Saturday, February 28, 2015

Goodbye, Mr. Spock

"He's dead, Jim." Leonard Nimoy, 83, at home in Los Angeles yesterday, of COPD from smoking many years ago.

"Star Trek" was a liberal sermon in fable form (a lot like "The Outer Limits" and "The Twilight Zone") but enjoyable for many of the same reasons as the mid-'60s, including its optimism: the "square" America that actually put a man on the moon. (They chose to make the show very present-day so viewers would like it.) Now it's over. Leonard Nimoy was one of a kind, helping create one of TV's greatest characters, the show's breakout star. Interesting fellow too: Jewish (practicing, actually rare in Hollywood), born in Boston to immigrants from Russia; a Yiddish speaker. (Most know he copied the Vulcan salute from a synagogue blessing gesture.) Once saw him on an episode of "The Outer Limits," made a few years before he was famous, in which he was wearing one of my hats and suits and talking normally, not like Spock. Thanks for everything; "live long and prosper" wherever you are. Prayers.
The most interesting character of the lot. IMHO a related second interesting character would be Data in the "Next Generation" series. I think perhaps Spock & Data are two sides of the same coin. Eternal memory.
Data was a great update of Spock without trying to imitate the inimitable. From the tortured intellectual half-alien to "Is he man or machine?" Pinocchio-like. Charming. "TNG" did a two-parter or a story arc in which Spock and Data worked together, possible because Vulcans live incredibly long.
He was ten times the man Zachary Quinto is. I have enjoyed the various reboots too, but comparing the original series with any of the new ones, with JJ Abrams, or some of the better fan-made ones ("Star Trek Continues" still the best of those), that's the main thing missing. Despite the sometimes cheesy (and annoyingly preachy) material they were working with, they were all men of a different sort than we have today. They had a gravitas, an adulthood, that makes all the rest seem like teenagers playing dress-up.
"Star Trek" was liberal but actually from the later part of America's golden era (when liberals were hard-drinking social conservatives); the men are part of that. As Rod Dreher wrote, there are Kirk men and Spock men (like "Ginger or Mary Ann?"); both have their place. Classic action heroes and cool, calculating types to keep the peace. (And lots of pretty girls.) Nimoy was unusually handsome and charismatic enough to make the "nerd" type the hero. What's interesting is it was obviously meant to be William Shatner's show but Nimoy (unintentionally?) eclipsed him. For all the cracks about Shatner's vanity, he seems a pretty good sport; he and Nimoy were friendly. By the way, the younger Shatner made a fine Captain Kirk; the only problem was his breaking the Prime Directive (Bob Justman's concept, not Gene Roddenberry's) basically for American ("the Federation") colonialism. Postwar America; the liberal Great Society in space. (Classy Sidney Poitier and Diahann Carroll-type American blacks standing in for Africans; typical American ethnic mix at the time with North Americans doing stage accents to approximate the world.) Don't like a culture? Zap the place and claim it. (Computers controlling planets were one of Kirk's favorite targets. A fear of being displaced by automation, which is real, was one of the show's themes.) Better than political correctness's relativism in a way but the Federation isn't really the good guy, just like the real thing it's based on.

If you read Roddenberry's proposal for the show, you see that (liberal) preaching in the form of fables was always what it was about, no more realistic than "Gilligan's Island" (a fable about different kinds of people getting along). Which explains the dumbing down: human, English-speaking aliens.

Yet there are realistic touches that look like forecasting, from mobile phones to video screens to reading journals on a computer to portable computer discs and sticks. That's because the Rand Corp. (maybe Janice Rand's name was a tribute), connected to the Pentagon, worked with Roddenberry on the show. So maybe he was a good Cold Warrior (I'm not being sarcastic), a non-Communist lefty (the government loved those). Those concepts were already at least on the drawing board or even in the lab; it was clever product placement.

Like the American elite at the time, Roddenberry obviously had no use for religion.

Haven't followed the franchise since "TNG."

By the way, Vulcans and Romulans (variations on the same people, probably to cut costs) strike me as Japanese (the hair, for example), one side being peaceful Buddhist monks, the other still a samurai culture (not mutually exclusive in Japan; monks supported the war), both smart and disciplined.

The first Star Wars is better; I saw it when it came out. Swashbuckling right out of old movie serials, not political correctness (the Federation = the Empire), and even some B+ philosophy and theology (the Force) to keep it interesting, vs. Roddenberry's atheism. (But Sir Alec Guinness hated it.) Classic adventure story (Western with ray guns) without the Just Like Earth problem (you hear everybody speaking English because everybody is presumably using the same language), with special effects that still impress. I don't follow the franchise.

Galaxy Quest is great.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Barking mad Roth and more

  • Bob Wallace: The demented Philip Roth, apparently an old perv whose writings are basically the elite's view of conservative whites, in cartoon form. Actually now mainstream (his views on Wilson and Roosevelt). At least Jewish neocons love America (grateful) and hate the Sixties like we do.
  • LRC: Libertarians and conservatives have almost always failed in modern American politics. I like this proposal and not Rod Dreher's Benedict option (let's obey people like Roth in the public square and privately be high-church and eat kale or something; be harmless by being schismatic). But I like the city, partly why I don't want to give up the public square. We Catholics once had a substantial beachhead there (the city, meeting a family: "What parish are youse from?"), co-existing (trading) with fellow immigrant Jews and our truly liberal (meaning generous) Protestant hosts. Frank Sinatra's "The House I Live In." I still like to think it's not a one-way street to indifferentism.
  • In the Christian world, or at least a Protestant Christian world, that is now Lynchburg, Virginia. Liberty University is the largest self-consciously conservative university in the world. If I were an organization trying to recruit conservative Protestants, I would set up in Lynchburg. Anything the elite hates as much as Liberty University has something going for it. (And is it really about liberty? — be honest and name it something like "Christ University.") While I don't accept Dreher's "option," and I think Jerry Falwell's political activism didn't work and probably wasn't the right approach (right: Ron Paul; appeal to the best of the old America, to freedom and fair play, rather than preaching), to this day I give Falwell and Moral Majority (no "the") credit. He tried. Like Nixon and Reagan, he was ecumenical, reaching out to Catholics, but without compromising an iota of his Baptist fundamentalism. Of his commitment to Christ I have no doubt. But the Protestants still oppose us. He was wrong about the Iraq war: well-meant conservative pro-military feeling. (The military is part of the government, of course. It's not conservative.) Interesting: in the beginning, Baptist fundamentalists shunned politics as worldly (and were anti-war as recently as 1936, among the people Roth and the mainstream call Nazis); Falwell on abortion, allegedly: "That's a Catholic issue." (Ignorant of the position of all Christians until recently? Not likely.)
  • Ron Paul: If Eddie Ray Routh had never served in the military, I’m of the opinion that he would probably not have killed anybody. He would not be imprisoned for life and Chris Kyle would be alive today. Much of the blame should lie with our foreign policy of interventionism and the VA’s faulty reliance on psychotropic drugs for treating the guilt associated with preemptive wars. I'm pro-military (and Paul, a doctor, was an Air Force officer) but he's right.
  • Three "Brooklyn men" try to join ISIS. Let me guess: they're not really Brooklyn men or Americans. It's the Mohammedan version of aliyah. It's always other Middle Eastern Muslims, not really Americans or Britons; at most second-generation. Yup. Just like the Boston Marathon bombers. "Brooklyn men": because the elite doesn't want us noticing things. By the way, historically Arab-Americans (such as Danny Thomas, Helen Thomas — no relation, Jamie Farr, Ralph Nader, and, including Canadians, Paul Anka) have been Catholics (Thomas) or Orthodox fleeing the Muslims (to be fair: Casey Kasem was a Muslim); part of the Sweden Democrats' ("Keep Sweden Swedish") base are Chaldean Catholics from Iraq for exactly that reason. Anyway, we're a free country; those three should be free to go. Just don't think about coming back.
  • Of course Russia had a contingency plan for the Crimea and the eastern Ukraine.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hatred of the Father, Camille Paglia, and ISIS

  • Non serviam: Leftism including feminism is hatred of the Father. From Bob Wallace.
  • The Catholic pagan: 10 questions for Camille Paglia. She's no theologian but I met her once, read Vamps and Tramps, and like her. I'm sort of surprised liberal Jebbies would talk to her; no enemies to the left, I suppose. But she's not exactly a lefty, not politically correct; part of her charm. I'd think she and the betas and gays in that order wouldn't like each other. She's lapsed, and honest about it (part of why I like her), but, knowing she can't change the church, she's more Catholic than they are. By the way, among the priests celebrating my Mass, one is a living link to before Vatican II and a Jesuit. There are holdouts but that order will probably deservedly die, having mortally wounded itself with the council. Maybe Pope Francis is their last hurrah.
  • What ISIS wants. Recommended by several people. The true face of Islam and a new nation. You do not want to live in a Muslim country (#bettymahmoody and #oratepronobis).

The peoples of Italy, a land of extremes

Canals of Venice. Impressionist. Pretty. Reminds me: Italy is sort of a made-up country. It's actually many little countries that don't like each other. (They even have different languages, related to Italian.) Like our North and our South, Italy's northern countries such as Venice, which are ethnically and culturally slightly more German, look down on the south, such as Naples, Calabria, and Sicily. The southerners lost out when 1800s liberals (Garibaldi) created Italy, so many of them moved to America. My guess is Italian-Americans are overwhelmingly southern in origin.

Sunset in Sicily. I love the lit-up cross. Read the descriptions of Sicily and its culture in The Godfather. Everything is sensual and vivid from the color of the flowers to the taste of a cake. By the way, an interesting detail: Michael didn't really want to remain Catholic: he's disappointed that Kay converted; he wanted their kids to be Protestant like her, that is, American.

Catholic cultures have extremes, as you can read in the book: love (family, and romance/sex: Michael and his first wife, Appolonia, a profoundly Catholic story) and holiness but also great evil (a mafioso has his illegitimate baby daughter thrown into a furnace). Protestant cultures favor lukewarmness, mediocrity: bland food, boring relationships, etc. Mark Bonocore shared that insight with me many years ago.

I haven't been to Italy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The church, nations in decline, and more

  • "Instead of explaining us to them, Cardinal Dolan seems to think his job is explaining them to us." Right; since Vatican II (which didn't really teach heresy) and the rest of the Sixties (when Protestant America absorbed its big Catholic minority), it's been all about arriving in mainstream society for American Catholics, including, as the Anti-Gnostic says, bishops hitching themselves to social democracy even as that form fails. But that compromised Catholicism is going the way of the leisure suit; it's burning itself out/dying off, as my now-broke archdiocese shows.
  • I try to explain us to them again, "them" here being mostly convert (most of the ones online) Eastern Orthodox. Familiar talking points for regular readers.
  • Ex-Army: Nations in decline. We've been going down since 1973, right when the Sixties became Middle America (Nixon took us off gold in '71; well meant but a serious mistake, unlike that fraternity prank/blooper reel trying to cheat in an election).
  • Face to Face: Is the rom-com queen a lesbo? I mostly don't care (your vice is your business, and "Two girls? What a waste!") but I agree that Jennifer Aniston in her prime (on the horrible "Friends," which looks like "Patty Duke" compared to "Girls," or "Sex and the City" for millennials) was at most cute, not hot, mostly admired/imitated by other girls. Interesting how David Schwimmer (born to Hollywood insiders), playing the beta from mainstream relationship advice columns, has disappeared since his show ended.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A new Doctor of the Church

  • St. Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Church? On one hand, good. As I like to say, we give born non-Catholic Eastern Christians the benefit of the doubt. That's how and why the little Russian Catholic Church venerates the post-schism Russian Orthodox saints. We include them. (They don't include us. Why I'm Catholic.) Not personally guilty of schism and I don't mind the modern view that maybe the Armenians aren't Monophysites after all; it was all a misunderstanding. The modern Orthodox favor this view. Not always so of them. Interesting: outsiders think the Christian East is one and the same, people with some learning deny those churches are the same, and indeed they have different rites (Armenians and the Nestorian Church aren't big on images, unusual for the East) and histories, and now ecumenical insiders are saying they're really the same. I can see the Orthodox and the Lesser Eastern Churches getting back together: identical church polities (monastic bishops, married priests). Like the Orthodox, the Armenians have bishops, the Mass, and an unmodernized rite. On the other hand... the heretical "Orthodox in communion with Rome" in but not of the church (they want us to dump our doctrine in order to join what they think is the true church) are having a field day with this. If the wrong people like something, watch out. The Armenian Apostolic Church are estranged Catholics; a Protestant can't be a Doctor of the Church.
  • Did gerbils cause the Black Death? Those cute Mongolian rodents, often classroom pets. Maybe science will exonerate rats, which I understand are nice in captivity. (Mice bite.)
  • From RR: Google's Blogger to ban sex sites. I feel libertarian on this one. Curtailing freedom online hurts us conservatives and Christians too. Of course Google should be free to set its own rules; but pulling a sudden, huge change in those rules on 15-year-old service is piss-poor customer service in my opinion.

A pristine 1956 house, the girl can sing, and more

  • Pink is beautiful. No one lived in this house since 1956. When he moved inside? UNBELIEVABLE. I can do without the writer's attitude but what a find, plus an explanation of the era's love of pink (Mamie).
  • The girl can sing. I didn't watch the Oscars nor any of the movies nominated. (Style ended around 1967; anything I know about pop culture after 1998 is accidental.) It seems a lot of lefty-pious social-concern movies won; Hollywood congratulating itself. Saw Jersey Boys last year and loved it. But in the news I noticed a rare, sincere golden-era tribute. I knew from Lady Gaga's duet with Tony Bennett she can sing; she leaves Madonna in the dust. Showed it again with her Sound of Music medley, earning a hug from Julie Andrews. Pretty too.
  • Steve Sailer: Bob Hope invented modern stand-up (he was hip and had an active love life), but his act hasn't aged well. But "not funny because he wasn't Jewish"? That crosses the line from just-kidding ethnic pride to obnoxious. (As Sailer notes, Jewish comedians' jokes aren't necessarily timeless or universal either.) I hate the Sixties and love America, too, Commentary, but you're wrong about Palestine, American wars of conquest (retread Trotskyism), and Hope's place in history.
  • Richard Weaver: It is likely... that human society cannot exist without some source of sacredness. Those states which have sought openly to remove it have tended in the end to assume divinity themselves. Byzantium and "Reformation" England didn't exactly try to remove it; just co-opt it. Soviet Russia (co-opting short-term when eradication didn't work) and leftist America, however...
  • Pope Francis has been criticized for reportedly comparing the gender theory arguments that underpin transgender rights to nuclear weapons. My take: he's Paul VI, Part II, a useful idiot for the liberals up to a point. Pushed against the wall, he's Catholic, just like Paul on contraception. He has a quality of great men: nobody owns him. Sometimes he's dead wrong when he shoots his mouth off but nobody tells Jorge Bergoglio what to do. Richard Nixon was like that. So is Jerry Brown. Governing non-ideologically, above politics.
  • Rod Dreher: Archbishop vs. crackpot Catholics, and a liberal gentleman who makes sense. The good news — or bad news, as you prefer — is that these people’s children will not be around to annoy the future Catholic bishops of San Francisco. They will have left the Church. Their parents already have, though they don’t realize it yet. They have apostatized in place. If Dreher's a false flag (makes sense), these posts are bait to get our confidence (so we'll surrender the public square, different from being driven off it) but this is still well written.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Russell Kirk's no to libertarianism, and more

  • Russell Kirk: A dispassionate assessment of libertarians. Voted LP for president my first time in '92 (and felt guilty for walking away from the two parties, like giving up one's citizenship; that's how we're brought up) and have voted consistently libertarian or Libertarian nationally for 11 years (Michael Badnarik in '04; stayed home my first time so far in '08; Gary Johnson at the last minute in '12) but this blog has the right name. First, a number of the men and women who accept the label “libertarian” are not actually ideological libertarians at all, but simply conservatives under another name. These are people who perceive in the growth of the monolithic state, especially during the past half century, a grim menace to ordered liberty; and of course they are quite right. They wish to emphasize their attachment to personal and civic freedom by employing this twentieth-century word derived from liberty. With them I have little quarrel—except that by so denominating themselves, they seem to countenance a crowd of political fanatics who “license they mean, when they cry liberty.”
  • A "purge of military officers"? I don't know what to make of this. For now, I'm not buying it. Somebody's trying to use feelings, not facts, to stir up good-hearted pro-military conservatives. (Funny how hawkish the left really is when it's one of their wars, which most of them are, "for the world's good." Democrats got us into World Wars I and II, Korea, and Vietnam; the Republicans in Iraq almost an anomaly. Blame Dem-turned-GOP neocons.) Among the few things I give Obama credit for (and I don't hate him; he's wrong but a symptom, not the problem) is he tried to pull out of Iraq, a war I have opposed since before it began. As for those Air Force majors, that's how the military works (if you are passed over for promotion twice, they kick you out). As for being weeks from retirement, as most grownups know, most people including employers don't care about you. The others, such as ships' captains? Can't say. There was the Arnheiter case during Vietnam when a man unsuited for command was put in charge of the destroyer escort USS Vance; it was like a true version of The Caine Mutiny but the Navy took him off the ship when it found out he was disobeying orders by abandoning his ship's assigned post to look for glory elsewhere along the coast. So at least some of those firings are justified.
  • Catholic rabble-rousing about the Ukraine. My, my — the times have not changed much, have they? 50 years ago Rome threw the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church under the bus in order to secure Russian Orthodox observers at the Second Vatican Council. While Pope John Paul II pressed for the freedom of the UGCC in 1989, the Vatican is back pandering to Russia at the expense of her own children. If the UGCC up and left the Catholic Church tomorrow, I would be saddened, but not entirely surprised. The fact that they remain loyal to a Church which has shown so much disloyalty toward them is a testament to their faith and perseverance. As much as I oppose Orthodoxy, I'm not buying this. I see well-meaning Catholics being suckered into going to war for the anti-Catholic New World Order, the folks who backed the recent coup in the Ukraine. I feel bad for the few Ukrainian Catholics in the Russian eastern Ukraine but it's still not America's war. Nobody is threatening the Ukrainian Catholic Church in its western Ukrainian homeland. As Catholics we look at the big picture: defending our people but also reaching out to the great number of historically estranged Catholics who are the the Russian Orthodox. Not a betrayal or hypocrisy. Based on the family of exiles I knew 30 years ago, the first East Slavs and Eastern Christians I knew (my first traditional Catholic liturgy was Ukrainian), after all the Ukrainian Catholic Church has been through (many taking their church underground under Soviet rule), it will never leave the church. I hope Putin's a new Constantine for the Russians. At the very least he's not our problem since Russia's not Communist anymore and we don't trade with them. Any country where it helps politicians to be seen crossing themselves and lighting candles before icons has something going for it. In other words, Catholic doesn't necessarily mean anti-Russian. I'm pro-Russian because I'm Catholic, a faith that includes but transcends tribe, being universal in doctrine and in its appeal to all peoples (the church has fulfilled the Great Commission).
  • To give credit where it's due, I've read that John Paul II ordered the correcting of the Novus Ordo in English. It just took so long to implement that it happened posthumously.
  • Confessions of a Roman Catholic by Paul Whitcomb. 1958 imprimatur from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I've been to St. John Southworth's tomb.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Married priests and more

  • Let it snow! Perfect day for it. Was out and about when it started to fall; having almost been killed on the road twice last year because of newly fallen snow, I was wary. Got home in the nick of time; the car started to slide only on my own street. Good night to stay in listening to piano jazz with my string of white lights on in the windows and a glass or two of whiskey. It's Currier & Ives pretty out; got to watch a neighbor's new puppy play in it.
  • Roman Rite Catholic priest busted for being married. This is not news. Something like this happened when Francis Spellman was a young priest. I think the chancellor of the Archdiocese of Boston turned out to be married. They say Cardinal Cody of Chicago was too. Anyway, priestly celibacy is just a custom and a rule, not a hill I'd die on. But because I'm not at seminary, I don't give it much thought, EXCEPT... having worshipped with Greek Rite Catholics and tried Orthodoxy, I grieve over the schism we caused only 75 years ago among Slavic-Americans when we suppressed their Greek Rite custom of ordaining the married. And there are the Anglo-Catholic alumni priests and their wives (conservative high-church ex-Episcopalians), now Roman Rite Catholics. Very different from what this fellow did. Liberals want priests to marry, like Protestant ministers, which neither Catholicism nor the non-Catholic Christian East do. For those who don't know, in the East, bishops are celibate and a married man may be ordained a deacon but a deacon or priest can't get married. We all follow the rule that a widowed deacon or priest can't remarry. P.S. At least Letourneau's into women.
  • Not my bailiwick but there is a point: Students turn on former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey because of "homophobia"; stained-glass window of him (of a living person?!) removed. The man who brought women priests to the Church of England. Someone has reminded me of Doc Carey's coming out in favor of euthanasia some few months ago. See what a b**ch the Zeitgeist is: you can try to ride her, but unless your devotion is total and absolute, as well as dexterous, she will turn on you and rend you in the end. Not a feat for a buffoon to attempt. Satan breaks his tools when he's done with them.
  • Columbus Antiques Mall. A favorite place. I love the music too; it's playing in their shops.
  • "Mad Men" at the Smithsonian and more

    Friday, February 20, 2015

    "Mad Men" in 1976? Also, why I'm Catholic, and more

    • A musical hint in the promo/teaser but those have been false: does "Mad Men" end in 1976? Yuck. Right into the belly of the meltdown of the culture. Jimmy Carter. Butterfly collars. Disco. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. Exactly. The '60s were better because the Sixties weren't mainstream. (Atlantic City the summer of '65 was still the '50s.) They were a novelty by a minority of people. Depending on your family and/or your part of the country, they weren't well into the '70s. Which is how/why I remember the golden era riding off into the sunset, as late as '72. By '76 the other had taken over society. Sure, you had anti-disco backlash, for example, starting in '79, New Wave begetting the '80s, but the damage was done. By the way, I first heard this song on a '60s radio the summer of '76.
    • 10 reasons I'm Catholic. Re: 4. More than a little bit of hypocrisy here with the annulment mills.
    • This week in 1965: RIP Nat King Cole.
    • Present day, another part of the era passes into eternity. RIP Lesley Gore. "It's My Party."
    • Conan O'Brien: At a showing of 50 Shades of Grey in Scotland some rowdy women attacked a man. The police handcuffed them so their plan worked perfectly. Elementary as Holmes said. If women don't get healthy headship, their fallen nature makes them go for unhealthy kinds.
    • The Rad Trad: When did they become "Orthodox"?
      • "I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church" nearly all Christians who claim any sort of apostolic origin recite on Sundays. Among them are the various kinds of Orthodox Christians of the Eastern Churches. One friend, a Russian Jew born in Orthodoxy who left after falling victim to ethnocentrism, could not quite understand why they said that they believe in the "catholic" Church while not being Catholic. But they do believe they are the Catholic Church, and Orthodox, too. The birth of "Orthodoxy" and the "Orthodox Church" is one of the minor mysteries in religious linguistics probably worthy of some level of study.
      • "Rome wants to become the state and Orthodoxy wants the state to become the church." What do we make of this passage? Is it a relic of "Holy Russia" and Slavic Erastianism? A remnant of Caesaro-papism? A common vision of the cooperation of the state with the Church in matters moral and religious held East and West, despite the separation? Evidence that state power vitiated Christianity irreparably a millennium and a half before this was written? Is it a holy goal we should still aspire to reach by grace? Speak!
      It's Catholic but they don't admit it: they share with us the essentials I list in "10 reasons I'm Catholic" above. It's not Catholic in that really they think their nations (states) and cultures are the church, excluding us. What the carping against the Pope is really about, exacerbated in America by the Slavic-American Orthodox foundational myth based on the fact that Greek Rite Catholics weren't treated well here. Their recent rapprochement with the Lesser Eastern Churches (such as the Copts and the Armenians) makes sense to outsiders (identical church polity and similar beliefs and rites) but it's historically puzzling.
    • Alternative Right: Good pro-Russian piece.

    Thursday, February 19, 2015

    The liar market, liberalism, and religion

    • A slight depression in the liar market.
    • Madonna: Catholicism feels like my alma mater. It’s the school I used to go to, and I can go back any time I want and take whatever I want from it. She hasn’t really been a pop star for 25 years. Anyway, sure, she’s a cultural Catholic; there are lots of those. They don’t follow the church’s teachings but they will never leave for another faith. (The Episcopalians will always be disappointed.) The door’s always open to them and we’re not a perfectionistic, micro-managing cult (ethnic Catholicism’s pretty easygoing), but remember what Jesus said about the lukewarm.
    • Obama's grand strategy: invite the world, invade the world, indoctrinate and interrogate the citizenry. Because we're a culturally Christian nation, we're forgiving. (The modern left is a Christian heresy, examination of conscience, confession, and all.) We didn't drag Muslims into our streets and kill them after 9/11 like other countries historically would. (But we invaded Iraq, which I've been saying was idiotic since I started this blog over 12 years ago.)
    • Meanwhile, pretty, earnest Marie Harf is getting a few laughs. Same problem as with liberalism in the '50s, as in The Quiet American; a denial of original sin, thinking that man is perfectible in this life by our own Pelagian efforts ("Progress!"). Just give ISIS jobs and all will be well. (They quit jobs in order to fight.) There are no Western nations anymore, just an international elite running things, but ISIS is very much a new nation. (Iraq is a made-up country from after World War I.)
    • Ken Myers via Rod Dreher on why they might not get it. According to classical liberal orthodoxy, “religion” is the label given to beliefs that are private, personal, and spiritual. Religion properly understood (according to this orthodoxy) is never public, communal, and political. It appears that the Obama administration is straining to be faithful to this orthodoxy. Which reminds me of the problem of Catholicism vs. Americanism: the old America was a great home for us and I'm fine not badgering Protestants as long as they don't bother us ("the faith is caught, not taught"). But, to give the paleo-conservatives and the Society of St. Pius X credit, does American religious liberty inevitably lead to a watered-down, Poor Richard's Almanac (thanks, Dr. Rao), "cleanliness is next to godliness" civic religion devoid of the supernatural, the latter being limited to private opinion, "how you choose to amuse yourself on Sunday morning"? Regular readers know I'm sold on the idea that Dreher's Benedict option is at least in effect trying to get conservative Christians to surrender to something like that. There's a difference between that and the honorable retreat underground of the Ukrainian Catholic Church under Soviet rule, for example. Dreher's ostensible refuge from the priestly underage gay sex scandal in American Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, lends itself to surrender: serve the state (emperor, sultan, Comrade First Secretary, or America since the Sixties, which is fine with cutesy ethnic religion that "knows its place"). By the way, conservative Catholics first noticed and tried to stop that priestly underage gay sex; the liberal bishops and priests told them to shut up.

    Ash envy among our separated brethren

    Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et et in pulverem reverteris.

    Liturgical Protestants doing ashes? Great! Anything that brings them closer to us, like how at Advent and Christmas many Americans put up statues of Jesus and Mary, light candles, and sing in Latin. They want to come home and may not know it. Have a happy and holy Lent.

    That said, the Episcopalians, priests male and female nicely dressed in our clerical choir attire (cassock, surplice, and stole: for about the past 150 years they have loved our traditions; Catholic liberals don't), were at my city train station to horn in on Catholic roll-call day (it's not a holy day of obligation but might as well be) and market themselves as the cool version of our church with their "Ashes to Go." That crosses a line but it's a free country. Thank God they're not the state church here, their real reason to exist.

    I know the point of the smudge is humility, not a Catholic pep rally, but anyway.

    From Gabriel Sanchez: The Orthodox, never ones to miss a chance to proudly display their inferiority complex, have taken to social media to protest... Ash Wednesday. Of all the anti-Catholic convert rubbish. I'd bet you a ruble or a pre-euro drachma that born Orthodox didn't do that; they're just happy being name-the-ethnicity, not trying to put us down.

    Either he or Owen White once wrote that Forgiveness Vespers in American Orthodox parishes is a recent invention, like the Sunday-school procession with icons the first Sunday of Lent. Like chotki (it looks like the rosary) it's really a monastic thing unknown among ordinary people in Orthodox countries. It's nice; I'm not knocking it like they are trying to knock Ash Wednesday. (I'd love it if American Catholicism were mostly Byzantine, not Novus Ordo, but that's not happening.) But that's interesting. Like how Hanukkah became American Jewish Christmas. A cultural accident.

    P.S. Catholic and called to be Byzantine but there is no Greek Catholic church for you to go to? If you're in a big enough American city, you have options.

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015

    Left-libertarian kids are no threat, and more

    • Libertarians at International Students for Liberty conference were really liberal "social-justice warriors." Delegates shied away from issues like Affirmative Action, freedom of association and property rights to giggle about drugs, homosexuality, and other issues that wouldn’t offend your local Dean of Multicultural Affairs. Honestly, trying to be conservative AND make points with mainstream society now such as "your local Dean of Multicultural Affairs" used to be part of libertarianism's appeal to me. That and I still really do believe in peace and freedom. Nationally I still vote l/Libertarian if at all.
    • Yes, Mr. Vice President, she's pretty but hands off at least on camera. Publicly awkward, our clownish veep (not really evil like the left; just a classic Bad Catholic, as in non-practicing) does it again. Contrast to alpha LBJ who'd discreetly have sex with them. President Johnson (hee) had power; he really doesn't.
    • I have misgivings about socialized medicine but think the president's video is cute; no problem. Usually he seems humorless.
    • "Liberals have a sense of humor but conservatives don't." The gospel according to "Saturday Night Live." Roissy analyzes. Lefty "humor": "I wish the South would all f*cking die; just kidding. Can't you take a joke?" Or: "I molested my sister; hee hee." "(Gasp!) She molested her sister!" "How dare you say I molested my sister!" Give me Mencken and Chesterton over all that any day.
    • Ron Paul: "I'm not (necessarily) pro-Putin; I'm not pro-Russia. I'm pro-facts." The Ukraine coup was planned by NATO and EU… The best thing we can do for Ukraine is get the foreigners out. Right: the U.S., EU, and NATO want to stick it to Russia by turning a big chunk of its old home turf into a liberal puppet, a satellite to get Cold War about it. It's as if China got California to secede and turned it against us. (Luckily for us, it seems the no longer really Red Chinese, historic entrepreneurs of Asia, are interested in trade instead.) Here's hoping the new Ukraine becomes a Catholic-friendly but conservative Slavic state instead.
    • Marine "We Like Being French" Le Pen: The Crimea is part of Russia.
    • Puppet heroines. By "strong female characters" do you mean strongly feminine or acting unnaturally like men? Conservative point: it's about nature, not nurture. Second point: this liberal doctrine affirmative-actions women into combat roles such as carrier fighter pilot that most aren't suited for. Actual strong female: Marine Le Pen.
    • For Ash Wednesday: Is the papacy in turmoil? Dr. John Rao gives a historical overview to put things in perspective. I shouldn't be surprised but I had no idea how much, in the decades just before the French Revolution, churchmen caved to the "Enlightenment." Very few contemporary Catholics realize that the half-century before the outbreak of the French Revolution saw popes as well as literally armies of bishops weakly and willfully backing away from support for everything that hinted of reliance on “supernatural” learning and guidance, allowing for the dominance of a Poor Richard’s Almanac, “cleanliness is next to godliness” version of “natural Christianity” to take their place.
    • Britain: Senior Labour official quits and urges voters to back Ukip.
    • Bob Wallace:
    • More for Ash Wednesday: Martyrs. In the Middle East. You know what happened to all those people whose names are in the missal at the Canon? Such as Cosmas and Damian? That still happens. Orate pro nobis. Gabriel Sanchez: I can understand Catholics recognizing the 21 Coptic Christians murdered by ISIS as martyrs. What I can't understand is how they are receiving that recognition from the Eastern Orthodox. If it had been, say, 21 Greek Catholics killed, there'd be Russian Orthodox — and their Anglophone adherents — saying they got what they deserved for denying the true church and aligning with the evil Pope of Rome. Nailed it. Outsiders assume the Copts et al. are Orthodox, and the Orthodox are starting to agree; they're almost the same. But as he and others have pointed out, this is recent. All the ancient "Catholic" churches (except the Nestorians now, probably because of Anglican influence), including ours of course, claim to be the true church; Orthodox and Copts considered each other beyond the pale.

    Tuesday, February 17, 2015

    "What parish are youse from?" The church in Philly only 40 years ago

    Sisters of St. Joseph.

    As recently as 1974 the destruction that Vatican II caused hadn't yet hurt the Archdiocese of Philadelphia: still lots of nuns and in nice habits. The Sisters of St. Joseph and the Immaculate Heart of Mary nuns were our big teaching orders at the time. One of the council's most visible effects is that nuns have almost disappeared. Not only not in habits; there aren't any. For 50 years the archdiocese has been living off the financial and social capital it earned before the council, pretending that the council made things better than ever. (Remember when the charismatic movement was "in"?) That has run out. Now it's closing parishes and schools. Throughout the country, little local conservative orders are doing well. In 50 years we'll be like this picture again, but in miniature.
    Can you really say that Vatican II was responsible for the decline in these orders? No one can say for sure what the Church would be like had the Council never happened, but somehow I suspect that there would have been some type of decline in religious life and observance. Just look at other churches such as the Eastern Orthodox. They never had a Vatican II (although they do have some liberals working "behind the scenes" to bring about one). Yet they also seem to have experienced some type of decline in both church membership and active believers, at least in the US. I'll blame Vatican II for making a sloppy mess out of things with a lot of its rushed and artificial changes, but I think the change in people's attitudes towards religion have also worked to weaken faith.
    Yes, I can, even though I agree with you that we still would have taken a hit from the Sixties. But if we'd kept our cultural integrity, if we hadn't bought into space-age "progress," if we hadn't lost our nerve at that crucial time, it would have been smaller. The Orthodox and Greek Catholics handled the liturgy right at the time: just translate the old rite! But both have taken a big hit too as you say. With them it's both because of the Sixties and assimilation: when the third generation is wholly American, they leave, plus the Greek Catholics often go Novus Ordo when they move (often the only Catholic church in town is Novus) or marry, so they're not lost to the church but they lose that wonderful culture.
    It's a shame. I wish that these problems could have somehow been avoided. I certainly believe that, had a lot of those bishops been able to see into the future, many of them would have acted very differently during the council and its aftermath (I think there have been a few who actually had the guts to admit that before they died).
    Heretics such as Bugnini helped create the new Mass but most of the bishops at the council meant well. They weren't heretics but fell for the Zeitgeist: "If we get rid of our cultural baggage to streamline for the space age, the church will get even bigger and better, and the American Protestants will love us and join even more than they are now."
    Here's one bishop's take on things shortly after the council:
    "When whole segments of the contemporary Church are set on a downward course of vulgarization, of anti-intellectualism, of revolt, and rebellion against all standards and authority, it is exceedingly difficult to put a stop to the trend, holding back the enormous weight, and then attempting to turn these segments back the other way, to begin all over again the slow, laborious climb to the high and distant peaks.

    It is just such a catastrophe which overwhelms us today. We recall the dream of St. Francis and Pope Innocent III where the little Poor Man was holding up with his feeble hands the collapsing fabric of the Lateran…

    We are in a veritable landslide of vulgarization. What was intended by Vatican Council II as a means of making the liturgy more easily understood by the average Christian, has turned out to be something more like an orgy of stripping it of all sense of holiness and reverence, bringing it down to the level of commonness where the very people for whom the changes were made now only yawn out of sheer boredom with the banality of the result.

    What was the great poetic style of the Bible has been transmogrified and cheapened into some of the most graceless, flat, plodding prose ever inflicted upon undeserving dullards. Matters are bad enough now, but wait until the new Order of the Mass is released as compulsory for a revelation of what crimes can be committed by men in committee!

    It might have been thought, in the interest of ecumenism, that consideration could have been given to strengthening the old Douai-Challoner text with the great style, the ‘organ roll’ of the King James version. But no! In the minds of those commissioned by hierarchy to do the work, the great object or target, manifestly, was to denude the liturgy of its last claim to literary dignity…

    With polite pious acquiescence, the Bishops received the results with no more than an occasional feeble, almost only grunted protest. Thusly, do we lose a priceless cultural inheritance."
    — Archbishop Robert J. Dwyer of Portland, Oregon, quoted from
    The Clarion, Parish Bulletin, Glenview, Ill., July 26, 1971
    Great churchmen like him are why I think we could have ridden out the Sixties and its aftermath with less damage than we had. The problem, again, was even most of the orthodox such as Fulton Sheen fell for the Zeitgeist, often with good intentions.
    You don't like Bishop Sheen? He always seemed pretty conservative to me. Even after Vatican II, he was decrying a lot of the abuses of it and calling for a more orthodox interpretation.
    I like him before the council; after, he was orthodox but like bishops almost everywhere he implemented the changes.
    They really had no choice in the matter. The mandates came from Rome. If Sheen or any of them had resisted, they probably would have been removed by Pope Paul for doing so.
    As the saintly Archbishop Lefebvre wrote, it was a masterstroke of Satan to misuse obedience that way. And again, most of the bishops innocently thought that was the way to go in the space age: streamline the church.

    Monday, February 16, 2015

    "Types of Catholic Friends" with commentary

    Cute idea. But many/most other Catholics I meet are lapsed; they'll never join another faith (they left the true church; why bother with another?) but the knowledge and devotion about God and the church are gone. There are also the practicing but easygoing ethnics; for both the church is a substratum in their lives but they don't make a big deal out of it. (The convertypantses exist but they and I don't know them in person.) That's rubbed off on me; I don't watch EWTN because I don't need to. I know what I am (a Catholic and a sinner) and what the church teaches well enough.

    Most born Eastern Catholics like this young lady are like that. The type described here, in their services standing all the time and singing everything, sounds like enthusiastic converts trying to be good unlatinized ones, a legitimate option.
    What about the '70s Catholic? A.k.a. someone whose parents really embraced the post-Vatican II hippie Catholic years, and that rubbed off on them during their childhood. As a result, they love all the charismatic stuff/folksy music and are suspicious of the nouveau traditionalists and bemoan RM3 [the improved Mass in English ordered by Benedict XVI]? And also the PopeFrankofiles — who love Pope Frankie! (I may be a mix of both.)
    I find they are very rare in real life offline now. Post-Vatican II hippie Catholicism burned itself out, like literal fires doing a lot of harm. (And Vatican II wasn't hippies; it was the generation above them, '50s confidence in space-age progress gone wrong. The hippies were just dumb kids buying records; they weren't interested in the church.) Most of that generation raised on that no longer goes to church.

    I didn't grow up before Vatican II but have been a traditionalist on and off for decades (long lapse in Orthodoxy); maybe I'm nouveau. More of an Anglo-Catholic alumnus. I bow when the processional cross passes me, cross myself at a few different points in the Mass from born Catholics, and when the Gloria and the Creed are in English (I hear the new Mass about six times a year) I say them by heart from the old Book of Common Prayer as repeated in the old Anglican missals. My prayer after Mass is A-C: "Blessed, praised, hallowed, and adored be our Lord Jesus Christ on his throne of glory in heaven, in the most holy Sacrament of the altar, and in the hearts of his faithful people." The only real differences in my religion now are I'm under the Pope and the Mass happens to be all in Latin. My parish (by choice; I jumped parish boundaries; yes, it's a trad magnet) has chant, polyphony, and a mix of old Catholic hymns and the same ones the Episcopal Church at least used to have, played in full. A-C patrimony, as in what the ordinariates should be; I’m not in the American ordinariate: Tridentine, the best of the Prayer Book, and some ’20s ephemera, with married priests, becoming another Catholic subculture. An American mix; the Brits actually don’t like being old-fashioned that way. It's not really Anglicanism, which is "both Catholic and Protestant."

    RM3 was the best thing to happen in the church in 50 years. Bigger than giving us our Mass back because it affected far more people. I call the emeritus Pope "Benedict the Great." Because of him, for the first time in decades you get clear Catholic teaching from the text of every Mass in the parishes; I can worship anywhere in the United States. Just like 50 years ago.

    Traditionalists and Novus Ordo conservatives going to church and having relatively lots of kids mean they're the American church's future.

    Our mother the church is essential, and its cultures including its folklore are great, but, being ecumenical, if I'm as Christ-centered as our Missouri Synod Lutheran cousins, I'm doing it right.

    Other than writing online, I go to my Tridentine Mass, put my envelope in the basket, say my rosary during the week and try not to get into too much trouble.

    From Nelson Chase.

    Saturday, February 14, 2015

    A trap set for conservative Catholics, and more

    • A trap set for conservative Catholics.
    • Bob Wallace: our animal nature is to be transcended.
    • Plagiarism. Citations are important in my job.
    • Iceland's pagans open temple. Real pagans or apostate Christians who made up a religion that's Christianity without Christ? Anyway: Considering that mainstream Christianity has been submerged in liberalism and virtually collapsed over the past century, I can understand these people wanting some type of spiritual beliefs in their lives to fill the void that lacking those usually leaves. I'm no pagan, but still I think that the institutional churches have been equally culpable in the rise of these alternative ones.
    • "Saturday Night Live" is 40. My feelings about "Saturday Night Live," like about the Beatles, are mixed in that the original show was very good at what it did, and the newer shows have their moments, but it's very much of the aftermath of the Sixties and pretty much a house organ for that revolution.


    "As long as men look at me that way, I'm earning my keep." Recently a conversation about Philadelphia history brought up Jessica Savitch, who was from here and read the news on KYW-TV in the ’70s before becoming nationally famous. I was smitten with her like so many others were. That line is her story. I read Almost Golden. Historically she's important in TV news because she was one of the first beautiful women it used on camera. Before her era, in the first 20 years of TV, stations wouldn't have them because they thought housewives would be envious and cause a ratings backlash. Savitch had local women fans. So, around the same time as the advent of "Eyewitness News," a.k.a. happy-talk news (the news show as crude theater with stock characters, as parodied by Will Ferrell; passé* in the Internet age?), you had the first newsbabes like her (a stock character: the anchor team as a symbolic couple, a man and a woman). By the way, the real love of her life (husbands, et al. notwithstanding) was her mentor, alpha jerk news producer Ron Kershaw. (The Robert Redford character in the dumb movie very loosely based on her, Up Close and Personal.)

    In contrast I'm thinking of two former newsbabes, one of whom I used to be acquainted with. Incidentally, like Savitch she's Jewish. A lovely brunette who was a big-city anchor but left it all (well, she does some cable now) to be a full-time wife and mom. Granted, easy for her since her former career and her husband make her wealthy. Nice person. The other one, whom I don't know, is Stacey Stauffer. Out of the news biz and presenting on QVC (a cable shopping channel), because, my guess, it's close to home (no more long commute to Philadelphia or driving all over the area covering stories) and she's very much in love with her new husband so she wants to concentrate on raising her kids too. Likewise still attractive, though her new show is targeted to other women (where that's about status and emulation; she's a role model). Based on the lady (which she is) I knew, both very happy and fulfilled as women. (Why lefty women hate Sarah Palin.) Savitch lost out on all that.

    Conservative talking point: there is no glass ceiling, no chauvinist plot against women. If women were paid less across the board, more of them would be working than men. No, most women hate the rat race so they love to drop out to 1) marry macho executives and 2) bear their children; those and 3) keeping their looks are the feminine trifecta. Men on average work harder and longer hours so on average they make more. It’s that simple.

    The news show-within-the-show on the very '70s “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” featuring Ted Baxter, was about five years behind its times, parodying golden-era news shows, before “Eyewitness News”/happy talk, when they consisted of a man with a trained radio announcer’s voice (by the way, may Gary Owens rest in peace; he just died at 80). Ted Knight essentially was doing an impression, sending up John Facenda and other great voices. (But many of the first TV reporters started in newspapers.) Savitch was just the right age, in the change from old-timey announcing to happy talk, that I hear some elocution lessons in her voice, giving her a slightly mid-Atlantic sound.

    The British have a better perspective: these are “newsreaders.”

    *TV will be fine; it will merge with the Web.

    A man, a woman, and a '57 Chrysler 300C

    From 2009: John and Arlys Chesnutt of Portland, Oregon. His car, which they rode in on their first date in September '58. Married 50 years, with three sons and nine grandchildren, they still have it. Photos and more from the Chrysler 300 Club.

    She still has the jacket.

    I know the year and make as Mike Torello's private car.

    Friday, February 13, 2015

    Unsocial millennials and more

    • Survey: College freshmen now party less and worry about money more. Not surprising to readers of Face to Face, which tracks trends in American society. Millennials aren't social (outgoing) like '80s people: cocooning, helicopter parents, etc. Worried about money? A secret: college isn't for everyone. (And read Paul Fussell on college vs. "college.") Some would be happier and richer learning a trade (like HVAC repair) starting with decent pay than going to party school for four years and racking up debt. Real college is for things like the hard sciences, like pre-med. You can teach yourself the humanities on the Web, the greatest library the world has known.
    • Another matter: the Ivies aren't so much about what you learn but the top class looking out for itself: it's about socializing (how to think and act upper-class) and networking; who you meet/who you know.
    • Steve Sailer: Eric Posner: "College students are children who should be seen but not heard." Colleges resuming their role of in loco parentis would be nice if they resume the culture and values of 1960. (Fussell: and if those going to college were just the 14% going to real college rather than the many going to "college" who need babysitting.) But maybe political correctness isn’t about controlling children, now is it? ... Another theory is that the people who were the rebels in the 1960s are the now the Establishment and they’re not about to let anybody do to them what they did to the old Establishment. When the Sixties generation passes, will American society recover like I think the Catholic Church will? (Catholics will be Cardinal Spellman's New York again but in miniature.)
    • More on Pope Francis. Knew right away two years ago he'd be Paul VI, Part II. Seems a more personable version. Up to a point he's a useful idiot for the liberals but surprise, he's Catholic after all.
    • MCJ: Proposed: a movie about Lepanto. "I’ll just be blunt about it: Lepanto would be a film about Islamic imperialism and the attempt by the Christian West to turn it back. It would depict Muslims — not all Muslims, but more than a few — as violent hegemonic oppressors intent on taking over the world." It would make a ton of money. But I think that Mark is smart enough to know that there is a reason why a Lepanto movie will never see the light of day. Roman Catholics win.
    • Ad Orientem: Pro-Ukraine poll backfires. The Crimea chose to be part of Russia.
    • Fr. Chadwick: Trolls.

    Thursday, February 12, 2015

    When is the Pope no longer the Pope?

    • Catholic integralism: not standoffish like I assumed. By the way, traditionalists are not all alike. There are schools of thought, just like in the pre-conciliar church. For example, I'm liturgically traditionalist and have no problem with American religious liberty rightly understood (no to indifferentism: the Catholic Church as a mere denomination, "a choice with which to amuse yourself Sunday mornings"). My main difference with the SSPX, but that doesn't mean I hate the society. In principle, the order exists because it objects to Vatican II's policies (not doctrine; the council didn't define any) on that and, closely related, ecumenism. It's Not About Latin™.
    • When is the Pope no longer the Pope? What I believe, subject of course to the magisterium. Another reading from Gabriel Sanchez, from one of his epistles. I do not understand why it is not possible that a pope who intends to promulgate error under the cover of infallibility could not be considered at that point an anti-pope whose declaration would carry no magisterial weight since he would, by becoming a material heretic, lose his office. The tricky part is when this occurs. Certainly an attempted infallible declaration would be contemplated in advance. The Pope does not simply utter an infallible statement on the spot. And so it seems to me that even before he makes the declaration, he has fallen into heresy and, perhaps, loses his office. Once the declaration is made, it is simply an affirmation that he is, indeed, a material heretic whose statements no longer bind the Catholic faithful. It's about the church, not the Pope's person; his office belongs to the church. If he steps outside of the church by trying to change its teachings, he's no longer Pope. (I think cf. St. Robert Bellarmine.)
    • On the second anniversary of Benedict the Great's abdication. I would have begged him not to: "Stay with us!" We need another one of him who will stick around for 20 years to finish what he started. Unlike St. John Paul the Overrated, a cult of personality who wasn't traditionalists' friend really (Assisi, the Koran incident, altar girls, and the coverup of the priestly underage gay sex scandal), Benedict the Great's reign wasn't about him but about principles. What the papacy really means. Benedict is orthodox but not even really that conservative (a man of Vatican II but sound), yet he changed the church's way of operating to make it hospitable to traditionalists. I think we'll see another of his kind, because the liberals are dying out.
    • The Ukraine. Yes, the fault line between Catholicism and Orthodoxy (American on the street: "You mean Jewish?"), between Western Europe and Russia, runs through it now. Simply put, the old Polish west, partly Catholic, wants to belong to the capital-W West while the east wants to be Russian as it was for centuries. (I understand the capital, Kiev, is literally and figuratively in the center: Russian-speaking but wanting to be independent, like Austria and Switzerland are not parts of Germany.) If the west could overthrow the lawful elected government to distance itself from Russia (President Yanukovych got a better deal with the Russians, triggering the revolt), "why," reason the easterners, who never wanted to leave Russia, "can't we decide our destiny likewise?" The West of course wants a liberal puppet in Eastern Europe: stick it to Russia. But the fault line hasn't always been that clear nor stayed in the same spot. For one thing, starting in 1596, much of the Ukraine and Byelorussia was Catholic and Byzantine Rite. Tsarist expansion through the 1800s ended that (they persecuted Catholics: Orthodoxy as worship of the tribe and the state; the Soviets tried it in the old Polish Ukraine too). I don't think Putin should invade. Regular readers know: the Ukraine is nothing to do with us politically or economically (we don't trade with them or Russia really) so we should stay out of it, I have nothing against the independent Ukraine, and I hope it will be a Catholic-friendly (different from Russia that way, though I don't think it will become a Catholic country) Russia Jr., a naturally conservative Slavic state, not what the Western powers want. The Crimea is part of Russia.
    • Greece, with its near fanatic desire to be petulant, may help bring down the EU and help bring some sensibility to the streets.

    Wednesday, February 11, 2015

    Does ecumenism have a future?

    • Ad Orientem: Does ecumenism have a future? Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the Russian Orthodox Church's ecumenical officer, talks sense about the dead end of dialogue with Anglicans and, being eirenical here, admits his church's logical dialogue partner is the Catholic Church. Hitherto we viewed the ordination of women to the priesthood as erroneous actions of individual bishops. Now women have been given the right to become bishops. For us this signifies a very simple fact — discussion on the recognition of the Anglican hierarchy is closed. Anyway, yes and no. For "true churches," ecumenism is a chance to teach, nicely of course. The liberal ecumenists' notion, such as right after Vatican II, of working with the Protestants to build a new church, no longer really Catholic (or Orthodox), of course is not an option. Nobody believes anymore that corporate reunion will happen, but we offer it to the Eastern churches, which retain bishops and the Mass. (Protestants retain baptism. The East has churches; Protestants non-churches, "ecclesial communities.") No, ecumenism's lasting and continuing accomplishments are the sides now understand each other so they're not trying to kill each other, and simpatico churches such as the Catholics and the Orthodox can do joint charitable and culture-wars work (against abortion, for example).
    • Bob Wallace: Men try to manipulate things. Women try to manipulate men. Putting that nicely, that's why girls are so socially attuned and skilled, a survival skill for themselves and their babies. This is why, for example, men devote so much of their time to fiddling around with gadgets, solving problems and playing games, whereas women spend much of their time and money altering the way that they look and "chatting about relationships."
    • Filthy lucre. In passing, from Takimag's Kathy Shaidle, apparently a disillusioned former professional Catholic writer: In the Internet age and with the Western audience jaded by porn, etc., "is anybody out there making money from smut?" Webcam girls say they are. Cheap and simple technology means a low barrier to entry (as it were). Set up your Webcam and secure payment method, and suddenly you’re a stripper without the sleazy club, a centerfold without the aging “playboy” clinging to you like a parasitic twin. Some women are reportedly raking in a million bucks a year. Not to promote the wages of sin (spiritual and, probably, unintended practical problems from doing this) but what is, is.
    • The Irish Government have expressed that it is “extremely unlikely” that a member of the Royal Family will attend the 100th anniversary commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising next year. Given the nature of the events, it was agreed it would be best not to invite the Royal Family to the events during Easter week 2016. I read Peter DeRosa's (who left the Catholic Church; Fr. Neil Boyd of "Bless Me, Father" was semi-autobiographical) book on the uprising. While DeRosa was sympathetic, he was honest. Many Irish at the time were loyal Britons; they proudly helped build the empire as part of the army serving literally around the world, etc. (Not the narrative you hear on American St. Patrick's Day.) That didn't change until the crushing of the 1916 revolt. And even today many southern Irishmen DON'T hate the British. I've met one who served in the RAF after Irish independence; many Irish have family in Britain. (The British Army's Irish Guards, who are very Catholic, aren't allowed to recruit in Ireland but Irish citizens can and do join.) It's deep and complicated. And the church has never thrown itself behind the Irish nationalist cause; it's always kept its distance from it, as is right. It appreciated and benefited from the new Irish state's benevolence to it but it was never co-opted by it or the IRA, many of whom were really Communist, not Catholic. (Fooling well-meaning Irish-American Catholics into giving them money.) The church has always preferred if the British royals, et al., came back to it to rebellion.
      Well, you are right that this is something that you don't hear too many Irish-Americans discuss, that some Irish were loyal to British rule and integrated themselves into its system. I know that their are many Irish in the UK, both recent arrivals and those whose families have lived their for generations. (The vast bulk of the Catholic Church in the UK, until recently, was Irish and of Irish blood.) I do know that the Church wasn't too thrilled with the Irish revolutionaries and tended to favor the stability of the Monarchy (As they tended to do in other countries as well). At the end of the day though, national sentiment won out over any pragmatic benefits that continued union with Britain might have given.
      Some of the Irish nationalist leaders weren't Marxist-like but sincere Catholics (Eamon de Valera); the resulting benevolence to the church (essentially making Ireland act like an official Catholic country, but they respect the Presbyterians' and Anglicans' rights) plus the British firmness (executions) suppressing the revolt won enough of the Irish over.

    Tuesday, February 10, 2015

    The profit-propaganda curve, and more

    • Roissy: the profit-propaganda curve. A lot like social class generally except the top classes in our society are now rabid lefties, parlor pinkos (for thee and not for me, because I know what's best for thee; now get off my turf). The struggling/ascending have no time or resources to do other than sell their product or service; the insecure middle class pushes the crap (peer-pressure liberalism and the threat to their jobs if they don't do it); and then there's "making it": Once a business reaches the level of F*ck You, Money, its interest in abiding prevailing Hivemind norms wanes. I'm free in that I never use the work computer for editorializing (typical company rule) and my job doesn't involve my opinions (I don't write for work anymore); I carry out and keep track of production schedules. I wear my conservatism (it's not kitsch); I don't preach it. A month and a half into the job, they don't know my views on religion, politics, or sex, and I plan to keep it that way.
    • Burke for Pope. Making the rounds: I shall resist. We can and should do that if necessary. I'm not saying it is right now (vs. the sedevacantist scenario, which can happen). Because it's about our teachings, not the Pope's person. I'm not too riled up because I know our teachings can't change; "the Pope can't break things" as one of my detractors puts it. But isn't the Pope the point of being Catholic? The church is best when it's local, but per St. Paul our message is universal, not tribal, and the Popes even at their worst have only defended core Catholic teaching. So I'm in the church for eternity, both objectively (baptism and confirmation are forever) and by choice. And contraception and divorce & remarriage don't make sense in Christianity, so no to the non-Catholic Christian East.
    • Another round of online Christian East/West talks. I'm slightly muzzled at byzcath; my posts are moderated. What they want to hear (they shouldn't be byzcath): "Let's get Rome to dump its post-split doctrine." This homie don't play that.
    • A reading from Tripp Hudgins, a mainline minister and proud of it: I consider Protestants to be those who are in historically rooted denominations which began as a corrective to the church. Lutherans were trying to correct the church. Some would argue Anglicans were also trying to correct the church. The Calvinist Reformed movement? Obviously. Megachurches aren't trying to correct anything. They emerged from a world with a multiplicity of Christian expressions and have no problem with that. Only the most fundamentalist of them have trouble with Catholicism or Orthodoxy. The Southern Baptist Convention is the only Protestant denomination in the United States that still has the political will to insist that it is the true church and everyone else is wrong. Everyone else is simply participating in an immigrant church. Well put, but sure, the megachurches think they're correcting the church. They're not in it!
    • This is one of these things that angers me about certain strains of Christainity, always seeking to make people feel guilty about having things that others are not fortunate enough to. The people on the left would still be starving even if those on the right were eating bread and water. I find it very hard, if not impossible, to have guilt for things that are completely beyond my control as a human being. Furthermore, the idea that God will somehow punish the people on the right for being fortunate enough to have things that those on the left don't sounds very cruel and unjust to me.
    • Ex-Army: is laissez-faire fair? One thing that mainstream libertarianism shares with liberalism is a naive notion that all constraints on human behavior are somehow unfair or mean or evil... On one hand, God-given common sense can eventually produce spontaneous order (social Darwinism?), usually far better than state-planned economies, however well meant (the lesson of Juan Perón, for example); on the other, there's original sin. So unlike libertarians I'm "a man under authority" as the centurion in the gospel was (Domine, non sum dignus): God, his church, and the civil authorities the Byzantine Liturgy prays for in its Litany of Peace. (There's the issue of the Byzantines historically being subservient to the state, but anyway. Like "the two kingdoms" our Lutheran cousins talk about.) Truth, not anti-authority daddy issues. The libertarians have the no-harm and non-aggression principles (residual Christian ethic: as long as you don't harm another), but doing whatever you want is bad for you personally and societally, as even the libertine-sounding Roissy admits in principle. What we are seeing in America is the fruits of a false religion: a Christian heresy.
    • Ridiculed fatherhood and absent fathers lead to PUA culture. Roissy agrees.
    • Civilization and its discontents.
    • LRC: still good when it doesn't fall into the line that Ex-Army warns about.
      • The middle class is shrinking as America falls. We're turning into the Third World minus the nationalism, with a few of the super-rich with no social loyalties to countries, etc., and a lot of the very poor.
      • Redneck ethnic cleansing. In this case, eminent domain to start a national park? Under one of my least favorite presidents.
    • Bob Wallace: the truth about the Crusades in one picture.

    Monday, February 09, 2015

    Jewish neocons

    I get it but the Jewish neocons who want our country to go to war all the time both for Israel's sake and to "export democracy," meaning trying to remake Iraq, etc., to fight for American big business*, not our real national security (Iraq wasn't a threat, didn't do 9/11, and was actually what we want, a secularized Muslim country where Christians were free that was willing to play ball with us; ditto Assad's Syria), are no better than Obama and, propaganda notwithstanding (to keep conservative Christians voting for the GOP), the only "choice" vs. the Democrats that Americans are given. It's their old Trotskyism in new patriotic garb. I've been out of American mainstream politics for 15 years, a Libertarian at least functionally (became a Republican again to vote for Ron Paul in Pennsylvania's primaries).

    To give the Jewish neocons credit, they're genuinely grateful to America for making a home for Jews with no pogroms or Holocaust (only occasional unfairness, an annoyance); pre-Sixties immigrant true patriots resembling older Catholics that way. Second, they hated the Sixties, which is why they switched from the Democrats to the Republicans, sort of like Catholic Reagan Democrats or Philly Rizzocrats but with money and power. In their love for America they mean well wanting to turn backward Middle Eastern countries into copies of us but they're wrong.

    To give Obama credit, he's an abortion ghoul but he tried to get us out of Iraq, for example.

    Mitt Romney's from an old liberal Rockefeller Republican family (semi-secret: Mormons aren't really conservative) and was a try at having a good-looking gentile face/frontman for the above, maybe even good for suckering evangelicals (the Jewish neocons perhaps not realizing that serious evos know Mormons aren't Christian), who in mainstream politics have no one else to turn to anyway. Also what the Bushes really are. All nice guys personally but be aware.

    "The capital of the U.S. ought not to be Tel Aviv."

    Some history: Democrats (when liberals were well-meaning Cold War anti-Communists, including the Jews who became the neocons) got us into Korea and Vietnam; Republicans got us out. They lied about Goldwater wanting to blow up the world. Reagan (I voted for him) didn't escalate in Lebanon. Neither party's a peace one now but the GOP has a better track record.

    *Which doesn't help the working man. The top men pocket the profits now. There really are no countries anymore; the elite now have no loyalty to us.

    Sunday, February 08, 2015

    Tribal vs. universal

    Continuing "Ice people vs. sun people":
    Good points, John, but nonocracy (rule of law) as we understand it today seems to be peculiar to the Anglo-Saxons of the British Isles. Other Northern Europeans (esp. the Germans) tended more towards authoritarianism. In fact, the roots of nonocracy can be traced to the old Roman Republic, which was Southern European.

    Also, wasn't the Roman Catholic Church basically an Italian invention? You can't get more universalist than that.

    Over the past century a lot has been written in the "nature vs. nurture" debate. At one point the hereditarians (who espoused genetic determinism) held the field. Since the 1960's we've been inundated with the propaganda of the Left who subscribe to behaviorism, social and environmental determinsm. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Adding the nascent and growing field of epigenetics only promises to make the debate that much more interesting.

    It is funny how in the case of homosexuality they say no... no... it's entirely nature. The glaring exception to their rule.
    Steve Sailer has pointed out that much of our culture such as rule of law is uniquely English.

    Humanly speaking, the Catholic Church grew out of a still tribal, non-universal culture, Judaism, plus late classical Greek culture (the Greek language, and Plato's and later Aristotle's ideas, feeding our universality), fusing them. It happened (providentially, if you will) to convert the Italians and happens to be based within what's now Italy (Rome, once the headquarters of the Western world, ruling both the Jews and the Greeks).

    Sidebar: the Orthodox think their tribes ARE the church, one of their weaknesses. The defining Slavic-American Orthodox myth is that their leaving Catholicism in favor of their ancestral customs was a return to the true faith. Those customs are good, but their tribes aren't synonymous with the church. Then their third generation in America leaves when they're not culturally Greek, Slavic, etc. anymore. People who are really spiritual eventually see through the tribalism and parochialism. In theory their doctrine is as universal as ours, but in practice they're what I describe. Partly why their Western Rite experiments are tiny: most Westerners so inclined become or remain Catholic, and in their hearts the Orthodox don't want it. It's not of their tribes.
    Cultures often borrow heavily from one another. Only isolated places (like islands) don't follow this rule. Even the Japanese adopted Confucianism and Buddhism early in their history. As I pointed out earlier, nonocracy (rule of law) was something created (in its modern form) by the English. No one else in Northern Europe at that time had anything approximating it. However, Anglo-Saxon culture was significantly influenced by the Mediterranean cultures of Rome, Greece and Judaea. As I learned in college, the roots of nonocracy can be found in the Constitution of the old Roman Republic, what most historians consider the first true republic in history.
    "Cultures often borrow heavily from one another." The French invaded England, changing our language forever. We're still a Germanic language (sharing 60% of our vocabulary with German so our respective literature translates well in both directions) but we went from sounding like the Germans and the Dutch to something we understand today, taking the guttural edge off our sound. English is a Germanic language that sounds like it's pretending to be a Romance language because of all the stolen words.