Thursday, October 06, 2016

Let's not take the bait

  • Old news: Sick, crooked Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" remark, a kind of class sneer. There was the "yeah, I'm a deplorable and proud of it" reaction; understandable. "Agree and amplify" can be good to defuse that stuff but we don't want to fall for bait either, nor let the other side frame the discussion ("Am not! Why, some of my best friends are..."). On that note, the left keeps shoving race in our face hoping one of us will snap and say something nasty about race.
  • Barney Fife runs North Carolina. Something to think about: don't surrender in the culture war (rather, a retreat with honor like the Ukrainian Catholic Church, where I worship once a month, going underground under the Soviet ban) but maybe let's not take the bait and get Barney Fife-ish about any trannies using the ladies' room in North Carolina. Take away the left's pulpit: secure the stalls or put an inside lock on the door, and just call it a restroom or a family restroom (yeah, stick it to the left that way) and best of all, ignore them (the left). I was taught not to pick on people with problems.
  • School district declares "gorilla war" on employee speech. From Rational Review, left-libertarian but a useful non-mainstream source of real news. We are not free; social media are in part a trap, tricking you into helping potential enemies surveil you. A school district fired a teacher's aide, not even a teacher, for calling Michelle Obama a gorilla and saying that Muslims have no business being in America, neither of which was at work in person or posted on a work site on work time but on her private Facebook page. (Who will they go after next to prove their righteous anger, the old white janitor?) The government shouldn’t be allowed to punish people for what they say. There’s a word for that. That word is “censorship.” The content of Allen’s personal, non-work Facebook profile was and is, quite simply, none of the school district’s business. Firing her is essentially fining her, in the amount of all future wages and retirement benefits she would otherwise have earned, for the “crime” of having opinions the district’s officials disagreed with, and for expressing those opinions on her own time and using her own resources. "People were offended," based on the distorted Christian gospel of niceness, is the workplace truncheon or whip of the 2010s.
  • Whither Sanders' supporters? Face to Face says the blue-collar ones have switched to Trump.
  • Why Trump. Skewering the holier-than-thou opposition. "Ew, he sounds like a dockworker." = "I'm afraid of a candidate who appeals to dockworkers." (Language.)
  • My guess. Trump owns the popular vote. (He's all we've got so he's got my vote.) George Soros and the elite in both parties are fixing the election so Clinton will get enough electoral votes. She'll drop dead in office so boomer Modernist Catholic Tim Kaine (that impolite creep in the recent debate with Catholic-turned-evangelical Mike Pence) will be president.
  • A Catholic angle on this election dog-and-pony show. The two would-be veeps illustrate a big story from Sixties America, that the Protestants got their wish (partly because of our misstep of Vatican II) of neutralizing and assimilating the country's big Catholic minority (also, the Pill, and the Rockefellers buying off Fr. Hesburgh); the "Catholics" in this case are just a mainline Protestant/secular humanist (same thing) vs. an evangelical. (Conservative Protestantism is liberal Protestantism on the slow train; fundamentalists mean to defend the faith but, not having the church, don't know how.) Catholics who actually try to follow Catholicism are a small minority.
  • All signal, no virtue. Photo from Goodbye America.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

"No Ordinary Fool"

I recently read No Ordinary Fool. Fr. John Jay Hughes is very nice, a WASP gentleman, understanding the heart of the Christian message. His main ministry seems to be writing sermon topics to help other priests. Primarily an academic, not a pastor, he's a retired priest of the St. Louis Archdiocese. And an Anglo-Catholic alumnus, the son of a high-Episcopal priest, spending his childhood at New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine in the '30s (and being so smart he graduated from prep school unusually young and went to Harvard when most kids are still in high school) and becoming an Anglo-Catholic rector himself. His father held a true-church claim he took as seriously as we Catholics do ours, so understandably he was as outraged by our rejection of his orders as I am by the Orthodox being allowed to believe I'm not baptized. Very Catholic but not a would-be Catholic! (You wonder if women priests and gay marriage would have changed his mind about us. But a lot of these men just changed with their denomination.) So Hughes made a big personal sacrifice when he came into the church; he never saw his father again. Part of what converted him as he was struggling with this: English "liberal" Catholics studying in continental Europe in the '50s described the papacy to him exactly as I believe in it; papal infallibility is really church infallibility. That said, he was once famous among some Anglicans and Catholics for his understandable mistake: he seems to dissent from the church on Anglican orders; trying to reconcile with his late father (who died before Hughes' Catholic ordination). So he is one of the only ex-Anglicans who's been conditionally ordained (the other being Msgr. Graham Leonard; both had claimed an Old Catholic line of succession). He buys into Anglican apologetics on the matter (so why's he Catholic?): the English "Reformers" were objecting to late-medieval misunderstandings about the Eucharist, not the teaching of the church. Michael Davies refuted this: they knew exactly what the church teaches (most of them were priests) and rejected it, making up a new version of Christianity (which in England happened to keep the church's structure), in which Christ's saving work is all in the past so no Mass, never mind good works, and ultimately, no church! (And, I dare say, their logical conclusion is no God: Unitarianism is their destiny.) His thinking also comes from the late '60s, right after Vatican II, when many people thought Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, and Lutherans would merge. Being in liturgical-movement Germany changed him from '50s high-Episcopal (Tridentine ethos in English) to amenable to the Novus Ordo (but he doesn't like the heretical extreme there). He's upfront about being bisexual. As far as I know, he's never used that to attack the teachings of the church, so no problem.

Update: Deborah Gyapong speaks for me: Traditional Anglicanism provided the lifeboat to bring me home to the church Christ founded.

Articles and comments on worship: The place of culture in Christian faith

Suscipe, sancte Pater...

  • Mass: Omnia, quae fecisti. Commemoration of the Guardian Angels? Probably not in our 1962 Missal. Gaudeamus omnes in Domino. External Solemnity of Our Lady of Victories, commonly called Our Lady of the Rosary, with commemoration (second collect and second postcommunion verse) of the 20th Sunday after Pentecost. Preface was of the Trinity, for the Sunday. I thought the external solemnity would be next Sunday, after the feast. Anyway, as Fr. McKale mentioned, this celebrates the victory of the allied Catholic European naval forces under the papal flag at the battle of Lepanto, "saving Europe" from the Mohammedans. Don't invade; don't invite. Jesus saves; Mary prays.
  • Communion of love: Thomas Merton and liturgical reform. I'm not liberal high church (Episcopalian) but I agree with him. Among the places I like going to Mass is the daily Mass chapel, the 1920s former convent chapel, in the parish I live in, the Novus Ordo in spirit and in truth. (The return to tradition in English that John Paul II signed off on and Benedict XVI implemented five years ago. I've been back in the church going on five years.) But the old Mass is home. The goal of the old liturgical renewal was do the old services well, in the right spirit and knowledgeably (as Merton found at Corpus Christi, Manhattan), not to write new services, which is un-Catholic. At least three bad things happened to Roman Rite practice with Vatican II: 1) the space-age notion of "progress," a shiny, streamlined liturgy for modern man; not heretical but naïve, partly coming from the hubris of the new field of liturgical studies, so let's throw centuries of caution to the wind and write anew; 2) the dumb notion that "active participation" means any audible or visible response from the congregation, no matter how off-base or insipid, not a knowledgeable joining in common prayer, which can be silent; and 3) while most liturgical-movement clergy were sound (the movement revived Gregorian chant, wanting a congregationally sung High Mass, and created a traditionalist standby, the wonderful hand missal), a few, such as Annibale Bugnini, were heretics; neo-Protestants.
  • Lutheran Satire, from our close cousins, traditional Lutherans: Mr. Thompson and the vicar invent Children's Church. Blaming the Anglicans and Victorian sentimentality.
  • From the evangelicals: Dear parents: Your teens don't need contemporary worship.
  • Meanwhile, the secular world pushes religion as mere self-expression: deep-six that Jesus stuff and worship your blackness, for example.
  • The Anti-Gnostic: Hierarch of "Eastern America." The Serbians, the Levantines, the Meso-Americans, the Afghans, and on and on, are not coming here to be HERE; they are coming here to have a better THERE.
  • Two from Huw Richardson (paraphrasing: "I'm Russian Orthodox. I'm gay. But there's no such thing as gay Orthodoxy, just Orthodoxy."). Don't miss the comboxes:
    • Boutique-odoxy. Like inculturation: parishes have personalities and reflect the quirks of their priests, but how far should that go? Mistaking your nations/tribes and cultures for the church is the sin of Eastern Orthodoxy. An approach that's too parochial, that's congregationalist, can turn into that. On the other hand, semi-congregationalism, such as Easterners' grassroots traditionalism, can be a hedge against liberalism.
    • Relevant beauty. A Protestant culture isn't hospitable to Catholicism, so you can, and in some cases such as that, should mimic the old country, but you don't have to, sometimes you shouldn't, and let's not get confused about our mission.