeing it among Catholics for 25 years.
  • The failure of Christian Modernism.
  • Christianity and its heresy, leftism, are rival religions.
  • On my not having a lick of devotion to Pope Paul VI: Pope Paul VI implemented the Novus Ordo Mass. By 1970 or so I felt I gave up so much by leaving my High Church Episcopal faith to become a Roman Catholic. I know that buyer's remorse very well. Evelyn Waugh was heartbroken, after decades of trying to convert people. Frank Sheed and so many others were thrown into confusion. Makes the charming local Episcopal church, if it's still conservative, look good in comparison; you can talk yourself into saying you're not really outside the church (Ever meet Anglo-Papalists? That was more of an English phenomenon.) and why not just ignore the nutty liberals running the denomination? "They don't affect us." Episcopal parishes are semi-congregational. The trouble with Paul VI's English Novus Ordo, or should I say Annibale Bugnini's and ICEL's, is you would have no idea from it what the church really teaches about the Mass. If you knew, it was because you knew the old Mass and just assumed it's really the same (true in Latin). (Catholics tend not to care about liturgical English because we "know" that liturgy isn't really in English.) It WAS more Protestant than what we left behind. Benedict XVI fixed that. That said, Paul wasn't a heretic and he held the line on contraception and took the heat for it. So I have no problem accepting him as a true Pope and the church's decision to beatify him. It's just that he was a bad Pope, and you don't have to be personally devoted to every saint and blessed.
  • And of course the Episcopal Church changed to a point that, in 1977 the conservative wing of the Episcopal Church left, spawning the continuing Anglican Churches. A complicated history my good friend, professional historian William Tighe, knows extremely well. It's disappointing that the Anglo-Catholic Midwestern and Texan dioceses didn't all leave then for the Continuum or the Catholic Church. But they believed in the Anglican Church; they thought the Archbishop of Canterbury would censure the Episcopalians or something. (Wrong since as early as 1970 Canterbury had no theological objection to women priests, so the Americans went ahead.) The Continuers thought something similar, that Canterbury would drop the Episcopalians and replace them with the Continuum as its American franchise, continuing biblical faith and Catholic order. Basically wishful thinking about Anglicanism. I remember that well.

    Anyway, not only did those Anglo-Catholic dioceses not leave (in the end there were only three, and now they and Pittsburgh are in a denomination that defends marriage but ordains women: what?!) but because of Episcopalianism's semi-congregationalism, a lot of parishes stayed put and complained until they turned (or the diocese retook control of them: Good Shepherd, Rosemont) or were closed. St. Thomas, Fifth Avenue, under Fr. Mead, for example, or St. John's, Detroit now under Fr. Kelly. Keep quiet in the media and stay out of diocesan politics, and if you're a full-fledged parish, and especially if you're a rich one (endowment fund), you can more or less be your own Pope.

    Sidebar: the United Church of Christ, arguably the most liberal mainliners, has relatively conservative congregations, because they're the Congregationalists!
  • Whenever I see traditionalist Catholic polemicists arguing that the Novus Ordo resembles an Anglican service I want to ask them, "Have you ever actually been to an Anglican service"? Sure, the Catholics who say that are ignorant but as you know, almost from their beginning, Anglicans were doing church in the round with a table put in the chancel among the choir stalls. What we know as Anglican is mimicking the Roman Catholic Church in the 19th century.
  • Somerville Center Antiques and Incogneeto, Somerville, NJ.

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