Sunday, April 16, 2017


  • 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.

1 comment:

  1. St. Jude and St. Jude Parish Church:

    St. Jude is the patron saint of the hopeless and lost causes. St. Jude Parish Church and its modernist design/architecture--the place is perfectly named! heh heh heh **dripping with sarcasm**


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