Sunday, November 23, 2014

St. Clement and more

  • St. Clement. Picture, a print of which is on my wall: From the narthex of St. Clement's Episcopal Church, Philadelphia (formerly Anglo-Papalist Tridentine: would-be Catholic).
  • Mass: Dicit Dominus: Ego cogito cogitationes pacis, et non afflictionis: invocabitis me, et ego exaudiam vos: et reducam captivitatem vestram de cunctis locis. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.
  • Part of being a Catholic is to live in the past in the present. Just like I do in secular life.
  • The return of Mormon polygamy? Freedom of religion vs. social evils. Anyway, as somebody who's round-tripped, I see two problems with Mr. Dreher's "influx of ex-Catholics into Orthodoxy" scenario. It doesn't make sense to react against a hypothetical Catholic acceptance of divorce and remarriage (impossible in Catholicism, by the way) by joining a church that has long made excuses for it. (Mormons can change doctrine. We can't.) Second, while Catholicism recognizes Orthodox sacraments, to really become Orthodox you have to deny Catholic sacraments have grace, or at least accept being in communion with people in good standing who think your whole Catholic sacramental life was a fraud. To which I said long before coming back to the church, "No, thanks." As appealing as Orthodox high churchmanship is, that ultimately turned me against it. As for liturgy, I have my traditional Mass and Pope Benedict's reformed Novus Ordo, good enough for me, plus Eastern Catholic options. (We include the East. You don't include the West. Western Rite Orthodoxy is a dud because ultimately the Orthodox don't want it.) Byzantium (Moscow) is great but it's not the whole church; I'm not buying. As for the Mormons, they're not really conservatives but if they adopted Teh Gay they'd throw away their ONLY selling point (a bastion of '50s America, accidental from their efforts to blend in, years ago), because it sure isn't the theology (which reads like bad sci-fi; nobody READS his way into Mormonism), and while they've been accused of several things, often true, being stupid, as in stupid enough to "pull a Vatican II," isn't one of them. (I've only known one Mormon that I know of; he was ex and smart.) The Christian (Mormons aren't) Reorganized Latter-Day Saints (Joseph Smith's family) did (they're now less Mormonish and ordain women), now the Community of Christ, mainliners; I wonder how they're doing.
  • How many Protestants include us as part of their vision of the church? Part of Anglicanism's charm, despite the anti-Catholic Thirty-Nine Articles, is they do. The misunderstood branch theory: they thought they were the true church but didn't deny coming from us; we have real bishops and thus are a real church but in grave error, needing the "Reformation," they said. The church is sort of an upright triangle with the reformed English at the apex. The apsidal mural at the Church of the Holy Comforter, Drexel Hill, Pa. Fr. Mitchican's parish (never been but it's practically in my neighborhood), includes the Pope (and it was a low parish!): looks like a seminary chapel with its "hooray for holy orders" theme. Confessional Lutherans, who can be high-church (resembling us), see themselves more as a rival true church.
  • In Britain, in a way the Old Catholics are try, try, trying again. The Utrechtians, now liberal (basically the same as Anglicans), failed there 100 years ago. Bishop Roald Flemestad's Nordic Catholic Church (conservative ex-Lutherans who weren't quite Roman Catholic), affiliated with the Polish National Catholic Church (century-old immigrant schism; liberal founder with conservative parishioners; Novus Ordo clone with married priests), is talking about setting up in England for relatively conservative Anglo-Catholics who've decided not to become Catholic (!). They're not Utrechtians anymore but the relatively conservative rival Union of Scranton (so far, just the Nats and the Nordics). Not ideal but it beats the Church of England. (They have real bishops so they have the Mass.) There was talk of the Free Church of England, founded as anti-Tractarian Evangelicals, joining that union but while they've high-churchified lately (like the later Reformed Episcopal Church, likewise founded to be anti-Anglo-Catholic, they're associated with), that was going too far.
  • Time magazine overturns the ostracism of feminism.

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