Sunday, April 30, 2017

Dominica secunda post Pascha

  • Mass: Misericordia Domini plena est terra. Ego sum pastor bonus: et cognosco meas, et cognoscunt me meae. Pictured: Vidi Aquam before Sung Mass. Fond memories of Good Shepherd, Rosemont, an authentic Gothic Revival fantasy I visited on and off from 1985 until 2010; in name outside the church but with us in spirit. Most of its parishioners are now in fact Catholic, in the ordinariate of course worshipping somewhere else. Some are with me at Our Lady of Lourdes. The Episcopalians still have the old building; that's their business.
  • Today the Anglican missals revert to Cranmer's collect and readings, here still based on ours but he threw in his tuppence; here not a problem doctrinally but ecclesiologically. He had no authority to do that. I've come to the idea that there was no such thing as "liturgical studies" until at least the 1800s. Historically, the church East (its many rites) and West consciously changed things very little; just an occasional edit, which is what St. Pius V was doing with Quo Primum. Things did change, and interestingly scholars say the Byzantine Rite changed a lot, but it was like "whisper down the lane," not intentional. Good thing the church is infallible and indefectible. Clergy didn't dare rewrite services lest they take out something essential, depriving the people of the grace of the Mass. Anyway, the Protestants didn't have the historical knowledge to edit services to some pristine patristic form either. Cranmer used some things he liked (such as the Collect for Purity that's part of the priest's prep in the Roman Missal) and wrote the rest, based on his imagination and his made-up theology (Reformed, Bucerian). By the way, was the last big organic change to the Roman Rite (not the Novus Ordo rewrite, unprecedented), the merging of the old terse Roman (as you can hear in the oldest collects) and the more flowery Gallican rites (an indirect Eastern influence on the Roman Rite) to make the Roman Rite as I know it, conscious (an editing job) or gradual?
  • Actual English translation.
  • Moment before Mass: A sound to please American anglophiles' ears. The organ prelude, first time I've heard it used for one, was "Rondeau," best known as the theme music of PBS's old "Masterpiece Theatre." We're not re-enactors (although in many ways I am one); more like Corpus Christi, Manhattan 60 years ago than many/most other American parishes. If it's Anglican but it's orthodox and it's good, we use it!
  • My Easter duty. The church requires us to receive Communion at Eastertide because medieval people rarely received. Not ideal but better than receiving unworthily (deeds that are grave matter on your conscience, without absolution after auricular confession). This week the kindly Capuchin friars downtown put up with hearing my nonsense in the box yet again so I was at the rail today. The only part of the formula I could really hear Fr. McKale say was " vitam aeternam. Amen." Byzantine Rite prayers at home afterwards. It's all good. On that note, here's a true story of Alfred Hitchcock resuming the practice of the faith. Blessed, praised, hallowed, and adored be our Lord Jesus Christ on his throne of glory in heaven, in the most holy Sacrament of the altar, and in the hearts of his faithful people.
  • An ecumenical moment: Down the street from us is an Episcopal church. Dating back to when the neighborhood was monied, it was the Memorial Church of St. Paul, which I guess has been suppressed as St. Thomas African Episcopal Church (not to be confused with A.M.E. although their founders once worked together as Methodists) moved in some time ago. My guess is it's the church home of British Caribbean blacks. Anyway, as I was walking by, taking some time before Mass, I saw some cassocked priests, including I imagine the father rector as he was wearing a mozetta (shoulder cape), which I think is an insignia of rank, just like my late Anglo-Catholic rector. Unlike Catholic liberals, Episcopalians now love our customs. That's great.
  • The century-old Presbyterian church on 65th Street that burned up last summer, looking like a blitzed cathedral on my way to and from Mass, is being torn down. Sad. Its name was Good Shepherd.
  • Why I like reading Vespers of Our Lady on the commuter train home during the week using my Anglo-Catholic Prayer Book, including Athelstan Riley's translation of Ave, Maris Stella, the hymn, which I learned in England: hearing these offices sung to Gregorian chant at St. Clement's, Philadelphia for years. (Sunday Vespers, standard Catholic parish practice before radio, the movies, and TV.) Good music is like praying twice; it's reinforcing because it uses a part of the brain not used otherwise. Why "Schoolhouse Rock" works. I know someone who can't remember spoken prayers but has no problem with song lyrics.
  • Fred Reed: The place of Christianity in history: A view from without.
  • Stay tuned: I will have a post for the centenary of Fátima.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Manosphere/MGTOW realtalk

  • Red-pill date (the making of a MGTOW): If fashionable white girls were honest, including about their contradictory views. One of those strange computer-generated cartoons with computer voices (the animation won't win an Oscar); slow going at first (reminds me of human-resources video lectures: social situations with people who can't act, scripted by Martians) but worth sticking around to listen to the whole thing.
  • You may be a good dude, but here's why you're single. Lefty Cracked is still worth looking at because it's not lockstep. It's at its best when it doesn't preach, just presenting obscure history and news (how I learned about Tesla; Edison was a cheat). Of course I'm not knocking love, but it's elementary as Holmes said: God made women to want strong men to take care of them (lefty women: through the government; transfer payments), and a clingy guy is weak.
  • Château Heartiste (Roissy): Female privilege and non-white privilege. If I had my Spanish family name maybe I could ride the self-pity train ("Somebody was slightly rude to me! Hate criiiiime!") to perks too. Black lesbians? "Conceived, conceived, conceived immaculate." Seriously, it's all a ripoff of Christian ethics. ("Hate crime" is thoughtcrime.)
  • Nobody asked me but: This "transgender" hype is gaslighting, the "powers that be" using the fraction of a percent of people with this problem (often profoundly unhappy, even after the quack treatment of hormones and surgery; I was raised not to pick on people with problems) to control the masses by messing with their perception of reality.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Being a good Catholic neighbor in Orthodox countries

Some time ago the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (my part-time church home) moved its headquarters from its historic base in L'vov (Lemberg) to Kiev, its original base when most of the bishops in the Ukraine and Byelorussia converted in 1596. (And yes, in English it's "the Ukraine"; deal with it.) The cathedral is modern, not my favorite style but OK. Of course I'd love it if the UGCC were the Ukraine's national church but that's not likely. Best to be both honest and ecumenical, being the best Christians you can be in your Galician homeland while, remembering the persecution under Soviet rule, being a good neighbor, the golden rule and all that, with the rest of the country's Orthodox majority of churchgoers (most Ukrainians don't go to church). We are not trying to break up families, parishes, and dioceses. Our goal is to bring all the Orthodox back at the same time, starting with the bishops. So while we accept individual conversions, we're not actively seeking them.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dominica in Albis/Antipascha

  • Low Sunday.
  • Some social history and impressions regarding the church.
    • The rise and fall of Ruthenian-American Catholicism. "Greek Catholic" refers to the "Greek" Byzantine Rite of East Slavic (most notably the Russians) Orthodox and East Slavic Catholics, not Greece or ethnic Greeks. The members of my Ukrainian part-time parish tell similar stories.
    • Longtime religious blogger and high churchman Huw Richardson is now Catholic. His impression regarding it all: "The Catholic Church: here comes everybody."
    • "The Rrrromans." SPQR, "lend me your ears," and all that. When I was Anglican I understood "Roman" from Anglicans (for example, "the Roman Church") to mean "hey, we're Catholic too." Later I learned it can also be a Protestant putdown: "the dago mission to the paddies," etc. Throw in political correctness and you get something like the Black Legend of Spain vs. enlightened women clergy and gay marriage, a kind of rival true-church claim rather like classic Anglicanism's at least implied one. Like the American ordinariate, Anglican English is still my religious English and I am Roman Catholic in every sense. You sometimes get this "the Romans" business from zealous convert Byzantine Catholics too, with similar problems; they start sounding like they're not Catholic because in fact they are on their way out of the church to Orthodoxy. Born Byzantine Catholics don't do that; they're Catholic and that's that. I like worshipping with them.
  • Hogwash 101. Steve Sailer keeps noticing things. The law of God is written in the heart of every man. Don't pay so much attention to what liberals say; watch what they do. They preach egalitarianism and anti-Westernism (a distortion of Christian humility: mea culpa, etc.) but under the "safe" disguise of fantasy they love (even obsess about) children's fiction about a tradition-laden, even medieval institution, a boarding school in our mother country, and even "good breeding" (a natural elite vs. "muggles"). The same way they love their ivy-laden colleges in real life.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Online vs. real American Eastern Christianity

The Web version of American Eastern Christianity: Eastern Orthodoxy is getting more "diverse," a Good Thing™, with converts by the parishload, happy all-American young families, lots of prayer ropes and saying the Jesus Prayer, and every parishioner having a spiritual father. And not Catholic; "we're a completely different faith." Byzantine Catholics, likewise "diverse," are semi-closeted Eastern Orthodox, angsty because they're torn between two churches like being in the middle of a divorce. "Praxis! Phronema! We're not like those loser traditionalists and their Latin Mass! Don't force your Latin doctrines on us!"

More like the reality on both sides: ethnic Catholics, most of them estranged from us (in schism); nationalistic/ethnocentric; losing the kids and grandkids like crazy to assimilation. It usually fails in three generations. Small and getting smaller.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A religion and realtalk sampler

"Linker" posts are passé thanks to Mark Zuckerberg's wildly successful site but anyway.
  • From 2013: A sociologist on the "Latin Mass." An honest one who apparently didn't believe in the traditional Catholic faith but wasn't biased against us either, actually listening to people. (I like sociology, my favorite one-off college course.) Quotations that don't necessarily reflect our teachings but come from the heart; impressions. Like folk religion. I use quotation marks in the title because Catholic traditionalism is not about Latin.
  • Fr. Longenecker: Fideism R Us. An understandable mistake but it's relativism. Catholicism, yes, belief in the usually invisible God but also a God-man, is grounded in reality.
  • Takimag: David Cole gets real about the Jewish question. A lot of Jews don't like Christians but blaming them for your problems is like blacks blaming whites for all of theirs.
  • Château Heartiste: The myth of the hottie bitch. I admit I fell for that one: original sin would make an entitled girl insufferable. The counter-argument: if you're attractive, the world loves you so you think the world is loving. So hot girls are actually more likely to be polite, turning down an invitation (to a date, etc.): "No, thank you." The good old-fashioned way. As with social class, the rudest girls are the ones insecure about their status/attractiveness (like middle-class snobs) so they resent approaches from men they imagine are beneath them. (That and hypergamy or assortative mating; take your pick.)
  • Face to Face: The violent left and the deep state are now indistinguishable. The sedition against the president speaks well of him. Almost worth it to see the left agree with George Wallace on states' rights. A possible difference between the headline-grabbing, street-theater left and the deep state: the former, the anti-gun folks, don't really know how to fight (but watch out for Weather Underground–style terrorism); the latter has real power so it's a threat.
  • By the way, I haven't dropped one of the two consistent things about this blog and myself since I started blogging nearly 15 years ago (really getting started 14 years ago): high church (Catholic again long before circumstances allowed me to come clean that I was Catholic again) and the "America First" message of this blog's title. Trump was never one of my idols; "he'll do." Still true. That said, no to war in Syria. Old news now but anyway. Assad's is one of the only remaining non-Mohammedan ones in the Near East. (I understand Alawites consider themselves Mohammedans but they're really not. Like Mormons are to Christians.) Unlike Sunni Wahhabist Saudi Arabia (a chamber of horrors run by best friends to our elite, and where most of the 9/11 hijackers were from), you can be a Christian in his Syria, home of several apostolic churches, some of which are Catholic. Even if he is a poison-gassing son of a bitch, he's not our problem. Don't invade; don't invite.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Delatinization redux

  • A British ex-Anglican priest in the Ukrainian Catholic Church: True to tradition. I add: a tradition with a small t.
From elsewhere:
It's necessary to take a definitive measure to end the Eastern schism. Talks and good will are not effective. Each Orthodox church needs to renounce the separation and became an Eastern Catholic church of the Byzantine Rite.
Yes, but. You don't have to latinize to be Catholic. Don't harass the latinized majority in the current Byzantine Catholic churches, but guarantee to the Orthodox that we will never do to them what we did to Toth and Chornock in America. "We love you and miss you. Join us so we can leave you alone."

Don't harass the latinized majority in the current Byzantine Catholic churches. This got me put in moderation (basically suspended) at byzcath (yes, a Catholic-hosted forum; sometimes we're our worst enemy) for about two years and just now nearly pushed off Facebook's Russian Catholic group. Two deacons chewing me out like drill sergeants. "Stop pretending to be a Russian Catholic and go away; enjoy your traditional Latin Mass." Do as Fr. Deacon Dork says (harass the latinized actual East Slavs in the church; like me, Russian Catholics usually aren't Slavs) or turn in my icons (from a deceased Russian's collection) and Slavonic prayer books. Нет (nyet).

Russian Catholics usually are born Catholic non-Russians who love things Russian and Orthodox but have the sense not to leave the church.

The calling to delatinize oneself looks like anti-Westernism, a sin of the Orthodox, but isn't. (A favorite story from a departed priest friend who lived it: the English Jesuit superior of Fordham's Russian Center taking down an icon of St. Ignatius Loyola because it doesn't belong in the rite.) But it can become malicious. That's how evil works; it's a parasite, spoiling a good thing.

A good thing, the calling to be an unlatinized Byzantine Catholic, gets twisted into the sin of pride (when it's about your ego and not God: my cause), looking down on others who are entirely Catholic. Mirroring our treatment of Toth and Chornock, ¿no? Same self-righteousness as many of the Orthodox, of rad trads, and of NCR liberals (Modernists).

I love the mild delatinizations, imposed from the top, at my Ukrainian part-time parish. It's not entirely восточный (Eastern) but seems and is meant to seem Orthodox, perfect for my offering all that the Orthodox taught me back to God in the Catholic Church. The parishioners, Slavs who are nth-generation Ukrainian Catholics, aren't as keen on them ("Why can't we have our Stations of the Cross?"). That's reality. Their opinion, and they remain entirely Catholic. We get along. It takes a special kind of jerk to be a non-Slav barging in and telling Slavs how to do their services. I'm not that person.

You don't have to become like them but don't force them to be like you. Their relatives and in some cases they went through hell in their homelands to remain Catholic. Some respect is in order.

If you want восточный, there are the Melkites and the Russian Catholics. But, just like with the Orthodox, lose the attitude.

Христосъ воскресе!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Predictions about the American Catholic Church

Prophetic? Marie-Thérèse Power writes:
In 20 years' time the people who thought it ['70s-'80 Catholic liberal low-church] was "really nice" will have gone to their reward, and their children won't be bothering to attend. Those who were irritated by the duck soup will still have to travel an hour to get to a traditional Mass, but those will be the only Masses on offer.
That reminds me: 30 years ago here in the Philadelphia area, a priest, very knowledgeable and from before Vatican II, on board with the liberals but not too obnoxious about it, claimed to me, "By the time you are in your 50s the church will be completely different." He didn't elaborate. I'm in my 50s. Let's see if that has come true. The teachings of course can't change. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is shrinking (and hasn't bottomed out yet; more parish closings and mergers) because it has spent down its financial and social capital from before the council (whilst claiming the "renewal" is a smashing success). Thanks to the Holy Ghost and Pope Benedict XVI the Great's reform, like in England 30 years ago you can now find old-fashioned Western high-church if you are looking for it. My parish is a reform-of-the-reform shop now run by an always-conservative order, which happens to do the Tridentine Mass too, my home base, and there's the ordinariate (which is not part of the archdiocese; they have their own bishop) for Anglican alumni who like the old Prayer Book, their symbol of saying no to the Sixties revolution, just like the Tridentine Mass. (I can join but it only has my moral support; going there isn't practical and Cranmer was a heretic. But the lasting lesson from it is Western traditionalism doesn't have to be in Latin.) The charismatic movement, "the future of the church," fizzled. The Byzantine churches here are slowly dying (I don't want that to happen; I'm there part-time) due to age, assimilation, and people moving away (almost exactly like the Orthodox except some people become Roman Rite).

Sunday, April 16, 2017

When ethnicity protects: An example of good Novus Ordo

An example, but not the only kind, of good Novus Ordo, the best the official Roman Rite had to offer in many places for decades after Vatican II and I imagine still is the best in at least some. (And is better than even 10 years ago thanks to Benedict XVI's reform.) Novus Ordo-fied but their heart is still with the old religion (I know it well; Msgr. Murray and his parish were just like this... it reminds me of the English for a few decades after the "Reformation"), here with ethnic culture serving as a hedge against Modernism. This is Sacred Heart Church, the historic Polish parish in Clifton Heights (it used to be a national parish; notice there are no Irish national parishes) and maybe merged with one or two other parishes now. (Yo, how's that "renewal" working out for youse?) The candles on the gradines in the reredos (behind the altar; what traditionally were the altar candles) happen to be electric lights. This parish took out the Communion rail and moved the mensa (the table that's the actual altar) forward probably only because they were told to. (Likely at great expense, especially for this blue-collar town.) Unlike Catholic liberals, they're obviously not trying to attack the teachings of the church. By the way, unusual in the archdiocese, this is one of the only parishes besides mine where there are no altar girls (the territorial parish I live in but don't belong to is a Lucia fest), but the sanctuary crew receives Communion in the hand and there are lady Eucharistic ministers. One wonders if some official years ago bullied these Polish-Americans into having both. Layfolk giving Communion don't affect the sacrament of course but I hate the liberals trying to force their agenda on me especially with something as intimate as worship, receiving Communion particularly so (think about it: Catholics and other apostolic Christians get to touch God), and in this case especially because I'm an ex-Anglican. (They're soft-selling the attempted ordination of women.) Partly why in five years back in the church I have never received from a lay person. They're supposed to be a practical thing under "extraordinary" circumstances. Note the icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa ("chenstahova"; being Roman Riters, except for her, Poles don't really do icons) and the Divine Mercy picture on the gradines; there's also a portrait of St. John Paul II in a side vestibule. (We are actually better off now even with Pope Francis, because Benedict the Great's reform still stands. What's helping us: Francis doesn't care about liturgy and he doesn't speak English.) The Stations of the Cross are in Polish with English titles on little signs below them, and the priest and congregation still speak some Polish; I understood what I heard.

Other good kinds include high-church (reform of the reform: make it look and sound like the Tridentine Mass, including eastward-facing; my parish did that before Summorum Pontificum freed up the traditional Mass; the ordinariates are the "libretto by Cranmer" version and yes, that's as strange as it sounds, given the history, as Cranmer came to hate the Mass) and "say the black, do the red," pared down with no attempt at music (that is, a Low Mass).

"For God so loved the world..." Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy upon us.


  • Byzantine Rite Sunday here: Христосъ воскресе изъ мертвыхъ, смертiю смерть поправъ, и сущимъ во гробѣхъ животъ даровавъ. (This is Slavonic, the traditional liturgical language the Russians still use; my part-time parish uses English and Ukrainian.) From a few years ago, my tribute to Russia; may it with Putin be a sword of Christendom as well as, in the tradition of St. Seraphim of Sarov (we Catholics give born Orthodox saints the benefit of the doubt), spread peace by example. (Of course Christians can do both. Jesus himself used force at one point.)
  • Filipino crucifixions on Good Friday. (Note the British headline's disapproval of "extreme religious acts." Because "we don't do religion anymore.") A folk Catholic practice. I understand the possible well-meaning Protestant objection to this: it's true that we can add nothing to Jesus' sacrifice and there is only one of him so only one sacrifice for Christians; the people doing this don't earn their way into heaven like the Protestants think we believe. What strikes me is this sounds exactly like their objection to the Mass. So these re-enactments by my brothers, like me partly Spanish, the penitente tradition "plus," are Passion plays "plus." Catholicism is an entirely "real" religion, literal. We believe baptism with water literally gives grace, that the God-man was nailed to a cross, and, even though he only appeared mysteriously to his followers, he literally returned in the flesh from the dead. These acts in the Philippines by analogy show the reality of Jesus' sacrifice, certainly to the people doing them, like the Mass makes it truly present "disguised" as bread and wine. If miracles happened at these events I wouldn't be surprised.
  • A Catholic church is both a temple, in which the one sacrifice has replaced the old covenant's sacrifices but it is still a place of sacrifice (both Jesus' sacrifice made mystically present and Christians' giving thanks; εὐχαριστία) and the gathering (σύναξις) place for the assembly, the community (ἐκκλησία).
    • The cleansing of the Temple and the sacrifice of the Mass. Fr. Hunwicke on Rabbi Jacob Neusner. I'm not as educated as Fr. H but the point seems to be Neusner didn't believe in Jesus but believed Jesus obviously meant what Catholics and others in the apostolic family (Catholics who don't admit they're Catholic as I put it) do about his Supper. I'm also reminded of the late Michael Davies, who pointed out that when Protestants use realistic sacrificial language about Communion, they don't mean what we do; they really believe "he is not here."
    • New clericalism is imposing old ways on modern church architecture. Modern Westerners don't understand the true, sacrificial symbolism of a meal in ancient cultures. Arguably the Protestants, 16th-century northern Europeans long removed from this culturally, didn't either. Which partly explains the mistakes of this NCR article; the author sounds like he's really a Protestant. Also, Catholic liberals are the biggest clericalists. Fr. George Rutler has said we are really sacerdotalists; clericalism is a kind of caricature of the church. Which is closer to our beliefs, a priest submitting to the great tradition (say the black, do the red, face the altar with the congregation) to plead Jesus' sacrifice (Jesus, the one actual priest and one victim) and give literally him as a sacrament, or the courtroom sanctuary in which the priest's chair displaces the Reserved Sacrament, towering over a shrunken altar? (Anglo-Catholics adopted traditional practices voluntarily, facing fines and prison in England, because of love; they thought they were part of the larger church or wanted to be.) Christian altars are tables but the Protestants and neo-Protestants (aging Catholic liberals) think they are only tables. How wrong they are. Also, this is the bookend of radical traditionalism: Catholic liberals think their architecture and liturgics are the only, God-given way. If you want to experiment, fine, but stick to our teachings (Pope Benedict XVI the Great's reform in English does that) and don't tell me I can't have the traditional Mass (Benedict answered that with Summorum Pontificum). The super-clericalism is also why the old Catholic liberals want women priests; most of us Catholics, including the many lapsed, at least tacitly know it can't be done.
  • A Russian Catholic actually in Russia (rare) asks:
    • Do you think it is necessary to reform the Orthodox rite or not? No. Possible but not necessary and likely not desirable. Witness the Roman Rite after Vatican II.
    • Can a person be in the Eastern rite (sic) but not be a conservative? There are several Eastern rites. Anyway, it depends on what you mean by "conservative." Our doctrine can't change. The church is above politics; both the political left and right can be in the church in any rite. You can be a perfectly good Catholic and believe in a strong central government with socialized health care, for example. That said, most of the Eastern rites are culturally conservative; if you want to experiment liturgically, you can be Catholic but an Eastern rite probably isn't for you. And as at least an opinion I hold that modern Western leftism, including political correctness, is Christianity without Christ, not an option for good Catholics.
  • "Two integrities" nonsense in Catholicism? Fr. Longenecker's honest about church politics these days being bad. Good thing the church is indefectible; our teachings can't change. (Like how, despite the lack of "liturgical studies" for most of our history, we still have the Mass; that's the Holy Ghost at work.) So no, Pope Francis can't turn the church Protestant like Cranmer did in England. The Fr. Martins are in one ear and out the other, forgotten by me as soon as I'm out the proverbial bad parish's door. Jesus' killers couldn't keep him down and they can't take my faith.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Conservative principles

Worth pondering. Timothy Arndt writes (I admit I haven't read what he has):
The common principles of the early Conservatives of Western Europe (roughly, from Burke to Donoso Cortes) listed by Robert Nisbet in his foreword to The Works of Joseph de Maistre (Schocken, 1971).
  • 1. God and the divine order, not the natural order, must be the starting point of any understanding of society and history.
  • 2. Society, not the individual, is the subject of the true science of man.
  • 3. Tradition, not pure reason, is the only possible approach to reform of government and society.
  • 4. Organism, not social contract, is the true image of social reality.
  • 5. The groups and associations of society, not the abstracted individual, are the true seats of human morality — and also of human identity.
  • 6. True authority springs directly from God and is distributed normally among a plurality of institutions — church, guild, social class, and family, as well as a political state.
  • 7. A tragic view of man and history is required, one that sees the recurrence of evil and disaster in human affairs, not the kind of linear progress assumed by the Enlightenment.
Not libertarianism (although that is useful in America; it taught me to think critically about our political scene, left and right) and not the "liberalism a few decades ago" (exactly what American neoconservatism is) that passes for American conservatism (which isn't surprising since America was founded on the "Enlightenment") or, put another way, American "conservatism" as in mainstream Republicans is just social liberalism that plays the stock market (the dumbed-down, non-threatening to liberals "conservatism" of "Alex P. Keaton"). I do believe in capitalism/the market (better than any other economics man has tried), though, but the real reactionaries, and the best churchmen, are right that work is for man, not man for wage slavery, which is cleverly marketed as individual liberation from poverty and narrow old morals; among other evils it destroys families and communities. (Medieval life may have been hard and short but the church made sure you got your time off for festivals, etc., which the Protestants got rid of.) The worst churchmen mistake the ripoff of Christianity that is Western liberalism (only our apostates could have come up with it: for example, globalism and "it takes a village" are its false church; it includes feminism) for the gospel. My guess is Pope Francis is one of these suckers, which doesn't affect our teachings, because it can't, but he doesn't act like somebody owns him; he's unpredictable. Vatican II (policies, not doctrine) happened because too many of our churchmen forgot the seventh point: "Let's streamline the church for the space age, and as part of that, now that we've learned the history of the Mass so we know what we can take out, let's rewrite it."

I am a Catholic so unlike most Americans I believe a king or a caudillo is an option. The right thing to do in 1775-1783 was to remain loyal to George III (even though he was Protestant, which didn't affect us, and Burke thought the rebels had a point).

On paper Britain and Canada (partly the American Loyalists who rightly opposed the revolution) should have been a conservative high-Anglican ideal but aren't. (Many/most English Reformed Christians lost what was left of their faith at the "Enlightenment.") Of course we believe Anglicanism is fatally flawed — it's just Protestantism with bishops — but anyway. And, although semi-congregationism is worth looking at as a hedge against liberalism, Popeless "Catholicisms" eventually get owned.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Is the SSPX the real BenOp?

Rod Dreher's striking omission. Gabriel Sanchez is long back in the church doing good with his writing. This piece is like my idea of looking to the 20th-century history of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, his church home and my part-time one, for a working model of "intentional Christian communities," traditional Catholic ones, under extremely adverse conditions.

I have a lot of respect for the Society of St. Pius X; we have the traditional Mass in the official church again because of them. But I'm not associated with them because my impression (and I have been to them many times) is, like with the Orthodox, while it's a good culture, they're too narrow, a bookend of the militantly low-church, insufferably self-righteous liberals (and yes, most of them were heretics) who scoured our churches of our culture 45 years ago, saying they were doing God's will, which baited some traditionalists into sounding like the caricatures many churchmen accuse them of being. Sanchez handles this well: he explains it's about principles, not nostalgia (certainly not about Latin in church): an authentic horizon beyond liberalism, one where Christ the King reigns supreme and the final end of man is not earthly satisfaction but rather eternal beatitude with God. I don't think "the American way" is the answer like political and church neocons do but I do believe Catholicism can live in the old American republic (the U.S. was never supposed to be a democracy, thank God).

More important than my first objection, Catholicism 101 includes being under your lawful bishop, your local successor to the apostles (the diocese is the church's basic unit; this is Vincentian-canon stuff the Orthodox, other dissident Easterners, and classic Anglicans agree with), who of course answers to the one church's head bishop. Wrong opinions aren't necessarily heresy; you can't break with the reigning Pope or your bishop just because you don't like him (and no, I don't like Pope Francis). The only religious thing I officially belong to is the bare minimum, a parish of the diocese. The SSPX conscientiously is not a separate church in theory but in practice is one.

A third objection is related to the first: there's real Christianity vs. "secularized and part-time Christianity," but "the Catholic Church: here comes everybody," not a perfectionistic micromanaging cult of of the self-righteous, the caricature of traditionalism, which is not the big tent of the real pre-Vatican II church (the faith of Francisco Franco and Dorothy Day; heck, the Irish and Italians in America used to hate each other). Still, the clergy's job in part is to point out the "authentic horizon" Sanchez mentions. Sound teaching from the pulpit and decorum in the sanctuary (a rite teaches and keeps order in church) but "come as you are" for the laity; private/home devotion is a free-for-all, for example. (The local SSPX chapel's Christmas Midnight Mass is packed... with local people, not just the parishioners you'd expect.)

Sanchez's criticisms of Dreher are fair: Dreher has left the church and is a writer who claims to critique contemporary liberal culture while remaining deeply embedded within it who wishes to curry favor with media elites who will draw attention to his book or give him free airtime, which seems to confirm my suspicion that his most vicious critics are right that he's a Judas trying to persuade conservative Christians to surrender (certainly leaving the church fits that), the "fixat[ing] on same-sex marriage and gender issues" being "bloggy outrage porn" (the critics' words) to get our confidence; bait.

Of note: "How's that 'renewal' working out for youse?" Even in secular terms Vatican II's a flop. Last fall, in rural Virginia, the Society opened a brand-new seminary to house the influx of vocations pouring in — something which no Catholic diocese in America has been able to boast of in decades.

Dominica de Passione: Judica me, Deus

  • Mass: Judica me, Deus.
  • Anglican missal translation.
  • A sign allegedly in a church: "Confession today (Saturday) will be exactly until 5:30 pm. There is only one priest available for confession today. Make your confession direct, to the point. Only confess your sins. No need to explain why you did it. Thank you very much." I think a lot of people confuse confession with spiritual direction, which is a sort of Christian psychotherapy before there was psychotherapy. Understandable since most Catholics including me don't have a spiritual director, just father confessors who do the best they can. (By the way, the Orthodox in America are the same on this. Spiritual fatherhood/eldership is monastic, and there aren't that many Orthodox monks and nuns in America. Stay away from parish priests who play staretz; it's a cult.) I'm blessed to have a city church (not my parish; not really a neighborhood parish anymore) that has many times set aside for confession so I don't feel rushed, but the sign has a point. "Just the facts, ma'am."

Saturday, April 01, 2017

The secular West's "peaceful future" according to Google

Doodle 4 Google 2016/2017 Winner! — "A Peaceful Future" by Sarah Harrison, Stratford, CT.

Another leftist Google doodle: superficially appealing art that, like leftism generally, rips off Christian ethics, "love thy neighbor" with Jesus Photoshopped out or here relativized. Edited out: the pile of corpses, the inconvenient babies including disabled ones* (and the left calls us Nazis) never born, euthanized disabled and elderly, and millions (more than the Nazis) Stalin, Mao, and others killed to usher in their "paradise," that this particular lie, that of John Lennon's "Imagine," is built on. (To Lennon's credit, he didn't buy into abortion. You never hear that.)

CØn†яÅ𝛿ï©T. The Mohammedan wants to forcibly convert or kill everybody else, including throwing the homosexuals off roofs (we conservative Christians believe what the homosexuals do is a sin but murder is not our answer). The Western liberals behind this art want to use her as a weapon against Western conservatives (who want to be left in peace, not invade the world, a liberal dream; it's really just colonialism, only with them in charge); that's why they invited her. They don't really care about her beliefs; they think that because they're so nice, everybody else, including her, really wants to be just like them. And what's she doing, anyway? Coming to our countries to use the rights there... to argue for taking those rights away, just like in her home country?

Of course I'm for giving talented women and minority members a chance at a job, etc.**, but it's an article of the leftist faith (without anything like St. Thomas Aquinas' five proofs) that pushing more such into certain fields will benefit those fields. It's... superstitious. How would a quota of women et al. in science improve science? (Women in combat are a bad idea.)

Hooray for separate countries. How about if we and the Saracens come to an understanding? We have our Christian kingdoms over here and they have their dar al-Islam, their theocracies, way over there, and we have less and less to do with each other as we buy less oil from them, finding more of it here as well as developing alternative fuels, etc.? We don't station troops and drone-attack there; they stop blowing us up and shooting us. Don't invade; don't invite.

The Japanese, for example, like being Japanese. They have a foundation culture. So do Americans. It's English, as in originally from England. Deal with it. I love it and I'm not even Protestant. (It is obviously formerly Catholic anyway.)

Good quotation: "If liberals think you're too conservative and conservatives think you're too liberal, you're probably just Catholic." Blessed John Henry Newman's life. He figured out that Anglicanism's latitudinarianism isn't the church but many Catholics in his day didn't trust him.

*The other side has a point that "labeling is bad" but "people with disabilities," etc. is showing off. And liberals love to label; it's flashing their ID. I'm part Mexican, not Guatemalan (they're neighbors who hate each other), Puerto Rican, etc., but there's "Hispanic." (Granted, sharing some Iberian ancestry, a language, and the church means something, but still.) Han Chinese, Malays, Bengalis, et al. get to be "Asian" together. You're not white? Colored "People of color." White liberals' version of "you all look alike anyway," I guess.

**That's what our fair English Christian culture does.