Friday, August 28, 2015

The WDBJ-TV story, F.G. Lee, and more

  • Black gay ex-TV reporter murders white straight reporter and white straight cameraman during broadcast; media blame gun. Exactly; it doesn't fit the narrative like "Law & Order" plots do. (Unconstitutionally abusive cops going after New York's most dangerous on average: white men. As silly as "Batman" vs. the Joker, etc.) Alison Parker of course was pretty thus on camera; she and Adam Ward seemed nice. RIP.
  • Reading: Dr. Lee of Lambeth. I "met" F.G. Lee in the library of one of those mainstream American institutions of weird self-hating "Vatican II" Catholics, one of their successful, sports-y "universities," 30 years ago. I think it was his Glossary of Liturgical and Ecclesiastical Terms. What a contrast to the school: charming (well-spoken) and not only believing in and defending everything the church teaches (one of the first Anglo-Papalists) but in love with the church and its culture, yet for most of his life he technically wasn't Catholic. Lee's life covered the stages and contradictions of the first century of Anglo-Catholicism as one of its second generation (he knew the Tractarians personally but came later than them), from high-and-dry (outwardly Protestant, conforming) in early 19th-century England (he came of age in the mid-1800s) to wordplay with the Anglican authorities defending disobeying them to bring back Catholic practices, and defending Anglican orders to Catholics, to being a successful slum priest, to realizing that Anglican "ritualism" has no ground to stand on (disobedience, which is un-Catholic), to (actually starting fairly early on) becoming what many assumed Anglo-Catholicism was (but actually its opposite), convinced of Catholicism but wanting to bring all the Anglicans in corporately (he and a number of Catholic clergy understandably were friendly — his biographer says the Pope was sympathetic — but of course some Catholic authorities suspected him, for remaining outside the church: his Association for the Promotion of the Unity of Christendom was wronged), to, some say, secretly becoming a Catholic bishop, to, unsurprisingly, at the very end, officially becoming a Catholic (layman), dying in 1902. (His wife, who predeceased him, converted years earlier, and stayed with him.) From embattled young priest to slum-ministry success serving thousands, impressing other Victorians, to, in the end, back to only a couple dozen people in a church built for over a thousand, to losing his little parish in a merger. He had failings: his biographer speculates he bought a fake doctorate. (Later he only had a doctorate of divinity, which I think is honorary.) A failure and folly in the world's eyes but not God's. Better still: unlike most other Anglo-Catholics, he was a Tory.
  • Tom Lehrer. Eccentric genius still with us but out of the spotlight by choice. About 55 years ago, even the liberal smartasses were better. My favorite: "Folk Song Army."
  • "Sister Wives" cite gay marriage ruling in polygamy case. They have a point. The question for us is what social ills from polygamy should make us keep a ban. Not everything that's a sin, shameful, etc., should be illegal. I know that fundamentalist Mormon groups are abusive, kicking out excess boys so the leaders can help themselves to the girls. Are the actual Mormons dangerous? (Polygamy really is part of their doctrine; they've compromised to obey the law.) By the way, they're not really conservative; they started pretending to be, years ago, in order to blend in, the image they still have and are made fun of for. I understand there are lots of them in the FBI and CIA now, jobs that Irish Catholic cops used to have.
  • Pat Buchanan was right.


  1. Buchanan was right about everything. He nailed everything back in the early '90s: open-borders immigration, the destruction of traditional morality, the catastrophe of "free trade," the futility of useless wars. He told the truth about the efforts by corporate elites and big government to remake the American order to produce a servile state And he was mocked, attacked, declared a hater & fanatic, and cast out of establishment circles. But he was right. He. Was. Right. The Prophet Pat.

    As for the Anglo-Papalists, once somebody realizes the Catholic Church is true, I am highly skeptical of them staying outside the Church for any reason. Corporate reunion? Please. A love of Chardonnay, canapés, and Cranmerian English are not reasons to stay outside the Church.

    1. True about Buchanan.

      Of course I anticipated and acknowledged your point about Anglo-Papalists. Lee wasn't an ex-Catholic; he was acting in good faith, even though he made mistakes. Before Apostolicae Curae, even though the church had always treated Anglican orders as invalid, it was still in theory a matter for debate. And God is extremely patient, giving Lee the grace of coming into the church after many years.

      For the historians who read this blog: how on earth did Lee and his fellow Anglican priest friends get away with their disobedience of becoming bishops in the not-so-secret Order of Corporate Reunion?

    2. I think that Peter Anson discusses all this in his *Bishops At Large* (London, 1965: Faber & Faber); the answer, IIRC, is that all the facts, or alleged facts, were guarded with the closest secrecy, and that the Order of Corporate Reunion kept, or at least retained, no "incriminating evidence" of their activities.

    3. I've read Bishops at Large. But according to Lee's biographer, Henry R.T. Brandreth, Lee and especially Thomas Mossman weren't discreet, even though nobody wrote for the OCR under his own name. Lee's choir habit was like a Catholic bishop's (there is a photo of him with a purple skullcap and pectoral cross, as the highest-ranking monsignori, such as the ex-Anglican ordinaries now, can have), "by authority" but he didn't say whose, and supposedly he had a Vatican document recognizing the OCR's bishops on a wall at All Saints', Lambeth; Mossman ordained two priests but only got a warning from the Bishop of Lincoln. (The legend is these secret Catholic bishops re-ordained scores of Anglo-Catholic priests.) I can't imagine an Episcopal priest today, for example, getting away with such things. Lee did destroy as much "incriminating evidence" as he could towards the end of his life, around the time he openly came into the church as a layman. Brandreth says Mossman re-confirmed Elvira Lee, Lee's wife, and she wasn't confirmed again when she openly came into the church in 1881, and David Lloyd-Thomas, whom Lee allegedly ordained, was conditionally re-ordained after he came into the church.

      Brandreth thought it was a top-secret project of the church (to be disowned if it failed but acknowledged if it worked); that in Italy (Murano?) in 1877, Lee, Mossman, and J.T. Seccombe (already a vagante bishop through the first such, Jules Ferrette) really were received into the church and became Catholic bishops, through the Archbishop of Milan (or one of his suffragans). Sounds like a Protestant tall tale about those dishonest Catholics (undercover, doing Anglican services by the Anglican book), but if its goal was to bring Britain back to the church (definitely what Lee wanted), I don't mind. Interestingly, while the church condemned the Association for the Promotion of the Unity of Christendom, it didn't formally condemn the OCR even though of course many Catholic churchmen attacked it (its stated position was modern branch-theorist nonsense). Maybe there wasn't really any order to condemn.

    4. I think one has to be very, very careful with Anson's Bishops at Large, he should have stuck to church architecture. Virtually anyone whom Anson did not like, he put in the book: including individuals who were canonical Byzantine and Oriental Orthodox.


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