Wednesday, April 13, 2016

RIP Warren Bradway, a traditional Catholic gentleman

Agathonikea, "good victory." A colorful life "lived large" has moved to a new chapter. Warren Bradway, a stalwart of the old Anglo-Papalist St. Clement's whom I got to know nearly 30 years ago, and like me a returnee to the Catholic Church, has just died. He lived in eccentric baronial splendor in downtown Philadelphia (rambling old house full of Victoriana and holy relics) and, back in the church, had become a stalwart of the servers, again, at "St. Clement's Jr.," the Traditional Latin Mass Community of Philadelphia meeting at St. Edmond's. RIP.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The car and I: Night cruise and keeping her out of the rain

I've kept my car at home nearly a week now, tarped through two precipitations, and as I drive her she's sounding even better than her old self, getting used to my local mechanic's adjustments. Even the seemingly recalcitrant starter's behaving. Great drive yesterday in the sun. Topped off the tank just to be extra careful. A few days ago I filled it up and put in the lead additive. But she still smokes like a disillusioned French writer. Still renting the garage monthly for use as needed (seasonal or severe-weather forecast). Forecast calls for rain today so as a good classic-car daddy I went outside at 4:30am to tarp her... and of course it rained overnight. "Break out the towels and give her a rubdown!" That done, the opening for the antenna (hole punch through the material and a layer of packing tape) made putting on her raincoat relatively easy by the iffy light of the back lot.

Talked to a recommended local body/paint place and he's booked for the next couple of weeks. OK. She's not a trailer queen but she came that way. Her new hood ornament from Jerry Lasseigne's workshop and her legal 1958 Pennsylvania license plate (registration sticker for 1964) make up for it.

Photo: last night. "Baby, let's cruise." The green ghost car of Delco.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Low Sunday: Don't ignorantly use a rite's imagery

Mass: Quasi modo geniti infantes, alleluia.

The Divine Mercy devotion is wonderful. I don't know why it was suppressed in the good old days (I think the story is St. Faustina, not a theologian, made some innocent mistakes); the Polish Pope restored it.

A beautiful picture. That said, from my years when I knew Byzantine Catholics and Orthodox and was nominally Orthodox, I've picked up the church's policy of not mixing the rites. (Yet I still have a couple of icons respectfully on display and wear a three-bar cross, to prove the point that the church includes all that. Some Western Catholics are called to the East; I don't think I'm one of them.) Lots of well-meaning Western Catholic artists appropriate Byzantine iconography without understanding it, in order to depict Western subjects, inadvertently offending. (One of the worst things I've seen: a nice conservative Catholic foundation using icons of Jesus and Mary respectively as signs for the lavatories.) That said, Middle Eastern Christians don't get upset about those things, and I imagine many Greeks and Russians don't either. Most often it's the converts understandably and commendably in love with the Byzantine Rite. Anyway, asking for Jesus' mercy with you on Low Sunday (Quasimodo Sunday, Dominica in Albis) in the Roman Rite.

I like Leonid Ouspensky's rather recent notion (as far as I know) of icons as halfway between a regular picture or statue and a sacramental presence.

Make China economy strong!

From a couple of months ago:
A Communist superpower 1 billion strong and armed with nukes, extending its military and economic tentacles, persecuting Christians, and forcing abortions? Embrace it!
I'm conflicted. On one hand I find the betrayal of Nationalist China and South Vietnam abhorrent; on the other, if not for the Sixties' war on the old America and Nixon's self-defeat caught trying to cheat in an election, he would have been remembered as a master statesman. (He would have got my vote in '60; I have campaign swag.) Our business interests with China are about where they were before World War II (a reason we entered the war, which I think we shouldn't have), and Taiwan's doing just fine, thanks; not bad for a country that no longer officially exists. (Also: China may be a chamber of horrors but in practice they know Communism doesn't work; they're still mouthing the party line, though.) The dominoes fell in Indochina yet we're still here, relatively free. (A Democrat got us into Korea and Vietnam; a Republican got us out.) China's problems aren't our problems, but... as Nixon said of Russia, they'll never be our friend but are too big for us to make an enemy of them. Chinese-made stuff floods our market; it's inescapable. But I want to make America great again.

As for the Pope, his opinions aren't our doctrine; there are Realpolitik and retreats underground with honor, or bravado facing the Communists can cause bloody retribution, and then there's surrender; discernment tells you the difference (the difference between, in the Ukraine, Fr. Gabriel Kostel'nyk on one hand and Metropolitans Josyf and Volodymyr under Soviet rule on the other).

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Anglicanism is an engine swap

Some ramblings about the denomination of my birth, which didn't see itself as a denomination. As I think Msgr. Burnham recently mentioned, in England it really thought of itself, Catholic-like, as "the church" (as I intentionally, habitually call the Catholic Church), the country's other major Christian groups being "Romans" or "nonconformists/dissenters." Catholics were considered "Catholic too" but in grave error; other Protestants seen much as we see them ("No bishop, no ministry!").

Michael Davies for example has taught me that Luther and the original Anglicans really weren't big on continuity with the medieval church; any resemblance was either accidental or a cover to promote the new faith, which of course they saw as a long-belated recovery of the original from Christ. Luther kept externals and Melanchthon tried most of his adult life to reconcile Lutheranism to the church so Lutherans ended up our close cousins.

Anglicanism is Reformed, a label that doesn't necessarily mean Calvinist. A few generations after the King forced England's separation from the church, the high churchmen claimed the new religion was the old religion minus "accretions," complete with real bishops so the church fathers were writing about the high churchmen's faith, neither "Roman" nor nonconformist. (The high churchmen according to Jonathan Mitchican: the true church, thanks to being both Catholic and Reformed, "Catholic" meaning creeds, bishops, and the idea of a liturgy, not a "branch" of the church and certainly not wannabe Catholics.)

An analogy to classic cars comes to mind: they're claiming they've customized and streamlined the car (no more drag from those "Roman accretions") but it's still a real '58 Chevy Impala (to use a favorite example: the bigger, cooler, double twin-headlight cars, not the cliché Tri-5 Chevys, which look like taxis to me), for example, original "guts," engine, drivetrain, and all. It's more like an engine swap and more, exactly the opposite, plus the cosmetic changes, which in this case reflect the new faith. If the body shell's a '58 Chevy but a modern hemi and transmission are powering the car, is she really still a '58 Chevy? Not enough to be registered in Pennsylvania as an antique.

In any event, while there was enough remaining orthodoxy to give people a good start in Christian formation (happy historical accident: why Catholicism in English speaks to me in its idiom and why I'm not Novus Ordo), it was Erastian, solely to give the King what he wanted, so no wonder the English elite (and their cousins, America's founding fathers), having pillaged the church locally thanks to the change in religion, lost their belief when the "Enlightenment" hit.