Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Gripes: Altar girls and the attempted ordination of women, charismatics, Opus Dei, and Pope Francis on gays

  • Altar girls. "They look ridiculous in men's clothes." That's what I thought when as an Episcopalian I belatedly learned of women's ordination among them. I couldn't articulate why then but knew something had gone wrong. It was like a flashing red light: "This is not the Catholic Church." So it hurts when Catholics do this stuff, as they have been allowed to since St. John Paul the Overrated caved on it. Liberal Catholics have been trying to soft-sell women's ordination in this and other ways (women lectors and women Eucharistic ministers) for 40 years. How's that working out? Vocations up? Why not? Altar boys are chierichetti, little clergy, in Italian, stand-ins for men in minor orders (which are rare); JROTC for priests as I say. When girls do it, the boys quit or don't volunteer, so the girls take it over: the sanctuary party in liberal parishes looks like a Swedish Lucia fest. And to what end? They can't become clergy; the church has made fairly clear that the ordination of women is impossible. It's a dead end and some girls' feelings are understandably hurt. It's pretty entrenched in the parishes now, lots of cute daughters and granddaughters doing it, so it will be herculean to eradicate. There's the biological option: liberal Catholics are dying out; young Catholic churchgoers are conservative, so altar girls will naturally, eventually go away. Interestingly, there is no big movement among Catholics to ordain women; people know we can't do it, not "won't." I say that's the Holy Spirit talking. Women clergy and something we can and sometimes do have, married clergy, don't reverse church decline. The Episcopalians have both and are still tanking for example. From a conversation about "three streams" in modern conservative (Realignment) Anglicanism (which has women priests; it's not Catholicism but a Reformed faith with the church's shell), which apparently are Anglo-Catholicism (not would-be Catholics but pushing a rival true-church claim), Evangelicalism (capitalized as an Anglican churchmanship), and charismatics.
  • Charismatics. Alice Linsley writes: Archbishop Mark Haverland makes this important point: Neo-pentecostalism simply didn't exist among Anglicans until after WW II. It certainly has no "semper" — nor "ubique" nor "omnes" for that matter. This is all post-1960s thinking, not the Catholic faith. I'm suspicious of it for that reason and because it's Protestant. Liberal Catholics used to love the Catholic charismatics because it was Protestant and ecumenism was cool; it was another way to stick it to traditionalists. It was dangerous. But in the Catholic Church it eventually catholicized (they love Mary, Eucharistic devotions, and apparitions) and, because it was based on conservative Protestantism, its honeymoon with the libcaths ended. It seems on the wane. Since it's catholicized here, I can live with it. I see them doing the orans position with their hands at the Our Father the few times a year I'm at the modern Mass. I call them the other American Catholics besides us traditionalists who still go to Sunday Mass. Pentecostalism's only been around for about 110 years. Oral and Richard Roberts... The Holy Spirit works in the world and miracles can happen but yes, be suspicious. Discern.
  • Opus Dei, "The Work," is nice; the right people respectively love and hate it. But I found it too Novus Ordo and if one isn't called to it like a religious order, one doesn't need it; all you need is a nice parish, a good confessor, and enough knowledge of the faith to be the best Catholic CEO, garbage man, and so on, that you can be. So, the rather hamfisted OD guy who tried to recruit me at a party was all, "Oh, it's just Catholicism, nothing more." I told him that therefore I already had what he was selling. Exactly.
  • Answering well-meaning, mainlinish, bumbling Pope Francis: Yes, we Catholics should apologize to homosexuals but not for the reason you want to hear. By the way, the church doesn't tell such to lie by living in sham marriages, for example. We do teach all to deny oneself, take up one's cross, and follow Christ. St. Peter, the church's earthly head after Christ, was crucified upside down for his sake; in the beginning there was no incentive to be a Christian.
  • Happy Gregorian-date (that is, the date most Christians use) feast of SS. Peter and Paul. Deus, qui hodiernam diem Apostolorum tuorum Petri et Pauli martyrio consecrasti: da Ecclesiae tuae, eorum in omnibus sequi praeceptum; per quos religionis sumpsit exordium. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Politics, religion, and psychology

  • The Latin Mass Society chairman: assuming the British government acts on the recent non-binding referendum that voted to leave the EU, now to rebuild Europe. By the way, Norway and Switzerland are not in the EU. Looked it up: Switzerland has withdrawn its application; some say Norway basically pays tribute money to the EU but has no say.
  • A storm that erupted recently among conservative Protestants over the doctrine of the Trinity. I had no idea. The fairly well-known Catholic lay evangelist Karl Keating has explained that fundamentalism has the best intention, defending orthodox Christianity, but without the church backing it up, it doesn't have a leg to stand on. So this stuff happens. Ignorance leads to things such as Mormonism and the Jehovah's Witnesses, which outsiders think are conservative Protestant but are really no longer Christian.
  • Two about psychology, one about such and the media.
    • The weird way social media is messing with your brain. I've worked with the written word for 25 years so I can tell you media is plural. Anyway, this isn't surprising. It's the celebrity effect from modern communications technology such as movies: we think we know certain people, and extremely well, because we know every detail of their faces and voices, but we really don't! Throw in the Internet phenomenon of narrowcasting and everyday people become our celebrities. A now well-known, maybe unintended trick on/trap for the socially isolated: "social media" can be a lifeline but it can easily be an illusion of friendship ("friendship with no strings attached" really means no friendship), masking a problem. I'll say if you often exchange comments and messages, you probably really are friends even if you've likely never met.
    • More unintended effects as science learns more about the brain: An experimental autism treatment cost me my marriage. Reminds me a little of Flowers for Algernon. By the way, not every autistic person is unemotional as this fellow apparently was in his natural state. The treatment woke up the part of his brain that's supposed to read people's emotions but the rest of his autistic brain couldn't handle all that information; understandable.
  • Five groups who are as loud as their causes are pointless. Warning: language. Cracked at its best, as it was before peer-pressure liberalism took it over. Thanks for calling out anti-Christian stuff.
  • Snarky social commentary: the affluent young laughing at their own foibles (Christian Lander did it better with Stuff White People Like) or picking on a convenient target? My guess: if von Trapp family member Nathaniel Peters were homosexual and not a devout Catholic (not pre-Vatican II like me), nobody of that blog's kind would be making fun of him.
  • A handy chart explaining confusing family relations. First cousins once removed, etc.
  • A Catholic option from history: de Valera's Ireland, not bowing to the sickle, the swastika, or the almighty dollar.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Orthodoxy without the attitude: I'll be back

As there was a car show this Sunday, I went to the Saturday-evening spoken Divine Liturgy (Low Mass) in English at Holy Myrrh-Bearers Ukrainian Catholic Church, Swarthmore, Pa., a recent merger of two parishes. Almost exactly like the first traditional Catholic Mass I went to in person 31 years ago. Here, that evening, no altar boys; small, older Saturday congregation. Orthodoxy without the attitude. I'll be back.

An enjoyable Saturday-afternoon drive though the little WASP college town of Swarthmore brought me (past a decent-sized Roman Rite church nearby ) to this romantic Gothic church complete with cemetery and lych-gate, the former Leiper Presbyterian Church. Several members of the Leiper family are buried here.
She looks good by the lych-gate.
She got a lot of love from the congregation; met a few of them that way.

The lych-gate. I think in medieval England the funeral procession with the coffin would stop under one of these for part of the service.

Copies of icons by renowned painter Christina Dochwat. This parish has third-generation Americans but many such parishes have families who fled from the Soviets right after World War II; all are grateful, patriotic Americans as well as enthusiastically nationalistic about the Ukraine. In the opposite corner is the Ukrainian flag. (Ukrainian Catholics are actually a minority from the country's far west.) The Litany of Peace in the Byzantine Rite, in the tradition of praying on a Christian empire's behalf, prays for the government and the armed forces specifically.

A detail I remember from my first traditional Catholic Mass in person in 1985. The embroidered towel (рушник, rushnik, towel) placed on some holy images is a surviving pagan Ukrainian custom.

"In peace let us pray to the Lord." "Lord, have mercy." Fr. John Ciurpita, pastor. The fine iconostasis is from the former Holy Ghost Church, Chester.
The servant of God John partakes of the Precious and All-Holy Body and Blood of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ unto the remission of sins and everlasting life.
Orthodoxy without the attitude, from me: being at a Byzantine Rite service for the right reasons, not to look cool or make some anti-Catholic statement, left or right, is great. At home I broke out the Orthodox prayer books for the pre- and post-Communion offices.
It's nice to know that a building once used for schismatic purposes is finally being used to celebrate the one true Church.
Worse than in schism; in heresy, but their heart was in the right place as born Presbyterians. We should pray privately for them, commending them to God's infinite mercy as I'm sure Fr. Ciurpita does.
A spoken Divine Liturgy? The Ruthenian Byzantine church I occasionally attend has one on Saturday evening. An anticipatory Sunday liturgy. (Oh, the awful and horrid latinisation.) I have not yet been to one.
My instinct is to try to be a purist too, and unlatinized Byzantine Catholicism is a desire of the church deserving of much-needed support. That said, the people want the latinized forms and deserve respect, and this spoken Liturgy doesn't offend me. The only thing I didn't like was a Novus Ordo-ism, having a lady lector facing the congregation from a lectern off to the side, rather than a man facing the altar, but you can't always have your way and her heart's in the right place. I'll take it over schism.

By the way, in this country the Ukrainian Catholic Church normally uses the Western date for Easter and the Gregorian calendar, unlike in the Ukraine. No problem; it's not doctrine. The only reason the Orthodox date for Easter is different is to spite Rome by retaining the inaccurate Julian calendar to calculate the date. Again, not de fide, so the church is fine with having two observances of Easter and two fixed-date calendars to keep the peace. Everything that's not doctrine (and most things aren't) should be negotiable.
Not having ever been in a Byzantine jurisdiction, it's not my place to say. Still, sometimes I feel that some Byzantines online can be a bit over-zealous in campaigning for de-latinisation, to the point where they seem to side with the schismatics against the orthodoxy of the Latin Church.
You're right; that only adds to the difficulty of being an unlatinized Byzantine Catholic as the church wants and some are called to be. Some Byzantine Catholics online do side with the schismatics (or rather, in the case of born Orthodox, people born into schism but not personally guilty of it; estranged traditional Catholics), which is why I don't read their fora anymore and would never send inquirers there. They're almost always converts who in their understandable love for the rite make the mistake of putting it above the church. The sin of the Orthodox is they think their culture is the church. The church has many cultures: rites, schools of spirituality, and even theological opinions (not to be confused with doctrine) that don't always like each other.

Rome didn't intend to have latinized forms of Eastern rites; the Byzantine Catholics usually latinized themselves. An ecumenical problem because it makes the Orthodox think they can't trust us to preserve their customs. And sometimes we screwed up. The church can set and change disciplinary rules such as having married priests or not in a certain country, but banning the practice in America caused two waves of schism, circa 1900-1914 and in the 1930s, for no good reason. Something like 60% of American Russian Orthodox are descended from ex-Byzantine Catholics.

A detail about this place: Presbyterian pews without kneelers, a nice halfway practice for a moderate Byzantine Catholic parish. You may sit, and their custom has that in parts, but kneeling isn't traditionally part of the rite.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A bit about Brexit but mostly religion

  • I guess Brexit is good. The right people like it and hate it respectively. Hooray for Nigel Farage. As most now know, the British just had a non-binding referendum in which most say they want their country out of the EU, a first. Looks like the stock market (that is, the powers that be manipulating it?) will drop for a while to punish the world. This week was the feast of SS. Thomas More (the king's good servant but God's first, so no stealing the church locally) and John Fisher (the only English bishop to say no to Henry VIII) and someone has called the English schism and forced conversion to Protestantism, part of Britain's national myth including independence from Europe, the first Brexit. Clever. Good point to ponder. People often try to start schisms in the name of forming "national Catholic churches." But as Peter Anson wryly noted, even proud ethnic Catholic groups always prefer to remain in the international church. Catholics have healthy local pride; we have countries. But neither that nor property rights are absolutes in our social teaching. It seems to me the left's (including that granddaddy Freemasonry) internationalism/universality, based on values above blood and soil, is aping the church. How can we distinguish between the two? Leftism is Christianity's bastard and a temptation for many of us. For our ruling elite there are no more countries. Beseiged by hostile Mohammedan migrants, the Brits are starting to push back. Not surprising because... Britain is in a way an American protectorate (Airstrip One); same empire but with the capital moved west, definitely since World War II. So it's in a position to tell off the EU. Europe naturally would be a standoff between Russia and Germany; Russia's not our problem anymore, not Communist, and we should welcome them as a Christian ally (not that we should entirely trust them, but they're not threatening us). And as Catholics we should want these estranged traditional Catholics back.
  • David Mills from 1996: Latcons: the long and the short of latitudinarian conservatives. Churches that are just conservative enough to be successful in the religious "market," teaching just enough about Jesus and not just repackaged secular humanism, but not so conservative as to get secular reprisal/backlash. There's discretion and then there's compromise. Reminds me of the Laodiceans in the Book of Revelation and of Newman figuring out that the middle way such as Monophysitism anciently or 19th-century Anglicanism vis-à-vis Catholicism and Protestantism isn't necessarily the truth. This link came up in a conversation about "neo-Anglicans" in the "Realignment," such as ACNA, ex-Episcopalians basically simpatico with English and Third World Evangelical Anglicans. Like with the Lutherans, they try to be about Jesus, but they end up defending Episcopalianism circa 1980: half the Modernism (including women priests; hey, Articles XIX and XXI teach a fallible church so there you go) but none of the homosexualism or upper-middle-class snobbery. It also seems where the Reformed Episcopal Church now is: not classic Anglicanism's true-church claim (their branch theory rightly understood: the true church; we're Catholic too but in grave error; no bishops mean no church) but an evangelicalism that believes the historic church's structure and usages are nice but not essential.
  • Ex-Catholic Orthodox. Rare, thank God. Two unfriendly bloggers at odds with each other but both knowledgeable square off.
    • Lessons learned from Rocky One to Rocky Three. This fellow left the church and seems to have settled into a Modernism in which there is no true church, which of course is not what the Orthodox teach, but he describes well the (extremely rare) mistake of traditionalists trying to move to the most Rome-like of that loose communion, pretty much mine 20 years ago, which I took too long to undo. Regular readers know my lines: We include them sacramentally. They don't include us. If you can really believe that Byzantium is the center of the universe so all outside are apostate or a big unknown, then this schism is for you. If not, be Catholic!
    • Response with a good comments thread including the very knowledgeable former Russian Orthodox priest Dale. Likewise Bernard Brandt here happens to express my view. Mr. Sanchez confirms an impression I've had: A good number of ex-Catholic Orthodox I have met over the years either married into Orthodoxy or weren’t strong churchgoers prior to finding the Christian East. Functionally they were Protestants (many such seem to have learned about God in evangelicalism first) so their first consciousness about hierarchy, liturgy, sacraments, etc. came from Byzantium, just like born Orthodox. If you're acting in good faith, God understands.
  • Which reminds me: the bottom line about Slavic-American Orthodox' foundational myths, the Toth and Chornock schisms. What our churchmen were telling Greek Catholics to do in America was distasteful and unfair (most notably, banning married priests), but was it heretical? And don't give me the lines against the Pope that you copied from the Russians and the Greeks after you left. According to either side, were the new disciplinary rules for America heretical? Traditional churches change discipline all the time; witness economy in Byzantium.
  • Conservatism Inc. has no answer to Islamic terrorism except to invade the world. Don't invade; don't invite.
  • Trump gets it: We've spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that, frankly, if they were there and if we could have spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems — our airports and all the other problems we have — we would have been a lot better off, I can tell you that right now. We have done a tremendous disservice not only to the Middle East — we've done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have been wiped away — and for what? It's not like we had victory. It's a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized, a total and complete mess. I wish we had the 4 trillion dollars or 5 trillion dollars. I wish it were spent right here in the United States on schools, hospitals, roads, airports, and everything else that are all falling apart! LRC has its limitations ("everything the government says and does is bad; question authority, man!") but like Catholic social teaching it teaches you to think outside the box of modern, media-fed political "thought," and it has said: why not take the terrorists such as Omar Mateen at their word and stop bombing their countries?
  • Lee Penn on what's wrong with Ayn Rand.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Byzantine Catholic resurrection in Delco

A story from about a year ago: Two Ukrainian Catholic parishes become one in Ridley.

On my list to visit: Holy Myrrh-Bearers Ukrainian Catholic Church in Swarthmore, Pa., created by the merger of Holy Ghost, Chester, whence came the fine baroque iconostasis, and SS. Peter & Paul, Clifton Heights, which I visited once (sorry, dismal; no iconostasis or singing); the church bought a closed old Presbyterian building. The people probably want a Saturday-night Mass so they have one rather than Saturday Vespers, like the first Ukrainian Catholic church I went to 30 years ago. I imagine like that place it could be to accommodate two languages; one service is in English. But I've been told this place does everything in English. Ukrainian Catholics probably still used Slavonic 30 years ago; now they use Ukrainian. Pictured: Metropolitan Stefan (Soroka) and other bishops consecrating the new church.

My first traditional Catholic Mass in person when the American church offered nothing similar; thanks. Eastern rites, such as the relatively large Byzantine Rite including this, seem self-limiting in America, parishioners gone often within three generations, but have much potential to bring in the lapsed and unchurched, a traditional Catholicism without some of our cultural baggage (such as Latin, not that Latin's not good). They have a spectrum of practice from unlatinized to latinized and that's fine. Its online dissenters from church teaching (usually converts making the Orthodox' mistake of putting their love for the rite above the church; worse because it's liturgically conservative, getting some Catholics' trust) seem rare in real life, thank God. In the western Ukraine, under the Communists, church members were heroes, often refusing to leave the church when ordered to (all of their bishops said no), forming an underground church (a survival lesson), and those who were forced out (the Soviets gave parish churches to the Russian Orthodox) came back as soon as possible, when Communism collapsed.

Being an unlatinized Byzantine Catholic who supports the magisterium is probably one of the hardest Catholic callings.

Ukrainian Catholicism has been in the Philadelphia area for about a century (often refugees from the Communists, right after World War II, like the priest and congregation I visited elsewhere 30 years ago) but not as numerous as upstate in now-declining coal-mine and steel-mill country (like in The Deer Hunter), immigration from before World War I.

Slavonic's medieval, related to Russian and Ukrainian; Ukrainian is to Russian as Portuguese is to Spanish.

I'll probably catch the Saturday-night Mass on a summer weekend when there's a car show or flea market on Sunday.

Monday, June 20, 2016

To an English friend: Why I'm on board the Trump train

I do not consider Trump a fit candidate for the US Presidency.
I never claimed Trump is perfect; after all, only a couple of years ago he agreed with all of the left's platitudes. This candidacy is about the movement, a popular one, more than the man, though he would (will) make a serviceable president. Americans are getting fed up and buying fewer of the left's lies. (Sanders' movement is a popular protest too; good but they don't understand economics.) Humanly speaking, it's now our only hope in this country. As for the Mohammedans, the same thing is happening in both our countries, though it's probably affecting Britain more as Britain is smaller: the left is importing these people precisely to destroy the old, Christian Britain and America. No matter that the Mohammedans want to kill them too; the left thinks it's worth throwing some of their own under the bus. (They just blame guns and conservative Christians anyway, though last time I checked, American gun enthusiasts, Catholics, and evangelicals weren't shooting up nightclubs.) The Mohammedans are picking a fight, wanting us to invade so they can slaughter us. Don't invade; don't invite. Trump is the only serious candidate who sounds like he gets that. I'd opted out of mainstream politics for 16 years but my country's people and culture are at stake, so I'm on board the Trump train. And yes; vote for your country to quit the EU.
Hi, John; I admire your insight and passion, and totally agree with your assessment. The sad truth is that the left-wing media here are portraying Donald Trump (and Boris Johnson) as ranting and ill-informed baboons. It's the old ridicule, make irreverent, and remove tactic. In the UK the real issues have been lost in the fears generated by a possible financial crisis. And now, with the murder of Jo Cox, the Left have shamelessly used it to shift the debate, and demonise many on the Right. Fly the flag, John.
The Catholic Church at least implicitly condemns "my country, right or wrong" but normal people love their countries. (Liberals ape the church by claiming its universal love for humanity but they hate their own people. A lot of what we're seeing is a civil war of liberal whites upon conservative ones, with the Mohammedans as imported muscle like Hessian mercenaries.) For our elites, there are no more countries; they have no loyalty/feel no obligation to us (unlike a good king, a father to his people).

The Orlando massacre and our cathedral

Holy Mass in Remembrance of Orlando Shooting, Sunday, June 19, 2016. Like decent people I'm appalled by the Mohammedan terrorist attack in Orlando, but it was local. Though it seems many of the dead were Catholics, why was our cathedral nearly 1,000 miles away having a big, publicized Requiem (they didn't call it that) for them? It seems more of a secularized, politicized abuse than actual public prayer for our Catholic dead: begging our anti-Catholic overlords not to hit us by implicitly agreeing to blame guns and "homophobia." Also, Catholics don't have "memorial Masses" or Masses "in remembrance of the Orlando shooting." We have public Masses for the repose (Latin requies, -em) of the souls of Catholics. (I think privately a priest may offer Mass for anyone.) We also don't have Requiems on Sunday (because Sunday is a little Easter, about the joy of the Resurrection) but as it was Sunday evening, with the same logic behind Saturday-night Masses (I sometimes go to those), arguably liturgically it was Monday. Probably not a Requiem but a Mass of the Sunday with the intention of offering it for the repose of these dead. Theologically no problem but the publicity here is problematic.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The church: Balancing our truth claim with fairness to our estranged brethren

Friends, "Romans," countrymen, lend me your ears.

Fr. LaRue writes: Why we should not say "the Catholic Church" to refer to the Roman communion. As he and I know, what he now calls the Roman communion and I just call the church has always maintained a balance, insisting there can be only one church, indivisible, yet implicitly including those of good will born outside its visible boundaries. If, like us, you have the sacraments, all the better. For instance, there are our fellow Chalcedonians the Orthodox and indeed the rest of the estranged Eastern churches; each likewise claims to be the true church but doesn't extend sacramental recognition in principle (the Byzantine Orthodox think we're not Christians because we weren't in their empire). We on the other hand believe they have real bishops and the Mass (even if the Nestorians and Monophysites are heretics), as close to a branch theory as we get. Born Orthodox are definitely an estranged part of us (that sometimes hates our guts). Our close cousins the traditional Lutherans have an implicit true-church claim; we're in grave error. Fr. LaRue doesn't say it here but his argument about subsistences reminds me of the great recent Anglican apologist Fr. Mitchican teaching me that the classical Anglicans' branch theory was no bland ecumenism; just like the Orthodox, they thought they were the true church. So the Tractarians didn't want the Greeks ordaining an Englishman for their country and neither they nor Charles Grafton wanted the Catholic hierarchy in their lands: get off our turf, "Romans"! Originally, Anglo-Catholicism, like old high churchmanship, was about asserting a truth claim against us.

Modern high-church Anglicans, left or right, don't quite put it that way. They're Romanizers, holding pretty much the same beliefs about the Mass and the sacraments as ours and beyond that identifying Episcopalianism with Western Catholicism and indeed the Roman Rite, but not Papalists (the would-be Catholics people assumed Anglo-Catholics were). Another way of putting it is they want to be in the church but on their terms, not the church's. Find some nice quotations from the Caroline divines, translate our traditional missal and invent your own church, essentially. I just chalk it up to the sadness and confusion the "Reformation" left on English people's souls.

Sorry, folks, your state church is Reformed, not Catholic. Straight shot from Articles XIX and XXI to women priests: fallible, changeable church. It doesn't act like the Catholic Church because it's not the Catholic Church.

But, some balance: I still use Fr. LaRue's religious English (but not the actual Prayer Book, which is Protestant) and my semi-traditionalist parish sings his side's hymns, which are very good.

By the way, it looks like Msgr. Bartholomew's council's a no-go or at least a big nothing. (Orthodox politics: Msgr. B and the rich Greek-Americans vs. Putin's Russia, an empire with real power.) Maybe the Orthodox can't call a council. As I say, there is an Orthodox small-t tradition, entirely Catholic as Fr. Serge (Keleher) said, and Orthodox bishops, but they are Catholic bishops estranged from each other as well as from us; sister dioceses to Catholic dioceses but the Catholic Church has no sisters. There is no such thing as the Orthodox Church.

I was just rereading parts of Fr. Serge's translation of Metropolitan Andrew. Cardinal Gibbons called it over a century ago: the Eastern rites fade away in America within three generations. The people Americanize (lose their language, marry outside the group, etc.) and it's over. And it's not just an Orthodox problem. But his solution was rude and caused a schism: force these immigrants to become Roman Rite immediately. No. The church, which includes the Christian East on principle and thus tries to protect those rites, didn't buy that and at least set up Eastern rites' dioceses here to prevent more schisms. The Byzantine Rite for example has a lot of potential here: a Catholic traditionalism minus some of our cultural baggage. But it just isn't happening here. If we're honest, we'll say that those rites in America are a temporary, transitional phenomenon for some immigrants and their children; Byzantine for East Slavs (Ukrainians), for example. Ruthenian immigration ended 100 years ago so they're done here. Ukrainians really last came as refugees from the Soviet takeover during World War II; immigration since the fall of Communism doesn't seem to help the Catholic Church here. I take no pleasure from that. Regular readers know my first traditional Catholic Mass in person was Ukrainian so I'm thankful.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Another reason not to buy from the Disney behemoth

Finding Dory gets a transgender stingray.

Another reason to stay away from the Disney behemoth. Transsexuals are less than a percent of the population (hardly a huge social problem, and most of them are harmless) and people with problems deserve compassion, but another big company is trying to brainwash us (why? to create deracinated cogs in a state machine; no natural sex, no loyalty to kin, only the state and the corporations, a parody of a universal faith and church)... here, as early as possible, sermonizing to ruin a children's story.

Homosexuals, social engineering, and the military

President Barack Obama declared June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, and the Defense Department is highlighting the importance of leadership as it celebrates the achievements and sacrifices of LGB service members and LGBT civilians.
The issue isn't really the homosexuals, at most only 3% of the population and you'll always have some in the service: faraway stations mostly with other men and nobody asks you why you never married. So like with Roman Rite Catholic priests (celibacy), you might have more than the general population (with Roman Rite priests it's probably about 6%, double the rate in the general population). It should be at local commanders' discretion: if you behave when on duty, then no problem. No, it's about the social engineering our elite is forcing on everybody else (so that 3% is hyped; far overrepresented), only more so since the military is perfect for that, a government lab. (None of this makes the military better at fighting.) The object is to re-educate/mess up straight people: "gender is just a construct" (including putting girls in combat, defying common sense) and separating sex from both love and kids; a world of good consumers who obey orders with no family but the state. And not all homosexuals act like the elite wants nor want the attention (no stupid identity politics; your orientation isn't the sum of who you are); some are honest about their orientation and never attack traditional Christian teaching, now largely only retained by the Catholic Church.

I think we should have stayed out of World War II (let the Soviets and Nazis cancel each other out, and make a deal with Japan) but the old values (as held by the generation of Americans who fought it) made America the greatest nation the world has seen right after the war. Not that we were perfect (who is?) or founded as Christian (the founding fathers were largely agnostic) but the republic as set up gave the majority's Christian values the freedom to make us great, and made this culturally Protestant land a great home for Catholics and even non-Christians of good will. By the way, those values taught me not to pick on people with problems.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Orlando terrorist attack

It's about terrorism, not homosexuality or guns. So it's about human suffering and a Christian response; Chick fil-A gets it. So does the people's pro bono candidate (cut straight to the chase — restoring the dignity of blue-collar white men, while keeping culturally incompatible foreigners out), talking sense in this video link. Violent reprisal is exactly what ISIS wants. Don't invade; don't invite.

So why do Hillary Clinton (so corrupt she's a joke; I think the elite will try hard but fail to force her on us) and the rest of the left want to keep importing Mohammedan terrorists? To stick it to conservative Christian men; sure, the left will throw some of their own under the bus. "All for the struggle, comrades."

One detail that brought home to me the human suffering: someone on the scene said the dead's cell phones were constantly ringing; frantic loved ones hoping they were okay.

My Jesus, mercy.

P.S. Christian charity knocked off course: blaming conservative religion. Obviously Bishop Lynch here is not speaking for the church. I understand he's retiring; such churchmen really should find another line of work. More Sixties aftermath: when America assimilated its big Catholic minority, getting most of them to think like a Protestant denomination. Bishop Lynch is a sellout.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Car-show weekend

Just got a real 1983 movie poster for Christine. Obsessed? Sure!

The Morris Racing and Philadelphia Area Corvette Club show, Yeadon, Pa.: Edna's first with me and my first as an owner. (Yes, she has a name: a tribute to one of the ladies who supplies my wardrobe. Also, Baby and the Green Ghost Car of Delaware County.) All she got was a participation trophy but what a great way to meet people; happens all the time when we're out. The only Edsel there and one of only three '50s Fords; should have got an "orphan" trophy ("Most Unique").

Cruise Down Memory Lane in Vineland, NJ, my favorite regional show (Das Awkscht Fescht in a park in Macungie is better, with many, many cars, if you consider the Lehigh Valley part of our region, but I like the downtown setting in Vineland), with my favorite local music radio station, WVLT in that town, broadcasting from the sidewalk.

This General Lee is autographed by the cast. I didn't watch the show so I didn't much care but now that the liberals have decided to dump on this car, namely, the flag on the roof, to show off, I say "Yeeeeee-haaaaa!" (Actually, making the show, each jump totaled a '69 Charger; not worth it!) Buddy Holly's bassist, Waylon Jennings, was the narrator.

'60 Chevy Biscayne in very rough condition. I love this design. I admit a nice thing about going to these when you're also an owner (I didn't show my car here; too far away) is that the cars in rougher shape make you feel better about your car's blemishes.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The challenge of being universal: Different rites and churches, but one church and one faith

Catholics be like East side, West side. Venerable Fulton J. Sheen agrees!
The church is international, multicultural in the true sense (not Erastian or a national mascot); secular liberalism is a ripoff. One set of truths for all.

Archbishop Sheen was knowledgeable about the Christian East as all Catholics and indeed our clergy should be, and as part of that, for his own edification and to educate the Latin Rite faithful (for instance, reminding people of Russia's deep Christian, yea, Catholic roots despite Communism and the Cold War) in his media apostolate, he was biritual, having permission from the Holy See and the Ruthenian Church to use the Byzantine Rite.

Fr. Romanos Russo of St. Michael's Russian Catholic Church*, New York, writes:
That is the nub of the problem: as well-intentioned as he was, he was a Latin bishop dressed up as an Eastern bishop. I can't imagine he was imbued with the spirituality or theology of the Byzantine Tradition! Good man, solid philosopher, though!
Fr. Romanos brings up a good point. You're both right. We should preserve the integrity of each ritual church, and some in those churches have a calling to express our shared Catholic doctrine (which is the same for all Catholic churches and is not negotiable) in those rites' terms; they aren't costumes but legitimate, diverse schools of spirituality and even theological opinion and method. Hard to do because Latin Catholics are an overwhelming majority, but good work. Also, part of the Catholic Church including many cultures is these churches themselves are a spectrum of practice. Catholicism never intended to latinize them and never encouraged it, but the ethnic members often latinized themselves. Cultures aren't museum pieces if they're alive. Unlatinized good Catholics need and deserve support, but the spectrum of latinized members deserves respect too. Biritualism can be a well-intended problem for the ritual churches' integrity as Fr. Romanos points out, but it's always the exception. Most of Eastern Catholicism (all rites) isn't like that but generational, ethnic born members. Our challenge as Catholics to is strike a balance between on one hand reducing the rites to the Latin Rite dressing up and, on the other hand, schism (putting the rite and cultures above the church, the sin of the Orthodox et al.**). We haven't always honored our Eastern family as we ought (causing Slavic schisms in America) but our teaching is still true; it's a matter of living up to it.

Eastern-rite churches, including the Orthodox, don't thrive in America after three generations here but Eastern-rite Catholicism here has much potential because 1) not only did Vatican II leave Eastern Catholics' rites alone, it encouraged the unlatinized forms as the church always has and 2) it's Catholic traditionalism without our cultural baggage (you are allowed to do the rites in the vernacular, for example***), great for evangelism and calling back the lapsed (who thought they knew everything about the church).

*Been; it's great. Born Latin Catholics who switched, loving Russian culture but understanding the nature of the church so remaining Catholic.

**Born Eastern Catholics don't buy that; their people often stood up to the Communists to remain Catholic. "Converts" from the Latin Rite and elsewhere are few, but too often online, understandably in love with their new rite (it beats the Novus Ordo, hands down), they fall for that, get fed up with Catholics, and eventually leave the church. A few stay and become a version of what Fr. Romanos is criticizing, Novus Ordo liberals in Eastern garb, denying our doctrine, in this case, in the name of being Eastern. The Communists, like the Byzantine emperor****, Turkish sultan, and Russian tsar, hated the Catholic Church because they couldn't own it. A schismatic church is an owned church.

***Hieratic/liturgical languages are natural; Jews have Hebrew, and English-speaking Protestants did that with the Book of Common Prayer and King James Bible. Eastern churches have them, historically using them more often than vernaculars. Greek Orthodox use medieval Greek in church in Greece; Eastern Slavs Slavonic (resembling medieval Russian). For the most part, Eastern-riters in America, Catholic and Orthodox, did what the Latin Rite should have done, just translating the services into English, not writing new services.

****The last emperors were Catholic again; the Russians, who went back into schism in the 1400s after reunion in the 1300s, saw the fall of Byzantium as divine judgment. The Russians have their empire so they think they don't need us; they think they're the church, in the Byzantine manner. The Turks re-separated the Greeks from the church in 1484, after they took over 31 years earlier.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Sweden: Fact vs. fiction

The myth of Sweden's socialist utopia. An interesting blog post plus, in my post, almost everything I think I know about Sweden; of course Swedes and those who've lived in the country can correct me. (One of my sources lived there for about seven years.) The home of Volvo (foreign-owned now?), Ikea, successful Europop groups (Abba, Ace of Base, and others), and formerly Saab.

The free market and Swedes' talents made their country great; the socialist experiment was a setback. Speaking of Americans' strange notion of the place, such as a socialist paradise, the image of Swedes as sexually swinging/libertine came from '60s Italian porn supposedly about the country. (P.J. O'Rourke is right: the women are no more beautiful than women usually are.) Their attitude to everything is matter-of-fact. I've never been; the few Swedes I've seen have been reserved to the point of coldness. I understand it's quietly very irreligious and anti-Catholic, more indifferent than hostile, stone cold. Its liberal high church (women priests for decades, and they call them priests) is nominally Lutheran and recently disestablished but still government-funded; most Swedes nominally belong but don't attend. Two Swedish traits I know of: unlike British-based cultures, everything is democratic, by consensus (how meetings go), and humility/self-effacement rather like the English, the word "lagom" ("that's good enough for the likes of me") conveying that. Beyond that, German-like: hard-working, efficient, and perfectionistic. You want Swedes on your team. The Viking seafaring tradition: I think many merchant-ship officers are still Scandinavians. Swedes all learn English in school now so you can get around Stockholm with no Swedish; before World War II they spoke to the outside world in German. The language is a Germanic sister to ours (so they find English easy to learn) but unlike German, now almost everybody is "du" (the familiar "you"; "thou"), on a first-name basis, not out of friendliness but because it's simpler. Spoken Swedish and spoken German are not mutually intelligible; you can see the cognates when written. Scandinavians understand each other's languages but likely would speak English to be polite. Swedes' big rivalry is with neighboring Norway, whom they see as hicks the way the American North looks at the South. They love their flag and their king. Alcohol is tightly regulated with state stores and there's some resulting alcohol abuse. Suicide is high; being semi-Arctic with no sun all winter (because of the geographical latitude) affects mental health (but "the midnight sun" in the summer). Food: cream sauce, cream sauce, and cream sauce; lingonberries too. The country was famously neutral during World War II. (Norway tried to be too but it was in the way so the Germans grabbed it.) The article also explains 1800s Swedish emigration; why Minnesota is so Swedish. The country was a world power briefly in the 1600s; I live in its former colony (the area's old Lutheran churches became Episcopal after American independence). Very politically correct, masochistic about Muslim intruders, but some are getting fed up. There is the small Sweden Democrat party, "Keep Sweden Swedish," whose supporters include Arab Christians who moved to get away from the Muslims. We don't make political commercials that are this good.

By the way, there are Swedish rockabillies: raggare.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Iconography: Respect, please

I like Leonid Ouspensky's idea, rather recent, that the holy paintings in Orthodox and some Catholic churches are halfway between devotional images/art as in Western Catholicism and a sacramental presence. Me on the veneration of images: "All can, some should, none must." All a Catholic must accept is that their veneration is a valid option. Rites such as the Byzantine may require them as a disciplinary matter.

A conversation with an artist who happens to be a sound, strong Latin Catholic.

I have lots of icons and other Byzantine Rite gear and books (including the out-of-print, impossible-to-buy Uniontown office books in English; Ruthenian); mostly stored away. I could live in the rite if I were called to.

If you do paint icons, if you haven't already, learn the rules of iconography. Some Byzantine-style art by well-meaning Latin Catholics is a disaster for the work of reunion; mistakes that, for example, say St. Joseph is Jesus' father (Holy Family images attempted in a Byzantine style).
Oh, I knew you were going to say that. Teh RUUUUUULLLLZZZZZ!!! How about I just paint what I please?
Privately you can pray, paint, etc. any way you want. Rite controls what you do in church, such as public art.

Because these estranged Catholics matter. They are estranged traditional Catholics, with a rite that beats the Novus Ordo, hands down. (My first traditional Catholic Mass in person was slightly latinized Ukrainian.) So the work for reunion matters, arguably the only ecumenism that does, because this reunion is very doable. The schism is largely because of our human failings: why so many Ruthenians schismed in America, for example; heartbreaking (it happened right here in Pennsylvania and similar places, still barely in living memory) and unnecessary. I may not be called to be Byzantine but do think I'm called to work to end this split.
Actually, John, being a free person, I can just paint whatever the hell I want. If people like it, I sell it and people stick it up on their walls. If it inspires devotion; win.
I hear you, but I'm just saying be careful with iconography. Just like we wouldn't want some hipster playing with Latin Catholic art. Reminds me of a loud woman online, originally Latin Catholic of course (Slavic Greek Catholics rarely play this game now), who bought into the online Greek Catholic converts' indifferentism, in which it's OK for Catholics to become Orthodox if they feel like it. This woman was making a big show of that, while saying she didn't accept their true-church claim either, and I stated my case that this undermines our work for reunion: if our people barge in and flout their teachings and rules, they won't trust us. I was kicked off that forum. Partly why I don't live in that rite.
I know nothing about iconography, and care just slightly less than that. I like the art. That's all it means.
I'm saying that if you adopt that tradition for painting, you owe it to the church to learn that tradition to do it right. People's souls are at stake.
I. JUST. LIKE. IT. Is that OK? Or is there a rule about it?
I get it. "Thy will be done." I've done my duty as a Catholic here.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Church: Immigration is not a growth strategy

The biggest minorities in the UK are the Irish and Poles. Somehow, it is still probable that the Catholic minority might grow in the UK as Poland is in pretty dire straits.
Thanks for the reminder; it seems that Pascoe forgot. As recently as when I was there, 25 years ago, the Catholic Church there was largely Irish; since Communism fell and the Irish have lapsed/assimilated, the church there has changed from "the Italian Mission to the Irish" (snotty Anglican joke) to "to the Poles." One of the nicest groups to come to America and I'm sure that's true there too.

To be fair to Pascoe, relying on immigration isn't a good growth strategy; it's not evangelism. Witness Eastern-rite churches in America, Orthodox etc. as well as Catholic. They mostly die out by the third generation here, due to assimilation. I'd love it if American Catholicism were Byzantine instead of Novus Ordo, and that option offers imaginative yet small-o orthodox answers outside of usual traditionalist thinking, but it just isn't happening.

That wasted potential is also why it's so sad that so many putatively Catholic online "apostles" for the Christian East attack the church's teachings. They are few; many/most such leave the church, which at least is honest. I think being an unlatinized Eastern Catholic who's actually faithful to the magisterium is one of the hardest callings these days, and yes, some Latin Catholics are called to make that change; I think Sheptytsky should be named their patron saint.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Make Britain Catholic again

"Let's make Britain Catholic again." The romantic in me has always held it's possible. (The following is old to regular readers.) The country was deeply rooted in the church; the kings and queens literally forced it out. The people remained furtively Catholic for about 50 years afterwards, and after that treated the new religion with the same reverence as they did the church, even thinking of it as "the church," the only true one. Why Anglicans and the English generally are sad and confused, which is why there was old high churchmanship and why, in the Romantic era's reaction to the Industrial Revolution, that begat Anglo-Catholicism (actually a rival true-church claim imitating the church). Scratch the surface of modern anti-religious England and it's Catholic. You can find high churchmanship there, Catholic or Anglican, if you are looking for it; I did. (The end of the rehash.) A return is unlikely but possible. That is, if the Mohammedans don't take over.
But to win souls we must focus on God and charity, not political arguments.
In a sense true; we're not Erastian and the church should remain above partisan politics. But surrendering the public square (vs. a retreat with honor, as the Ukrainian Catholic Church did under Soviet rule) is not an option, and Pascoe isn't saying it is.
The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, established in 2011 by Benedict XVI, has not seen the flood of converts from Anglicanism which many hoped for, and while the initiative responds to the decline of the Church of England, no similar initiative exists to draw home those in the Welsh Methodist churches or the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
And I wasn't expecting a flood. The ordinariates' place in the church isn't so much to rescue the few serious Anglican would-be Catholics (almost all are now in the church) as to demonstrate traditionalism in English: It's Not About Latin­™ but Latin is great. Most English people and among them most Anglicans are religiously indifferent if not hostile; arguably it's been so since the "Enlightenment." There weren't that many would-be Catholics asking to come in (among the few English churchgoers, devout Anglicans are often Evangelicals; not interested!), and the ordinariates exist because they asked us. (I could be in the American ordinariate if I wanted to but I'm Tridentine, not Prayer Book, even though my liturgical English uses the latter's idiom. I will never look at Anglicanism the same knowing the truth about it.) Also, again, Anglo-Catholicism was actually a rival true-church claim: "the church" trying to beat both "the Romans" and the Non-Conformists/Dissenters (free-church Protestants)... by imitating the Catholic Church. The A-C party line used to be conservative: "The Pope's a monster who thinks he can invent doctrine!" Now it seems to be about the Anglicans' freedom to invent or change doctrine: "I'm a practicing homosexual and proud of it." (General Synod, etc. claim a power the Pope doesn't dare, but hey, that's what the "Reformation" was really about.) Anglo-Papalism, not popular in England but largely only found there, was what people assumed A-Cism was but was actually its opposite. (Raising a toast to F.G. Lee of Lambeth, a good soul, despised by Victorian A-Cs when he changed from one of them, a ritualist parson, to trying openly to bring England back into the church. Maybe he really was a Catholic bishop not very undercover. A few A-Cs even right after the Tractarians were trying to "reconcile with honor" with the church.) So it's not surprising most A-Cs haven't come into the church.

Anglicans were a special case, as Vatican II rightly acknowledged, and good A-Cs were in ways better Catholics than born Catholic liberals. Anglicanism's really Reformed, not Catholic, but comes from a land once deeply Catholic, hence the confusion. This specialness is the point of the ordinariates in the vision of Pope Benedict the Great. There's no point protestantizing even culturally to try to bring in the Presbyterians or the Methodists. Ecumenism with them has gone as far as it will go. They know what we teach and say no; at least we're not trying to kill each other.

Anyway, Pascoe's right. Read the article.