Sunday, August 02, 2015

"Diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit"

  • Mass: Cum clamarem ad Dominum. O God, who declarest thy almighty power most chiefly in shewing mercy and pity; Mercifully grant unto us such a measure of thy grace, that we, running the way of thy commandments, may obtain thy gracious promises, and be made partakers of thy heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord... Amen. "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit." "Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." (Book of Common Prayer translations; the assignments vary a bit from our rite.) A cappella Missa Cantata today; the organist (formerly of St. Mary the Virgin, New York) is away. As in the Christian East, Western Catholicism "unplugged" is a wonderful sound; just voices bouncing off stone walls. By the way, funny how the liberals' changes age badly and can backfire. For example, to make God seem friendlier, they translated Deus, as in today's and most collects, as "Father," which is now part of the sin of sexism; patriarchy.
  • False religion doesn't necessarily mean they're liars. My anti-Anglican friend lit into Peter Robinson's United Episcopal Church of North America, one of the three original and the lowest-church of the Continuing bodies. The website of one of the parishes of the "church" run by your buddy Robinson. Scroll down to the "Roman Catholic" section. This is what I mean when I say the "Anglican Church" is fake and satanic. The whole thing is a sheep-stealing lie. They try to pass themselves off as Catholic instead of the thing that they are. If there's one thing that Archbishop Robinson does NOT do, it's try to pass himself off as Roman Catholic. This is standard English "Reformation" stuff. In a sense he thinks it's the true church. (We and the Orthodox are churches too but in grave error because we're "unreformed.") Robinson's thing isn't Anglo-Catholic in the sense of wannabe Catholic. It's a conservative version of the old PROTESTANT Episcopal Church, making no pretense of liking us. Here's why I'm not offended. They're untruths but the people teaching them believe in them. They are not liars. This is very like the religion I started out in. Note the eastward celebration, a slight high churchification that had become mainstream in pre-Sixties Episcopalianism, the continuation of which, thanks to their semi-congregationlism, I got the benefit of. I was taught "this is a Catholic church." Even though that turned out not to be true, it pointed the way to God and the church, and is why I'm not Novus Ordo; thank you. Catholicism in English still speaks to me in its idiom. Yeah but this parish is being deliberately deceptive. Lying heretics. Again, false religion doesn't equal lying. Deception is the Episcopalians once upon a time offering the Tridentine Mass to Italians and today La Santa Misa en Español to Puerto Ricans and devotions to Our Lady of Guadalupe to Mexicans. Archbishop Robinson's not a false-flag operator. He's honestly offering all a "Catholic but reformed" religion he believes is the gospel truth. And because it's based on principles, however wrong, not something as risible as anti-Westernism, I'm not even angry. You can nicely, briefly answer their claims or yell "Fakedty-fake!" and just p*ss them off. Your choice. Well, at some point it is necessary to break through the lies they have chosen to believe. Sure but you need tact and self-control to do it. Come at them out of control, yelling fakedty-fake, and they'll just dismiss you as a low-class, rude "Roman." (They call us "Roman" because they believe they have the best Catholicism, almost like confessional Lutherans believe they ARE Western Catholicism.) I dare say, I came from that so I know how to talk to them. Clarity is more charitable. It does them no favors to leave them in their delusions. Not everybody is cut out to be an apologist; see St. Paul in today's epistle about a diversity of ministries in the church.
  • So how'd this mostly WASP born Episcopalian end up Catholic? While my start was culturally pre-Sixties (pre-Vatican II!) low-church, it pointed in the church's direction: "This is a Catholic church." A change of parishes, and otherwise the same religion, "High Morning Prayer" and all, changed from the rector and curate being Mr. Lastname to Fr. Lastname. (Finding out later that not all such going by Father had traditionally Catholic beliefs was a punch in the face like Bishop Spong and women priests were.) I learned about all seven sacraments. Semi-congregationalism meant no new Prayer Book and keeping eastward celebrations of the 8 o'clock and alternating 10 o'clock Communions. There was that apparent self-sufficiency (we're fine as we are with all the marks of the church) but I also inferred a budding Anglo-Papalism (before I knew that was even a thing) thanks to Vatican II and ecumenism: if we weren't already in the church, we were about to come home, right? Add to that curiosity about my family. I wrote "mostly WASP": my dad was half-Hispanic and grew up speaking Spanish. A born Catholic who left before the council, marrying an Episcopalian. Still crossed himself, which is partly where I picked that up. That and the high-ish parish taught it. When I found out my dad was Catholic, that got me searching. (He came back to the church. Unlike me, he liked Vatican II.) And... the surrounding culture, indeed "the Christian community," even after Vatican II made a hash of things. Most of my New Jersey high school was Irish-Italian (a thing unto itself as those groups had intermarried by then). Much later, and this relates to groups such as Robinson's UECNA, I could read the Thirty-Nine Articles (frankly anti-Catholic) with 20/20 hindsight: Articles XIX and XXI's errors about the church ("it's fallible!") gave the ending away long before the first woman was ordained or Spong started writing. (The late Fr. Serge Keleher on the Continuum: "The Protestant Episcopal Church fell apart so let's re-create it so it can fall apart again.") Vatican II "renewal" nonsense (ultra-low church!) kept me out for a long time (as bad as the modern Episcopalians in a way; yes, I understand about invalid orders) but it was only a matter of time before I came into the church to stay. I've gone from believing what I was taught about Anglicanism to an Anglo-Catholic fighting for what I wanted it to be, to, from Catholicism, accepting it for what it is.
  • The trouble with the Orthodox isn't really heresy: filter out the garbage that's their opinion of post-schism doctrine, and just like with the Vincentian canon you have Catholicism. (Not just on paper: they have bishops and the Mass.) No, it's that they deny that so many more Christians than them, Western Catholics, have the same faith, only they don't include us because we're not a part of their culture or nation. (Dale Griffiths, born into it and a former Orthodox priest: they don't even really want converts. Like Jews.) That's what sells me on the church.
  • The point is tribalism, while natural (inculturation: the church IS local; "community"), can go too far, and part of Christ's point is that God isn't just the God of the Jews; we're not a tribal faith anymore but universal (Catholic: for everyone because its teachings apply to all). He also turns out to be one in three; before Christ, who knew? That said: Ecumenism and Vatican II for the tribal Catholic. Separate charity from truth and you have indifferentism, or the kind of tenderness that Flannery O'Connor said leads to the gas chamber; "to hell with it."

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